Monthly Archives: December 2012

Ten Fidy

Ahhh, Ten Fidy.  Oskar Blues makes some really good beers, and this one is one of their most interesting!  It’s the very first beer I traded for, although to be honest I didn’t quite realize how potent it was when I traded for a four pack of it!

Rated 100/98 on ratebeer, and 95 on beeradvocate, this is one whopper of an imperial stout!

Black as used diesel motor oil from an old caterpillar on the farm, with a great, lasting brown head and tremendous lacing.

Although it’s a bit subdued for an imperial stout, the aroma smells of sweet roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, molasses and caramel. The rising smell of alcohol seems to accent the complex aromas nicely.

Taste wise the complexity only increases.  Bitter roasted malts, molasses, honey, coffee, chocolate, a touch of dark fruits (raisins?), and notable alcohol taste are rounded out by a slightly acrid bitterness from the ample hops.

The body is thick and rich, gaining complexity as it warms.  Carbonation is smooth and silky.  A lovely burnt, roasty, bitter malt character finishes it off and leaves a nice stouty aftertaste.

Absolutely amazing beer, and even more amazing that such a beer can be found in cans.  I’m all for canning beer, BTW, and Oskar Blues does a great job with all their brews.

Hats off to Oskar Blues Ten Fidy!

Advertisements

Rogue Chipotle Ale

This is a strange one, but I love it!  Rogue Chipotle Ale.  A few times a year I pick up a bomber of this, and every time I do I am left with a sense of indecision.  However, I never regret picking it up, I’m just never quite sure what I think of it!  It’s an enigma!

I think the rest of the craft beer world also feels some angst over this one.  Rated an 82 on beer advocate, but the Brothers give it a 96 (world class).  I gave it a 3.78/5.  Ratebeer gives it a 73 in style*.  Ratings are not everything tho, this is certainly a must-try!

It pours a very nice orange to amber color, somewhat hazy, with a two finger slightly orange head that slowly fell to about 1/8″ and held there.  Lacing is sporadic.

Aroma is up front malty, with a very subtle pepper presence.  Layered on top of that, there’s somewhat of a light smokiness.  There’s not a whole lot of notable hops aroma.

Flavor wise this beer is an enigma.  I find it to be on the fence between a rauchbier and a pepper beer, and I’m once again feeling angst because of this enigmatic combination of flavors!  There’s a nice fruitiness to compliment the well done maltiness that forms the base flavor for this ale.

The mouthfeel is medium, mildly carbonated, and has a very slight linger of peppers.  You can somewhat feel it in your gut after the bomber is finished.  The pepper heat builds slowly but never overwhelms, it always compliments.

Overall I think this is a very well done and carefully thought out beer, which is one reason I keep drinking it.  Obviously they put a lot of effort into this one, particularly noted by the consistency between batches over the years.  It’s a strange one though, still leaving me wondering exactly how I feel about it every time I drink it.

If you haven’t had a chile beer before, or if you like chile beers, this one is definitely worth a try.  It’s not hot, just “spicy,” so don’t fear that this one is going to be overwhelming or undrinkable.

I see one comment from a reviewer is “don’t drink this with really spicy food.”  The reviewer thought that because the pepper flavor is subtle, hot food would overpower the aroma and flavor.  I tend to agree.

*note: ratebeer lists this as a spiced/herb/vegetable beer, not a chile beer.  I really think that chile beer should be a separate category, and question some of ratebeer’s categories

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Having a 60 minute IPA from Dogfish Head, one of my favorite breweries.   Poured into an IPA glass from a 12 oz bottle.

This beer is tan to orange in color, crystal clear, rising bubbles ring the glass, with a nice one finger head and ok lacing.

The aroma is very citrusy, with some floral character and a little bit of earthiness if you ask me.

Flavor wise this IPA seems very clean and crisp, citrusy, floral, and herbal.  The maltiness is there, but doesn’t really conflict or overpower the hops at all.   A touch of perhaps nuttiness rounds out with a bitter hops finish.

The body is light and dry, with a nice citrus/floral hop finish.

Highly recommended.  A very crisp and clean IPA that’s a regular in my fridge.

