Tag Archives: stout

Simplicity

I’m on a simplicity kick.  Nothing for a total of ten beers (only successfully completed and drank beers) can be in any way complicated.  My reasons for this are a few in a row of very so-so beers that were also too complicated to be able to accurately trouble shoot without doubt.  So it’s KISS only from here to a while from now.

My lager came out good, that’s one.  It was merely golden promise plus cascade, and it’s damn tasty.

I’ve got a couple Munich SMaSH beers going too.  One’s a petite saison smash with munich and citra, one’s a regular old
US-05 munich/cascade smash beer.  Also got a super simple stout planned with 90% 2-row, 10% roasted barley, and Irish ale yeast, for a super simple dry Irish stout.

Also got a blonde ale that came out fantastic (again!)  Reasonably simple beers that I’ve done before successfully are IN as far as my simplicity kick goes. Elderberry wheat may be repeated shortly too.

When you realize that your simplest beers are usually your best, then you should consider going on a simplicity kick.  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

Al’s Oatmeal Stout

Brewed this one last week.  Checked it a couple days ago, looking good!  Will bottle in around a week or so.

  • 10 lbs maris otter
  • 1 lb crystal 60
  • 0.5 lb crystal 120
  • 1 lb chocolate malt
  • 0.5 lb roasted barley
  • 2 lb oatmeal
  • 3 oz serebrianka hops (2.3% AA) at 60
  • 5 oz serebrianka hops (2.3% AA) at 15
  • OG 1.065
  • SRM 36
  • ABV 6.7
  • IBU 35

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!

Real Ale Brewing Company, Blanco Texas

I’ve been steadily trying different beers from Real Ale Brewing Company (often referred to by beer geeks as RABC).   So far, I’ve found they make great beer!  In fact I’ve liked every beer I’ve tried from them, and hope to try more!

This brewery is right up there with America’s top craft breweries in their quality of beer.  They make flavorful beers, often plentifully hopped, and even seem to be setting a few trends (like with their four-squared, a blonde ale ramped up with lots of extra hops and more malts).

Their Brewer’s Cut series has been interesting.  The latest two are Altbier and Blonde Barleywine.  I really like the Altbier, it’s plentifully malty with enough hops for balance, making a really enjoyable Altbier (not a style we see a lot of). The blonde barleywine is a strange one, but it’s quite enjoyable if you’re a barleywine drinker (don’t think it’s a blonde ale, it’s over 9%!).  Kind of like a barleywine mixed with a blonde ale, but mostly it’s still a barleywine.  I applaud them for trying new and different things!

Here are some other of their past Brewer’s Cut projects:

I particularly liked the Signature Hop Pale Ale, and the Imperial Red.  I wish they’d just make the Signature Hop Pale Ale a regular offering, or at the very least, a seasonal.  Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Value-wise I’ve found their beers to be spot-on.  The prices are reasonable and the quality high.  This is real American craft beer, not some Podunk bunch of amateurs.

Their annual anniversary party was quite large, and I appreciate the free beers I got from them!  More importantly, I appreciate being able to get high quality, reasonably priced craft beer that’s made locally.

Stuff I’d like to see from them, should they be so inclined to brew it…

  • Double IPA
  • American Stout or Milk Stout (about 6% ABV)
  • Sessionable “Bitter” or “ESB”
  • Anything fruity

Anyway, don’t be afraid to try some RABC brews, they’re delicious!

Altbier

 

Pike Brewing XXXXX Stout

All those x’s should give me some really oddball hits on this blog, LOL!

But we’re talking about Pike Brewery’s XXXXX Extra stout, a very delicious beer that’s in my glass right now!  Sorry to disappoint if your search engine was searching for something else!

This is about the third or fourth of Pike’s brews that I’ve tried.  I keep trying them because they are good beers.  I really like this one, it’s (perhaps) the best of the Pike beers I’ve tried so far.  Albeit that’s not a lot of beers, but I just discovered them, and plan to try more of their beers soon!

Pike XXXXX Extra Stout

Black as night with a good tannish-brown head and good lacing.

Aroma is roasty and a little burnt with nice coffee and chocolate notes.

Flavor follows through with the nose, maybe with a touche of anise (but it’s subtle).  The chocolate and coffee are a bit more pronounced, leaving a slightly cappuccino effect for the imbiber.

Body is full, thick, rich, and leaves a wonderful slightly roasted, slightly burnt aftertaste that I really enjoy in a stout.

Definitely recommended.  I’ll for sure buy this one again.  It wasn’t even very expensive, so it’s a great value (I can’t remember the exact price, but it was very reasonable).  A very nice stout you should definitely try if you’re a stout lover.

Pike XXXXX Extra Stout

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.

Upcoming Beers on the Homebrew Front

Well I’ve got a number of things in the queue that I’m real excited about, including several SMaSH beers:

  • Maris Otter / Simcoe SMaSH with WY1968 London ESB Ale Yeast
  • 2-row / Fuggles SMaSH with an extra-long boil to increase malliard reactions
  • Vienna / Cascade SMaSH (yeast?)
  • Another Petite Saison SMaSH fermented at 64-66F (with different base malt/hops this time, TBD)
  • Bleach Blonde Ale IV (it still hasn’t been made, lol, even tho I already blogged it)
  • Elderberry Wheat III (identical recipe, possibly a slightly different yeast)
  • An American Pale Ale with 2-row, munich, vienna, cara-amber, and honey malt, hops schedule TBD, probably an ounce each Cascade/Centennial at 5 minutes with magnum bittering and serebrianka dry hops
  • An American / Oatmeal Stout – I haven’t made a stout in a while and my last one came out GREAT!  (I might just make that one again, or something close to it).
  • “Election Stout” a rather complex but tasty looking pseudo-session beer, recipe by GreenKrusty101
  • Something “session” or “mild,”  Preferably English.
  • A Rye beer, fairly hoppy

Note that I’ve done enough American IPAs and hoppy APAs for the moment.  We’re in different territory now.  Not everything has to be super-hopped.  In fact I’ve had trouble finding commercial beers lately that aren’t IPAs or hoppy APAs.

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!

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