Monthly Archives: June 2012

Nynäshamns Bedarö Bitter

  • Brewery: Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri
  • Country: Sweden
  • Style: Extra Special Bitter (or American Pale Ale)
  • ABV: 4.5 %
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: K-Citymarket Sello, 4.99 euro
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Since the Danish IPA I had earlier didn’t really convince, I’ll be having a Swedish ESB (with American influences) instead. This beer is sold in larger Kesko markets (e.g. K-Citymarket Sello and Iso Omena, and K-Supermarket Kamppi), so should quite easily be available if you wish to try it. I haven’t had anything by Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri before (this is actually the first Swedish beer I ever review), but their beers have been getting some good reviews, so am really looking forward to trying this beer. It has been brewed with Pale Ale, Crystal and Wheat malt from Thomas Fawcett, and has been hopped with Chinook and Cascade. Let’s see what it tastes like!

[easyreview title=”Nynäshamns Bedarö Bitter” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours golden, with a slight hint of orange and minimal haze. A slight white head is formed, that collapses quite quickly, leaving some lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by a bready maltiness, featuring some hints of caramel and a floral, citrusy and spicy fruitiness. The aroma is quite light, but suitable to the style.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a slightly sweet and bready maltiness, that is joined by a citrusy (tones of grapefruit and lemon), fresh and grassy hop flavor. The flavor ends in a quite dry and smooth bitter finish. The flavor mend together well, and the maltiness is allowed to shine as well.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a light body and a medium-high carbonation level. It is very refreshing and easy to drink.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”A really nice and refreshing beer, that I probably will be buying again during the summer. The hoppiness isn’t dominating, but it is still present, and brings fresh, citrusy and grassy notes to the beer, that compliment well with the bready maltiness. The price is okay as well, but could be a little cheaper. Recommended!”]

Evil Twin Cat Piss

  • Brewery: Evil Twin Brewing (Brewed at Brouwerij de Molen)
  • Country: Denmark
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6.5 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Online, 3.5 euros?
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Decided to begin the evening with a Danish beer in honor of the Denmark-Portugal football game. This is an American IPA by the Danish phantom brewer (i.e. Evil Twin doesn’t own a brewery of its own) Jeppe (twin brother of Mikkel(er)). Heavily dry hopped beers (especially those hopped with Citra and Simcoe) sometimes have tones of cat piss, and I assume that is what the brewer is hinting with the name of this beer. This beer has been hopped with Nelson Sauvin (which I used for my latest homebrew), so should (hopefully) have some tropical tones as well. Have tried a couple of Evil Twin beers before, some were really good, some were a bit strange, so am not expecting much from this one. Hopefully I’ll be positively surprised!

[easyreview title=”Evil Twin Cat Piss” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a slightly hazy golden orange color, and a massive fluffy white head, that collapses slowly leaving some lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is fruity and floral, and the hops bring tones of mango, grass and herbs. There is just a hint of white wine in the aroma as well. The aroma isn’t very strong.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a bready maltiness, that is quickly joined by light hop flavors of tropical fruits. The bitterness is quite light as well, but it becomes more evident as the beer has passed down the throat. The finish is dry, and their is a slightly alcohol/solvent-like off-taste as well. Flavors could be stronger.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is quite light and the carbonation level quite high, making it refreshing, but a little harsh, to drink.” cat4rating=”2.5″ summary=”An okay beer, but nothing more. There was some promising hoppiness in the aroma, but there was not much left of it in the flavor. The flavor was still mostly flawless (except the slight solvent-like off-taste). The high carbonation level made it a bit difficult to drink, and I actually poured out half the beer as I couldn’t finish it. Shame, since I really liked Evil Twin’s Yin and Yang.”]

Baird Suruga Bay Imperial IPA

  • Brewery: Baird Brewing Co.
  • Country: Japan
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 7.5 %
  • Size: 360 ml
  • Bought from: Online, 3.5 euros?
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I have never tried a Japanese beer before (well I have had an Asahi Dry, but it is brewed under license in the Czech Republic here in Europe), so am really looking forward to trying this Imperial IPA from Baird Brewing. Baird Brewing was founded in Numazu, Japan in the year 2000 by Bryan Baird (American?) and his wife Sayuri Baird. They are one of the more famous craft breweries in Japan, and brew a wide selection of beer. This Imperial IPA has been hopped with American hops to an IBU of 90 and should be quite dry (85% apparent attenuation). I really like the colorful and artsy label, and they use a similar style for all their beers. Let’s see if they can brew a tasty IPA in Japan!

