Misc Debris

I found out about Rogue’s Maple Bacon beer via The New School blog. The first reviews of it were unkind, to say it nicely. Later reviews by someone better versed in the world of beer were better.

All of it misses the point.

Bacon is not a liquid. Stop trying to make it one.

The glories of bacon do not just come from its salty goodness; it’s the crumbling effect between molars, the chewy bits of fat that get wedged between canines that your tongue probes out.

The glories of bacon come from it being a solid. If you are attempting to liquify bacon for any reason, quit it. So I command.

Rogue should’ve made a beer to pair with a maple bacon doughnut instead of taste like one. Isn’t one of the driving forces behind craft beer is that it can pair with food as well as any wine?

Why not do that, instead of create an ale bewildering to customers and bedeviling to brewers?

The Glory of Cool Things, coming to bite us in the ass. Again.

Viking Ale

My friend Ed sent me this post on making viking ale. Shortly thereafter, he sent me instructions for dandelion beer.

It’s rather timely (for me, anyway) to talk about it because I have just finished Martyn Cornell’s Amber, Gold and Black, which is a history of British ales and included in there is a chapter on herbal beers. That chapter includes historical data on the kinds of things used to make beers before it was regulated (read: taxed) by the government, including sage, yarrow and of course honey or dandelion. From what I gather, a whole lot of plants were tossed into water for beer.

But this leads me to my next point; If you are interested in the history of beer styles such as porter, stout, and IPA, then Cornell’s book is well written and worth your time. Cornell’s style is witty and concise, which manages to keep things moving along, even when he’s writing about the Original Gravity and prices of a beer that has gone extinct, while ensuring that the reader is well informed. Amber, Gold and Black often details how styles changed over time due to war or political winds, and how technology allowed for new styles to come about in Britain. It’s quite nice and worth a read.

Chocolate Mint Brown (sorta)

So here you have it: the chocolate mint beer I made

It’s…alright. Let me tell you what’s going on here.

First, this is a brown and I really would have preferred that it resemble a porter or, to be honest, a stout. Unfortunately, I can’t quite seem to get the mouthfeel right. This beer is decent, don’t get me wrong, it’s just not quite where I was hoping it would be.

I may need to up the fermentables to get there, certainly using the correct grain bill all at once would help and I’ve also been told that oatmeal can provide the kind of mouthfeel I’m hoping to achieve. So there are some options: I may have to run this by some OBC members to see what they think.

Second, I don’t really notice the mint qualities. They seem faint in the aroma, like early morning lake fog, and at the end there’s a bit of a sheen, like gasoline on the water. I was hoping for something a little stronger. I’m told by others that there’s just enough mint in this beer and everything is fine so I guess it’s OK. I may need a broader sample size for feedback.

Finally, this beer is a touch overcarbonated. Darker beers are generally flatter and with the results from this beer, I think I can say with certainty that yes, the adding of bread yeast to the bottling syrup really does boost the carbonation. It’s a great trick and useful for many beers but not such a good idea for this style.

Brew date: 7.29.11

Steeping malts:
.24 lb 120 malt
.5 lb choco
.25 lb roasted barley
.25 lb dark munich

Fermentables:
7 lb LME

Hops:
.5 oz Hallertauer @
.5 oz UK Fuggles @ 60

Yeast: Wyeast 1768, English Bitter

OG: 1.052

FG: 1.018

TG: 1.024

ABV: 4.14%

Added 1 oz of Kafka II malt to 3 cups water, steeped and added to secondary on 8.10

Bottled 8/21

7pm: Decisions, decisions, decisions

alaskan perseverance stoutSome nights are like this.

The sweetie comes with me to Bailey’s and we chat about a house we like. And chat. And chat.

How many couples do this? All of them, eventually. Sitting at the table, hashing out ghosts, tombstones, promised lands and lucky stars. What can be done? What if?

What choices are we willing to accept?

At the end of the day, this is your life: you choose. You sacrifice this for that, take the rainbow without Indigo because it takes you to Asgard, even if it is an Asgard without Indigo.

Is it worth getting the full rainbow that doesn’t lead to Asgard or is it better to sacrifice a color for a promised home?

Decisions, decisions, decisions. I can’t get everything so I hope to get halfways. Halfways is usually more than enough. Some I lose, of course, and sometimes I get more than I ought to. But halfways is a decent point to begin the choices, especially with people you love.

I have chosen the Alaskan Perseverance stout. It was made with syrup and honey adjuncts and the flavors show: this stout tastes like banana pancakes and it is not to my liking. I like banana pancakes, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t like it in my stout. There’s a reminder of honey-banana-peanut butter sandwiches that just doesn’t work in an ale. Fortunately, this choice is a fleeting one and I only have to live with it as long as it takes for me to finish the beer.

Like everyone else, I have made other choices. Some might call them sacrifices but I prefer to choose. You can’t say I sacrificed if I chose one path over another. Sacrifice is when there are no choices but the bad one, the one where you lose everything or enough that it might as well be everything.

Not to say I don’t leave something behind. Like the lingering banana flavor, some choices come up and ask if I’d do it all over again. Who’s to say how things would play out with just another color, a blue instead of a green, a Florence instead of a New York?

But at the end of the day, I get to choose. Not everyone does and until the time comes when I don’t get to choose, I’ll try to accept what I get, good and bad.

Belgian style lesson

Dad sent me an article on Gueuze style beers. It’s alright but the article feels like it cuts off near the end and I don’t really get the impression that I’ve been told what a gueuze style is, I feel like I know what a lambic is.

Fortunately, thanks to Wiki, I can tell you that gueuze is a substyle of lambic ales, made through the blending described in the Tribune’s article. All well and good.

What may also be of interest is that until modern refrigeration technology came about, the blending of new and older beers was common practice in many styles, including porter and ales. The older beers would have the flavor of wood-aging and the newer beer would give it the bubbly quality that people liked. In much older times, those beers would even be mixed by the publican according to the customer’s taste!

Comparisons

homebrew chamomilesThese are two chamomile beers I made–wits, they are not. They should be; the elements are there, but I am about 99% certain I chose a standard ale yeast for these beers instead of a proper wit one. Live and learn.

Still; it’s clear just from the color that one is different from the other and this is because I used darker malts in one.

The darker ale also has less chamomile in it. At the very least, the impact of the chamomile is milder and the nose tilts towards a honey-clover scent.

The lighter beer has something close to an herbal sweet/slightly going banana scent, and the finish is all chamomile. It also has a stronger head on it and what seems to be more carbonation throughout the life of the beer.

But both seem to go well with the chicken curry dinner I’m having so no complaints.

Normally, I’d post a recipe but I’ve got one more chamomile ale that I just bottled, and I’d like to see how that turns out before posting a general recipe.