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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Overdue Reviews!

I'm going to use this update to catch up on some past tastings that I haven't had a chance to write about. Some of these I tasted over a month ago so my impressions aren't as fresh. But at least you have cool beer pictures to look at!

The picture above is a homebrew that my friends Nick, Ramsey, and I brewed. It was an all-grain IPA and it met my expectations perfectly. Nick named it "Copper-Top IPA" since all three of us are redheads. This matches perfectly with my "Redhead Wit" that the three of us also brewed months earlier. As a matter of fact, Nick, when we open a brewery we can keep all the beer names redhead themed!

For those of you who don't homebrew, it is a great hobby for anybody who enjoys beer or the process of making beer. It's a fun excuse to get together with friends, drink beer, talk beer, smell beer, eat great food, be a scientist, a chef, and a historian all in one day. While brewing this beer we had the recipe, Nick's recipe, and Nick asked us if we wanted to add anything. He happened to have some hops in his fridge so we decided on a whim to throw in an extra ounce of bittering hops. That's homebrewing!

Nick also used 5 ounces of Cascade hops to dry hop and the great aroma compliments the intense bitterness of this brew. However, this did cause quite a bit of cloudiness in the finished product. Nick filled these bottles with a BeerGun counter-pressure bottle filler. This device allows you to fill bottles from an already carbonated keg. I rocked the bottles back and forth a couple times and they poured fine, carbonation level was good with a white, sticky, hoppy head.

The taste was, like I said above, perfectly matched to my expectations. It had a great citrusy hop aroma and a blasting hop bitterness. Mouthfeel was perfect as well, I already mentioned carbonation and the body was just thick enough to make this beer significant. I will post the recipe at the very bottom of this page. If anyone has questions about this beer or homebrewing in general feel free to contact me via email or in these or Facebook's comments.

ABV 6.8%
OG 1.062
FG 1.010
IBU ???

Shiner Oktoberfest is a new seasonal offering from Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. Starting in 2005, Shiner Brewery started releasing yearly offerings to commemorate their 100th anniversary. 2005, and Shiner Oktoberfest's original incarnation, was Shiner 96. This is the second re-release of one of their anniversary beers, the first being Shiner 97 re-released as Shiner Bohemian Black Lager. Shiner Oktoberfest is a seasonal offering, so buy it now while you can!

This brew is a very drinkable example of the Oktoberfest style. It pours that great amber color with a lingering light-colored head. The aroma smelled like a malty German brew, in my opinion, and is also indicative of the style. The flavor was smooth and malty with a little bit of a dry finish with very low bitterness. This brew is very easy to get through (or get through a six-pack if you fancy) and it certainly refreshing after a long day.

ABV 5.7 %
OG 13° Plato
IBU 18
Color 12 SRM
Brewed with Munich and caramel malts, German-grown Tradition Hallertau and Hersbrucker hops.

North Coast Old Stock Ale (2010 vintage) was my wife's choice to try that night. I cooked huge steaks for the two of us, poured myself an Old Stock, poured my wife a glass of red wine, and relaxed.

The website for this beer declares that "like a fine port, Old Stock Ale is intended to be laid down. With an original gravity of over 1.100 and a generous hopping rate, Old Stock Ale is well-designed to round-out and mellow with age." I would agree, but don't let this hold you back from trying this excellent beer. Luckily, I bought another at the same time so it is now cellaring until next year (or maybe later) and I'll review it again.

It pours thick and mahogany with little to no head. It was in my taster glass and I could immediately catch the aroma of alcohol, one disadvantage of drinking a strong beer while young, and malty sweetness. The flavor was that of alcohol (again) and dark fruits like dark figs or prunes. Old Stock has very rich flavors so don't expect to drink it quickly. It has 11.7% ABV and a thick chewy body. It's harsh, but if you let it warm you can enjoy all the complexity of this brew. Drink slowly or better yet stick this beer in a cellar and forget about it!

ABV 11.7% (2010)
Style Old Ale
IBU 36

Unfortunately, these last two brews are the ones I tasted the longest time ago. I can't remember too many specifics about my experience but I did jot down a couple of notes at the time on a post-it note. These are my scribbled notes, verbatim:

Broken Halo:
citrusy aroma
grapefruit flavor

grassy aroma
spicy bitterness
harsher taste

I do remember that I enjoyed both beers. Widmer Brothers brew Broken Halo IPA and Lagunitas brews their flagship IPA. Widmer recommends drinking Broken Halo with spicy hot foods like mexican or asian dishes or hot wings. Lagunitas (Say "LAH-GOO-KNEE-TUSS") has a short video on the website with a quick note on aroma and flavor of their IPA. I do remember the Broken Halo being more crisp and citrusy and the Lagunitas being a little more earthy and harsh.

Lagunitas IPA:
ABV 5.7%
Brewed with (according to their website, don't blame me for this stat) 43 different types of hops and 65 types of malt

Broken Halo IPA:
ABV 6.0%
IBU 45
OG 14.25° PLATO
Malts Pale, Caramel 10L & 20L, Carapils
Hops Alchemy, Cascade, Zeus

Thanks for reading!

All-Grain recipe for Copper-Top IPA:

American 2-row 12.0 lbs
Crystal 40L 1.0 lb
Vienna 0.5 lb

Pacific Jade 1 oz 60 min
Centennial 1 oz 45 min
Chinook 1 oz 30 min
Cascade 0.5 oz 20 min
Cascade 0.5 oz 10 min
Cascade 0.5 oz 3 min

White Labs WLP060 American Ale

Dry Hopped with 5 oz Cascade

OG 1.062
FG 1.010

5.5 gallon post-boil volume

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