The Arrival of Summer, Pineapple IPA Tasting

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This last month has been a hectic one.  The end of the school year is always a fun time and with the month of June comes a real urge to drink some awesome fruit beers.  Being a beach bum summer guy, I really enjoy a whole bunch of tropically influence beers, and this is my latest attempt at one.  This beer is a citrus hopped IPA with around 95 IBU’s of Warrior/Citra/Pacific Gem being added predominately in the last 15 min of the boil.  After fermentation, I chopped up a whole pineapple that I had let “ripen” for about 1 -2 weeks and put that into a keg with the IPA.  A month later, I transferred off the beer and tapped it, here is what it tasted like:

Pineapple IPA

Appearance: A honey/ straw color that is semi clear with just a slight cloudiness, poor head retention, but highly carbonated

Nose: A big citrus nose with the Pineapple shinning brightly.  Mango and apricot undertones.

Taste:  A light beginning with a slight hop bitterness coming forward, followed by a big tropical finish.  A bitter pith of grapefruit and tart pineapple end into a dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Balanced, but big.  The dryness causes the taste to linger.

Overall:  a bit too dry for what I was going for, but for a highly hopped IPA, it was pretty delicious.  This will go great at the beach or a BBQ.  7/10.  Add a lot more specialty grains next time.

New members to the family

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MORE CASKS!!!!

I must thank my friend’s Tom and Simon for these new friends.  Tom picked me up a virgin 2.5 cask with a really gnarly design on it

Dr. Deacon Brody

A mad scientist cask…. that’s gonna be something someday.  I’m planning on making some homemade wine to age this with. should be great!

I also picked up a 5 gallon bourbon cask from Kings Distillery with the help of my friend Simon. Its really surprising how much heavier a 5 gallon cask is when compared to a 2.5 gallon cask.

volume step up #1

This makes my total casks now 6, with two souring beers and four for straight (ish) beer.  The sour beers are in a rye cask and a bourbon cask.  The straight beers will go into a 5 gallon bourbon cask, 2.5 gallon scotch cask, and the hopeful red wine cask.

Congratulation Kolsch! a retirement gift for my Dad

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The one on the right is done with work!

My father recently retired from his job of 39 years and a congratulations are in order! As a gift, I brewed up a batch of Kolsch, which was my second, and much improved, stab at this style.  Here are the tasting that my father and I wrote with my muse of a girlfriend.

Kolsch 1.0 on the left, Congratulation Kolsch on the right

kolsch 1.0 (old write up)

Apperance: cloudy and straw yellow

Nose: corn with lemon citrus

Taste: an easy drinker with a lemon taste

Mouthfeel: smooth and low carbed. very light bodied

Overall: much nicer now, the lemon flavor is well muted and very easy to drink

Congratulation Kolsch 2.0

Appearance: Completely clear (I love using Whirfloc) light yellow color

Nose: Very light, with a slight sweetness in the background

Taste: nearly perfectly balanced, an easy round flavor

Mouthfeel: easy drinking summer time light beer

Overall: Really well done, but kinda boring beer.  This beer got it right! 8.9/10

Cheers to my Dad and anyone else who parents worked for too long!

Simcoe Single Hopped Vienna Lager

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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.

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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)

 

 

Peat Smoked Vienna Lager aged in a Scotch Cask

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This was my first attempt at making a smokey scotch influence lager.  It was bottled October 16, 2011 and has aged wonderfully.

Scotch Cask Aged Peat Smoked Vienna Lager

Appearance: A honey brown color with a light tan head.  It is cloudy, but It seems that the cask aging does this to every beer.

Nose: A slight smoke and malt nose.  Very light and pleasant

Taste:  A bread/malty beginning fading into smoke and malt.  A very crisp finish with a smooth and distinct flavor.  At about 6% ABV, this is a beer that can be easily drunk and well as sipped

Mouthfeel: High carbonation but very smooth

Overall: A great balanced beer with a very nice light body and just the right amount of smoke

8.9/10

Blanton’s Cask Brown Ale

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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

Peat Smoked Vienna Lager Tasting

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Peat Smoked Vienna Lager

This is my second time brewing up this beer.  I only use about 3 ounces of peat smoked malt and the rest of the grains is 100% Vienna malt.  The sweetness from the malt and the richness of the smoke go hand in hand very nicely.  I would try to dry this out just a bit more to really feel like this beer is perfect, but a damn good beer already!

Appearance: A yellowish head that hangs around for awhile.  Perfectly clear with an amber copper color.

Nose: A sweet malty nose with only a trace smoke.

Flavor: A malty sweetness comes in the beginning of the taste and stays up front, with the smoke being present but restrained.  A brown sugar taste underneath all the other flavors. Kind of hot from the high alcohol, which was above 8 %

Mouthfeel: A smooth, round flavor that leaves a smoke flavor sitting on the tongue

Overall: This was very nice, I am making this my official Rauch! 8.7/10

The sour beer experiment cometh..

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Recently I have begun souring beer, which is a simple process of inoculating (infecting) beer with specific micro organisms that like living in beer.  So far, I have soured left over beer that was less than perfect, like my earl wit that had a bit too much gypsum and a poor fermentation. I decided to repurpose this beer into a Lambic.  I have also started souring my casks, starting with quad/ homemade wine into a rye cask with Roeselare Blend from Wyeast.

Now, repurposing beer is cool, and a great way to start souring beers, but I have way too many questions about the variables in souring to just use my leftovers for this.  It was time to brew a 10 gallon batch of Flanders Brown Ale. The brew day was easy for this beer, all until I transferred the cooled wort into all the different fermentors.

So, what am I going to do with all this beer to sour!? that’s right, use up every one gallon jug i can find.  To start off I took 5 gallons and put it into a normal 6 gallon better bottle carboy, which I pitched American Ale  yeast . This 5 gallon fermentor will be inoculated with Roeselare Blend after fermentation is complete.

VARIABLES!

The rest of the batch left plenty of room to play with, so I split up the beer into 1 gallon jugs and labeled them 1,2,3 and X, Y.  Y is the clean fermented beer that will act as the baseline for comparison (control).  1 was only Brett L, 2 was only Brett B, 3 was yeast and Brett B pitched simultaneously, and X will be Brett L added after regular yeast fermentation.  I also used a growler for my wild yeast, which will have US05 added after 3 weeks fermenting.

The beers with only Brett fermentation was very interesting to watch.  Brett L seems to be the same micro that infected my Earl Wit.  The Brett B fermentation looked crazy for about a week, then everything flocculated.

Brett L infection

Brett B infection

1L : brett L 2B: brett B

Now it’s a long wait to start bottling/ blending. which will take about a year!

New hop season is here!

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With a warm winter, I am already having my hop plants come to life! My second year Nugget  is growing very quickly and the Goldings (2nd year) is growing nicely.  I also picked up some Willamette and Sterling.  I’m planning on having a great shady spot underneath the hops to relax in this summer. Here are some pics

Goldings 4.3.2012

two weeks later:

Goldings 4.17.12

and now the Nugget

Nugget 4.3.2012

two weeks!

Nugget 4.17.12

This is a tremendous difference from last year, which didn’t see sprouts until may/june.  I’m thanking a warm winter and a pleasant conversation about being happy hops every morning.

Local Brewery Visit: Port Jeff Brewing

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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!