Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tasting with the Fam II

Can't get tired of drinking beer. So again we had to sample a few last night. We had Bells Pale Ale, Great Divide Titian IPA, Great Divide Hercules IPA, & they tried the Bell's IPA I liked so much.

Bell's Pale Ale
From: Kalamazoo, Michigan  
Style: American Pale Ale
Commercial Description:
A refreshing, blond colored pale ale. Bell’s pale ale is made almost exclusively from pale malt. It expresses a spicy floral hop aroma and taste.

 Appearance: Hazy yellow color with a whispy white head. The malt color looked almost like a wit. Looked refreshing. 3.7/5

Aroma: Aroma of apple, grass, a bit floral, and some caramel 3/5

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, a nice mouthfeel, smooth and drinkable. 3.5/5
Flavor: Some light malts and light hops, balanced, nice flavor. 3.2/5
Overall Impression: This is a pretty good APA. Not the best thing I’ve had, but a beer that I enjoyed enough. It could be better, but it is a little one dimension. 6.3/10
Total: 19.7 Not Bad
Great Divide Titan IPA From: Denver, Colorado Style: IPA Commercial Description: Great Divide brews Titan IPA for hop disciples independent beer drinkers seeking out robust, flavorful beers characterized by their abundance of hops, flavor, aroma and bitterness. Beginning with piney hop aromas and citrus hop flavors, and finishing with a rich, malty sweetness that is carefully balanced with crisp hopbitterness.
Appearance:Pours clear golden yellow with a medium white head and nice lacing. 3.4/5   Aroma: Aroma is big and hoppy -lots of grapefruit and a bit of pine. 4/5 Mouthfeel: After awhile the flavor can get to much. The piney after taste is a litte over powering . I hate Gin.. 3.7/5   Flavor: Flavor is even more hoppy, but with a good backbone of malt. Grapefruit and other citrus flavors but for me the piney after taste after while kind of killed it for me. 4/5 Overall Impression: Surprisingly, this "titanic" IPA is not overly bitter despite the abundance of hops. Very drinkable, but I couldn't drink alot of them. Another very good ale from Great Divide. 7.6/5 Total: 22.7 Good
Great Divide Hercules IPA
From: Denver, Colorado
Style: Double IPA
Commercial Description:Hoppier, maltier and with more alcohol than a standard IPA, Hercules Double IPA definitely is not for the faint of heart.  A brash but creamy wonder, Hercules pours a deep orange-coppery color, forming substantial lace in the glass. Hercules Double IPA delivers a huge amount of piney, floral, and citrusy hop aroma and flavor from start to finish. A hefty backbone of nutty, toffee-like malt character balances Hercules' aggressive, punchy hop profile. 85 IBU'S
Apperance: Pours a hop-hazed reddish copper body with a thick offwhite foam that coats the glass on the way down. 3.8/5
Aroma: Aggressive, resinous hops on the nose; lots of big grapefruit and pine notes,with some noticeable toffee malts and sweet alcohol aromas. 4.2/5
Mouthfeel: Carbonation is quite subdued yet creamy, big lengthy palate with a oily, resinous body that seems to stick to the sides. 3.9/5
Flavor::Alcohol warmth present yet pleasant. Smack in the face of juicy,  pine sap, grapefruit, bitter leaves and spices. 4.3/5
Overall Impression: Very Good. Worth the money. Flavour is huge yet balanced remarkably well, making a 9% ridiculously easy to drink and very dangerous; can’t help going back for more! 7.7/10
Total: 23.9 Good

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beer tasting with the family

So tonight when I got in town my dad grabbed a few beers at the World of Beers in FL while he was visiting with friends from the Canada. We sampled the Hitachino Espresso Stout, RCH Old Slug, & Coopers Best Extra Stout. I won't go as in detailed as I would since their are three of them but here are the reviews I wrote while sampling them.

Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout
From: Ibaraki, Japan
Style: Stout
Commercial Description:
Caramel, roasted, black and chocolate malts provide an explosion of coffee like flavors. The strong espresso character comes from the addition of espresso beans to the boil. Notes of vanilla, dark fruit , cocao and chocolate. The very unusual character of Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout stems from the fact that Kiuchi Brewery is using the recipe of a Russian Imperial Stout as base. Pitch black color, big brown head. Aromas of chocolate, roasted bitterness, black currants, dark fruits.

 Appearance: It pours a black and slightly oily with a thick, brown and a solid lacey head 3.9/5

Aroma: Aroma had a big dark, roasted malts, coffee, with a hint of soy and cocoa powder. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Had a very bitter after taste for me for some reason. I didn't like how it felt on my tongue after drinking it.  2.9/5

Flavor: Is very unique and if you like the coffee stouts (I personally don't) it has loads of bitter espresso, chocolate, and roast up front with notes of vanilla  leading to a bittersweet, roasty finish. 3.6/5

Overall Impression: Medium bodied with solid carbonation. Overall I did not care for it only because of the bitterness the malts left in my mouth. Don't get me wrong it is a good beer to try, but for me I will pass on drinking again. 5.9/10
Total: 19.8/30- Not bad

RCH Old Slug
From: Weston-super-Mare, England
Style: Porter
Commercial Description:
In the old brewery we had a problem with slugs getting into the brewery. As the beer leaves a trail down the glass as you drink it like a slug, that's how the beer was named. A delicious traditional porter with a full bodied taste of chocolate, coffee, blackcurrant and black cherry with a good aroma. A near black colour with a good white head when served through a tight sparkler.
Pale malt, crystal malt, black malt; Fuggles and Goldings hops.

 Appearance: Poured a nut brown ale color, it was a little dark color? With a small beige head. I liked the look 4/5

Aroma:  The aroma of chocolate with a hint of coffee. A little burned malt. 3.5/5

Mouth feel: Medium body, very smooth and lite with some flavor to the kick. 4.5/5 

Flavor: The taste is very smooth! Dry and some bitter. The aftertaste is bitter sweet. I really liked the after taste 4.1/5

Overall Impression: I enjoyed this porter. It was smooth had some nice choclate flavor to it. It did not over power your palate. I could drink more of these at one sitting. 7.5/10 
Total: 24.1/30-Good

Coopers Best Extra Stout
From: Regency Park, South Australia, Australia  
Style: Foreign Stout 
Commercial Description:
You want bitter? You got it! Very malty with a strong roast barley flavour. Black as pitch and so thick you could just about eat it with a spoon. An excellent stout.

Apperance:Deep brown-black with a moderate beige head. 3.4/5

Aroma: Sweet coffee and candy like aroma. 3/5

Mouthfeel: On tasting there’s was the slight fizz carbination which I thought would be annoying but which fortunately soon fades into a mouthfeel which is oily, and yet works surprisingly well. 3.6/5

Flavor:  It tastes initially of coffee, then lots of earth with a hint of cough mixture before a beautiful and lasting smokiness takes over.3.4/5

 Overall Impression: Definitely a beer for sipping rather than gulping - but so good that I found myself sipping it at a dangerously intoxicating rate. For some reason I didn’t have high expectations of this, but it turned out to be very good indeed. 6.5/10

Total: 20.4/30 Good

Always a good time drinking with the family. I will be brewing Saturday. Going to make a summer ale wheat beer I put together. Finally will get to brew with some help!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bells Two Hearted Ale

This is a review on Bells Two Hearted Ale
from Kalamazoo, Michigan
Style: Indian Pale Ale

Commercial Description:
India Pale Ale style well suited for Hemingway-esque trips to the Upper Peninsula. American malts and enormous hop additions give this beer a crisp finish and incredible floral hop aroma.

