I finally picked up the special release of Brooklyn 1. No thanks to Gary who never got me the tasting notes for it, I am finally experiencing it first hand. I dare say I quite like it. It poures with a volumunous rocky head of foam and the flavors are just fantastic. The beer lives up to the hype on the bottle. The nose is very belgian yeasty. After you work your way through the foamy head and get to the beer itself you find a nice spicy, malty liquid that begs for another drink. It is rich and malty while still refreshing and light. I find myself realizing yet again that Brooklyn is a fantastic brewery that focuses solely on the beer and not on gimmicks.
(And here is the segway)
I on the other hand have now gone a little gimmicky. I am currently brewing a double pilsner. Yep, it follows very much in a bohemian pilsner style but then I up the ante and power it with a massive amount of hops, malt, and (dare I say it) demerara sugar to keep the body light and refreshing. I have the hopes that this one will finish out around 8 or 9%. It should be a pretty big beer.
At this time I have now finished the Brooklyn and have moved on to the initial tastings of the Dunkelweizen. I had a bit earlier today and found it quite nice with banana and clove notes and nice roasted malt. Now after the Brooklyn I get smokey notes. Its amazing how your taste buds can change based on what you have sampled. I do believe that this dunkel is much better than the one from last year.
The WEB (World Expo of Beer) is coming up again. This year I dropped off the Kolsch, Oatmeal stout, and the Northern English Brown. As always (cause I can do no wrong) I am pretty confident that these beers should make a fantastic showing. The Oatmeal Stout was claimed to be the best that some testers had ever had. So we shall keep our fingers crossed and all that.
And now, its about time for another pint…
I transfered the Irish Rye to secondary today. I knew that I had gotten a slightly better yield than expected on the night I brewed it. It was when I was overflowing my carboy when I realized that I had way more beer than I originally expected. Doing some new calculations I actually ended up with much better efficiencies than I originally thought.
Sadly, I lost probably a half gallon or so of beer (had to make some room in the carboy). And I find a new problem (considering this is not the first time this has happened), I need to reassess my water calculations. I guess my next brew should confirm that I am getting roughly the efficiencies I am thinking I am. This also goes to show that without site glass to show how much wort I am actually working with, I really am playing it by ear.
If everything is working like it appears to be, I may have reached a new milestone. It will be great to lower some more costs, ya I am pretty simple. Lowering costs in the brewery makes me happy. I do so like drinking good beer for less.
This brings me to this weekend. I am planning to brew an imperial helles this weekend. If my efficeincies are going the way I am thinking, it will make it much easier to get the extract levels I want for this beer. I am looking to hit around 8 or 9% in the final beer. Of course, I won’t complain too much if it comes out higher. Should be an interesting beer when its done.
Anyway, I need another pint.
We all know what tomorrow is (or today depending on when this posts)…
Traditionally, we have been brought up on VD being a day for wine and candle lit dining. Women, as we have been led to believe most of our lives, don’t drink beer. It isn’t graceful or pretty. It is the drink of the slobbish man and only working class men at that.
Keep in mind that I did grow up in a time when all we really had were the big 3 and beers like what they brewed. In that light it is easy to see why, when it comes to romance, there really are only two choices. Wine, the drink of the genteel and refined, and of course liquor (well, liquor is quicker they say). As we all know, booze is easy to hide in all manner of drink concoctions, so you can get blitzed on something akin to perfume with no trouble at all.
But really, what are we all afraid of? Is it because all we have known are flavorless impersonations of beer? Or maybe the occasional “malt beverage” that masquerades as something that it could never hope to be? I dare say the reality is, we just don’t know any better.
On this Hallmark holiday of sharing something special with your loved one, maybe we should all take the time to share something of ourselves (the tastes we have come to love and enjoy) with those we love. Explain why you find the tastes enjoyable. You could even make a game of it. Take the time to go to a knowledgeable purveyor and find a nice assortment and do a blind tasting together and find what you both enjoy. At the very least you may just find a shared interest. You may even learn something about your own taste buds at the same time.
But enough of this for now… I’m drinking meade tonight…
So tonight brew night returns again. Superbowl Sunday, a night of football and beer. It seems fitting for me to brew tonight then (of course any night is fitting as a brew night). And now I am beginning the brew cycle (at least I think I finally have it figured out). The kickoff is the Irish Rye. The favorite in my stable and appropriately timed with St. Patty’s day just around the corner. So far its going good. I raised my dough in temp slightly (about 3 degrees) to fight the temp loss I was getting while heating the strike water in my cold garage. Seems to have worked out quite well. After breaking up the grain clumps I was pretty much spot on for my infusion temp.
