Skip to main content

Beer Review #259 The Beast

01-10-02I’m a bit of a roller coaster nerd and when I saw the name of this beer, my mind immediately went the Beast at Kings Island, the World’s longest wooden roller coaster. Much like the roller coaster, this beer takes a long time to go through as it comes in at 16%! The Beast is brewed by Avery Brewing Company and is an “ale with raisins, dates, molasses and honey.” Holy balls. And yes, that is Ticket to Ride in the picture. If you haven’t played it, you should.

The Beast pours a reddish copper color and it is perfectly clear. It has a light tan head that fades away very quickly thanks to the high alcohol. The nose is packed with dark fruits and a surprising amount of sweetness. There are not any hops to make note of. You can tell this beer is strong after a quick whiff, but there isn’t any heat on the nose. It’s a truly amazing feat as alcohol at this percentage begs to have its presence known.

As the nose promised, there are lots of dark fruits on the first sip. The use of dates and raisins are evident when sampling. There is a little bit of sweetness upfront. It never really goes away, but it becomes less of a key player as the drink progresses. On the back end you get some aged hop flavors that balance the beer out. The beer really warms you up all the way down. It’s very nice.

I’m shocked at how smooth a big beer like this is. Unlike a lot of big beers, this one isn’t chewy. It has real beer characteristics and it makes for a really enjoyable drink. If you can find it, grab it. I’m generally not a huge fan of big, big beers, but this one is good. Really good. (more…)

Winter Warmer

12-14-01About three weeks ago I brewed my version of a Winter Warmer. You can find the recipe here. I had a new mash tun setup going into this brew day because my last beer, Pumpkin Ale, had a stuck sparge and resulted in a bunch of other issues. While the Pumpkin Ale still turned out decent, it was not as good as it should of beer do to the loss of sugar/wort from the stuck sparge. With everything revamped in the mash tun, the Winter Warm was the first recipe to make sure everything was working properly.

I heated up my mash water and dumped the grain into the mash tun. I also had another piece of new equipment, a 3 foot metal slotted spoon, that I got for 2 bucks at a local restaurant supply store. It might not sound like a lot, but it really helps break up those dough balls and insure that I get all of the sugar I can out of the grain. Once the water hit the proper temp, I poured it in and started mixing everything together. My target mash temp was around 158, I was reading slightly above that. I waited a bit for it to cool down and added a touch of cold water, but it was still a little high. Not being an exact kind of person, I put the lid on and started the timer.

12-14-03An hour later I opened the mash tun to find a wonderful sight. Lots of light and dark colored grain laying all over the place. Equally mixed and everything. MLK would of been proud. After positioning my boil kettle, I opened the ball value leading from my mash tun to watch a thick black liquid run out. I think this is by far the darkest beer I have ever made. I couldn’t tell if it was running clear at all becasue it was so dark.

After collecting my first runnings I added the strike water for the second, let it sit in there for about 10 minutes and let it run out into the kettle as well. This round was much lighter. It was still dark by beer standards, but you could see through it and had a nice nut brown ale color to it. I also added the pound of molasses during this time, using the hot second runnings to clean out the jar for me as 12-14-04molasses is very sticky.

The wort then boiled for an hour with all of the hop additions happening when they were supposed to. I did not add any Irish Moss to this batch because the beer was so dark, and there is no chance of seeing through it as is. Once it was all cooled down and the yeast pitched, I took a gravity reading. Holy smokes! I hit it right on the head. I wanted to get a gravity of 1.075 and that is exactly what I got. Never before have I hit a target gravity. I always fall a few points below. It fermented for a week and then was racked to the secondary. I will be bottling it later this week and let it condition for a bit. It should be ready for New Years if all goes well and those carbonation problems don’t keep happening. (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.

Molasses Milk Stout Recipe

11-03-01My buddy Pete, who you have probably seen around here commenting, has been in Saudi Arabia for the last month and a half or so on a job. I really can’t explain exactly what he does, but know know that he has been suffering in a dry country x2 (it’s hot and alcohol is banned!) but he is coming home pretty soon. Right before he left he went on a brewing frenzy doing a milk stout, two pumpkin beers, and another beer that is escaping me right now. He sent my the recipe for his Molasses Milk Stout so I figured I would share it on here.

  • 8 lbs  Marris Otter
  • 1.25 lbs Roasted Barely
  • 1.00 lbs British Pale Chocolate
  • .75 lbs Crystal 60 L
  • .5 British Chocolate
  • 1 cup Blackstrap Molasses  60 min
  • 1 lbs Lactose Powder  15 min
  • 1.0 oz Goldings Pellets 5.75 %AA  60 min
  • British Ale Yeast 1098  Wyeast

11-03-02It sounds wonderful and from the pictures I have received, looks wonderful as well. I haven’t gone through the calculations for the ABV but it should be a nice middle of the road beer. He collected 6 gallons of wort from his batch. Everything was mashed at 152 for 60 minutes and then a 60 minute boil with the molasses going for the full boil. Lactose in the last 15 to make it a milk stout. He said he has some changes planned for next time, but I don’t know what those are as of yet. Pete should be hope soon and hopefully we can drink some of this stuff not long after.

Pete sent me a few other recipes that I will be getting up here once I finally get over this cold. Once again I want to apologize for the lack of posting, I just have not been feeling well for the past week or so. The updates will pick back up once I get my life back in order.