Monthly Archives: May 2012

Homebrew: Upcoming plans

Here are some plans for a couple of upcoming homebrews:

First up is a Blonde Ale, inspired by the malt bill from the Centennial Blonde I brewed last summer, but hopped solely with Nelson Sauvin (I might throw in a bit of Motueka as well) for a New Zealand twist. Will hopefully get to brewing it as quickly as possible, so it is drinkable during the warmest days of the summer.

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The second beer will be an attempt on making an Imperial IPA packed with hoppy goodness (will be using 25g hops per liter). I have noticed that my hoppy beers have been lacking a bit in the hop flavor and aroma department, so will do everything I can (e.g. water adjustments and aroma steeping) to make this one great.

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Next up is a series of two beers inspired by one of the great TV series of the 90s: Twin Peaks. The beers, named Black Lodge and White Lodge, are to be brewed featuring ‘ingredients’ from the series. The Black Lodge, which will be an Imperial Stout, will contain some damn fine coffee (coffee beans at flameout and in secondary), the best cherry pie in town (a hint of cherry juice concentrate in the boil), and something that will really light your fire (chili added to the boil or secondary). The White Lodge, which will be a White IPA, will contain some spruce tips (not really sure yet how I will add them, but as this will be brewed later in the summer, I will probably pick fresh spruce tips in the upcoming days and make a spruce extract with them and vodka). You can find the recipes below, as well as the planned labels.

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Green Flash Hop Head Red

  • Brewery: Green Flash Brewing Co.
  • Country: USA
  • Style: American IPA / American Amber Ale
  • ABV: 7.0 %
  • Size: 355 ml
  • Bought from: Online, 4 euros?
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

Well hopped amber ales have become somewhat of a favorite for me, as I love the idea of huge hoppy flavor combined with a strong caramelly maltiness, so I when I got my hands on a bottle I became really excited. Green Flash are a unfamiliar brewery to me, but I’ve heard great things about them. Luckily I also have bottles of their West Coast IPA, Imperial IPA, Barleywine and Double Stout at home, so I will really get to try out a variety of their brews. Hop Head Red is a Red India Pale Ale, brewed with a dose of Dark Crystal malt and a small hint of Chocolate malt for color, and hopped with Columbus, Nugget and Amarillo, to an IBU of 70. Hop Head Red underwent a recipe change last summer, moving from amber ale to ipa territory (more bitterness, dry hops and alcohol). Couldn’t find any information about when the beer had been bottled, but hopefully it is fresh! Had my last exam for the spring today, so will celebrate the start of the summer. Cheers!

[easyreview title=”Green Flash Hop Head Red” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a clear deep amber, almost brown, color, and a large fluffy cream-colored head is formed, that collapses slowly leaving tons of draping along the glass. A nice appearance!” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is mostly floral and fruity (faint citrus and pineapple) from the hops, and there is slight sweetness present as well. The aroma isn’t very strong, but still pleasant.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a bready and caramelly maltiness, with the slightest hints of dark fruits. The malty flavors are next joined by a resiny and earthy hoppiness, that goes quite well with the malt backbone. The fruitiness from the aroma is completely gone, and there are just hints of the floral tones present as well. The aftertaste is bitter, but feels a lot less than 70 ibu, and the finish is slightly sweet. The flavors are well balanced, and nothing is overpowering.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium body and medium carbonation level, making it quite easy to drink, and the bitterness is well balanced against the malt. The beer leaves a slightly oily feel in the mouth though.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Overall, a great beer, but it didn’t feel really fresh. The aroma was surprisingly weak (though the little of it that was left was really nice), and the hoppiness in the flavor wasn’t as prominent as I expected either. This still very drinkable though, and I look forward to trying the other Green Flash beers I have in stock. It’s nice to have a hoppy beer that has some great malt tones as well. Wish I could have tried the earlier recipe as well, as somehow I feel the old version, with lower bitterness, would have worked a little better.”]

