Category Archives: Reviews

Tasting Impressions: Schwarzbock from 2013

I found a couple of bottles of homebrewed Schwarzbock from 2013, and I decided to see how it had developed during two years in bottle. This one ended up at an ABV of 6.8% and with a final gravity of 1.020, so a bit lighter than what was originally planned. I remember this one being very tasty when fresh, so let’s see how it tastes now!schwarzbock

The beer pours black and with a fluffy tan-colored head (it looks a lot lighter in the picture below). If you hold the glass against the light, you see that the beer actually has a dark ruby color (and is crystal clear). As the head collapses, it leaves patches of lacing along the glass. A nice appearance! The aroma is really nice as well, and it features a good combination of chocolate-like roasted tones, together with dark fruits and caramel. There is a slight alcohol note in the aroma as well, even though this is only 6.8%. The flavor is mostly roasty as well, with tones of dark chocolate and ash dominating. Behind this roast, there are tones of malt bread, biscuits and caramel that balance out the flavor. There are not many hop-derived flavors, but that was expected based on the recipe and the beer age. The finish has a moderately light bitterness though. The finish is quite dry as well, which adds to the perception of a relatively light body. This is quite a difference to the sweet and strong imperial stouts. The moderate carbonation level gives the beer some more mouthfeel though. It is quite easy to drink, and it has aged very well! Overall, a very nice beer that I would definitely brew again!

Homebrew: Bavarian Hefeweizen

I’ve again been lazy and haven’t updated the blog for a while. There hasn’t been that much interesting to post though. About three weeks ago I brewed a Bavarian Hefeweizen for a friend, and today I decided to pop the first bottle as quality control. The recipe was really simple, with the malt base being 60% wheat malt and 40% pale ale malt. I hopped with Tettnanger to a modest 16 IBU, and fermented the wort with WLP380, supposedly the Schneider Weisse yeast.

[beerxml recipe= metric=true cache=-1]



The beer pours with a hazy golden-yellow, almost grey, color. A fluffy white head is formed, but it collapses a bit too quickly for a Hefeweizen. A typical wheat beer appearance. The haze is both yeast- and protein-derived as it was quite clear before I put it in the fridge.

The aroma is typical Hefeweizen, with tones of cloves and banana. The spicy 4-vinylguaiacol dominates the aroma profile, but there are lots of fruity esters present as well. The aroma is quite one-dimensional, but I guess it fits the style quite well.

As with the aroma, the flavour profile is dominated by spicy phenols and fruity esters. The amounts of esters and higher alcohols almost go a bit too far as I get hints of solvent as well. On the other hand, it has only been three weeks since pitching, so these will probably subdue a bit with some time in the bottle. There are some malty and doughy tones hidden in the background, but I can’t detect much hop presence at all. As it should be in a Hefeweizen. The carbonation level is high and the body quite light. Refreshing and quite easy to drink.

Overall this is an okay Hefeweizen. I’m not that big fan of the style, so I have a hard time judging how successful this beer is. It is still very young, so it will probably change a bit with more time in the bottle. There are definitely a lot of esters and phenols present, as it should be, but there might even be a bit too much of them at the moment. Perhaps this could have been fermented at a slightly lower temperature?

Tasting Impressions: Sim/arillo IPA

The ‘single malt’ IPA, hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo, that we brewed slightly over a month ago, has now been in the keg for around three weeks. This means it’s time to write up some tasting notes of the beer, while its still at its prime. Quite a lot of trub ended up in the fermenter as we transferred from the boil kettle, and it seems to have had a positive effect on the clarity of the beer. It was crystal-clear when transferred to the keg, despite using US-05 and no cold crash, and only had the slightest chill haze when served. It looks cloudier in the picture below, because of condensation on the outside of the glass. Anyways, to the tasting notes!


The beer pours with a golden color with slight hints of orange. It is surprisingly dark for a malt bill of only Maris Otter. As mentioned, there is a slight amount of chill haze, that disappears as the beer warms up in the glass. A white, oily foam head is formed during the pour, and it collapses slowly leaving drapes of lacing along the glass. A really nice, and very typical, appearance for an IPA.

The beer is really exploding with hop aroma, and it just jumps to your face out of the glass as you close in. There are tones of citrus (specifically grapefruit), pineapple, pine resin and floral perfume. A really nice and fresh hop aroma, that is really hard to find from commercial beers (at least here in Finland, when the time from bottling to serving can be several months). Not much other hops in the aroma, which is the way I like it for IPAs.

