Wednesday, May 30, 2012

515. Two Brothers Pillar of Salt White Rye Ale

It’s been a while since we’ve sampled the wares of Two Brothers. Which, I will note, is a tragedy—it’s been far too long since we had a good glass of lakewater. However, it appears that it is time to start paying attention, at least in the short run, as the label describes Pillar of Salt as “Retro Release 4 of 15,” and that Two Brothers is “Celebrating 15 years with 15 beers.” And if all those retro releases have names even close to being as solid as this one, you can count us in for the remaining eleven. We’ll add this to the previous list that includes Atom Smasher, Hop Juice, Long Haul Session Ale, Resistance IPA, Domaine DuPage, Bitter End, Heavier-Handed, Moaten, and Cane & Ebel.

Pillar of Salt pours a clear straw with an abundant and persistent white head that laces the glass profusely. The nose is spicy citrus—spicy from the rye and citrus from the hops—that is delicate, perfume-y, and slightly grainy, while flavors open with a touch of caramel and spiciness before heading into citrus and bitterness in the middle. The spiciness picks back up in the final third, and there is a fair amount of bitterness in the finish that lingers on the palate. I also detect a touch of herbal hop flavor to complement the spice, bitter, and resin flavors that round the beer at the end. The carbonation is bright and lightly spritzy; it matches well with the beer, even though the description of flavors may not seem to back thus up. The medium mouthfeel is slightly creamy with a slight tackiness on the tongue. The lighter malt bill does allow the rye flavors to overwhelm the beer a bit too much—it is not as clean and crisp as we might like it to be; even with the brighter carbonation and hop bitterness in the finish, it is a bit muddy across the profile. Nonetheless, Pillar of Salt is an interesting beer, and certainly a different take on traditional rye beers. Congratulations, Two Brothers, on the 15 year anniversary, and here’s to many, many more.

From the bottle: “This one off beer was produced in 2007 as the antithesis of Cane & Ebel. We produced an Imperial Cane & Ebel batch a couple of months earlier and thought we should finish the trifecta with a light colored version. Pillar of Salt is a White version of our Red Rye ale that uses no coloring malts and different hops. The resulting beer is still boldly hoppy, but with a strong citrusy dry hop.”

ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 68

P.S. When I first saw the name of this beer, I thought “Hot damn! Two Brothers brewed a gose!” But then I got closer and read the fine print on the label, and was disappointed. Maybe some day. And if you need a diagram to get the joke, you can go talk to this guy.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

514. New Belgium Fall Wild Ale

So I’ll be honest. I hate flying. Mostly because, well, it sucks. But occasionally you get something good out of the deal. Rarely, but sometimes it does happen. And no, I’m not talking that you “get to go someplace cool,” or “see your family,” or some smaltzy crap like that. Those are the Bobby McFerrin-esque lies that people tell themselves to rationalize the ugly truth of air travel. After all, the penance that is flying clearly indicates that we’re willing to trade suffering for expedited travel to a different locale—otherwise no one would do it in the first place. But today was one of those days: something cool happened. I was flying back to Dayton from San Francisco, and was routed through Denver. I was hoping that the New Belgium HUB bar was going to grace the terminal I had a 50 minute layover in, because, well, a beer between flights is always a treat. Well, almost. And in the walk between gates, there it was—just a short distance from my next gate. My first flight had even gotten in ten minutes early, guaranteeing adequate time to actually enjoy the beer. But never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate that a Lips of Faith beer would be on tap to greet me. And it was one of the good ones, too, unlike that last disappointment. And not to give it away, but this beer has restored my faith in the Lips of Faith series. Thank you, New Belgium. Previous hits and misses include Prickly Passion SaisonVrieden, La Folie Falling Rock Tap House 10th Anniversary, Mighty Arrow Pale Ale, Ranger, Le Fleur, Misseur?, Transatlantique Kriek, Biere de Mars, Fat Tire, 1554 Enlightened Black Ale and La Folie. Dag. That’s some work.

