Tag Archives: coffee

Texas Big Beer Brewery – Texas Crude

Stopped at a different liquor store than I usually go to, looking for a sixer or a bomber of something interesting or new.  Turns out this place had beer from a company that I haven’t heard of before, Texas Big Beer Company.  I must say that on the main page of their website, I see this, and I quote:

We are passionate about our beer. All of our beers are Big in Flavor and Style. We love High Alcohol beers, but love Flavor and Style more. We, just brew beer we love and share it.

Our Big Texas Blonde is our “Light Beer” (with tongue in cheek) The law states a light beer is light in color, so our light beer is 10.55% ABV (ROTFLMAO)

I gotta say that I like them already!

The guy behind the counter said that their store just got in four different beers from this brewery, and that they had done a tasting with all of them.  He said he liked them all, even the blonde, which is a style that he normally doesn’t care for.  I saw the blonde, the porter, the working man’s stiff ale, which is an ESB, and renaissance ale, which is a Scotch ale.  At first I had selected the Scotch ale, but that was because I couldn’t quite read the label in that lighting (I’m slowly losing my ability to read things up close, a typical effect of aging, LOL).  I decided against the scotch ale because I’m not a real big fan of scotch ales.  Had I realized that there was an ESB, I would have chosen that one for sure.  I’ll have to go back for it tomorrow.  So anyway, I picked up a bomber of the porter, which I will review shortly.

Price wise, I was more than willing to give this new brewery a shot.  They were all either $4.99 or $6.79 (or something close to that).  When you’re in the mood for a bomber of something new, these are very reasonable prices.  I’m far less likely to try a $10 or $12 bomber than I am a five or seven dollar one!  Now of course style plays a role (big stouts and IIPAs are often more expensive), but still, the price was right, so sold!

Numbers wise, the specs for this beer are as follows:

ABV: 7.00%
OG: 1.072
FG: 1.017
IBU: 59
SRM: 31.71°±

So let’s have a taste!

Appearance was something a bit more like an imperial stout than a porter, although I’m not sure how much that is really going to matter here. The color is jet black without room between any two molecules of inky blackness for light to pass through. The head was about a half a finger and was lightly brown, but didn’t last too long. There was ample lacing in thin sheets as the head went down.

The aroma was initially roasty, with a little burnt malt as an accent, and some subtle dark fruit notes. There was also some sweetness, brown sugar and molasses come to mind.

I think the taste was considerably more bold than the aroma. There’s a real nice dark malt and roasty malt component that’s up front, with side notes of coffee, chocolate, and just a tinge of burnt malt character. Sweetness is also a major component of the flavor, with a real nice brown sugar component, with a touch of blackstrap molasses as an accent. My take is that the chocolate component is more of a milk chocolate one than a dark chocolate one, and I don’t taste much of the semi-sweet baker’s chocolate flavors that I sometimes get from stouts or robust porters.

I rather like the mouthfeel. It’s not real heavy or thick, but isn’t overly watery or too thin either. The medium mouthfeel is well suited for this beer’s flavor and alcohol profile. And by the way, I really can’t taste or smell any alcohol in this beer.

My overall impression is that this is a fine porter, and having tried it, I want to try more beers from this brewery.

The bottom line is that a local brewery has produced a fine and tasty beer which is available for sale in my local area stores (at a reasonable price too!). Anytime someone can buy local beers from local breweries, it’s a good day for us all. Support local breweries and businesses. For me that means picking up another variety of Big Texas Beers next time I’m near the liquor store.  I think I’ll pick up the blonde and the working man’s stiff ESB.  I might still try the scotch ale (if I can get into the mood for a scotch ale, lol, it’s just not a style that I’m real crazy about).

Cheers to Big Texas Beers, I hope your brewery is a big success!  And Keep ’em coming, I’m always looking for new beers and new breweries!

Ranger Creek Mesquite Smoked Porter

A truly Texas beer, Ranger Creek MSP is a tasty one that’s in m glass right now!!

Black as night with a monster head that would hardly go away enough to pour the rest of the bottle.

Very smoky, dominated by smoke at every step.  Tastes like a Texas BBQ.  Quite a nice roasty/burnt component, more like a stout than a porter if you ask me.  Some other more subtle flavors and aromas, like coffee, chocolate, and very dark fruits (figs, dates, raisins).

