Monday, April 7, 2014

Belgian Style Double India Pale Ale

So, I have documented my love for the slowly growing trend of Belgian IPAs; however, what about Belgian Double IPAs?  Since I am American, bigger should mean better, right?  I saw Three Floyds new Belgian Style Double India Pale Ale and thought I might as well find out.  It doesn't hurt that the label has a guy with a mustache and a cigarette.  I imagine that has to make it taste better, right?

Three Floyds Belgian Style Double India Pale Ale

Appearance- A very hazy orange gold color with a small egg shell white head the becomes increasingly patchy.  Low amounts of lacing on the glass.

Smell- Grassy hops stick out, although they are nicely balanced against a pineapple and lingering clove esters.  Behind the hop character there also seems to be an almost candy-like character.

Taste- The grassy hops are more aggressive in the taste as they jump out with hop resin in the beginning of the beer and continue in the middle.  Ass the beer transitions into the middle, a slight clove taste is distinguishable with underlying Belgian phenolic flavor.  However, bitterness picks up at the same time limiting the esters and phenols' contribution.  Large bitter finish with just a touch of the candy character and a noticeable alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied with moderate carbonation.  Hops leave mouth a little raw.

Overall- Tastes almost exactly like a double IPA.  I am not sure the Belgian yeast lends itself to this style.  Nevertheless, look at that label.  In the name of being cool, I will allow it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Bruery Or Xata

Well, while I try to find my notes for my Brett Trois IPA that I brewed, I figured I might as well get this beer up here.  Last year I joined The Bruery's Preservation Society club for a short time (moved on to the Reserve Society now), and as a result I got this beer.  For friends who know me, I have a bad habit of frequenting the Mexican restaurant across the street from my apartment to grab 32 oz. horchatas and consequently drinking them until I am sick.  I am really going places in life.

The Bruery Or Xata 

Appearance- Golden and slightly orange in color.  Bubbly egg shell white head that becomes patchy fairly quickly.  Slight lacing on the glass.

Smell- A lot of spice comes across first with the cinnamon unsurprisingly leading the charge.  A rich vanilla emerges the cinnamon that is subsequently complimented by a slight pepper character.  Overall sweet smell.

Taste- A lot of cinnamon to begin with, although the pepper character plays a more prominent role.  Towards the middle is a milky vanilla taste.  However, the flavor becomes more medicinal than I enjoy out of a saison.  Some very slight bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-light in body with moderate-low carbonation.  A fairly dry finish.

Overall and Notes- Interesting beer, but as someone who loves horchata, it is not there quite yet.  Not sure if there is a better way of getting a more rounded out horchata taste though, and I suspect the problem might lie in the base beers that could even be used in such a replication.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Yule Against Perpetuities Brew Day

Well, I need to get back to this on a regular basis.  What better way to make my tenth comeback to the interwebs than with some brewing and bad puns?  My firm once again asked for a beer for their Christmas party and I obliged with another Christmas Ale.  This time I changed up the name of the beer to another bad law pun, mostly because I have no friends.  Or something like that.  For those unaware of my lame sense of humor, check here.  It is fairly similar to last year's recipe, except it turned out a little bigger.

The Yule Against Perpetuities

Batch size: 6.0 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.082
Final Gravity: 1.022
Boil Time: 60 minutes

Grain

18.5 lbs. English Maris Otter
0.75 lb. Crystal 80L
0.25 lb. Black Patent Malt

Hops

1.0 oz Horizon @ 60 minutes

Spices

1/2 broken up cinnamon stick @ 1 minute
1/3 tsp Ginger @ 1 minute
1/8 tsp Nutmeg @ 1 minute
1/8 tsp Allspice @ 1 minute
1/8 tsp Cinnamon @ 1 minute
1/8 tsp Cinnamon @ bottling

Yeast
Wyeast 1028 London Ale

This time I remembered to keep a 90 minute boil, unlike my last effort, therefore helping to boost the final gravity in the process. As a result, the beer ended up bigger than last years, but that is alright with me, and seemed to be alright with the firm. Although I am still not as cool as this guy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Founders Mango Magnifico

Unfortunately, I have slipped back into seldom updating.  In my defense, I am trying to be a real human being.  I have a lot of things to post, so hopefully in the next week I can get everything back in order.  In the meantime, I meant to post a review of a Founders beer I have been wanting to try for a while.

Founders Mango Magnifico

Appearance- Golden orange with a puffy white head that sticks around longer after arouse it again with some circling of the glass.  Some noticeable sticky lacing hangs around the edges of the glass.

Smell- Initially a strong malt presence.  The habanero character sneaks up and by the middle of the beer  my nostrils begin to sting very slightly.  Slight vegetable character, possibly from the habanero.  Very slight mango, if any.

Taste- Burst of a strong malt backbone to begin the beer.  In the middle, the beer develops into a distinct mango character, but only moderate in intensity.  Some other sweet citrus character rounds out the middle including lemon with a touch of the vegetal character.  A noticeable rising heat in the back of the mouth to finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-bodied with moderate-light carbonation.  A noticeable heat was left on the back of the tongue and throat.

Overall- The taste was above and beyond better than the smell.  I made tilapia tacos to go along with the beer.  Round out the day honoring Lou Reed as it was the day after he died.  Well known fact: You will never be as cool as Lou Reed.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Night With Lagunitas

A couple of weeks ago, Lagunitas founder, Tony Magee stopped by my law school to talk about starting a business, and of course to talk beer.  Apparently he went to the Illinois Institute of Technology for a year at their design program and I believe his wife went to my law school (I believe that is what he said?).  Anyways, he has significant ties to the Chicago area and he both agreed to talk at the school as well as play some blues at our 125th anniversary street festival.

