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Beer Review #36 La Fin Du Monde

12-04-02We have yet another brew from Unibroue up for review today. The last beer I had from their brewery was excellent, and I’m not going to hold my opinion of La Fin Du Monde till the end; this one is also excellent. La Fin Du Monde stands for “The end of the World” and was launched in 1994. This beer took 18 months to develop before it was ever released. It falls under the Belgian Triple classification and with good reason.

La Fin Du Monde pours a dirty straw color with a slightly off-white head. The head is large and fluffy as this is a highly carbonated beer (as most Belgians are). The aroma coming from this beer was apparent from just pouring it into the glass. With most beers I generally stick my face into the glass to get a full helping of what is all in there. This beer however gave lots of hints right off of the bat. The first thing is the spicy yeast, with odors of cloves and coriander. Some bready smells can also be found mixed in with a touch of malt sweetness. The final thing that stands out is the alcohol present on the nose.

12-04-04The taste is wonderful. There is a good bit of sweet malt upfront, which is quickly followed by the  Belgian spice. The ever present alcohol is also in the flavor profile. The Belgian spice, that comes from the yeast, is more peppery then most. There are a few fruity notes in there as well, but those also come from the Belgian yeast.  La Fin Du Monde is a medium bodied beer that has tons of carbonation.

As I said at the beginning, I love this beer. You will have to enjoy Belgian beers and Belgian beer flavors to enjoy this beer though. It comes in at 9% ABV and comes in 4 packs or 750 ml corked bottles. I opted to go for the 4 pack since you get more beer for the same price. It cost be about $12.99 for the four pack. There is a thin head that lasts all the way through the beer and I noticed that the beer is lighter in color until the end of the bottle when the yeast sediment gets dumped in. Some people don’t put it into their beer, I enjoy the flavor that it adds. The bottle also says that the beer is triple fermented, what that tells me is that it is a bottle conditioned beer. Unibroue hits a home run with this beer! (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…)

Homebrew carbonation problems

11-06-01I’ve brewed three batches of beer since I have been in Lubbock, Tx. Every single one of them has not had proper carbonation and it is starting to drive me nuts. The first two beers, Belgian Dubbel and Belgian Tripel, were both carbonated with carbonation drops. I put the proper amount, according to the packaging, into each bottle, but both are under-carbonated. The sad thing is that these styles of beer are supposed to be highly carbonated. They have nice flavor, just not enough of the bubbles.

For my Pumpkin Ale I went back to my old carbonation method, dry malt extract. It costs more than corn sugar and carbonation drops, and takes a bit longer, but I have always been happy with the results. As of right now it is more carbonated than the Belgian beers, but still not up to snuff.

I have been trying to think of reasons why my beers are not carbonating. I’ll say that I got a bad batch of carbonation drops or the packaging is wrong. The Dubbel is at 6% ABV and the Tripel at 9% ABV. I don’t think there is a problem with the yeast being tried and not fully carbonating. The Pumpkin Ale has its own problems which might be affecting it. Because of the stuck sparge and a few other things it is coming in at an amazing 14.5% ABV. The yeast I used is not known to be highly tolerant, so it could be stressed out or dead, thus the lack of carbonation.

Eventually I will be kegging things, but that is another year or so off. So until then I need to work on my carbonation. I never had a problem back in PA, perhaps the 3000+ feet of altitude change is part of it, I don’t know. My next homebrew is going to be lower ABV so I can get a better idea of what is going on.

09-24-02

Left Hank Brewing Company Haystack Wheat Beer Review

09-24-02As I said before my wife has been on a wheat beer kick for awhile now. Haystack Wheat from Left Hand Brewing Company is the next wheat beer to add to the collection. I’ve had a few other Left Hand products before and I have enjoyed them for the most part. In particular I think their Milk Stout is amazing. With that said, let’s move onto the beer.

We finally got a wheat beer that looks like a wheat beer. It is straw in color, which shouldn’t be surprising with its name, and has a fluffy, off-white head. It is super cloudy and looks like what you would expect a wheat beer to be. The nose was wheaty (surprise!), sweet, and some nutmeg or clove type smell. There is a little yeasty smell on the back of the nose as well. I also got a little banana of further smells.

09-24-04The taste was light on the malty flavor, cloves and nutmeg, wheat, and lots of banana. Haystack Wheat is well balanced as there is no component that really outshines the other. All of the flavors mesh well and compliment each other. It is light to medium in the mouthfeel and goes down extremely easy. It is very drinkable and refreshing. Left Hand Brewing Company made a good summer thirst quenching beer.

A few other things I noticed is that the beer is bottle conditioned which means that it was either re-fermented in the bottle to provide for carbonation or alcohol, or that the yeast is present in the bottle. In this case there is lots of yeast in the bottle. There is a nice layer of yeast at the bottom which I swirled to mix back into the beer. Overall Haystack Wheat is a pretty good beer and delivers on what you would expect from a lightly colored German wheat beer. (more…)

Tripel update #3

The Tripel has come along nicely. Since the last update, the beer has finished fermenting full and is now sitting at 9% ABV. I am very pleased with that result. While the efficiency was terrible, you almost expect that in a big beer. As I said before I wish I would of made a session beer out of the excess sugars.

It is still sitting in the carboy waiting to be bottled. My only problem right now is having enough bottles. I refuse to buy bottles as they are expensive and the shipping is usually pretty bad. It also depresses me to think of all of the new beers I could of tried if I would of just bought a few six-packs. I might of considered buying them if there was a homebrew store in Lubbock, but that is not the case. The Dubbel got most of my collection of bottles becasue it finished first, but I am slowing adding back to the collection. Hopefully by next weekend I will have collected enough to bottle.

On a side note I tired one of the Dubbels’ and it wasn’t terrible. The carbonation is still lacking, but the taste is right there. With proper carbonation I think it could be an excellent Dubbel.