I’m always looking for a way to keep my homebrew at an optimal temperature while fermenting, but I’ve never given a ton of consideration to the drinking temperature. I usually pull a beer out of the fridge and let it warm over time. The problem is that different beers will greatly suffer from getting too warm. The same goes for beers getting too cold.
There are a lot of solutions to this problem but I keep coming back to the beer koozie. A koozie is basically an insulator for your beer that keeps the heat of your hand out, and the temperature of your beer in. There are some fun definitions that can be found about it here. There was even a study about it, really. I’ve recently started using these to keep my beers at a consistent temperature for reviews but I’m suck with a problem. Most beer koozies are branded with logos and products that I don’t support or believe in. I once received a Bud Light koozie for purchasing a few 750 ml bottles of Belgian beer. Odd, it was.
So I’ve been on the search for craft koozies and I think I found one. Expressimprint.com offers blank koozies that you can place your own designs and text on. I did one for this site as seen below while wasting time not doing grad work.
The nice thing about Express Imprint is that they have a very low minimum quantity for orders. Usually custom printing places require company sized orders, not personal sized ones. I plan on ordering a few for our annual family picnic. My family will dig it and I get to keep their cheap beer from getting warm and undrinkable. It’s a win-win.
I’m not a coffee drinker in the slightest, but I love coffee beer. Odd right? Some say that coffee is an acquired tasted, like beer, but I often find it to be to harshly bitter and not suitable to my palate. When I saw Boulevard Brewing Company’s Coffee Ale on the shelves I knew that I had to try it. This beer is part of their Smokestack Series and the label proudly reads, “malt beverage brewed with coffee.” It also comes in at 9.3% for a bit of an extra kick.
The coffee ale pours a dark brown and has a nice tan head. I was expecting a black colored beer, but brown is okay with me. The beer pours very creamy and the head sits solid, but only goes to a medium thickness in the glass. The nose is rocked with strong coffee odors. I didn’t get any hops or heat in the aroma but a touch of sweetness can be found.
The taste, like the nose, is packed with coffee. It’s strong, in charge, and yells “Coffee BEER!” Outside of the dominating coffee there is a slight caramel sweetness but nothing else to make note of. Instead of hop bitterness, this beer relies on the coffee to do the job. And it does it well.
The mouthfeel is very light and not nearly as creamy as the pour suggested. As far as coffee beers go, this is one of the stronger coffee flavors that I have found. I still found it very drinkable and packed with flavor. I’m no coffee nut, but there is a nice bouquet of coffee flavors that really add interest to this one. I’m not versed in coffee enough to explain the flavors, but I found them enjoyable and not over the top. This is a good one to try if you like coffee beers. Continue reading →
I have yet another Double IPA up for review today. Don’t kill me, I just can’t help that I like big beers. As James Spencer of Basic Brewing Radio says, “I like big beers and I cannot lie.” Today’s beer comes from the Old Dominion Brewing Company. I first had this beer several years ago at the Good Beer Festival but at the time, they did not bottle it. I’m happy to report that they now bottle it and I am better for it. This Double IPA comes in at a nice round 9% ABV.
Double D IPA pours a nice orange color and has an off-white head. Unlike some DIPAs, this one is perfectly clear and looks beautiful in the glass. The nose is rich in hops. There are a lot of hop aromas a beer can have and this beer sits firmly in the grapefruit/tropical hop world. I didn’t get any pine on the nose in this one. In my book, any good DIPA should have a nice malt body to balance out the hops and the malt even comes out in the aroma for this beer.
On the first taste you get hit with two things:
A great malt flavor that has some nice bread/toast components
The malt is nicely balanced but the start of the show is the hops. The hops are bright, fresh, and crisp. There is a really good citrus flavor that follows through the entire beer. A slight pine flavor comes in at the end and helps dry everything out nicely. Unlike some hoppy beers that feature bitterness, this beer really has a lot of hop flavor. It just sings through the beer and provides some great flavor notes for your tongue to enjoy.
