Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My APA and Samuel Smith's Old Brewery

My APA with it's 5.2% ABV and 110 IBU goodness was bottled last Saturday. It is starting to clear nicely, though some bottles have bits of hop floating in them. I will give it a few more days before trying a bottle. So far, looks good.

Sunday, a co-patroller gave me a bottle of Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale. The color is a bit dark brown for a modern pale, but for the time, it was called a pale to distinguish it from a porter. The swell is a bit malty, but it is sour on the tongue and quite bitter after.

The characteristics get a bit more intense as it warms. The balance seems off and I don't like the effects. Perhaps I am too used to modern brews, but this is not one I'd have again. 6

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Founders Day

Before I forget yet again, I am finally getting to my notes from the Founders tasting at Jungle Jim's. And what better way to write about Founders beer than with 12 ounces of Double Trouble.

Dry Hopped Pale Ale
This one is quite clean at the start and through mid-mouth. The hop presence is light throughout with hops most notable at the end. It is a good pale ale. 6

Typically, I am no fan of fruity beers and this one is no exception. Not nearly as sweet as most cherry beers, but it is sweet. Cherries are present from the nose to finish. It is also sweet from start to finish, but not syrupy. 4

Roasted malt and alcohol are noticeable on the nose. From the tip of the mouth through mid, there is some hop bitterness. There is also some malt bitterness from mid to finish. All in all, a good porter, but not great. 7

Dirty Bastard
A Scottish ale, but which kind? It is ok cold, but like many Scottish ales, it gets better as it gets warmer. Malty sweetness on the nose and some smokey notes. This makes it more of the American variety. Mid-mouth there is smokiness and alcohol. The finish is a good blend of hops and malt. 8

Centennial IPA
One of two IPAs for the evening. This one is hoppy and floral on the nose. Malt and hops dance mid-mouth. The finish is well balanced with little hop bitterness. 8

Red's Rye
Grapefruit and malt on the nose. There is a rye presence mid-mouth, with hops and grapefruit. The finish is similar and there is rye in the drinker's nose afterward. 9

Breakfast Stout
I've had the KBS, which is a different recipe, but I find the ideals of the breakfast stouts. There is coffee and chocolate on the nose. The mid-mouth is smooth. Very nice. There is a presence of coffee beans and chocolate throughout. 10

Double Trouble
The second IPA of the night. Hops are on the nose, as well as, yeast and citrus notes. The malt and hops are high, but well balanced mid-mouth. The finish is hoppy. 10

Old Curmudgeon
The first of the two growlers for the night's tasting. Pour from the taps of the brewery restaurant. The nose is malty and vanilla. Mid-mouth is sweet, with molasses is noticeable. The finish has an alcohol warmth. Awesome. 10+

Hand of Doom
This is a bourbon barrel aged version of Double Trouble and was the second growler. Hops are on the nose. Mid-mouth is sweetness and bourbon. The finish is bourbon. Most excellent. 10++

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Left hand with the right hand

Today I'm trying Left Hand Brewer's Oktoberfest. This bottle was given to me by a friend of mine to try. I like Oktoberfest beer, especially with nice Oktoberfest food.

On the pour, the color is a nice orange with a yellowish head. Cold, the bitterness is high, from malt and hops. At temperature, there is nice sweetness on the nose. On the tip of the tongue, there is a nice mix of sweet and hop bitterness. The two swirl around the tongue mid-mouth to give a delightful dance and good mouth feel. The finish is clean, with the same dance of sweet and bitter. It leaves one wanting another sip or another bit of wurst. Very nice.

The American Pale ale is going along nicely. Perhaps three ounces of hop pellets was too much in the secondary as quite a bit of it is around the top of the carboy. Next time I might try hydrating the hops with the water that I will need to top off after racking. This should help it settle more quickly. It has about 10 days to go before bottling. I have confirmed that its IBU is 110.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Go Northwest, young man

I am not sure this is my first Rogue ale, but I do not recall any others. As Rogue is coming next month to Jungle Jim's for a tasting, I picked up a bottle of Northwestern Ale after the Two Brothers brewing tasting. Put away and nearly forgotten, I put it in the fridge last night to try tonight.

