Saturday, October 19, 2013

CMI Oktobersbest Zinzinnati 2013 Beer Judging

This year’s Oktobersbest was all about more good times in a round, round hotel. Unlike last year, Scott LaFollette’s opening presentation was interesting, useful, and to the point. No made up material, or material embellished to make the speaker sound grandiose. I do wish Jeffrey would have heckled Scott, but I also understand why he didn’t.

I judged Porters in the morning flight, and Belgian & French in the afternoon flight. The morning flight was a bit underwhelming overall, but that is bound to happen. The afternoon flight, however, featured some good beers, specifically Jon Covey’s Hibiscus Saison, which I thought was the best beer in the flight. But nobody puts Frank Barickman in a corner. And, to be fair, the beer Frank wanted to pass did end up winning Best in Show, so maybe he was onto something there.

After a quick trip to the Party Source to score some Crooked Stave beers, it was back to Dayton.

And you can find the results here.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

February 2014 Rockit Cup: Robust Porter

Once again, the Rockit Cup is here to save you from your brewing doldrums. So stop being scared of the Rockit Cup and start brewing the Rockit Cup. Or you can just go on being the guy who brings professionally made beer to a home brew club meeting. Don’t worry, I promise not to make fun of you. To your face. Much. Alright, I’m sorry. I lied. I most likely will make fun of you. But that’s what you get for not brewing! Go Rockit Cup!

February Rockit Cup: Robust Porter
OG: 1.055 @ 70%
FG: 1.013
IBU: 37
Color: 27
ABV: 5.5%

9 lbs. Breiss 2-row
1 lb. Weyermann Dark Munich
½ lb. Crisp Crystal 45L
½ lb. Crisp Pale Chocolate
¼ lb. Black Patent

Mash at 152˚ F for 60 minutes

60 minute boil

1 ½ oz. EKG @ 60
¾ oz. Fuggle @ 15
½ oz. EKG @ 0
¼ oz. Fuggle @ 0

Wyeast 1056 American Ale

Ferment @ 67.0° F

Carbonate to 2.0 volumes

Ro-bust Por-ter! [clap clap clapclapclap]
Ro-bust Por-ter! [clap clap clapclapclap]

Friday, October 11, 2013

Rockit Cup Brett Trois IPA Recap

As suspected, Brian Gallow and myself were the only two participants. Alas, alas. Still, a fun experiment, since we both had two versions: I had a custersianus version as well as the standard Trois version, while Brian brought a version hopped with Zythos that he had used to grow up the yeast cake for the Rockit Cup version of the beer.

As well, both of us could pick out all four of the beers even though we were served them blind. Of the four, the two Trois versions were clearly better than the other two; I liked my version better and Brian liked his better, so we polled a couple of people, which gave Brian the title. Stupid Gallow and hoppy beers. Between the other two, I like the custersianus version better than the Zythos, even though the Zythos was also Trois—something about that hop/yeast combination didn’t sit as well on my palate. But this has also certainly given me food for thought in regards to brewing projects to pursue: I think Comet and Centennial would make a delicious Brett Trois IPA. Don’t worry—I’ll keep you posted.

The other results worth reporting from this evening: I am now officially the 2013 Fresh Hop King of Ohio. Brent Osborn’s challenge to my throne was rebuffed; his minion, Ryan Tarpley, brought Brent’s two fresh hop beers to challenge the two I had in the bottle at that point, and my Smith Hop Fresh Hop was declared the winner. I’ll be interested to see how it stacks up against the version I made today with bike path hops. Go fresh hop beers!

December’s Rockit Cup will be a Mini-Cask Fest, while the Rockit Cup for February will be a Robust Porter; the recipe for that one will be posted shortly.


The Last Fresh Hop 2013 Brewday

So I finally got around to making my annual Fresh Hop beer with hops growing along the local bike path. Some of them had gotten rather brown and dried out—it is October, after all—but a surprising number were still green and vibrant. And, even better, my fingertips were sticky and yellow by the time I was done picking, which bodes well for both flavor and bitterness. I used the most dried out hops for the bittering addition, and saved the better looking ones for the later additions. As well, there were a prodigious number of seeds—as this picture should attest. All in all, another good fresh hop year all around: four different versions, all exploring ways to push my knowledge of fresh hop beers.

159. The Last Fresh Hop 2013
3 lbs. MFB Pale
3 lbs. MFB Special Aromatic
2 lbs. Best Malz Spelt
1 lb. MFB Vienna
1 lb. Breiss Torrified Red Wheat

Mash @ 151° F for 70 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water & 10 g. gypsum; collected 2 gallons @ 1.076
Batch sparge @ 163° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 5 g. gypsum; collected 4 gallons @ 1.024

Collected 6 gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 6 oz. wild fresh hops

w/20 to go: 4 oz. wild fresh hops

w/15 to go: 4 oz. wild fresh hops

w/5 to go: 4 oz. wild fresh hops

w/0 to go: 4 oz. wild fresh hops

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched mason jar of Wyeast 1272 American II from 156. Fresh Hop w/ Brewer’s Gold

Primary: 10/11/2013 @ 68° F

OG: 1.046

Tasting Notes:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

576. Evil Twin Femme Fatale Brett IPA

This beer is my homework for tomorrow night’s Rockit Cup Brett Trois IPA extravaganzaAnd by extravaganza, I mean Brian Gallow and I will compare our respective versions. I’d like to hope that there will be a surprise third or even fourth person, but I’m not holding my breath. Any-whoo, this is our first beer from Evil Twin, and I will note that their website is certainly a step up on Mikkeller’s website, which is still disappointing more than a full month later. Ah, the novelty of discussing your beer on your website. So crazy! Still, Evil Twin does get demerits for the poor copy-editing work on the bottle (see below). But I am forgetting the point, which is Brettanomyces and IPAs, and not my many and varied disappointments. So on to the beer!

Femme Fatale pours a lightly hazy golden straw with a thin white creamy head. When first out of the bottle, the nose features pine from the hops, but as the beer opened, the musty earthiness of the Brettanomyces started taking over. The citrus hop aromas make it through the earthiness—there is lemon and orange, along with some floral aromatics. Flavors start with a soft grainy sweetness, followed by orange and pine resin. The middle is dry, with cracker from the malt, musty earth, and hop bitterness that turns towards pine in the finish. The carbonation is bright and sharp, accentuating the thin, dry body. There is lingering spicy pine bitterness along with some mineral flavors, as well as the earthy gaminess that I connect to Brettanomyces, B. bruxellensis specifically. An interesting beer, one that improved the farther we got into the bottle; the yeast sediment added a creamy consistency that helped round the beer on the palate, cleaning the finish and giving it a pleasant lemon-y brightness. I like this beer, but I liked the brighter, more vibrant hop flavors in both the Rockit Cup versions I tried in conjunction with this beer. Still, it will be interesting to compare how the two Rockit beers age in comparison to this beer: how will the Brettanomyces flavors shift and develop in the bottle? Time will certainly provide us an answer. Hopefully I will like that answer.

From the bottle: “To take up the challenge and make a 100% true Brett beer can very easily become a fatal attraction for the Brewmaster. Ones [sic] you get acquainted with Bretts [sic] irresistible, seductive, alluring and very charming nature, it will ensnare you and drive you to the point of obsession to create the desirable tangy, funky, tart flavors in ya mouth.”

Ahem. Copy-editing, yo. Oh, and it does note on the bottle that this beer was “produced and bottled for Evil Twin Brewing at Westbrook Brewing Co., Mount Pleasant, SC.”

ABV: 6.0%


Sunday, October 6, 2013

575. 50 West Sour Wagon Cherry

Week two of the cyclo-cross season finds us in Cincinnati for Gun Club 2013. Can you say muddy? I can. Damn, that was muddy. Anyway, after attempting to remove as much mud as possible from everything that even thought about being outside the car, we headed for 50 West. I’d been their once before, but Elli never had, so it fit with the theme of biking and new beer. And even if it didn’t fit, well, we went there.

Sour Wagon Cherry came served in a goblet; it was a murky chocolate with a thin white head with little retention, although both elements fit with the style. In the nose, there was lactic tartness followed by cherry and Belgian candy sweetness; as it warmed, more acetic acid emerges, as does subtle oak and vanilla. Flavors open with candy coupled with hints of brown sugar; the lactic tang is in the front (with acetic in the back) at this point, shifting towards the acetic as the beer hits mid-palate. There is also oak with a light tannic bite, flashes of vanilla, and fruit, primarily cherry, but also fig, raisin, and grape. The acetic vinegar flavors push earlier into the profile as the beer warms. In the finish, there are lingering cherry and stone fruit flavors mixed with candy sweetness, more fruit than candy, and some acetic acid as it warms. The bright lactic tang helps balance the beer on the palate, and makes up for the minimal carbonation, and there is a rounded, slightly chewy mouthfeel that finishes clean via the tartness. As it warms, there is an aged/vinous character that appears, as does a touch of alcohol warmth. Sour Wagon Cherry gave my cheeks a rosy warm slight flush via the sourness; it is a well made beer, but it still tastes a bit young and hasn’t fully come together. The delicate oak character is a pleasant surprise, and the overall beer is more acetic than lactic. Still, a good starting place for a sour beer, one I’m sure that will continue to improve.

From the 50 West website: “Flander’s Brown Ale that was soured in oak wine barrels for almost a year with an organic cherry puree.”

ABV: 7.0%
IBU: 15