Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Belgium Organic Mothership Wit

I am seriously becoming a huge fan of New Belgium. Their flag ship beer, Fat Tire was rather tasty but didn't quite take me on the mental voyage to Belgium that I had hopped for. The Organic Mothership Wit is a totally different story. It has a strong citrus smell, typical of Belgium brews, with a light, unfiltered color (almost milky). There was almost no hop smell or taste however, it had plenty of bite from the coriander and orange peels.
Domestic beers always tend to focus on balance, which never really excite my taste buds. In my early days of tasting Belgium beers, I didnt like them becasue they always seemed "extreme" when compared to domestic brews. When I started home brewing, I began to appreciate beers that didnt cater to the average Joe. I gegan to crave unique flavors and aromas. The New Belgium Organic Mothership Wit definately achieves that goal.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

This has long been my measuring stick for all oatmeal stouts. Its Tan milky head, molasses like smell, and creamy chickory flavor is as close to perfect as you can get. Many home brewers try to replicate this brew but fall short. That's mainly because if Samuel Smith's own yeast strain that is not sold or distributed. I have been unable to confirm whether Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout is bottle fermented, but I have my doubts. So harvesting this unique yeast strain would become a chore.

And if by chance, your able to replicate the yeast strain, there is the 200 year old well that they draw their water from that may also become a problem.

But one taste and you will understand why this beer constantly wins awards including the World Beer Championships Best Oatmeal Stout.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Guinness 250 Anniversary

Growing up in New Orleans, Abita Turbo Dog has always been my favorite stout. I enjoyed the flavor of nitrogen mixed Guinness but it was always a novelty item for me. I would occasionally drink a Guinness only when I knew it would soon be followed by something else. I could appreciate the roasted chocolate-toffee like taste and the rich sweet smell but I never got use to its deceptive feel in my mouth. At first glance, it looks like a heavy, high abv, beer that you would drink for a nite cap, but it ends up feeling like a very good, sweet stout that was never conditioned.

Then came Guiness 250. I swear the first time I tasted this brew I pictured a Turbo Dog. It is everything that a Guiness should be. It still have that sweet alluring aroma and deep coffee-toffee taste, but the added co2 makes the finish just as good as rest. The only down side for me was that the 250 brew was not as heavy as the origional, which was not a heavy beer to begin with.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised and look forward to another one.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Belgium Fat Tire

I stumbled across this beautiful 20 oz concoction at a local pub (no not the sandwich shop in the background) and decided to give it a try.
New Belgium is actually an American company that likens its brews to Belgium styles. They incorporate non-traditional yeast and complex fruity styles in their beers. The company is currently ran by a former Belgium Brewmaster.

I had the pleasure of trying New Belgium's Fat Tire, which has this extraordinary crystal clear deep golden color, with a virgin-like white head. It smells like kiwi fruit but has the taste of lightly sweetened toast with just enough bitterness to balance it out. It feels extremely light on the pallet and refreshing. Though New Belgium is not big on releasing ingredient lists, they did reveal that speciality, caramel, and Munich malts make up 30%. I am definitely looking forward to trying their signature Abbey Dubble. Fat Tire comes in at 5.5% ABV.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coopers Pale Ale

This beer signifies several firsts on the Creole Hops Beer Journal. This is the first bottle fermented beer I am discussing. Its the first Australian beer mentioned here. Its also the first beer that features the Pride of Ringwood hops, which is an Aussie specialty. And last but not least, this appears to be the first beer that is primed with beet sugar (don't quote me on that).

Pride of Ringwood hops are most famous for Fosters however it currently holds the title of having the highest AAUs which tends to be between 8.5 and 10%.

This beer tends to focus on light flavors. Absolutely nothing is overpowering. The head was also non existent after 30 seconds. The Pride of Ringwood hops are most evident when you swallow as it does pack quite a bite. There is also a nice, suttle fruit undertone that sticks with you after you swallow. The aroma is very sweet and almost citrus-like. The color is very milky and hazy. dispite being a Pale Ale, and being a light golden color, I was unable to see my hand behing the glass. This was ofcourse due to it being unfiltered and bottle fermented.
ABV 4.5%

Monday, July 6, 2009

Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout

It's thick, never ending, creamy head has an off white to tan color. The taste feels more like a porter than a stout but does have a nice roasted coffee like finish. If your one of the rare individuals that cant get past the creaminess of Oatmeal stouts like Sam Smith, this one if for you. It appeared sweeter than Sam Smith which would make this a great choice for a desert brew. However its versatile enough to work with a nice porter house or Ny Strip. APV is just a shade under 5%. Accodring to their site, bittering comes from Chinook and Perle but the aroma is all roasted malts.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Arrogant Bastard Ale

Ive never considered myself a hop head and want desperately to acquire the stomach for a Dogfish 120 IPA (sorry Sam Calagione). Much like Dogfish, Stone Brewing Co. knows a thing or 2 about hops as their Stone IPA is a right of passage for any hop head. Im not quite sure if Arrogant Bastard Ale is considered an IBA (Indian Brown Ale) but it certainly had the characteristics. Its roasted caramel color reminds me or a slightly watered down Coke. Though the malty taste did not quite match its robust color, it didt strike a great balance with the hops.

I know what your thinking. How can an Indian Ale have anything resembling malt to hop balance? Well the Oak chips added during the brewing process add a smokey taste that nullifies some of the bitterness. However I can definately tell that there was some serious dry hopping involved. The smell was that of freashly cut grass that just got rained on. The head was a thick offwhite that was Too Legit To Quit (yes i went there).

There was nothing sneaky about its 7.2% ABV. Your taste buds reminded you with every swallow. Though this beer is not for eveyone, I believe that aspiring hop heads like myself can appreciate this just as much as Mr Victory Hop Devil.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

Im beginning to realize more and more that I am a Perle hops fan. Time and time again, I find myself digging the flavor and bite of this German Hop. And Sierra Nevada always seems to find the perfect marriage of hops in all of their brews. Kellerweis is no exception with a combination of Perle and Sterling mixed with two-row, munich, and wheat.

This is the perfect summer brew that is extremely crisp with an all-spice finish. Its extremely light in color as you would expect in a wheat summer brew but does not have contain the typical watered down, flavorless taste as one would expect from its appearance. Next time I go to the beach, this is the brew for me.

Moon River SLO-vannah Pale Ale

So during my wife and I's yearly visit to Savannah Ga. we made a stop in their local brew pub/brewery Moon River. Due to time constraints, I would only be able to enjoy 1 beer so I asked the waiter for his recommendation. Of course he interrogated me about my drinking preferences, which change with the wind, and plugged my answers into his mental Beer-O-Rama. I was in the mood for a Pale Ale that was very hoppy but not quite an IPA so the recommendation was the SLO-vannah Pale Ale.

As the picture indicates, this is an extremely light colored beer that had a surprising caramel taste. There was almost no bitterness, to my chagrin, but there appeared to be a a fair amount of dry hopping that contributed to its earthy smell. The finish was crisp with a generous Allspice-like taste.

Perfect on a hot day. Not so perfect for a hop head.

Welcome to Creole Hops' journal

Welcome to the Creole Hops beer blog.I am an amateur home brewer who has an obsession with good flavorful beer. I plan to use this blog to post my recommendations, reviews, and trials of home brewing. The first ever batch of beer I made was the worst beer I had ever tasted. I made alot of mistakes. My intention was to make a Brown Ale (cant go wrong with that right? wrong!).

-Did not aerate the wort
-Not enough priming sugar was used
-Mash pot was too small (3 boilovers)
-Poor temperature management during fermentation

(Boil over)

As a result I had a slightly acidic water-like substance with a hazy brown complexion.
The good news was I did not let that minor set back keep me from pushing on.
My next batch was perhaps the best one yet. It was a Sierra Nevada Pale clone. My gravity readings were dead on, I was meticulous with my preparation and temp management, and even utilized a Secondary for the first time. I had a dinner party the night i popped the first bottle (well second bottle) and I had to hide some beer to ensure that I would have some the next day.

(My first home brew)

My latest concoction was a Raspberry Wheat kicked up to 7.1% abv. In incoperated a wheat extract, roasted grain, and caramel grain. My goal was to make a sort of desert beer that would have a raspberry chocolate flavor. I didnt quite reach my goal but I am pretty happy with the end result anyway. My biggest issue was with the carbonation. I can only assume that the priming sugar was again not properly distributed because the carbonation was hit or miss. About 20% of the bottles were flat.

In a few weeks I will be taking a trip to Brussels and hope to get my hands (and mouth) on some Trappist beer. I printed out a list of the top rated Belgium beer and 6 out of the top 10 are Trappist. I will post more information on Trappits beers and also my reviews of the beers tasted.