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Simple way to add complexity to homebrew

Hello long lost beer website. It has been a busy time around here. We are going to be moving back to the east coast, Delaware to be exact, and I was recently back home (PA) to attend my sisters graduation from college. All in all a lot of good things are happening right now. During the hours I spend on the plane I spent a lot of time catching up on some books. Homebrew books to be exact.

One of the book (I really don’t remember which one) was talking about ways to make your beer more complex. It can be done in a number of ways; specialty malts, different base malts, etc. All of these are well and good, but I finally got around to trying something that I have wanted to do for awhile now. Mix homebrew.

For some reason it never really occurred to me to mix and match and come up with something that should taste good. I had a pale ale that I had made, which came out a bit too caramely and my Winter Warmer which is super dark and tasty. My Winter Warmer really ended up being more of a strong stout, mainly becasue I didn’t add any spices like I was originally thinking of doing. I was have a beer on the couch watching the Flyers and decided to make a half and half with my two homebrews.

I have to say, I liked what I tasted. The hops from the pale ale gave the stout some more kick and the caramel helped round out the body of the stout a bit more. The stout helped mask all of the caramel and gave a wonderful richness to the beer. In all the sum was better than the parts. I might start trying to do this more (once I brew again that is) with styles that should compliment each other or maybe even something that doesn’t. Who knows. Homebrew is all about making something that you enjoy drinking and can be proud to call your own.

Beer Review #53 Brooklyn Local 1

My little hiatus from posting has not stopped my love of Belgian beers in the slightest. Today’s Belgian beer comes all the way from Brooklyn, NY, home of the Brooklyn Brewery. Don’t you love it when the brewery’s name and location match? Anyway I don’t think that it any secret that I love most of the beers that I have ever had from the Brooklyn Brewery. On this site I have only reviewed their Pennant Ale ’55, but I have enjoyed a great number of their beers that we hastily drank before the appearance of this blog. I have also read their book, which is also wonderful if you were wondering.

Brooklyn Local 1 comes in as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, which essentially means it is a Belgian beer that has a high ABV and hops that are stronger than you would expect on a normal Belgian beer. It pours a straw color and is 100% cloudy. Lots of sediment to be found and a delicious fluffy white head to go along with it. This beer looks the part of a wonderful Belgian. On the nose the Belgian yeast stands out, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. There is a slight sweetness that is on there as well which I found refreshing.

On the tongue I first noticed the Belgian yeast and the spicy flavors that go along with it. As I dug more into the beer I noticed the malt more and more. It was very sweet. Perhaps that comes from the German malts that are used in making the beer instead of the typical Belgian malts. The hops also come from Germany. Local 1 is a very clean beer. The hops, Belgian yeast, and the malts balance each other out nicely and the hops really help clean your tongue from any left over flavors. The aftertaste was also a nice mix of lemon, grassy flavors, a slight hop bite, Belgian yeast, and some warming alcohol.

For a beer that comes in at 9.0% ABV this beer really did not feature much in the way of heat. It was very hidden and only noticeable on the aftertaste and a bit when the beer really warmed up. The body was in the medium range but it was highly carbonated, so it was tough to get a really sampling of what it would of been like had it had normal carbonation. The beer is something that I think any Belgian beer lover would love. It is clean but features everything a Belgian beer should. Perhaps the most surprising part is how well the ABV is hidden. If you are not careful this beer could easily sneak up on you. It also comes in a caged and corked bottle which added to the “must buy” factor for me.

The Brooklyn Brewery also makes Local 2 which I have had in the past and really enjoyed. It is another Belgian style beer, but much darker and much more bold. If you see anything with Brooklyn Local 1 or 2, get it and I don’t think that you would be disappointed. (more…)

Beer Review #52 Delirium Tremens

Delirium Tremens from Huyghe Brewery in Melle/Ghent, Belgium is a beer that I have wanted to try for a long time now. It is one of those classics that every beer drinker should try. It is also nice to have a Belgian beer that comes from Belgium, as most of the Belgian beers that I have had recently come out of the good old US of A. Not that I am complaining becasue the country of origin does not really play a super important role in beer and American Craft Brewers have done a wonderful job of replicating (and in some cases improving) Belgian style beer.

