Monthly Archives: April 2012

Brewdog Abstrakt AB:08

  • Brewery: Brewdog
  • Country: Scotland
  • Style: American Strong Ale
  • ABV: 11.8 %
  • Size: 375 ml
  • Bought from: Brewdog Shop, 9.99 pounds
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer


Brewdog brew a series of one-off concept beers, known as Abstrakt, with a new beer released every 3 months. AB:09 was just recently released and today we will be trying AB:08, which was released in December 2011 (so about half a year ago). AB:08 is a blonde imperial stout, which has been brewed with Oats, liquorice, heavily toasted oak chips, cacao, coffee and smoked malt, to give it the taste of an imperial stout, without the color. Seems like an interesting experiment. Let’s see how it tastes.

[easyreview title=”Brewdog Abstrakt AB:08″ cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a clear golden-amber color and a slight white-colored head, that collapses quickly. Looks like a pale ale.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is interesting and reminds me a bit of an imperial stout. There are tones of coffee, smoked malts, caramel, alcohol and hops. Seems to be missing the roastiness of a stout.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins sweet and caramelly, but is quickly taken over by some earthy tones of liqourice, oak and smoke, that last all the way to the bitter aftertaste that stays on the tongue. Very strange flavors, that certainly try to mimic an imperial stout, but are missing the balance to make this beer enjoyable.” cat3rating=”2.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a relatively full and oily body, with a quite low carbonation level. The bitterness is quite unpleasant, and there is some alcohol present as well. Maybe needs some age.” cat4rating=”3″ summary=”This was a fun experiment, but not that fun of a beer. The aroma was promising, but the flavors didn’t go well together, and the beer felt a bit unpleasant to drink. This might have needed some aging. This is the first Abstrakt beer I’ve tried, and am definitely disappointed. I have a bottle of AB:06 waiting in the fridge, so hopefully that one is a bit tastier.”]

Homebrew: Brown Note – American Brown Ale

Brewed up a batch of Brown Ale yesterday, as I was trying to get rid of some opened packs of malt and hops. The recipe was very heavy on late-hopping, as I was hoping to get rid of as many opened packs of hops as possible, so it will be interesting to see how (and if) the hops and malts come together in the final product. I’m a little afraid that the huge late-hop additions will contribute more bitterness than predicted in Beersmith, so hopefully I won’t end up with an overly bitter beer (the malt bill is quite light as well, so there won’t be much body to counter it). The beer is currently fermenting in my fermentation fridge at a temperature of 15C (59F), as I’m hoping for a clean yeast profile and hopefully a little lower attenuation. The original gravity was 1.055 (14.0 brix), and am hoping it will end up at around 1.014. Will probably be kegging and bottling in about 3 weeks.

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Beer Tasting Evening

Last Friday I arranged a small beer tasting event for some friends and we tasted through 7 of my homebrews and 11 other beers that I had hanging around in my beer storage. There were some fantastic beers during the evening and we had a good time. Here are some pictures and short notes on the beers:

The whole lineup (two of the homebrews were tasted from keg, so they are not in the picture).

First up was La Tourmente’s Blond, a belgian ale from France. The beer poured golden and had a slightly sweet and malty aroma, but it was surprisingly tasteless and bland. A good beer to start with though.

Next up was my homebrewed smoked vienna lager, which had lost a lot of its hoppiness, and now had more of a toasty and smokey edge. No off-flavors, and overall one of my favorite homebrews to date.

Then it was time for one of Alko’s 80th Anniversary beers. Prykmestar’s Hunajabock was a bit strange, I am wondering if it had started to go bad, as the aroma was a blend of honey, vinegar and mint, while the taste was sweet, malty and honey-like.

Then it was time for my homebrewed Tripel, which had aged nicely, with the spiciness and fruitiness blending together well, while the alcohol level was well hidden.

After this we tasted two homebrewed IPA/APAs straight from the keg (where they had been sitting for 6 days), and as expected with heavily dry hopped and recently kegged beer, they poured murky with a huge head. There was lots of fruity hoppiness in both beers, with the Citra leaning more towards the tropical fruits, and the Simcoe+Centennial towards grapefruits and other citrus. The beer felt a little young still, with the bitterness a little prominent still and some yeasty tones as well, but overall I find the beers very promising. Unfortunately there are no pictures of them.

Next it was time for the beer I was looking forward to the most during the evening, Cigar City’s Humidor Series IPA. There was a very prominent woodiness in both the aroma and taste, which blended together with fruity and resiny hops. The beer has been aged on Spanish Cedar, the same material used to make humidors, and one of my friends commented the beer smelled just like one. The flavors were quite well balanced, but felt the woodiness was maybe a bit too prominent.

Then it was time for a blended imperial ipa, as we tried Southern Tier’s Gemini (a 50-50 blend of their Unearthly and Hoppe). There was a lot of citrus and resin in both aroma and flavor, and this was backed up by a caramelly and quite sweet malt backbone. The bitterness was quite smooth, and felt the beer was well balanced. Really liked this one.

