Tag Archives: imperial

Imperial Brown redux

Here’s the recipe I used to when I attempted to re-do the imperial brown I made for my birthday:

Steeping  grains:
1.5 lb pils
1.25 Crystal 40
.5 lb chocolate
3 oz Carafa II

Fermentables:
7 lb LME

Hops:
2 lb Dry Extract malt, light
1.5 oz Centennial @ 60
1 oz Fuggle @ 15

Yeast:
Reused yeast from Choc-Chai-WLP 008, 2nd use

Original Gravity
1.08
Final Gravity
1.021
Likely Terminal Gravity
1.031

ABV
7.70%
My notes during the process:
This one went a little hot on me–sparging was good but steeping/boil was just a touch over
Smells hot-possible infection?
Added .5 tsp yeast for carbonation but not sure it’s needed.
Sweet but not crazy so, carbonation may help.

So how’d it turn out?
imperial brownNot bad at all.

It may be a touch overcarbonated for a brown ale but that works in this case because the slightly overheated steeping gave this brew some cinnamon and a touch of estery banana flavors.

The carbonation helps finish all that off pretty cleanly, which is good because otherwise don’t think it would be as impressive. The alcohol warmth doesn’t show up much and it’s pretty easy to drink.

It’s not perfect; I think I held back on the darker/more bitter flavors and that means the beer doesn’t have quite the balance I’d like. The hot sparging may have also brought up flavors I really didn’t want and though I do try to keep a rein in on the temperature when I’m cooling the wort, it’s possible I didn’t drop the temp enough before pitching the yeast.

Still, it’s a solid brew and I’m pleased.

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Whatever You Say #31

I’ve been taking tango lessons at the Viscount and it’s been playing havoc with my beer drinking schedule. Gotta have priorities, damnit and counting quick-quick slow quick-quick slow is not amongst them, usually. The things we do for love, no?

Of course, the bonus for finishing the class is a beer at the wonderful Burnside Brewing company. I excused myself for a moment and approached a darling lass at the bar with cat eye glasses and a pink dress who, amongst the patrons, didn’t seem to be involved with a book or classwork so I didn’t feel bad about interrupting her thoughts in order to ask her what she was drinking.

Alter Ego IPATurns out, it was Burnside’s newest seasonal, (so new it’s not even on their website at the time of this writing!) Alter Ego Imperial IPA.

It’s pretty damn tasty too. A bit smoother than the NW style IPAs or maybe better to say, more balanced and at 7.9%, not a hint of warmth to it. Really drinkable and thus a little dangerous, unless you’re a professional like me.

What I’m saying is, leave it alone so I can have more of the Alter Ego. Do it for me.

The rest of the evening is spent talking about the logistics of the tango.

Ladies, I’m going to tell you something-and I do so gingerly, because there’s probably nothing that I know that you don’t, but I’m going to do it anyway because the men in the Universe need help. I certainly did.

Most men don’t hate dancing. Lots of young men mosh it up, which is a form of dancing, even though it can leave you bruised. We hate looking like an ass and dancing makes us look like an ass because we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing. And most of us aren’t good looking or rich enough to cover up the fact that we don’t know what we’re doing.

So cut us some slack. Because dancing is hard and may I remind you: everything is on the guy. As the lead, if anything goes wrong, he is to blame.

Tell me, if I asked you to take on a task that make you look like a fool and if anything went wrong the blame was on you because you’re in charge-regardless of the mistakes of anyone else- does that sound like fun?

Exactly. So if you want us to dance, let us take some lessons so we can look bad in a class full of bad-looking fellows and get good enough to look at least competent in public.

And fellows; if she’s willing to go to lessons, ask for a beer afterwards. On her. Give yourself something to look forward to.

The Imperial Brown

On my birthday, I made this beer:

Steeping grains:
1.5 lb pils
1.25 Crystal 40
.5 lb chocolate
2 oz Carafa II

Fermentables:
7 lb LME
1 lb Dry wheat malt extract
1.5 lb Dry Extract malt, light

Hops:
1.5 oz N Brewer @ 60
1 oz Centennial @ 15

Yeast:
reused Alt 2 Wyeast 1056

Original Gravity:
1.084

Terminal:
1.027

Final:
1.037

ABV:
7.41%

The final trick, though, was to add some fresh yeast to my priming sugar before I bottled the beer. This meant that the beer would actually be carbonated-no tricks, no waiting two months, none of that. About seven days and I’d be ready to go. I don’t know if I was told to do this earlier and ignored it or what but thanks to the fine bloke at FH Steinbarts for the suggestion because…

Check that out. That is a carbonated beer. I am SO pleased that this has come out this way.

