Monday, November 17, 2008

What happens when you add Holy Water to your Wort?

All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment…

People! I am presently boiling a remake of our Ambermensch, an amber colored double fermented american strong ale. MMmm. It was a big hit at our homebrew party (coming in second in popularity to the Phenomagavely) so we decided to revamp the flavor profile, retain the heavy handedness of its inebriative qualities and make another batch.
This time we used almonds, rosewater and extra brown sugar to fit both the full bodied seasonal trends of winter and the strong, uber, conceptual content of its namesake. We also opted to use some roasted barley for our partial, not knowing exactly what it will do to the taste, but knowing that barley and almonds and rosewater traditionally go well together.
Half way through the boil and it looks like espresso. The color is dark dark brown and floating on top of the boil is a sandy to deep khaki colored froth that can only be described as crema. We shall see, we shall see.

And now a shameless plug:

Surly Brewery
in Brooklyn Center, MN, just outside of Minneapolis, is awesome. We serve their Bender at my restaraunt and they also hosted their second "Darkness Day" this past October. This festival, much like the "Dark Lord Day" at Three Floyds, is effectively their release party for a limited edition russian imerial stout, appropriately called darkness, a limited edition special batch. Its rare and coveted. Anyway, there was a really cool turnout for the day, lots of homebrewers and beer geeks congregating in the name of brew, swapping recipes and dishing out samples of esteric and hard to find labels, bombers and swing tops. Some of us chose to camp out the night before, so there was pretty much loud and excited conversation and samplage going on all night. The owner, Omar, even brought a keg of "Coffee Bender" out into the street for us all to wake up to. The beer is good, the vibe is great. Keep it up. A+

rock it/rocket

Friday, November 14, 2008

Got Some Dave On My Wall

Last night we bottled the DaveDave Dave and had a quick tasting. WOW. This is high quality shit. I would not have been able to foresee such a success (as things have gone so far), and you can simply taste the quality. all-grain really is better. Anyhow, we only used .25 lbs chocolate malt in the whole thing on top of 12 lbs 2-row and caramel 60... and the chocolate really really comes out strong on this one - VERY surprising. Now I know when I read other recipes for things that might be thicker and heavier and folks are only using just a half pound or maybe only a pound of specialty (read: roasted barley, black patent, chocolate malts, etc.) in their brew. Now I can see why. This stuff is really potent.

Anyhow, we bottles 12 12oz bottles, 14 22oz bombers, 4 500mL bottles and another 1L swing-top. It was about 3.75-4 gallons worth, so that equates to about 38-40 beers. Not too bad for coming up short on the grain runnings. Gonna have some good samples to have at around Christmas time or possibly a few weeks earlier. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beer Review: Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot English Barleywine

Went with the Blithering Idiot as an Election Night starter ;)

Really great color on this one. Very minimal to no haze at all, with a fantastic hues of orange, ruby and a touch of autumn brown. Heavy two finger head dissipates quickly into a seated half finger of light bronze "nitro-like" fuzz.

Smells like a barleywine. Big malt, grapes and figs, and a nice boozy hit on the nose. Nothing to write home about, but still very pleasant and expected for the style.

Thick caramel notes on the tongue, big bubbles sticking around for quite some time, and huge malt profile that flows nicely into the boozy aftertaste that jumps from the back of the tongue and sticks around even after a minute or two. Great sticky mouthfeel, but nothing too overpowering. The booze and the caramel malt lingers on for some time, which is a non-complaint coming from my end.

For being 11.1% ABV, this one goes down really well. I was lucky enough to get this as an extra in a trade a few months ago (can't remember from whom), but I'm really enjoying this one tonight. We get Weyerbacher here in Cincinnati but I don't too often see the Blithering Idiot out - I'll certainly keep my eyes open, as this is one of the more sessionable (if that is even possible for this style) barleywines I've ever had, and I look forward to enjoying this one again in the future.