This beer comes classified as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale according to Beer Advocate. Rate Beer calls it a Belgian Strong Ale, but in any case it is a Belgian beer and the “strong” in both of the style names, says it is really high in ABV. Like 8.5% ABV high. Delirium Tremens pours with a fluffy white head. The beer is straw in color and is cloudy/hazy but you can still see through it. On the nose you get that ever present Belgian yeast spice with some malt sweetness. There are not any hops noticeable and you can surely smell some heat.

The taste of the beer is the Belgian spice mostly. There are a few hints of banana, which was a nice flavor to complement the other spices. The malt was pretty thin. In most Belgian beers the spice is the first thing you notice, and then the flavors start to show themselves more and get fairly complex. I found this beer to be rather one note and not highly complex. After a few sips I think you will find everything the beer has to offer. Not that it is a bad thing, becasue what is there is pretty wonderful.

The mouthfeel is watery. Much more watery than what I would of expected out of a beer that comes in at 8.5%. It is also highly carbonated, which is to be expected for the style. Overall I would consider this a decent Belgian Strong Ale. Not my favorite, but very good. If the body was punched up just a bit, I think it would take it into a whole new category.

As I said before, I am a sucker for neat bottles, and this beer was no exception. The bottle is actually painted, comes corked and caged, and has a foil wrapping. The cork is synthetic which doesn’t really bother me at all. As I said before I enjoyed this beer, but it fell a little flat for me. It is something every craft beer drinker should try, but I felt that it didn’t live up to the hipe, while still being a solid beer.

Need to homebrew

I haven’t done any homebrewing in a few months. It may actaully be the the longest stretch I have ever going without brewing since I started. I miss it. I want to do it. I need to decide on a beer to brew. The last time I brewed was the weekend after Thanksgiving where I did a take on a Rouge’s Dead Guy Ale. My buddy Pete came down from Colorado to help in the brewing. That beer finally got bottled yesterday so now I have open fermenters, open space, and a bit of open time to brew.

I have narrowed down my choices to be either an amber, pale ale, or I was also thinking a pilsner. As strange as all of those may sound together, those are the styles of beer that I have been digging recently. I was thinking about an English ale, as I have been on an English ale kick for the past few weeks, but decided against it as I am getting burnt out.

For my next batch(s) I am also not going to be brewing the standard 5 gallon batch, rather I am going to half it and brew more often. I generally don’t like to brew until I am almost out of my previous brew. The simple reasons for that are time and the lack of bottles. While I do have a nice set of new cases from bottling yesterday, I suspect that is going to be gone by the time my next brew is ready to go. I am also going to be a lone wolf (the Hangover anyone?) at the end of next month as my wife and my friends will be going tornado chasing for six weeks. Yeah. Sadly I do not get to join in that experiment as I am not a PhD or Masters student in the Texas Tech Atmospheric Science or Wind Engineering departments. So I need to cut it back on the homebrew so I don’t have cases upon case just sitting around my dog and I. I’ll get an update on what I decide when I decide it and as always I’ll post my recipe and brewing plan. Any other ideas on what I should brew.

Beer Review #47 60 Minute IPA

Yet another beer review, yet another beer from Dogfish Head. This is probably one of my favorite beers period. It is called a 60 Minute IPA because the hops are added for a full 60 minutes and that is how long the boil is. I really wouldn’t consider this an IPA if I didn’t know they called it one, in my mind it falls under more of a Pale Ale than anything.

DFH 60 Minute IPA pours a nice golden/copper color and is perfectly clear. It also has a nice fluffy off-white head as well. The nose on this beer is wonderful. There is some malt and bready flavors but the main thing that you get is floral hops. Lots of them, and they are super bright, which is nice. I don’t know if I got a fresh bottle but the hops/beer just smelled fresh. I’ve clearly had this beer more than once and all of them have had a similar nose.

On the first taste the thing I really noticed is how balanced the beer is. The hops and malt just meld wonderfully. The malt is the taste that you get upfront but it is quickly followed by a smooth hop finish. In addition to being smooth it is also very crisp. There is also a pleasant hop left on the tongue. 60 Minute IPA is medium bodied an has great carbonation.

This is just a drinkable beer; a solid beer all the way around. There isn’t much more than I can say about it. It is on the light end of an IPA and maybe on the aggressive end of a Pale Ale, but as I said earlier, I really think this is mislabeled and should be presented as a pale ale. If you are a fan of either types of these styles of beers, you will enjoy this offering. I know that I can’t wait to clear out some space in the fridge to get another sixer of it. (more…)