Category Archives: Uncategorized

Green Flash! Hop Head Red

Well we do get a few great beers from Green Flash Brewery here, and that’s a good thing!  Very good stuff, especially today’s selection, Hop Head Red.  Rating a 100 for style, 98 overall on Ratebeer.com (with nearly a thousand ratings).

I find it a bit odd that Beeradvocate.com rates it just 85, but there are certainly caveats…

First off, BA rates it as an American IPA, not an amber ale.  There are bzillions of really great IPAs, so classifying this as an IPA will certainly give you a lower overall rating, especially given what I feel is a strong bias towards over-rating IPAs and RIS/American Doubles.  If  BA had listed this as an amber ale, it would certainly have done much better, and would likely be one of the top beers in the style.  Oh well, the intricacies of beer website rating nuances and limitations could be a completely different blog.

So…  let’s get to the beer!

Very nice looking. great head and lacing, red colored and clear.  Foamy lightly tan head lasts all the way to the end of the brew.

Smell and body are quite good, lots of hops, piney grapefruit overtaking a strong malty base.   The Amarillo dry hops are quite notable in the aroma.

The flavor is quite amply malty, this beer has a great grain bill and malt base, balanced perfectly with lots of pungent, tangy hop flavors.   To me, this is more of an amber ale than an IPA, but there’s certainly overlap.

Body is smooth and medium, almost chewy with a mellow yet bitter finish. Overall it’s amongst my favorite reds of all time, right up there with Stone Levitation.

Others that we can get around here are their double stout and their West Coast IPA, both delicious!  I’m anxious to try more from Green Flash in the future.

Seriously though, what do you expect from a San Diego brewery?  Excellence!

 

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Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Got a bottle of this from a trade.  Everything I’ve had from Brooklyn Brewery is great stuff!  I’m especially fond of #1 and of this one, Black Chocolate Stout.

Definitely black, very black, with a nice two finger brown head and fine sheets of thin lacing left behind on each sip.

Lots of milk and baker’s chocolate smell, along with a little coffee, some nice roasted and burnt malts.

Taste is where this beer shines. I was expecting black and chocolate, and I got both, especially the chocolate. You can almost feel the cocoa powder and unsweetened baker’s chocolate, their dryness being a prime component, but even the chocolate flavors are balanced with a little sweet milk chocolate flavors. Roasty malts and just a touch of smoky burnt fill in the gaps.

An extremely easy to drink RIS, despite a tinge of an alcoholic component (expected given the relatively high ABV).

Brooklyn is really a damn fine brewery, and this beer keeps that reputation going strong in my book. I’m always looking for Brooklyn beers!

Having another tonight. Will remain on my wants list for all times, unless I move to somewhere that has Brooklyn available at all times!

Totally AMAZING beer.  Cheers!

Zombie Dust!!

With all this talk in the news lately about zombies and such*, it’s quite appropriate that I use this auspicious occasion to sampling another of Three Floyds delicious beers, Zombie Dust!

I’m having a Zombie Dust, 100 on ratebeer right now, and I can definitely attest that it’s t most amazing pale ale ever, in the history of no matter what!!

All citra pale ale from Three Floyds.

*apparently, at least if you’re from Miami

Al’s ESB – Extra Special Bitter

Well I have most of the day off and I’m anxious to brew for an upcoming homebrew BIF on beeradvocate.com.  Thus I’m going to make an ESB today.  I’ll still be brewing on Saturday too!

Here’s the recipe and procedure:

  • Briess Golden Light Liquid Extract  6 lbs, 0 oz
  • Briess 2 Row Caramel 60  1 lbs, 0 oz
  • Briess 6-Row Malt  1 lbs, 0 oz
  • Briess 2 Row Carapils  0 lbs, 8 oz
  • Fuggles Pellets, UK  1 oz @ 60 mins
  • Kent Goldings, UK Pellets   0.5 oz @ 30 mins
  • Fuggles Pellets, UK   0.5 oz @ 30 mins
  • Fuggles Pellets, UK  0.25 oz @ 10 mins
  • Kent Goldings, UK Pellets  0.25 oz @ 5 mins
  • Fuggles Pellets, UK   0.25 oz @ 5 mins
  • Kent Goldings, UK Pellets   0.25 oz @ 0 mins
  • SAFALE S-04
  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. bring 1.75-2 gallons spring water to 160 F
  4. add grains (in mesh bag)
  5. steep for 40 minutes at 155F
  6. In separate pot, pre-boil 1 gallon spring water
  7. when grains are finished steeping, remove grain bag, add 1 gallon boiling water and bring entire pot to a boil for one hour
  8. add bittering hops, 1 oz fuggles at 60 minute mark
  9. at 30 minutes, add 0.5 oz fuggles AND 0.5 oz EKG
  10. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, siphon, hoses, wine thief
  11. at 20 minute mark, add wort chiller, pre-filled with hot water
  12. over the course of the last 20 minutes of the boil, add the LME
  13. at 15 minutes, add 0.25 oz fuggles
  14. begin pre-boiling of 2 cups spring water for yeast rehydration
  15. add 1/4 tsp Irish moss powder
  16. at 5 minutes, add 0.25 oz fuggles AND 0.5 oz EKG
  17. at flameout, add 0.25 oz EKG
  18. let stand 10 minutes before beginning cooling
  19. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during hop rest and during cooling
  20. while wort is cooling, add 2 gallons chilled spring water to sanitized primary fermenting bucket, allowing it to fall into bucket to increase aeration
  21. add pre-boiled water to sanitized 2L flask for yeast rehydration
  22. when 2L flask reaches about 95F, pitch yeast into flask and place on stir plate for about 20 minutes
  23. when wort gets to about 75F, add to fermentation bucket using strainer
  24. top to 5.5 gallons with chilled spring water
  25. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  26. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  27. ensure wort is 70F or a little less before pitching yeast
  28. pitch yeast
  29. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  30. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  31. ferment in closet for 12-14 days at 69F ambient air temp.
  32. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 12 days)
  33. use 4 oz corn sugar at bottling

Actual OG: well I dropped and broke my SG tester, so I’ll never know.  I’ll have to order another one, but that won’t happen till I can make sure and get cheep shipping because anything I am going to brew in the next week or two won’t need a gravity reading bad enough to spend a bunch of money on shipping!

Note: I accidentally cut off the labels for the hops and didn’t notice that they were unlabeled.  At the 10 minute mark, I lost track of which was which!  So I just combined them and added by weight, LOL.  So it’s close but not exactly what my procedure said to use.

This one is currently fermenting in the closet at 67F (as of May 4th).

BILF!!! Bacon is life Federation, Wrath of Bak’han!! REPORT

Wow, what a spread!!  Great food, Great beer, Great people!!!  BILF II was a huge success!!  Here’s the report…
Bak’han!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!one!!!!1!!!

Pictures here.

Can’t guarantee the spellin’ of every one of these, BTW. It’s a product of a multi-user effort between me and @meggitymak, and alcohol WAS involved!

Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad

Maredsous dubbel

bruery collaboration (forgot which one, lol)

the brewery faster bigger better bolder

Rogue voodoo donut bacon maple (HAD to have bacon beer!!)

Schlafly reserve barrel aged imperial stout 06

woodcut dark aged crimson

founders backward bastard

sam adams infinium

Schlafly raspberry coffee vertical ’10+’11

new belgium snow day

woodcut oak aged

mckeller beer hop breakfast

big john

Stone Epic Vertical 11.11.11

woodcut oak aged lager

half acre

Three Floyds behemoth

black xantus

Schlafly southern hemisphere IPA growler

Stone cheery choco stout

Great Divide espresso oak aged yeti

dreadnaught

brooklyn black chocolate stout

old chub

new glarius black top

santa’s litter helper

knight train

goose island 09 xmas

new holland night tripper

marshall zhukovs imp. stout

Dogfish Head porta marillo

oskar blues g’night

great lakes xmas ale

new glarius dancing man wheat

firestone 14

breakfast stout clone homebrew x3

avery rumkin

horny devil

velvet merlin (firestone)

he’brew 1515

dew clavy hero

new glarus smoked rye

hoppin frog double imp. stout

he’brew jewbilation

life and limb

hoppin frog boris stout

mikkeller 1000 IBU

mikkeller beer geek brunch

lips of faith prickly passion saison

Three Floyds gumball head

Goose Island bourbon county brand stout

firestone parabala

peace offering

coney island sword swallower

The food was great.  Everything from bacon-chocolate cupcakes to bacon pizza, bacon dip, bacon wrapped barbeque water chestnuts, and bacon chocolate bars!!

