Round Two #11\Second Pint AIC

Block 15 Wandelpad BlondeThe biggest thing I know Block 15 for is their excellent Sticky Hands IPA, so when I saw a blonde ale on tap by them, I was interested in seeing how they would take on a different style of beer. Hence: the Wandelpad Belgian blonde.

That Belgian yeast scent is right up front; a little clove, a little honeysuckle sweetness. Something that isn’t quite sugar but isn’t something else, either.

The yeast has just taken over the flavors of this beer, too. Clove and sweetness pawing over my tongue like a Labrador trying to say hello. The finish has a dry element though; this beer is something that makes me thirsty without quenching my thirst.

That’s…new. I’m not sure how to process a drink that doesn’t fix thirst. If I was a more troubled man, I might subscribe to being under a curse of some kind.

This beer flummoxes me; have I died? Am I to be troubled forever now, perturbed by the flavors of clove, hot days accompanied with unquenchable thirst, to punish me like Job?

The second beer has elements of…sulfur?

Oh, no. Did I get the wrong beer or am I cursed?

I clear my palate and try again. Whew: the familiar clove yeast scent is back. There isn’t an all powerful force in the universe trying to punish me. Sure, I’ve got a beer that I still don’t know how to work with-it’s not at all unpleasant but it kinda doesn’t do what beer is supposed to do? It’s a little like the trope about Chinese food; you eat it and are still hungry.

But I find most Chinese food to be a bit more tasty.

Perhaps food is what this beer needs; something to balance its imbalance. A charcuterie plate would work perfect, actually, since I think this beer can easily hold its own against dried meats and cheeses.

Today’s second pint goes to the American Immigration Council.

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First IPA 2019

First homebre IPA 2019It’s the first homebrew IPA of the year!

I’m trying a few new things this year. First: IPAs themselves.

Second: I’m trying to condense the time spent from brew to bottle. If I can get a beer bottled in three weeks, that would be ideal. Fresher IPAs are notably better and better beer is the goal.

The bottling process did not go smoothly, though. The hop pellets I added to secondary broke up into tiny pieces and I didn’t think to strain them out. This meant that my bottling gear got jammed up and the process of un-jamming it both made a huge mess and opened the beer up to contamination. I think I got lucky enough to miss the contamination part, but the cleanup was a pain. Something to fix in the next batch.

The nose is tilted towards pine, but it isn’t overwhelming. Still, it is present throughout the glass, thanks to some consistent bubbly head forming all the way down.

The overall flavor though, is muted. I’d almost go so far as to say bland? There’s some malt there, some bitterness on the finish; this beer is  only cloudy due to my imperfect process, likely resulting in chill haze, not because it’s a juicebox. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t stand out either and I wish it had a little more character. Again, something to work on as I go.

Brew date: 4.7.19

Steeping grains
7 lb 2 row
1.25 lb C60

Fermentables: 5 lb ExLME

Hops
1 oz Centennial @80
1 oz Centennial, Cascade @15
.5 oz Centennial, Cascade @ cooldown

Yeast: Imperial Dry hop

OG: 1.08
FG: 1.016

Transfer to secondary: 4/26, .5 oz Centennial, Cascade hops added

Bottled 4/30

ABV: 8.7%

Staying On The Edge

A friend sent me this really cool article about a woman who, after getting her masters degree in chemistry found a career in brewing at 21st Amendment. One of the benefits she touts about being in her profession is that she can use her knowledge to keep 21st Amendment ahead of the curve on quality.

I love this stuff, because it let’s me get a glimpse behind the curtain to see how things I love are made.

Round Two #10\Second Pint STV

I have finally gotten out early enough to check out Threshold’s brewery, which has been getting all the buzz lately. The Best Laid Plans IIPA is calling my name, so here we go!

Threshold Best Laid Plans IIPAOranges seem to be the strongest scent, and they run a current under the beer. But I get a bit of melon in the flavor, too. There’s enough sweetness in the middle that the pithy qualities of the hazy IPAs don’t turn the beer against me. It’s pretty nicely balanced, so far, which makes this beer more pleasant to drink than most hazys I often get.

I, personally, am not a huge fan of the melon flavors. However! It’s just midway through the first glass; I might have my mind changed. If I’m going to have a second beer, I’d rather keep my ears up for anything new, or to appreciate something I knew better, than write it all off.

If I have an issue at this point, it’s that five of the nine beers Threshold has made are variants on IPAs. Sure, there’s Brut IPA and sour IPA and double IPA buuuuut c’mon. There are also two stouts,  and that leaves a grisette and a Pilsner to round it all out. Five IPAs is a lot of IPA.

Still, let’s go for the second glass, shall we?

By now, the finishing bitterness has appeared and is coating my mouth. It isn’t too intense, but I can definitely pick it up. That bitterness doesn’t mute the sweetness in the middle; rather it emphasizes the melon flavors more than it does the citrus ones. As you might imagine, that isn’t exactly a point it it’s favor for me.

That said, I know there are people who will love this beer and these flavors; if that’s you, have at because this is a very solid example of the style, in my opinion. Heck, I might even try a not-IPA, since this is such a strong effort.

Today’s second pint goes to Spread The Vote.

Round Two #9\Second Pint EACADA

Stormbreaker Everyday is beer week IPAStormbreaker’s Everyday is PDX Beer Week ale is what I’m pondering, so I ask about it.

“It’s a sour IPA.”

Wait. What?

“Yeah, it was kettle soured and then heavily dry hopped.”

Well, Stormbreaker does good stuff so let’s give it a shot.

The hops are definitely there in the nose, and they go citrus/orange flavored. This is a good thing, since the beer is tart-honestly, drinking it is very similar to drinking really good lemonade. It’s light and just sweet enough in the midrange so the tartness doesn’t overrun my taste buds, but has that mild pucker that cuts through a lot; this would be fantastic with a dense dessert or even something like a hot dog with everything: a great palate reset.

I can see this beer as the comedic fulcrum in a movie; adults who inadvertently leave it out in a glass, kids who are just thirsty and taking sips off the drink without knowing it’s alcohol. 80’s style hijinks ensue.

Glass two; the hop character isn’t as forward in the nose; a little flavor fatigue is happening, at my best guess. On the other hand; more of the lemon-tart quality appears and that’s interesting too.

Also, the finishing bitterness is starting to become a little more pronounced. It’s not enough to make the sour element go away, but it does add a little sprinkle of complexity to the beer.

Today’s second pint goes to EACADA.

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