Friday, July 29, 2011

Homebrew Tasting: Traditional French Saison

I have decided to do all my tasting notes on the official BJCP Tasting Form/ Score Sheet. It is really helpful and I don't need to have a computer out or copy my notes into print. This is also nice because I can open a beer for a group of people and get their feedback and record this on the score sheet. Then the paper goes into my brewing binder so I can refer to it next year.

Overall this beer is right on the style guidelines, but didn't have that elevated punch. All the flavors were a bit weak. For next year's batch I will do a few things different:
- Blend the French Saison with a more flavor dominant yeast like the Dupont Strain
- Add light spices to elevate the flavor notes I want to focus on
- More wheat or other higher protein grain like spelt to improve mouthfeel and head retention.

I also have this 3rd party review from the San Diego County Fair Homebrew Contest. It is a huge (800+ entries) single day competition so the feedback is not very good. The upside is that you get 2 fair admissions for a $6 entry (this is now the only reason I enter).
NHC 2012 Results

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Best Damn Beer Shop 2nd Anniversary Tasting

Best Damn Beer Shop 2nd Anniversary Tasting was my favorite beer event I have attended. That says a lot considering I'm lucky enough to live in San Diego, which has a craft beer scene that is blowing up.

This event had everything you are looking for in a good beer event.
1. Great Beer List (more on this later)
2. Fantastic Location (Tipsy Crow upstairs lounge in the Gaslamp District of San Diego)
3. Limit on ticket sales (100 - turned out to be a great number, no lines but still had a fun vibe)
4. Good Crowd (Beer People have fun)
5. Great Tasting Glasses
6. Chance to taste Utopias (Raffle)

In San Diego there is seriously a beer festival every summer weekend and every other weekend the rest of the year. I have had to become more selective with which events I choose. Everyone knows beer events are a great way to discover new beers (I did), but as a homebrewer I now think of events as an opportunity to find new flavor combinations.

Here are my top 5
Russian River Sanctification - This was my favorite beer of the day mostly because it lived up to my expectations. I have read about this beer and knew it was going to have the flavor profile I like. Which is big tropical fruits with just enough tartness and funk to know it is wild. I guess this beer started as a Brett blend (great homebrew idea). This method is also what Chad Y at Crooked Stave has been preaching, he even has brewed a beer with 10 strains of Brettanomyces. According to the Russian River Batch Log they now use the Drie Fonteinen Brett strains. I did notice a huge similarity with my batches brewed with the Avery 15 dregs which are originally from Drie Fonteinen. 

Russian River Salvation - This was one of the most balanced and drinkable Belgian Beers I have ever had. It has inspired me to brew something similar in the next few months. I felt as if it had all the elements of a Belgian Dark Strong in a perfect balance. You could taste the dark fruit, you could taste the belgian esters and phenols, you could taste the malt. But none of these were screaming at you to notice them.

De Molen Heaven & Imperial Stout - This one is all about after-taste. After-taste is one thing I have always wondered about when it comes to homebrewing. I know certain flavors will stick with you longer (like roasted notes), but it is mainly about mouthfeel. I believe you need to use a lot of malt, so these beer need to be in the imperial category. The beer must retain some long chain dextrins but should not finish at too low a gravity. Since you need residual sugars but don't want a sweet beer so you will need to increase the bittering to balance the beer. Also a good amount of protein (oats,..) should help to increase the mouthfeel.(I'll try this in a big winter warmer later in the year)

Fifty Fifty Eclipse Evan Williams Imperial Stout - One of the top bourbon barrel aged beer I've had. It is more about the vanilla and oak flavors than the bourbon and guess what you can still taste the wonderful stout. It was also better because I had just listened to Todd Ashman on the Brewing Network.

Brewdog 5 AM Saint Amber -A hoppy beer in my top 5. It even surprised me. What even shocked me more was that I don't think most Brewdog beers have lived up to the hype. This beer had the most hop aroma of all the beers poured that night (that's saying a lot, check the list above). And this was in a bottle and shipped from Scotland. I can't describe too much about this beer because it was late in the night, but the hop aroma was extremely memorable.

Honorable Mention (new homebrew idea)
Telegraph Gipsy Plum - Had the ultimate jam taste. I have tried this with figs and dates. Now I need to try plums, maybe in a Christmas style beer.

P.S. I did get a taste of Sam Adams Utopias from generous Sid that runs Best Damn Beer Shop. WOW, I think it did live up to some of the hype. It was the most intense sip I have ever had. It was like a liquid version of chocolate covered toffee. I'm not sure it is worth the price tag, but if you have a chance to buy in for an ounce or two tasting I would.

