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.