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07-18-03

Beer Review #302 Sum’r

07-18-03I usually don’t go out of my way to get seasonal beers, but if one strikes my eye, I’ll get it. Sum’r by Uinta Brewing Company was one of those beers that struck my eye. I’ve really been enjoying their beers since my local beers store started carrying their products and Sum’r was a new one for me.

Sum’r pours a pale golden colors. It comes with a medium white head, small bubbles, and a slight haze. The nose is very bready with some good wheat notes mixed in for good measure. In addition to the malt notes, a light citrus/lemon hop aroma is also clearly present.

On the first taste this beer begins with a light malt sweetness. The bread and wheat come out nicely in the malt and give some nice complexity for such a light beer. To my surprise, the hops that were in the nose didn’t really come out in the flavor at all. I didn’t find anything hop-wise to make note of. I really like how clean this beer drank. The malt comes and then goes and that’s it. No real lingering flavors and nothing off-putting either.

This is a very drinkable summer beer. It doesn’t have a ton of knock out flavor but what it does have is nice and crisp. I like it, but not love it. I bet a lot of new craft beer drinkers would dig this one. I want something with a bit more (any) hop bite. This was a rare miss for Uinta for my tastes. (more…)

Beer Review #251 Encore IPA

The last beer in my winter sampler from Magic Hat Brewing Company is Encore IPA. The bottle says that this is an American Wheat IPA and that it comes in at 6.4%. I’ve seen other breweries refer to wheat IPAs as white IPAs and I am glad that Magic Hat has decided not to follow suit. There really is not a need to distinguish a typical IPA from one made with a higher percentage of wheat malt. I understand the different naming for a black IPA, but most wheat IPAs look like a cloudy version of their base style.

Encore IPA pours a cloudy orange color and has a fluffy white head. The head sinks away quickly in the center and sticks to the sides of the glass. The nose is full of bright citrus hops. I didn’t get any malt smells but I did get a bit of an orange tang, that I will attribute to the hops.

You get a nice malt feeling when first tasting this beer but the malt doesn’t have any stand out characteristics. A good hop bitterness comes in quickly and provides a lot of flavor. The citrus hops start as an orange-like flavor and then move into grapefruit before finishing cleanly. On subsequent sips, the citrus flavor carries though the whole beer and is not only relegated to the second half.

This is not super bitter IPA. I didn’t leave me with a punched in the face by hops feeling but it is full of flavor. I enjoy IPAs that don’t only focus on bitterness but instead focus on hop flavor. It’s a fine line, but Magic Hat did a very nice job on this one. As the last post about Magic Hat beers for this sampling, I want to reiterate how much I enjoyed this group of beers. Each beer was solid and provided some surprises. I would rate the beers in order of review for likeability in my book. All of the beers were good, but the Heart of Darkness stout was just killer. (more…)

Beer Review #231 Hocus Pocus

Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

The good folks at Magic Hat Brewing Company hooked me up again with a sampler pack of their fall selection. Today’s beer is Hocus Pocus, a beer that hasn’t been brewed since 2008 but was brought back by popular demand. Along with out next review they sent a bottle of Hi.P.A which I reviewed over 200 beers ago. As a quick review, it is a solid IPA that mixes hops and malt very nicely. I enjoyed having it again after a few years of evolving taste buds.

Hocus Pocus is a wheat beer that comes in at a tiny 4.5% ABV. It’s meant to be sessionable and drinkable. I had this beer several years ago but I never had the chance to review it and to be honest, I don’t remember much about it other then its logo. Hocus Pocus pours a nice golden straw color with a thin white head. For a wheat beer, this one was super clear. The nose has some great floral hops that hit you at first and are quickly followed by some nice wheaty grain. A good dose of citrus comes in at the end of the breath which really rounded out the nose on this one.

Up front this beer has some honey-like sweetness that gives way to a slight citrus punch. A nice bready flavor also fades into compliment the rest of the malt flavors. There is a hop note that is present during most of the drink but it’s not a biting hop, just flavor. I found it very nice as a strong bittering component would have overpowered the malt.

I really liked this one. It’s perfect for those warm fall days that fade into brisk fall nights. This one might become my Sunday afternoon football beer as it doesn’t pack a lot of ABV’s but has some really nice flavors going on. I’m glad that Magic Hat brought this one back as I think it is one of their better seasonal beers. (more…)

09-12-04

St. Arnold Brewing Company Texas Wheat

09-12-04My wife has been on a wheat beer kick for a little while now and we saw St. Arnold Texas Wheat at the store last week so we decided to test it out. I’ve heard some good things about St. Arnold Brewing Company so I wasn’t too scared of what I might be drinking. I’ve also been trying to add to my collection of Texas beers since I don’t plan on living here too long.

It twisted off the top to see what awaited me. The first impression I got from the beer was that it was surprisingly clear to be a wheat. Clear to the point that there was almost no haze and you could see though it easily. Not what I expected from a wheat beer what what can I do? It was golden in color with minimal head and looked more like a Pilsner than a wheat.

09-12-03The smells emanating from the glass where sweat, lemon, and some grass. I was kind of expecting all of those but I was also hoping for some wheat/bready smells that just did not happen. On the first taste I had trouble picking up much of the flavor. There were no hops and some lemon on the back. The beer almost tasted stale. All of the bright flavors seemed to have been taken away from it. The mouthfeel was light and washed off of the tongue quickly. The only strange thing about this beer is that it is brewed with a Kölsch yeast.

I don’t have much more to say on the beer. It wasn’t very drinkable; cat piss comes to mind. I just did not enjoy it. My wife did not either nor our friends who we tried to pawn it off on. From what I have read since we bought the beer, it is apparently the worst of their beers. Awesome. (more…)

Belgian Tripel Brew Day

08-08-01Yesterday I finally got to brew my Belgian Triple. I still need to think of a good name for it and I am taking suggestions. I recieved all of my ingredients from Austin Homebrew on Wednesday and quickly discovered that I had a few problems. The first was that the Wyeast 1214 Belgian Ale yeast was warm to hot. The summers here in Texas get scorching and the trip from Austin to Lubbock is a long hot one. I did order an ice pack, but that too was warm by the time it got here. The second was that Tettnanger and Saaz came in 2-3% less than what I was anticipating. I modified the recipe a bit to get similar IBUs out of the brew. I also change a few of the times in the mash and hopping schedule.

08-08-02Friday morning, around 9:30 or so, I smacked the pack to get the yeast woken up. I didn’t plan on actually starting the brew till 4:00 in the afternoon so that gave it plenty of time to puff up. The smack pack never really puffed up much past the first 2 hours. You can see in the picture to the left that it didn’t to much. I was a bit concerned but decided that it was too late to change anything.

I mashed my grains (12 lbs Belgian Pils, .5 lbs Belgian Pale, and .5 lbs unmalted wheat) for 90 minutes at 152ºF. The strike water temperature came in at 165ºF. After the 90 minutes I took the temperature again just to see how good my new mashtun held temps. The theomerter read 150ºF! I was pretty pleased what that result. I was acutally expecting it to drop much more than that.

I collected about 2.5 gallons of water from my orginal 4 gallons. I added another 3 gallons of water that came in at 170ºF. I collected my second runnings in the main boil pot and about a gallon of third runnings in a secondary pot. The point of this is to add it to the main pot once some of it boils away. I only have a 5 gallon pot, so trying to get the most out of it is tough. This is the method I have been using and it has worked. It also allows me to get the most out of the grains that I can.

08-08-07

08-08-06I boiled each pot for 30 minutes and then combined them. I also added 1 oz. of the Tettnanger at this time. I continued the boil for another 30 minutes and added .5 oz of Saaz hops. 15 minutes later I added another .5 oz of Saaz and 5 minutes after that I added a BrewVint Yeast Fuel. Finished out the boil for another 10 minutes and started the cooling process. 90 minute total boil. When all was said and done I had collected just under 4 gallons of wort, I was shooting for 3.5 gallons, and had a gravity of 1.074.

I was pretty happy with that, but it fell short of the gravity I wanted. Part of that was due to the increased wort volume and I think Beer Tools Pro overestimated the amount of sugar I would be able to get. I didn’t add anything to bring the gravity up to where I wanted it becasue I wasn’t sure about the health of the yeast. I pitched the yeast closed it all up and went over to a friends. I came back 4 hours later and the airlock was 08-08-04bubbling away. Success! The beer isn’t going to be as strong as I had intended but that’s ok. This is my first ever big beer and I am happy with the results thus far. If I would of done some more thinking and planning I would of tried to make a session beer with whatever sugars were left in the grain bed. Something to consider next time.

The Tripel should be in the primary for a week and the secondary for another week. Then it is bottling time. My apartment stays at a pretty consitent 75ºF so it should be just fine. And finally my new brewing partner enjoying all of the new smells. If you click the read more link after this you can see some more pictures from the brew day. (more…)