Here is a fun sequence of pictures from the event. Notice how one person in the first shot influences the entire group to go total crazy face by the third shot.
One Crazy
  Three Crazy

All Crazy
I always make beer lists for Beer Festivals. You have to be educated nowadays since the name of most beers no longer let you know what to expect. If you have a festival coming up, look through the below descriptions and copy then paste.
Sam Adams Utopias (2 ounce pour) Sweet fire, with a rich malt and wood complexity. Truly the epitome of brewing's two thousand year evolution, Samuel Adams Utopias® offers a flavor not just unlike any other beer but unlike any other beverage in the world. The 2009 release is a blend of batches, some having been aged up to 16 years in the barrel room of our Boston Brewery, in a variety of woods. We aged a portion of the beer in hand-selected, single-use bourbon casks from the award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery. The latest batch also spent time in Portuguese muscatel finishing casks, as well as sherry, brandy and Cognac casks. This flavorful, slightly fruity brew has a sweet, malty flavor that is reminiscent of a deep, rich vintage port, fine cognac or aged sherry. The latest in our strong brews, Samuel Adams Utopias has been brewed in three small limited batches to date, growing stronger with each batch. The first batch which was released in 2001 topped out at 24%ABV, for the fourth batch in 2009 we reached 27%ABV. Each batch was only released once in limited quantities. Samuel Adams Utopias was brewed at a very high gravity using a wide variety of malted barley and a touch of maple syrup. It was then aged in a blend of scotch, bourbon, port and cognac casks for up to 10 years.
Flavor: A unique flavor of vintage port, old sherry and fine cognac. Layers of dark fruit, wood and vanilla.
Ale Smith Barrel Aged Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
A classic Scotch Ale. Scotch ales are typically sweet and malty, with a very subdued dose of hops– just enough to provide balance. AleSmith Wee Heavy is a wonderful interpretation of this traditional Scotch style. A year spent in bourbon barrels adds another layer of rich sweetness.Deep mahogany color with nice tan head. Rich, toasty, malty aroma and flavor with a faint touch of smokiness. A tinge of hops provides the perfect balance to the maltiness. Full-bodied, smooth and warming.
Fifty Fifty Eclipse Evan Williams Imperial Stout
What happens when you take an award winning Imperial Stout, put it in oak bourbon barrels, and then age it for six months? One of the most epic beer tasting experiences you will ever have: Eclipse.  Imperial Stouts are noted for being very rich substantial beers, and FiftyFifty's Totality Imperial Stout does not disappoint on this fact. Brewed in small 300 gallons batches, our brewers lovingly craft this masterpiece once a year. Made with the finest malts, hops, fresh mountain water and yeast, over 18 separate ingredients lend their unique character to this beer. To become Eclipse, Totality is then aged for a minimum of 180 days in oak bourbon barrels. This time spent adds a plethora of flavors to the already rich Imperial Stout. At first taste there is a large presence of dark chocolate, espresso and warmth from the alcohol of the beer. Oak barrel character then comes into play with hints of vanilla and coconut, followed by mild bitterness from the hops, and then a nice long lingering finish with hints of tobacco, dark dried fruit and more chocolate. Eclipse is a wonderful companion with dessert. A beer meant for contemplation best enjoyed in a snifter and with a friend. What we've got here is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish. Makes your taste buds squeal with delight.11.2% ABV70 IBUs
Drie Fontenien Oude Gueuze is the only remaining traditional geuze blender in Belgium, using only 100% spontaneously fermented lambic beer, aged in oak casks, with no artificial sweeteners or other additives. The blendery is connected to the very popular Drie Fonteinen Restaurant in Beersel, on the outskirts of Brussels. The proprietor, Armand Debelder, buys pure lambic from three breweries in Belgium, ages them in oak, and blends them, employing the skill, knowledge, and supreme passion for real geuze that his father handed down to him. Drie Fontenein’s Geuze and fruit Lambics (cherry, raspberry) are rare, highly prized, and indisputably among the best of Belgium. We have been begging Armand for years to send us some of his exquisite Geuze and Kriek. Armand believes that this blend from 1999 is the best Geuze he has ever made. It is a classic blend of one, two, and three-year old lambiks, bottled in 1999 and carefully watched while it continues to re-ferment in the bottle. Properly stored, it will only get better and better for at least the next 10 years. This newer blend is also exquisite.Like any traditional geuze, Drie Fonteinen’s Oude Geuze is tart, earthy, and incredibly complex, but also spritzy as champagne and greatly refreshing.
Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada A Belgian inspired stout that is as dark as a moonless midnight, brimming of roasted malts and bitter hops.
It will keep you good company in all places, be thay light or dark. 8.1% Alc./Vol.
Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela Ok, so the joke was that Jolly Pumpkin doesn’t brew a pumpkin beer. Well, now we do. Just this one. Packed with real pumpkins, hints of spice, and a gentle kiss of cocoa to liven the soul. An everyday easy way to fill your squashy quotient. Guess now folks will have to find something else to joke about...
Jolly Pumpkin E.S Bam Farmhouse A Bam celebration of excess. More malt, more hops, same vivacious personality.4.7% Alc./Vol.
Hansens Oude Gueuze - As with all Gueuzes, Hanssens is a mixture of several vintages to produce a lambic which is refreshingly fruity.
This is the result of blending different lambics of different ages. The second fermentation takes place inside the bottles and therefore they are stored for minimum six months in constant temperature kept cellars.  Hanssens Oude Gueuze has a hazy gold color and an aroma of wet wool, preserved lemons, vanilla, and earth. The palate is sharply tangy and dry, opening up to a marvelously complex display of citrus and damp earth in the center. The finish is miles long and juicily acidic, with a final flourish of fruit.
Hansens Oude Kriek (cherry) - This is the result of blending black cherries lambic of different ages followed by a second fermentation in the bottle. Storage is similar like geuze. All bottles are champagne corked and can be reserved, in normal conditions, for more than thirty years. It is obvious that an amazing taste evolution takes place.
Hansens Oudbeitje (strawberry) This unique, refreshing beer appetizer is the result of amalgamating fresh strawberries with lambic during summer.
Firestone Parabola Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout - Parabola has been a major component of past anniversary blends and is one of our most aggressive offerings. This beer features bold bourbon and tobacco aromas and a rich dark chocolate, charred oak flavor. Parabola is best enjoyed in moderation and is a perfect beer to pair with those chocolate dessert favs. An extension of Quercus Alba —the Firestone Walker Barrel aged program. Russian Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels.
Firestone Abacus Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine - Abacus is a barrel aged Barley Wine. Four barrels in total were selected for the blend. The base of this year’s offering was aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for 3 years! The resulting beer is strong yet extremely elegant and smooth. Big boozy bourbon and American oak aromas combined with soft chocolate malty undertones. Complex malt flavors framed in oak, with hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, coconut and just a touch of dark cherry. This is definitely a sipping beer, best served in a brandy snifter. Abacus pairs well with dark chocolate and sturdy cheeses.
Telegraph Reserve Wheat - This intensely sour "wild ale" recalls the earliest rustic beers crafted centuries ago before brewers had an understanding of controlled fermentation. Brewed with the addition of lemon verbena, as well as lactobacillus and brettanomyces. Telegraph Reserve Wheat is an all-together different beast from modern beer. Not for the faint of heart, this special brew is available in extremely limited quantities.
Telegraph Gipsy Ale Plum Sour - Inspired by the exuberance of the Romani Gypsy culture. Telegraph Gypsy Ale celebrates the restless and adventurous spirit in all of us. We brewed it with rye, unmalted wheat, and locally grown plums. Then we fermented it with Brettanomyces while listening to traditional Gypsy tunes. It’s wild, it’s unique, it’s delicious. So go ahead, stray from that well-trodden ground you are following, grab a bottle, and dance along a crooked path. Opa!
Telegraph Obscura Arborea Flemish Brown - Obscura Arborea is an ale brewed in the style of Belgium’s Oude Bruin, the famous Flanders Sour Brown Ales. Our wild brown ale has a malty character suggesting dark caramel and dried fruit, and is balanced by a refreshing lactic tartness from the wild yeast used during aging. Cherry-like aromas and a hint of oak round out this sensory experience and make for an extremely satisfying and unique beer.
Telegraph Petit Obscura Sour - Telegraph Petit Obscura is a "small beer" brewed from the sour mash second runnings of a batch of our Rhinoceros Rye Wine. Historically, a small beer was brewed as a way of utilizing the remaining sugars that are otherwise lost when making a big, high-gravity beer. With a crisp, fruity, white-wine-like character, our little obscure one is a light-bodied "wild ale" with a subtle complexity that transcends its humble origins.
