Tag Archives: crystal malt

Bigfoot Found!

It’s true!!  Bigfoot found!!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale 2013 is in my local grocery store, and I picked up a four pack.  Such an amazing brew!  This is the definition of barleywine if you ask me.  Although a bit hoppier than most barleywines, I haven’t found one that I like more.  Well, Dogfish Head Olde School is pretty damn awesome too, but that one is kind of a different beast: it’s got way more alcohol, for one thing, and isn’t comparable to bigfoot ale.  Although both brews are fantastic, this post is about Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot ale, so we’ll stick to that!

I’m going to post my original review from more than a year ago, along with my edits for this year’s vintage:

Bigfoot!

Downright gorgeous to look at, deep amber with copper notes, clear, with a great 3 finger head that lasted forever and laced the glass with sticky chunks.

More like an IPA in the nose, hops are dominant and the typical barleywine smells are secondary. Piney and even grapefruit hops are pungent. A little caramel malt and a little fruitiness provide something other than hops as a side note.

Taste is bold and again, very hoppy. Tastes more like a barleywine than it smells, but still, this one is quite a bit like a DIPA in the taste department. The hop profile is just dominant as hell, this fact cannot be hidden. Fruity and caramel malt flavors do balance out the taste more so than the smell though, and overall it’s quite nice!

The body is thick and tangy but the alcohol is surprisingly well hidden. The hops even leave a bit of a bite on the aftertaste.

Honestly, this is a fine barleywine, albeit a lot hoppier and a bit different than I’m used to when I buy a barleywine. I really like this stuff. I can’t wait to see how it mellows. I’ve put a bottle away for a year, and another for two years, will re-try it again next march (and the one after that) and report back.

I really like trying new beers, and I hadn’t had this one yet. Overall I’d list it as “must try” Excellent job, SN!

Edit for 2013: once again, they nailed it.  The original review is more than a year old, but now I’ve had 5 different years of vintages, both aged, and for the more recent years, fresh.  Every time it’s just fantastic!  Gold standard of barleywines.  Monstrous hops and tons of delicious malts, one of my favorite beers anytime, from any brewery.  If I decide to try and brew a barleywine, it will be based on this!

Cheers to Sierra Nevada for 2013 Bigfoot Ale!

 

Bigfoot Found!

Freetail Brewery IPAs

Was working on a deck over on that side of town, and stopped at Freetail Brewery to see what bombers they had for takeout.  There were four bombers available, and I didn’t know what any of them were all about, nor did I have the time to read about it or discuss it with the staff.  So I picked the two IPA type beers to try later that day.

Two days later, we finished the job early, so we went to Freetail for lunch and a couple of beers.  I saw that there was a third IPA in bombers for takeout, so I picked that one up too.  I guess it’s Freetail “IPA week” for me!  I’ll post the review of Soul Doubt IPA below.

The other two IPAs I picked up:

Velocihoptor (what a great name for an IPA!).

Buffalo Hump 1840 Belgian IPA

In addition, I had another round of Spirulina Wit, a delicious rye witbier with spirulina added to give it a wonderful and deliciously strange green color!  At 3.9% ABV, it’s damn easy to drink, and I could easily have several of these in a sitting.

I also tried Uglie Ollie Stout, a delicious dry Irish stout that’s full bodied, but only 4.1% ABV.  These two brews made a nice lunch (along with some delicious pizza from their food menu).

I am going to try to make it there this Saturday for the “battle of the wits” where they’ll have various varieties of their witbier for your drinking pleasure!

Cheers to Freetail!

 Soul Doubt IPA

Pours a nice amber to copper color, mostly clear, with a creamy head that left about a 1/4″ sheet of dense foam capped on top the whole way down, leaving sheets of nice sticky resinous lacing.

The aroma doesn’t blow me out of the water, by any means. It’s somewhat subdued, but I get Cara-Munich malt first, then some herbal, earthy hops.

Flavors much follow the aroma, but they stand out more, and leave me wondering why I don’t make it out to freetail more often! The Cara-Munich and aromatic malts (along with whatever crystal malts they used) make a great base, and an unusual one for an IPA. I like the innovation! It’s well hopped, but balanced very well with the moderate ABV and bold malty backbone. There’s a little citrus, but I am getting mostly heavily earthy and lightly floral or grassy hop flavors.

This IPA is very unusual, and very likeable. Just don’t expect to be getting a standard west coast 47 lbs of hops per five gallons type of IPA. This beer is well crafted and delicious, but it’s not Pliny the Younger or Heady Topper.

