Monthly Archives: August 2011

Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon 3rd Edition

  • Brewery: Nøgne Ø
  • Country: Norway
  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • ABV: 15.5%
  • Size: 250 ml
  • Bought from: Alko, 9.09€
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

    The Dark Horizon series, brewed by Nøgne Ø, consists of some ‘extreme’ Imperial Stouts, all brewed with a different one-off recipe. The third edition is described as an “imperial stout on steroids”, and “this dark and rich brew is sweet enough to be your dessert or accompany your richest crème caramel”. The beer was brewed with a large amount of ingredients, including Maris Otter, Munich, Amber, Wheat, Smoked Rye, Crystal, Brown, Chocolate and Black malt, Millennium, Columbus and Nelson Sauvin hops, and even coffee. The reported IBUs are 100, while the color is a massive 240 EBC. This should be very interesting!

    [easyreview title=”Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon 3rd Edition” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a pitch-black color, and a minimal tan-colored head, that quickly collapses leaving some slight lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is full of dark and roasted tones, with hints of coffee, licorice, roasted malts, chocolate and smoke.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavour begins with tones of molasses, coffee, roastiness, chocolate and smoke, but is quickly taken over by a massive sweetness. The taste ends with a very sweet finish, that probably can be off-putting to many, coupled with slight bitterness. This sweetness hides the very high alcohol level (15.5%) very well, as it isn’t really detectable. Even though this contains coffee, it isn’t very present in the flavouring.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-full body, with low carbonation. The beer is very much balanced towards the sweet side of the spectrum, making it a bit difficult to drink. This is definitely a slow fireplace beer.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”This is a really complex and sweet beer, full of interesting flavours, and I must say I’m slightly disappointed. The sweet taste means this is probably not for everyone, but I imagine this would be a perfect winter-warmer or dessert beer. The small size (250ml) is understandable, because of the sweetness and high alcohol level, and I spent quite some time sipping on it. The price is on the high side, as with the breweries other products, so I probably won’t be drinking this one again, but will have to try out the 4th edition if it ever is released!”]

    Thanks to Pia for giving this as a gift to me!

    Firestone Union Jack India Pale Ale


  • Brewery: Firestone Walker
  • Country: USA
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 7.5%
  • Size: 650 ml
  • Bought from: Cracked Kettle, Holland
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

    Today it’s time for another American beer from my recent Cracked Kettle order, Firestone Walker’s Union Jack IPA. Union Jack is a triple dry-hopped west coast IPA, that promises loads of hop aroma and flavour. I think (a bit difficult to distinguish the numbers on the bottle) this was bottled 15.12.2010, so unfortunately isn’t super fresh, but hopefully it will still be tasty. The beer is brewed with 2-row, Munich, CaraPils and Light Crystal malt, and has been hopped with Warrior, Simcoe, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo, and Chinook, to a bitterness of 70 IBU. Let’s see how it does!

    [easyreview title=”Firestone Union Jack India Pale Ale” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer has a golden-amber color, and is slighty hazy. A white-colored fluffy head is formed during pour, that quite quickly collapses, leaving nice lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by citrusy, resiny, and floral hop tones, with hints of grapefruit, lemon, peach and pine. There is also some caramelly sweetness hidden behind the hops.” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”As the beer enters the mouth, there is an initial caramelly sweetness, that quickly is joined by hop tones of resin and grapefruit. The flavours end with a slight pleasant bitterness, as the hop tones fade away. The alcohol is perfectly hidden away, and overall this beer is fantastically balanced, as the maltiness, hoppiness, bitterness and alcohol join together perfectly, with no overpowering flavour.” cat3rating=”5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a smooth medium body and a moderate-low carbonation level, making it pleasant to drink.” cat4rating=”4.5″ summary=”Another fantastic American IPA by a US craft brewery. Well balanced with loads of hop flavour and aroma. I can only imagine how this would taste if it was half a year fresher! Will definitely have to try Firestone’s beers again if I ever get the chance. Too bad this was damn expensive from Cracked Kettle. Still one of the best beers I’ve ever had.”]

    Homebrew – American Pale/Amber Ale

    Yesterday I brewed an American-style Pale/Amber Ale, hopped with large amounts of Cascade and some left-over hops. Might dry hop this one as well, for even more aroma.

    Batch Size: 19 L

    5.5 kg Maris Otter Pale Malt
    0.5 kg Pale Crystal Malt 40L
    0.25 kg Dark Crystal Malt 120L

    20 g Warrior (18% AA) 60 min
    30 g Cascade (5.5% AA) 10 min
    10 g Centennial (10% AA) 10 min
    5 g Amarillo (9% AA) 10 min
    70 g Cascade (5.5% AA) 1 min

    0.3 g Protafloc 15 min

    US-05 Yeast

    Targeted OG 1.059
    Measured OG 1.059 (15 brix)

    Targeted FG 1.013

    Color ~23 EBC
    Bitterness ~44 IBU

    Didn’t take that many photos from this brewday, but here are a few:

    The hop and fining additions

    Close-up on the 10 minute hops

    Boil is starting soon

    Guest Review: Lindemans Kriek


  • Brewery: Lindemans
  • Country: Belgium
  • Style: Fruit Lambic
  • ABV: 3.5%
  • Size: 250 ml
  • Bought from: K-Citymarket, 2.60€
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

    Today it’s time for this blog’s first guest review, as my girlfriend Pia will be reviewing a kriek (cherry lambic). I’m not a great fan of fruit beers myself, so she will be reviewing this one. This spontaneously fermented beer is brewed with malt, wheat, hops, yeast, cherries, cherry juice, sugar, and cherry aroma. Let’s see what she thinks about it!

    [easyreview title=”Lindemans Kriek” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer has a nice ruby red color and a pink-colored head, that collapses quickly, leaving some lacing on the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”Aroma is acidic with tones of cherries (slightly artificial cherry tones).” cat2rating=”3″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavour is similar to the aroma, with a tart cherry flavour (quite natural-tasting) dominating. The beer leaves a strange aftertaste, that is difficult to describe.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has light body with a moderate level of carbonation, and it leaves a dry and sour finish.” cat4rating=”3″ summary=”Not the best Kriek I’ve tasted but nice and fresh on a hot day. I like the authentic cherry flavor, even though the beer contains artificial flavouring. Not too sweet but slightly too acidic for my personal taste. Would buy again because of its natural taste and inexpensive price.”]

    Pia and Mimi reviewing the beer.

    Thanks Pia for the review!

    Black Sheep Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale


  • Brewery: Black Sheep
  • Country: England
  • Style: English Pale Ale/ESB
  • ABV: 4.7%
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: K-Citymarket, 3.89€
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

    Have had a short break in blogging, as I’ve been abroad in Denmark on tour with my orchestra. Didn’t have much time to drink (craft) beer there, but tried a Nørrebro New York Lager, Nørrebro Ravnsborg Rød, Skovlyst India Pale Ale, and a Svaneke Stout, all of which were good, but nothing really special or memorable. Today it is time for a beer my girlfriend bought to me. Black Sheep’s Monty Python’s Holy Grail, which was commissioned for Monty Python’s 30 year anniversary, is an ale brewed with Maris Otter malt, hopped with ‘old English Hop varieties including a touch of WGV hops’ (I have never heard of these before, but it is apparently an abbreviation of Whitbread Golding Variety), and features an imaginative name and recognizable label. Let’s see how this one does.

    [easyreview title=”Black Sheep Monty Python’s Holy Grail” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer has a clear golden color, with a quickly collapsing white-colored head, that leaves nice lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”Not a strong aroma, but there is a presence of malt, herbal hops, and a slight fruitiness.” cat2rating=”3″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavour begins with a slight sweetness, that is joined by a crisp herbal bitterness and some green apple-like tones (acetaldehyde?). There are some bread tones present also, but overall the flavour is quite reserved.” cat3rating=”2.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has light body with a quite harsh medium-high level of carbonation, making it a bit difficult to drink.” cat4rating=”2.5″ summary=”Unfortunately nothing special here, a drinkable beer, that I wouldn’t buy again though (especially because of the high price). The unpleasant carbonation, crisp bitterness and slight green apple flavour let me down.”]

    Thanks to Pia for buying me this!

    Russian River Pliny The Elder


  • Brewery: Russian River
  • Country: USA
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8%
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: Cracked Kettle, Holland
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

    Today it’s time to test one of the most famous beers on the planet. Russian River’s Pliny The Elder is a massive Imperial IPA, that is currently rated as the 2nd best Imperial IPA (4th overall) at BeerAdvocate and 3rd best Imperial IPA (19th overall) at RateBeer. Expectations are of course very high, but I am also prepared for a slight disappointment, as the beer has first had a rough travel across the Atlantic, and then another one from Holland to Finland. The beer was bottled on the 29th of June, so it is about 1 and a half month old now, and thus quite fresh (which according to the brewer is very important for the beer). Russian River write the following on the label: ‘Does not improve with age! Hoppy beers are not meant to be aged! Keep away from heat! Respect your elder: keep cold, drink fresh, do not age! Pliny the Elder is a Historical figure, don’t make the beer inside this bottle one! Not a barley wine, do not age! Age your cheese, not your Pliny! Respect hops, consume fresh! If you must, sit on eggs, not on Pliny! Do not save for a rainy day! Pliny is for savoring, not for saving! Consume Pliny fresh, or not at all!’. There is no information on the malts and hops used on the bottle or on Russian River’s website, but Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River has given out a recipe to homebrewers, which includes 2-row, Crystal and Carapils Malt, dextrose, and CTZ (Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus), Simcoe and Centennial hops. The homebrew recipe has an IBU of around 100, but I can’t say if this applies to the real thing. Let’s try it out!

    [easyreview title=”Russian River Pliny The Elder” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer has a golden color, and is just slighty hazy. A slight white-colored head is formed during pour, that quickly collapses, leaving nice lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is full of resiny, citrusy, and floral hop tones, lending hints of pine, grapefruit, and peach. Really lovely aroma.” cat2rating=”5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The taste is also hop dominated, with tones of resin, pine, grapefruit, peach, and grass, that explode in your mouth with each sip. Behind all of this there is a light malt background, which lends a slight sweetness to the beer. The hoppy tones end in a fairly dry finish together with a medium bitterness, that tingles the tongue nicely. Hop lovers will definitely enjoy this one.” cat3rating=”5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a smooth medium body and a moderate carbonation level, making it easy to drink, despite the large amount of bitterness. Maybe just a bit too dry of a finish to get full points in this category from me.” cat4rating=”4.5″ summary=”Wow, this actually was a really good Imperial IPA, full-packed with huge amounts of hops. The appearance was very good, the aroma was lovely, the flavour was lovely, and the mouthfeel was very good, which together makes this one of the best, if not the best, beer that I’ve ever had. If you have a chance definitely try it out.”]

    Edit: Had another bottle the following day (this one was 2 weeks fresher (bottled 11.07.2011)), and must say the aroma and flavour was even better!

    Homebrew – Brandy Vanilla Porter

    Today I brewed another batch of beer, and this time I decided to try something completely different to the Pale Ales and India Pale Ales I’ve usually been brewing. I decided to brew a variation of Denny Coon’s Bourbon Vanilla Porter, where I substitute the Bourbon with Jaloviina (a type of cut Brandy), since the brew is for my (Jaloviina-loving) orchestra’s 50 year anniversary. Below is the recipe, the values I measured, and some pictures from the day.

    Brandy Vanilla Porter

    Batch Size: 19L

    4.5 kg Maris Otter Pale Malt
    1.0 kg Munich Malt
    0.6 kg Brown Malt
    0.5 kg Chocolate Malt
    0.45 kg Crystal Malt 120L
    0.25 kg Crystal Malt 40L

    20 g Warrior (18% AA) 60 min
    34 g East Kent Goldings (5% AA) 10 min

    0.3 g Protafloc 15 min


    30 g French Medium Toast Oak Chips (soaked in Jaloviina) Secondary
    2 dl *** Jaloviina Seconday
    2 Vanilla Beans Secondary

    Targeted OG 1.078, but I ended up with 1.067 (17.1 brix)
    Targeted FG 1.016

    IBU ~38
    EBC ~80

    The malt has been measured. I really need to get a bucket of some sort for the malt.

    The grain bed after the mash. I mashed at around 65.6 C, so that the beer doesn’t finish too sweet.

    Weighing the aroma hops.

    Adding the bittering hops to the boiling wort.

    Post-Boil sample. As you can see, the color of the beer will be very dark.

    The beer is now safely fermenting in the fridge, which is set to keep the beer at around 16.5 C.

    Package from the Cracked Kettle

    Ordered some beers from the Cracked Kettle on August the 2nd, and today a delivery man knocked on my door. Big plus to Cracked Kettle for the fast shipping and great packaging. Here is what the package contained:

    From left to right: De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis, Great Divide Yeti, Great Divide Hercules, Port Brewing Shark Attack, Shipyard XXXX IPA, Firestone Union Jack IPA, Pliny The Elder (!), Cantillon Kriek, Girardin 1882 Kriek, Timmermans Kriek, Lindemans Kriek, Lindemans Cassis, Lindemans Pecheresse, Lindemans Apple, and Mongozo Fair Trade Palmnut Beer. Gonna be some interesting upcoming beer tastes!

    Victory Storm King mini-review (featuring William Bros Kelpie)

    Had a Victory Storm King Imperial Stout last weekend, and here follows a mini-review. The beer poured pitch-black, with a fluffy tan head, that collapsed leaving some nice lacing along the glass. The aroma was roasty and hoppy, featuring tones of roasted malt, coffee, caramel, resin and citrus. The flavour was similar with lots of roasted malt, coffee and chocolate tones, together with some caramel and resiny and citrusy hop flavours. The beer features alot of bitterness, but it is well balanced with the roastiness and alcohol. Thought this was very tasty. The beer has a medium-full body and a surprisingly high (moderate) carbonation level (for the style). Mouthfeel was good, but not perfect, as I felt it could have been better with slightly lower carbonation. Overall, this Imperial Stout, packed with lots of hoppiness and bitterness to complement the dark and roasted tones, was very tasty and will definitely drink again.

    My friend Artem had a bottle of William Bros Kelpie Seaweed Ale, which, as the name implies, was brewed with fresh seaweed. I only had a tiny sip, and couldn’t really taste any seaweed, but otherwise the ale was dark and malty.

    Homebrew – Bottling

    Today I bottled 12 bottles of each beer from the kegs, using the technique described here. Worked a treat. The IPA is really tasty, and is full-packed with citrusy and resiny hop aroma and flavour, with a nice bitterness in the finish. Here are some pictures of the label I designed:

    West Coast IPA (aka ‘Catn ipA’) and Centennial Blonde