Fall Wild Ale pours a slightly hazy mahogany, which is just another way of describing the brown and orange color of classic Belgian-style beers. The thin white head put in a small effort before giving up the ghost, although the ring around the edge of the glass is due diligence for a beer with brettanomyces. In the nose, there was mostly brett barnyard and hay with a touch of buried dark fruit and caramel. As the beer warms the dry funk really comes out in the nose. Delightfully so. The flavors were subtle and well-balanced, opening with dry caramel and dark fruit—mainly cherry and fig—before giving way to the dry, earthy brettanomyces character of barnyard and musty hay, and finishing slightly tart. Fall Wild Ale is dry and clean on the palate with a subtle, gentle intensity. The transition between the fruit and brettanomyces character was a sheer delight—I think the best way to describe the beer would be to call it something akin to a bretted Belgian dubbel, one that retains all the interesting fruit and malt character of the dubbel, but is enhanced and dried out by the brett as it develops in the beer. An excellent and enjoyable beer, one that drinks far too clean for a beer over 8% ABV. Why they still have a keg of this in the airport bar in May is beyond me, but I am certainly glad that they did.

From the New Belgium website: “Fall Wild Ale, our mahogany-hued autumn ale spiced with schisandra, opens with the floral, earthy notes of fall itself. Schisandra berries, known as five flavor fruit,’ possess a panoply of flavors. This malt-forward dubbel ale is fermented with a Trappist yeast and finishes dry and slightly sour from a touch of bretta.”

ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 18.5
Hops: Willamette, Goldings, Target
Malts: Pale, C-80, Munich, Victory
Fruits/Spice: Schisandra

Oh, and to further indicate the fickle nature of flying, I spent the night on the floor of the same terminal several years ago on my way back from Hawaii. Sure, the New Belgium HUB brewery helped during the following day of delayed flights, but I had to sleep on the floor of the airport. In January. With about a thousand other people. So honestly, I think the Denver International Airport still owes me big time. Seriously.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kevin Lolli SOB Brewday

I’m taking it back to the old school. Which means it is time for more Lolli, and specifically more Kevin Lolli SOB. Hot damn. Who saw that one coming? I’ll tell you who—this guy, that’s who. Check this. And I’ll keep you posted on all the new adverb action soon.

119. Kevin Lolli SOB
8 lbs. Simpsons Golden Promise
½ lb. Muntons Dark Crystal 135-165° L
¼ lb. Breiss Special Roast

Mash @ 156° F for 60 minutes w/ 3 gallons of RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 2 gallons @ 1.062
Batch sparge @ 162° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 gallons @ 1.022

Collected 6 gallon, brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 2 oz. Sonnet Golding leaf 4.1% AA

w/30 to go: 1 oz. Sonnet Golding leaf 4.1% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/1 to go: 1 oz. Sonnet Golding leaf 4.1% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy, & racked on to Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale cake from 118. Chris Wyatt’s Landlord

Brewed: 5/22/2012 @ 70° F; dropped to 64° F
Secondary: 6/7/2012
Bottled: 7/26/2012 w/ 2.5 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.040
FG: 1.014

Tasting Notes (8/25/2012): Round two of the beer named after trouble in a can. This one is a bit darker than its predecessor—it pours a burnt sienna with a lot of caramel and orange in it, and has a slightly iridescent sheen in the glass. The thin white head sticks it out for a while, then disappears. Much like a certain someone’s blog, I might add. The nose is buttered toast mixed with creamy butterscotch, followed by earthy—very, very British. Flavors start with cracker and biscuit malt with light amounts of dark fruit—plum specifically—and a smidgen of oxidized sherry. The middle has bitterness, caramel, and—for lack of a better description—a slight stale jammy biscuit on crumpled brown paper flavor that I’m not sure works here. From there, the beer returns to cracker malt and bitterness in the finish, with a touch of lingering hop bite. The body is medium and the carbonation is low, probably even for the style. The higher mash temperature has had the desired results in regards to mouthfeel, but the flavors are a bit off. My guess would be that the darker specialty malts—the Breiss Special Roast and the Muntons Dark Crystal—don’t mesh as well with the West Yorkshire yeast. The bright, delightful flavors found in Chris Wyatt’s Landlord seem lost in this beer, although this one does have the same slight musty finish that I find enjoyable. The fruit esters from the yeast seem out of balance with the malt—maybe the Special Roast is more the problem than the Dark Crystal. Anyway, this is a good beer, but I think that the real problem is that I wanted it to be much closer to Chris Wyatt’s Landlord. And it’s not, dammit. Although I have a sneaking suspicion this beer will continue to grow on me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dayton Beer Company

Welcome, Dayton Beer Company.

Today, I had my first beer that was professionally brewed in Dayton (well, Kettering, but I’m not going to be too nit-picky). Sure, I brew my own, and I know several others who make professional caliber beer, but this one had the correct licensing, and can sell it and all. Well, at least without finding themselves in legal trouble. Hence the professional moniker. I met up with Elli after she got off work—I road up and she rode down, and we met in the middle for a pint. We both had the Inventors IPA. Not too bad, overall. The strength was the hop profile and the bitterness, which was nice. The weakness was the muddy malt character and too-low level of carbonation. I know the beer is unfiltered, but as Elli observed, “it looks like they shaked the keg up before serving it.” The abundance of yeast flattened the malt character, leaving it indistinct and slightly gummy—it clouded the otherwise pleasant hop flavor and bitterness (and it did kill the aroma as well). Still, we’ll chalk this up to opening weekend jitters, and try it again in the future. We were going to buy a growler of something else to take with us, but it appears that they hadn’t gotten their labels approved yet. So again, next time. Still, it’s nice to have the option for beer made here. Here’s to more of the same soon.  


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rockit Cup Chris Wyatt’s Landlord Brewday

Not to be confused with The Coup’s “Kill My Landlord” or Langston Hughes’ “Ballad of the Landlord,”
Chris Wyatt’s Landlord is bringing back British to the Rockit Cup. Because nothing says anti-institutional like the British. Or something. Cracker.

118. Rockit Cup Chris Wyatt’s Landlord
8 ½ lbs. Golden Promise

Mash @ 154° F for 60 minutes w/ 3 gallons of RO water and 2 g. gypsum; collected 1 ¾ gallons @ 1.064
Batch sparge @ 163° F for 20 minutes w/ 3 ½ gallons RO water; collected 3 ½ gallons @ 1.022

Collected 5 ¼ gallons; added ¾ gallon to bring to 6 gallons, brought to a boil (60 minutes) & added:
w/60 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding pellet 3.8% AA

w/20 to go: ½ oz. East Kent Golding leaf 5.5% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/10 to go: ½ oz. East Kent Golding leaf 5.5% AA

w/1 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding pellet 3.8% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy, and added mason jar of Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale from Jeffrey

Brewed: 5/17/2012 @ 70° F; dropped to 66° F

Secondary: 5/22/2012 @ 1.010
Bottled: 5/31/2012 w/ 2.5 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.042
FG: 1.010

Tasting Notes (6/8/2012): For this version of the Rockit Cup, we had five players: myself, Jeffrey, Chris Wyatt (hence the beer name—get it?), Jake Browning, and Shaun Nichols, which, I believe, marks a new record for participation. I’d be more definitive, but I actually have no clue. Anyway, this was a doozy—one beer was off, but the other four were pretty close in regards to flavor and deliciousness. This round also had the greatest color range of any of our previous runs. I’m guessing the Golden Promise coupled with some hot burners led to the wider variety. Surprisingly, mine was not the lightest—that nod went to Jeffrey, but I was right after him. In the notes I took, I thought Chris’s was slightly breadier than the others, Jake’s had a touch too much of the yeast esters, Jeffery’s was clean and even, Shaun’s had a muddy malt character, and mine was slightly over-carbonated. Not that I knew which beer belonged to whom at this point, as I thought the over-carbonation on mine really detracted from the beer, and scored it second to last. But I guess no one else agreed, as I ended up winning. After me, it was Chris, Jeffrey, Jake, and then Shaun. The stewards of course scored it different, but since they didn’t brew, no one cares what they think, and I am refusing to acknowledge their rankings besides noting that, as per normal, it was different than those of us who brewed. Shocker, I am certain. Since I didn’t take many notes, I’ll type up some specifics later. Oh, and I did give Chris a bottle to take with him to England to do a side by side while he was there with the real thing. Among other things, the results of that led to me being called a bastard. Not that mine was perfect, but I do like the name calling. I’ll pester him for more details. Needless to say, this recipe is both very British and very delicious. Nice work with the recipe, Jeffrey.

(7/29/2012): Alright, I’m finally getting around to trying this, mostly because I’m about to polish off the last bottle, and I figured some notes for posterity were in order. Chris Wyatt’s Landlord pours a slightly hazy straw—there’s a bit of dull gold there as well, but mainly straw—and a white head that hangs around decently; it loses full cover, but there is more than the mere ring, and there was even a touch of lacing. The nose is earthy hop bitterness that is simultaneously perfume-y and featuring just a touch of yeast esters—it is not quite fruity, but running right up to it. The musty earth of the hops keeps the esters in check. There is also a hint of bread crust and buttery toast from the malt. Flavors pretty much follow the nose: bread crust and toast malt flavors in the front, giving way to a clean earthy and slightly spicy hop bitterness before finishing dry and cracker-y with lightly lingering bitterness. There is also a touch of corn in the beer, although no where I can clearly pin down. The mouthfeel is dry, clean, and almost musty, while the carbonation is medium and just a touch too bright on the palate—it rounds, but needs to round more. This beer is stupendous, and makes me want to experiment with both Golden Promise and the Styrian and East Kent Goldings a whole lot more. I’ll be looking forward to trying the SOB I made with Golden Promise, Sonnet Goldings, and the West Yorkshire yeast, as well as the Mild with the same yeast and some darker malts (and a higher mash temperature) to build the body and mouthfeel. Word word.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

513. Sixpoint Apollo

More sweet can action from Sixpoint, this one being their summer wheat beer. And more poetry: “A something in a summer’s Day/ As slow her flambeaux burn away/ Which solemnizes me./ A something in a summer’s noon—/ A depth—an Azure—a perfume—/ Transcending ecstasy.” Hot damn—Emily Dickinson! What’s not to love about Sixpoint? And if you know something, like they secretly grind up babies and add them to the mash, please don’t tell me. This is the one rare case where I’m pretty certain that ignorance is bliss. And I’d like to keep it that way, if you know what I mean. Previous encounters with the feng shui of beer brewing include Bengali Tiger IPARighteous Rye, Sweet Action (which could possibly be the best beer name ever), and Signal. Babies in the mash. Dag. Color me awesome.

Apollo pours a hazy, dusky gold with a white head that falls to lingering wisps. The nose is bubblegum and wheat doughiness; there is banana and clove (with more banana than clove), but it comes after the initial thrust of the bubblegum. Further in the background is some light spicy phenols and sugary sweet candy aromas. Flavors follow the nose; bubblegum, banana, and candy wheat sweetness in the front, clove and zesty bread dough in the middle, and a slight tart bite in the finish followed by a smooth banana cream pie flavor coupled with a slight spiciness. I’d make some sort of “happy endings” joke, but that would be inappropriate. The bubblegum does scrub out a bit as the beer warms, leaving more banana, which is a shame as the Bazooka Joe flavor played well across the entire profile. The body is gummy and doughy—in the nose, in the flavor, and on the palate—while the carbonation is medium: It adds slightly to the zing in the finish, but mostly rounds the beer as a whole. Certainly not your average American wheat, thank goodness! Apollo is crisp, bright, and refreshing with subtlety and depth. My only critique would be that they could dial down the gumminess (and maybe the sweetness) of the body a touch to make this even brisker and brighter, and up the zingy tang at the finish—currently the banana covers over too much of the tartness in the finish. Nonetheless, delicious: another solid beer from Sixpoint.

From the Sixpoint website: “The unmistakable flavor of a Bavarian Wheat, but with a clear golden brilliance and a Sixpoint twist. An entirely unique canned offering for the sun-worshipping ale lovers.”

ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 11


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rye APA Brewday

One last hurrah with the trending 1272; this one is a Rye APA, although with the grain I’m using, it is probably better described as a Rye BPA. But I’m just following Tim Turner’s comment that the yeast is the most important part of the brewing process, and sticking with my Rye APA designation and sticking it to the style guidelines yet again. Next up: something British!

117. Rye APA
9 lbs. MFB Pale
1 lb. Weyermann Rye
1 lb. Thomas Fawcett Caramel Rye

Mash @ 150° F for 60 minutes w/ 3 ½ gallons of RO water; collected 2 gallons @ 1.062
Batch sparge @ 160 ° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 gallons @ 1.026

Collected 6 gallons; added ½ gallon, brought to a boil (60 minutes) & added:
w/60 to go: 1 oz. Chinook 11.3% AA

w/30 to go: 1 oz. Chinook 11.3% AA

w/20 to go: ¾ oz. Simcoe 14.1 % AA
¼ oz. Willamette 4.8% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Centennial 11.5% AA

w/0 to go: ¾ oz. Simcoe 14.1 % AA
¼ oz. Willamette 4.8% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy, and added Wyeast 1272 American Ale II from 116. APA w/Amarillo

Brewed: 5/15/2012 @ 73° F; dropped to 66° F; free rise to 72° F
Secondary: 5/22/2012; dry hop w/ 1 oz. Centennial 11.5% AA
Bottled: 5/31/2012 w/ 3.15 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.042
FG: 1.010

Tasting Notes (9/21/2012): So I probably waited a little long on tasting this one for the purposes of posterity. Not only am I down to my last couple of bottles, but I’ve also been dragging my feet on typing up the notes. Thus, this is not the freshest example of the beer. But being that I am a consummate foot dragger, well, these things are ultimately not that surprising in relation to the bigger picture. Even when beer is involved. After all, I’ve been drinking it, just not typing up the notes. But due diligence is now served. Rye APA pours a burnished rich copper suffused with orange—the color from the caramel rye is quite luscious and iridescent—with that thin white head that manages to pull a decent amount of lacing. The nose is spicy rye from the malt as well as hop pine mixed with resin. There is also a touch of caramel, although it is more in the background. Flavors open with rye spiciness, bread dough, and biscuit/cracker malt flavors; there is some pine hop flavor, but that becomes more evident in the middle, when the beer dries out on the palate via the hop pine and sap flavor, although it is still lightly creamy. A touch of body and sweetness returns in the finish, and then the pine bitterness takes over the, lingering on the back of the throat. There is more mouthfeel than I was expecting here, as well as a rather enjoyable malt complexity. The hop profile is too aggressive, however. I think that less Chinook—and by that I mean less pine—would make this a better beer overall, as the spicy rye mixed with the pine hops is a touch aggressive together. Still, the combination of rye and caramel rye adds subtlety and depth to this beer: it is, after all, better than I thought it would be, and might even be worth revisiting at some point. How’s that for high praise?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

APA w/Amarillo Brewday

 Today is National Homebrew Day, so it is not surprising to find me brewing. And in the tradition of the last couple of beers, this is another APA to help run through the Wyeast 1272 yeast that is current trending at my domicile. We’ll be pushing one more beer through on this yeast (it will be a rye APA), and then turning to something British and malty. Plus, I need to get some more sour beers started, and who can forget that it is almost time for another round of Gose the Gozerian? Ah, I do so love summer, and the joys of brewing! Here’s to a good brewday to everyone out there!

116. APA w/Amarillo
9 lbs. Dingemans Pilsen
1 lb. Dingemans Pale
1 lb. Dingemans Aromatic
1 lb. Dingemans Cara 8

Mash @ 152° F for 60 minutes w/ 4 gallons of RO water and 2 g. gypsum; collected 2 ½ gallons @ 1.078
Batch sparge @ 162° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water and 2 g. gypsum; collected 4 gallons @ 1.026

Collected 6 ½ gallons; brought to a boil (60 minutes) & added:
w/30 to go: 1 oz. Amarillo 10.7% AA
w/20 to go: 1 oz. Amarillo 10.7% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Amarillo 10.7% AA

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Amarillo 10.7% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy onto Wyeast 1272 American Ale II from 115. APA w/S, C, & C

Brewed: 5/5/2012 @ 72° F
Secondary: 5/15/2012; dry hop w/1 oz. Amarillo leaf 10.7% AA
Bottled: 5/21/2012 w/ 3.0 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.052
FG: 1.012

Tasting Notes (7/31/2012): Pours a hazy golden straw that is bordering on tan; the head is white, mousse-y, and long-lasting. In the nose, there is a fair amount of hop aroma, mostly spicy pine and citrus with a touch of resin. There is also a touch of bread dough malt that sneaks through, but you have to look for it. Flavors start with hops—there is a delicate pine and resin zest mixed with a touch of orange marmalade; there is also bread dough and bread crust malt flavors, and just a touch of caramel that slides more into candy sweetness. In the middle, there is light bitterness along with a touch more caramel, and hop spiciness returns in the finish along with a touch of pine and bitterness to round it out. The body is medium with a slightly chewy malt feel; it is lightened by the spritzy carbonation and bright hop character, although the chewiness does remain. Overall, a pleasant and enjoyable beer—the combination of hop bursting (all hops were in the last 30 minutes) and using pilsen as a base malt creates a nice showcase for hop aroma and flavor, even after a couple of months in the bottle. I would consider cutting the Dingemans Cara 8 in half and lessening the Dingemans Aromatic, but the all-Belgian grain bill works well in the beer, even with the American hopping schedule. I’ll be returning to some version of this soon—I find it an easy drinking and very enjoyable beer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

APA w/ Simcoe, Citra, & Centennial Brewday

The compost bin is certainly getting its fill of spent grain and hops during the last month. Which mean that summer production is starting to hit its stride. And since I need to put a dent in the large accumulation of hops I’ve mananged to procure, it means it is time for some hop forward beers. While this one doesn't quite come up to Bad Girlfriend IPA hop levels, it is trying. And that’s worth something, right? The ball is in you court, Lolli.

115. APA w/Simcoe, Citra, & Centennial
9 lbs. Muntons Pale
1 lb. Dingemans Cara 20
1 lb. Breiss Special Roast
¼ lb. Breiss Torrified Red Wheat

Mash @ 153° F for 60 minutes w/ 4 gallons of RO water and 2 g. gypsum; collected 2 ½ gallons @ 1.070; first wort hop w/ 1 oz. Simcoe leaf 3.3% AA & 1 oz. Centennial leaf % AA—added to boil pot with hot wort, and left there for entire boil
Batch sparge @ 163° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water and 2 g. gypsum; collected 3 ¾ gallons @ 1.026

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; added ½ gallon, brought to a boil (60 minutes) & added:
First Wort Hops: 1 oz. Simcoe leaf 14.1% AA
1 oz. Centennial leaf 11.5% AA

w/20 to go: 1 oz. Citra leaf 13.4% AA
1 oz. Simcoe leaf 14.1% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Citra leaf 13.4% AA
1 oz. Centennial leaf 11.5% AA

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Citra leaf 13.4% AA
1 oz. Simcoe leaf 14.1% AA
1 oz. Centennial leaf 11.5% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy; pitched mason jar of Wyeast 1272 American Ale II from 114. Rockit Cup Black India Session Ale

Brewed: 5/1/2012 @ 76° F
Secondary: ; dry hopped ½ oz. Citra leaf 13.4% AA and ½ oz. Simcoe leaf % AA

OG: 1.044

Tasting Notes: