Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Murphy's Irish Stout

The dark brown, near opaque, Murphy's Irish Stout has been a favorite of the beer community for a long time however it is recently (over the last 10 years) also gaining some crossover support from your average Guinness drinker. It may not have the advertising and distribution budget of Guinness but if your a fan of Guinness, your going to love Murphys.

The pour is extremely rich with a small, maybe half inch, tan head. Excellent lacing with the smell of roasted coffee beans and toast. This nitro beer appears to contain more carbonation than Guinness yet just as smooth and easy to drink.

This brew is not as extreme as my favorite nitro brew, Youngs Double Chocolate, but very good none the less.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Abita Abbey Ale

This deep red cloudy brew is Abita's attempt at an Abbey. Belgium Abbey's are always extremely hard to recreate because so much of the recipe is local and, in the case of the water and yeast, usually unique to the monastery.

In any case, this ale passes the eye test with its beautiful dark red color and thick head( please ignore my bad pour in the pic). When I smell Abbey Ales, the sweetness of the malt and spiciness of the yeast typically dominate. The hops always take a back seat when it comes to aroma. This ale's aroma did not disappoint. Though the smell was not as intense as I expected, I was pleased by its caramel toffee scent.

I could taste a distinct citrus flavor immediately followed by caramel and then a slight bite of bitterness. I expected more of the allspice-like aftertaste you get from abbey yeast but I didnt get much of it. Overall the beer is a medium bodied , economically priced version of an Abbey that tastes exactly like your drinking a $3.50 version of a 22oz authentic Trappist. Considering a Chimay double will run you atleast $12, you should get my point.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Young's Double Chocolate Stout

After falling in love with Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, I decided to scour the internet for similar beers. Low and behold, there was an overwhelming affinity for another Chocolate Stout. So there is this big internet buzz surrounding Young's Double Chocolate Stout (Thanks to Jay's Beer Review, and others) which made me visit 4 suppliers to find it.

I was surprised to discover that this was a nitro brew. The appearance was pitch black with a light tan head. There wasnt a dominate chocolate smell like I began to expect from this type of beer (Brooklyn and Rogue). I could smell a hint of roasted malts, a twinge of floral hops, and even less of chocolate.

The mouth feel was pure silk. There was this milk like consistency that went down smooth. This is one of those brews that would win over non beer drinkers and connoisseurs alike. The taste was equally as creamy with dark and roasted malts being the most dominant. the chocolate kicked in on the swallow along with a little of the hoppie bite for balance. This is an excellent brew.

Rating 4.5 out of 5.

Dogfish 90 min IPA

I will admit that I was a little intimidated by this beer initially. I tried a 120 a few months back and couldn't get past the 2nd sip. Im also a fan of the 60 but I always assumed that it was the peek of my hoppiness.I guess my pallet has changed over the past few months because the 90 min turned out to be perfectly hopped.

Sam Calagione at Dogfish has been known for pushing the envelope and 90 min IPA is no exception. Considered one of his flagship brews, 90 min is continuously hopped for 90 min straight (and here I thought that my 3 hop additions was too much for my home brew).

90 min's smell took me back to a time in my life when I lived outside. I felt like I was 16 again playing football with my friends at the neighborhood park. The aroma smells like fresh cut grass mixed with wildflowers and pine.
The appearance was a hazy caramel color with a bright white soapy head.
My first sip was dominated by the hops. It was strong enough to dominate your pallet yet not overbearing. As the beer sits, that warms a little, you start to get more of the malt flavors, and it becomes more balanced. Overall the beer has this amazing frash taste, as if it was just bottled yesterday (conditioned of course).

This would go great with fish, fresh veggies, or anything that would require being outdoors.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grimbergen Belgium Dubbel Ale

This is a local brew (local to Belgians that is) that originated in Grimbergen village near Brussels in 1128. The beer has a hazy dark caramel color with a sweet raisiny smell. There was no hint of hops. The head was bright white and airy. It is initially extremely sweet on the palate. The taste was somewhere between caramel and toffee with an all-spice like finish. It was not a heavy as I am use to with Belgian Dubbels and was only 6.5% ABV but had good flavor. I can understand why this Abbey didnt make the Trappist cut but I enjoyed my experience none the less.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Brew day: Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

This is by far my most complex recipe to date. My grains include some roasted barley, crystal, and brown. The LME is a combination of 2 dark brown ales. I also went with Northern hops for bittering and got a little aroma from Perle. Dextrine was mixed with the coco to add body and flavoring.

Ive wanted to brew an oatmeal stout for a long time now however, my goal was to do a Sam Smith clone. Since you cant really walk into Brew Depot and pick up some Sam Smith proprietary yeast, II decided to wait till I cam up with my own recipe. The last chocolate beer I did (Rasperry Chocolate Wheat) was not chocolaty at all. I only used 1 roasted grain and no real coco. This time I was determined to get it right.
So after sanitizing my fermenters, tubing, pots, spoons, etc, I got started with the fun stuff. First thing I did was mixed the Dextrine and coco with a cup of water in a small gravy pot. After bringing it to a boil and whisking thoroughly, i sat it to the side and started on the wort.

After soaking my LME cans in hot water for 30 min, I started my wort with 4 gallons of water. The Northern Hops were added @ 60 min along with the Dextrine concoction. At 30 min I added the grains followed by the Perle @ 1 min. I was shooting for an OG of 1.061 or higher (considering all the sugars I included) but I made a grave mistake with the top off water. I estimated a 1 gallon loss due to evaporation (taking it down to 3 gallons) so I was supposed to add 2 gallons to the fermenter before adding my wort. I mistakenly added 3 gallons (no idea why), which took my OG down to 1.051.
Last time I checked, there was no law about DWB (Drinking While Brewing). Probably related to my OG issue :)

So after deliberating on whether or not to add more sugars to the mix ( I had 1 lb of crystal on hand) I decided to go with the 1.051 OG. If I am lucky, I might be able to get 5.3% ABV out of this batch. I was shooting for atleast 7%.

I then pitched my British Ale Liquid yeast (WL005 i believe) and crossed my fingers. It took a good 8 hours for the yeast to start talking to me, the longest I have every had to wait for any signs of life. But it seems to be doing its thing now.My temp is a little on the high side (76F) but things look good so far.With all of the sugars involved, I will probably leave this one in the primary for 4 weeks before transferring.

In the mean time, I am working on a full bodied Belgian Ale that I should be brewing in the next 10 days.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Brugs Wit

The term Belgian Wit almost seems like an antonym. Belgian beers are always full flavored, heavy, and extremely complex. When I think of Belgian Beers, beet sugars and fruitiness comes to mind. When I think of wits, I think dry, crisp, refreshing brews.

I quess my expectations are already set when I tasted this beer because I really did not enjoy it. It had a slight all spice smell with a hint of apricots. The mouth feel was very thin and uneventful. It was sweeter than many domestic wits, which was a surprise, but that taste was quickly overpowered by the Belgian yeast's fruitiness. It was refreashing, but at only 4.8% abv, it was too light for my Belgian taste buds.