Tag Archives: malty

Changes to the Double-Smash Beer

Well I finally got around to actually brewing the Double-SMaSH, with Vienna/Munich, BUT – I forgot the cascade hops on brew day.  Since I have to drive a ways to get to where I brew, I wasn’t going back.  However, I had some hops there, so I just changed the hops schedule around completely.  So now it’s a double-TRIPLE-SMaSH.  Yes, I realize that’s one hell of a misnomer.  But hey, it’s my beer, and I can change it up if I want to!  Plus I was never that good at keeping to the strict interpretation of literary meanings or definitions of words.   I do what I want!!

Still 6 lbs each Vienna / Munich malts.

Here’s the new hops schedule:

0.25 each at 60 bravo/belma
0.25 each at 15 bravo/belma/centennial
0.25 each at 10 bravo/belma
0.5 centennial at 10
0.25 each at 5 bravo/belma
0.75 centennial at 5
1 oz each belma/bravo at FO
DH one ounce each belma/bravo

From past experience, it’ll at least make beer, and probably tasty beer.  Maybe it’ll be the new sensation, who knows?  But as long as it makes tasty beer, I’ll be happy.

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Queen’s Limited Release Wheatwine from Texas Big Beer

I knew Texas Big Beer had another beer coming out soon, and now it’s out.  And it’s gooooood!  Very nice, a tasty wheatwine/barleywine hybrid, but it’s really more of a wheatwine.  And it’s a big, topping off at 11.39% ABV. 

It pours an orange, almost red color, kind of a deep amber.  The head and lacing weren’t that impressive, but there’s ample carbonation, giving it a creamy mouthfeel that’s almost chewy. 

Aroma is this one’s strong point, with a great fruity, floral treat for your nose.  Flavor begins with a solid malt/wheat backbone, a good balancing dose of very floral hops, and plentiful fruitiness. 

Very enjoyable, hats off to Texas Big Beer once again.  I can’t wait to try their new IPA that’s coming out!

Queen’s Wheatwine

 

Texas Big Beer Brewery, part 2

I found the first bottle of porter so tasty, I figured I would try the other three types of Texas Big Beer Brewery beers that were available.  Yes, even the scotch ale!  A link to all their beers is here.

I’ll start with the Working Stiff Ale.

Excellent appearance, it was tannish with some orange tint,  a smidge hazy, had plenty of rising bubbles, and had a great sturdy off white head that left a great cap and plenty of sticky lacing.

Aroma is somewhat malty with a good bit of bitterness, not a ton of overly distinct particular hops aromas, but still a notable degree of hops aroma.  The flavor follows right along, being fairly malt forward, but with a crisp and pronounced bitterness.  I like it, I don’t really want tons of mango, pine, citrus etc when I drink an ESB, I just want a good solid bitterness and a solid malt body.  This beer delivers.

The drinkability is pretty high, medium body with a crisp but bitter finish, and a little lingering dry maltiness.

I like it.  Tasty and delicious, interesting and different.  This is my second of four from this brewery, and so far I’m very happy to have another good brewery that’s pretty local.  Definitely try it.

Seriously, the working stiff is some damn fine beer.  I wrote part of this post shortly after I wrote the first one, as I wanted to try some more of their beers as soon as I could.  The working stiff was my second of Texas Big Beer’s brews, and as I finish this blog off, I’m having yet another working stiff ale!  A very fine beer indeed, especially  considering how few ESBs are out there in the US.

The Big Texas Blonde Ale was another really interesting beer.  It really does retain quite a bit of the characteristics of a blonde ale, despite the high ABV.  It’s listed as a Belgian strong pale ale on beer advocate, but it doesn’t really have the same characteristics of those beers, it’s more, well, “blonde,” with less of the pronounced yeasty and spicy flavors of Belgians, and more of the refreshing and light flavors of a blonde ale.  Hard to think of something 10.5% as light or refreshing, but that’s part of the charm of this beer, the fact that it’s somewhat of a paradox in a bottle.  I will certainly be drinking this one again too!