Body is thick and very full, with a pretty heavily smoky aftertaste.

This one is truly the taste of Texas.  Quite enjoyable, especially recommended for fans of smoky beers.

Great Divide OAK AGED Yeti!

Well I’ve already reviewed regular Yeti Imperial Stout, and now I’ve got a nice fat bomber of OAK AGED Yeti.

Rating 100/99 on ratebeer and 95 on beer advocate, this is certainly a top-dog Russian Imperial Stout.

The appearance is great, used diesel motor oil black with a massive brown, lasting head and monster lacing.

The aroma is very nice.  There’s a plentiful supply of roasted, toasted, and burnt malt flavors.  Notes of coffee, chocolate and tobacco accent the nose.  There’s a touch of woodiness from the oak too.

Taste wise this one is tremendous, and mostly follows the nose.  The roasted and burnt grain flavors are up front, followed by a nice coffee/chocolate flavor.  I still detect a little tobacco like flavor in there too, like a fine cigar.  The oak aging is more apparent in the flavor and accents the rest of this delicious beer wonderfully.

The body is tremendous!  Super thick and incredibly rich and full bodied, with pretty well hidden alcohol.

What a great beer!   I highly recommend this to anyone who loves Russian Imperial Stouts or oak aged beers.

Cheers to Great Divide!

Great Divide Yeti

Wow!  Amazing!  I’ve had a bunch of the Yeti series, not all, but a bunch.  I’ve never met a Yeti I didn’t like!

Regular ol’ Yeti rates a 100/98 on ratebeer and a 95 on beer advocate.  Honestly, I think BA under-rated it!

I guess my favorite from the series is the Oak Aged Yeti, but the regular is pretty darn close.  I prefer the (simple) oak aged or regular Yeti’s to the espresso or chocolate, all of which are quite similar, although obviously each has its nuances. The Belgian Yeti is an altogether different animal, and very delicious in its own right.  There are some other Yetis that I have yet to try, but I will!

Today I’m going to enjoy a bottle of regular ol’ Yeti Imperial Stout. They had it at the grocery store of all places, and at a somewhat reasonable price too!  It’s a 22oz bomber, so here we go!

Pours like a sample of 100 year old used diesel motor oil from a catepillar bulldozer.  Like an imperial stout should look!  Head isn’t real tall but it lasts and leaves monstrous lacing!

Aroma… it’s so good I can’t stop sniffing my glass.  Tons of great burnt, roasted, and kilned malts assault your nose.  Dark chocolate and coffee are ever-present, but don’t overpower.  There’s a surprising hop note too, this one isn’t shy on hop bitterness.

The flavor is AMAZING.  Talk about a balanced beer… well, is any imperial stout really that balanced?  I dunno!  But it’s really well done in every way.  The roasted, toasty and burnt flavors are in proper proportions to the coffee and chocolate notes, and the hop bitterness is about friggin’ perfect if you ask me.

Body is thick and rich and incredibly drinkable.  Amazing that I’m describing anything “Imperial” and 9.5% ABV as drinkable!   It’s damn smooth and leaves a long lingering near perfect roasty, bitter aftertaste.

It’s almost impossible to improve on Yeti.  I admit I do like the touch of oak in the oak aged version, but really, if it says Yeti, pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.  If you are, I’ll buy you a damn beer next time you’re in my neck of the woods. 🙂

If I might add just a touch of personal philosophy… this beer, and the Yeti series, illustrate that things don’t necessarily have to be “coffee,” “chocolate,” or “raspberry oyster chardonnay barrel-aged with brett and cacao nibs” to be top in their class.  Simplicity often trumps complication.  This beer is simple, yet as close to perfection as any self-respecting Imperial Stout can hope to get.  Great Divide has set the standard here, everyone else needs to either catch up or struggle to top it.

A good measure of how good a beer REALLY is would be “how often do I buy it, when offered multiple choices?”  Some of the extreme imperial stouts I’ve had were certainly fantastic, but honestly, if placed side by side with Yeti… a lot of them I’d just buy the Yeti anyway.  Only a few would even make me hesitate, to be honest.  I find myself buying Yeti almost anytime I want an imperial stout.  That says a lot.

Hats off to Great Divide.  Again.

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!

