Ultimately, as many have suggested, you must choose what you like, as long as it matches reasonably well with the meal.
At the same time, you have to work with what’s on hand. Part of the problem with the well-meaning advice-givers is that beer is so regional that 80% of what’s recommended to me is outside my reach. Whether it’s Bell’s from the Midwest or Lost Abbey from the West Coast, or any one of many places in between, there are many well-known and highly respected holiday-appropriate beers that simply are not available in Connecticut. Read the rest of this entry…
I have been used to US-05 for quite some time now.
But recently I decided I wanted to branch out. Mainly my motivation was looking for a nice “malty” yeast for my faux-toberfest (that’s an Oktoberfest-style beer done as an ale rather than the traditional lagering all summer).
I ended up with Wyeast 1338 “European Ale” because of its supposed low diacetyl (buttered popcorn flavor). There was another (WLP029?) Kolsch yeast that also sounded good but allegedly gave off tons of sulfur aroma throughout fermentation, which I didn’t want to deal with. The only down side of 1338 that I read was it could be slow.
Kegging has got to be my favorite part of the whole brewing process. Or bottling for that matter, if that’s all you got.
The punch line is that this is the time when I first taste what has transformed from wort to beer. I learn the alcohol content, and I get to do rudimentary quality checks on the finished product.
At kegging, I can tell if it has basically come out OK. Plus I get very close to cold homemade beer. And somewhat close to cold carbonated homemade beer. These are the reasons for the pursuit of the passion. Cold carbonated homemade beer is what it’s all about.
When you strip away the chemistry, creativity, and process, what is left is beer. That’s what’s so great about it all. Not only do you get a great activity to while away a Saturday afternoon, but you also get a whole ton of beer to drink.
For what it’s worth, the IIPA came out 10.1% ABV (FG 1.013), still has a hot alcohol aroma and flavor, that I’m sure will mellow with cold and carbonation. I also expect the hop aroma and flavor to emerge in the next week or so.
The RIS came out at 10.5% ABV (FG 1.020), and good solid stout all around. A bit hot, too, at room temp. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t guess it got any oak if I didn’t know it, but it still looks to finish in a very satisfactory state that’s sure to ensure its demise way before its’ time.
When it comes to things that other people like, I go back and forth. At times, the popular seems petty, but then at other times, I fall for that shit right away.
One of my favorite things that are also other people’s favorites is lists, like top ten lists. Perhaps this fascination started in high school when I was first able to stay up late enough to see Mr. David Letterman’s top ten lists. Of course, now I can’t manage to make it to any post-prime time shows, given the kids and all. But I still find a soft spot in my heart and mind for top ten-style lists.
So what does this have to do with beer? I forgot.
I saw a bottle at the store the other day and I had to get it: Imperial Stout Trooper.
Not that I am a huge Star Wars fan, but I am lured by the classic images of the Empire. I had heard of such a beer named after the movies, but I could not remember what I’d heard about it. I just had a vague sense that what I’d heard was not negative… When I noticed it was made by a local Connecticut brewer, I was intrigued further.
In mid-November, I made two batches of beer. An Imperial IPA and a strong Stout. Both were bittered with my latest hop, Galena. I bought the hop as a substitute for Columbus. Even though I haven’t really used Columbus yet.
In the IIPA, it came out very rough and harsh. I was not pleased with the bittering qualities. It was very bitter, even though the IBU weren’t that high. Almost as harsh as Wormwood for bittering. Fortunately, two ounces of dry hopping took care of that bite and replace it with a ridiculously abundant hop aroma and flavor. The end result is great.
In the strong Stout, on the other hand, it is awesome. The stout is 7% ABV, with plenty of dark malts amounting to 40 SRM. Even with a FG of 1.010, this beer has loads of malt character. This blends incredibly well with the harsh bite of Galena.
The moral of the story is Galena?Stout:IPA. Or in other words, if Galena, then Stout, else IPA. Actually that’s still not too clear.
Galena is a great bittering hop for a Stout, but avoid it for your IPAs. I think it would be pretty good for a Belgian style, too, but not for IPA or anything really in the Pale Ale/Amber Ale/Pilsner family.
I’ll be making Columbus IPA soon, and I’ll report on those results in about a month.
So I was flipping through Extreme Brewing the other day, looking for a breadth of information on making huge beer, towards my 18% monster.
In there, I found a gem. A recipe for the Avery Imperial Stout. That is, the Czar. That is, one of my favorite American Imperial Stouts. I’m sure I’ll incorporate some of the Czar into my own Impy Stout next time I make it. I expect the recipe details are copyrighted or something, but here’s something: Magnum bittering to 46 IBU and Sterling at flameout. The grain bill’s pretty elaborate. I’m sure I’ll simplify it… I don’t think I’ll be looking for any Weyermann Dehusked Carafa III Malt, especially not for five ounces of it… but the Gambrinus Honey Malt might make a difference at 12 ounces.
Sometimes it’s worth taking a look through some of those books on your shelf. You never know what you’ll find that just passed you by the first time you looked at the book.
Now I am not really one for overly sweet beer, like fruity beers and the like. Rogue Chocolate Stout is a definitively chocolatey beer. So much so that I made a float of it with vanilla ice cream in the past. It’s not often that I have a hankering for a beer that actually tastes like real chocolate. That said, Halloween seems to be the perfect time for a chocolate beer.
A sip of the chocolate beer was nice, but a whole bomber… that’s a different story. It’s a little much for me. I prefer a bomber of IIPA any day.
Here’s what I’ve just discovered: A few ounces of chocolate stout with a bottle of IPA on top of it is black and IPA-ish and chocolatey, but not too chocolatey. Time to go grab a left over peanut butter cup.
Three weeks ago, I made two beers. One was an IPA, called Newport Jazz Fest. It is bittered with Newport hops I got from Northern Brewer.com a while back when the panic of hop shortage first hit me. The panic has passed, but the hops remain. I am still not sure when I’ll use those Pride of Ringwood hops I have… The other beer was a Stout, called Midnight Moon Stout. Named after a “Jack and Annie” Magic Treehouse book, and my daughter drew the label for me.
It has been a while since I brewed. Nearly two months, in fact. That’s just way too long. With all this working and stuff, it’s hard sometimes to muster up the energy to brew on one of your precious two days off during a long week of commuting and programming. For seven of the past eight weekends I have decided that spending time with the family was more aligned with my happiness than brewing pursuits (though I did bottle two batches one weekend).
But this weekend I have taken Monday off and it is the time for making beer.