The flavor is mostly hop-dominated as well, with very little presence of any malt or yeast tones. The flavor begins with hints of biscuits and malts, but these are instantaneously overtaken by a resiny hoppiness. While the aroma was very fruity, the flavor draws more towards the resiny, piney, earthy and grassy part of the spectrum. There are slight tones of grapefruit in the background as well, but these are more subtle than what could be found in the aroma. The flavor finishes dry and with a hefty bitterness that suits the style. The mouthfeel is dry and light, and the carbonation level is medium-low, which I think suits the beer well. A typical West Coast IPA, with a flavor that is solely focused on the hops and that finishes dry and bitter. Even though the aroma was amazingly fruity, I wish the beer had slightly more of those tones in the flavor as well. Otherwise a really nice homebrew!

Homebrew: Tasting comparison of sour ales

It is finally time to post some tasting impressions of the ‘plain’ and ‘berry’ version of the sour ale I brewed about 1.5 years ago. I’ve had a couple of bottles of both during the winter, and they are interesting beers. I’m not a big fan of sour ale, but I actually like the plain version. The berry version has otherwise been quite nice as well, but it has had a strange aftertaste that really takes away from the drinkability. We’ll see if it is still present in the beer today. I added berries to the majority of the batch (~12 liters), and only bottled six 33cl bottles of the pre-berry version. This was a mistake I’ve now realized, as I’m already down to my last bottle of the plain version. So, note to self: if I ever brew something similar in the future, bottle half the batch before adding any flavorings. All in all it was an interesting experiment, that I hope to repeat at some point. Right now though my priorities are on getting our new homebrewery up and running, so that we can start brewing again. Anyways, let’s see how the sours taste.


Sour Ale
The beer pours crystal-clear (quite a difference to the extremely cloudy wort resulting from the turbid mash) and with a deep golden-amber color (reminds me of apple juice). The aroma is quite tart, with (what I guess is) lactic acid lending the sour tones. There are some fruity tones present as well, which again bring my thoughts to apple juice and cider. A slight funkiness in the aroma as well, but overall it is very ‘clean’ for a (pseudo-)lambic. The flavour is also tart, but by no means as sour as many commercial examples of the style. This one clocked in at a pH of 3.7, which is relatively high for a sour ale. This suits me fine though, as I really don’t like the mouth-drying sourness of some lambics. Tones of apple, grains and slight citrus are present in the flavour. The finish is surprisingly sweet (the FG was 1.010), but it goes well with the mild sourness. This reminded me a lot of a tart apple cider, and I’m actually positively surprised over how this one turned out. A real shame this was my last bottle. How does the Berry version compare then?


Berry Sour
The beer pours clear and with a pretty red color and a pink foam head. While the plain version had a very clean aroma, this one is much more funky. The aroma is more aggressively sour and funky, with a slight cellary/musty twang to it. Behind this, there are very evident tones of raspberry as well. The blueberries are more hidden, even thought I added three times as much compared to the raspberries. The berries are nice, but I think I prefer the clean cider-like tones of the original. The flavour is slightly more sour than the original, perhaps as a result of the added fermentables and the acids in the berries. Raspberry is dominating the flavour, but there are some tones of apple, blueberries and cherry in the background. The aftertaste is drier than the original, and it is unfortunately plagued by a slightly sharp and musty aftertaste. Not really sure what has caused it, maybe mold or the berries themselves? Would be interesting to hear opinions from somehow who actually loves sour beer. Anyways, not a bad beer, but I would find it more enjoyable if it was a little less sour and funky, and the berry flavors were cleaner.

If I were to brew another sour, I would also be more careful with introducing oxygen. The beer had a thick pellicle the whole one-year fermentation (sign of oxygen), and I think especially the berry version might have some tones of acetic acid.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

In the previous post I reviewed Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA, so today it is time for their 90 Minute IPA. The bottle I have isn’t super fresh, but it was bottled in the end of March 2014, so hopefully it will still be in good shape.


  • Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery
  • Country: USA
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 9 %
  • Size: 355 ml
  • Bought from: Online
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

I wasn’t extremely impressed by the 60 minute IPA, so am not getting my expectations up too much, since the 60 minute IPA should be a ‘dumbed down’ version of the 90 minute, which was first released two years earlier in 2001. As the 60 minute IPA, this beer has also been hopped continuously (i.e. small additions of hops are added throughout the boil, instead of e.g. an addition at the beginning and end of the boil) throughout the 90 minute boil. The beer is 9.0% ABV and has a IBU level of 90. Again, I don’t have much ‘official’ information on the ingredients in the beer, but from what I’ve gathered from around the internet (homebrew forums), the malt bill consists of English pale ale and TF amber malt, the beer is hopped with a mixture of Warrior, Amarillo and Simcoe, and it is fermented with a Ringwood-related yeast strain. So, will the 90 minute IPA live up to the hype?

