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01-27-00

Beer Review #314 Holy Sheet

01-27-04Maybe it’s the cold, but I’ve really been in the mood for big beers that have some barrel age to them recently. My father-in-law got me a bottle of Clipper City Brewing Company’s Holy Sheet for Christmas, and I couldn’t resist drinking it. This bad boy rocks in at 9% and is part of their Heavy Seas line of beers. The bottle says a “Belgian style Abbey Ale aged in Brandy Barrels.” Wonderful!

Holy Sheet (great name BTW) pours a nice brown color with some hints of red mixed in there. It has a thin head that edges on dirty white to tan. The nose is complex but distinct at the same time. The first aroma that hit my nose was a slight heat. It’s not overly surprising for a beer aged in brandy barrels and coming in at 9% to have an alcohol smell. A lot of malt smells then hit my nose and packed in odors of raisin, dark fruit, and a slight Belgian spice. The nose was sweet with some good doses of caramel as well. I really dug the aromas wafting off of this beer.

While it was the last aroma to make its appearance, caramel was what hit me on the first taste of this beer. The beer stays sweet and some raisin components come in. The barrel aging is very apparent in this beer. There is a big dose of oak that becomes more noticeable as the beer warms. A slight toast flavor mixes in for good measure. There is no real ending to this beer, everything just mixes together and leaves. I would describe this beer as earthy in flavor with a lot of woody undertones.

This is a complex beer all of the way around. The nose was a joy to smell and the beer was great to drink. This is ¬†a great sipper for a cold day. I need to find a few more of these as I think they would age great, though they might not make it that long. (more…)

Beer Review #126 St. Bernardus Prior 8

Since returning from Europe I have been on a Belgian and German beer kick. When in those countries I made sure not to purchase any beer that I knew that I could easily get here in the States. I mainly did this just so that I could try as many new beers as possible. I did have a few repeats, but for the most part I tired all new beers (to me) on my trip.

One of the beers that I made sure to avoid was today’s subject, St. Bernardus Prior 8. Prior 8 is brewed by¬†Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV of Watou, Belgium. This Belgian ale is an Abbey style ale that comes in at a respectable 8% ABV. It pours a nice brown color and is accompanied by a two finger tan head. This beer is also nice and cloudy as a result of natural carbonation from the yeas that is purposefully left in the beer.

The nose on Prior 8 is wonderfully complex, as an Abbey Ale should be. I found some plum, Belgian spices, and some slight heat. Along with the other odors is the smell of some nice malty sweetness that cuts between the rest of the activity.

On the first taste, all of the flavors that were promised in the nose made a reappearance in my mouth. The plum and Belgian spices mixed wonderfully. The heat was present, but complimented everything else as did the malt sweetness. There were also flavors of raisin and fig mixed in which really added something special to this beer.

I really dig this beer. It might be the fact that I am craving these beers right now, but I think this is something special. I highly suggest this beer if you have never tried it and, if you have already had it, try it again. (more…)

Beer Review #38 Full Moon

I can honestly say that I don’t do “macro” brews on here very often. That is do to a number of factors, but the main two are that I like to support smaller breweries and that I think the smaller breweries turn out a better product. Full Moon is brewed by the Blue Moon Brewing Company, which is a spin-off of Coors. Blue Moon actually got its start at the test brewery for Coors located at Coors Field. As Dane Cook would say, “there’s a fun fact for you (an FF).” Is that still relevant, I mean really when is the last time you heard a Dane Cook joke?

And back to topic we go. My wife used to love this beer, and being that seasonal beers are tough to find in Lubbock, I’m willing to buy almost any seasonal, from wherever, and made by whomever. So we grabbed it. Full Moon pours a ruby color with an off-white head that quickly diminishes. It is crystal clear, if that matters to you. The bottle says the following, “this full-bodied ale is brewed with roasted malts and a hint of Dark Belgian sugar for a perfectly balanced taste.” OK then.

The nose on the beer is a malty sweetness, with a small bit of Belgian sugar. There is an ever so slight hint of the Belgian yeast, but you could easily miss it. The taste starts with a slightly malty tone, followed by some slight Belgian yeast. The candy sugar in the beer is the most apparent taste with some bready notes also buried in there. I’m surprised a Belgian beer could be toned down so much on the yeast ends of things. The taste is not super strong, but it does give a nice ending to the beer. There isn’t any hop flavor in there either, not that it should always be expected with a Belgian beer.