Juniper Pale Ale II Project

Well my original Juniper Pale Ale was a big success, so I’ve decided to brew it again, this time all-grain.  Gee, this is starting to sound familiar!  This time however, I’m not only revisiting an old recipe, I’m co-brewing it with another brewer, MrOH as he is known on beeradvocate.com.  You can read the entire thread here.

Here is the most important part of the original post:

My original Juniper Pale Ale was an extract/partial mash ale. MrOH got his hands on some, and apparently he liked it enough to want to try a version of it himself! Admittedly, it was pretty good, one of my better extract beers. I liked it, other people liked it, and I thought it was worthy of trying again, this time all-grain.

The premise of our project is that we’re both going to brew the same basic spiced beer / APA using these parameters…

9 lbs base malt, any combination
1 lb crystal malt, any combination
1 oz juniper berries

Essentially, that’s the beer (5 gallons). The addition of juniper isn’t specified exactly as to how, but from our conversations we both intended to crush the berries and add late in the boil.

Hops wise we hadn’t come up with an exact criteria, but MrOH suggested:

1.5 oz hops @ 10
2.5 oz hops @ FO
1 oz DH
bittering addition to bring it up to 40 IBUs (max)

I will probably change the hops parameters a little, but essentially it won’t make much difference.

We are looking for a beer that’s a good APA/spiced beer, has a light to moderate juniper taste (I don’t want “gin beer”), is neither too bitter nor dominated by hops (i.e. let the juniper have a little sunlight), and is refreshing and tasty. Mostly the last one though, tasty is what matters. But I guess there’s no point in making a “juniper” beer if you don’t show off the juniper a little.

My actual recipe’s  grain bill:

  • 7 lbs pale ale malt
  • 2 lbs maris otter
  • 12 oz caramel malt 20L
  • 4 oz caramel malt 60L
  • 2 oz carafoam

Hops wise, I bounced around a lot, but finally decided on the following schedule:

  • 14 g columbus 60 minutes
  • 35g chinook 10 minutes
  • 14g willamette at 10 minutes
  • 21 g Northern brewer flameout
  • 14g  columbus flameout

Yeast: US-05

Targets:

  • IBUs 39.5
  • OG 1.053
  • FG 1.012
  • SRM 6.6
  • ABV 5.4%

Procedure:

  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. reconstitute dry yeast using 95F boiled spring water and allow to cool to room temperature
  4. Add grains to mash tun
  5. bring 3 gallon spring water to 166 F
  6. Add 3.5 gallons of 166F spring water to mash tun on top of grains, then stir well
  7. add more water to boil pot, bring to near 172F and hold for sparging
  8. measure temperature after temperature equalizes in mash.  Once again, this has been pretty spot-on the last few batches, so I don’t anticipate having to boil extra water, but I will be ready just in case
  9. adjust mash temperature using either heated mash water or cool spring water as needed to reach 152F, if necessary
  10. mash for 75 minutes at 151F
  11. during mash, stir about every 15 minutes or so, checking temperature and adjusting if needed
  12. at end of mash, begin draining wort into pitcher
  13. allow first runnings to drain into a pitcher until clear
  14. pour first runnings back on top of mash
  15. drain remaining wort into boil pot until mash tun is near empty
  16. add 2.4 gallons 172F water (adjusted as needed)
  17. stir well
  18. drain first runnings of first batch sparge into pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  19. pour first runnings of first batch sparge back on top of mash
  20. drain wort into main boil pot until near empty
  21. add another 2.4 gallons 172F water to mash tun (adjusted as needed)
  22. stir well
  23. drain first runnings of second batch sparge to pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  24. add first runnings back into mash tun
  25. drain wort into main boil pot
  26. add wort chiller to boil pot, filled with hot water
  27. bring main boil pot to a boil
  28. when boil is reached, boil 60 minutes total
  29. at 60 minutes, add 14g Columbus Hops
  30. at 25 minutes, add about 1/4 tsp Wyeast nutrient blend to a small amount of spring water and dissolve
  31. add nutrient blend at 20 minute mark
  32. add 1/8 tsp Irish moss powder at 20 minute mark
  33. add 1.25 oz chinook at 10 minutes
  34. add 0.5 oz willamette at 10 minutes
  35. add .75 oz chinook at flameout
  36. add 0.5 oz columbus at flameout
  37. at flameout, turn on water for wort chiller and chill to 170 F
  38. let stand about 15 minutes hop rest, then turn wort chiller back on
  39. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  40. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  41. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, strainer, spoon are sanitized
  42. when wort gets to about 70F, add to fermentation bucket, pouring through sanitized strainer to catch any extra solids and to help aerate.  If necessary, clean strainer during process and re-sanitize to remove most of the hop trub before fermentation
  43. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  44. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon again
  45. ensure wort is 68F or a little less before pitching yeast
  46. ensure yeast is a little cooler than wort before pitching
  47. pitch yeast
  48. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  49. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  50. ferment in freezer chest w/Johnson controller for 14+ days at 66F
  51. after 14+ days, add dry hops, 1 oz chinook, 0.5 oz willamette
  52. ferment a total of 21+ days
  53. take FG sample and bottle
  54. use 5 oz corn sugar at bottling