This is hands down one of my favorite DIPAs. I’m so glad that they started bottling this beer. There is a great balance to this one. The malt is present and flavorful and the hops are clean and bold. There really isn’t a thing to dislike on this beer. Dominion has three different beers featuring pin-ups and this is by far my favorite. Continue reading →
I’ve been on an IPA swing recently and I came across a new beer and a new brewery while at the beer store the other day, so I had to grab a bottle or two to try. The beer is Shipwrecked Double IPA and the brewery is the Mission Brewery out of San Diego, California. This bad boy comes in at 9.25%.
Shipwrecked Double IPA pours a nice burnt orange color and looked mostly clear but might have had some haze. It was hard to tell if it was clear or hazy as the glass got coated in condensation pretty quickly after the pour. There was a medium off-white head that stuck around longer than most double IPAs. The nose is super unique, unlike any nose that I’ve smelled before. You have the normal hop citrus and slight pine but the main hop odor is kind of stinky. It’s almost like a foot smell. I don’t know if I just got a weird batch but the nose, while not unpleasant, wasn’t overly outstanding either.
On the first taste I was thrilled to find that the malt bill on this beer is top notch. There are some great caramel notes along with some nice bready notes as well. The malt by itself is very nice and well brewed. When the hops hit, they hit quickly. They are very clean and leave your mouth as fast as they came in. There is a slightly grassy feeling to this one while drinking but it doesn’t end on a grassy note or even a bitter note, it just leaves.
The mouthfeel is full but it seemed a little under-carbonated for my tastes. I wonder if the feet smell could be associated with an improperly crimped cap. This isn’t a bad double IPA but it is far from my favorite. I really wanted more assertive hops out of a double IPA but this beer left me with memories of a great malt flavor. It’s not a bad thing for a beer, but not a good thing for a double IPA. Continue reading →
It’s been some time since my last post on this site. At the time of my last post I had just returned from vacation and jumped right back into a promotion at work which has kept me very busy. While I haven’t been posting a ton (like nothing at all in a month and a half) on this site, I’ve been very actively homebrewing. I thought that I would leave some notes below on my activities before getting back to beer reviews later this week.
My buddy and I split the cost of a whiskey barrel several months ago and we have produced a very nice Rye IPA and Belgian Tripel from it. The Rye IPA has passed its peak freshness in my eyes but the Tripel is firing on all cylinders. I expect that beer to age nicely and be around for some time. Currently to barrel has a Robust Porter in it (recipe coming soon) that hits some nice notes from the first tasting. It’s been in the barrel a little longer than what I would have liked and has become over-oaked as a result. I added some fresh beer to it a few weeks ago and that seems to have rounded it out nicely. I hope to bottle it this weekend. Going into the whiskey barrel will be a Belgian Dark Strong Ale that has been fermenting strong for three weeks now. I don’t know how it is doing it, but there are still bubbles coming out of the airlocks.
The kegged portion of the Rye IPA is in one of my kegs and the other one has a Fall Session Ale. It’s a nice beer that comes in at 4% ABV, but has a ton of flavor that makes it drink like a higher percentage beer. I have a keg of the Barrel Aged Tripel waiting to go on tap once the Rye kicks. I need to replace the O-rings on one of my empty kegs along with a new poppet valve.
All of my fermenters are currently full, which is not something that usually happens for me. Three of them are taken up by the Belgian Dark Strong Ale which will be put into the barrel this weekend. Another fermenter has an American Hoppy Wheat Ale in it that is hopped with a generous amount of Citra, but stays at 4.5% or so ABV. My only glass carboy has three gallons of the fresh Robust Porter that didn’t fit into the barrel. I am toying with the idea of fermenting a few gallons of cider and mixing the two before kegging but I have to let that idea rest for a bit. I also just got two new fermenters in the mail today thanks to Northern Brewer’s buy one get on free sale from last week.
I have a number of beers in my mind that I want to brew pretty soon. The first thing that I need to knockout is a Pumpkin Ale. The one that I brewed last year really hit the mark for me and I am only going to be making slight adjustments for this years batch. I also have a Winter Warmer in my mind that needs to be brewed in short order. Finally I have a bunch of NZ hops on hand so I want to make an over the top IPA and Pale Ale, but those may have to hold off a bit as I want to make sure that I can drink them fresh and I don’t have the keg space to put them in right now.
Reviews will be back later this week and I plan on posting more homebrewing articles as well as I have a lot going on right now with it.