Sunday, January 31, 2010

Baume, Double Trouble, and another goal

It has been a good weekend for beer.

Half-Acre's Baume:

On Saturday Erin, Alex and I caught up while splitting a growler of Baume from Half-Acre. It is a chocolate rye stout that has a greater hop presence this year than last year (according to Half-Acre's blog). The 2010 edition is a nice improvement over the 2009 edition which I recall having a more pronounced rye presence (not a bad thing at all). This year, the hops are kept in check, suppressed perhaps, by the rye. The beer's aroma is of dark chocolate and dried brownies. Baume is now available in 22 oz bottles in Chicago, and if you can get it I recommend it.

Founders Double Trouble:

Yesterday, I had some time to enjoy a beer and opted for Founders Double Tirouble. It is a great imperial ipa in that the bittering hops and malt are equal partners in this beer, with an alcohol presence that provides a road for the malt-hops bond to travel. The aroma is of warm sourdough bread with hints of sandal wood and summer prairie grass. The color is the expected clover honey brown/yellow. I would highly recommend this beer to people looking for a superior imperial ipa.

On a personal note, I am going to make it my goal to update this blog more often. Ideally, a minimum of an update a week. I would also like to provide more notes on my homebrewing exploits, with more recipes, pictures, etc.. In short, I expect this blog to become more lively this year, and i fully intend on making this goal a reality.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New year -- New brew ingredient ideas

These days, when beer fans are not salivating over the next monstrous ipa (see Brewdog's Nanny State and Lagunitas' Hop Stoopid Ale ), there continue to be other breweries that are scanning the globe, or their parents' spice cabinet, for the next big ingredient for a new beer (as an example of such an adventuresome, globe trotting brewery look no further than Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery beer lineup).

It is with this in mind that I have begun to think out my brewing list for the year. At the onset of this year (read late December), I made it my goal to compose and brew my own barleywine, porter, stout, and ipa this year.

I am still in the process of learning how to compose the recipes for each style, but i'd like to work in some unique ingredients. For example, I think a beer that included copious amounts of rye, some mild hops, and brown sugar would be enjoyable. I will keep you all posted on how i work this into a beer recipe, but until then I would be very interested in hearing from all of you beer fans and homebrewers alike what your recipes would be for the aforementioned styles.

Until then, cheers!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Two beer reviews

Bells Christmas Ale:

Bells Christmas Ale is described as “A malt driven ale made with 100% Michigan grown 2-row barley malt and a mix of Michigan and NW Pacific hops’ on its label.
The beer itself has little going for it. Details follow below:
Lovely head retention, at least a good 1/4 “ inch that lasts throughout the pour and duration of the beer’s existence in my glass.
The aroma is rather mute and easily missed. What does register in my nostrils is presumed to be the Michigan 2-row, and it does not smell good.
Personally, I am all for supporting local industry (whether it be malt, ice cream, or fishing), but 2-row did not come out well.
As for the taste, it is rather ho-hum. The lone taste that stands out is the aforementioned malt. Yes, it is an unorthodox Christmas ale in that is not spiced or seasoned, and that may be a hindrance for some to purchase this beer. I do not like this beer because it has no quality that makes it stand out from other beers. Being a Bells product I had thought it would be fantastic (based on opinion of their lineup). Unfortunately, this beer left me disappointed. I would not recommend it.
What may be the most troubling bit of this beer is that I cannot determine its style. If anyone is aware, please let me know. Perhaps if I knew the style, my opinion above would not be so negative. Instead, I may not like the style.
Anyway, until that information comes in, it is safe to say that I would not recommend this beer.

2 brothers Northwind Imperial Stout

After the first sip, a smoky taste is made immediately evident. A hint of chocolate, a wee bit of pep finish it off. There is a sense that the beer flowing over your tongue is wrapped in a film that breaks & releases the aforementioned flavor characteristics upon closure of your mouth. I mention this because typically, for me, the flavor characteristics hit the tongue and make themselves evident at different times during ingestion. The aforementioned film is not a bad thing, merely unorthodox.
The head retention is minimal, and can be ignored.
The aroma is enjoyable with chocolate and roasted malt qualities. The imperial stouts I have had in the past have a smoother mouth feel to them, and a bourbon/brandy aroma to them. This imperial stout places more emphasis on its dark malt than running the line with other imperials.
All in all, it is an alright imperial stout but not one I would be quick to purchase again.