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Beer Review #281 Dos Costas Oeste

04-04-02I have a new beer to talk about today and one hell of a story behind it. My wife actually picked out this bottle from a bottle shop near my parent’s house. We both love The Bruery and I have been itching to try something from Cigar City Brewing. She saw that this beer was a collaboration between the two and made it ours. The bottle has this to say about the beer, “a high gravity ale with coriander, ginger, and sweet orange peel, aged on grapefruit wood spirals.” It comes in at 9%. All of that sounds well and good, and then it came to opening the beer…

As soon as I opened this beer it escaped the bottle like a rocket, think coke and mentos. It splattered all over my kitchen ceiling, my countertops, and well, most of my kitchen stuff. It was clear that this bottle had an infection of some type that caused excess sugar that brewing yeast cannot process to be fermented. After an annoyed clean-up I had 4 oz. of my 750 ml bottle left. Awesome. I do want to note before I dive into the review that reviewing infected beers is not really my style. It clearly is not what the brewer intended it to be, but my 4 oz. was drinkable. So I reviewed away.

UPDATE: I contacted the brewery and they explained the situation to me. The folks at Cigar City (the actual brewer of the beer) did a wonderful job of making the situation right. The beer was recalled but some distributors have not returned what they were asked to. I have since contacted the bottle shop where I purchased it to let them know that they have potential bottle bombs on their shelves.

04-04-01

Dos Costas Oeste explodes pours a cloudy tan orange. There is no head thanks to what I noted above. The nose is sour with some slight hints of grapefruit. I also got some notes of pineapple, orange, and what I’m calling tropical funk.

The taste is funky. There is a slight toasty flavor upfront and then sourness comes in behind. The grapefruit from the wood spirals is also there but I didn’t get any notes of wood from the spirals. As most of the carbonation went out of the bottle when I popped the cap, the beer was pretty flat.

Even though this beer was infected and even though I only got a small bit of what I bought, I still like the overall flavor in this beer. It is very different and it didn’t taste infected. I’m not sure if it was supposed to sour like it did, but I didn’t think that it took away from the flavor at all. I wish I had a full bottle of this one to try and I hope that I get to taste a proper batch of this at some point in the future. Just remember, if you see this on the shelves and it has Dec 2012 on it, stay away and tell the store that it has been recalled.

Belgian Wit Recipe

It has been super hot here for that past few days and I have been itching to brew something. The combination of heat and the perceived need to brew something light and refreshing lead me to try my had at a Belgian Wit. I haven’t tired to brew a Belgian beer in almost two years, and I’ve never brewed a Belgian Wit.

My recipes are generally a combination of research and simplicity. I find that many homebrewers often like to add 300 specialty grains because the grains add “something special” to their beers. I’m more of the mindset of, “breweries probably don’t add too many grain to their beers as they would cost to much to make, so I shouldn’t either.” I’ve been known to go crazy from time to time, but in general I like the KISS approach to brewing. For this beer, I kept the grain bill simple, but I added some ingredients that I have never worked with before to the mix. You can see my recipe below:

  • 5 lbs. Pilsner
  • 4 lbs Wheat Malt
  • .5 lb Oats
  • 1 oz Hallertau (3.0% AA) @ 60 min
  • 1 oz Saaz (2.6% AA) @15 min
  • .5 oz Bitter dried orange peel @ 5 min
  • .5 oz Coriander @5 min
  • Yeast: WLP410

I only went with three types of grain on this one with a slight edge to the Pilsner malt as I wanted to keep this beer out of a 50/50 ratio with the wheat. The wheat malt is still over 40% of the grain bill but I also wanted to try out oats as I’ve never had a chance to brew with them before. I’m hoping that they help give this beer a more silky character. The hops are pretty traditional European hops with low alpha acids and serve to help keep the beer in balance but are not intended to add any significant flavor or smell contribution.

The end of the recipe is where I was most excited. I’ve tried dried orange peel before but it has been almost four years and I thought this would be an excellent recipe to try it in again. The coriander is there to help the Wit be a bit more assertive in the spices that the yeast give off. WLP410 is on of White Labs seasonal releases that is only out there for May and June. It is rumored that it is the house Brewery Ommegang strain. It apparently has less phenolics then a typical Wit yeast strain and gives off more esters. It also doesn’t ferment as fully but I figure that the Coriander and esters will help give the beer a drying feeling at the end instead of leaving it overly sweet. The projected stats for this beer can be seen below:

  • Expected OG: 1.046
  • Expected FG: 1.011
  • Expected ABV: 4.5%
  • Expected IBUs: 14.5

I brewed this beer prior to posting this recipe and I did pretty well getting an OG of 1.042. I did make a mistake with the orange peel and coriander as I added them with my last hop addition instead of at the 5 minute mark.