Homebrew: Kegging and bottling the Brown Note

Today I kegged and bottled (50:50) the batch of American Brown Ale I brewed about 4 weeks ago. The gravity had dropped to 1.015 (7.8 brix) from 1.055 (14.0 brix), meaning the ABV should be around 5%. The taste sample was quite promising, albeit surprisingly bitter (well not actually that surprising considering the huge amount of hops added to the batch), but hopefully time will make the flavors merge together better. I didn’t get much hop aroma, but I still have a cold and the beer wasn’t carbonated, meaning it still might exist. The hop flavor was quite earthy and resiny, but hopefully some of the fruitiness and citrus from the other hops become more evident with some maturing. I cold crashed the beer for 2 days at 1 degree C before kegging and bottling, meaning the beer was crystal clear as it was removed from the fermenter. Should be ready to taste in a couple of weeks!

New Releases at Alko

Here are a couple of new releases at Alko for the end of May:

  • Kingfisher Premium Lager – 0.33 l – 2.57€
  • Shepherd Neame Generation Ale 2011 – 0.75 l – 41.90€ (Arkadia)
  • Framboise Boon – 0.375 l – 6.61€
  • Nothing really interesting this time around in my opinion, as a Pale Lager from India brewed in England, an overpriced strong ale, and a raspberry lambic doesn’t really appeal to me. I hope Alko would release a decent IPA for the summer, as Brewdog’s Hardcore IPA and Nøgne Ø’s India Pale Ale have been removed from Alko’s selection.

    Alko’s Summer Beers 2012

    According to rumors on the Olutopas.info forum, the following beers will be released at Alko in the beginning of the summer (30.05.2012) as their ‘summer beers’:

  • St Feuillien Saison
  • La Trappe Witte Trappist
  • Herbsthäuser Hefe-Weizen Hell
  • Höss Allgäuer Hüttenbier
  • Nørrebro Pacific Summer Ale
  • Nothing that really catches my interest, but the Saison and Pacific Summer Ale should hopefully be nice!

    Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop IPA

    • Brewery: Port Brewing
    • Country: USA
    • Style: American IPA
    • ABV: 6.5 %
    • Size: 650 ml
    • Bought from: Brewdog Shop, 6 pounds
    • Beer Advocate
    • RateBeer

     

    Today I’ll try my second fresh hop ale, i.e. a beer brewed right after the autumn hop harvest with fresh hops, and expectations are quite high, especially since I’ve liked everything I’ve tried by Port Brewing. This IPA is a little on the old side, but hopefully it still packs a punch. It has been brewed with only 2-row malt, and hopped with freshly picked Chinook and Centennial cones, as well as Amarillo pellets. The OG of the beer was 1.062 and the FG is 1.012, so it shouldn’t be too dry. Cheers!

    [easyreview title=”Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop IPA” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The first pour is golden clear, and a fluffy white-colored head is formed, that collapses slowly leaving drapes of lacing on the glass. Really nice appearance! The second pour is slightly more hazy as there is a massive yeast sediment layer at the bottom of the bottle.” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma features floral, citrusy, slightly earthy, and minimal pineapple-like tones, but overall the aroma is quite subdued. I don’t know if it is because of the bottle’s age, the fact that I still currently have a bit of a flu, or that the aroma should be like this. I was hoping for a bit more aromatic presence.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”There isn’t much maltiness up front, as the flavor begins with an earthy, herbal, resiny hoppiness, that also features some grapefruit tones. It has gone some time since I tried the Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest, but the hop profile is surprisingly similar. The beer finishes quite dry and with a biting bitterness. I had hoped for a little more caramel or breadiness to help balance the bitterness, but looking at the malt bill I’m not surprised. The hop flavors are still nice, and you can definitely feel the centennial and chinook.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a light body and medium carbonation level, making it easy to drink. The balance is though on the bitter side withdrawing some points.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall, a very good beer, that only lacked a bit in the aroma department. This featured the earthy and herbal hop tones I guess are quite typical for fresh hopped ales. Port Brewing continues to impress, and will be looking forward to drinking their beers in the future.”]

