Sunday, October 19, 2014

Southern Tier Warlock

I have quite the gift at neglecting this blog thing.  That being said, I have a lot of notes I have taken on various beers and brew days since my last update, and hopefully I can go back in fill in those days soon.  Apparently doing law things takes up time and unfortunately, at this point, drinking beer is not an adequate excuse for me not getting things done.  So why not start this back up with a pumpkin beer that will most certainly cause me to complain and gripe like usual?  Well, tis the season!
Southern Tier Warlock

Appearance: A brownish black color with small head composed of tiny tang bubbles that disappears completely.  Almost reminds me of a Coke.

Smell: Unsurprisingly, pumpkin pie spices dominate with roasted malt playing a supporting rile.  Behind the spices I can discern a small amount of real pumpkin/squash.

Taste: A small amount of roasted malt quickly turns to pumpkin pie spices of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Very little of an actual pumpkin taste as the beer finishes slightly bitter and a touch of alcohol.  

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly it is medium bodied with medium-low carbonation.

Overall and Notes: Hard to actually call this an imperial stout as it is labeled.  I would have preferred the beer to have more stout characteristics rather than relying so much on pumpkin pie spices.  But, alas, I am once again drinking another pumpkin beer, so what did I expect?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rue D'Floyd (Three Floyds and The Bruery Collaboration)

I was lucky enough to get my hands on both of the version of Rue D'Floyd.  However, I was unlucky enough to then find out from The Bruery that there were signs of infection in the beer.  Per their instructions, I decided to drink them before June 30th just in case.  Such are the prices you pay when you are making sweet beer at The Bruery.

Rue D'Floyd

This version is an imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels with cherries, coffee, and vanilla beans.

Appearance- Opaque black with a small tan head.  The head disappears almost completely with little to no lacing.

Smell- Strong scent of oak and vanilla, almost overpowering.  Dark fruits somewhat noticeable along with the dark roasty malts and kinds of coffee.

Taste- Unsurprisingly, the vanilla and oak smack you in the face (nose?) to begin.  The cherries are distinguishable towards the middle, but becomes sickly sweet.  The end slips into a lingering roasty flavor that pairs with a rich vanilla as a hot alcohol finishes off the beer.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied with low carbonation.  Finishes with noticeable alcohol warmth.

Overall- Beer is a little too overwhelming at this point.  I think it could be helped with some aging, but unfortunately that was not much of an option this time around.

Floyd D'Rue

This version is an imperial porter aged in rum barrels with spices added

Appearance- Opaque black with a fizzy dark brown head that barely appears before it is completely gone.  Absolutely no lacing.

Smell- Much like the last version, vanilla dominates with the addition of some heavy spices that almost seem in the vein of a Christmasy/nutmeg beer.

Taste- Starts similar to the smell with a heavy dose of vanilla, but the rum barrel is more prominent.  Towards the middle some light dark fruit flavors with roasted/burnt malt, but the vanilla is overpowering.  The beer finishes with strong, hot alcohol that is paired with the burnt malt.

Mouthfeel- Thick motor oil sensation with very minimal carbonation.  Hot alcohol that could use some time to cool off.

Overall- Much like the last version, this is quite an hot beer.  Once again, no time to age so I was forced to drink this one a little too early.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hair of the Dog - Ruth

I believe I mentioned a while ago that my friend came back from Portland bearing gifts.  This included my first chance at trying Hair of the Dog.  Unfortunately, I forgot to post this after I drank it/took notes. So sue me?

Hair of the Dog - Ruth

Appearance- Clear Straw yellow color with a small fizzy head.  Little to no lacing.

Smell- Herbal smell with lemony citrus hops.  Doughy/bready malt character with some residual sweetness.

Taste- A subdued lemon with a fairly underwhelming malt sweetness.  Crackery middle is accompanied by a very mild bitterness.  Some bitterness continues into the finish with a lingering sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Surprisingly low carbonation and a medium light body.

Overall- A bit underwhelming first try from this brewery.  Tastes like there is not much beyond some yeast esters.  Further, the lack of carbonation made this one harder to drink.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Half Acre 2023M Soft Sour Ale

I have been yelling at people for sometime that Chicago is ripe for some sour beer brewing, so I got a little excited when my friend at Half Acre threw their new sour beer my way.  Not only are they the masters of Big Hugs, but when you have wonderful employees helping you out, what more can you ask for?  A lot of things is the answer, but whatever.

Half Acre 2023M Soft Sour Ale

Appearance- A surprisingly clear orange color.  A rough pour produced a small egg shell white head, but it disappears quickly.

Smell- Distinct trpical fruits, mango and pineapple shine through most prominently. Noticeable caramel malt smell in the background.  Tart, lemony, and slight hay character apparent throughout.

Taste- Tropical fruits with the mango in front.  Surprising amount of malt sweetness.  A lemony hay character with a slight basement musty taste finishes out the beer.  Just the slightest tart character.

Mouthfeel- Medium-light body with low carbonation.  No dry finish like you would expect with a sour.

Overall: "Soft" sour is right.  Where is the sour?  The beer generally lacks any umph or really distinguishing qualities.  I know that this is not meant to be an incredibly sour beer, or maybe Half Acre is fighting back against the idea that more sour is better, and maybe I am just a tad bit biased, but its efforts come up a little short here.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Brett Trois IPA

A while ago I brewed a Brett Trois IPA and was too lazy to post the recipe and such.  Being doubly lazy, I also forgot to post the tasting of it!  The Brett Trois IPA follows a general IPA recipe, but in a bought of naming creativity, uses Brett Trois as the choice of yeast.  Although brettanomyces is often associated with given funky/barnyard tastes, that does not accurately reflect its capabilities.  Luckily, there are individuals to explain its complexities for those of us who lack the ability to communicate effectively.  Long story short, Brett Trois can give off some pretty great fruity characteristics that work perfectly with the hops in an IPA.

Brett Trois IPA

Appearance- A very murky orange brown with a small bubbly white head.  Noticeable lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell- A lot of grassy hops with noticeable resin.  Some sweet pineapple behind the hops along with caramel and a rich malt.

Taste- Grassy hops hit firs but meld into a well balanced pineapple and slight mango flavor.  Ass the beer slides into the finish, there is a slight candy quality before inching back into the grassy hops and a slight alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied with moderate but prickly carbonation.  Slightly sweet finish.

Overall and Notes- Probably my best beer to date.  However, next time I will beer on dry hops for less time in order to avoid the large grassy character.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Chicago Craft Beer Week: The Bruery

Second stop for craft beer week here in Chicago was a Bruery tap takeover at the Lion Head Pub.  I was a little surprised about the location, but unsurprisingly I didn't care too much about where I had to go to find the Bruery on tap.  Even better was that they brought some great sours.  The beers on tap were: 6-Geese-A-Laying, Autumn Maple, Rueuze, Sour in the Rye, and Mischief.  Even better was that it was only $6 for a glass.

Having tried all of them before, I decided to revisit a couple that I figured you aren't as likely to see on tap again.  First, I went with the 6-Geese-A-Laying because being an idiot, I forgot to pick up a bottle of it to age (you can exhale, I ended up finding a local store with a couple left over bottles.  You were worried, I know).  Strangely enough, they pulled a pitcher out of fridge and poured me the beer instead of grabbed it from the tap.  Even more surprising was they were using a pitcher when I seemed to be one of the few partaking in the Bruery event.  Something seemed a little off about the beer, but I think i likely just convinced myself of that.  More than likely there was probably just something wrong with the tap.  And as someone told me, that just means they had more of it!

For #2 I went with Rueze.  Although I was stuck between Rueze and Sour in the Rye, I wanted something a little bit lighter but that still packed the sour punch.  Good news is I have a couple bottles of each stashed away.  The Rueze was luckily on tap so I did not have to worry about psyching myself out, and it delivered.  I would love to have written a proper review, but I figured it smart not to be that guy in Lincoln Park writing in a notebook at the bar while everyone else is watching the Blackhawks game.  I am a big enough asshole as it is.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chicago Craft Beer Week: Jolly Pumpkin

After finishing lawyer school, I was lucky enough to have the City of Chicago celebrate Chicago Craft Beer Week.  Even better, there seems to be multiple events involving sours.  Luckily, I checked the site earlier enough in order to grab some Jolly Pumpkin.

On Monday, Jake Melnicks had a "Sour Love" event that include a tape takeover from Jolly Pumpkin and Upland Brewing.  Among the Jolly Pumpkin beers were Ale Absurd, IO, Biere de Mars, Saison Y, and Fuego.  I went with the Biere de Mars and Saison Y (I would have liked to have more, but surprise surprise, the 10 oz pours of sour beers were fairly expensive.  The Saison Y was my favorite, as it had the light peppery taste finish of a saison along with a citrus middle, but a wonderful barnyard finished.  It also helped that we had some barbecue nachos to go along with it.

Hopefully this will not be the last event and I will update throughout the rest of the week.