Monthly Archives: September 2011

Raasted Pale Ale

 

  • Brewery: Raasted Bryghus
  • Country: Denmark
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 4.5%
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: K-Citymarket, 3.49€
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    After a hard week of work and studying, it was time to relax with a beer. This one had been standing in my fridge for a couple of weeks, so I decided to try it out. Raasted Bryghus is a Danish craft brewery, that has been brewing since 2005. This Pale Ale, is hopped with Simcoe, Cascade, and Columbus, and has been brewed at De Proef in Belgium. This is the 4.5% version (a 5% version has also been brewed at Brewdog), and can thus be bought at the larger supermarkets here in Finland. Can’t find any info on malts or IBUs, but hopefully this one should be really tasty.

    [easyreview title=”Raasted Pale Ale” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer has an amber color and is slighty hazy. The beer has a fluffy off-white-colored head, that quite quickly collapses, leaving some lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by hop tones, with hints of citrus, tropical fruits and some caramel. The aroma is on the light side.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”There are some fruity and floral notes in the taste as well, but these are not as present as in the aroma. These are joined by a slightly toasty maltiness and some caramel tones, that together with the hops, end in a slightly bitter and dry finish.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-light body, and a moderate-low carbonation level, making it quite pleasant to drink. The beer is smooth, but feels a bit watery.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”This was a surprisingly good APA, that is available from the larger supermarkets here in Finland. This one clearly tried to focus on the hops, but I felt it was a bit lacking in the flavor department. Still a beer I would drink again. It’s a shame it’s a bit on the expensive side, but overall a very refreshing beer.”]

    Homebrew – Kegging the Brandy Vanilla Porter and American Pale/Amber Ale

    Today I moved both brews to kegs. The specific gravity of the Porter was still at ~1.018, and the beer now has a mild aroma and flavor of vanilla and oak (the beer was 13 days in the secondary). I couldn’t really taste any of the brandy, but that isn’t a bad thing. The beer tasted good straight from the secondary vessel, so my expectations are high. The beer is going to mature a couple of weeks in the keg before I move it to bottles.

    The gravity of the AP/AA had dropped from 1.059 to around 1.016, and it also tasted good straight from the fermenter. The beer had a lot of hop flavour, and a surprisingly high bitterness, that was well balanced with the slight sweetness from the gravity and caramel malt. I added 30g of hops (10g Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe) for dry-hopping. This will also mature for 2-3 weeks before I move it to bottles.

    Fritzale India Pale Ale

     

  • Brewery: FritzAle
  • Country: Germany
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • Size: 750 ml
  • Bought from: Berlin Bier Shop, Germany
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    Next up is another beer that I brought home from my recent Berlin trip. Another German-brewed IPA, that was brewed with Pale Ale, Munich and Caramel malt, and hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe to an IBU of 59. Let’s see if the Germans can brew a tasty IPA!

    [easyreview title=”Fritzale India Pale Ale” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer has a golden orange color and is slighty hazy. The beer has a white-colored head, that quite quickly collapses, leaving some lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma has some fruity and floral tones, but is overall quite light. Not getting that much of the resiny and piney tones usually present in Simcoe-hopped beers.” cat2rating=”3″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a slight sweetness, that then is joined by some light fruity and citrusy tones from the hops. The flavor ends with a surprisingly dry and bitter finish for a 59 IBU beer. I feel the beer could have a lot more hop flavor and some more body to balance out the bitterness, and improve the flavor overall.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-light fullness, and a moderate carbonation level, making it quite pleasant to drink. I feel the finish is a bit too dry, but it isn’t all too bothering.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”A drinkable India Pale Ale, that isn’t amongst my favorites though. I thought the flavor was too weak, and the beer felt a bit watery overall. Still, probably one of the best German-brewed IPAs.”]

    Brewbaker Berlin IPA

     

  • Brewery: Brewbaker
  • Country: Germany
  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: Brewbaker, Berlin, Germany
  • Not on Beer Advocate
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    Sorry about another lack of updates here in September. This time I’ve been away on a one week military repetition exercise (in Finland we have compulsory military service). After the rainy week I decided to treat myself with a (hopefully) good beer. This time I decided to have one of the bottles I brought with me home from Berlin: Brewbaker’s Berlin IPA. This India Pale Ale was, according to the bottle, brewed in August 2011, so should be very fresh. The beer is brewed with pilsener, vienna, wheat and crystal malt, and is hopped with Hallertauer Perle, Hallertauer Smaragd, and Cascade to an IBU of 65 (email correspondence with the brewer). Let’s see if the Germans can brew an IPA.

