Belgian Red Is The New Red

38672130982_e96aa84430_cAfter the Zoiglhaus beer, I had Belgian yeast to use and not a single idea what to do with it. So let’s go for a red ale!

There’s some roast coming up in the nose, which is offset by a some yeasty-sweetness. It makes for a more interesting start than I would’ve thought.

The beer finishes really spicy, almost like ginger. The midrange has a banana-like sweetness that is reined in by the malt and the yeast spice. It’s a pretty interesting beer and a solid one to have. There’s some nice complexities here that I could see going wrong in another beer-too much banana, the spiciness overwhelming things-but it’s working here. I’ll take it.

Brew date: 9/16/17

Steeping malts
5 lb Munich
1 lb Belgian biscuit
1 lb Special B
1 lb C40

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1.5 oz Czech Saaz, 1 oz German Hallertau @60
.5 oz Czech Saaz, 1oz German Hallertau @7

Imperial Monastic (2nd use)

OG: 1.08

FG: 1.012

Secondary: 10/19

ABV: 9.2%

Finally, I’d just like to announce that I’m going to take the holidays off. It’ll give me some time to get some blog posts ready, try some cool beer, and otherwise just rest. Happy holidays everyone! Next post: January 3, 2018.

Common Ales: Deschutes Jubleale

38299974104_2a63dc620a_cWith winter fast approaching and having recently made a winter warmer, I thought it would be good to try some of the winter seasonals. We start with Deschutes’ Jubelale winter ale. This has a faint molasses note to it in the nose, right behind the roasted quality. A near burnt caramel scent is what that roast reminds me of. The label says toffee and that’s probably a better word. As it warms up though, a new scent comes out, almost like chocolate frosting. Surprisingly sweet.

It’s a damn pretty beer, deep amber color that’s almost but not quite see through.

The flavors are an interesting blend of touches of chocolate and molasses, all overpowered by a more intense and a little burnt roast malt. I do get minute dark fruit- dates, I think, but it’s quiet and in the background. It’s not bad but I’m just not sure I’m all about this. Again, as the beer warms up, the roasted qualities soften and the beer gets a bit sweeter, in a banana-ish way. There’s a little spiciness too-the beer gets more complex as it warms I’m still not quite convinced here but I can totally see someone else loving it.

Whatever You Say 5\Second Pint Collective PAC

39105927552_73cf33c46e_cIn a fortunate series of events, I was able to meet with a pal for this post, and she has chosen the Seasons of Insanity CDA by Left Hand brewing.

I have to say: this was a very good pick. I usually hate CDAs because they just aren’t done very well. It’s a difficult style to execute and it frequently leans hard on coffee flavors, usually acrid, burnt ones. This has a nice hoppy nose, though, with no roast astringency and a fine hop bitterness. It’s a stunner, not unlike drinking blonde stouts, to have a beer that has the visual qualities of a stout but the scent and flavor qualities of an IPA. Well done, Left Hand.

We’re trying to do the visiting thing but the visiting thing is interrupted often by Carl, a small dog with a smooshed face and big ears, who is certain there is something in her bag for him. She has a loaf of bread with her and we’re informed by the barkeeper that Carl has a thing for bread. Carl got a lot of scratches behind his perky ears but alas for him, no bread.

There are worse things than being distracted by a pub dog. There used to be a pub cat at the Slingshot who was just great. She would jump on the seat, never the table, get her head scratched and, if she thought you were worthy, curl up next to you. You could pay attention to her or not.

More pubs need a pub dog or cat.

This week’s second pint goes to the Collective PAC.

Seattle 2017 Trip 2 pt 2

The wra38128333395_af72cd6760_cpup of the beers I got to try in Seattle:

Sumerian-Hopruption Double IPA: the nose has some solid dank, piney qualities. There isn’t much in the middle, which tracks for a DIPA but that also means that there is much between the nose and a very strong bitterness that is working the same pine qualities of as the nose. Still, I’d personally like a little more malt in the middle: this isn’t a bad beer, I just feel like it’s a lost opportunity.

Lucky Envelope-Eniac IPA: The nose on this is amazing. Mosaic hops, as though I’d just cut open the bag to put them in the beer. I’m really impressed by that. The beer itself isn’t as intensely bitter as I might expect, though, given the IPAs I’ve had recently. There’s a bite, sure but it’s not scouring and it doesn’t linger. There is even a little sweetness in there, leading into something faintly grassy. I’m pretty happy with this one.