Alpine Ichabod Pumpkin Sour Ichabod - 2009 - Our seasonal holiday ale. This year’s base beer is a Belgian-style Sour Ale aged in a mix of red and white wine barrels. Generous additions of pumpkins, cinnamon and nutmeg were added in the barrels. Some funky brett nips at your taste buds. Share this hauntingly delicious brew with a friend because two heads are better than none.
Alpine Nelson RYE IPA - An outstanding hop from New Zealand, Nelson Sauvin, is generously used throughout the brewing and dry-hopping of this unique beer. European rye is added for a smooth, malty addition to flavor. 1.065 OG 7%ABV
Alpine Emerson Imperial Pilsner- A New Zealand hopped imperial pilsner.
New Belgium Lips of Faith La Folie - La Folie Wood-Aged Biere, is our original wood-conditioned beer, resting in French Oak barrels between one and three years before being hand bottled, numbered and corked for your enjoyment. Brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, came to us from Rodenbach – home of the fabled sour red. Our La Folie emulates the spontaneous fermentation beers of Peter’s beloved Flanders with sour apple notes, a dry effervescence, and earthy undertones.
New Belgium Lips of Faith Le Terroir is a French term meaning ‘Of the Earth.’ Used to reference the environmental conditional that affect the brew, we like to think about the terroir of our foeders. These wooden barrels age our sour beer in varying temperatures, humidity and vibrations. The terroir of New Belgium, so to speak. Add in another variable by dry-hopping with peachy, mango-like Amarillo hops, and we created a beer that changes every time we brew it.
New Belgium Lips of Faith Grand Cru Abbey - Before there was New Belgium Brewing, there was Abbey Ale. It was the first beer of home brewer and New Belgium co-founder, Jeff Lebesch. So the love brews deep for Abbey Grand Cru. To date, Abbey Ale has garnered no less than 16 medals at the Great American Beer Festival–7 of those being Gold. Take that award-winning recipe, precisely increase the hops, malt and fermentation time, and the result is a Grand Cru worth collecting. And that’s exactly what many of us at New Belgium, as well as a growing number of fans, have done.
New Belgium Lips of Faith Super Cru -
Our 20th Anniversary! Let's roll a bunch of New Belgium together and put it in a bottle. Start with the backbone of Fat Tire,but double the malt and hops; Add in crisp Asian Pears, a very Belgian thing to do; and bring it to life with a Saison yeast.
It's New Belgium Super Cru from us to you!
New Belgium Lips of Faith Vrienden - Get a Belgian Brewmaster and a master of Belgian brewing together and theres sure to be spontaneous imagination that leads to micro-organisms mingling in fermentation. Allagash and New Belgium are pleased to offer you our collabeeration brewed with the slightly fruity hibiscus flower, the aromatic Brettanomyces, and the flavor-boosting Lactobacillus.
La Choulette Framboise - The beer pours an ugly murky pink/purple, without much head, light carbonation...The aroma is a really nice sweet candy raspberry, a sweet fruit but lacking a bit in complexity...The taste is let down, light sweet to start with raspberries displaying but then there is a flat, wood, grain alochol finish the ruings it..The feel is light, not easy to drink. Smells great, but that’s it, a fruit beer not worth drinking
Russian River Supplication - Brown ale aged in Pinot Noir wine barrels for one year with sour cherries, Brettanomyces yeast, and Lactobacillus & Pedicoccus bacteria.
Russian River Consecration - Ale with currants added and aged in oak barrels.
Russian River Temptation - Is it beer, or is it wine? "Aged in French oak wine barrels for twelve months with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak" sounds more like a description of wine than beer. But, of course, Temptation is indeed beer. Actually, Temptation is a Blonde Ale Fermented with a special strain of yeast, then aged in French oak chardonnay barrels. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout twelve months of aging. During this aging process, a secondary fermentation occurs using a yeast strain disliked by most brewers and winemakers called Brettanomyces. The "Bret" gives Temptation intriguing characteristics and a pleasant sourness. Temptation is re-fermented in the bottle to create its carbonation--a process commonly used to make fine champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment to remain in the bottle.
Russian River Sanctification - Who’s afraid of the "big bad BRET?" We’ll tell you who: winemakers! Because of our close proximity to several hundred wineries, we often get winemakers visiting our brewery. (After all, it takes a lot of great beer to make great wine!) Because we use 100% Brettanomyces yeast to ferment Sanctification, most winemakers will only smell the glass, and only a very few will venture to taste the beer. They think the Brettanomyces will attach to their clothing and end up in their winery. A simple solution was offered: keep a smudge pot burning at the door of our brewery so they can burn their clothes when exiting, but even that was not enough. After giving it more thought, we concluded that winemakers think Brettanomyces might scar their taste buds and possible even permeate their skin? Either way, Sanctification is one of the most unique beers you will ever taste! It was fermented with 100% Brettanomyces, rather than the traditional Saccharomyces. 100% Brettanomyces,