Appearance: It pours a hazy burnt orange color with a huge white head. Some very sticky looking lacing as I drink this one.Looked very good! 4.5/5

Aroma: The aroma really blew me away at first. Loads of citrus hop aroma, sweet tropical fruits, and not much malt--very nice. But it lost alot of its aroma after a few sips. 4.2/5

Mouth feel: The beer is medium bodied and has moderate carbonation.4/5

Flavor: The taste was similar to the aroma. A great grapefruit and orange flavor, along with sweet pineapple. The finish is nice and piney, giving a bitterness to balance out the fruit. It is not harsh or bitter, very smooth But it did lose a little flavor after while. 3.9/5

Overall: I can see why people go nuts over this beer. Such a solid IPA, much more similar to the California IPAs than most other Midwest and East Coast offerings. A very smooth and well balanced IPA. 8.5/10

Overall score 25.1/30 Excellent. I would definitely buy again, I could drink this beer anytime of the year and have more then a few at a sitting without getting to sick of it.

Beer clubs

These are the two clubs that I have been associating with. Both are very different in there own aspect. The club in Athens is predominately homebrewing. While the Hampton club is all about tasting beers. I enjoy both but unfortunately they are not close to each other and soon I will only be stuck with one depending on the job.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rye Pale Ale Update

Just did a late transfer to the secondary. I have been out of town and couldn't do it earlier. The the gravity reading was around 28. I will check it in a few more days to see if it drops any. I sampled a taste and has a nice aroma of grapefruit. It has a nice flavor. Only time will tell.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How to Sample Beer?

This is something we put together at a new beer club back home in Hampton, SC

But here is my category how I rank my beers based on my scores

Excellent (25 - 30): World-class example of style
Good (20 - 24): Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning
Not bad (15 - 19): Generally within style parameters, some minor flaws
Average (10 - 14): Misses the mark on style and/or minor flaws
Fair (5 - 9): Off flavors, aromas or major style deficiencies
Problematic (0 - 4): Major off flavors and aromas dominate

How to sample:

Step 1: Pour into clean glass. Pour right down the center and get a nice head- this releases aromas of the beer.

Step 2: First rate the beer on Apperance. Does the beer like something you would want to drink? Does it have a full, heathly head or dies it look weak and water? Hold the beer glass up to the light- is the beer the right color for the style? Can you see any floaties or particles that do not belong?

Step 3: Rate the beer on aroma next. Take a nice whiff-what do you smell? Hop notes such as citrus or a grassy smell? Components of the grainbill such as carmel or biscuit? Coffee and chocolate notes in a rich stout? Make sure the beer is the correct temperature- most beer should be served in the 40F area, and as the beer warms slightly, more aromas will be released.

Step 4: Take a sip of the beer. Note the mouthfeel- is the beer crisp and well-carbonated? Flat? Is it thick and chewy, or this and watered down? Any unusual sensations, like oily slickness? Note any residue and the beer leaves on your tongue or palate.

Step 5:: Here’s the big one- rate the flavor of the beer. Take notes on the entire flavor experience- the beer first touching your mouth, what the predominant flavors are, and any aftertaste left when you swallow Is the beer’s flavor appropriate for the style? Any off-flavors? Does the beer seem skunked or sour at all? As beer ages, it can oxidize and develop off-flavors such as wet cardboard, vinegar, or sherry. Most importantly, do you like the taste? A ber might exactly to style, but it is a style you don’t care for! Note which flavors you like and which you don’t- this will help you select beers you will enjoy down the line.

Step 6: Finally, rate the overall impression of the beer. Was it brewed and served appropriately for the style? Did the experience of the beer change between first sip and last? What did you like about the beer, and what you didn’t like? Were there small mistakes that could be overlooked, or was the beer a train wreck you wouldn’t recommend to a man dying of thirst?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rye Pale Ale

Yesterday I decided to brew a Rye Pale Ale. I enjoy going to Terripan Brewery so I got the inspiration to make one. I had to order the grains since the local shop didn't carry alot of ingredients that I put in this recipe.

