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Beer Review #286 Wyld Extra Pale Ale

04-18-03As I have previously mentioned, Uinta Brewing Company is one of my favorite “new” breweries. They are one of the Top 50 Craft Breweries by volume, so I’m not alone in thinking that they make some quality beer. Today’s beer is a pale ale that comes in at just 4% ABV. A sessionable pale ale, wonderful.

Wyld Extra Pale Ale pours a very light orange color. It is slightly hazy and comes with a thin white head. The nose is packed with a strong hop aroma. There is a good amount of pine resin aroma along with a bit of citrus hops. This beer smells very aggressive for a pale ale and very hop forward. The hops are very clean and bright, which is something that I always like to see in a beer. I didn’t get much in the way of sweetness or malt character from the nose.

Unlike the nose, this beer has a nice malt taste up front. A very nice clean hop flavor¬†permeates the malt and gives a good does of pine flavor. Usually I shy away from straight pine in hops, but this pine is softer and more rounded. It’s not a “Christmas tree ale,” but it should how full the pine hop flavor can really be. The hops end on a bit of a grassy note. I’m not sure how this beer manages to combine clean hop flavor with grass, but it works.

I really dig this one. It is wonderfully balanced and tastes like a beer that is much bigger than it is. As I said, this beer is sessionable. Drinkable, check. Sessionable, check. Full of flavor, check. I really could enjoy this beer year round and regularly. I don’t often give beers the re-buy nod, but this one gets it. (more…)

Winter Warmer Recipe

11-20-01In my last homebrew post I talked about doing a Colonial American style beer. Well I am still working on that, but I have a lot more reading to do so that I can make it accurately. In the meantime, I thought that I would embrace the coming season change and got with a winter warmer. I’ve always been a fan of winter seasonal beers, but I have never made one of my own. My wife has also been asking me to make something dark and malty. A winter warmer fits perfectly into that style.

Let me begin with the fact that I have only had a handful of beers classified as “winter warmer” before in my life. I think my favorite belongs to Lancaster Brewing Company, which I enjoyed plenty of last year back in PA. The things I like about it are the facts that it has a huge body, a lot of different flavor notes (some fruit, chocolate, brown sugar, molasses, and caramel), and it all comes in being very well balanced. Furthermore, for an 8.9% abv beer there isn’t much, if any, alcohol noticeable and there is not a lot of hop bite on the back. The malt and complexity in it are what shine in this beer.

So I began doing some research trying to find a starting point with this beer. And after all was said and done, I came up with a recipe that I think is unique and should deliver a great amount of complexity.

  • 8.0 lbs American 2-Row
  • 2.0 lbs Maris Otter Pale Malt
  • 1.0 lbs Caramel Malt 90L
  • 1.0 lbs Chocolate Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Chocolate Wheat Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Chocolate Rye Malt
  • 0.5 lbs American Black Patent
  • 1.0 lbs Molasses
  • 1 oz Fuggle hops (3.6% AA for 60 mins)
  • 1 oz Fuggle hops (3.6% AA for 15 mins)
  • Nottingham Dry Ale yeast, with starter

I’m planning on mashing this at about 150 degrees for an hour. Doing so should give a nice balance between malt character and easy fermenting sugar. The 1 lb of molasses will be added into the kettle during the first runnings. I put a lot of dark malts into this beer becasue I want something with some coffee, molasses, and chocolate notes.

The chocolate wheat and rye were a last minute decision and the original recipe had one pound of wheat malt. I’ve never used chocolate wheat/rye malt and this is my first experience with rye malt overall, so I’m not entirely sure what impacts they will have. From my¬† understanding, rye malt tends to dry a beer out and give a crisper feel to it. Even at that, it makes up about 4% of then total grain bill, so it should not have a large effect weather it be positive or negative.

I also went with a dry ale yeast here for a few reasons. First, I used it on the pumpkin ale with good results. Second, the dry ale yeast is easy to make a starter with and with the fluctuation in temperatures here in Texas during this time of year (40 degrees between day and night) I didn’t want any active yeast to suffer. Third is that the optimal temperature range for this yeast is 57-70 degrees which falls perfectly into my apartment’s temperatures. Fourth, it is highly flocculant (precipitating) and highly attenuating. And lastly, it has a lost ester profile, so the malt should be able to shine through even more when it is not competing with the hops or yeast esters.

The final stats on the beer look like this:

  • OG 1.075
  • 39 SRM
  • 7.5% ABV
  • 20.0 IBUs

I plan of fermenting for a week (or until fermention is complete) and than putting it into a secondary for 2-3 weeks. After that I will bottle it and leave it condition for another 2-3 weeks (hopefully there will be no carbonation problems this time around). Then I can finally enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Lancaster Brewing Company Hop Hog Beer Review

09-02-26-10Lancaster Brewing Company’s Hop Hog is one of the four beers the offer year round. You can read the description that LBC gives their hoppy brew on the right.

This is actually one of the first microbrews that I ever had so it will always have a special place in my heart. At the time I first tried it, it was a bit hoppy for me. Now, I think it is just right. Anyway, this beer changes drastically from keg to bottle. Obviously keg is better but the bottled version is nothing to laugh at.

Opening up the bottle there is a pleasant floral/hop aroma with a hint of malt base. It carries a decent head that lasts through the whole drink and Hop Hog possessed excellent lacing. The brew pours and orange/copper color and is extremely clear (common of most IPAs).

As you can see on the right, there is a ton of hops, but the malt character does a great job at balancing the flavors. It is very dry and the drink just falls off of your tongue. Unlike some beers that have an unpleasant hop taste left after the drink has left your mouth (see CBC EPA), this has a lingering hop but it is right on for an IPA. I’m drinking a bottle that I bought four months ago at the time of writing this and the hop flavor still seems fresh.

As for most IPA’s the mouthfeel is very light and goes down easily. It is a very drinkable beer that gets better down the glass. I prefer mine slightly above fridge temperature as there are some notes that really pop right around there. As you can probably tell, this isn’t one of those brews that I have had a 6-pack of. I’ve drank Hop Hog several times, and I will continue to do so so it is an excellent IPA and a local one at that. (more…)