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Pumpkin Ale update #1

The Pumpkin Ale has been fermenting for the last two weeks now and my measurements show that everything has ended with the process. I will probably be bottling the beer this afternoon but before I do that, I wanted to give a quick update. My mini-fermenter  has fully cleared and the beer looks beautiful. The color is exactly what I was hoping it would be. There is a lot of sediment on the bottom. I am not sure if it is due to the two different yeasts used, the extra amount of sugar in the wort, or if the yeast just multiplied like crazy. There is also the big chance that the bottom is a lot of pumpkin puree that clogged my mash tun. In any case, there is a lot of it.

10-11-01

10-11-02I took my gravity readings and it comes in at 1.010. If you remember correctly this beer had a starting gravity of 1.082, so it finished out in the 10% ABV range for my quantity of wort. I pretty surprised it went that high as both of my yeasts are not known for having a high tolerance. I also took a test taste from the extra drops left over from my refractometer reading. The upfront taste is distinctly pumpkin. Score. The back is all spiciness. I is a bit harsher than I wanted and I think it would of been totally dead on if there was a full 5 gallons. The cinnamon and nutmeg come through the most with some all-spice hints. Overall I am pretty happy with how it has turned out thus far (minus the over spicy) I can’t wait to get it carbonated and have it ready to drink in a few weeks.

As a side note, sorry for the lack of posting this week. I started a new job and I’m getting used to the whole work/life balance again.

09-24-02

Left Hank Brewing Company Haystack Wheat Beer Review

09-24-02As I said before my wife has been on a wheat beer kick for awhile now. Haystack Wheat from Left Hand Brewing Company is the next wheat beer to add to the collection. I’ve had a few other Left Hand products before and I have enjoyed them for the most part. In particular I think their Milk Stout is amazing. With that said, let’s move onto the beer.

We finally got a wheat beer that looks like a wheat beer. It is straw in color, which shouldn’t be surprising with its name, and has a fluffy, off-white head. It is super cloudy and looks like what you would expect a wheat beer to be. The nose was wheaty (surprise!), sweet, and some nutmeg or clove type smell. There is a little yeasty smell on the back of the nose as well. I also got a little banana of further smells.

09-24-04The taste was light on the malty flavor, cloves and nutmeg, wheat, and lots of banana. Haystack Wheat is well balanced as there is no component that really outshines the other. All of the flavors mesh well and compliment each other. It is light to medium in the mouthfeel and goes down extremely easy. It is very drinkable and refreshing. Left Hand Brewing Company made a good summer thirst quenching beer.

A few other things I noticed is that the beer is bottle conditioned which means that it was either re-fermented in the bottle to provide for carbonation or alcohol, or that the yeast is present in the bottle. In this case there is lots of yeast in the bottle. There is a nice layer of yeast at the bottom which I swirled to mix back into the beer. Overall Haystack Wheat is a pretty good beer and delivers on what you would expect from a lightly colored German wheat beer. (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…)

09-01-06

Tommyknocker Butt Head Beer Review

09-01-06It is getting close to fall and that means Bock season. Here in Lubbock we had a dip in temperatures over the past week from the high 90s to the high 80s to low 90s, and yes, you can feel the difference here. So I went down to the six pack store and decided I wanted something drinkable and had a lot of flavor. I saw Tommyknockers Butt Head Dopple Bock and grabbed it. First off, I’m a big fan of Bocks, Dopple Bocks, and the one Triple Bock I had I also enjoyed. Secondly, the name of the beer is Butt Head. Why wouldn’t I buy it?

09-01-02When I got home I chilled it down in the fridge overnight and I had it last night after dinner. Upon opening a sweet caramel smell leaked out all over. It was wonderful. After closer inspection, there was a bit of alcohol on the nose behind all of that sweet malt.

It pours a brown to ruby color and had a brownish head with it as well. I usually expect a bock to be crystal clear, being that lagers generally are, but this was slightly hazy. There was also some sediment which I can only assume was some yeast. Being a homebrewer that doesn’t bother me at all, but you generally don’t see sediment on a commercially brewed lager.

09-01-04On my first taste I noticed the malt all over the place. It was sweet, with a slight hop flavor on the back end, but not much. As a bock should be, it was very crisp and had those lovely bubble on the front of the tongue.  As the beer warms up the heat in it becomes more and more noticeable, but that’s not a bad thing. It left a pleasant aftertaste in my mouth that made me want more.

The mouthfeel was a bit thick, almost creamy. It was very smooth and went down easily. For beer that comes in at 8.2% ABV I would expect it to be a bit thicker in the mouthfeel. But man, did I enjoy this beer. It was super drinkable and just a wonderful addition to my taste buds.

A few other notes I jotted down. There is a lot of heat on this, so you really can’t drink too many of them. There is a nice layer of head that last through the whole drink. I don’t know why but I like that quality in a beer. The sediment I talked about earilier was a bit strange. Strange enough to have me comment about it twice. And my final note is that this beer gets more and more enjoyable as it warms up. I would suggest getting a sixer of this if you have the chance. I think most would enjoy it.

09-01-05

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Belgian Dubbel Recipe

08-14-02The evil homebrew monkeys are churning in my head. I already have the Triple going and I am planning on racking it to the secondary this weekend so getting the most out of my yeast sounds like a good idea. I have the space in my fermenters right now to make an additonal beer and I am still on my Belgian kick so this seems perfect. I am going to make a nice dark, malty, and spicy Belgian Dubbel.

Part of my want to make this beer (other than reusing yeast) came from the May/June 2009 addition of Zymurgy. In it they say, “It was a sight to behold: glistening ruby highlights; a thick, creamy head; aromas of malt and caramel; sweet, but with a dry finish; hints of dark fruit and spices.” O my, that sounds wonderful.

08-14-01I loosely based my recipe off of some research and some of the recipies that the magazine provided. I also only wanted to make a small batch, like a case worth. Below is the recipe that I decided on.

  • 5.5 pounds of Belgian Pale malt
  • 6 oz Belgian Special B malt
  • 4 oz Munich malt
  • 4 oz Caramunich malt
  • 4 oz wheat malt
  • 1/2 pound of Amber Belgian Candy sugar
  • .5 oz Styrian Goldings hops (60 mins)
  • 1 oz Saaz hops (15 mins)
  • WYeast 1214 (reused from Belgian Tripel)

I’m shooting for a gravity of 1.062 which is on the low end of the style guidlelines. A 6.13% abv will be a nice compliment to the Tripel and I am not looking for alcohol notes in this beer like I was for the Tripel. A bitterness of 20 IBUs falls right in the middle of the style guidelines. This beer is going to be darker than what the guidelines call for but I don’t really care that much. The upper end of the Lovibond scale is 17°L, this beer is expected to come in at 21°L so it isn’t a drastic difference. The only thing that should change a bit are those “ruby highlights” that Zymurgy talked about.

The Tripel is coming along nicely. There is a nice smell and spicyness to it currently. I am just waiting for the gravity to drop a bit more. I will update on the Tripel when I rerack it and a Dubbel brewday post should soon follow.