No, it’s not appropriate to style. Darker ales tend to be, if made to style, less carbonated, sometimes hardly carbonated at all. Understand, however, that I’ve been trying to work out a way to consistently carbonate my beers since I started brewing  seven years ago.

Now I don’t know that I’ve solved my carbonation issues. Repetition is the key to success here and this is the first time I’ve added fresh yeast but after struggling for so long, it’s nice to have this kind of unmitigated success.

The nose is very malty, without pushing coffee flavors. The beer has a nice smooth mouthfeel-which, unfortunately, is disrupted rather quickly by the carbonation.

So there is a drawback here. That said; it tastes really good! Faint chocolate, slight alcohol warmth with a very clean finish. I can be proud of this one for sure.

Whatever You Say #24

The plan-such as I ever plan these things-was to go to Deschutes for the blog, then move to Bailey’s for the afterparty.

But I got to Deschutes between 7:30-8 and the spot was packed. You can’t have a conversation with someone if you can’t even stand nearby without getting in the way of everyone else. So let’s push this for another time and just go to Bailey’s right?

Jolly Pumpkin Sour StoutI walk in and see into a man that seems familiar at the bar; I don’t want to presume I know him but I feel like I might so I’ve got that awkward phase of ‘what do I do here? Risk being a fool or just go all out? He’s alone so what the hell: ask him what he’s drinking. He tells me it’s Jolly Pumpkin’s Madrugada and that I’ll probably have something good to write about it.

Wait a minute…

Turns out, I know him and asked him what he was drinking a couple months ago! Awesome to see Kevin and I drink this in his honor. I get to ask him a few questions and it turns out he’d gotten the Jolly Pumpkin in part because he’s from Michigan, which JP operates out of. But it’s also a pretty interesting beer; a sour imperial stout and he’s the kind of guy who’s looking for interesting beers (otherwise, why go to Bailey’s?) The flavors are pretty good up until the very end, when I get a coffee dregs bitterness that conflicts pretty badly with the sour notes at the end and the sweeter notes in the middle.

It’s a good, mellow night at Bailey’s with plenty of space for people to have conversations and the chill of winter is truly abated; outside, despite lacking greenery, just feels warmer. Spring is here and somehow things just feel warmer, just looking through the windows, the grip of cold that winter had over the city has slipped away.

In the meantime, I talk Magic strategy with a friend who’s come along and I let myself get wrapped up in geekery and sip my beer.

Kevin suddenly has to head out; I didn’t get a chance to ask him how he was beyond our initial meeting and I’m sorry I didn’t. I was hoping to chat when I went to get my second beer but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, unfortunately. Life’s like that sometimes but I’m happy to run into him because that means that I may run into him again and be able to sit down and talk. Being able to make time for friendly faces is one of the things that is best in life.

Now that I’ve had what’s been recommended, I’m going to have some things that I want. It’s my birthday tomorrow and I’d like to treat myself. Cheers!

Excellent advice

I know this really isn’t news, I’m always on the hunt for good beer.  Fortunately, my hunt is facilitated by living in Portland which has a thriving beer scene, and strong connections to nearby breweries in California, Colorado and Washington, as well as making a big enough mark that brews from Maine and Vermont show up here. But getting international beers is always a challenge, and I am frequently jealous of the lovely Impy with her access to the interesting and tasty beers she drinks. Which is why I was thrilled to find some Brew Dog in my hometown.  I got the Hardcore IPA, an imperial style IPA, because I’m interested to see how someone who hasn’t been indoctrinated by the Pacific NW idea of brewing handles this, and because getting the porter would’ve cost me $12 for sixteen ounces, versus $12 for twenty two ounces. Spending that much on a single beer is a special event thing for me.

It’s quite a tasty beer, too, and very smooth. Leaning more toward the traditional IPAs rather than the Northwest style, the hops are present but not overwhelming. I’m quite grateful for this; not everything should be so hopped you can’t tell the difference between beer and plants. Plus, I like the idea that people will continue to make all kinds of styles of beer; I’d hate to see another style go extinct.

I like the packaging too-their beers have this devil may care rock & roll vibe, and that’s just fun. More fun than most beers these days, which seem to be taking craft brewing very seriously. Making good beer; serious. The enjoyment of good beer; not serious.

And there’s quite a bit to enjoy so I am glad to have an informant on these beers from far across the ocean. Drinking this reminds me of the times Impy and I got to sit in the pubs around a couple pints, and I certainly hope we do that again soon.