It pours a bit fizzy. It is a deep red with a creme color head. When gold, the Cascade hops are quite noticeable in the nose. As it warms a bit, the Munich malt comes up to blend with the hops. The nose is very nice and inviting.

The drink starts with some hop bitterness and crystal malt sweetness. The 80 IBUs make their presence quite known. Mid-mouth is a swirl of cascade spiciness, malt sweetness, Much malt mouth feel and Willamette bitterness. The finish is all hops and mostly the bitterness of the Willamette.

During consumption, the head stays as a thin layer of creme and clings to the sides of the glass. The crystal malt (or Carastan as the label says) has a stronger presence as it warms up, but it never gets close to the hops. There is the slightest hint of chocolate malt, but the beer needs to get quite warm to detect it. Had I not read the label, I am doubtful I would have noticed. The label also lists "Free range coastal water" as an ingredient. Ok, what does that mean? No city water? They have to herd the water from a local field and get it into the brewery?

It is nice and hoppy. A definite keeper.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Crystal Ale goes live

What an interesting and long day this has been. Looks like we will be calling Roto-rooter sometime soon. Yippie. But that's a different topic.

My latest recipe is a push back into pale ales like I did years ago, this time with a bigger hops bill. In fact, the hops costs me more than the extract and the specialty grains. This one should be fairly pale, with 8 pounds of extract (5 @ 2L and 3 @ 4L) and nine ounces of hops. Yeah, that's right, nine ounces. I will use three of them to dry hop when it goes to the secondary.

The hops

Simcoe - 90 minutes, 12.7%
Warrior - 60 minutes, alpha 15.8%
Sterling - 20 minutes, 10 minutes and 1 minute, alpha 6%
Kent Goldings - 12 minutes, alpha 4.5%
Cascade - dry hop, alpha 7.5%
Challenger - dry hop, alpha 7.0%

Only the Simcoe and Warrior went into hop bags, so the Sterling and Goldings should also impart some flavor during fermentation. I used a dry yeast, but hopefully it will not get overly excited like what happened on the black ale. I do long for cooler temperatures so that the fermentation will be better controlled.

As for the total IBUs, I really need someone to help me with BeerSmith to make sure I am setting then in properly. I put all but the drop hops to boiling with their times and it shows an IBU of 110. If that is correct, this will really be bitter. Sure there are 3 pounds of crystal in there, but that may not be enough. We shall see in a few weeks.

To those who have samples of the black ale, please try them and let me know. I doubt it will keep well, so drink up now. When it gets a bit cooler, I will make the barley wine again and perhaps an Imperial version of the black. Both of these should store well.

Till next time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A style and a review

In keeping with other styles of ale, I am proposing that the American Black Ale come in a standard, double, imperial, etc style. To that end, my proposal for the standard style is as follows:
  • OG: 1.040-1.055
  • FG: 1.010-1.020
  • IBU: 25-60
  • SRM (Lov): 45-65
  • ABV: 4.5%-6.5%
My "Kiss of Winter Black Ale" pushes this standard a bit, with its OG at 1.074 and estimated ABV of 6.9%. That's not too bad. Feel free to voice in and help shape this style. Why should the Belge have all the fun with a defined black ale?

Tonight I tried New Glarus Hop Hearty. I left the bottle out for 20 minutes before I poured to let it warm up and have the hops more alive. As is sometimes typical of a hoppy beer, the head poured nice and tall. The beer is a nice golden color and the head a bit like cream. On the nose there is noticeable Crystal malt and a hint of hops. For a beer that is labeled an IPA, it is a bit mild here. Swirling only seems to deliver more malt.

On the tongue, the malt sweetness is in the foreground, but there is a Cascade chaser. There's isn't much else there. The body is a bit thin and clean. The finish is a mild mix of hops and malt. There is a lingering aftertaste of hops. Just enough to make you wanting another, but not so much that all one tastes for the next hour is hops. A drink of water removes what is there. A hoppy beer I would label this one not.

The alcohol content is a bit high to call it a session beer, but it is definitely one to enjoy with food and friends. Enjoy this with well flavored food and there will be no worries of the beer overpowering what you are eating.