I am sticking completely to the original recipe for this batch, including the yeast. I think the original recipe was the best. At this time I don’t think I have any current recipes that I want to experiment with anymore. There are a few more recipes I want to work on, but those won’t happen till I have done the cycle I am starting now. I start to panic a little when my stocks run low (considering low to me is anything less than 8 to 10 cases of assorted beverages).
I do plan to do a meade again soon. It will probably have to wait till after we get tax money back though. Its just a bit hard to work anything extra into the cycle once I start it. I do believe that the meade will age with oak for a bit. Although I am not certain if it will solely be oak or possible a flavored oak (ie wine or distilled spirit).
This is my 100th post. Its cool to find that I have made it this far, even if its only for my own amusement. Maybe one day we will see my 1000th post. Now with that said, I toast to the future… Its time for a pint!
I just spent some time updating myself on the world known as the blogosphere or at least in my case the small corner of the beerosphere I tend to enjoy exploring. And with that I now share with you some of the joy and oddness I have encountered.
First off, the acronym FMCG, knowledge is never something to toy with. I want to say this is wholly something British but in the end the concept transports itself into the US marketing approach as well. What is it, you may ask? Fast Moving Consumer Goods, I found it quoted by the president of AB-Inbev UK in an interview about the (wait for it) Stella Cidre. Yah, they are making “first step” inroads into the cider market (at least in the UK). Cause you know, no other brewery or cidery has ever made a cider before. But I digress, yah, AB- Inbev doesn’t have beers or even beverages… they have consumer goods. As always, I can’t mock the beer but I will forever mock the business practices and how they view their “consumer goods.”
And again another view of business practices… It would seem that there is a good chance that AB-Inbev may be bringing SAB-Miller into the fold. Imagine that, rivals making nice-nice to battle the evil crafties that threaten their power base. When we look in the eyes of the behemoth do we possibly see fear? Is there a chance that Goliath’s poker face has begun to sweat a little?
And now for a tasting…
I am sampling the current run on the American Wheat finally. It isn’t quite the beer I originally brewed (with the first batch) but in the end it isn’t a bad beer either. Although the orange notes are not as prominant as I would have preferred, the hopiness is great. It’s almost a wheat pale ale, and so easy to drink. The wheat notes a fantastic, balanced by the citrussy Cascade hops. It is definately a great refresher for hot summer days or better yet for a long night at work where you feel like you have been wrung through a meat grinder and you smell entirely of burning wood and you just don’t feel like moving anymore…
I have had a fear lately that some of my beers may bear to close a resemblance to each other. Case in point is this wheat to my IPA. But really, the IPA is well balanced with citrussy and resiny hops where the Wheat doesn’t even touch the resin of the IPA. Its kinda cool to look at it as a place for everyone. There is big bold flavors but in the end they all touch a different place in your cravings so that you have so many choices and you can find the one that fits your mood and desires at any given time.
Speaking of desires… I desire another pint…
It is with sadness that I write this. I have come to realize that as an industry the profession of chef and culinarian is on a downward slope. Maybe I am being a bit over dramatic…
With the announcement of the closing of the 1913 room at the top of the Amway Grand in Grand Rapids the only 5 diamond Michigan will be losing its only 5 diamond eatery. Sadly, what they will be bringing in to replace it is yet another chain. For those who don’t actually cook for a living, what this means is they will be replacing professional cooks with cooks that have less training and most likely less ability. Chains are set up so that you don’t need someone who has perfected their craft in order to run a successful kitchen.
We see this a lot lately. Even in the midst of an eat local, buy local movement. People just don’t want the food that takes skill to prepare. I may be talking out of turn for other areas but in Michigan we face some of the hardest economic pressure the state has ever experienced. Of course, this does have an effect on the decision to close the restaurant but at the same time, we now lose yet another bastion that could be a draw to increase the tourism this state desperately needs to increase revenue.
I personally, am disenchanted with the growth of chains. Really, whats the point of traveling if the food you can get in one place is exactly the same as the food somewhere else.
Even with the growth of Craft Beer, especially in Michigan, too often we find that the places where beer is celebrated we find food that does not require the care of a craftsman. Even worse, we too often find that most places are not even willing to pay the price needed to employ true craftsmen. More often we run across places that are only willing to pay what it takes for a warm body that is willing to only use such gruesome devices as a microwave.
Another nail in the coffin is the power that the Food Network has brought into our lives. Foodies who subscribe to the schtick of such TV stations do not really know what craftsman really do. They don’t really know the effort that goes into making perfect food look easy and effortless. Its one thing to make a single meal. And something else entirely to make that same meal multiple times in a single evening exactly the same way every time, while cooking even more at the same time.
Maybe I am reading way too much into this, but at the same time, if what I am seeing is true, we may very well be in for a deluge of bland sameness worse than what we see with mass market beer.