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse-Little Red Cap alt: I don’t get much nose but what I can get, there’s some malt there, little caramel, maybe some C60 malt? But it’s not a sweeter ale: a little roasted quality, a little dry on the finish. The Red Cap is a pretty drinkable beer that I could see going really well with some pub food. I’d have another: heck, I’d try something else by the brewery.

Black Market Brewing-Enemy Within IPA with dragonfruit: so, this beer kinda exploded. No reason for it that I can tell, but the initial pour was 85% foam and took a little time to settle out. But there’s a nice nose on it and the beer is reasonably drinkable. There’s a fruity quality that is close to citrus but not quite, which I suppose is the dragonfruit. The finish is a little weird, too: not quite dry but I get a strange, tacky sensation on the roof of my mouth.

38128333655_373257569d_cUrban Family-Island Crusher Dry hopped sour w/pineapple: has a fruity funk on the nose but the beer itself isn’t too sour-tart, yes but not mouth puckery/dryingly so. It works more like a lemonade, maybe a bit stronger but definitely the kind of beer that I could see going to frequently during the summer. The finish is also surprisingly clean, making for a remarkably drinkable sour.

Aslan Brewing-Dawn Patrol Pacific IPA: Nice nose, with some watermelon and guava in it. Not what I was expecting but pleasant nonetheless! The beer itself continues the tropical fruit flavors, and then finishes very clean, with a lot of bubbly pop at the end. I’m still not up for pacific ale as a style-I don’t think this exists-but it’s a nice beer all the same.


Seattle 2017 Trip 2 pt 1

The holiday allowed me to visit the Seattle area and, of course, I got a bunch of beer to try so…here are the slightly edited reviews:

25144252488_f9135a88d9_cPayette Brewing-North Fork Lager: Nice bready nose, like uncooked bread. It’s sweet on the finish, like corn, that evaporates after the last swallow. It’s pretty damn good! The bread flavor in front with the corn on the end gives this beer some dimension.

Dru Bru-Belgian Bordeaux: Belgian pale aged in Bordeaux wine barrels. The wine really comes through in the nose; like church wine, only pricier and meant to be drank. The flavors follow through, too. A tart fruit quality rides through the ale, with some hop bitterness on the finish. The problem is; those two things don’t play nice with each other. It’s a beautiful drink, with a pink hue I rarely see and a pleasant floral nose but the sum is less than it’s parts. An interesting experiment that didn’t quite play out.

Counterbalance brewing- Counterbalance IPA: sweet orange nose; citrus but I get a little caramel under it. The first sip was a little overwhelming; a lot of bitterness, not much else. As I continue though, a inkling of sweetness crawls out from under the bitterness. The beer becomes a little more palatable as I go, which is novel but a nice experience.

39014539821_7c71506834_cMollusk-Briny Deep stout: A coffee nose but it’s not overwhelming. The beer itself is pretty smooth and finishes remarkably cleanly. It’s an 8% beer-which I don’t get at all-and I’m not picking up much in the way of oysters, which the label says is included in the beer. But I’m actually kinda impressed by the beer. Plus, 10/10 on incorporating the brewery name into the ingredients.

Dystopian State– The Gold Sigil, Imperial honey wheat ale: The nose has some honeysuckle to it, but the wheat malt doesn’t shy away either. While this beer is a sweet, it doesn’t linger and almost has a slight dry quality. It’s pretty nice and I’d have more.

Highwater Brewing-Aphotic Imperial Porter: the nose is a lot of mocha. Coffee chocolate blend. And the beer has a lot of that, too! But it’s awfully effervescent on the finish that that feels weird. From a sensory perspective-that is, the sparkle on my tongue is so intense that it feels weird. It also gives the finish a strange twist that doesn’t quite work. It doesn’t ruin the beer, but it makes me feel like I should have some misgivings about it.

Black Market Brewing-Invasion Red IPA: This has a great nose: pine and a little caramel  in it and it makes me look forward to the beer a lot. But the mouth is thin, the midrange is flavorless, the finish is dirty and where it’s isn’t dirty it tastes like raw hops.

Whatever You Say 4\Second Pint EFF

I had the good fortune to run into Bill of It’s Pub Night and his crew, as they celebrated his ten years of work on his blog. I met him at Base Camp brewing and was invited to come along to the last stop of the night, Burnside Brewing. Which is how I ended up with a Miss Idaho IPA: Bill picked it from the menu.