Solid B Overall

Monday, November 10, 2008

Beer Review: Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale

For quite some time in my beer loving days I had searched high and low for this beer. I worked to set up a number of trades to pick just one up to try, each inevitably falling dead in their own tracks. Then one day, as if the gods themselves had been watching my search, it just showed up. And I'm not talking about a trip to Grand Rapids I took in search of the beer (to no avail), nor stops on the same trip a handful of local Michigan beer stores (again to no avail), and I'm not even talking about a happen-chance finding of a single bottle in the back room of a store no one would have ever thought to look. No. I mean it just showed up. Seriously - right now, it's all over Cincinnati. I mean everywhere. How about that for serendipitous notion? But hey, I'm not complaining! And either way, it showed up, and then it found its way into my cellar - from the looks of it by the truckload at that.

But I digress. I poured this beer almost 10 minutes ago and my taste buds are getting impatient. It is worthy to note that I have poured my Curmudgeon at cellar temperature into a deep stemless white wine glass - my glass of choice of lately for enjoying anything as particularly malty as this.

This beer pours a beautiful, deep red mahogany, and quickly gathers a finger and a half of light brown head. The head dissipates a little too quickly, but leaves an amoeba of lacing griping tight to the glass. There is a touch of standing sediment hanging out in the beer, but nothing to frown upon for this style.

The smell! This one knocks in with some thick, boozy notes that are backed up by caramel, molasses, deep grape, and, although I can't touch what this particular flavor is, I will describe the overall smell as "burnt sticky caramel corn." I am fighting the urge to find the correct words to describe this beer with my desire to toss this one down the hatch. And in that case... bottoms up!

Burnt Sticky Caramel Corn is pretty accurate if you ask me. The Old Curmudgeon hits the tongue with a quickly waning hit of fresh hops, grazes the tongue gracefully through its candy-like mid-body and rushes down the back of the throat almost like it wasn't even there. This one sits on the tongue after finish and simply bubbles for a while, asking for another sip. The sweetness sits with a light glaze through the mouth and reaffirms my newly coined burnt sticky caramel corn flavor profile. Plus some plum... yeah, a little bit of plum. Once it goes down, though, it's like I'm breathing fire here. Not like some crazy burn-down-the-house fire; more like a sitting by the campfire making s'mores (s'more what?) fire. The booze sits nicely and keeps the warming coming quite nicely. I could take this one out in 40 degree weather in shorts and a t-shirt and keep warm. I like that.

As much as I really like this beer, I'd love to have a little more variety in flavor aside from the aforementioned notes. For what is there, however, I can certainly appreciate the flavors, and there is nothing about this one that says, you can't have just one. On a good night with some good company, I could sip on these for quite some time. Well worth the wait to finally try these, and I am more than appreciative that I had quite a few more of these in my cellar.

Overall Rating: B+


God Is Still In Secondary Fermentation

Really? Yep.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Got Me Some Man on My Wall

Bottled up some Batch 9.1 last night. Didn't actually go through with the Man/God Remix, but what we did was still pretty interesting. Before I get into that, let me just say that with some of the changes to this beer (including the addition of a lb and a quarter of Special B Grain, among others), something magical has happened. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I can tell you from previous "bottling tastings," that this batch will be, well, better. It just tastes like I've been brewing for longer. Even though it is an extract beer, I could just tell there was a level of improvement that I have yet to register in past brews. That being said, here's how the whole thing went down:

Since we made 4 gallons of Man, in preparation to blend with God, we didn't have a ton of beer to put into bottles, but still a sizable amount. First, in regular brewing fashion, the sugar was added (I would have loved to have put malt in at this step, but am fresh out :( ), and off the bat locked up 24 12-oz bottles. After that, I had two special yeast samples: Lacto B. and Brettamyoces, which I threw into the bottling bucket with the rest of Man - essentially creating some type of super version of Man... - did a bit of mild coaxing to get all the mini-bacteriums soaked in, and then bottled another 13 bombers of the stuff.

So the good news is that this version of Man is going to be incredible. The bad news is that the soured bombers aren't going to be ready for uhh... a few years? Shit. Brewing sucks.

Pics From Our First All-Grain Brew Session

Success! We brewed a Dave. That's about it. Check out a few pics (too busy doing shit to take many), and be amazed!