Russian River Redpemtion - This is the sister beer to our award-winning ale, Damnation. Fashioned after a Belgian-style “single”, this ale is rarely brewed in America, let alone Belgium. Typically, “singles” are brewed only at the Trappist Monasteries for the monks to enjoy with meals. They often drink only half of a bottle with lunch and the rest with supper, despite the beer’s low alcohol content. Redemption is modest in strength, robed in warm golden hues, and soft on the palate with a smooth dry finish.
Russian River Salvation - This Belgian style Strong Dark Ale has a tawny brown color and aromas of banana and spice that dominate the initial bouquet of the beer. Lean malt flavors blend perfectly with fruit driven characteristics created by the classic Belgian yeast which fermented this ale. The alcohol content is deceptively smooth just like its sister beer Damnation. Brewed just once a year for a release in January.
Dieu Du Ciel Aphrodite Vanilla cocoa Stout - Black ale with aromas and flavours of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon and roasted malt. The vanilla and cocoa marry nicely, without out-competing each other, to produce a surprisingly well balanced beer. This beer is mildly hoppy, but the cocoa introduces a touch of bitterness. Its colour may be intimidating, but it is a very smooth beer within reach of most beer drinkers. This highly appreciated dessert beer is brewed with organic fair-trade cocoa and first rate vanilla beans.100/100
Dieu Du Ciel Peche Mortel Fair trade coffee Stout - Péché Mortel (French for "Mortal Sin") is an intensely black and dense beer with very pronounced roasted flavours. Fair trade coffee is infused during the brewing process, intensifying the bitterness of the beer and giving it a powerful coffee taste. Péché mortel is brewed to be savored; we invite you to drink it in moderation.  This stout style, high in alcohol and bitterness in order to favour preservation, was historically brewed to support the long and arduous voyage necessary to export the beer from England to Russia. The word Imperial comes from the fact that the beer was specially brewed for the Russian tsar’s court.
Uinta Crooked Cockeyed Cooper Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine Launch into the exquisite flavors of bourbon with splashes of vanilla. Watch for currents of dark chocolate and dried fruit. Generous amounts of hops and malts make for a smooth journey from start to finish. Decadent desserts and aged cheeses make superb companions.97/100
Uinta Crooked Imperial Pilsner Tilted Smile breaks away from the crowd. Big in alcohol, yet approachable and versatile. Confidently balanced with Saaz hops and 100% Pilsen malt. Crisp and delightfully carbonated. Explore pairing with grilled meats and seafood.69/100
Dogfish Head Squall IPA Unfiltered 90 Minute - Esquire Magazine calls our 90 Minute I.I.PA., "perhaps the best I.P.A. in America." An Imperial I.P.A. brewed to be savored from a snifter. A big beer with a great malt backbone that stands up to the extreme hopping rate. This beer is an excellent candidate for use with Randall The Enamel Animal! 90 ibu 100/100 Tasting Notes: Brandied fruitcake, raisiney, citrusy.
Dogfish Head Hellbound Hoppy Brewed with Lemons - 2011 marks the 100th birthday of Mississippi Delta bluesman Robert Johnson who, according to legend, sold his soul down at the crossroads in a midnight bargain and changed music forever. Working again with our friends at Sony Legacy (yup, the same folks we did our Miles Davis-inspired Bitches Brew with), Dogfish Head pays tribute to this blues legend by gettin the hellhounds off his trail and into this finely-crafted ale. Hellhound is a super-hoppy ale that hits 100 IBUs in the brewhouse, 10.0 ABV, 10.0 SRM in color, and dry-hopped with 100% centennial hops at a rate of 100 kilos per 100 barrel brew-length. Can you tell we at Dogfish are stoked for this mighty musical centennial? To accentuate and magnify the citrusy notes of the centennial hops (and as a shout out to Robert Johnsons mentor Blind Lemon Jefferson) we add dried lemon peel and flesh to the whirlpool. 96/100
Cascade Kriek Sour Cherries - Winter Seasonal. Brewed with 4 types of cherries, aged in oak for one year. Spends over 6 months of lactic fermentation and aging in small oak barrels. This "Belgian Flanders Style Red Ale" is refermented with a blend of fresh whole Northwest cherries and then hand bottled. Cascade Kriek Ale is bottle fermented and should be refrigerated or stored at cellar temp and served at 45 to 50 degrees. 98/100