[easyreview title=”Baird Suruga Bay Imperial IPA” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a hazy orange-amber color, and a slight off-white head is formed, that disappears quickly leaving no lacing and an oily surface” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The beer has a caramelly, floral and slightly resinous aroma, that also features some tones of tropical fruits. No alcohol is detectable.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins surprisingly sweet, with tones of caramel and bready malt, that are then joined by a juicy, fruity and floral hoppiness, that ends with a quite subtle resiny bitter finish. The flavor reminds me more of a (American) barleywine, with its sweeter tones and subdued hop flavors. Still an enjoyable and balanced beer.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium body and a medium-low carbonation level. It is quite easy to drink, as the bitterness is well balanced by the strong maltiness.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall a good beer, but nothing spectacular. Either this was a little old (best before 3/2013), or it was less hoppy than I expect from an Imperial IPA. The aroma was nice, featuring nice hop tones, but the flavor was dominated mostly by the caramelly malt and the resiny bitter finish. Still better than any hoppy Finnish beers I’ve tried.”]

Firestone Walker Double Jack

  • Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
  • Country: USA
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 9.5 %
  • Size: 650 ml
  • Bought from: Gift from my sister (bought in San Francisco)
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My sister brought home a threesome of Firestone Walker beers from San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, of which I’ve already had the Union Jack IPA (reviewed last summer already, so didn’t bother re-reviewing it). The Union Jack is one the tastiest, if not the tastiest, beer I’ve ever had, so am really looking forward to try the Imperial version of it. The bottle is quite fresh, about 3 months old, so the majority of the hoppy goodness should be intact. The beer is brewed with American 2-row, Munich and Light Crystal malt, and has been hopped with Warrior, Columbus, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo and Simcoe to an IBU of around 100. The original gravity of the beer should have been around 1.087, while the final gravity is around 1.015 (giving an ABV of 9.5%). The beer has been fermented with an English ale yeast. Hopefully this one is as good as the Union Jack!

[easyreview title=”Firestone Walker Double Jack” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a golden-orange color and a slight off-white oily head, that collapses leaving some lacing and foam islands.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is very hoppy, featuring floral and citrusy tones, drawing towards grapefruit, lime, pineapple, resin and tropical fruits. There is a slight caramelly sweetness behind all the hops, as well as some minimal alcohol notes. Fantastic aroma!” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with the slightest caramelly notes, but it quickly becomes evident that this beer is all about the hops. The flavor is full of citrusy, fruity and resiny hop tones, which balance perfectly with the slight maltiness that’s also present. The hop tones begin with some grapefruit, lime and tangerine, but move on to the resiny and piney territory, where they are joined by a smooth bitterness and a quite dry aftertaste. The flavors are fantastically balanced, as the bitterness, which does not at all feel like 100 IBU, is paired with the slightly sweet, caramelly and honey-like malt backbone and the bucket-loads of hop flavor. This surpasses Union Jack as the best tasting beer I’ve ever had.” cat3rating=”5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium body and medium-low carbonation level, and because of the balance it is fantastically easy to drink.” cat4rating=”4.5″ cat5title=”Overall” cat5detail=”Just wow. Firestone Walker really know how to brew IPAs (and they are known for their dark beers as well). This beer is full-packed with citrusy and resiny hop flavors and aroma, that are perfectly balanced with a slight malt backbone and a smooth bitterness. The beer is easy to drink as well for such a strong ale. Still have the Double Barrel Ale left, that I’m looking forward to trying as well. If you ever get the chance to try this, do try. Shame I probably won’t get to try this again in a long time.” cat5rating=”5″ overall=”false”]

Homebrew: South Pacific Blonde

Today, me and my friend Marcus brewed up 25.5 liters of Blonde Ale hopped with hops from New Zealand (Nelson Sauvin) and Australia (Summer). We were aiming for a light and refreshing ale, with subtle bitterness, but still loads of hop flavors. The malt bill was inspired by the Centennial Blonde I brewed up last summer, and contains Pale Ale, Carapils (for head retention and some body), Vienna (for a little maltiness), and Crystal (for some caramel tones and body) malt. We were aiming for an OG of 1.044, but ultimately ended up slightly higher (12.0 brix; 1.046). If this ferments as dry as we hope, the final gravity should be around 1.007-1.008, giving an ABV of 4.7%. We used a small bitterness addition, followed by large amounts of late hops. I added 3.9g MgSO4 and 4.2g CaCl2 to the mash as well. I pitched some Nottingham yeast and placed the beer in the fermentation fridge, where it will ferment for a week at 17 degrees C before I add the dry hops. Really looking forward to this one, as the hops were smelling fantastic!

