Skip to main content

Beer Review #78 Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout

Today’s pumpkin beer comes from Cape Ann Brewing Company out of Gloucester, Ma. Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout’s label depicts the towns famous statue dedicated to those who lost their lives fishing. I’m a bit of a statue freak (I love how they are cast and built and all of that) and the Gloucester statue is really a piece of art. Anyway, this is a beer review, not a statue review.

Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout pours jet black (image that!) with a thin, off-white head. I couldn’t tell if it is clear or not because this beer does not allow light to pass through it. The nose smells a lot like gingerbread. It has that sweetness to it, but a faint spice that is nice. There were also some pumpkin notes that added to the wonderful aroma.

The taste is very roasty with pumpkin flavor at the end. It was much more of a gingerbread/pumpkin pie combination than your normal pumpkin beer. The spices were not the showcase, the subtle flavors are. This ale is full of flavor and it all balances very nicely. The bottle says that it is a stout brewed with pumpkin and spices but it hits a wonderful harmony with the malt where all three pieces can really shine. This is a really good beer that I would be happy to buy again.

I’ve had a lot of pumpkin beers, but this is unlike anything I’ve had, which might be a reason I really liked it. It is very drinkable, but it is a bit rich. Apparently this beer is brewed under contract with Olde Saratoga Brewing in Saratoga Springs, NY. If you see it around, grab it, I don’t think you will be disappointed. (more…)

What to expect from a beer

When I was new into the craft beer scene I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. There are so many choices that it is a bit overwhelming. There are also a lot of random names that appear over and over again on bottles of beer that seem to give some type of classification. Pale Ale, Stout, Porter, Lager, these words appear on a lot of beer labels after the actual name of the beer. If you don’t know what they mean, you might be getting into something that you don’t want or like.

While there are a lot of names, beer is pretty simple. Like wine, beer is broken down into styles. Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Champagne are all different types of wine, and you have an idea of what to expect when you hear them. The same follows through for beer. Hell, dogs are even classified and you know what to expect from one breed to another. Like wine, beer is basically broken down into to main categories where everything else stems from. In the wine world, white or red are the start of the branching out. In the beer world, you fall under lager and ale.

Unlike the wine world (at least in my experience), an ale can taste like a lager and a lager can taste like a beer. These two classifications simple refer to the type of yeast that was used in making the beer. In general ales ferment at a higher temperature, take less like to ferment, and also ferment on the top of the beer. Lager yeast is the exact opposite, they like lower temperatures, long fermentation times, and ferment on the bottom of the beer.

So knowing a lager from an ale might help you with a few things, but not a whole lot. Out of those two main branches of the beer world grows a much fuller tree. I’m not going to address what each style is right now as that would take a long time to complete, but when looking at a beer, the style tells you what to expect from the beer. When you see stout on a label, you expect a thick, dark colored beer with a tan head that is going to be smooth and full of roasty flavors. If you were expecting to get something like that out of a pilsner, you are sadly mistaken. I am going to be doing a “series” on beer styles and explore each one and give recommendations on good examples of each style. But just remember that when you want to know what to expect from a beer, look at the style and you will have a much deeper understanding of what you will be tasting.

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.

Styles that don’t agree with me

10-20-01Look a that, my first rhyming blog title. Anyway, I was thinking the other day about beers that I really just do not enjoy. No matter how good they are, I just can’t seem to like them. I think I got the idea while reading Pennsylvania Breweries 3rd Edition by Lew Bryson during my break at work. Lew seems to really enjoy a quality Pilsner and often recommends them while doing his write-up about a brewery.

My problem is that I really don’t like Pilsners at all. Maybe it was from my early college days when the American Light Lager ruled my drinking choices. That type of light, watery, sometimes hoped beer just isn’t for me. I’ve had plenty of well regarded Pilsners, and I can get the flavor differences and all of that, I just don’t like it that much. Stoudt’s Pils is probably my favorite of the style that I have sampled, but I would much rather have any host of other beers in front of me.

For my wife she can’t stand too many IBUs. Well let me correct that, she can’t stand anything that doesn’t have a malt backbone to support the IBUs. In particular she is always wary of IPAs because so few actually offer a good balance. A hoppy stout or porter will also leave her wanting something different. I’m also not really a Labmic guy. I’ve have three of them in my short beer experience, but the sourness just doesn’t do anything for me. If I had a homebrew that turned out like that, I would be very disappointed. I am not one for Warheads or any of that candy stuff that is super sour either, so that might be partly to blame.

Will I steer away from styles I generally know that I don’t enjoy. The answer I want to is no, that I will try any new beer, just to try it. The real answer is that I probably would steer a bit away from styles I don’t really like. That is why there are not many Pilsner reviews on here or American Light Lagers. I don’t enjoy them so I refuse to spend money on them. At a brewpub, I am a bit more willing to try things I don’t like becasue I always get a sampler. And if I don’t care for a particular beer, I only have to drink 4-5 ounces of it. Is anyone else like me in avoiding beer styles they don’t care for or are you one to try anything even if you know you will not like it.

07-30-01

Portland Breweries: Full Sail Brewing Company

07-30-01On my visit to Texas last year I saw a few six packs of Full Sail beer at the store, but decided to go with some Fat Tire instead. On my honeymoon I got to discover what I missed all that time ago. Smalls and I decided that Full Sail was one of the many breweries that we would visit during our stay. There are a ton of breweries in Portland, and Oregon for that matter. So many in fact that our hotel gave us a brewery guide to Oregon. It was like eight pages long!

Getting back to Full Sail, we hoped on the Portland Street Car (still in fairless square) and took it down to one of the last free stops. Went towards the river and found Full Sail’s tasting room in Portland. The full brewery is located about an hour outside of the city. The tasting room is also attached to a resturant that was pretty pricy, but the beer was not.

We obviously got a sampler from their many beers and made sure to get their three main brews: Amber, IPA, and Pale Ale. They had a wheat beer, a stout, a porter, and a few other IPAs. I really wanted to try their barleywine, but they were out, darn.

I’m not going to get into all of the beers becasue they tasted as they should. Very good and stuck to the standards very nicely. I did get the stout on cask as well and it was excellent. Stouts might be my favorite beer to have in a cask. The flavors combine so nicey and the warm temperature brings out a lot of hidden flavors. They also had a Pilsner which was excellent. Really crisp and light but packed with flavor.

I would visit Full Sail again the next time I get out to Portland.