Everything went smooth. I was a little off with hitting the first infusion. I hit 172F and got it to 152F. I was shooting for 154F. No biggy just for future reference I will need to shoot a little higher due to the mash tun taking a lot of the heat. I re adjusted the heat when I added 1 gal at the 50 min mark and got it right at 154-155 to give me 3.25 gals of wort. I added 3.5 gals for the mash out at 188-189F and hit right at 167-168F.

I think I need to have a little more wort prior to boiling and came a little short.

 Well, when I started the boil it started snowing pretty heavy. I was afraid that when I was cooling the wort that some of the snow was getting in the wort. Hopefully it didn't bother it to much.
I forgot to take a final reading before sealing it up but I did take a reading pre boil and got a pretty high reading, which can't be right b/c I know my efficiency can't be that good so I will just have to take a reading in a week to see where its at.

Estimated Pre Boil OG: 1.046
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.061
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.017
Estimated Alcohol By Volume: 5.73%

Update notes:
Man the yeast started working 5 hrs after brewing on 02/12/09 and it has been going Strong for two days. I wish I would have used a carboy to watch it, but I know the blow off would be crazy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Glass V Plastic

Which is better?
In terms of cleaning, buckets are a breeze to clean. Except they seem to hold the smell of the previous batch once used many times. It can also get small scratches in the surface from cleaning which can harbor germs and can also make discoloration over time.

Carboys are more work to get clean on the inside compared to buckets. Glass can handle more use and don't have any smells seep into its surface. And will last forever with proper care. They are also clear, which allows you to see what is going on inside (If you care?)
I avoid using plastic as a secondary fermenter because of the head space. And really I just use the plastic Ale Pale in the Primary fermenter... I get less blow offs because of the head space and don't have to spend so much time cleaning the sucker. 

Canonical/Stainless Steel

Commercial breweries use giant stainless steel fermenters. As for the regular home brewer, canonical stainless steel fermenters are really expensive, I hope get one someday. In the mean time, there is a simple and affordable third option for fermenting. Use a corny keg. Attach a blow off tube to one of the outlets and close the other by screwing on the quick disconnect. Pour the beer into the corny keg and seal the lid. Its ideal for lagering.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bottled & Kegged Nut Brown

Well, yesterday I bottled 17 bottles and kegged the rest. I decided to force carb the keg. Not knowing the true ends and out of it since this was my first kegging. I cranked it up 30 psi and shook it around for a few mins and drew the pressure off to get the oxygen out, then cranked it back up until I didn't hear any more bubbling. I then placed it in the fridge and let it sit over night. I drew some off this morning and it was very smooth with good  carbonation. I set the co2 on 10 psi and have it setting right now. The taste is very smooth, maybe if the carbonation adds up it will give more character to the brew. If not I will still be pleased with the result and will gladly drink this beer.

Notes- If the beer stays the same I think I would like to add little more chocolate and next time and order the Special Roast to add in the recipe since it was left out this time due to the homebrew shop not carrying it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mendocino Eye of the Hawk Select Ale Review

This Review is on Mendocino Eye of the Hawk Select Ale from Hopland, California;
Style: American Strong Ale

Commercial Description:
Eye of the Hawk is an excellent, strong, rich bodied ale that is "Bottle Conditioned" to perfection. "Eye" is coppery reddish-amber in color and its unique taste is the result of a judicious mix of caramel and pale malted barley, balanced with Cluster, Cascade and Saaz hops. This gives the Eye its luxurious flavor, substantial mouth-feel and that slightly dry finish.

My Description:
Had a dense rocky lacy white head poured out of the bottle. Clear rich bright gold color. Aromas are heavy caramel and toffee sweet malts, a touch of cocoa? biscuits and cake come in stronger, a touch of candied fruit, but very malt forward with light bitterness.
Floral hop malt is maybe Cascade Saaz front. Mild sweet rich crisp caramel malt, mild fruit zesty rich malt. Balanced hop spice mild citrus hot end. A well balanced hoppy rich crisp brew. I enjoyed this brew but would like a little more complexity out of it for the price for it. 8.99 six pack.

Aroma: 7/10
Apperance: 4/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 15/20