The night started with samples of Maximus, Lagunitas IPA, Pils, and the relatively new DayTime.  After the samples (and me sneaking a beer since it was only 2 ozs at a time with a relatively long wait for a sample), we entered the auditorium to have a "fireside chat."

It was generally informal with Mr. Magee giving a lot of history of the brewery.  Some highlights included receiving a brewing kit and starting a brewery by the end of that year, rigging Kinko's timing/fee system in order to print labels as a reduced cost, and the uhhhhhhh substance abuse story behind "Censored."  Notably, Mr. Magee also talked about the Chicago brewery/brew pub that has pushed back its opening
date multiple times (he claims it will be coming at the end of the year, mostly because he faces significant taxes/fines if it does not), and interestingly enough, his plans to purchase land in Greece to open another brewery that will supply Europe with his beer.

Come question time, there was a lot of focus on the news of the Chicago brewery, comparisons/difficulties dealing with BMC products and advertising, as well as what the future looks like for Lagunitas.  Luckily, I got in a quick question about whether Mr. Magee saw the rise of sour beers as a parallel with the rise of the West Coast IPA or more of a fad, and whether Lagunitas had any plan for a more significant souring/barrel program outside of Little Sumpin Wild and some smaller scale sours that are only on tap at the brewery.  He seemed to appreciate a good sour, but thought of the style as more of a blip on the craft beer radar (he was not disrespectful though) and seemed to think that the style in general was better left to his peers rather than jumping in on the popularity at this point.  I got to speak to him very briefly after the talk, but only to say thanks as him and other from the brewery had been hanging around for quite some time.

All that being said, it was great the I was able to both attend such an event, and get to talk to one of the bigger heads of craft brewery.  Mr. Magee seemed to be more business driven than others in the industry (and I do not mean this in any negative sense) and motivated to make Lagunitas a leading name similar to Sam Adams, or possibly surpassing.  He did mention that he is at the point where he feels that he wants to muscle out some of the "quasi craft" beers from the market that are made by BMC without their name attached, but it seemed any such plans are still a little of the ways off.  However, he was great to listen to and hopefully this will not be a one time event at the school.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb

As well as having a problem with the amount of beer from the Bruery, it seems I also have a decent amount of New Glarus.  How are those for problems to have, buddy?  Unfortunately, I am not skilled enough to make some awesome pie to go along with this.  But really, what do you expect from me?

New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb


Appearance- A very hazy amber/dark orange color with a tint of red.  A tan creamy head sticks around after the pour.

Smell- Predictably, a lot of strawberry and rhubarb.  Very rich smell with what seems to be a slight cherry.  Underneath the fruit is a candy sweetness with a crockery/cereal character.

Taste- Reminiscent of strawberry rhubarb pie in the beginning.  A sweet fruit character with moderate strawberry character (slightly surprising seeing how hard it is to get a real strawberry taste in a beer).  Tart character picks up in the middle and is complimented by a sugary sweetness.  A slight cereal taste in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-thin body with a spritzy carbonation on the tongue.  Leaves a lingering sweetness.

Overall- Another great fruit beer from New Glarus.  At times I expected to get a strawberry seed since it tasted so fresh.  Would have loved to have this one with a slice of pie.  Someone make that happen.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Back to Hop Leaf

Recently, I decided to start my own little Brett experiment to try and understand more thoroughly how different strands of Brett affect the taste of beer.  I still have to use the vial of Brett Lambicus that I have sitting in the fridge, and luckily I saw that Hop Leaf had Goose Island's Matilda with Brett Lambicus.  I decided to stop by to see how my beer my taste (because apparently that is important) and found there were around 10 other beers I wanted to try.  Unfortunately my friends had to run to the airport so I only tried around 3.  Apparently it is unhealthy to drink 10 beers in one sitting alone.  Or 10 beers in general.

Matilda Lambicus

The appearance is generally what you would expect from the normal Matilda with less head retention.  The difference comes in the smell in taste.  The smell has the phenolic character you are used to from Matilda, but quickly a musty cellar character with a prominent earthy character.  The Brett taste was more evident in the taste with a slight band aid flavor complimented by the musty cellar character.  There was also a slight lemon that fell beneath the earthy notes and some leather.  Very similar to Orval, wish they had this more available.

Founders Oatmeal Stout (Nitro)

The menu told me this was fairly rare for the Chicago market.  The menu would not lie to me.  Here, the roasty character was the most prominent.  Although there was some slight chocolate and coffee, it fell behind the roasted barely.  The most notable thing about the beer was with the full stout flavor, it was only at 4.5% alcohol.  Nice to see that Founders is embracing the notion that you do not need higher alcohol content to have a full flavored beer.  That being said, I do not expect anyone to listen.

De Proef Brouwerij & Cigar City Tropical Tripel

This was probably the most interesting beer of the day.  Most individuals are under the belief that Brett only makes beers funky (and some are under the belief that it is a main souring agent).  However, this beer shows that is not always true.  Here, the Brett brought out some wonderful tropical fruit character that was way more complex than I have seen in beers that have actually added fruit.  There was a distinct smell and taste of mangos and pineapple with dashes of peaches (these were the fruits added).  A pheno
lic clove was there as well that mixed with an almost bubble gum flavor at the end of the beer. Alcohol started to peak at the end of the beer.  No earthy character here.  Hoping my brett trois beer has a similar character.

Three great beers, and it was hard to stop here seeing as they also had The Bruery's Oude Tart, Jolly Pumpkin, and multiple berliner weisses.  Oh well, I guess I will just have to go back...