Monthly Archives: February 2012

Alko’s Easter Beers 2012

A batch of 5 Easter beers will be released the 12th of March in Alkos nationwide. The beers include one domestic, one from Belgium, one from Norway, and two from Denmark. Prices are still unknown.

The beers are:



Laitilan Kievari Mämmi, a Vienna Lager (brewed with a new recipe compared to last year; 5.2%) by Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas.


Gouden Carolus Easter, a Belgian Strong Ale (10.5%) by Het Anker (Belgium).


Nøgne Ø God Påske, a Belgian Strong Ale (7.5%) by Nøgne Ø (Norway).


Svaneke Vårhare, a Saison (6.5%) by Svaneke Bryghus (Denmark).

Ørbæk Påskebryg, a Dunkler Bock (7.2%) by Ørbæk Bryggeri (Denmark).

Homebrew: Bottling and kegging the Smoked Beers

Today we bottled and kegged (50-50 split) the Smoked Lager and Smoked Porter. Had a small ‘accident’ with the lager, which had been lagering in the fermentation fridge (set to ‘maximum coldness’), as when we were about to rack it over to the bottling bucket we noticed that there was a lot of ice slush in the beer. We figured what the hell, since it didn’t appear to be that much ice, and so we started racking anyways. We ended up with 14 liters of bottled and kegged beer instead of the planned 18 liters, and about 4 liters worth of ice in the fermentation bucket. Simultaneously the beer got a little stronger as well (both flavor and alcohol (from 5% to about 6%)). We added some Nottingham dry yeast to the lager, just in case the yeast didn’t survive the freezing. The lager tasted great straight from the fermenter, so I have high expectations. The smokiness was very subtle, and I would almost classify the beer as a Vienna Lager instead. If someone wants to attempt to brew this recipe, and is after a Scherlenka-style smokiness, I would up the smoke malt in the malt bill to 75-100%. Bottling and kegging the Porter went much smoother, and the gravity of it had dropped from 1.064 to 1.015, meaning it had an alcohol level of around 6.2%. The smokiness was quite subtle in this as well, but there were definitely a lot of roasted malt flavors. Hopefully this one mellows a bit in the upcoming weeks.

Port Brewing 3rd Anniversary IIPA

  • Brewery: Port Brewing
  • Country: USA
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 10 %
  • Size: 660 ml
  • Bought from: De Bierkoning, ~10 euro
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

Haven’t reviewed a beer for a while, so thought it would be time to write one again. Today I’ll be drinking an Imperial IPA i brought home from my trip to Amsterdam about a month ago. Port Brewing brew an Imperial IPA to celebrate their Anniversary each year, the latest one being #5. I have no idea whether these are one-time brews, or if they rebrew old brews as well, so this is either brewed during the spring 2009, or hopefully sometime a bit closer to now. Columbus, Amarillo and Simcoe hops are used in the boil, while Columbus and Amarillo are used for dry hopping. Let’s see how this (potentially old) Imperial IPA tastes!

[easyreview title=”Port Brewing 3rd Anniversary” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a hazy amber color, and a slight off-white head is formed, that collapses quickly, leaving slight oily curtains of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is hoppy and caramelly, with tones of tropical fruits, mango, citrus, and resin.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins malty and caramelly, and is then joined by a herby and resiny hop flavor (the fruitiness from the aroma is not as present in the flavor). The flavor ends quite sweet and with a quite harsh bitter finish. Not really impressed by the flavor unfortunately, and I have a feeling that the beer should have been consumed over a year ago for maximum pleasure. The maltiness and bitterness are still present, but the hop flavors could really be stronger and more pleasant.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is smooth, medium full and the carbonation level is moderate, but the bitterness draws away from the drinkability. There is a slight alcohol presence as well.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Unfortunately this one didn’t really deliver, and has probably lost tons of flavor standing on the store shelf for over a year. The aroma was quite promising, but the flavor didn’t really deliver (the hop flavors were really lacking and the overall balance was poor). Overall, it wasn’t poor, but it could definitely have been better.”]