Cheers to Freetail brewery for this brew!

Black IPA

Time for another homebrew.  Gonna make a black IPA, or Cascadian Dark Ale, as some insist on calling it.  The debate about naming such beers is not particularly interesting to me, but some consider it to be the end-all of all dark, hoppy beers.  Meh.

Either way, this beer will be dark and very hoppy, with lots of late and dry hops additions.

The day before, it’s time for yeast.  Wyeast 1056 American Ale.  In the morning I did up the smack pack, left it on the counter at about 68F.  Around noon it was well puffy and ready to go.  I boiled about 1.5 quarts of spring water, then added 3/4 cup of DME, boiled ten minutes, cooled, and added to my sanitized Erlenmeyer flask.  Also sanitized the scissors and package, then added yeast.  I aerated well and have been aerating every few hours.  I’ve got a sanitized airlock on top, but I’ve allowed fresh oxygen to get in every few hours.  It’s krausening well on the stir plate already.

Here’s what’s going into the beer…

  • Briess Golden Light Liquid Extract  6.625 lb
  • Briess Pale Ale Malt  2.5 lb
  • Weyermann De-Husked Carafa II  1 lb
  • Aromatic  0.75 lb
  • Crisp Crystal Malt 60L  0.625 lb
  • De-Bittered Black  0.25 lb
  • Nugget Pellets      1 oz @ 60 mins
  • Columbus Pellets   1 oz @ 15 mins
  • Columbus Pellets  0.5 oz @ 10 mins
  • Columbus Pellets  0.5 oz @ 5 mins
  • Glacier Pellets      0.5 oz @ 1 mins
  • Tettnang, German Pellets  0.5 oz @ Dry
  • Glacier Pellets     0.5 oz @ Dry
  • Nugget Pellets      0.5 oz @ Dry
  • Columbus Pellets  1 oz @ Dry
  • Wyeast Labs American Ale – 1056

Targets:

OG: 1.078   FG: 1.020  IBU: 67.6   SRM: 41.62  ABV: 7.60

Procedure to be added before brewing… I’m thinking of trying a mostly full boil on this one, but splitting it between two boil pots.  I can’t do the entire volume in one pot, but I sure can in two…  Considering.  Planning on editing this tomorrow morning with my final decisions on all aspects of the procedure!

More to come on this one…

**next day**

A couple things I’m doing on this one…

I’m using five pounds of grain, so it’s going to be a partial mash.  I’ll use about 2 quarts of water per pound.  I’ll be using about five grain bags.

Also, I’m going to try to boil most of my wort, and use a minimal amount of top off water.  It may be necessary to use two boil pots for this, we’ll see.  After the partial mash, I will see how much the big boil pot is full and make the decision then.

OK it’s morning and I’m about to get started, so I better get my procedure down first!  Here goes…

  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. bring 2.5 gallons spring water to 160 F
  4. add grains (use four or five mesh bags)
  5. steep for 60 minutes at 155F
  6. In separate pot, pre-boil 1.5 gallons spring water
  7. when grains are finished steeping, remove grain bags, gently rinse with hot water
  8. add pre-boiled water and bring entire pot (or two pots, if necessary) to a boil for one hour.
  9. add bittering hops, using hop bag, 1 oz nugget
  10. During boil, added wort chiller, dried malt extract
  11. at 25 minutes, add one ounce colombus hops
  12. 20 minutes begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, etc
  13. 20 minutes add 1/4 tsp Irish moss powder
  14. 10 minutes add 0.5 oz columbus hops
  15. 5 minutes add 0.5 oz columbus hops
  16. 1 minute add 0.5 oz glacier hops
  17. while wort is cooling, add 1 gallon chilled spring water to sanitized primary fermenting bucket, allowing it to fall into bucket to increase aeration
  18. when wort gets to about 70F, add to fermentation bucket 
  19. top to 5 gallons with chilled spring water
  20. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  21. take OG reading using sanitized wine thief
  22. ensure wort is 70F or a little less before pitching yeast
  23. pitch yeast
  24. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  25. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  26. ferment in closet for 7-10 days at 68F ambient air temp.
  27. add dry hops, 1 oz columbus, 0.5 oz each of glacier, nugget, tettnang
  28. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 16 days in primary)
  29. use 5 oz corn sugar at bottling

OG was only 1.062.  Not sure what was up there, but not too worried about it.

%d bloggers like this: