Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dogfish Head Miles Davis Bitches Brew

Tonight on the Discovery Channel, a new series titled "Brewmasters" will be aired. It will follow the brewmaster of Dogfish head around. To celebrate this series (which is going to air in a tad under 2 hours from now) I decided to bring out a special beer from Dogfish Head.

I'll do some copying and pasting from their website to give the overall gist of this beer.

"In honor of the 40th anniversary of the original release of Bitches Brew, Miles Davis’ 1970 paradigm-shifting landmark fusion breakthrough, we’ve created our own Bitches Brew - a bold, dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads imperial stout and one thread honey beer with gesho root, a gustatory analog to Miles’ masterpiece."

Brewery: Dogfish Head
Beer: Miles Davis Bitches Brew
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.0%
IBU: 38
Price: $13 for a 750mL bottle

This beer pours pitch black with a large creamy off color head. Aroma is huge on cocoa, roasty notes, a tad of honey, and a hint of coffee and caramel. The first sip reveals roast dark malts, a floral like honey, and a touch of earth tones. The body is medium with a smooth, almost oily texture. Carbonation is on the lesser side. This is one very interesting brew. It has a complex flavor to say the least.

Aroma: 8/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste: 8/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall Score: 16/20

Final Score: 41/50

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold

Well, after having suffering through that pack of pisswater, I needed to have a good lager. I'm not talking about the typical "great" american lager here, I'm talking about the Dortmunder/Helles style of lager. For those of you who want something with some backbone, give this style a try, it'll be a nice step up from anything that is massively commercially available.

For those who are unfamiliar with the style, A dortmunder/helles is a pale lager with a bready maltiness to it, with an ABV around 5-6%. They are known for a super clean flavor and easy to pound down.

Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Company
Beer: Dortmunder Gold
Style: Dortmunder/Helles
ABV: 5.8%
IBU: 30
Price: $9 / 6pk 12oz bottles, $16 12pk 12oz bottles

This beer pours a deep gold with a nice white head. Aroma is slightly malty, very sweet, and has a hint of hops. The first sip is heavenly, revealing a very sweet, smooth malt backbone with just a hint of bitterness. The malt flavor is more grainy than caramel. The carbonation is lively, keeping the mouthfeel on the lighter side. What gets me every time I drink this, is that it still tastes great as it warms up. I haven't had too many lagers that do well past 55F. The other thing that makes this beer stand out is how balanced it is. 30IBU's is bitter enough to turn someone away from a beer. The extra malt in this brew keep it very balanced.

Aroma: 8/10
Appearance: 9/10
Taste: 8/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 16/20

Final Score: 39/50

When I was younger, this was the first beer to introduce me to something other than cheapass pisswater. Even today, there's something about this style that never lets me down. Sure, it may not seem as magical as the first sip, but it is without a doubt one hell of a fine beer.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

For the lulz, I present you, Genesee Beer

I don't know why I bought this beer, other than the fact that I had never seen it. The price was something around $2.50 for a 6 pack of 16oz cans, so I had absolutely no expectations whatsoever. I figured, why not? I keep drinking all of these awesome beers, why not balance it out and drink some piss water so I can further appreciate the good stuff.

Brewery: Genesee Brewing Company
Beer: Beer (no, I'm not kidding on the title of it)
Style: Pale Lager (piss water)
ABV: 5.0%
IBU: ?
Price: $15 / 30pk 12oz cans, $2.50 6pk 16oz cans

Opening a can of this was a mistake. Notes of ass and corn comes to mind. This beer pours a pale straw color with a fingers worth of white head. Aroma starts to lean towards sweet corn and grain. The first sip/gag revealed abosolutely nothing the aroma didn't already tell me. Corn, corn, and lastly, corn was the flavor. I'm not talking about a pleasant corn flavor, I'm talking about corn that should only be used as livestock feed. Yeah, it's pretty wretched. As this beer warmed to 40F, the flavor became even worse. Mouthfeel is light, with a decent amount of carbonation to try to hide the terribleness that is this "beer".

After suffering through a can, I went to Genesee's website to figure out exactly wtf they put in this "beer". Here's a quote.

"Fully kraeusened to produce carbonation naturally for a clean, smooth taste, "Genny" is brewed with six-row barley malt, corn grits, hops from the Yakima Valley and Genesee’s exclusive bottom-fermenting yeast"

I started to cry once I got to the "clean, smooth taste" part.

I'll try to judge this beer as fairly as I can for its style.

Aroma: 2/10
Appearance: 2.5/5
Taste: 2/10
Palate: 2.5/5
Overall: 4/20

Final Score: 13/50

If you had a choice between drinking water out of a ditch vs a can of genesee, I'd call it a draw.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hoppin' Frog Frosted Frog Christmas Ale

Yeah yeah, I know. Another Christmas ale review. Despite it being half way through November, how could I possibly resist the urge to have Christmas early?

Brewery: Hoppin' Frog
Beer: Frosted Frog Christmas Ale
Style: Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
ABV: 8.6%
IBU: 12
Price: $7.99 / 22oz bottle

This beer pours a dark amber with a quickly disappearing white head. The aroma really hits you hard. Ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, all of which are perfectly presented. Mouthfeel is heavy, with a slight syrupy texture, very little carbonation. Flavor is huge on ginger, cinnamon, and malt. As this beer warms the alcohol becomes more pronounced. If you can imagine the scent if you were inside a gingerbread house, this beer could be it. Absolutely delightful!

Aroma: 9.5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste: 8.5/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 18/20

Final Score: 43/50

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brewing Beer 101

Chris requested some knowledge about brewing beer. As a homebrewer, how could I possibly refuse?

If you are too lazy to read, watch the video.
If you are too lazy to do either, SEE MY PICS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!

Boring Disclaimer: If homebrewing is illegal in your area, do not do it. Fines and jailtime could be thrown upon you. I can speak for US folk and tell you that it is legal for anyone of any age to buy all of the equipment and ingredients necessary to brew beer. Law states that you must be 21 to produce alcohol. Also, the amount of beer you can produce per year varies between countries and states. It's usually around 100 gallons per resident over the legal drinking age.

I am going to be lazy and let Alton Brown do most of the talking for me. ^_^

Beer is made up of barley, hops, water and yeast. the barley provides color, flavor, and fermentable sugars for the yeast to turn into CO2 and alcohol. The hops provide bitterness, a lot of flavor, and a lot of aroma. The yeast produces the alcohol and can carbonate beer if desired. (FUN FACT, the term "wort" is used to describe beer that is unfermented, (no yeast added)).

Have you seen those shitty beer commercials where they claim "triple hops brewed" to make it sound fancier. THEY ARE ASSUMING YOU ARE RETARDED. In order to achieve bitterness, hops must be added in a certain time frame, same case for flavor and aroma. Here's a pretty graph to visually see wtf is going on with hops. (the % on the left hand side shows hop utilization.)

I don't feel like writing a whole book on the process of making the beer, instead, I'll summarize what happens.

You'll need to use either malted barley or malt extract to get the fermentable sugars you need to make beer. Beginners should go the malt extract route, it's super easy to learn.

I'm making 2 assumptions before I get into the process. I'm assuming we are making a pale beer that requires no grain. I'm also assuming we are brewing an ale. Ale yeast needs to ferment between 60-80F, depending on the strain of yeast.

The first step will be to bring a bunch of water to a boil, followed by adding the malt extract (comes in either powder or liquid form). Stir this constantly until it completely dissolves. Once this starts boiling, start a timer for 60 minutes and add your bittering hops. You'll want to add hops again with 20 minutes left in the boil to add flavor. To get aroma you'll want to add hops again with 7 minutes left in the boil. After this has boiled for an hour, you'll want to cool the wort down to room temperature as fast as you can. (for malt extract recipes, you can just be lazy and add ice, as long as you didn't start with too much water you won't water down the beer). Once the beer has cooled, move into a fermenter, throw the yeast, attach an airlock, and wait 3 weeks for the beer to fully ferment. After 3 weeks, you can either bottle the beer, adding a little big of sugar to allow the yeast to carbonate the beer, or you can be lazy and throw it in a keg hooked up to a CO2 line. If you bottle the beer, it will take anywhere from 2-3 weeks for the beer to carbonate, depending on how high the alcohol content is. The more alcohol, the longer it takes.

The initial cost to get into brewing is around $100 + ingredients.
A typical 5 gallon beer kit based off of malt extract (easy) usually runs between $25-$50.
A typical 5 gallon beer kit based off of grain usually runs between $15-$35.

Brewday will take anywhere from 3-5 hours, depending on your process.
After that, it will take 3 weeks to ferment.
If you bottle your beer, it'll take another 2-3 weeks to carbonate fully.
If you keg it, it can be carbonated in as soon as 3 hours, or 2-3 days, depending on your technique.

Beer with yeast in it literally has the same shelf life of spam. It'll only go bad if you had an infection of the beer to start with (from poor sanitation) or if the seal goes bad on your bottle cap. It will also get better over time. I try to hide a few bottles of each batch so I can come back a year later and thoroughly enjoy them.

Homebrewing is a very rewarding experience. As I type this, I am drinking a homebrewed cream ale (6% ABV). The cost to make it comes out to $0.21 USD per 12oz bottle. For comparison, a 12oz can of natural light (3.2% ABV) would run about $0.46, and a 12oz bottle of a microbrew beer would run about $1.50. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention it tastes pretty damn smooth, smoother than any cheap lager on the market.

TL:DR, here are some damn pictures of a pale ale I made.

OMG, watch my beer boil!

Using a hydrometer to determine the specific gravity. The tan stuff floating in there is yeast btw.

Here's that whole batch after I bottled it.

And lastly, here's the end product! Damn tasty!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

Oh yes, another christmas ale. : )

Brewery: St. Bernardus
Beer: Christmas Ale
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 10%
IBU: ?
Price: ~$10 for a 750ml bottle

This beer pours a shade of reddish brown with a thin tan head. Aroma is bready, yeasty, along with dark fruit, and some spice. Flavor is much the same, consisting of a heavy belgian yeast flavor, raisins, and cinnamon. Mouthfeel is creamy/full bodied, which has this beer coming off as a delicate dessert. : )
There's something special about this beer. After going a few sips, it feels as thought you are in a nice cozy log cabin next to a roaring fireplace. The whole experience feels warm and fuzzy. No, that's not the alcohol talking, I'm only half way done with it ; ) The head retained throughout the duration of me enjoying this brew, as is true with most bottle conditioned beers.

Aroma: 9/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste: 8/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 18/20

Final Score: 43/50

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tröegs, The Mad Elf Holiday Ale

Tis the season for Christmas ales. : )
A friend of mine gave me a bottle, so why not review it?
I'm sure you guys are sick of east coast beer reviews, but what the hell, here's one from Pennsylvania.

Brewery: Tröegs
Beer: The Mad Elf Holiday Ale
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 11%
IBU: 15
Price: ?

The bottle that I received had a bad seal. It appeared to have no pressure released upon opening, and the head was pretty much non existent. I guess my picture says it all. With that in mind, flat beers tend to sway on the sweeter side. I'll keep this in mind as I drink it. Anyways, this beer pours a very reddish orange. Aroma is yeasty (specifically belgian), slightly fruity on the cherry side and alcohol. Flavor is HUGE on the cherries, slightly overripe. There is a slightly spicy side to this beer, I can't quite figure out what it is, but its very pleasant. This beer is on the sweet side. I'd contribute this to the fruit and yeast more so than the lack of carbonation on my bottle. What gets me is that the alcohol is perfectly masked in this brew. For an 11% beer it's very impressive. Mouthfeel is very heavy, almost like a light syrup. As this beer warmed into the cellar range of temperatures, the alcohol became more pronounced, but not in an intrusive manner. Overall, I was very pleased with this beer. From the first sip to the last it was very enjoyable.

Aroma: 8/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste: 8/10
Palate: 3.5/5
Overall: 17/20

Final Score: 40.5/50

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

There are a few things that remain constant in the city of Cleveland.

1) in general, it's depressing
2) all of their sport teams fail year after year, the local phrase is "there's always next year)
3) the whole city goes nuts around November 1st every year because Great Lakes Christmas Ale becomes available. Seriously, I can't log into failbook without seeing a dozen status updates saying "ITS HERE!!!!!!!!!!"

So anyways, onto the review

Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Company
Beer: Christmas Ale
Style: Spice/Herb/Vegetable Ale
ABV: 7.5%
IBU: 40
Price: $10.99 / 6pk of 12oz bottles

This beer pours a nice shade of copper/red with a nice off white head. Aroma is heavy on caramel malt, some ginger, a tad of cinnamon, and a smidget of alcohol. Maybe a hint of honey too. Body is medium. Flavor is big on cinnamon, caramel, and malt. Very smooth and balanced. The aftertaste kinda fades quickly, so I ended up drinking this one faster than I would have liked. I swear, this specific beer always gets me into trouble. It's literally impossible to just have one, or four. I really need to look into cloning this beer and making it myself in barrel quantities.

Aroma: 8/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste: 8/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 17/20

Final Score: 41/50

I'd recommend picking this one up while you can. Each year they sell out sooner and sooner. Last year for example, it was nearly impossible to find bottles of it mid-December.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Stone Smoked Porter

Sorry about the lack of updates. I've been busy slaving away my kitchen makes gallons upon gallons of applesauce. As a result, I haven't had time to really write out reviews. Right now, I'm done for the day, so I thought I'd crack open a beer adn write out a review.

I thought I'd give the west coast some love tonight. So I'm reviewing Stone's Smoked Porter.

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Beer: Smoked Porter
Style: Porter
ABV: 5.9
Price: ~$6 for a 22oz bottle

This beer pours a dark reddish brown with a dense tan head. Aroma is full of chocolate, malt, and maybe a tad of smoke. Flavor is slightly sour, with chocolate, roasty malts, with a certain sweetness to it. Smokey flavor is non existent Mouthfeel is medium with a creamy feel to it. Well, to be honest, this beer was kinda a let down. It comes off as a nice porter, but nothing spectacular.

Aroma: 6/10
Appearance: 3.5/5
Taste: 7/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 14/20

Final Score: 34.5/50

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Something different, a beer recipe review : )

Sorry for the delay in updates, but life comes first.

Anywho, tonight, after a long days work, I was in the mood for a homebrew. On 10/4, I brewed an Imperial India Pale Ale (IIPA). I bottled it on the 10/25 and decided to give it a taste test today. This beer came out to ~8.3% ABV, so I should have honestly waited 3-5 weeks for this brew to carbonate in the bottles. Whoops. : )

I'd score this beer in my review, but I'd be biased, so instead, I'll just post the recipe/techniques used to make this beer, along with a short description of the end results. ^_^

Recipe type: All Grain
Yeast: Safale US-05 Dry Yeast
Yeast Starter: None
Batch Size (US gal): 1.2 gallons
Predicted Original Gravity: 1.080
Measured Original Gravity: 1.082
Predicted Final Gravity: 1.022
Measured Final Gravity: 1.019
Level of Carbonation: 2.5 volumes of CO2
IBUs': 86.3
Boil Time: 60 minutes
Color in SRM: 8 (gold/copper)
Fermentation: 3 weeks @ 68F


Malt Build
2 lb Maris Otter 2 row pale malt
1 lb Vienna malt
8 oz Crystal 10L

Hop Schedule
0.35oz @ 60 min of Magnum @ 10.0% AA
0.25oz @ 20 min of Amarillo @ 8.3% AA
0.25oz @ 7min of Amarillo @ 8.3% AA
0.50oz @ 0min of Amarillo @ 8.3% AA
0.50oz @ 0min of Cascade @ 5.0% AA

Mashing Schedule, batch sparging
add 4.375qt @ 171F, sit 60 minutes (goal is mash temp of 155F after 1 hour)
add 1.4qt @ 180F before draining
add 4.375qt @ 175F, sit 10 minutes and drain

All together, this batch took me 3 1/2 hours to brew, and maybe 10 minute to prep/bottle.

After only 6 days in the bottle, this beer has enough carbonation to be very enjoyable. Hop aroma is awesome, oranges and grapefruit. Flavor leans towards a very sweet orange with a hint of malt. By the way, for those who normally use a regular two row malt, try maris otter, it adds another dimension of flavor. To be honest, this beer tasted more like candy then beer. Maybe it's because the beer itself is only 27 days old (hoppy beers taste best fresh), or maybe it's from the hops.

This small scale recipe cost me about $11 to brew. I ended up with 10 bottles of it. I'm sure a 5 gallon batch couldn't cost more than $35 to do.

Overall, I'm very happy with this recipe. In fact, I can't think of any way to improve it atm. : ) And no, you can't have a bottle of it, I only have 9 left!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

St. Bernardus Abt 12

I can never resist a good Belgian beer. This specific beer was the very first Belgian I've ever had. I wasn't sure what to expect. The nectar in this bottle completely changed my outlook on what a good beer is.

As a homebrewer, I've always wanted to try to clone this beer. The ingredients are easy to acquire, but the fermentation temperature schedule is brutal to work with. So instead, I decided to go out an buy a bunch of it instead.

Brewery: St. Bernardus
Beer: Abt 12
Style: Abt/Quadrupel
ABV%: 10%
IBU: 15?
Price: ~$18 for a 4pk of 11.2 oz bottles or ~ $9 for a 25.4oz bottle

Upon opening the bottle, a yeasty/fruity smell is evident. This beer pours a very dark reddish brown with an offwhite head. Sediment can be seen floating around. (I kinda wish I poured gently so I could harvest the yeast, maybe next time). The aroma shifts towards malt, caramel, dark fruits, and a touch of alcohol. The first sip is mind blowing. The yeast profile really shines here, which generated a very fruity/yeasty flavor. A heavy malt backbone is also present. There's a unique sweetness from this, probably from belgian candi sugar. Mouthfeel is full bodied with the perfect amount of carbonation. As this beer warms, the alcohol becomes more pronounced, while the rest of the flavors stay strong.

Aroma: 9/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste: 9/10
Palate: 5/5
Overall: 18/20

Final Score: 46/50

For this godly style, only a couple other beers can top it (rochefort 10, westvletern 12). If you want to taste near perfection without spending $20 for a 11.2oz bottle, this beer is for you. Side note, the rochefort 10 is more like $5 - $6 for a 11.2oz bottle, but isn't as wildly circulated as St. Bernardus (in my experience).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hoppin Frog Barrel Aged Boris the Crusher

For those who want a smooth, bold, bombass Imperial Stout, this beer is for you.

Brewery: Hoppin' Frog
Beer: Barrel Aged Boris the Crusher
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.4%
IBU: 60
Price: $13.99 / 22oz bottle

This beer has been aged in whiskey barrels to give it a new dimension of aroma and flavor. Only 4 small batches (~1000 bottles per batch) of this brew have been made so far, so they aren't very easy to find.

Upon opening the bottle revealed notes of whiskey, vanilla, and chocolate. Poured into a glass reveals a bitch black color with a quickly dissipating brown head. The first sip is very smooth, with dominate flavors of dark chocolate and whiskey. The aroma expanded with notes of wood and alcohol. Mouthfeel was on the medium side for a beer of this magnitude, considering oatmeal was used. As this warmed, the flavors only became more pronounced. Yum! I'd recommend serving this around 55F.

Aroma: 9/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste: 9/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 17/20

Final Score: 43/50

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Zomg, I have the interwebs back!

Omg, my 5 days of no interwebs is over. Once I get my fill of it I'll start to read your updates and start some of my own. I've had a lot of tasty brews since my last update, so expect a lot of them. ^_^

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sorry guys, no updates for a while. : (

I'm in the process of closing and reopening my account with my ISP so I can continue to get an introductory rate. The end result will be me saving $420 over the next year. The downside though, is that this isp is retarded. I had asked them to disconnect me on Monday of this week. Instead, they disconnected me Thursday. To make matters even sillier, the way their database is setup it's not possible to sign up for service until the previous service has been discontinued. As a result, I won't be able to get the service back until some time next week.

Haha, I didn't really realize how much I used the internet to kill free time. Yesterday was a realization of that. Thank god I have a bunch of tv shows recorded on my dvr, so that came in handy. Overall though, life was not too exciting yesterday.

Today, I have high hopes though. Going out to the bars, then going to a hanuted house while drunk. That should be a fun time.

While I'm randomly rambling, aside from being bored out of my mind, my house currently smells like duck butter because the sewer pipe backed up. I guess I can help kill this morning and try to snake through it. I guess I'll survive this boring period of no interwebs.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Russian River's Pliny the Elder

If you are a hop lover, you probably at least know the name of this bamf. (badass mofo). Russian River Brewing, located in Santa Rosa, Ca, is arguably one of the better microbrews in the US. They are best known for their two Imperial/Double IPA's. Pliny the elder and Pliny the Younger.

Brewery: Russian River
Beer: Pliny the Elder
Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 8.0%
IBU: 100
Price: ~$5 for a 16oz bottle

For those who aren't familiar with IBU's, (International Bitterness Units), 100 IBU's is the threshold for the human palate. Pliny the Elder has 100, so if you LOVE bitterness, this beer is for you.

Opening the bottle unleashed a sweet hoppy aroma with a nice malt backbone. Grapefruit is the dominant citrus aroma, with a hint of pine. This beer pours a slightly dark shade of gold with a small white head. The first sip revealed a very concentrated hop presence with a hint of caramelized malt. The aftertaste is very long and pleasant. Mouthfeel is medium with a slight oily texture to it. This is one fine beer.

Aroma: 9/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste: 9/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 18/20

Final Score: 45/50

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stone's Double Bastard Ale

I'll start this one off with a quote from the bottle.

"This is a lacerative muther of a beer. The evil big brother of Arrogant Bastard Ale. It is strongly suggested you stay far, far away from this beer. Those foolish enough to venture close enough to taste will experience a punishingly unforgiving assault on the palate. ’Course there’s always the masochists... "

Brewery: Stone Brewing
Beer: Double Bastard Ale
ABV: 10.5%
IBU: 100+
Price: ~$10-$12 for a 22oz bottle

Anyways, upon opening this beer has notes of sweet malt and a hint of berries. It pours a coppery-red, with a small tan head. Flavor is very hoppy, but balance from the huge malt presence and berries, with a slight hint of roasty notes. Mouthfeel is oily, which fits this brew perfectly. When warmed the alcohol presence starts to come out. I'd serve this beer between 40-50F.

Aroma: 8.5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste: 8/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 17/20

Final Score: 41.5/50

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thirsty Dog Siberian Night

Thirsty Dog is located near downtown Akron. Their former brewmaster, Fred Karm, was the genius behind many of their great beers. Today, I was in the mood for their Imperial Stout.

Brewery: Thirsty Dog
Beer: Siberian Night
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.7%
IBU: ~70
Price: $11 for a 6pk of 12oz bottles

Upon opening notes of roasted barley, bitter dark chocolate, and alcohol were present. It poured pitch black into a class with a small dark brown head. The previous aroma notes got only stronger, especially the roasted barley. I took a sip, and wow, did it have a big ass roasty flavor. This is the way this style should be. I let this beer warm up to the 50-55F range before taking another sip. Once warmed, the flavor consisted of roasted coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate, and maybe some toffee. Considering the ABV, the mouthfeel is a little on the light side. Carbonation is minimal, but fits in prefect this this brew. I'd recommend drinking this beer between 50-60F to really let the flavors come out.

Aroma: 9/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste: 8/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 16/20

Final Scor3: 41/50

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Westmalle Dubbel

For those of you who have never had a Belgian before. I pity you. You are truly missing out on some of the greatest style of beer in the world. There are several tiers of Belgian beers. You have your average run of the mill Belgians, your awesome tier Abbeys, and finally the god tier trappist beers. There are only 7 breweries that have the official "trappist" title. Today, I will be reviewing one of them.

Brewery: Westmalle
Beer: Dubbel
Style: Abbey Dubbel
ABV: 7.0%
IBU: ?
Price: ~$10 for 750mL

I happen to find a 4 year old bottle of this. (IM SO EXCITED!). Anyways, once the cork is popped up, a very dark sweet aroma fills the room. Plums come to mind. When poured, a beautiful dark copper color is present with a big tan head. The aroma changes to notes of caramel, pears, and plums. The first sip revealed dark belgian candy sugar, raisins, caramel, and cherries. A nice yeast presence is also there, but not overpowering. The alcohol is perfectly masked behind the bold fruity flavors. It took me a lot of self control to let this one warm up. (its that damn good). Once warmed, the yeast really came through, along with some esters and a touch of alcohol.

Aroma: 9/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste: 9/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 18/20

Final Score: 43/50

Friday, October 15, 2010

Great lakes Nosferatu

For those who aren't from the area, the Great Lakes Brewing Company was the first brewpub/microbrewery to open in the state of Ohio (in 1988). It's the most widely circulated/most well known microbrewery in the area. It's fairly easy to find their beers anywhere East of the Mississippi.

Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Company
Beer: Nosferatu
Style: American Strong Ale (or Imperial Red Ale,
ABV: 8.0%
IBU: 75
Price: ~$9.99 for a four pack of 12oz bottles

Well, if you don't like bold flavors, stay away from this one. Opening the bottle led to an explosion of bold aromas. My nose picked up a nice malt presence, earthy/citrus hops, and a hint of caramel, and a very faint touch of bread. It poured a reddish-amber color with a fingers worth of off white head. The first sip started out on the sweet side from the malt and finished on the bitter side. One thing that caught my attention was the aroma screamed "cascade hops", which is heavy in the citrus department. But the bitterness was slightly different, given the "American" style of this beer, I'd assume simcoe hops. Mouthfeel is light/medium. As it warmed, the flavors only got more intense, which made it ever more awesome then I had previously thought.

Aroma: 8/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste: 8/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 16/20

Final Score: 38/50

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

I thought I'd stick with the October beers while they are still available. I'll be doing Thirsty Dog's Pumpkin Ale and Great Lakes Nosferatu & Oktoberfest in the near future.

First off is the Punkin (yes that is how they spell it) Ale from Dogfish Head. Dogfish Head is located out in Milton, Delaware for those who care.

Brewery: Dogfish Head
Beer: Punkin Ale
Style: Field Beer or Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
ABV: 7.0%
IBU: ?
Price: ~$8.99 for a six pack of 12oz bottles

Opening the bottle unleashed some notes of pumpkin and a hint of spices and malt. Nothing thrilling compared to the last couple pumpkin ales I reviewed, but still pleasant. Once poured in a glass the light orange color is evident along with a very small off-white head. The first sip contains nice earthy pumpkin tones, along with a hint of molasses, some cinnamon, and a hint of allspice. Body is medium, though this one seems to cling to my tongue longer than the others. Like all of the pumpkin ales I've tried so far, this beer gets icky when it warms up. Serve it under 45F. This pumpkin ale is leaning towards the pumpkin pie flavor more so than the crust, though it doesn't have a bold flavor like the Hoppin' Frog.

Aroma: 6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste: 7/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 14/20

Final Score: 33/50

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hoppin' Frog and Southern Tier Pumpkin ales

I'd like to start off this new topic with two excellent seasonal beers.

For those who are unfamiliar with Hoppin Frog, they are a small microbrewery located near Akron, Ohio. Fred Karm, the brewmaster, is well known in the area for making very flavorful and strong beers. Their 22oz beers can be found anywhere from $6-$14.

Brewery: Hoppin' Frog
Beer: Frog's Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale
Style: Field Beer or Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
ABV: 8.4%
IBU: 7
Price: $7.99 for a 22oz bottle

Upon opening this bottle, strong notes of allspice and pumpkin fill my room. As I pour this into my glass the aroma only gets more pronounced. The color is beautiful deep orange with excellent clarity. The carbonation is low, with a thin white head. The first sip left me flabbergasted. I kid you not, this ale tastes like pumpkin pie filling. The flavor of the spices is much stronger than the aroma suggested. A nice earthy pumpkin flavor is also present. Since the IBU's are so low, this is a very sweet beer. The low carbonation works perfectly for this beer. This beer has a nice medium body. There is no hop flavor/aroma present. As the beer warmed it became less desirable. I'd recommend serving this below 45F.

Aroma: 7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste: 8/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 16/20

Final Score: 39/50


Brewery: Southern Tier
Beer: Pumking
Style: Field Beer or Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
ABV: 9.0%
IBU: ?
Price: $8.99 for a 22oz bottle

Upon opening this bottle, a buttery/biscuit aroma was present. Quite the opposite of the Hoppin' Frog. Pouring this into a glass revealed its light orange color and a medium carbonation (about 1 finger of white head). The biscuit/pumpkin aroma really shined after it was poured. The first sip reminded me of pie crust with a nice pumpkin finish. Body is medium, a tad lighter than Hoppin' Frog. Hop presence is limited to the bitterness, which I'd guess is in the upper 10's/lower 20's for IBU's. It's still on the sweet side despite this. As it warmed it also became less desirable. I'd recommend serving this beer below 45F.

Aroma: 7/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste: 8/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 15/20

Final Score: 36/50


I got the idea to mix these two beers, since one tastes like pumpkin pie filling while the other like pie crust. If my mouth could orgasm, it would. It is seriously a perfect liquid pumpkin pie. If there was a commercial example of this I would most likely go into debt within a week. I mixed it 50/50. The biscuit aroma/flavor was very dominant, so I'd probably mix it 66/33 in favor of the Hoppin' Frog next time.

Moving onto a new topic! Beer!

Sorry my fellow Poland enthusiasts, but I've grown tired of writing about my Polish knowledge and such (hence the lack of updates). Instead, I will be writing about another passion of mine, fine beers!

As an American, most foreigners would assume I only have a palate for piss water. I guess the average American is content drinking such things. I however, prefer to scout out the finer beers. No, I am not talking about Sam Adams (fancy piss water). I am talking about the real nano/micro/craft breweries. Since I'm located on the east coast, most of my reviews will be from beers from there. I'll try to keep it varied as best as I can.

I will rate my beers by their aroma, appearance, taste, and palate.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pierogis and You!

I'd like to start off this post with a little history of the pierogi. Historians aren't really sure who to credit with the invention of the pierogi. To save them some time, I'll tell you that is was in fact the Poles who were the masterminds behind it. Why else would they be so damn good?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, what exactly makes a pierogi? In simple terms, they are simply half circular shaped dumplings made of unleavened dough. They can be stuffed with a variety of ingredients. The American way is to stuff it with mashed potatoes and maybe some onions. Let me tell you this. Those are pierogis made for peasants! Real pierogis are made from ground meat, mushrooms and cabbage! Polish dessert variations would have strawberries and or blueberries in them.

Now, there are two special types of pierogis that are served on Christmas eve in Poland. One of them is filled with sauerkraut and dried mushrooms. Another which is made in uszkas (smaller dumplings) and are only filled with dried wild mushrooms. The latter of these is served in a clear borscht (beetroot soup)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to eat like a Pole.

The staples of the Polish diet include meat, bread, and potatoes. Like most developed countries, dinner wouldn't be dinner without some form of meat. In poland, it is typically pork. Bread was revered back in the day, (e.g. if a piece of bread fell on the ground, it was picked up, kissed, and then used to make a sign of the cross. Some of you may have already noticed that some loafs of bread have a cross carved into the top of it before slicing. This is also common in Poland. The average Pole consumes about 300 lbs (136kg) of potatoes a year. Other locally grown vegetables include beets, cabbage, carrots, and legumes.

The actual sequence of meals is pretty much the same as most countries that surround Poland. The standard breakfast (between 5 - 8am) will consist of eggs, meat, bread, and cheese. Between 9 - 11am, some may have a second breakfast (equivalent of the bagged lunch in the US). Dinner in Poland is the most important meal of the day. It is served between 1 - 5pm in the afternoon. It will account for 40-45% of the daily calories. Dinner consists of a large bowl of soup, a main course + salad, and dessert. On Sundays, appetizers typically may start the meal off. The very last meal of the day is a light supper between 6 - 8pm. It may be a reiteration of breakfast with the addition of fish, aspic dishes, and or cooked vegetables.

Tea and coffee are usually served after a meal. Tea is consumed more frequently, where as coffee is considered slightly special. Don't let the Russians fool you, Vodka was first distilled in Poland somewhere in the 8th century. By the time vodka was gaining popularity in Poland it had just been introduced as a gift to the Grand Duke of Moscow in 1386.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Whoops, no Poland update today!

Sorry guys and gals. I got distracted today because Civilization V came out. I pretty much spent the whole day playing it. For those who love the series, BUY THIS GAME. For those who have never gotten into it, you can get the demo through steam.

I'll probably get back on topic tomorrow, assuming I don't end up playing it all day again. I can't make any promises. \_(^_^)_\

Monday, September 20, 2010

Check out the Tatra Mountains

The Tatra Mountain Range forms a natural border between Poland and Slovakia. The highest peak in Poland is Rysy @ 2499m above sea level. Temperatures at Mt. Rysy vary from -40C upwards to 33C, depending on the season and elevation. Typically, the summit will be covered by up to 3 meters of snow. The first ascent on Mount Rsys was made by Ede Blasy in 1840.

Wildlife is very abundant on this mountain range. They are home to more than 1000 species of vascular plants, about 450 mosses, 200 liverworts, 700 lichens, 900 fungi, and 70 slime moulds. The Tatra Mountains are home to many species of animals: 54 tardigrades, 22 turbellarians, 100 rotifers, 22 copepods, 162 spiders, 81 molluscs, 43 mammals, 200 birds, 7 amphibians and 2 reptiles. The most notable mammals are the Tatra chamois, marmot, snow vole, brown bear, wolf, Eurasian lynx, red deer, roe deer, and wild boar. Notable fish include the brook trout and alpine bullhead.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

One bad ass Pole. John III Sobieski

Back during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1559-1795), there was was kick ass Polish man by the name of John III Sobieski. In a nutshell, this man was the King of Poland from 1674-1696. At the beginning of his reign, Poland was pretty much broke and in ruins from 50 some years of various conflicts. Sobieski was an awesome military strategist and made various diplomacy changes early in his reign so he could focus on make Poland not suck so much. He first strengthened Polands southern boarder by reclaiming land that had been taken by the Turks. Around 1676 the tatars decided they wanted to expand into Poland. Well, they failed because Sobieski forced them into a draw at the Battle of Zurano. The next significant military move by Sobieski was at the Battle of Vienna. Poland, being loyal to the pope, helped break the siege of Vienna and drive the Ottoman Empire back.

In summary. Sobieski saved Poland from sucking and was a huge factor in preserving Christendom in Europe. Legend also ties the origin of bagels to John III Sobieski. How awesome is that?

Sobieski at the Battle of Vienna.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Miss Poland!

Check out Miss Poland of 2009, and currently Miss Universe 2010. Her real name is Maria Nowakowska. She is from the city of Legnica, which is located in Lower Silesian which is in the SW portion of Poland.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Polish Currency, (yes, Chopin is on the 5000!)

Poland uses the złoty, which have been in circulation since the 14th and 15th centuries. The złoty will not be around for too much longer since Poland will eventually adopt the euro.

Out of all of the bills, the 5000 zł note is my favorite. Why you ask? Because Chopin is on it! How OG is that? He is also on a commemorative 2010 20zł note.

The most recent series (1994) of the Złoty bill include the denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 (rare)

For anyone who cares, here are some current exchange rates.
1 euro = 3.93 złotys
1 USD = 3.02 złotys
1 złoty = 494,300 old turkish liras
1 złoty = 27.53 JPN yen

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Polish National Anthem (with english subs)

Lyrics in English

Poland has not perished yet
So long as we still live
That which alien force has seized
We at sabrepoint shall retrieve

March, march, Dąbrowski
From Italy to Poland
Under thy command
Let us now rejoin the nation

Cross the Vistula and Warta
And Poles we shall be
We've been shown by Bonaparte
Ways to victory

March, march...

Like Czarniecki Poznań regains
Fighting with the Swede,
To free our fatherland from chains
We shall return by sea

March, march...

Father, in tears
Says to his Basia
Just listen, it seems that our people
Are beating the drums

March, march...

Lyrics were written in 1797 by Jozef Wybicki and was adopted in 1926.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Check out the Chojnik (Chojnasty) Castle!

Let's face it, castles are awesome. So are badass stories revolving around them.

The ruins of Chojnik are tied to the myth of Kunigunde, a castle lord's daughter desired by many knights. As she had no intention to enter into marriage she promised to espouse the bold man who would complete a circuit along the castle's walls on a horseback, knowing that on the steep slopes horse and rider must fall into the chasm. Many tried and perished until a proud nobleman came along, who appealed to Kunigunde's eyes. Though she declared to abandon the precondition and to marry him right away, the knight insisted to take the risk and he succeeded. Instead of accepting her proposal he scolded her for her cruelty and departed. Kunigunde however, deeply humiliated, lunged into the abyss herself.

Bahaha. ^_^

(Non-Poland) I just feel like rambling today... : )

As I was shaving today, I realized that I must tell the world of the mysterious money saving methods I have for shaving. No one wants to spend $20 on fancy shaving oils, or waste $3-$4 on shaving cream on gel. So why not try something that will last forever, get you a close shave, and only cost you around $2? Try baby oil. I bought myself a big ass bottle of it about 6 months ago. I've only gone through about 1/3 of it since, while shaving everyday. How awesome is that? On top of that, I get a closer and less irritating shave with baby oil. Oh yeah!

While I'm talking about saving money, I've found that making your own beer is super cheap/fun also. After splurging on equipment ($150 or so), you can make halfway decent beer as low as 20-30 cents per 12oz bottle. Heck, I just made an Imperial Stout that will be around 9.4% ABV, and only end up costing me around 60 cents a beer. I'd go into more details, but I have a busy day ahead of me.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Guess who else is Polish? Kasia!

Kasia (Kassia) is from Poland. She's a freaking hot porn actress.

Check out her myspace for more SFW pics and such.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Awesome Sauerkraut and Kielbasa Recipe

What's more Polish than the good ol' kielbasa? Here is a recipe I've been modifying for a while now. It's great for those who aren't a big fan of plain sauerkraut.

Ingredients (In Imperial Units)
-2lbs of sauerkraut
-1lb of your favorite kielbasa or equivalent sausage
-1/4 cup of brown sugar
-a pinch of caraway seeds
-a pinch of paprika
-a few diced garlic cloves or garlic powder
-a small diced onion, or onion powder

-preheat oven to around 300-325 F
*optional* - rinse the sauerkraut to reduce sodium content
-cut the kielbasa into 1" pieces
-in a large pan or any oven-safe container that can fit a lid, throw in the sauerkraut and kielbasa
-add spices and brown sugar, no need to mix it yet
-throw it in the oven until the kielbasa is done, depends on the depth of the dish you are cooking it in, it may take 40 minutes, it may take over an hour

The brown sugar will give a nice molasses flavor which will balance out the sourness of the sauerkraut. The onion and garlic will help spice the sauerkraut up.

Overall, this dish is cheap to make, easy to make, and very tasty.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Behold, the finest beer in Poland.

Zywiec Brewery has claim to the finest beer in Poland, their Baltic Porter. At 9.5% ABV, it is surprisingly balanced.

The aroma starts off a tad roasty, a little chocolate and nuts, and a tad boozy.

Color is deep brown/dark with an tan head.

Flavor is very bold, so much so that you cannot detect the alcohol. There is a certain sweetness to this beer, probably from the large amount of specialty grains used. Note of coffee and chocolate come to mind. There is hint of cream too, probably either from caramel malts or malto dextrine.

The mouthfeel for this beer is heavy to say the least. Almost syrup like, it had a tendency to lace the glass. The carbonation has very tiny bubbles that maintains the a steady head from beginning to the end.

Overall, I'd say this is one hell of a porter. It's heavy enough to be considered an Imperial Stout, but the flavor profile is more suited for a porter. I'd give this beer a solid B+.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Poland Information!

Learn why Poland is so freaking awesome!

The History of Poland!


I fucking love POLAND!