Stillwater Stateside - Aged for 9 months in freshly emptied Chardonnay barrels and re-fermented with multiple strains of Brettanomyces. Stateside Saison pays homage to old world tradition while celebrating new world innovation. Naturally brewed with the finest European malts & fresh aromatic hops from the United States & New Zealand. It’s then fermented using a classic farmhouse ale yeast and bottle conditioned to enhance stability. The outcome is a beer of unique design and exquisite taste, showcasing some of the best attributes of modern-day craft brewing. 98/100
Stillwater Existent - Aged in Jack Daniels barrels. Existent represents the philosophy behind Stillwater Artisanal. We strive to define ourselves through our passion and sincerity while accepting that not all aspects of life are readily explainable. To manifest this ideology we present an ale of intrigue. Deep & dark though deceptively dry, braced by a firm yet smooth bitterness and accented with an earthy hop and mild roast aroma. This is an ale for you to define..94/100
Stillwater Cellar Door - over the ages the term ’cellar door’ has numerously been referred to as the most beautiful term in the English language. upon setting out to create the first summer addition to the Stateside line up of ales; the feeling that almost instantly came to me was that of beauty & cleansing. many summer offerings tend to lack the complexity of their bigger, colder season counterparts; so my goal was to craft an ale of extreme balance with a delicate complexity that allows for contemplation while also providing quaffable refreshment. starting with a base of German wheat & pale malts this crisp slightly hazy foundation was then accented with a blend of Sterling & Citra hops providing a intricate blend of herbal grass & tangerine citrus flavors and aroma. to pull this all together and to complete the ’cleansing’ aspect of my vision i gently finished the ale off with a touch of white sage, lending a mild earthy spice character to the blend. of course let’s not forget our house saison yeast that brought all the elements together leaving a dry yet intricate finish. 98/100
Stillwater Autumnal Saisons - This deep amber hued ale takes it’s inspiration from Germany while still nodding to the Belgian farmhouse tradition. The base is comprised of German two-row, wheat, Cara-Munich, and roasted barley. Generously hopped with a blend of Perle, Spalt, and Hallertau Mittelfrüh and fermented with a rustic Belgian farmhouse ale yeast. These elements together provide a melange of earth and fruit aromas backed with hints of caramel with a dry clean finish. 
Saison cazeau Aux Fleurs De Sureau - Saison Cazeau is a light white beer, refermented in the bottle, with 5% alcohol content. As well as the Pilsen malt and two hops which give it a really nice bitter flavour, Saison is laced with elderflowers (Sambucus Nigra L.) which make it really refreshing. The elderflower only blooms for three weeks between mid-May and mid-June, which means that production of our Saison is very time-limited.85/100
Midnight Sun Fallen Angel Golden Ale - Midnight Sun's Fallen Angel Golden Strong Ale, brewed on 6-6-6, is a traditional Belgian-style golden ale--beautiful gold in color with tiny, busy bubbles forming a very thick, creamy head. Effervescent and crisp, this seriously delicious elixir tempts the palate with apple (oh so Garden of Eden), pear and a little earthy mustiness. Fallen Angel captivates your senses with its lightness and brightness while its 8% ABV strength breathes fire into your soul, warming you from the inside out. 94/100
Midnight Sun Panty Peeler Tripel - Voluptuous yet elegant, Epluche-culotte Trippel exudes its free spirit with orangey-amber color topped with a creamy white head. The aroma is sweet, spicy and earthy. The addition of Curacao (bitter) orange peel and whole coriander infuse color, citrus and spice while a special Belgian yeast strain imparts other enticing flavors and aromas during fermentation. Bottle conditioning creates the right effervescence for a perfectly heady experience. In the style of a Belgian Trippel, Epluche-culotte is delicious yet spirited. Originally named Extreme Polar White Bier, it got nicknamed "Panty Peeler" . We say it in French: E'pluche-culotte. The joyride awaits.98/100
Airdale Angry Panda
Ommegang Belgian Pale Ale - This fine pale ale has citrus and tropical fruit aromatic shared with a well-balanced – yet abundant – hop character. It uses our own Belgian yeast, five malts, two hops, and plenty of patience. Finishing touches include dry-hopping with Cascade hops and warm-cellaring.97/100
Ommegang Three Philosophers - Three Philosophers is a remarkable limited edition strong ale brewed by Brewery Ommegang in response to a home brewer’s description of his dream beer., the internet’s largest beer website, hosted a contest called “Create a Great Beer.” Brewery Ommegang was chosen by to brew the Belgian-style ale for the winning essayist. Noel Blake, a home brewer from Portland wrote the winning description for what his “dream beer” would be like. 99/100
Stone Imperial Russian Stout Belgo
Stone Imperial Russian Stout Classic