The body of the beer comes in light-medium and it is rather watery. Blue Moon puts this under an Abbey Ale while I have also seen it classified as a Belgian Dubbel. Which ever the case, it is a watered down version of a true representative of this style. It is drinkable, but for most craft beer drinkers I think this one misses the mark. It is a great introduction to craft beer though for a newcomer. While it is made by a macro, it is balanced enough to not turn someone off. This isn’t going to be for a Belgian beer lover, but as an introduction to the style, it isn’t bad. (more…)

Beer Review #33 Ommegang Abbey Ale

11-08-02I thought I was out of my Belgian kick that I was on over the summer, but I found another reason to continue. Ommegang Abbey Ale is a Belgian Dubbel from Brewery Ommegang out of Cooperstown, NY. I saw two options of bottling for this beer, a four-pack or a 750 ml corked bottle. I opted to go for the four-pack as it was a better buy and I didn’t have to drink it all at once.

I allowed the beer to warm up at cellar temperatures as it takes on a different feel when it is colder. The cold attempt I made I didn’t get much aroma, but a lot of sourness. Once I allowed it to warm on my next beer, I had a much better tasting beer. It pours a deep ruby color with a thick light brown head. The head on the beer is made entirely of tiny bubble (high carbonation) and a thin layer of head lasted through the entire drink. The Abbey Ale is pretty clear with some haze from the yeast and a few groups of things in suspension, as common with most Belgian beers.

11-08-03The nose was very fruity. I think the smell that stood out the most was a grape to sour grape smell. The yeast was also heavy on the nose with some hints of malt. No hops were detectable. On my first sip I was hit with the malt on the front, followed by a sourness, and then the Belgian yeast bite. There was a grapy aftertaste. As I kept drinking some bitter chocolate notes came though as well. The Belgian yeast had a slightly different twang than a normal Belgian yeast strain, it was much more sour. Most of the time you get a spiciness from Belgian yeast, there was some, but not as pronounced as other Belgian beers I have had.

The mouthfeel was medium and the high carbonation was wonderful. I really enjoyed drinking this beer. It is a perfect beer to drink slowly during a long period of time. As the beer warms to room temperature a host of new notes come out and make it more and more interesting. Ommegang Abbey Ale comes in a 8.5% which is on the higher end of ABV for Belgain Dubbels.

There were a few interesting notes on the back of the bottle as well. It says, “Part of the Duvel family of fine ales.” Brewery Ommegang was named after Belgium’s oldest medieval festival. This beer is also cellared at the brewery. If you like Belgian beers give this one a try, you will not be disappointed. It is wonderfully flavorful and complex. It really was a treat of a beer to drink. (more…)

07-31-01

Belgian Tripel Recipe

07-31-01Now that I am finally established in Texas I can get back to homebrewing again. It has been a long time since I brewed the SB Birthday Beer. Does the date of that post really go all the way back to Feburary. That sucks. I’ve been really digging Belgian beers for the past few months and have been coming up with ideas in my head about what all I need to do to make it as good as it can be. So I came up with the following recipe:

  • 12 lbs Belgian Pils
  • .5 lbs Belgian Pale
  • .5 lbs Wheat malt
  • .25 0z Tettnanger (4.5% at 120 mins)
  • .25 0z Tettnanger (4.5% at 90 mins)
  • .25 0z Tettnanger (4.5% at 60 mins)
  • .25 0z Tettnanger (4.5% at 30 mins)
  • .5 oz Saaz (5.0% at 10 mins)
  • Yeast: WLP530 (Abbey Ale) or another Belgian Strong if unavialable

I plan on mashing the grains at 152 degrees for 90 minutes to try and get as much sugar out of them as I can. I hope to collect a total of 5 gallons of wort for boil when all is said and done. I then want to boil for two hours and bring down the level of wort to around 3.5 gallons. I haven’t brewed here before and I am almost 3,000 ft. higher in elevation so I don’t know if the boil time will need adjusting.

I will ferment in the primary for a week, switch to a secondary for another week, and then bottle and contition for 2-3 weeks. I hope to have a nice estery beer that comes in between 9.5-9.7% abv. My SG goal is going to be 1.090, maybe a bit higher or lower depending on my effiency.

My hop choices came down to English (Fuggles and Goldings) or the German hops I picked. Saaz hops has a history of being a bit more fruity and I want those esters to shine. With such a long boil I wanted to strech out the primary hops and split them up into four small additions. It might add a bit of complexity but will make it not overpowering. I am still considering just a single addition at the hour mark, but I still can’t make up my mind. The final IBUs should come in at about 28 IBUs. I’m going to ferment on the upper edge of the recommended temperature at 75 degrees or so.

Is there anything I missed or any other considerations I should look at before brewing this bad boy up. I’m hoping to make a go at it this weekend or next depending on how fast the ingredients ship and how fast I can build my mash tun.