    [easyreview title=”Brewbaker Berlin IPA” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer has a golden-orange color, and is slighty hazy. A thick and fluffy white-colored head is formed with the pour, and it collapses slowly, leaving nice lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by a strange acidity, that I’m sure isn’t intentional. Hopefully the bottle isn’t infected or has otherwise gone wrong. There is some fruitiness hiding behind the acidity.” cat2rating=”1.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor is surprisingly bland as well, with just some slight hoppiness, that is quickly overtaken by a very dry and bitter finish. It’s seems that this one has been hit by a bacterial infection, since I’m pretty sure this isn’t supposed to taste like this.” cat3rating=”1.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”A dry finish combined with high carbonation makes this very unpleasant to drink.” cat4rating=”1″ summary=”I was really looking forward to this beer, but unfortunately it seems to be infected. I wasn’t sure whether I should publish the review or not, but decided that all information is valuable. Brewbaker’s Bellevue Pils was very drinkable, and I was really interested in seeing how well they brew an IPA. I also have a bottle of their special edition Doppel IPA, that I really hope isn’t infected as well. Don’t let this review discourage you from trying any of Brewbaker’s beers if you ever get the chance though!”]

    Trip to Berlin

    I’m just back from a great 10 day vacation in Berlin, which included everything from visiting an abandoned theme park and observing loads of street art to beer drinking and shopping. This was my third trip to Berlin in about a year, yet there is still a lot to explore in this fantastic city. I’m not a large fan of German beer in general, as I find the traditional styles a bit boring, but I decided to try some different ones whenever I had a chance. I also paid a visit to Brewbaker, a microbrewery/brewpub, and the quite unknown Berlin Bier Shop. I decided not to visit the more famous Bier-Spezialitäten-Laden on this trip, since I visited it on my last trip here, and I didn’t find it very special. It is definitely worth a visit if you’re after a huge selection of German beer or a moderate selection of international beer. Below are some short summaries of the beers, pubs and shop.

    First up is some beers I brought from REWE, one of the large supermarket chains in Germany. The beer selection is quite limited, and the shelves are dominated by the larger domestic brands. Some of the styles represented are Pils, Lagers, Hefeweizens, Schwarzbiers and Kellerbiers. I brought home a Rothaus Pils Tannen Zäpfle and a Kyritzer Mord und Totschlag.

     
     


    I didn’t find the Rothaus Pils Tannen Zäpfle any special. Quite light in taste, featuring some grain and grassy hop tones. Still a drinkable beer.

     
     


    The Kyritzer Mord und Totschlag, literally translating to Murder and Homicide (Google Translate gives ‘Blood and Thunder’), is a schwarzbier, that featured some dark and roasted flavours, coupled with a dry finish. One of the better beers on the trip.

     
     

    Berlin is also full of kiosks and other small shops that sell alcohol and are open almost round the clock. The selection of beers in these are usually very limited, but I bought a Rothaus Pils (which I later discovered was the exact same beer as the Tannen Zäpfle) and a bottle simply labelled Bier.

     
     


    This is the 0.5L version of Tannen Zäpfle.
     
     

    Like the minimalistic label and naming, but the beer wasn’t anything special. The carbonation level was also very low, don’t know if it was intentional.
     
     

    I also had some beers at random pubs and restaurants around town. Aufsturz, near Kunsthaus Tacheles, had around 80 beers on the menu, featuring many (though most of them were very boring) international beers. Here I had a Märkischer Landmann Schwarzbier.

     
     


    I found this schwarzbier a bit boring, and very light and watery in taste. There were some roasted tones and maltiness present, but I really felt the body was too thin.
     
     

    We also visited Pfaueninsel, Peacock Island, an island in Berlin-Wannsee, featuring peacocks, gardens, and strange castles. Close to where the ferry leaves towards the island there is a Biergarten/Restaurant where we stopped for a beer after the visit. There wasn’t much to choose from, so I had a Weihenstephaner Dunkel from tap.

     
     


    This was a lovely Dunkelweizen, with a lot of maltiness, banana, spices, and yeast tones.
     
     

    Not a beer-related picture, but just a demonstration of one of the castles on Pfaueninsel.
     
     

    I tried some different beers while visiting restaurants as well: Schneider Weisse Original, Erdinger Weissbier, and Berliner Kindl Jubiläums Pilsener. The Berliner Kindl was a quite boring and typical pils, while the Erdinger Hefeweizen was a little on the sweet side. I liked the Schneider Original though.

     
     


     

     

     
     

    I was looking forward to my visit to Brewbaker, as I had read many recommendations before the trip. I had also read that they had recently moved, so to be on the safe side I brought my GPS. Even with the GPS I had some troubles finding the right street, Arminiusstrasse 2-4, even though it is very close to the Turmstraße (U9) U-Bahn Station. What I hadn’t realized was that they had moved inside a market hall, Zunfthalle. When I finally found their bar I was disappointed to find out that they only had their Bellevue Pils and Rauchbier on tap, even though their website stated that they had their Imperial Stout on tap. I though the prices were good, 2 euro for a 0.3L glass, and 3 euro for a 0.5L glass, while bottles (0.5L) cost 3 euro if taken home, 4 euros if emptied ‘at the bar’. They had their Red Lager, Ginger Ale and Berlin IPA in 0.5L bottles, as well as a limited edition Doppel IPA in a 1L bottle, which I had to buy home for 10 euros. At the bar I had a Bellevue Pils, since I’m not really a fan of smoked beers. The staff was friendly, but I was a little underwhelmed with the fact that they were situated in a market hall, it kind of killed the mood.

     
     


     

     

    Here is a short mini-review of the Bellevue Pils: The beer had a hazy yellow color, with a thick white head, that left lots of lacing along the glass. The beer surprisingly smelled of alcohol and malts. The taste was bready, hoppy, grassy, and fresh. The beer had a medium body and a low carbonation level. Overall I liked this, and it was also one of the better beers on the trip. Looking forward to trying their Doppel IPA and Berlin IPA which I brought with me home.

     
     

    Close to Brewbaker (about 700 meters) you can find Berlin Bier Shop (aka. Wein Kultur) on Kirchstrasse 23, which was also quite well hidden. Inside the small store (maybe 30 square meters), one can find lots of wine as well as some interesting beers. The selection included some German microbrews (e.g. Brewbaker’s Berlin IPA and Fritzale’s IPA), a large variety of Samuel Smith beer, Brewdogs (even rarer ones such as Abstrakts 1-4, Paradox Isle of Arran, Bashah Imperial 2009, Bashah Highland Park 2009, and Tokyo*), some Belgians, and some Anchor beer. They seem to recently have had some sort of Stone Brewing tasting with Greg Koch, so with good luck you might find some random American beer on your visit. I bought some different beers with me home, and will definitely visit it again on my next trip to Berlin. Worth a visit! Prices were ok too, even though a little higher than average.

     
     


    From left to right: Brewdog Tokyo*, Brewbaker Doppel IPA (directly from Brewbaker, not Berlin Bier Shop), Fritzale IPA, Brewbaker Berlin IPA, Samuel Smith India Ale, Samuel Smith Organic Cherry Beer, Original Berliner Cider.
     
     
    Overall it was a great trip, and I got to see a lot of interesting things. Here are some random pictures from the trip:
     


     

     

     

     

     

    Homebrew – Racking the Porter

    Today I racked the Porter into a secondary bucket containing the Brandy-Vanilla-Oak mixture from yesterday. The SG of the beer had dropped to 1.018 (9.5 brix) and the small sample I had tasted really promising. Hopefully this turns out great! I’m planning to leave the beer in the secondary for two weeks, and after that I’ll move it to a keg.

    Port Brewing Shark Attack

     

  • Brewery: Port Brewing
  • Country: USA
  • Style: American (Strong) Amber Ale
  • ABV: 9%
  • Size: 650 ml
  • Bought from: Cracked Kettle, Holland
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    Sorry about the lack of updates in September, but I’ve been away on a trip to Berlin. I’m currently writing up a report on the trip, that I will publish soon, but in the meanwhile I’ll review Port Brewing’s Shark Attack Double Red Ale. This beer has been brewed with (probably loads of) medium crystal malt, and has been hopped with Cascade and Centennial to a bitterness of 70 IBU (this might be wrong, there is no official source on this).

    [easyreview title=”Port Brewing Shark Attack” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer has a deep copper brown color (in the photo the beer looks a lot darker than it really is), and is slighty hazy. The beer has a slight tan-colored head, that quite quickly collapses, leaving nice lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is full of resiny, floral and citrusy hop tones coupled with a caramelly maltiness.” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”As the beer enters the mouth one is first hit by a wave of caramelly sweetness, which is quickly joined by hints of tropical fruits, grapefruit and resin from the hops. The hops are present, but let the caramel and toffee from the malt shine as well. The taste finishes in a quite sweet and bitter aftertaste, that I find pleasing. The alcohol is well hidden, and only slightly detectable. This could probably be classified as an IPA as well, because of the bitterness and hoppiness.” cat3rating=”4.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a smooth and creamy body, with a medium fullness, and a moderate carbonation level, making it pleasant to drink.” cat4rating=”4.5″ summary=”Another great beer, and definitely not the last I’ll try from Port Brewing if I ever get the chance again. A pleasant combination of hops and caramel, in a well balanced package. It’s a shame that something like this isn’t brewed or available to buy in Finland.”]