Drakes Expedition Red Ale - In the spirit of exploration, Expedition blends the deep roasted flavors of dark malts with the hops of an IPA to create something worth discovering for yourself. Set sail on an expedition of your own. 98/100
Rubicon Hop Sauce Double IPA - First brewed in 2008 for batch # 3,000. This is our version of a Double India Pale Ale. This year we used almost 900 lbs of English pale malt, and over 40 lbs of hops in a 10 barrel batch. A nice golden color with aromas of pine, citrus and some earthy spicy notes. This is what hop lovers dream about. Get hopped up on the sauce.!97/100
Port Brewing Older Viscosity - 100% Bourbon Barrel Aged Strong Ale. This is the oak aging beer which makes up the oak aged portion found in our Old Viscosity. This is aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels for 6 months 100/100
Port Brewing 5th Anniversary Double IPA - A massively hopped strong pale ale brewed to celebrate our anniversary each year.
Anniversary Ale is light gold to pale orange in color and offers a potent aroma of fresh pine and citrus with some warming alcohols present.
The taste is a thick, chewy hop presence only barely contained by balancing malts.The finish is pure hop expression with a moderate warming alcohol sensation.Hops – Columbus, Amarillo and Simcoe; dry-hopped with Columbus and Amarillo
Hanger 24 Orange Wheat - ORANGE WHEAT Crisp, Tart, and Refreshing. Whole locally grown oranges added throughout the brewing process perfectly compliment this unfiltered wheat and barley based beer. Our oranges are purchased through the Old Grove Orange company (affiliate of the non-profit Inland Orange Conservancy) whose main objectives are to save the local orange trees from disappearing, spread the word about the local citrus growing heritage, and to feed the hungry with the unutilized oranges. Please visit them at All we need to do to save the orange trees is to eat locally grown oranges! 85/100
Hanger 24 Columbus IPA - Unfiltered single hop IPA utilizing Columbus hops throughout the brewing process, especially post-fermentation. 97/100
De Molen Storm & Averij Double IPA - An Imperial/Double IPA: A hazy golden-orange colour with a rich firm white foam. Big fruity hop aroma with a little yeastiness of orange-peels, mango,pine-needles, peaches, hay and wet grass. Full-bodied with notes of yeast, blood oranges, mango, biscuits and orange-peels. Long orangey, juicy, bitter finish with touches of yeast and pine. Dry hopped with Czech hops (Premiant)."
De Molen Vuur & Vlam IPA - Bittering hops Galena; as latehops Chinook, Cascade, Simcoe and Amarillo; Dryhopping with Cascade; 42.6 EBU; OG 1058; FG 1012; 22.2 EBC 97/100
De Molen Heaven & Imperial Stout - Imperial Stout – 10,2% vol. Twice the amount of dark roasted malts used, massive Imperial stout. This is a mad one. Black brown colour with a thick and creamy tan head that can be added to as you wish if you give the bottle a swirl. Give this beer time to breathe and blossom into something truly stunning. Chocolate and alcohol are right there at the front but do not at all overpower the gorgeousness that is underneath. Full of leather, vanilla, amazing wooden notes, beautifully floral character from the hops, thick Belgian chocolate, much character. The flavour of crazy wooden tartness. An extremely bitter finish seems to come out of nowhere and is what really makes this quite unique. Superb width in the mouth and coats the whole palate beautifully. 100/100
Great Divide 17th Anniversary Wood Double IPA - Based on our most award-winning beer, Denver Pale Ale, this copper-hued treat is a celebration of everything Great Divide does best. Plenty of malty sweetness provides a backdrop for earthy, floral English and American hops, while French and American oak round off the edges and provide a touch of vanilla. Thanks to everyone who’s supported us for the last 15 years - here’s to 15 more! 98/100
Avery 18th Anniversary Dry Hopped Rye Saison - Avery’s Eighteenth Anniversary Ale: Dry-Hopped Rye Saison comes in at an ABV of 8.12%. The dominant aromas were cloves, bananas, and spice. This beer has a very pungent Belgium yeast character with the hops coming from behind with a light citrusness. There’s a tartness that makes its way into the aroma, of which I can only attribute to the unique yeast character of this ale. Upfront this beer is full of carbonation, and has a sweet tartness to it. This ale expand nicely in the mouth, and in the middle brings with it piney floral hops, which accent the dominating clove, banana, spicy flavor from the rye and yeast. The finish is where the strong citrus flavors come into play with a dry bitterness, similar to citrus bittering of a grapefruit.  This Saison fits its style well, and I say that because it is able to hold true to its refreshing farmhouse style qualities even at a higher ABV. Flavor – 28.
The Bruery Marron Acidifie Collab wit Cigar City Sour - For our first collaboration beer we are lucky to partner with Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa, Florida. Geographically a country apart but following similar paths, we felt an immediate connection with Joey, Wayne and the crew. We're both young breweries, founded and staffed by homebrewers, who use interesting ingredients and techniques to make unique, full-flavored beers. A recipe was created over pints at Falling Rock Tap House during GABF 2009 and Wayne came out to help brew it shortly after. Over a year in barrels has left this dark sour layered with notes of cranberries, tropical fruits, leather and aged balsamic vinegar, balanced by wood tannins and roasted malt. Raise a glass and toast to the success of fledlging breweries across this great nation! ) Dark sour ale aged in oak barrels. A collaboration between The Bruery and Cigar City Brewing, this Imperial Oud Bruin is layered with aromas of cranberries, tropical fruits, leather, and aged balsamic, balanced by wood tannins and roasted malt. 99/100
The Bruery Cuir Anniversary Ale - The Cuir is French for leather. Every year The Bruery brews the exact same beer — an Old Ale fermented with our Belgian yeast strain - and every year the malt goes up by a pound, and then they blend it with a portion from the previous year. The Coton is one of the most phenominal beers I've ever tasted. So this beer is the same recipe, but blended with the most amazing beer ever and then blended with their 1st anniversary beer (Papier) which is the same recipe but has aged for 3 year
The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel With Basil & Rice Our Summer seasonal, Trade Winds Tripel is a Belgian-style Golden Ale with a Southeast Asian twist. Instead of using candi sugar (typical for such a beer), we use rice in the mash to lighten the body and increase the gravity, and spice with Thai Basil. The result is an aromatic, digestible and complex beer made for a lazy summer evening. (ABV: 8%, IBU: 25, SRM: 5)
Brewdog 5 AM Saint Amber - 5am Saint is The Holy Grail of red ales. We live in a world of disposable deities. Someone, somehow has managed to press that big, flashing moronic override button and we’re hard wired straight into the pockets of false idols trying to make a quick buck. Sadly, for a lot of people the same mentality applies to beer. But who’s to know what’s worth worshiping when monolithic advertising budgets have you sucked down the rabbit hole in the blink of an eye? At BrewDog we are on a mission to open as many people’s eyes as possible. Cast away any aspersions and let the crook of BrewDog be your guide in a whirlwind of conformity and mediocrity. Once this ruby liquid forms a foamy halo around your glass, you’ll never want to look back. Loads of late hops and bucket-loads of dry hops 96/100
Brewdog Tokkio Imperial Stout 18.2% - This imperial stout is brewed with copious amounts of specialty malts, jasmine and cranberries. After fermentation we then dry hopped it with a bucketload of our favourite hops before carefully aging the beer on French toasted oak chips.99/100