Next it was time to try Mikkeller’s and Three Floyd’s collaboration barleywine, Boogoop, which has been brewed with buckwheat. Haven’t tried any of the other beers in the series (Oatgoop, Hvedegoop or Ruggoop), but this was definitely leaning towards the imperial ipa category, as it was very hoppy and bitter, but backed up well by a malty and caramelly backbone.

Then it was time to try Stone’s Double Bastard (which was one of the few commercial beers of the night I had tasted before) and it also featured lots of hoppy tones, coupled with tones of caramel, red berries and even some raisins. There was some alcohol present as well.

After this we tried Brewdog’s and Three Floyd’s collaboration barleywine Bitch Please Islay, which has been brewed with peat-smoked malts and aged on Islay whisky casks. Tons of smokiness in the aroma and flavor, and it felt almost like sipping on a whisky. There was some sweet maltiness present as well, but overall a beer I wasn’t very fond of.

Then we tried three of my homebrewed imperial stouts, the breakfast stout to the left, black panther in the middle, and oak-aged black panther to the right. The breakfast stout had strong tones of coffee and dark chocolate with blended nicely together with the roasted malt tones. The black panther featured tones of roasted malt together with an earthy hoppiness, while the oak-aged version added in some vanilla tones. All of them had aged well.

Next it was time for the only Trappist beer of the evening, Rochefort 10, which featured tones of dark fruits, raisins, caramel and malt. Very smooth, and definitely different compared to the imperial stouts we just tried.

Then we tried a coffee-spiked imperial stout from Southern Tier. Jah-va, compared to the homebrewed breakfast stout, was smoother and more well balanced, with the coffee flavors merging perfectly with the roasted tones. Very easy to drink and tasty.

After this we tried one of Mikkeller’s breakfast stouts, Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, which has been brewed with Kopi Luwak coffee. Compared to Jah-va, the flavors were stronger and more complex, with lots of roastiness and bitterness blending with coffee and chocolate tones.

The last beer of the evening was Brewdog’s Tokyo*. The beer was completely pitch-black and the flavor featured tones of roasted malts, coffee, red berries and sweet caramel. The alcohol was surprisingly well hidden for being a 18.2% beer. Nice way to end the evening.

Thanks to everyone who made it!

Hopfenstopfer Citra Ale

  • Brewery: Häffner Bräu
  • Country: Germany
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.1 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Berlin Bier Shop, ? (maybe 2-3) euro
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer


Here is a bottle I dragged home from my recent Berlin trip. It was bought from Berlin’s best beer shop: Berlin Bier Shop, which is run by the friendly and knowledgeable Rainer. The Germans are not known for heavy experimentation with their beer, and the majority of the consumed beer are brewed to traditional styles and recipes. It is nice to see that German craft breweries are arising as well! I didn’t find much information about this beer, but I assume it is a single hop Citra Pale Ale brewed with pilsner malts. Let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”Hopfenstopfer Citra Ale” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a hazy golden-orange color, and fluffy white head is formed, that collapses quickly leaving drapes of lacing along the glass. The haziness can probably be somewhat attributed to the beer only standing a day in the fridge after travelling home from Berlin.” cat1rating=”3″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is sweet and features typical Citra tones of lychee, grapefruit and gooseberries. There is a slight tartness in the aroma as well. The aroma could be slightly more powerful.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a slightly sweet maltiness, and moves on to similar fruit tones (lychee, citrus, mango and gooseberries) as in the aroma. The finish has a slight bitterness and a semi-dry feel, contributed by some honey-like tones. Again there is a slight tartness present, but nothing that bothers too much (I suspect it could be from suspended yeast). The beer is quite well balanced, but I wish the Citra hop flavors would be a bit more present.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a light body and a medium-low carbonation level. It is very easily drinkable, and this would make a great beer for the summer.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”I was pleasantly surprised with this beer, as it was well put together, and featured pleasant tones from one of my favorite hops. The hop flavor could have been a bit stronger, and the body a bit fuller, but otherwise it was nice! I am looking forward to trying the other Häffner Bräu beer I brought home. If you can get your hands on this beer and like fruity, light and fresh beers I recommend it!”]

Juhani’s Columbus APA (Homebrew)

  • Brewery: Juhani’s Homebrewery
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.6 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Gift
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer


I traded some homebrews with my neighbour a couple of weeks ago, and the first one I will be trying is Juhani’s Single Hop Columbus APA (batch #33), which he brewed using POLKU‘s equipment. It has been brewed with a malt bill consisting of 90% Pale Ale and 10% Crystal 150 malt. It has been hopped with Columbus to an IBU of 45. Seems very promising!

[easyreview title=”Juhani’s Columbus APA (Homebrew)” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a clear amber color, and a long-lasting fluffy off-white head is formed, that collapses leaving drapes of lacing along the glass. Very nice appearance!” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by hoppy tones, drawing towards the floral, earthy and citrusy spectrum. A slight malty sweetness can be detected. The aroma is overall very clean, with only the slightest solvent-like tones which could be detected while opening the bottle and pouring, and some minimal yeasty tones in the aroma. Aroma suits the style well, but from personal preferences I wish it could be slightly stronger.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor starts very hoppy straight from the beginning, with earthy, resiny and bitter hop flavors dominating all the way to the aftertaste. There are almost no malt tones present in the flavor. The aftertaste continues being bitter and is also quite dry. Somehow feels a lot more bitter than 45 IBU. I feel the beer could use a little more maltiness and maybe slightly more hop flavor to balance out the quite harsh bitterness. On the other hand, the beer has only been in the bottles a couple of weeks, so it is probably still young, and the bitterness will fade with time.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a quite light body and medium carbonation level. It is quite easily drinkable, but the bitterness takes away somewhat from it.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”A nice American Pale Ale, that either was a bit young or had slightly too high bitterness. The aroma was nice and not ‘homebrewy’ at all, and it reminded me a bit of Stadin Panimo’s Simcoe Pale Ale. A good beer that probably will become much better with age! Suggestion to Juhani: maybe mash the beer a tad bit higher next time, to get some more body, and maybe move some of the bitterness hop additions to flavor additions.”]

Thanks Juhani for the bottle!

Back from Berlin

Back from another quick vacation in Berlin. This time I didn’t drink that much beer, but managed to make a quick trip via Berlin Bier Shop, where I picked up some German microbrews, a couple of Victory beers, and a bottle of Strawberry beer for the girlfriend. Here are the beers lined up (the last bottle to the right is actually from REWE):

Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest

  • Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
  • Country: USA
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6.7 %
  • Size: 710 ml
  • Bought from: Systembolaget, ? euro
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer


Hops grown in the Northern Hemisphere are usually harvested during the fall, and to honor the harvest, Sierra Nevada brew a fresh hop (or wet hop) beer each year. According to Sierra Nevada’s website, the hops move from field to brewery in less than 24 hours, so they should still be full-packed with aromatic oils once they are used in the brew. The beer has a simple malt bill consisting of only 2-row and crystal malts, and has been hopped with the classic American C hops Cascade and Centennial. The beer isn’t super fresh anymore, since it was brewed in the fall of 2011, but I’m still expecting lots of hoppy goodness in both aroma and flavor. Sierra Nevada rarely disappoint, so am really looking forward to this one. Cheers!

[easyreview title=”Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a slightly hazy amber color, and a slight off-white head is formed, that collapses quickly leaving some oily foam islands and drapes of lacing.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is a blend of sweet caramel and a floral, grapefruity and herbal hoppiness, lending some hints of pine resin as well. The hop aroma could be a bit stronger, but still nice.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a slightly sweet and caramelly maltiness, that is joined by a soapy, citrusy, resiny and herby hoppiness. The hop flavors feel a bit unfamiliar, but work well. The flavor ends slightly dry and with a pleasant bitterness. The beer is quite well balanced, with the slightly sweet tones and hop flavors countering the earthy bitterness. I can’t decide whether to give the taste a 3.5 or a 4. Ok, a weak 4.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium body and carbonation level. Easily drinkable, but has a slightly oily and soapy feel.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall a great beer, with the flavor being the weakest point. The beer had a strange herby and soapy flavor that I haven’t really met in any other beers before. The flavor was still very pleasant. This is the first time I try a wet/fresh hop beer, and I thought it was a really interesting experience. I am also looking forward to trying Port Brewing’s High Tide which I have waiting in the fridge. Sierra Nevada also brew a Southern Hemisphere Harvest ale, with New Zealand hops, that would be nice to try out as well.”]

Thanks Ingo for buying me the bottle!

Homebrew: Citra IPA

Brew up a Citra Single Hop IPA for the summer today. I crushed the grain extra-fine today, and for once I reached an efficiency of 75%. Wasn’t really expecting it, so overshot my OG with about 0.005 points (ended up with an OG of 1.070 [17.8 brix]). The brewday went without problems, and 20L of beer is currently fermenting at 18C in the fermentation fridge. Should be ready in about a month. Will dry hop with 70g of Citra (used 130g in the boil from two 100g packs) once the primary fermentation is over in about two weeks. You can find the recipe along with some pictures from the brewday below:

The crush

The mash

The hops! 130g of Citra goodness!

The boil, just about to start

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Some recent releases at Alko

Here are some more recent releases at Alko:

Brooklyn Lager

  • Price: 2.95€
  • Style: American Amber Lager
  • Baltika 8 Wheat

  • Price: 2.99€
  • Style: Hefeweizen
  • Konrad

  • Price: 2.90€
  • Style: Bohemian Pilsner
  • The following beers are also available from Arkadia Alko:

    Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

  • Price: 3.92€
  • Style: American IPA
  • Hornbeer Påskeøl

  • Price: 6.74€
  • Style: American IPA
  • Saint Landelin Bière de Pâques

  • Price: 7.20€
  • Style: Bière de Garde
  • Hornbeer’s Påskeøl is apparently the same beer as their ‘Happy Hoppy Easter’.