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Beer Tasting Evening

I organized another beer tasting event together with a couple of friends (Kimmo, Marcus L. and Marcus N.) yesterday, and this time we tasted through a total of 21 different beers (we had 24 beers total, but didn’t taste through them all). Out of the 21 beers, 8 were homebrews (one of my own, two from Marcus L., and five that our Swedish friend Ingo had sent us; Thanks for them!). Most of the beers were fantastic and we had a great time. We also had some tasty homemade hamburgers and potato wedges to fill out stomachs between the beers (thanks Marcus L. and Marcus N. for making them!). Here is a picture of the whole line-up:

The line-up included:
Back row, left to right: Cigar City Jai Alai, St. Feuillien Saison, Black Isle Goldeneye Pale Ale (not tasted), La Trappe Witte (not tasted), Southern Tier Iniquity, Green Flash Imperial IPA, Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout, Southern Tier Backburner, Norrebro Pacific Summer Ale, De Molen Hemel & Aarde, Brewdog IPA is Dead – Galaxy, Brewdog IPA is Dead – Challenger, Brewdog IPA is Dead – Motueka, Brewdog IPA is Dead – HBC, Brewdog Hardcore IPA (not tasted), Brewdog DogA.

Front row, left to right: “1 AM” – British Yeast, “1 AM” – American Yeast, Citra IPA (mine), Slinka V IPA, PMX II – Sällskapsporter, PraktPretto II – Ale, Slinka V IPA (again), Zum Zum, Grabthar’s Hammer – Imperial India Pale Ale.

We began the evening by trying out Brewdog’s IPA is Dead series:

The beers poured with a similar golden-amber color and a slight white head that left some lacing. The Galaxy version was slightly hazier than the rest of the bunch. The Challenger version featured an earthy, grassy and slightly citrusy aroma, that pulled my mind towards ‘English’-style ales directly. The flavor was the least hoppy of the bunch, and you could get tones of caramel, toasted malt and red berries, along with the earthy and herby hoppiness. The Galaxy version had an aroma featuring tones of mango, passion fruit and grapefruit. The flavor was similar, featuring strong tones of grapefruit, citrus, resin and some tropical fruits. The bitterness of the Galaxy version felt the harshest and most present. The HBC version also featured tones of tropical fruits (mango) in the aroma, but had more of a grassy feel. The flavor felt the sweetest of the four beers, and featured tones of citrus, currants and some grassiness. The Motueka version featured tones of dill and lemon in the aroma, and it reminded me a bit of the tones you get from the Sorachi Ace hop. The flavor contained some tones of tropical fruits alongside the lemon which was present in the aroma already. The beers all had a medium body and a medium-low carbonation level. My favorite of the bunch was the Galaxy version.

Next up was a foursome of homebrews (My Citra IPA, and Ingo’s Slinka V IPA, Zum Zum and PraktPretto II):

Again the beers had a similar appearance, all being slightly hazy, having colors in the golden-amber range and having white to off-white heads. The Citra IPA featured tones of passion fruits, lychee, mango and some alcohol in the aroma. The flavor began slightly sweet, with honey-like tones, which are joined by hop tones of tropical fruits. The finish is quite smooth and with some bitterness. The beer had a medium body and medium carbonation level. Slinka V IPA featured tones of caramel and ‘fruity bubblegum’ in the aroma. The flavor was quite different, moving towards resiny and earthy hop flavors, and a bitter finish. The beer had a medium body and low carbonation level. Zum Zum was a little strange, as according to the label it should have been a beer with a low IBU but loads of hops (I was expecting a beer in the style of an American Pale Ale), but it felt more like a Hefeweizen. Both the aroma and flavor was dominated by spicy phenols, some banana and yeastiness, which are typical of the Hefeweizen-style. The beer had a light body and a medium carbonation level. I wonder if this was infected? PraktPretto II (an English Ale, hopped with EK Goldings, 5.9%, 30 IBU, 1.055->1.010) featured earthy and grassy tones in the aroma, and it felt very true to the style. There was some cherry in the aroma as well. The began with a sweet maltiness, that was joined by some earthiness. The flavors were well balanced. The beer had a medium-light body and a medium carbonation level. This was my favorite of these three Ingo beers.

After this it was time to try two of Alko’s summer beers, St. Feuillien Saison and Norrebro Pacific Summer Ale, and Marcus L.’s two homebrews (the same Amber Ale base, but fermented with S-04 and US-05):

The saison poured golden-yellow with a fluffy white head. The aroma was mostly spicy (Belgian yeast tones), with some slight citrus. The flavor was quite light, with the same spicyness from the aroma and a dry finish. The body was light and carbonation level was medium-high. Refreshing summer beer. The Norrebro Pacific Summer Ale poured golden-amber, with a minimal white head. The aroma contained tones of caramelly malt, honey, and a slight fruity hoppiness. The flavor was similarly malt-dominated, with bready and caramelly flavors dominating, with a slight grassy hoppiness in the background. The finish was quite dry with not much bitterness. The body was medium-light with a medium carbonation level. The “1 AM” ales were amber colored, with slight off-white heads and a oily texture. Both beers had a caramelly and malty aroma, with the British version having some red berries in the aroma as well, while the American version had some ‘dishcloth’ tones as well. Both beers were quite bland in flavor, featuring mostly maltiness and some sour undertones. Both beers had a light body and medium carbonation level. Both were probably passed their prime unfortunately.

After this we started to get hungry, so we cooked up some burgers and potato wedges. While cooking we enjoyed Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA (unfortunately no picture or tasting notes, but see this post from when I tried it last), full-packed with citrusy hoppiness. After dinner we moved to the heavier beers, and poured up Ingo’s Grabthar’s Hammer (9%, 101 IBU, 1.086->1.018, Amarillo, Riwaka, Cascade, Chinook, and Summer hops), Green Flash Imperial IPA, Southern Tier Iniquity and Southern Tier Backburner:

Grabthar’s Hammer poured with a hazy amber color and a white head. The aroma featured tones of sweet tropical fruits, citrus and slight alcohol (the aroma was similar to his Slinka V IPA). The flavor began with a sweet maltiness, that is joined by tones of tropical fruits and citrus. The finish is quite sweet with a huge bitterness. There are slight solvent tones present as well. The beer has a medium body and medium-low carbonation level. Green Flash Imperial IPA poured with a golden color and a really fluffy and large white head, that collapsed leaving tons of lacing. The aroma featured a sweet citrusy and herby tone, that felt really familiar, but that none of us could pinpoint. Maybe it was tangerine, which Summit hops are known for. The flavor was dominated by hoppy tones of resin and lemon, and the finish was quite sweet and bitter. The beer had a medium body and medium carbonation level. Southern Tier Iniquity (Black IPA) poured very dark brown (almost black), with a off-white head. The aroma contained tones of roasted malt, spices and a slight hoppiness. The flavor began with some roasted tones and caramel, and it was joined by some resiny hop tones and a bitter finish. The beer had a medium body and medium carbonation level. Southern Tier Backburner (Barleywine) poured with a dark amber color, and a slight off-white head was formed. The aroma was nutty, malty and caramelly, and the flavor was similar. The flavor was dominated by very sweet caramelly tones, together with a nutty maltiness and a slightly bitter finish. The beer had a full body and a medium-low carbonation level.

The final beers of the evening were the Imperial Stouts and Porter. Brewdog’s Dog A, De Molen Hemel & Aarde, Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout and Ingo’s PMX II Sällskapsporter (6.8%, 30 IBU, Magnum, EK Goldings, 1.062->1.010). Fortunately I had read warning notes on the internet about opening the Hemel & Aarde, as when we opened it in the kitchen sink, 75% of the contents came out in a beer fountain.

Dog A poured pitch black with a minimal tan head. The aroma featured tones of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and some fruitiness from the chili. The flavor was intensive, featuring roasted malt, coffee, caramel, chocolate and some warming chili tones. The beer had a full body and a surprising amount of carbonation (medium level). It was very drinkable already, but I think it will improve with some aging. Hemel & Aarde was a bit hard to comment on, because of the small amount of beer that remained for tasting. It was also pitch black and no head was formed during pour. The aroma was full of smokey whisky tones and some roastiness. The flavor was similar. The beer had a full body and low carbonation level. Shame about the gusher, since it would have been nice to try more of this beer. The Big Bear Black Stout poured pitch black with a cream-colored head. The aroma was quite light compared to the previous two beers, and it featured tones of roasted malt and coffee. The flavor was also surprisingly light, with roasted tones of coffee and chocolate. A slight tartness was present as well. The beer had a medium body and medium carbonation level. The Sällskapsporter also tried to come out of the bottle when opening, so it poured with a black color and a massive cream-colored head that collapsed quite quickly. The aroma was quite light, with some roasted malt and coffee, together with a slight sourness. The flavor was mostly roasted malts, with a very dry finish and slight bitterness. The body was medium-light with a medium-high carbonation level. I wonder if this was infected as well?

Overall I’m very happy with the evening, as there were some fantastic beers. Personal favorites were Brewdog IPA is Dead Galaxy, Cigar City’s Jai Alai, Green Flash Imperial IPA and Brewdog Dog A.