The people are great too.  Thanks to DicemanSTL for hosting.

Saint Louis, this is one of the gems of the craft beer world in your city.   I intend to attend every one I can, and enjoy the great bacon and beer delights as much as possible!!

My New Brewkit And First 5-Gallon Batch: Pour Me An English IPA!

Went shopping for a 5 gallon brew kit this weekend, can’t wait to try it out!!  It’s got a 6.5 gallon glass primary fermentation vessel, 6.5 gallon bottling bucket, and all the necessary hoses and tubing.  It’s also got a thermometer and hydrometer, Star-San no-rinse sanitizer, and everything else I need (other than bottles, which I have).  I can’t wait to get started!!

My first 5 gallon batch is going to be an English IPA.  Here’s the ingredients I’m going to use:

  • Columbus Bittering Hops, 13.9% Alpha, 5% Beta, 1oz
  • US Northern Brewer Flavor and Aroma Hops, 8.6% Alpha, 3.8% Beta, 1oz each
  • Nottingham Ale Yeast, 11g (0.388oz) Saccharomyces cerevisiae top fermenting yeast
  • Briess Dried Malt Extract, Golden Light, 1lb
  • American Crystal Malt, 40L, 1lb
  • Briess CBW Non-Diastatic, Unhopped, Pilsen Light, 3Kg (2  3.3lb jars)
  • 3/4 Cup Corn Sugar (Priming Sugar)

Instructions say to crush the malt with a rolling pin or heavy bottle.  Then add 2 gallons cold H2O (I’m using bottled spring water) to brewpot, heat the water to 150F, add malt, hold for 30 minutes.  Strain the grains.

Next, bring the steeping water to a boil and add bittering hops.  Boil gently for 45 minutes (scraping bottom to prevent sticking).

Next, add dry malt extract.  Boil, being careful not to boil over.  Stir in flavor hops, boil 12 more minutes.  Stir in aroma hops, boil 3 more minutes.  Turn off heat and cool pan in water bath till temperature is 100F.

Add 3 gallons chilled brewing water into sanitized primary fermenter.  Strain the wort into the fermentation vessel.  Top to 5.5 gallons.

When temperature is below 80F, stir vigorously to aerate the wort.  Sprinkle yeast on top*.  Install airlock with sanitation solution inside.

There are a few aspects of these directions that I am going to get clarification on before proceeding (like when and how to add the unhopped malt extract!).  I will make sure to have everything laid out and a specific plan in order, with all questions answered, before starting!!  If I have any unanswered questions, I will wait to brew until next weekend if need be, in order to make sure they are all answered!!

Fermentation will take place inside my closet, where I intend to carefully keep the temperature between 65-70F.  Bottling will take place in around 2 weeks to 20 days!  That will be another post!!

Any experienced brewers who read this, please do comment, elaborating in great detail!!

*note: yeast says to rehydrate for 15 secondes with 100 mL H20 86-92F.  I am going to call the store I bought it from to ensure this is the right method, because it disagrees with packaging.  Will comment later on the final method chosen.

An Appeal To Everyone On New Year’s Eve, From Al

Please everybody, get home safe.  Take a cab.  Have a designated driver who doesn’t drink.  Take the staff duty bus if you’re military.  Take the regular bus or the train if you’re a civilian.  Budget extra money for public transportation.  Walk.  Even stay at home.  Just make it home safe.  Don’t crash, don’t get arrested, don’t ruin the night for you or anybody else.

I love to party and drink plenty of beer.  This New Year’s Eve I plan to stay in a hotel in St Louis, MO, and take a cab to and from my places of fun.  I’m going to hit the Schlafly Taproom, the Lumiere Casino, and various places between the two.  I plan to have a blast, and also plan to make it back to the hotel in one piece.

Make sure you do the same.

Happy New Year Everybody!!

Al

One Awesome Box – Story BIF

The Story BIF was an event where everybody had to send a box of beer, plus a story, to their recipient.   The story had to include each of the beer’s names somewhere in the story as part of the criteria.  I’m rather proud of my story, especially since I won the bonus box (voted on by the forumites).  However, the real story here was the EPIC haul I got from Alewatcher!  Here’s the links:

Story, part 1

Story, part 2

The Haul

Here’s the pics and list of what Alewatcher sent me, truly Epic!!