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!

Southern Tier Update – Imperial Oat

Well a little while back I talked about Southern Tier’s Imperial series, and how many of them were quite dessert like, especially the imperial stout types.  This blog kind of updates that one and also highlights a new (to me) imperial series from Southern Tier that’s quite a bit different!

Southern Tier Imperial Oat!

It’s a nice, thick, more traditional imperial stout, albeit with a bit more of an oatmeal taste and feel than you might expect from such a high ABV brew.

And wow, it’s a thick and rich imperial stout, presumably from what I assume must be lots of extra oatmeal goodness.  Mouthfeel is great!  It’s a bit hot from alcohol but I bet it would age beautifully.  Lots of great aroma and flavor, coffee, dark roasty and burnt malts, chocolate, a tinge of dark fruit, and a surprisingly refreshing amount of hop character, there’s certainly no shortage of hops character and bitterness!.

I will have to research this one a bit, because I’d really like to try and clone it someday.  I am suspecting I would need lots of oatmeal!

What can I say besides “delicious.”   This is probably my favorite and most regularly drinkable of the Southern Tier Imperial series of beers.  I think I should get a couple for aging too.   Definitely worth a try.


Founder’s Breakfast Stout

Just completed a trade, and got a bottle of Founder’s Breakfast Stout in my box!  Great stuff, rated 98 on beeradvocate.com and 99 on ratebeer.com!

Very black and thick with a fairly small head, but good lace.

Monster great coffee smell, reminds me of my grandmother’s percolator in her cabin in upstate new york. Roasted malts with a touch of burnt aromas cap off a wonderful aroma.

Taste is roasty, slightly burnt coffee bomb with tons of flavor, complex dark malt flavors intermingle with a little dark semi-sweet baker’s chocolate to make for a wonderfully tasty brew.

Feel is thick and rich, very chocolatey with a bitter finish and a full body.  Carbonation is pretty light but ample.

This is one delicious beer.  Thanks to BrettD for the trade!

Coffee Oatmeal Stout (with secondary)

Today I brewed an oatmeal stout with coffee added. Well, the coffee hasn’t been added yet, but the beer is in the bucket, and it’s fermenting!

I’m going to do a split secondary fermentation, 3 gallons straight up in my new 3 gallon better bottle, and the rest in my Mr Beer keg using vanilla beans.  There should be a small amount of extra beer at this time which I will bottle without secondary, and without coffee*.  I plan to secondary for about 7-10 days.

I’ll add the coffee into the secondary.  I’m going to try the cold brew method with a total of 6 oz coffee added to a sanitized container of boiled spring water, steeped about two days in the fridge.  I will probably use a grain bag to keep the grinds out of my beer.

The actual amount of vanilla beans I’m going to use is small, probably less than one bean (the stuff is pretty strong, or so I’ve read).  I will decide exactly how much to use in the next couple weeks.  I’m afraid to make the whole batch with vanilla, which is why I’m only putting two gallons of beer on vanilla.

On both secondary fermentations I’ll also add just a little bit of boiled DME/water mix so that it creates an additional fermentation (thus leaving a layer of CO2 on top, preventing oxidation).  We’ll see how it comes out!

Here’s the ingredient list and procedure:

  • Briess Golden Light Liquid Extract  3 lbs, 3 oz
  • Briess Golden Light Dry Extract      1 lbs, 0 oz
  • Crisp Maris Otter  2 lbs, 8 oz
  • Briess Flaked Oats  1 lbs, 0 oz
  • Crisp Crystal Malt 120L  8 oz
  • Crisp Black Malt  8 oz
  • Briess flaked wheat 4 oz
  • Crisp Roasted Barley  8 oz
  • Fuggles Pellets, UK  2 oz @ 60 mins
  • Tettnang, German Pellets  .5 oz @ 60 mins
  • White Labs Burton Ale

Note that I’m using 5 lbs of malt here, thus making this quite a large amount of grains.  Thus, I’ll be using a somewhat improvised procedure for this one.