Homebrew: Updates and new plans

The gravity of the Smoked Lager had dropped to 1.009, so I let it warm up to room temperature for a couple of days (diacetyl rest), and it is now it the fermentation fridge lagering at around 3 degrees C. I don’t have time for a proper lagering period, so will be bottling and kegging this Sunday. I had a small taste sample, and couldn’t detect much smokiness, but there was certainly lots of floral hoppiness present. The flavor was promising, and it felt almost like an Amber Pilsner, which I think sounds very interesting.

I will be bottling and kegging the Smoked Porter as well next Sunday. I haven’t measured the gravity, but am assuming it has fermented nicely. Hopefully I won’t be disappointed. I have read some threads on homebrew forums about stuck fermentations and low attenuation with WLP002 because of the high flocculation, but the airlock bubbled violently in the beginning and continued to slowly bubble for two weeks, so am assuming it has fermented along nicely.

In about two weeks I will be brewing two batches of a (very) hoppy APA/IPA with my friend Marcus. Both batches will use the same malt bill, consisting of pale ale, pilsner, munich, carapils, crystal 60 and melanoidin malt. We will be aiming for an OG around 1.060, a FG around 1.016 (using an English ESB yeast), and thus an ABV of around 5.7%. We will also be aiming for an IBU of 60, giving an OG:BU ratio of 1. The beers will be heavy on late-hopping, hopefully resulting in crazy amounts of citrusy, fruity and resiny hop flavor and aroma. The first batch will be hopped with 200g of Citra (130g boil + 70g dry hop) and the second with 260g of a 50-50 Simcoe and Centennial blend (180g boil + 80g dry hop). I’ve calculated both batches for around 23 liters, so we should end up with 40+ liters of refreshing summer beer! Recipes will follow closer to the brewday.

Beer Tasting Evening

Yesterday, me and my friend Marcus, organized a small beer tasting event for our student society. We were a total of 25 people at the tasting and we tasted through a total of 12 beers. We tried to cover the basic range of beer styles, since the majority of the participants were not beer geeks. Another criteria was that the majority of the beers should be available to buy from Alko, Finland’s alcohol monopoly. The beers and styles we tasted were:

1. Harboe Lager – Pale Lager
2. Pilsner Urquell – Pilsner
3. Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel – Dark Lager
4. Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen – Hefeweizen
5. Chimay Blue – Belgian Strong Dark Ale
6. Fuller’s ESB – Extra Special Bitter
7. Brewdog Punk IPA – American IPA
8. Brewdog Hardcore IPA – Imperial IPA
9. Lindemans Kriek – Fruit Lambic
10. Sinebrychoff Porter – Baltic Porter
11. De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis – Imperial Stout
12. Brewdog Tactical Nuclear Penguin – ‘Eised’ Imperial Stout


The whole line-up, unfortunately taken with my camera phone.

After the tasting, the participants got to vote for their three favorites, and the five beers that got the most votes were:
1. Brewdog Punk IPA – 41p
2. Brewdog Hardcore IPA – 21p
3. Fuller’s ESB – 20p
4. Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen – 12p
5. Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel – 8p

My own personal favorites from the evening were Hardcore IPA and Hel & Verdoemenis.

Juhani’s Imperial Stout (Homebrew)

  • Brewery: Juhani’s Homebrewery
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • ABV: ?
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Gift
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer

 

Today it’s time to try a homebrewed Imperial Stout, brewed by Juhani (a homebrewer who lives a couple hundred meters from me). It will be interesting to try someone else’s homebrewed beer, as I’ve only tried other people’s homebrews a couple of times earlier. The crown cap is marked “#18B P”, so am assuming this is his 18th batch? I unfortunately don’t have any further details on the beer (e.g. ingredients etc.). So let’s see what it tastes like! Thanks Juhani for the bottle!