Pic 1 from left to right
Stone sublimely self-righteous
Stone smoked porter
JP Oro de Calabaza
DFH chateau jiahu
Ducheusse
DFH fort– 07
DFH Red & White
Stone Vertical Epic 10
Stone IRS
Surly Coffee Bender
Surly CynicAle

Pic 2;
FFF tulip pint (my favorite style glass for IPAs)
Summit unchained imperial pumpkin porter
DFH olde school
RR temptation
Weheinstephaner Heffe
Sam smiths Yorkshire stingo
Weyerbacher Insanity (bomber)
Pannepot 07
DFH 120 minute IPA- I think from 07
NG Enigma
Yahoo Sue

Absolutely the best box I’ve gotten yet in a BIF.  Thanks Alewatcher!!

Southern Tier

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a Southern Tier kick.  I’ve had quite a few of their selections so far, and I’m always looking for more.

Their regularly available selections (at least for me) are pretty darn good.  Pale and Phin and Matt’s are both nice pale ale selections.  Their IPA and 2xIPA are also quite tasty.  I’ve been mixing in a sixer of each of these about once a week for the last few months, and I like them all.  I’d probably say I like the regular IPA the best out of these, but they’re all tasty.

There’s some slightly more over-the-top choices I’ve had from Southern Tier as well.  Today I’m having the Krampus Imperial Helles Lager, a pretty strong American Double Pilsner.  It’s got a lot of hops, plenty of malts, and fairly notable alcohol, but is pretty darn good, and rated pretty highly in its category.

The Iniquity Imperial Black Ale is really good!  Definitely not a session ale, this one is really strong but bursting with great flavor!

I wasn’t that fond of the Old Man Winter Ale, but it’s rated fairly well.

Creme Brulee was really tasty, very much a dessert beer.  It was heavy, very sweet, syrupy, and tasted much like its name.

Unearthly Imperial IPA is quite tasty too, over-the-top in its oily hoppiness!

And Halloween wouldn’t be the same without my annual bottle of Pumking.  Very much like drinking a pumpkin pie, this one is heavily spiced, high in alcohol, and big on deliciousness.

Later tonight or perhaps tomorrow, I’ll be trying the Choklat, an imperial stout that’s highly rated.  Can’t wait!!

Bacon Is Life Federation!

A great bunch of beer nerds got together a few weeks ago in St Louis for the first Bacon Is Life Federation (BILF)  beer tasting party.  The jist of the BILF is to savor, enjoy and promote the greatness of bacon, and to try, savor and revel in the greatness of beer!

The first party had a wonderful array of bacon snacks, including a fantastic version of Bacon Explosion that had a log of Gouda cheese in the middle!

The best part of course was the beer.  Here’s a list of what was tasted that night…

  • surly 5
  • boulevard chocolate
  • jolly pumpkin la parcela
  • pumpking
  • ivan the terrible
  • lost abbey inferno
  • surly bender
  • ghost face killah
  • arctic panzer wolf
  • new glarus belgian red
  • ofallon wee heavy
  • genesis 15:15 hebrew (i love this one!)
  • coffee bender
  • surly furious
  • yeti chocolate oak aged
  • yeti espresso oak aged
  • yeti belgian
  • maiden the shade
  • saint arnold pumpkinator
  • canadian breakfast stout
  • kentucky breakfast stout
  • breakfast stout
  • schlafly coffee
  • schlafly coffee/pumpking blend (you might want to not ask on the blends)
  • pumpking/belgo anise imperial stout blend
  • stone belgo anise imperial stout
  • growler of schlalfy rye ipa
  • fantome magic ghost
  • black xanthus
  • schlafly raspberry coffee stout
  • goose island lolita
  • hub hopworks rise up red
  • Oak Aged Yeti
  • Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti
  • Belgian Yeti
  • Bridgeport Hop Harvest
  • Cherish
  • Bell’s batch 10,000
  • Wake Up Dead
  • BCBVS

December 30th is the second installment, the Wrath of Bakhan!!  Should be a hoot!

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