  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. bring 2 gallons spring water to 160 F
  4. add grains (it took four mesh bags)
  5. steep for 50 minutes at 155F
  6. In separate pot, pre-boil 1 gallon spring water
  7. when grains are finished steeping, remove grain bags, add 1 gallon boiling water and bring entire pot to a boil for one hour
  8. add bittering hops, 0.e oz Tettnang, 2 oz Fuggles at 60 minute mark.  I used a hops bag this time, thus eliminating the need to strain after the boil is complete.  I did use a strainer to get the crud from the boil out of the pot before chilling though.
  9. During boil, added wort chiller, dried malt extract, liquid malt extract
  10. 20 minutes begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, etc
  11. 20 minutes add 1/4 tsp Irish moss powder
  12. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  13. while wort is cooling, add 2 gallons chilled spring water to sanitized primary fermenting bucket, allowing it to fall into bucket to increase aeration
  14. when wort gets to about 75F, add to fermentation bucket 
  15. top to 5.5 gallons with chilled spring water
  16. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  17. ensure wort is 70F or a little less before pitching yeast
  18. pitch yeast
  19. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  20. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  21. ferment in closet for 7-10 days at 69F ambient air temp.
  22. two days before transferring to secondary, put 6-7 oz coffee into sanitized grain bag and steep two days in 1 quart boiled spring water in the refrigerator
  23. transfer coffee to wort just before transferring to secondary, along with a small amount of boiled DME to create carbonation in secondary and minimize oxidation
  24. transfer to secondary – 3 gallons in better bottle, 2 gallons in Mr Beer keg
  25. add vanilla beans to Mr Beer keg**
  26. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 7-10 days in secondary)
  27. use 4 oz corn sugar at bottling


OG 1.055
FG 1.015
IBU 29.3
SRM 38.86
ABV 5.24

I didn’t get my new gravity meter in the mail yet, so no OG reading.  Not worried!

*I just did this with my Bleach Blonde Ale.  I had to transfer from the glass carboy to the 3 gallon better bottle in order to make room for new brews (I need the glass carboy for bottling, and put my oatmeal stout in my new 8-gallon bucket).  It was a bit early for the blonde ale but I would have dumped out about 20oz of beer, so might as well toss it in a bottle and see what happens!

**exact procedure for preparing vanilla beans TBD

More Upcoming!

I’ve got my next SEVEN beers planned out!  I’ve already discussed a few of them, and the next two will be my Cascade APA (recipe and procedure already blogged, brewing is just delayed a few weeks), and the very next one will be Coffee Oatmeal stout!

After that I’ve got (in no particular order…)

  • a nice English Mild on the way, coming in at low ABV and hopefully high flavor, this will be my first usage of Bramling Cross Hops
  • a mega-hoppy IPA, called Benchwarmer IPA, inspired by two posters on BeerAdvocate.Com, using some combination of colombus, chinook, northern brewer, and willamette hops
  • Juniper Pale ale, a moderately hopped APA with a touch of Juniper berries added near the end of the boil
  • Elderberry Wheat, which should be slightly purple in color and a bit tart in flavor.  This American wheat is a real experimental brew, we’ll see how it goes!

I’ve got my eight gallon fermentation vessel now, ready to brew stouts, barleywines, double IPAs, and anything else with higher gravity (and the potential for a large krausen).  This piece will also allow me to have multiple batches fermenting at once.  Along with this I’ve just gotten a three gallon better bottle, allowing me even more access to making split batches and secondary fermentations for experimental purposes!

My next brew day will be bottling day for my English Special Bitter.  I’m anticipating that to be in about one week from this posting.

A few days after that I’ll be bottling my Bleach Blonde Ale / Blueberry Bleach Blonde Ale.  I’m really anxious to see how that one came out, as not only was it my first attempt at liquid yeast and making a starter, but it’s my first experiment with using fresh fruit!

Once those are bottled, Coffee Oatmeal Stout will be brewed next.  The coffee will be added as a cold brewed addition to a secondary fermentation.  I plan to split this batch as well, putting half of it on vanilla beans in secondary fermentation.  I haven’t decided the exact amount of vanilla beans to use yet, but it won’t be a lot.  I’ve got the beans and they’re potent!  I just want a lightly vanilla flavor, nothing overpowering.  I don’t want the vanilla to clash with the coffee.

And finally, I’m participating in a homebrew BIF on beeradvocate.com.  We’re exchanging homebrew, and a few local commercial beers too.  Always anxious for a BIF!

Lots of good beer stuff coming soon, I can’t wait to taste it!


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