And finally, the Scotch ale, Renaissance Cowboy.  I am not a big fan of this style in general, Scotch ales just don’t do it for me.  However, on the recommendation of several people, I went ahead and tried it.  Excellent!  Probably the best example of this style that I’ve ever had.  There’s enough of a solid, even pronounced bitterness to balance out the sweetness and brown sugary flavors (usually Scotch ales aren’t balanced enough in this respect for my taste).  And it’s not carbonated to such a low degree that it’s nearly-flat, a flaw (IMO) that many Scotch ales have.  This one has enough carbonation to keep me interested.  I found it somewhat barleywine-like (a style I generally much prefer over Scotch ales).  So even with a style that I’m not especially fond of, Texas Big Beer kept me interested.  That’s pretty cool.

Cheers!

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!

Old Ruffian Barleywine

Well time for another Great Divide brew, today it’s Old Ruffian, a delicious barleywine!

Rating a 99/98 on ratebeer, and a 95 on beer advocate, this is a very well liked and highly rated barleywine.   Let’s find out whether it’s worthy of all those high ratings!

Pours a deep amber color, a bit hazy, with a fairly small head but ample lacing.

Aroma is deeply fruity, with lots of mid and dark fruits coming through, figs, plums, raisins, some honey and brown sugar too.  There’s also a plentiful degree of hoppiness that lets you know this is a bold and potent brew!  Alcohol is notable.

Flavor is very deep and rich, with tons of great malty flavors coming through right away.  Caramel malts, grainy bready flavors, nuts, brown sugar, molasses, and rich dark fruits come through first, followed by an intense hoppiness that creates something almost “balanced” (LOL, if that’s even possible with barleywine!).

It has what I consider to be the quintessential property of a barleywine… it’s pungent!  I love the pungent malt/hop interaction that leaves your mouth puckering from the intense malt flavors.  To me, it’s very distinct to the barleywine style, and this barleywine has it in spades.

Body is very thick and full, leaving a fruity, resinously hoppy finish.  Alcohol is warming and noticeable, this is clearly a strong beer!

My overall impression of this beer is that it’s amongst the top barleywines I’ve tried.  I think my favorite ever was Bigfoot Barleywine by Sierra Nevada, and this one isn’t too far off from that.  Great job Great Divide!

If you like barleywine, definitely try this one!

 

Pike IPA

Pike IPA is next on my blogging/reviewing list.  It’s pretty darn tasty stuff!

Coppery and clear, light tan head wasn’t bad and lacing was good.

Aroma is subdued but nice, earthy hops, piney resin, light malts.

Taste is pretty balanced, if a bit heavy on the earthy hops side.  Malts are ample and create a nice balanced beer.  I think the munich malt adds a nice dimension, it’s not something I see a lot in IPAs.

Body is medium and actually pretty drinkable, despite the rather heavy malt and hops assault on your tastebuds.

Overall this beer makes me want to try more of Pike’s beers.  That should say it all right there.

Tallgrass Brewing – IPA tasting

Well Tallgrass Brewing is definitely worth trying some of their beers.  I like this brewery.  I like that they specialize in cans, thus allowing you to take their beers fishin’ or to the lake.  I really like that they are very supportive of homebrewers, as you can see in their northern brewing clone kits page.

Today I’m tasting their IPA.

Serving: 16oz can, very fresh (it was just brewed a couple weeks ago!) served in a 20oz Schlafly sip club glass.

Appearance: kind of tannish orange and a little hazy, with  lots of very fine rising bubbles.  The head was really nice, lasting all the way to the last sip, leaving great lacing.

Smell: nice!  A balanced malty and piney/grapefruit aroma, lots of hops, even a little bit oily but not overly in your face with bitterness.

Taste: this is a very tasty IPA.  It’s pretty malty, maltier than many IPAs, but the balanced approach you detect in the smell follows through to the taste.  Nice piney grapefruit and a little fruitiness come through nicely.

Body: very thick for an IPA, great mouthfeel and finish.

Overall: I like to pick this one up when I need cans (i.e. fishin’) or when I’m in the mood for a malty IPA.  Definitely a tasty beer that’s worth a try.

I’m also quite fond of the Halcyon Wheat and the Buffalo Sweat from Tallgrass, and I can’t wait to try the new 8-bit pale ale!  I have high hopes that Tallgrass will continue to experience successes and keep on making great beer!

Cheers!

EDIT: having their flagship beer today, Tallgrass Ale, a brown ale.  Quite tasty.  ABV is pretty low at 4.45% (I think, too lazy to look it up again, lol).  Nice nutty, malty, caramel and light cocoa flavors.  It’s a pretty nice brew considering I don’t even really like brown ales that much!  Great stuff!!

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