Beer Review #188 Samuel Adams Imperial White

The Samuel Adams Imperial Series made a big splash when it came out a few years ago, but since then, I haven’t heard much about it. They recently redesigned the packaging and my local go-to beer store finally started carrying the new stuff. Boston Beer Company makes four beers in the series, all of which will be reviewed on this site in time (they are sitting in the fridge). Of the four beers in the series, I thought that the Imperial White would be the most interesting, since it seems to me to be a total conflict of the style.

This beer comes in at a solid 10% ABV and pours much like olive oil; thick and smooth. It hits the glass a nice burnt orange color and has a fair about of haze to it. There is a generous white head that didn’t seem to be significantly cut down by the high alcohol. Some heat immediately comes to the nose followed by some slight caramel sweetness. I also noticed a good helping of oranges with a slight citrus note. Finally there was some coriander, but not as much as I was expecting from this one.

Citrus and orange dominate the front of the beer with the coriander bringing up the rear. The middle was a bit empty. There is plenty of heat all the way through the ale. While this one looked thick on the pour, it doesn’t sit as heavy in the mouth thanks to plenty of carbonation. The overall taste really wasn’t bad, but the unrelenting heat was just too much for me to enjoy this beer fully. I understand this is an imperial beer, but that doesn’t mean that alcohol should be a dominate flavor. If you haven’t tried this one yet and you want to try something different, you might want to look at this beer. (more…)

Beer Review #137 Leipziger Gose

Ever since my trip to Belgium I have really enjoyed sour beers. I’m not sure what changed in me as I generally hate sour things. Back in October of 2009 I posted about different beer styles and how they didn’t agree with my taste buds. When  I go back and look at some of the styles on that list, I wonder what I was thinking. I’m really digging pilsner beer at the current time along with Lambics and pretty much everything else I mentioned. Part of the reason why I made this site was to document my trip through craft beer. I have really been able to see how much I have changed in a short time.

Leipziger Gose is a beer that one of my buddies bought for me awhile ago. I let it sit for awhile since you really can’t over age a Gose. I finally got around to opening it up and boy was I impressed. This beer pours a blond color and has a nice fluffy white head. The nose is pretty sour with some sweetness attached. When I say sour, think of sticking your face into a bag of Sour Patch Kids sour. The label says, “brewed with normal ingredient but also coriander and salt.” Interesting since I didn’t know they were allowed to do that with the Reinheitsgebot is still in effect to my knowledge.

On the first taste I was shocked at how much was happening in this beer. There are the clear sour notes, but behind them are some herbal and plumb flavors that are very nice. This beer comes in at only 4.6% but it is a wonderful testament that you don’t need high alcohol to get a complex beer.

This beer is also exceptionally balanced and delicate. Other than the wonderful beer itself, the name of the brewery that makes it is awesome; Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof. Say that five times fast, or try to pronoun it correctly once. Bahnhof is train station and German and the brewery is actually located inside of an old train station. Cool.

When I was in Germany I didn’t get the chance to visit Leipzig but I would love to go back and make a visit to this brewery if I ever found myself in Germany again. I HIGHLY suggest this one, even to people who don’t like sour beers. It is non-aggressive which makes it a great intro beer to the style.

On a side note does anyone have any idea what the red netting pictured above is actually for? I assume it is to keep the bottles from crashing into one another, but I honestly have no idea. (more…)

Beer Review #129 Namaste

Now that I live in Delaware I feel a special allegiance to Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Milton, DE. I have a number of their beers that I need to review on this site, but most recently I reviewed their Aprihop. I appreciate Dogfish Head for being bold and making beers that not everyone will like. I think sometimes their strive to be unique takes them down dangerous paths, but for the most part, I really enjoy what they brew. Sam has written three books and even had a short lived show on the Discovery Channel (when is that last episode coming out anyway?). I have a lot of respect for what they do and Namaste is one of those beers that I have been meaning to purchase.

Namaste is an Indian word that is used as a common greeting. My wife told me that. The label on the bottle says that Namaste is an ale, “brewed with coriander, orange, and lemongrass.” It also comes in at, for Dogfish Head, a paltry 5% ABV. This beer pours, what I am calling, a “straw orange” color. It isn’t orange and it isn’t straw blonde, but when you combine those colors, you get the color of this beer. The first pour was pretty clear but later pours came in cloudy from the yeast that rests on the bottom of the bottle. There is also a thick white head to go along with everything else.

The nose gives off the orange and lemon that were mentioned on the label. I found that it had a “Blue Moon quality.” It didn’t smell exactly like Blue Moon, but it wasn’t far off either. On the first taste the orange and lemon delivered on the things they promised in the nose. The coriander made an appearance on the back-end of the flavor profile. The coriander is very strong and I am surprised that I didn’t get any on the nose. It almost numbs your tongue.

I wouldn’t call this one of my favorite Dogfish Head beers but it is certainty refreshing. If you are looking for a big bottle of slightly unique, drinkable beer, try this one out. (more…)