24101899957_8f9410a74a_kThe nose is a a bit fruity but not grapefruit. I can’t quite place it, so I go to the menu. It says, “pineapple” and bingo, that’s it. It’s got a the NE IPA haze to it, but I’m ok with that, because the beer is mining that pineapple tropical flavors, not grapefruit bitterness.

I have to say; this was a delightful crowd to be a part of. Conversation was lively but never hostile. I heard a story from a woman who told me about how her father had cultivated hops in the upper New York area-Helderberg hops, she said. Apparently back in the 1800s the Albany area was the leading producer of hops for the United States, but Prohibition destroyed that economy, so a lot of those crops weren’t sustained and many slowly went out of business, even after the repeal. Her father had gotten some from a farm, years and years ago and just grew them as a homebrewing afficiando, keeping the plant alive and using the hops for decades.

And now there are farms wanting to invest in hops again, so he was able to bring this variety-one that I’ve never heard of and I don’t know if it’s been used in a long, long time-back to a farm interested in growing them.

What’s really exciting to me is that hops which are viable for beer use aren’t common; scientists and farmers splice lots of varieties together in order to find something usable. Most aren’t, but since this hop was already used for beer, we know it’s got commercial viability! So who knows? Maybe I’ll see some Helderberg hops in the future to try in ales.

Today’s second pint goes to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Whatever You Say 3/Second Pint Spread the Vote

37948562955_b8eb556486_cTonight’s beer is 10 Barrel’s Femme de la Rouge-Belgian-style wild are w/cherries aged in oak barrels, which I’m drinking at Bailey’s. It’s interesting for me to have this beer, because I don’t willingly order 10 Barrel now: they’re owned by ABInBev. However, these are unusual circumstances.

This beer is tart! Really tart, tasting like unripe cherries. So those come through like gangbusters. It’s also really dry on the finish, making my mouth pucker. It was the choice of a woman next to me, visiting from Kansas City. She flew up with her boyfriend to see a concert and visit friends; they ended up at Bailey’s because he forgot to buy tickets to the concert. Without the tickets, the couple ended up visiting friends they knew and then coming to try the local beers.
I find this story to be utterly charming. How can I not love this? Plans that don’t quite work out & they make the best of it? Neither of them seemed too out of sorts and it’s nice to see people getting along.
I asked about the beer scene in KC and she said that on the Missouri side it’s pretty good. Smaller places are popping up (Martin City, the boyfriend chimes in, and she nods, repeating) so it’s coming along. But nothing like here.
I admit to her we’re spoiled. It makes rating beers difficult because if I was in a place without all these options, I would be so glad to get some options. Her boyfriend is drinking the Boulevard Winter Warmer, and I ask him how it is. He tells me he really likes it. I mention to him that I just brewed one today with my friend Miranda, so I was thinking about trying it, just to get a baseline for comparison.

“It’s a really good example of the style, I think,” he replies. So maybe I’ll give it a sip, next.

Today’s second pint goes to Spread the Vote.

The Wort Share

38042487216_9f5b9ee688_cThe Zoiglhaus periodically does an event called a wort share: they make the base beer and then for a fee, people can pick that up and a strain of yeast that they want, and then do whatever they like to it. More hops in secondary? Oak chips? Whatever!

So I thought I’d give this a go, using Imperical’s Monastic yeast as my selection.

I’m pretty pleased by how this worked out. The nose has a little Belgian peppery quality, but otherwise isn’t overwhelming. The beer itself follows up on this pepper quality on the finish. The middle of the beer has a caramel and roasted flavor happening but it isn’t cloying or sweet. The finish isn’t extremely clean-the effervescence is strong which is great, but the lingering flavors of sweetness and pepper from the Belgian yeast know how to hang out.

All in all, pretty tasty though.

The brew date was 8/11.

The malt bill worked out like this (from Zoiglhaus’s notes):

60% Vienna, 30% Munich, and 10% Pilsner

The OG is around 1.054. FG was 1.009, so the ABV at 6.1%.

Total IBU is around 20, which was achieved with a bittering addition of Herkules and three flavor/aroma additions of Hallertau Herbsbrucker.

I added Imperial’s Monastic Belgian yeast and in secondary, 1 oz of Chinook on 9/8 and bottled it on 9/10.