[easyreview title=”Juhani’s Imperial Stout (Homebrew)” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The bottle opens with a nice poof, and foam starts gushing out of the bottle immediately. After letting the bottle settle a couple of minutes in the kitchen sink, the beer pours pitch-black, with a slight cream-colored head, that quickly collapses, leaving no lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by tones of roasted malt and dark fruits. There is slight alcohol present in the aroma as well. Overall, the aroma is nice, but wished it would have been a bit stronger and less pronounced in the ‘dark fruit’-department (but that is just my own personal taste, and not a flaw in the beer). As the beer warms up, the alcohol in the aroma becomes more evident.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor is similar to the aroma, with roasted malts, ash, and dark fruits dominating. There is a slight spiciness in the background as well. The finish is quite dry and has a nice bitterness. Again, the dark fruits are not entirely to my own liking, but still nice flavor.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is medium-full, with a moderate-high carbonation level. Unfortunately the carbonation level is too high both for my own taste and the style in general, and it makes drinking the beer a bit more difficult.” cat4rating=”3″ summary=”Overall a good Imperial Stout, that unfortunately has a couple of flaws (too high carbonation and a bit too dry finish), which makes drinking it a bit difficult. It featured some nice aroma and flavors, but I personally like Imperial Stouts with more coffee, chocolate and hop tones to them, hence the lower points. Having no idea what the recipe is, I think the beer would do better with a slightly lower fermentation temperature (to remove some of the alcohol from the aroma), some chocolate malt, a higher mash temperature, and less carbonation. Looking forward to trying more of Juhani’s beer! Thanks again for the bottle!”]

Homebrew: Bottling the Lusty Leopard and half the Black Panther

Today I bottled the whole Lusty Leopard batch, and half the Black Panther batch (the other half will still be oak aged). Bottling went smoothly from the keg. Both batches were starting to taste really nice, so I am very happy. I also kegged the Snopen Dog Breakfast Stout, which had some fantastic coffee-like aroma and flavors. Hopefully that one turns out great as well. Below are some pictures of the bottles, and the labels:

Marsalkka India Pale Ale

  • Brewery: Saimaan Juomatehdas
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 5.2 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Alko, 3.71 euro
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

Today it’s time to try an American IPA from the Lappeenranta-based microbrewery Saimaan Juomatehdas (who also are responsible for brewing a part of Panimoravintola Bruuveri’s beer). According to rumors, this is the same beer as Bruuveri’s Kevät Ipeloinen, which I’ve tried a couple of times during the autumn and though was tasty. This is one of the ten Finnish microbrewery beers that were released today at Alko in honor of their 80-year anniversary. Haven’t been very impressed by Saimaan Juomatehdas’ beer, so I don’t have my hopes up, but hopefully this will taste similar to Kevät Ipeloinen. This IPA has been brewed with pilsner malts, and hopped with Tomahawk, Amarillo and Cascade hops to an IBU of 89. Hopefully the high bitterness is balanced with hop flavors and a malt backbone. Let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”Marsalkka India Pale Ale” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours clear and with a golden color. A minimal white-colored head is formed, that disappears quickly, leaving almost no lacing along the glass. The beer could definitely look better.” cat1rating=”3″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is quite light, but there is a faint floral hoppiness (some slight citrus tones) and a light breadiness. The aroma isn’t very promising, but hopefully the flavor department delivers.” cat2rating=”3″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a slight maltiness (some light tones of honey present), that is joined by a floral, grassy and grapefruity hoppiness (that is joined by a minimal metallic off-flavor). The aftertaste is bitter and relatively dry. The bitterness definitely takes over, and I feel the hop flavors and maltiness are definitely lacking. Shame, as I remember Kevät Ipeloinen being much more fruity in the flavor.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is medium-light and the beer has a medium carbonation level. The bitterness is not that well balanced and a little too prominent in the flavor, making it a bit difficult to drink.” cat4rating=”3″ summary=”An average IPA, that unfortunately was lacking hop aroma, flavor and balance. There are better IPAs available at Alko, so I won’t be buying this one again. Shame though that I brought two of these today. The beer wasn’t bad though, but it’s a shame the brewers didn’t use more late hopping and a bit of crystal malt, which I believe would have improved this beer a lot. Hopefully the other 9 beers from the microbrewery release are better!”]

