Category Archives: Uncategorized

Simcoe Single Hopped Vienna Lager


I’ve finally made it to the last version of the Vienna Lager that I have been tasting.  This was a single hopped Simcoe Ale that was the second runnings from my grains.  I added some table sugar and dried malt extract to get the original gravity up to 1.050 with a whole ounce of Simcoe added throughout the boil for a one gallon batch, which would make the IBU’s around a billion… roughly. I also used bohemian Lager yeast from Wyeast, which can be fermentated at warmer temps without the nasty, weird flavors that lager yeasts produce when warm.  What came out of this beer was something quiet pleasant, for someone other than myself.  A really nice American IPA with all the characteristics that make hop heads happy.  Pine and resin and bitterness galore.  Hop heads not like me of course… I didn’t like this beer and I don’t like this style or flavor, but whatever, it still tastes good.



Appearance: A slight haze with an amber brown color

Nose: A calm mild malt and orange scent.

Taste:  A significant Simcoe dank hoppy flavor that is restrained by the malts, but the hops still shine through the sweetness.  A bitter hop flavor lingers long after the beer

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a smooth finish, the carbonation is a little low

Overall: a good American IPA.  The lager yeast made a smooth and neutral flavor profile.  7.5 / 10 (would be higher if I dug this type of beer)



Blanton’s Cask Brown Ale


I knew this day would come…..

Blanton’s Brown Ale

After the better part of a year dealing/working with casks, I think I finally made a great beer.  Everything seemed to work just right with this batch.  The brew was a collaboration with my friend Simon, the cask was finally calming down with flavor profile, and it was January and Feb, perfect months for barrel aging in a Brooklyn apartment.

Here it goes, one of my favorite beers to date, even had a  hard time bottling it up to save for aging.

Appearance:  a huge thick tan head.  The color is completely black with a dark brown hue

Nose: A pleasant blend of oak, vanilla, and roastiness. A full dark chocolate flavor undertone

Flavor:  a smooth rise of chocolate with a complex creaminess, it all tasted kinda like a chocolate bourbon oak milkshake, but still had a brown ale taste.  Just a tad sharp from carbonation. totally nice beer to drink

mouthfeel: a big but balanced beer with a complicated mouth, finishes nicely with an oak and chocolate memory

overall: yeessss. make. this. again. but….. WHAT IS THE RECIPE?! time to dig up my brew log

9.4/ 10 : best beer so far on the blog

Local Brewery Visit: Port Jeff Brewing


This is now the second time this year that  I have managed to salvage a terrible Saturday on Long Island by visiting a brewery.  This time it was Port Jeff Brewing, which I had actually visited once before for that was planned to be written up, but i forgot everything that happened due to the surprise 30th birthday party i attended immediately after the brewery visit.

every town has a brewery?

Knowing what was in store was great heading back to Port Jeff.  The brewery is right down by the ferry and is perfectly fit into the vibe of the town.  Right off the bat, this brewery seems to have some staying power.  Sweet walk up and taste vibe was pleasant, however, with no where to really sit and enjoy, its a bit tight at times.

For this visit, they had 6 beers pouring for growler fills and tasting, and all were quality beers, though I preferred the regular schooner ale to the green version (for st. patty’s day).  I was also able to sneak in the back to help change a keg, which is the second time I’ve “helped out” at a brewery.

If you ever are heading out to the east end of long island on the north shore, definitely swing by this place!

That's a blowoff!

A day trip to some local breweries: Barrier and Great South Bay


This last Saturday was a perfect storm of plans falling apart, which made my day wide open to finally get out to some local Long Island breweries.

The day started off at Barrier Brewing in Oceanside.  I know this place makes great beers and the brewery did not disappoint, outside of the fact that the brewery is located in what is essentially an industrialized warehouse in the middle of suburbia that is hard to find.

It warped me back to playing hardcore shows in some random back alley warehouse… ahh, youth….

I was able to try 6 brews which all had a great smooth balance to them.  Each one was very well crafted beer.  However, there was very little to see at the brewery.  The brewing system is set up in the background and there is nowhere for you to sit, or really explore.  This is very much a destination to go to if you want to get the freshest beer possible, not for a fun trip with friends to hangout and enjoy the scenery, but tours are available.  It seemed like it is mainly open for really delicious growler fills.

After Barrier, my lady and I continued to Great South Bay Brewery. This brewery has a very similar vibe to Barrier, but triple the space – much easier to stand around to enjoy the tastings.  Both breweries brew on a one barrel system, but at Great South Bay you could actually check out the brewing set up.

The beers on tap were great, but unfortunately, my favorite beer, Marauder, a Scotch Ale that is aged on bourbon casks was not on tap.

Merauder waiting to grow up

This was fixed by Ryan the bartender, who was kind enough to pull a small taste out of a cask.  After tasting all the beers and finding out about the breweries future expansion plans (which is on the same plot of land), I got a growler of the Saison and took off.  This was the coolest brewery visit i have had the opportunity to experience.  They even post their brew sheets (including brew day details!) on their primary fermentation fridges.

me teaching Karen

Ryan and his lovely lady, Mackenzie were great at explaining everything and took the time to really go in depth with all of the beers.  It was obvious that Ryan was passionate about the beer he was pouring.  I look forward to heading back there asap – tip them well!

Here are some tastings of a beer from each brewery:

Bulkhead Red Ale

Barrier Brewery Bulk Head Hoppy Red Ale

Appearance: Light amber brown that is wonderfully clear

Nose: Malty and sweet with bready tones

Taste: Smooth husky dryness. Maybe a rye backbone? Raisin and dark fruit undertones

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation and easy finish

Overall: A really nice smooth beer. I could drink a lot of these.  Really good out of 10

GSB Saison

Great South Bay Brewery Saison:

Appearance: Cloudy straw yellow color with a nice full head that stuck around for awhile

Nose: Bready yeast essence with tart, citrus, and  flora notes

Taste: A crisp bready phenolic taste that ends in a citrus flora lemon character with a significant yeast character

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated with a quick dry finish

Overall: A good light Saison with a bit of booze. I like it, but a little light and lemony for my tastes .  Very nice out of 10

Grapefruit IPA Tasting… the unexpected favorite


I am thirsty!

For the superbowl this year, I was given the opportunity to brew for a party. The giants won… which was cool.

I brought 3 different beers, each in a different style.  One being a cream ale (4.3%), a coffee/chocolate porter (5.8%) and lastly, a big 7.5% Citrus IPA which was first wort hopped, and continuously hopped for the last 15 minutes of the boil, and then dry hopped, cough cough, it was a partial mash too.  I really thought no one was gonna dig the IPA. Once again, I am completely wrong when predicting other peoples likings.  I went through twice as much of this beer, and here is the tasting:


Appearance: cloudy and hop party – cles abound (did I use irish moss? nope!).  A dark orange/light brown color.

Nose: Soft but significant nose, Citrus, lemon, orange and a pleasant flower scent that was reminiscent of dandelions (that’s an idea to come back too in the future…)

Taste:  a smooth easy start to a big flavor beer. Malty beginning with a citrus mid flavor.  lemon and orange. the finish tasted like the rind of a grapefruit, with a nice tight bitterness and a dry finish

Mouthfeel: a big round beer with a dry sharp finish

Overall: 8.75 /10.  great beer! Irish moss is a must next time, but the chunkiness of the hops really gives a unique experience.  I must make more immediately!

Brown ale tasting: Temp controlled Plain vs no temp plain vs Rye cask vs Blantons cask


Brown ale tasting

This is a tasting for the first brew that me and a buddy of mine brewed together.  Its a nice big Brown Ale that really has alot of character.  The batches were split between our apartments, so my friend kept his at a set temperature (if I recall correctly, I think he said 66 F).  On his beer, he also added some coffee and vanilla to the secondary. For my 5 gallons, I left the beer to ferment at room temp and then through the beer into two casks (not before bottling 2 oakless beers). here are all of the beers tasted next to each other.  The cask beer were not bottled and were tasted directly from the cask.

Plain (no temp control)
Appearance: dark brown/ black
Nose: roasty maltly, some cocoa, a slight sulfur aspect with an orange essence
Taste:malt upfront followed by a dry quick finish. A light chocolate essence throughout
Mouthfeel: low carbonation

Everything Butt British Brown Ale (temp controlled, with addition of coffee and vanilla)
Appearance: very black, probably due to coffee addition
Nose:black coffee, roasty, but smooth malt in the background
Taste: light coffee upfront followed by a quick blast of vanilla, then dry finish
Mouthfeel: a nice roasty bitterness, the a quick dry finish
Overall: 7.5/10

Rye cask: straight from cask
Appearance: full dark brown
Nose: maple syrup, caramel, rye but more oak
Taste: dry, mild wood, no significant sweetness
Mouthfeel: dry and a bit tart
Overall:8/10, needs age

Blanton’s cask
Appearance: light brown, clear
Nose: big oak maple syrup, with a slight citrus tinge
Taste: the oak is big, but a tawny, winey aspect is there too, significant bourbon flavor
Mouthfeel: a quick start and a long finish
Overall:7.7/10 must age,

Oaked vs Unoaked 15 min boil Sorachi Ace IPA


Oaked up front, unoaked in the back

15 min sorachi ace IPA
Oak vs unoaked

on a busy work day I decided to make a quick IPA, only a 15 min boil with 2 ounces of Sorachi Ace. I put half into a cask, the other half i kept plain.

Appearance: clear, amber brown with yellowish hue
Nose: sweet vanilla oak with very little hop character
Taste:tannin flavor that bends into an orange cream sickle. Orange grapefruit bitterness
Mouthfeel: low carb, but a quick dry finish
Overall: 7.9/10. Weird flavor, but delicious

Appearance: more cloudy than the oaked, but I have found that common when using carb tabs
Nose: hoppy citrus a plenty, in the great sorachi ace lemon/grapefruit flavors
Taste: a balanced bittering, but nothing on the end.  Some more malt flavor would help, a light grapefruit finish
Mouthfeel: good carb, nice balance, good mouthfeel
Overall: good lingering hop flavor, pretty nice IPA