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dreg Series: Lente Saison de Bruery

This beer is another off-shoot of the Traditional French Saison I brewed at Big Brew Day (along with the Brett C version). I have heard good things about The Bruery's Saison de Lente and I was headed to a friend's B-Day camp-out so I figured it would be appropriate. Then I remembered that I was going to be brewing just before the event so why not make an extra gallon then toss in the dregs.

So that is what I did. The wort was not temperature controlled, but did remain in the mid 70s all the way through fermentation. The wort was not purposely aerated, but probably had a decent amount of dissolved oxygen since it was transported in the back of my car.

The yeast took off in about 24 hours which is pretty good for bottle dregs without a starter. And fermentation was violent by the third day. By the end of the week all active fermentation seemed to be done. This beer will be bulk aged for about 6 months before bottling. I have heard that the Brett strain that The Bruery uses works pretty quickly, but I will still check the gravity over the course of several months to confirm.

Update 03.20.12
Gravity - 0.997
I have read about the Bruery's yeast producing a high attenuation and this proves it. The sample from the hydrometer has some nice stone fruit notes, but little to no sourness or Brett funk. Obviously, the taste was also very dry and similar to a dry Chardonnay. I may decide to add something to this batch or just bottle it now as is. I'm not worried about the gravity going anywhere.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sour Beer: 2011 Flanders Red

I am on to Year Number Two. My 2010 Flanders Red is bottled and I will be doing an official tasting soon. I did force carb some of it up because I couldn't wait to try it. I am crazy about the smell, sweetness level and mouthfeel. It is a bit lacking in the acid area, but I have read that this can happen with the first pitch of the Wyeast Rosealare yeast. Also last year I started it with a neutral yeast then added Wyeast Rosealare. I did feed the bugs with maltodextrin around the 6 month mark. I didn't notice a big change in sourness, but the cherry pie flavor from the Brett is now really popping.

 Needless to say, I am very excited about the prospects of this year's batch. I made a few changes to the malt bill. I know Pilsner Malt is supposed to be in Belgian beers, but I just don't like it. Especially for a beer that I think should have a rich and complex malt flavor. Also remember that this style of beer was an adaptation from an English Porter. So it only makes sense to me to swap out Pilsner for Maris Otter (plus this is my favorite grain for the biscuit bready notes it has). The other big change is swapping wheat for flaked corn. Supposedly this has been used by Rodenbach to give the bugs some starch to chew on through the long fermentation.

My brewing water has also changed. I have started to dilute my brewing water fairly heavily with distilled (or close to) because San Diego has very high Sulfates and Belgian beers are brewed with pretty soft water. I have not done side by side testing, but I believe this is really helping me cut down on some of the harshness I get with the bitterness and additionally raising the malt flavor. See below for my water calcs.

Recipe: 2011 Flander's Red
Batch Size 6.75 gal O.G.-1.062  F.G.-TBD  
IBU-15  SRM-13   ABV-6.5-7.5%  

Grain Bill (77% Efficiency):
4 lb Vienna Malt (27%)
3.8 lb Maris Otter (25%)
4 lb  Munich Malt 10L (27%)
2 lb Flaked Corn (13%)
6 oz Aromatic Malt (3.3%)
6 oz Caramunich I (3.3%) 
6 oz Special B (3.3%) 

.8 oz Golding, 5.5%, pellet, 90 min 15.3 IBU
2 pitch of Wyeast Rosealare
US-05 Half a packet sprinkled in on Day 3 after no activity

Brew Day:
Brewed: 5/14/10

see picture above

Mash Details:
H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.07 qt/lb
Mash Volume: 3.5 gal
Sacc Rest. Temp/Time: 154F @ 60min
Strike Temp: 171F
Batch Sparge Volume: 7 gal
Sparge Temp/Time: 170F

Boil Details:
Boil Volume: 8.25 gal
Boil Time: 90min
Post Boil Volume: 6.75 gal

Ferment Details:
O.G.: 1.062
Ferment Temp: 68F
Length: 10 days
Then ambient in house

Always remember to check back for updates every 3 months.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...