Actual OG:1.052

Actual FG: 1.010

Notes:

Magic Hat Heart of Darkness

Listed on BA as an English stout, I found this one in my local grocery store (where you can get a pretty good selection of craft beers).   I haven’t had a lot of English stouts, but from what I have tried, this one certainly deserves to be listed up high on the list.

Very black with a nice one finger tan head that lasted the whole glass and left good lacing.

Aroma is chocolate, coffee, some roastiness, butterscotch, and a little molasses.

Flavor is very nice. The chocolate is milky, there’s some nice roasty malt character with slight burnt notes, a little coffee, and a lightly bittersweet finish.

Body is pretty thick and rich, yet easy to drink, with a dry finish and smooth creamy carbonation.

Overall it’s a damn tasty brew and one of Magic Hat’s best.  I’m definitely picking up a sixer of this one soon!

Belma IPA – Hop-Bursting with Belma Hops!

Well I found a new variety of hops available… Belma hops.  Hops Direct had them on sale for $5.25 a pound!   At that price, I couldn’t resist picking some up, a couple pounds in fact.  And with that many hops, I might as well try something I’ve been wanting to try (again) … hop bursting.  What the hey… I’m going to try a hop bursted, single-hopped IPA with the new Belma Hops!  Nothing but Belma here!  Nottingham yeast used.

5 gallon batch.

Fermentables:

  • 10.5 lbs 2-row
  • 10 oz crystal 60
  • 10 oz munich malt
  • 2 oz crystal 120
  • 2 oz carafoam
  • 6 oz flaked corn

Hops (all Belma):

  • 10 g at 30 minutes
  • 1 oz 15 minutes
  • 1 oz 10 minutes
  • 1 oz 5 minutes
  • 1 oz 1 minute
  • 1 oz flameout
  • 3 oz dry hop

Targets:

  • IBUs 50.5
  • OG 1.064
  • FG 1.014
  • SRM 9.9
  • ABV 6.6%

Procedure:

  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. reconstitute dry yeast using 95F boiled spring water and allow to cool to room temperature
  4. Add grains to mash tun
  5. bring 3 gallon spring water to 169 F
  6. Add 3.5 gallons of 167F spring water to mash tun on top of grains, then stir well
  7. add more water to boil pot, bring to near 172F and hold for sparging
  8. measure temperature after temperature equalizes in mash.  Once again, this has been prretty spot-on the last few batches, so I don’t anticipate having to boil extra water, but I will be ready just in case
  9. adjust mash temperature using either heated mash water or cool spring water as needed to reach 152F
  10. mash for 75 minutes at 152F
  11. during mash, stir about every 15 minutes or so, checking temperature and adjusting if needed
  12. at end of mash, begin draining wort into pitcher
  13. allow first runnings to drain into a pitcher until clear
  14. pour first runnings back on top of mash
  15. drain remaining wort into boil pot until mash tun is near empty
  16. add 2 gallons 172F water (adjusted as needed)
  17. stir well
  18. drain first runnings of first batch sparge into pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  19. pour first runnings of first batch sparge back on top of mash
  20. drain wort into main boil pot until near empty
  21. add another 2 gallons 172F water to mash tun (adjusted as needed)
  22. stir well
  23. drain first runnings of second batch sparge to pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  24. add first runnings back into mash tun
  25. drain wort into main boil pot
  26. add wort chiller to boil pot, filled with hot water
  27. bring main boil pot to a boil
  28. when boil is reached, boil 60 minutes total
  29. at 30 minutes, add 10g Belma Hops
  30. at 25 minutes, add about 1/4 tsp Wyeast nutrient blend to a small amount of spring water and dissolve
  31. add nutrient blend at 20 minute mark
  32. add 1/8 tsp Irish moss powder at 20 minute mark
  33. add 1 oz Belma at 15 minutes
  34. add 1 oz Belma at 10 minutes
  35. add 1 oz Belma at 5 minutes
  36. add 1 oz Belma at 1 minute
  37. add 1 oz Belma at flameout
  38. at flameout, turn on water for wort chiller and chill to 170 F
  39. let stand about 15 minutes hop rest, then turn wort chiller back on
  40. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  41. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  42. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, strainer, spoon are sanitized
  43. when wort gets to about 72F, add to fermentation bucket, pouring through sanitized strainer to catch any extra solids and to help aerate.  If necessary, clean strainer during process and re-sanitize to remove most of the hop trub before fermentation
  44. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  45. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon again
  46. ensure wort is 68F or a little less before pitching yeast
  47. ensure yeast is a little cooler than wort before pitching
  48. pitch yeast
  49. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  50. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  51. ferment in freezer chest w/Johnson controller for 14+ days at 66F
  52. after 14+ days, add dry hops, 2 oz Belma
  53. ferment a total of 21+ days
  54. take FG sample and bottle
  55. use 5 oz corn sugar at bottling

Actual OG: 1.056

Actual FG:

Notes: Undershot the OG a little, probably because I sparged a little bit more than I should have.  This likely increased the final volume a little and resulted in a low OG.  No biggie though.

Bleache Blonde Ale II

This one will be a revisit of my original Blonde Ale, but done with all grain.  The specialty grains will be a little different as well.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 5 lbs pale malt 2-row
  • 3 lbs pilsner malt
  • 1 lb Vienna malt
  • 6 oz caraamber
  • 6 oz carafoam
  • 6 oz flaked corn
  • 0.5 oz northern brewer hops at 60
  • 1 oz willamette hops at 10
  • 1 oz willamette hops at 0

Mash at 152F

Targets

  • OG 1.052
  • FG 1.011
  • IBU 19.6
  • SRM 4.8
  • ABV 5.3%
  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. reconstitute dry yeast using 95F boiled spring water and allow to cool to room temperature
  4. Add grains to mash tun
  5. bring 4 gallon spring water to 167 F
  6. Add 3 1/3 gallons of 167F spring water to mash tun on top of grains, then stir well
  7. add more water to boil pot, bring to near 172F and hold for sparging
  8. measure temperature after temperature equalizes in mash.
  9. adjust mash temperature using either heated mash water or cool spring water as needed to reach 152F
  10. mash for 75 minutes at 152F
  11. during mash, stir about every 15 minutes or so, checking temperature and adjusting if needed
  12. at end of mash, begin draining wort into pitcher
  13. allow first runnings to drain into a pitcher until clear
  14. pour first runnings back on top of mash
  15. slowly drain remaining wort into boil pot until mash tun is near empty
  16. add 2.4 gallons 172F water (adjusted as needed)
  17. stir well, let sit at least 5 minutes
  18. drain first runnings of first batch sparge into pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  19. pour first runnings of first batch sparge back on top of mash
  20. drain wort into main boil pot until near empty
  21. add another 2.4 gallons 172F water to mash tun (adjusted as needed)
  22. stir well, let sit at least 5 minutes
  23. drain first runnings of second batch sparge to pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  24. add first runnings back into mash tun
  25. drain wort into main boil pot
  26. add wort chiller to boil pot, filled with hot water
  27. bring main boil pot to a boil
  28. when boil is reached, boil 60 minutes total
  29. at 15 minutes, add 1/4 tsp yeast nutrient
  30. at 12 minutes, add 1/4 tsp Irish moss
  31. during boiling, skim off hot break as needed
  32. add 1 oz willamette hops in nylon paint bag at 10 minutes
  33. add 1 oz willamette leaf hops in nylon paint bag at 0 minutes
  34. at flameout, turn on water for wort chiller and chill to 170 F
  35. let stand about 15 minutes hop rest, then turn wort chiller back on
  36. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  37. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  38. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, strainer, spoon are sanitized
  39. when wort gets to about 68F, add to fermentation bucket, pouring through sanitized strainer to catch any extra solids and to help aerate.  If necessary, clean strainer during process and re-sanitize to remove most of the trub before fermentation
  40. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  41. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  42. ensure wort is 68F or a little less before pitching yeast
  43. ensure yeast is a little cooler than wort before pitching
  44. pitch yeast
  45. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  46. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  47. ferment in temperature controlled freezer chest for 14+ days at 66F
  48. ferment a total of 14 or more days
  49. take FG sample and bottle
  50. use 5 oz corn sugar at bottling

