Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sierra Nevada Wet Hop Harvest Ale

This is a wet hop ale, meaning that the hops are added to the wort before they're dried. The idea being that the resins on the flowers aren't dried yet so they should bring out extra flavor. I can't say I noticed as much of the hop flavor since it was a pretty evenly balanced beer. Most of all I taste a heavy malt flavor. It has a beautiful color that reminds me of Rogue's American Amber, but it certainly doesn't have the same bite. Seems like a great late summer sipping beer although I wouldn't mind some added bitterness. Very smooth and even across though.

Wet Hop Harvest Ale: ***1/2

Port Brewing High Tide IPA

This is a fun beer to drink that really offers something for both novice and experienced beer drinkers. People not accustomed to heavy IPAs will appreciate the mellow front end and light body. The seasonal Simcoe hops bring a great flavor that is brought out in the dry hop process. I do wish it was little better balanced to the front which is clean and crisp, but lacking in any overwhelming flavor. However, there is a grapefruit finish and skunky kick that hits you right at the end that I just love.

High Tide IPA: ****1/2

Maui Brewing Company Coconut Porter

Don’t be fooled by the beer in the can. That has to be the motto for this surprising porter. I'm not familiar with Maui Brewing and I tried this on a recommendation. The body on this porter is perfect. It has a well balanced malt front end which turns to coffee tones. The back end goes a little bitter with little to no kick. I don't really taste the coconut, perhaps it's more sentiment than flavor, a lot more chocolate/coffee if you ask me. But all in all a very decent beer.

Coconut Porter: ***1/2

Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA

This beer has a statement on the box that says it's perhaps the best IPA in America. Apparently, they got this quote from Esquire. Ok, that's pretty obnoxious, however, that being said, it is quite good and it apparently it won the battle of the beer competition with Rogue three years in a row, which is quite a feat. It's actually an Imperial, so for those who don't like it strong beer, be advised. What's most noticeable is its strong malt and barley front end and sweet finish. The name comes from the boiling process, which is done to the wort during which hops are continuously added. I'm not familiar with the style, but my impression is that would make for a hoppier beer. However, my one critcism would be that for an Imperial IPA, the back end kick is really on the weaker side. Good if you like a smoother, sweeter IPA, but not if you enjoy a good bitter kick.

90 minute IPA rating: ****

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New brew

For those that are following, I started a new batch of brew last weekend. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures. It's an IPA, here's the ingredients I used:

Organic pale barley malt extract
Briess Caramel 60 degL
Briess Caramel 20 degL
Weyermann Carahell malt
Organic New Zealand Pacific Gem hops - bittering 36 IBU
Organic New Zealand Pacific Gem hops - flavor 18 IBU
Organic New Zealand Hallertaur hops - aroma
Irish Moss

I used a White Labs 1968 London Ale yeast, which according to what I've read should be the best for bring out the hop flavor.

The process has gone pretty well so far. I'm about to finish my fermentation, I'll probably switch carboys tomorow. My friend Matt, had the smart idea to boil the wort on two burners, which really sped up the process. The color has come out considerably lighter than the stout, but much darker than I would have expected for an IPA. My one concern is that during the boil I lost a lot liquid. So the beer could end up being VERY high in alcohol content, it will be an interesting experiment. More to come...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My latest loot

I always try to keep a lot of good, interesting microbrews around the house and people are always asking me where I get my beer.

About once a month, I head down to a place in the Marina called
Beverage Warehouse. It's hidden at the end of this parking lot off of McConnel St; it's pretty tucked away, so unless you're looking for it, you won't stumble over it. Here's how I usually describe it: "If Toys R Us had alcohol, instead of toys... this would be that place." They have a really incredible selection of every kind of alcohol you could ever want and their staff has a really great knowledge about the different bottles. They also can order rarer things if you don't see what you like. I generally head down there once a month and pick up some beer, wine, and sometimes bourbon. They are always getting in new brands, limited editions and often have good specials that I like to take advantage of.

This latest trip was a great one; they trusted me enough to let me get a couple of beers out of their walk in and back room, which is where they store some of their favorite beers that they don't carry a lot of. Here's a picture of my loot:

From left to right I got: Coconut Porter (Maui Brewing Co, not usually my style to get cans or unknown, but the guy told me it was pretty good), Hop Stoopid (Lagunitas, I almost missed this was Lagunitas because of the big Sonoma Farmhouse written at the top), 12th Harvest Wet Hop (Sierra Nevada, no idea what wet hops are, but I'll find out), High Tide IPA (Port Brewing), Double Dead Guy (Rogue, cool red bottle, I don't really like Dead Guy, but I'll try almost any beer from Rogue and I'm a sucker for limited editions), Old Numbskull barley wine (Alesmith), Cali-Belgie IPA (Stone), Viscosity Ale (Port Brewing), Smoked Porter (Alaska), Blind Pig (Russian River), Pliny the Elder (Russian River), 90 minute IPA (Dogfish Head). Cheers!