Monthly Archives: September 2012

Homebrew: Meowing Monk – Belgian Blond Ale

Today I brewed up the Belgian Blond mentioned here. Everything went smoothly, and even managed to get 3 liters more wort than expected (with the intended gravity of 1.050). I added a slight amount of oat flakes to the mash, hoping to get some improved head retention and body, as I was unsure whether the simple malt bill could give rise to a decent head. The starter I pitched on Thursday was showing great signs of activity, so after I poured off 50 ml of the starter into a sterilized vial for later use (beats paying 10€ for a new smack pack), I pitched the whole thing into the wort. Hopefully this takes off soon. The fermentation vessel was placed in a room with an ambient temperature of around 20-22C, so hopefully the wort temperature climbs to around 25C after a few days. The recipe and a couple of pictures from the brewday posted below.

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Hops and cane sugar
 

The boil with large hop bag. Still haven’t found any permanent brew space, so have been brewing outdoors.
 

The huge heat exchanger has just been cleaned prior to use. Took 21 litres of boiling wort to 15C in under 5 minutes.

Lagunitas Maximus

  • Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
  • Country: USA
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8.2 %
  • Size: 355 ml
  • Bought from: Barley Wine, Copenhagen
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

After a week of fermentations and analysing wort (I love my job!), I thought it would be nice to sit down and relax with a nice and hoppy IPA. This is one of the beers I brought home from my trip to Copenhagen in August. I’ve heard lots of good stuff about Lagunitas before, but have never had a chance to try them, so am looking forward to this. This seems to be categorized as an Imperial IPA on the various beer sites online, but the bottle claims the beer is only 59 IBU, so I am skeptical. I have no information on the ingredients used, so I have no idea what to expect. The bottle states that the original gravity was 1.080, which gives a final gravity of around 1.017-1.018 with the ABV of 8.2%. Not too dry, and definitely in my ballpark. Let’s see how this tastes! Unfortunately there are no freshness indicators on this, so I have no clue how old this bottle is.

[easyreview title=”Lagunitas Maximus” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours clear and with an orange-amber color. There was no yeast sediment in the bottle, so guess the beer has been filtered. A minimal off-white head is formed, that disappears as fast as it appeared.” cat1rating=”3″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”As I open the bottle I can feel some hop aroma reach my nose. The actual beer features a strong orange and tangerine hop aroma, with some tones of apricots, tropical fruits, resin and sweet caramel in the background as well. I’ve never actually come across a beer with this kind of aroma before (i.e. this strong of an orange aroma). Interesting, but not among my favorites.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a sweet, caramelly, bready maltiness, that together with the hop tones of citrus (orange in the lead again, with some lemon and tangerine) reminds me of some citrus candy drops. You can find some grassy and herbal tones in the hoppiness as well, but they are quite subdued. The flavor ends with a sweet and only slightly bitter finish. I felt this was really imbalanced, and way too sweet to be fully enjoyable. This would also have need lots more bitterness to back up the sweetness. Again an interesting flavor, but definitely not amongst my favorites, especially with the poor balance.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-full body and a medium carbonation level. The sweetness makes this a bit difficult to drink. At least the alcohol is well hidden.” cat4rating=”3″ summary=”Definitely disappointed with this one, as I feel this would have been so much better with some more bitterness and a slightly drier finish. The beer featured some interesting hop tones in the aroma and flavor, mostly focusing on orange and tangerine. I have no idea what hops Lagunitas have used, but maybe it could be Summit hops? I will have to give Lagunitas another chance if I see any of their other beers in the future, but this beer was at least no to my taste.”]

Homebrew: Preparing for a Belgian Blond Brewday

Today I started a 1 liter Wyeast 3787 (Trappist High Gravity = Westmalle Strain) starter on the stir plate, which should hopefully be ready for Saturday’s brewday, when I will be brewing up an 18 liter batch of a Belgian Blond. The malt bill will be simple, with just Pilsner malt (maybe some Pale Ale if I don’t have enough) and some cane sugar. The beer will be moderately hopped (aiming for 30-35 IBU) with Northern Brewer, Hersbrucker and Styrian Goldings. I will be aiming for a light hoppy aroma and flavor combined with Belgian-style yeast phenolics and a light body. I will then use the yeast cake from this beer when I’ll be brewing up a Quadrupel-style beer in 3 weeks. Stay tuned for a brewday post with some pictures and the recipe on Saturday.

Hoppin Frog Mean Manalishi

  • Brewery: Hoppin Frog Brewery
  • Country: USA
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8.2 %
  • Size: 650 ml
  • Bought from: Online
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

I have had a bottle of Hoppin Frog’s Mean Manalishi Imperial IPA in the refrigerator for a couple of months waiting for the right time to drink it. Today I thought I’d finally try it, to make some room in the fridge. Have not tried many beers from Hoppin Frog (only the barrel-aged B.O.R.I.S.), but have heard some good things about them. Couldn’t find any official information on ingredients, but some web pages list Columbus and Summit as the hops used. This IPA features a massive theoretical IBU of 168 and it has apparently had an OG of 1.084, which means that the FG should be around 1.021 as the beer is 8.2% ABV. Hopefully the beer isn’t too sweet and still packs a hoppy punch!

[easyreview title=”Hoppin Frog Mean Manalishi” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a slightly hazy amber-copper color, and a slight off-white head is formed, that collapses quickly and leaves some lacing along the glass. The surface is a bit oily as well.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma features a combination of hop tones and caramel. The hop tones bring to mind resin, tangerine, citrus and herbs, and overall the aroma is earthy and dank.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a caramelly maltiness, but it is quickly overtaken by a resiny, dank and floral hoppiness, featuring tones of grapefruit, tangerine and pine. As the hop flavors die down, a strong bitterness enters that lingers with the semi-dry finish. Really nice flavors! The flavors are well balanced and the bitterness is backed up by a strong malt backbone.” cat3rating=”5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-full body and a medium-low carbonation level. The beer is easy to drink, even with the strong flavors.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall, a very nice beer, with tons of dank resiny hoppiness and a strong bitterness. The caramelly malt backbone makes sure that the beer is easy to drink and well balanced. Not sure about the freshness of the bottle, but it is most likely at least 6 months old. Even with this age, the beer had great hop aroma and flavor. Looking forward to trying more Hoppin Frog beers in the future! “]

Homebrew: Bottling and kegging day

Today I bottled the batch of American IPA that I brewed up a month ago with a friend. Bottling went smoothly (from the keg) and the beer tasted very nice already.

I also kegged the Black Lodge Imperial Stout, which was tasting really promising. Lots of roasted malt, coffee, and some dark fruit tones, together with a slight amount of heat (which I guess is from the chili). Gravity had dropped to 1.028, giving the beer an ABV of 9.3%. The beer will bulk age in the corny keg for at least two months, maybe more, before I bottle it.

Homebrew: Adding Oak Cubes and Vanilla to the Nightly Serenade Imperial Porter

Sorry again for the inactivity, last week I started working at the PBL Brewing Laboratory at VTT, where I will be writing my Master’s Thesis, so have mostly been busy with work. This weekend I thought I’d devote some time for my homebrews, so today I have been preparing some bottles for finally bottling the apple cider I brewed about 6 months ago, which has been bulk aging in a corny keg the last 5 months. Will hopefully have time to bottle it tomorrow. I have tasted it on a couple of occasions during the summer, and it is quite tart, but it is slowly mellowing fortunately. Hopefully it will become enjoyable in the upcoming months.

I also added 50g of French Medium Toast Oak Cubes (which had been soaking in bourbon) and 2 sliced up bourbon vanilla pods to the Nightly Serenade Imperial Porter. I took a gravity sample, and it had fallen to 1.023, giving the beer an ABV of 7.5%. With the bourbon it should rise to about 8%. I tasted the gravity sample, and the beer featured a combination of coffee and dark fruit tones. I think this will need at least a couple of months of maturing to reach its prime.

Took some small taste samples from the Unexpected Predator American IPA and Czech Mate Pilsner as well, which have been in kegs force carbonating and lagering. The IPA had a nice resiny hoppiness with a strong bitterness, coupled with a caramelly maltiness, but I think this will need a couple of weeks of maturing still. I will be bottling the IPA next week. The pilsner was a bit more interesting for me, since I haven’t brewed one before, and it featured lots of grassy and spicy hop flavours, coupled with a bready maltiness, and slight butterscotch tones (which I guess are from diacetyl). I guess I will leave this for 3 more weeks of lagering (it has been lagering for 3 weeks now, giving a total of 6 weeks of lagering).

Omnipollo Mazarin

  • Brewery: Omnipollo (Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij)
  • Country: Sweden
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.6 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Barley Wine, Copenhagen
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

Omnipollo, aka Henok Fentie (the brewer) & Karl Grandin (the designer), are Swedish gypsy brewers that debuted in 2010. Their beers have just recently become available, and I bought home their Leon (a Belgian Pale Ale brewed with Amarillo & Simcoe, and fermented with champagne yeast) and Mazarin (American Pale Ale) from my recent trip to Copenhagen. Mazarin is a hop-bursted Pale Ale, that has been hopped with Amarillo, Chinook, Citra, Columbus and Simcoe to an IBU of 48, which borders to IPA territory. Sounds like my type of beer. The label is simplistic, and features only a sketch of a melting wax candle. Let’s see how it tastes.

[easyreview title=”Omnipollo Mazarin” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a slightly hazy golden-orange color, and a fluffy white head is formed. The head collapses quite quickly, but it leaves patches of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by a citrusy (mostly grapefruit and lemon), resiny, grassy, and tropical fruit-like hoppiness, that is joined by a light caramelly sweetness.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a very light toasty and caramelly maltiness, that gets overtaken by a floral and grassy hoppiness that features tones of grapefruit, peaches and resin. The hop flavors stay in the mouth for a long time, and they finish in a smooth and quite dry bitter finish. The flavors are very well balanced, but feels the flavor is still missing something. Still very tasty.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”This beer was also very easy to drink and refreshing, with its balanced flavors, medium-light body and medium-high carbonation level. Perhaps a bit too high carbonation level for my taste, but otherwise a great mouthfeel.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall, a very nice American Pale Ale, packed with hoppy goodness, but still remaining very balanced. I really liked Omnipollo’s Leon as well, and will be looking forward to trying more of their beers in the future. A shame that these aren’t more available in Finland. A great beer!”]

PS. Thanks to Manker Beer and Henok for sending me an Omnipollo t-shirt. Of course I had to wear it while reviewing the beer.

Homebrew: Nightly Serenade – Imperial Porter

Yesterday we brewed up a 20 liter batch of an Imperial Porter, that should be ready for drinking around Christmas. We were aiming for a dark, roasty and smooth porter, that will hopefully not be too acrid and harsh, and feature some tones of dark fruits along with the roastiness. We will probably age the batch on some vanilla pods and bourbon-soaked oak chips, to give the beer some further complexity. The brewday went quite well, and we ended up just slightly shy of the predicted original gravity (1.082 instead of 1.088) using a 105 minute boil. Airlock activity was noticeable within 12 hours and hopefully the gravity will drop to around 1.020. This is the first time I’m using Special B, and I’m very interested in tasting the results. No pictures unfortunately from this brewday either, as we were brewing outdoors and it was quite dark.

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