Actual OG: 1.050

Actual FG:

Notes: Well there were some issues, but I doubt they will be anything major.  First off, I misread the strike water volume on beersmith and added too much strike water.  So we mashed at about 1.5 quarts/pound instead of 1.2.  I really don’t think it will make a major difference.  However, the mash tun was pretty darn full!  Also, the yeast probably wasn’t added to the rehydration water at 95F, it was probably more like 80F.  I doubt this will have a major impact either.  Finally, the mash started out a little warm, and basically held about 154 for about 45 minutes till it finished out at 152.  So a little higher than I planned.  A less than perfect day, but I am guessing that from the appearance, taste, and FG of the wort, it will all work out just fine.

St Sebastiaan Grand Reserve

An interesting selection that I found in the local supermarket.  They actually have a pretty good selection of beer there!

This one comes in an opaque white ceramic bottle with a flip-type Grolsch style lid, great for re-use in homebrew!

Pours a cloudy yellow/tan color with a very large, lasting head and sticky lacing.

Aroma is fruity, spicy, with clove and banana, citrus, a little hops and some biscuit malt.

Flavor is tasty, it’s got tons of spiciness, with clove, coriander, pepper notes, banana and bubblegum, and some funk.

Body is pretty thick with plenty of carbonation and slightly noticeable EtOH.

Overall it’s pretty tasty.  A nice Belgian Strong Pale that fits the style nicely. If you like this style, it’s worth a try.

Cheers!

Lagunitas IPA

Well I’ve liked what I’ve tried from Lagunitas before, so here we go with their IPA.

I find this to be an enjoyable beer.  Not outstanding to look at, but pretty much what you’d expect from the style.  It’s earthy and hoppy, with lots of citrus and some floral notes. I find myself continually sniffing the glass because it smells good!  Tastes good too, very enjoyable.  The earthiness kind of stands out, but I’m not sure if this is from the hops or the malts.  I’d say it does taste a little “muddy,” but while I usually don’t enjoy this as a descriptor, in this case it’s probably related to what I’m calling “earthiness.”  The website page indicates “Made with 43 different hops and 65 various malts…” so maybe that explains it.  Who knows.  Either way, it’s an enjoyable beer and I’m glad I have a few more left from my sixer!

 

Cheers!

Dogfish Head Raison D’etre

A rather strange offering from Dogfish Head, Raison D’etre scores a 96 overall, 92 to the Belgian Strong Ale style on ratebeer.com, and 83 on beeradvocate.com.  As much as I just love Dogfish Head, this has not turned out to be one of my favorites from them.

Brown with amber notes and clear.  One finger head and so-so lace.

Definitely a bubblegum component to the aroma.  Fruity and a little spicy, with some maltiness.

Flavor is more bready and toasted malty but still has some bubblegum character, a little spiciness, and some raisiny fruitiness.  Alcohol is pretty noticeable.  Hops seem to be out of whack, too strong in overall bitterness, but perhaps not quite there enough on flavor/aroma.  The whole thing is a bit muddled and chaotic.

Body is slick and thick, carbonation is pretty low, and alcohol is noticeable, moreso than it should be for an 8% beer.

Overall it’s a beer in chaos, but it’s not bad.  I really don’t think this fits the Belgian strong dark ale category nearly as well as it would fit the brown ale category, except for perhaps the yeast.  But even then, the usual Belgian notes just aren’t there to the extent that you’d expect.

%d bloggers like this: