Monday, April 30, 2012

512. Sixpoint Bengali Tiger IPA

Sixpoint cans are now available in Dayton. It’s like a little slice of heaven for those of us in the hinterlands. Yes, I speak pejoratively about Dayton. And no, I don’t feel bad about it—if Dayton can’t take some legitimate criticism, then shit is worse than I imagined. Because let’s be honest: Sixpoint brings it. Between Bengali Tiger and Sweet Action, Sixpoint is all up front. There ain’t no lay-away, there ain’t no “can I pay you next Tuesday,” there ain’t no phone soliciting for a free cruise. And there certainly ain’t no half-steppin’. No image or aura to boast about but not follow through on. Straight proper product. For your smooth sippin’ pleasure. It’s like the Wu Tang Clan in cold liquid form. Sixpoint even slips in the smooth literary reference on the can: “What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?” Sure, William Blake is a bit of a ponce, but damn, poetry on cans? That’s something I can get behind. What with the “Beer is Culture” reference on the can, me thinks Sixpoint is taking the high road in the low brow beer culture wars. And for that, I raise my glass to Sixpoint. Sure, we’ve drank Sixpoint before, but not in town and not on any damn night we felt like. And let me tell you, it feels good. Our previous scions of illustrious worth include Righteous Rye, Sweet Action (which could possibly be the best beer name ever), and Signal. And now a little of the Bengali Tiger. Colonial English references never tasted so good.

Bengali Tiger IPA pours a hazy orange copper with a lustrous white head that holds on like the foam of whisked egg whites. The nose is a mix of hops and malt: on the hop side there is citrus and resin, with orange jam and marmalade aroma coming out the strongest, while on the malt side, there is both graininess and huskiness doused with a touch of caramel. There is a touch of hop grassiness that sneaks in on the side, but nothing distracting. Flavors start with orange hop bitterness and husky bread dough—the hop flavor reinforces the jammy orange resin of the nose as well as the dry grainy bread malt character. There is some evergreen hop flavors that dances along the edges that eases the transition into the bitterness of the middle, which bites clean with a touch of hop spiciness as it continues on into the finish. I get a touch of biscuit in the final bit of flavor before the beer gives way to the lingering pine and resin bitterness. The body is medium with a slightly sharp carbonation; the mouthfeel is doughy but bright, and it lightens on the palate via both the carbonation and the hop bitterness. I’m left with a slight evergreen bitterness and freshness in my mouth after the beer is gone. Which, whether my description conveys it or not, is delightful. Because let’s be honest—this is precisely the taste everyone wishes was left in their mouth after they used mouthwash, not that medicinal mint and burning that is supposed to signify “fresh breath.” Which is only another way of saying that if I could start my day with Bengali Tiger IPA, I would. Damn, I love you Sixpoint.

From the Sixpoint website: “The Sixpoint homebrewed IPA interpretation. Blaze orange in color, with an abundance of citrus hop bitterness, and a full pine and grapefruit bouquet in the aroma.”

ABV: 6.4%
IBU: 62


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rockit Cup Black India Session Ale Brewday

It is time for more sweet Rockit Cup action, the game that you can play along at home. And like the last version, this one builds the hop profile via hop bursting. Why again so soon? My response: Jeffrey goes through stages. Me? I just like brewing beer. And Jeffrey, I thought this was supposed to be a Black India Session Ale, not a Mud-Brown India Session Ale, although what with all the nomenclature games going on in the land of beer, maybe Dayton should just start laying claim to that name now. Huzzah, my CDA-drinking compadres!

114. Rockit Cup Black India Session Ale
9 lbs. MFB Pale
½ lb. Breiss Caramel 80
½ lb. Breiss White Wheat
6 oz. Crisp Pale Chocolate

Mashed @ 152° F w/3 ½ gallons of RO water and 2 g. gypsum for 60 minutes; added 6 oz. of Weyerman Carafa Special III to mash at vorlauf; collected 2 ¼ gallons @ 1.066
Batch sparged @ 167° F w/4 gallons RO water and 2 g. gypsum for 20 minutes; collected 3 ¾ gallons @ 1.028

Collected 6 gallons; added ½ gallon, brought to a boil (60 minutes) & added:
w/20 to go: 1 ¼ oz. Citra leaf 13.4% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Citra leaf 13.4% AA
1 oz. Willamette leaf 4.8% AA

w/0 to go: 1 ½ oz. Citra leaf 13.4% AA
1 ¾ oz. Willamette leaf 4.8% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy; pitched Wyeast 1272 American Ale II

Brewed: 4/17/2012 @ 68° F
Secondary: 4/25/2012 @ 1.014; dry hopped w/ ½ oz. Citra leaf 13.4% AA and ½ oz. Willamette leaf 4.8% AA
Bottled: 5/1/2012 w/ 3.1 oz. table sugar; bottled 2 ½ gallons, added 5 oz. Press coffee concentrate (114b.) and bottled the remaining 2 ½ gallons

OG: 1.049
FG: 1.014

Tasting Notes (6/19/2012): I’d offer notes in regards to the Rockit Cup, but I didn’t take any; I think there were four people, and I didn’t win—I got third, if I recall correctly, but that is about it. Which is probably about right. But tonight is about the tasting, both the regular and the coffee version back to back. The regular version (114) features citrus and lemon zest in the nose, coupled with chocolate and a touch of roasted malt, while the coffee version (114b) foregrounds coffee and earthy cocoa followed by roast. Both pour the exact same color of rich chocolate; 114b holds its head slightly better than 114, but it is pretty much a wash otherwise. 114 opens with citrus and caramel in the front; the middle adds chocolate and a touch of roast as well as hop bitterness, while the finish has a touch of earthy mint and chalky hop bitterness—this beer has settled since the last time I tried it, and is not as popping and fresh with the hop character. Still, it is tasty. 114b is coffee and sweet cocoa up front, giving way to chocolate and caramel in the middle; the hop bitterness is there in the middle, but the coffee masks some of it. It does come out more in the finish, ending with a pleasant coffee flavored bitterness coupled with a touch of roast that is enjoyable. 114 is probably a better beer, but I like 114b better. In regards to mouthfeel, both are medium bodied and gently carbonated; 114b is slightly creamier and more rounded on the tongue, with a touch of chalkiness that tastes like it is coffee derived—another slight intangible that helps set 114b apart. Both of these beers have confirmed that I like the idea of a Black IPA more than I actually like Black IPAs, Heart of Darkness not included. Still, both versions of the beer (along with the Press Coffee Black IPA) have been an interesting experiment in style parameters. Which is really just a fancy way of saying that I’m ready to get back to brewing the odd and esoteric beers that I do so love and crave.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cherry Saison w/ Brett B Brewday

Thus far this year, I have officially brewed more beers than Kevin Lolli has made posts on For Beer’s Sake. That’s right. That means I’ve dedicated more days to brewing that he has hours to writing posts. And if we want to include the time I spend here, well then, poor ol’ Kevin Lolli just looks like a turd on a stick. Should I even bother to google that image and see what comes up? You know I can’t resist the siren-call of Google image search... Anyway, sure he’s attending Law School, blah blah blah, and all that. But he lives in Chicago, and has plenty of opportunities that he should be exploiting. You hear me Lolli? Get busy. And the rest of you, don’t be afraid to click on those links. After all, I know you want to...

Anyway. Back to the beer.

Today’s delicious repast was inspired by the Reverse Osmosis machine at Krogers. Seriously. Because one day, after all of the time I’ve spent standing there and waiting for my 5 gallons jugs to fill, I looked to the right instead of aimlessly staring at the water slowly filling the bottle. And there it was: Fruit Fast Montmorency Tart Cherry concentrate. Just sitting there. Waiting for me. So after about another 15 trips to Kroger—yes, my muse is slow—I finally knew what I had to do. So here we are.

113. Cherry Saison w/ Brett B
8 lbs. MFB Pale
1 ¾ lbs. Muntons Pale (Pearl)
1 lb. Weyerman Acidulated
1 lb. Breiss Wheat

Mashed @ 152° F w/4 gallons of RO water and 2 g. gypsum for 70 minutes; collected 2 ½ gallons @ 1.070
Batch sparged @ 167° F w/4 gallons RO water and 2 g. gypsum for 20 minutes; collected 4 gallons @ 1.028

Collected 6 ½ gallons; brought to a boil (60 minutes) & added:
w/60 to go: 1 ½ oz. U.S. Magnum pellet 10% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/10 to go: 1 oz. New Zealand Hallertau pellet

w/5 to go: 1 oz. New Zealand Hallertau pellet

Chilled, racked to carboy; added 32 oz. Fruit Fast Montmorency Tart Cherry concentrate; pitched mason jar of Wyeast 3711 French Saison & 5112 Brettanomyces bruxellensis from 106. Saison w/ Brett B

Brewed: 4/12/2012 @ 72° F
Secondary: 5/1/2012 @ 1.010
Bottled: 12/1/2012 w/ 4.75 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.052 (prior to cherry concentrate addition)
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes (2/22/2012): This beer is turning out better than I anticipated. It pours a crystal clear pinkish tan—I expected more color from the tart cherry concentrate, so I am guessing that I’ll need to use whole fruit if I want more of that—with a white creamy head that is laced with hints of pink as well. The nose is sweet fruit and malt combined with a dry tart brut; there is some earthy mustiness via the Brett b, and the cherry tartness, while muted, is present in the background. Flavors start with cherry, candy, and tartness before transitioning into the musty and earthy middle, which is dry enough to create the impression of sucking the moisture out of your mouth. The finish is slightly crackery with a mineral tang—the 3711 is there lurking, but the combination of the Brett dryness and cherry is covering it over pretty well. There is a lingering touch of alcohol warmth in the back of the mouth accompanied by musty cherry tartness—both hang on pleasantly—and the body is, as noted before, dry dry dry. The dryness gives it hints of the bite of brut champagne, which plays quite well with the cherry and Brett flavors. All in all, a delightful beer right now; I look forward to seeing what happens to it over time.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Press Coffee Black IPA Brewday

Another coffee beer, this one an IPA. When I was getting the coffee concentrate for the Mild from Brett at Press, he wanted to know when I was going to make him a Black IPA with coffee. Consider this my beer-y homage to the coffee bar that makes every day in Dayton just a bit brighter. Check and mate.

112. Press Coffee Black IPA
8 lbs. Muntons Pale Pearl
2 lbs. MFB Pale
1 lb. Weyerman Dark Munich
1 lb. Dingemans Cara 8° L
6 oz. Carafa Special Roast III

Mashed @ 153° F w/4 gallons of RO water and 2 g. gypsum for 70 minutes; collected 2 ½ gallons @ 1.074
Batch sparged @ 169° F w/4 gallons RO water and 2 g. gypsum for 20 minutes; collected 3 ¾ gallons @ 1.032

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; brought to a boil (60 minutes) & added:

w/60 to go: 1 oz. Millenium leaf 16.6% AA

w/20 to go: 1 oz. Nugget pellet 13.3% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/10 to go: 1 oz. Nugget pellet 13.3% AA

w/5 to go: 10 oz. coffee concentrate from Press (El Salvador)

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Nugget pellet 13.3% AA

Chilled, racked to onto cake of Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II from 111. BPA

Brewed: 4/5/2012 @ 70° F
Secondary: 4/16/2012 @ 1.016; dry hopped with 1 oz. Nugget pellet 13.3% AA
Bottled: 4/25/2012 w/ 3 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.056
FG: 1.016 @ 64° F

Tasting Notes (5/10/2012): Press Coffee Black IPA pours a crystal clear rich chocolate brown with a tan head that starts fluffy and hangs around considerably. The nose is equal parts herbal hops, roast malt, and coffee. There is a touch of chocolate playing hooky in the background as well—I’m not certain who let that cat in, and slight hints of mint. Flavors start with bread and caramel followed by roasted malt and chocolate; there is a touch of herbal hop flavor, but not much. In the middle, both the coffee and the herbal hop flavor and bitterness come into play—combined with the roast, there is a fair amount of dryness on the palate, starting in the middle and on into the finish. The beer finishes with a touch of biscuit malt, a kiss of hop mintiness, and a mix of roast malt and chalky bitterness. The light mint kiss lingers the longest; it reminds me of the hint of mint I get after I finish brushing my teeth. Except this mint carries a dash of roast flavor with it. The body is medium, but comes across as lighter than that via the hop brightness, the roast, and the gentle carbonation. As well, there is a touch of warmth in the finish that lingers with the mint. The coffee flavor is subtle in this beer—this offers a better balance between beer and coffee than 103. Coffee Mild. While some of the hop flavor and aroma does get lost in the roast and coffee, the three still play off each other pleasantly. An interesting experiment; this one is, I think, a better example of a Black IPA (coffee or not) that 114. Rockit Cup Black India Session Ale (I’m drinking the coffee version as well right now to compare): the brighter citrus hops get lost in the coffee, although I’m betting that the standard Rockit Cup version might pick up some fans via the upfront citrus hop punch. The chocolate malt in the coffee version is too much—it comes across slightly like Yoo Hoo. Which is all just a fancy way of saying that the Press Coffee Black IPA is better—thanks, Brett, for pushing me to experiment, and providing inspiration along the way.