[easyreview title=”Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours crystal clear, and with a glowing golden-orange color. A huge fluffy white head is formed, despite the quite careful pour. The foam head collapses slowly, and leaves large patches of lacing along the glass. A really nice appearance (very similar to the 60 minute IPA)!” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is a balance between crisp hop tones, with citrus, resin and floral hints, together with a caramelly and bready maltiness. Not much alcohol is detectable. The aroma could be slightly stronger, and I would personally prefer slightly more hoppiness, especially in an Imperial IPA.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The taste begins with a sweet maltiness, lending hints of caramel, honey and biscuits. The maltiness is not as toasty as the 60 minute IPA, despite this one also containing the relatively toasty flavoured Amber malt. The hop flavours are surprisingly muted, with only the slightest hints of tropical fruits (primarily pineapple), resin and citrus (grapefruit). The finish is also sweet and only mildly bitter. Am I really drinking an Imperial IPA? This tastes more like a(n Imperial) Red Ale. I like malty IPAs, but this was way too sweet and malt-dominated even for me.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a moderately full body and moderate carbonation level. The sweetness really pulls down on the drinkability, and this wouldn’t be my first choice for a thirst-quencher a warm day like this. The flavours stay in the mouth for a long while though.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Again I was quite disappointed, as this was way too sweet and had way too little hop flavours and bitterness for my taste. I feel the beer would be more balanced if the bitterness level was cranked up slightly more. Maybe even 4 months is too long for a beer like this? Perhaps I would prefer Dogfish Head’s darker beers more?”]

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

I haven’t posted anything for a while, since I’ve been on vacation (including a two week trip to Berlin and Amsterdam), but I thought I’d review a beer I bought a while ago. I will be having a short break in homebrewing as well, since we are moving our garage brewery to a new location, and we need to do some renovating before it is ready to use. During the summer I’ve though brewed a couple of small batches (IPAs) on my old cooler + 20 liter kettle setup, which I’ll write about later. I also organized a single hop tasting with 9 beers a little over a month ago, which I hopefully will have time to write about at some point. Anyways, to the beer, which has quite a reputation in the craft beer world.


  • Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery
  • Country: USA
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6 %
  • Size: 355 ml
  • Bought from: Online
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

This is the first time I try a beer from Dogfish Head, which is a brewery I quickly came across during my early days of my ‘beer hobby’. The brewery is one of the larger craft breweries in the USA (founded by Sam Calagione in 1995), is known for their unconventional beer, and it has featured in various TV shows (Brew Masters) and documentaries (Beer Wars) about beer. Their 60 minute IPA was released in 2003, and it is an IPA that has been hopped continuously (i.e. small additions of hops are added throughout the boil, instead of e.g. an addition at the beginning and end of the boil) throughout the 60 minute boil. The beer is 6.0% ABV and has a IBU level of, yes, 60. I don’t have much ‘official’ information on the ingredients in the beer, but from what I’ve gathered from around the internet (homebrew forums), the malt bill consists of pale ale and TF amber malt, the beer is hopped with a mixture of Warrior, Amarillo and Simcoe, and it is fermented with a Ringwood-related yeast strain. My bottle was bottled in the middle of March 2014, so it isn’t super-fresh, but still fresher then many US beers you find around here. The beer sounds interesting on paper, but does it live up to the hype?

[easyreview title=”Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours crystal clear, and it has a deep golden color (with some slight hints of orange). A massive fluffy head is formed during pour, and it collapses slowly, leaving drapes of lacing along the glass. A really nice appearance!” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is mostly hop-dominated at first, featuring tones of pine resin, mango and candied citrus zest. You can detect a slight maltiness in the background, contributing with tones of caramel and freshly toasted bread. As the beer warms up, the maltiness becomes more and more evident. Not the typical West Coast IPA aroma that one is used to.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The taste begins with a bready maltiness, with tones of toasted malts and caramel. These are then joined by an earthy, dank, resiny hoppiness. Some citrus and tropical fruits hide in the background, but I assume Amarillo dominated the dry hops, while Simcoe dominates the kettle hops. The finish is semi-dry and during the first sips, the bitterness seems surprisingly low for an IPA. The flavors are quite well balanced, but wished there was slightly more bitterness and a little less of the maltiness present, as it feels more like a hoppy amber ale at the moment. As the beer warms up, the bitterness level seems to increase a bit.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a moderate body and carbonation level, and it is quite easily drinkable. However, the combination of toastiness and bitterness draw away from it slightly. This would not be my first choice for a thirst quencher on a warm summer day.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Overall a great beer, but it didn’t really live up to the huge expectations. This was a malty IPA that had more focus on toasted malts than caramel. The hop profile (with more weight towards resin, earthiness and dankness) fit the toasty maltiness well though, as I feel really fruity hops tend to clash with toasted (and roasted) malts. I have a bottle of 90 Minute IPA as well, which I will be trying next. Hopefully it impresses me more!”]

Tasting Impressions: R&H Wedding Pale Ale


Yesterday I bottled the Pale Ale I brewed for my friends’ wedding. The beer had been cold-conditioning in the keg for 1.5 months, and had now become crystal clear. Gravity had dropped to 1.010 from the original gravity of 1.053, giving an ABV of 5.5%. This was exactly what I was aiming for, so hopefully the taste is nice as well. The beer pours crystal clear and with a golden-yellow color. A slight white-colored head is formed (quite a careful pour though), and it leaves drapes of lacing along the glass as it collapses. A nice appearance, but the foam head could be slightly bigger. The aroma is mostly hoppy, featuring some grapefruit, pine resin and floral tones. A slight hint of caramel in the background. The aroma is very clean, with no hints of alcohol or yeast. Promising!  The flavour begins with a light bready maltiness and some hop tones join in as the beer lingers in the mouth. The hoppiness is mostly citrus, pine needles, grass and meadow flowers. The finish is semi-dry and has a moderate bitterness. Quite nice as a whole. There are slight tones of alcohol present at first, but these disappear as the beer warms up. I personally would like slightly more bitterness, but I think as a ‘crowd-pleaser’ this will do good. The body is quite light and the beer has a moderate carbonation level. It is very easy to drink and refreshing. Should have brewed an even bigger batch. Overall I am very happy with this beer, and hopefully the bridal couple and guests will like it as well!

Tasting Impressions: Summer Wit

I kegged and bottled our Summer Wit around two weeks ago, so today I thought it was time to try a bottle. This was one of our stranger experiments, as the basic wheat beer malt bill, was hopped with large amounts of galaxy, spiced with lemongrass, lime peel and Szechuan pepper, and fermented with WLP566 Saison II yeast. We had some huge problems with fermentation temperature, as first it dropped to around 16 degrees C after 24 hours, when we forgot to turn on the heater, and after that it rose to around 32 degrees C, as the sensor probe had at some point fallen from the fermenter to the cooler concrete floor (thermostat set at 24C). Hopefully this is drinkable at all. We were aiming for a refreshing and easy-to-drink beer for the summer. Let’s see how it does!


The color is pale yellow, and almost has a grey taint. The beer is hazy, as the style calls for. A firm white head is formed, that stays on top of the beer for a while, leaving nice drapes of lacing along the glass as it falls. Overall, the appearance is pretty spot-on for the style. Really inviting a warm summer evening as this. The aroma is really fruity, featuring a blend of yeast-derived esters and lemon-like tones, which I believe are from the lemongrass. The lime peel, and why not even the Szechuan pepper, could also be contributing to the citrus aroma. The aroma features some spicyness as well (more of the phenolic kind), which the yeast has brought with it. An interesting and quite refreshing aroma, but it somehow feels a bit off (the lemon tones and yeast products makes me think of the traditional Finnish sima). While the aroma was dominated mostly by the fruity tones, the flavor instead begins with more spicy notes, combined with a honey-like maltiness. The fruity tones become more evident as the beer lingers in the mouth, lending lemon, grapefruit and even some slight resiny hoppiness. The finish is surprisingly sweet, even though this finished with quite a low FG. Perhaps a result of the Saison yeast. The bitterness level feels quite low, even though the calculated IBUs were around 40. Pleasantly surprised about the flavor, mostly because the fermentation temperature rose to whooping 32 degrees C during peak fermentation. The body is light and the beer has a medium carbonation level. Despite the light body, it doesn’t feel thin and it still leaves a slightly sweet impression. Nothing spectacular, but should be a nice thirst-quencher for the summer.

Tasting Impressions: Summer Blonde

The Summer Blonde I brewed in the beginning of April had been in a keg for almost a month, so I decided to put it into bottles yesterday. The gravity ended up at 1.011 and I measured an alcohol content of 5.78% ABV. I would have preferred it slightly drier and with slightly less alcohol, so if I ever brew this again, I will aim for an OG of around 1.045. Anyways, time to try it!


The beer pours with a slightly hazy yellow-orange color. The color could be slightly lighter, but it is not something that bothers me. A white head is formed, but it collapses quite quickly. It does leave some drapes of lacing along the glass though. Not much to complain about other than the color. Could maybe be a little clearer as well? The aroma is slightly malty at first (some grainy and bready tones), but it is quickly joined by some fruity yeast esters. This fermented at quite cold temperatures, but the yeast still seemed to have produced lots of esters. In the background you can find just the slightest citrusy and floral hop tones. Not sure if the aroma is typical for a Kölsch (I used WLP029 German Ale), as I’ve never tried a traditional one before. The flavour is quite similar, and begins with some malty and bready tones. They feel slightly tart somehow. The flavour transitions into a slight fruitiness with an underlying citrusy hoppiness. The finish is semi-dry with a moderately light bitterness. Overall, a very easy-to-drink beer, that could perhaps be slightly cleaner. I would also have preferred slightly more hop presence, but that would probably put it out of style.

Canned Imperial Stout? Ten Fidy and Cinnamon Rolls

It’s not every day that I get a chance to drink great craft beer from a can, especially not an Imperial Stout. Today is my lucky day, since my friend Ingo (of Sad Robot Brewing fame) was kind enough to bring me a can of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy (it was released at Systembolaget earlier this spring) when he was visiting Finland recently. I have really good experiences from trying some of their other beer (Dale’s Pale Ale, Deviant’s Dale and G’Knight), so have quite high hopes for this one. I baked some Cinnamon Rolls earlier today also (recipe inspired by the one found here), which I had planned to enjoy while sipping on the beer. Hopefully the flavours will complement each other.


  • Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
  • Country: USA
  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • ABV: 10.5 %
  • Size: 355 ml
  • Bought from: Gift
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

I don’t have much information on this beer, but what I’ve gathered from around the internet, it is an Imperial Stout, has an ABV of 10.5%, has been brewed with 2-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, and flaked oats, and has been bittered to a whooping 98 IBU. There are some rumours floating around on homebrew forums that the name comes from the fact that the final gravity of the beer is 1.050 or perhaps 10.50 degrees plato, but it is more likely that FIDY is an acronym for Fuck the Industry, Do it Yourself (this was also what founder Dale Katechis stated in their Brew Dogs episode). Anyways, it’s not everyday you get to try this complex of a beer from a can, so am really looking forward to having a taste!

[easyreview title=”Oskar Blues Ten Fidy” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours pitch-black and you can directly see the beer is very viscous. Almost looks like motor oil pouring out of the can. A tan-colored fluffy head is formed with the pour, but it collapses quite quickly, leaving brown drapes of lacing along the glass. Looks really delicious!” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is really nice as well, and I get tones of dark chocolate and vanilla in the beginning, followed by roasted malts and coffee. These are balanced by some sweet caramel tones, which hint the taste will be sweet as well. The aroma is rich and strong, even though I still have a slightly stuffed nose from just having a flu. Can’t tell at all that the beer is 10.5%, as the alcohol is well hidden behind the other flavors. Really nice and inviting aroma!” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavour is similar to the aroma, beginning with some roasted tones dominating. Here, the chocolate and vanilla aren’t as strong, rather I find that the roasty and toasty malt tones are in the center together with notes of coffee. Behind this you have a slightly sweet bready maltiness, that ends in a semi-dry and quite bitter finish. I prefer slightly sweeter Imperial Stouts myself, and I like how this one is balanced by the huge bitterness. Again, I can’t tell this is 10.5% ABV. I get a slight warming feeling in the mouth, but no boozy flavours. Really nice!” cat3rating=”4.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a really thick and full body, which together with the low carbonation level makes this a great slow sipper. Not a beer to drink in the sun or as a thirst-quencher, but it definitely suits a cold spring evening as today. The roasty notes and bitterness draw away slightly from the drinkability, but the sweetness keeps them quite well under control.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall, a really nice beer, and one of the better Imperial Stouts I’ve tried. The flavours are complex and strong, but they come together really well, making a well-balanced and delicious package. The chocolate, coffee and vanilla notes make this a perfect dessert beer. This shouldn’t be oak/barrel-aged, so not sure how the vanilla notes have entered the picture, but they work really well! The high bitterness works well, but I think I would have preferred a couple of IBUs less. The beer paired well with the cinnamon roll, as the sweet, sugary and cinnamony notes complemented the rich and roasted flavors really well.”]