De Molen Vuur & Vlam

  • Brewery: Brouwerij de Molen
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6.2 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: De Bierkoning, ~3 euro
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

Today I’ll be tasting an American IPA, brewed by De Molen, that I brought home from Amsterdam. Everything I’ve tasted by De Molen has been great, so am really looking forward to trying their IPA. My bottle is quite fresh, with the beer being bottled 28.11.2011 (2.5 months old), so there should hopefully be plenty of hop aroma and flavors left in this one. As a little curiosity, I can mention that De Molen’s Winterhop, a generously hopped amber ale, that I also brought home from Amsterdam, tasted almost exactly like my Christmas Amber Ale. Now back to Vuur & Vlam. According to the bottle, the beer has been brewed with Pils and Caramalts, hopped with Galena, Chinook, Cascade, Simcoe and Amarillo to an IBU of 63, and fermented with both a lager and an ale yeast, interesting. Really looking forward to this one, so let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”De Molen Vuur & Vlam” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours a slightly hazy golden-amber color, and a fluffy white-colored head is formed, that collapses quickly, leaving drapes of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is really hoppy, with tropical fruits and resin dominating the palate. Tones of mango, pineapple, orange and grapefruits are present, mixed with slightly resiny and floral tones. Behind all this there is some caramel and maltiness. The aroma reminds me a bit of Evil Twin’s Yang.” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor is not as hop-dominated as the aroma, as it begins with a bready and caramelly maltiness, that is joined by a floral and resiny hop flavor, featuring similar fruity tones of as in the aroma (though not as strong). The aftertaste is quite dry, with a nice bitterness. The beer feels quite well balanced, but based on the aroma, I was hoping for a bit more hop flavors. No flavors really jump out, and they go together quite well.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is medium-full and the carbonation level is moderate, making it easy to drink. As mentioned, the bitterness is well balanced against the maltiness, meaning it gives a pleasant bite.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall a great beer, that unfortunately, after having such a promising aroma, lacked a bit in the flavor department. If the hop flavors would have been more prominent, this would have been a jackpot for me, but still, this is a really nice beer. De Molen still haven’t disappointed me, and I’m starting to respect them more and more, since they brew such a large lineup of beers. Luckily I have 6 different De Molen Imperial Stouts and one of their Barleywines still waiting for the right time to open.”]

Brewdog Blitz!

  • Brewery: Brewdog
  • Country: Scotland
  • Style: Amber Ale (?)
  • ABV: 2.8 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Brewdog Shop, ~2.4 euro
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

Brewdog released a set of four prototype beers (Blitz, Hops Kill Nazis, Prototype 17 and Scotch Ale) on their online shop in the end of last year, and allowed blog visitors to vote for their favorite (with the winner apparently becoming a part of the original line-up). I ordered two sets of the prototypes, and having tasted them all now, I like the Scotch Ale the most, followed by Hops Kill Nazis and Blitz. Blitz, which I will be drinking today, is a ‘low alcohol’ (2.8% ABV) hop-bomb, brewed only with caramalts, to give a perceived greater body and some balance to the bitterness. The problem with most low alcohol beers, is that they usually feel thin and watery, and are difficult to balance, since they are made with a less amount of malts. Brewdog tries to counter this by using only caramel malts, which are not as fermentable as base malts, such as pilsner or maris otter malts, and hence they should leave some residual sweetness and body. I have no more information on the ingredients or other vital beer stats, so let’s just have a sip and see how they have succeeded.

[easyreview title=”Brewdog Blitz!” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours clear and with a deep amber/bronze color. A compact cream-colored head is formed during pour, but it quickly collapses, leaving the slightest bit of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is hoppy, with resinous and grassy tones, together with some caramelly maltiness.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with just a slightest maltiness, that is joined by a slightly grassy hop flavor. There is somekind of metallic off-flavor present as well, that after a while becomes irritating. The aftertaste is dry, with a slight bitterness. At least the bitterness isn’t overdone, as I often find is the case with hoppy low alcohol beer. But on the other hand, the flavors are overall quite light in this one, and was hoping for more based on the aroma.” cat3rating=”2.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is thin, the carbonation level is moderate and the beer quite dry, making it easy to drink, but feeling very watery. But still a better mouthfeel than other low-alcohol beers.” cat4rating=”3″ summary=”Everything seemed promising up until tasting the beer, and unfortunately the beer was very lacking in flavors and also had a weird metallic off-flavor present. As could be expected, the body was thin, but this style is difficult to tackle, and it was a good attempt. I like the idea of a tasty low-alcohol beer, but unfortunately this one didn’t quite deliver. Hopefully Brewdog doesn’t stop experimenting though!”]