    Update: Homebrews & American Weeks

    Back from a small break in blogging, as I’ve been both abroad and had a flu. The Citra IPA brewed here is drinking nicely, with a nice tropical fruitiness backed by a smooth bitterness and slightly sweet honey-like malt backbone. Had hoped for a bit more hoppiness in the aroma and flavor, but its still nice. I will be kegging this Brown Ale on Monday, and at least the aroma coming from the airlock is promising. Hopefully it isn’t all too unbalanced and has clashing flavors. I have a couple of plans for upcoming homebrews, a Imperial IPA and New Zealand hopped Blonde Ale, but more about them later.

    Diamond Beverages’ American Craft Beer Week is currently underway in a range of bars around the country, and in e.g. The Gallows Bird, you can still find the following fantastic beers. Pikkulintu are also soon arranging their now traditional Bitter & Sour theme week in a range of bars around the country. You can find the list of beers here. The ‘fish restaurants’ are also arranging their own American Weeks, and you can find some information on the beers available here. So go out and grab a good beer!

    Brewdog Abstrakt AB:06

    • Brewery: Brewdog
    • Country: Scotland
    • Style: American Black Ale / Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale
    • ABV: 11.2 %
    • Size: 375 ml
    • Bought from: Arkadia Alko, 18.32 euro
    • Beer Advocate
    • RateBeer

     

    I recently had Brewdog’s Abstrakt AB:08, a beer from their one-off series of concept beers (known as Abstrakt), and today I will be trying the sixth beer in the series. AB:06 is a triple-dry hopped imperial black ipa (their words), which has been brewed with maris otter and various dark malts (including dehusked black malt). There is no information available on the hop varieties used, but the IBUs should be around 120. Haven’t tried many Black IPAs/Ales earlier, but it seems like most craft breweries are making one nowadays. I like the idea of a huge amount of hoppiness coupled to some dark and roasty malt tones. Let’s see how it tastes!

    [easyreview title=”Brewdog Abstrakt AB:06″ cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a clear dark brown color, and a minimal cream-colored head is formed. The surface is oily and is full of foam islands.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma features tones of caramel, roasted malts, dark fruits, pine and citrus. There is some alcohol detectable.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins quite sweet and malty, and there are tones of brown sugar and molasses together with roasted malt. This is joined by a slightly spicy and citrusy hoppiness. The flavor finishes quite dry and with an earthy bitter tone, that clings to the back of the tongue. There is a lot of bitterness in the beer, but it is subdued quite well by the sweet tones. There is surprisingly little hoppiness in this, but it is a year old though.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a quite full and oily body with a low carbonation level. Quite easy to drink, and alcohol well hidden, but the bitterness is definitely present.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Overall a nice beer, and I liked the AB:06 better than AB:08. This Imperial Black IPA, had turned more into a Imperial Stout light on roastiness, and I was missing some resinous hop aroma and flavor, that probably was present when the beer was fresh. An interesting beer, but not worth the high price.”]

    Homebrew: Citra and Simcoe/Centennial IPA tasty

    On the 30th of April (Wappu-day here in Finland; being a general party day) I served the two batches of APA/IPA I brewed up with my friend Marcus in the beginning of March at a party of our student union. The beers were very popular, and the two 19 liter kegs were emptied in about an hour. We received great feedback, and the Citra version seemed a bit more popular with its notes of tropical fruits. I really liked both of the beers, with the Citra version just slightly winning over the Simcoe/Centennial version. The beers were well balanced, and contained huge amounts of hop flavor and aroma, together with a smooth bitterness. The recipe for the Citra version can be found here (for the Simcoe/Centennial version, just replace each addition with equal amounts of Simcoe and Centennial, and adjust IBU). I managed to grab a few bottles from each keg before they ended, but will have to brew up a new batch soon. I have a batch of the Citra IPA currently carbonating in a keg, and it should be ready in about a week. Here is a quick photo of the bottles and the labels.