Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cranberry Blossom Mead Review

Cranberry Blossom Mead

Appearance - Almost clear with just the lightest yellow hues. Wonderful white head. Some lacing. Absolutely beautiful.

Aroma - Champagne yeast, and light fruitiness.

Flavor - Light sweetness and some yeast. Floral, Sweet, Honey is lightly there, but is diluted by the mead making. Enough residual sugar is left over to keep it sweet and light. There is just a touch of breadiness I can only associate with yeast.

Mouth-feel - Light mouth-feel. High carbonation. Easy drinking.

Overall - Refreshing and light. A nice drink. Would I seek it out? no. Would I drink it again? yes. If I make it again I might try a dry white wine yeast. For a rating I am going to give this a C as my mead baseline. I hope any mead I make is this good or better.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Treatise On Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is one of my absolute favorite meals. The pork is slow smoked, cooked through, and drenched in BBQ sauce. It is a great meal because it is flavorful, easy, and it's simple to add variety through sauces, preparation and adornments. In the south there is controversy on what type of sauce is right, which cut of meat is correct, and if pulling or slicing offers more taste. I am here to tell you that there is no wrong answer.

After you make it for yourself one time you'll see how indispensable it is. It is an easy way to add depth to your BBQ menu past the standard hot dogs, hamburgers, and bratwurst. You already should have the tools, sauces, and buns you'll need on hand, all you need to do is a little planning and you'll look like a pit master in no time.

(please read more about the pulled pork and this recipe after the break.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Vanilla Brown Porter

You might remember this experiment from the way-back machine. I used the two kinds of vanilla beans that I purchased from beanilla. Both beers came from the same primary fermentation. As you can see the one on the right looks better. I don't know why but the one with the Tahitian beans smelled, looked, tasted, and felt better. Again they aged for the same amount of time, on beans prepared in the same way, but the results were drastically different.

(please read more after the break.)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Soft Pretzels, Cooking Temps

Batch four of the soft pretzels is in the books. People are getting sick of pretzels so I'll go back to pizza or popcorn or something different for a while after this batch. This batch is a double batch of pretzels. I didn't alter the recipe from the last time. The only alteration was that I tried less kneading. Closer to the no knead method. It worked itself out after two days in the fridge.

For this I wanted to try different cooking temps and toppings. This time I've made four pretzels like normal, and four were cooked at 425. I've egg washed them and baked them as usual. One half were made with poppy seeds, and the other half with coarse sea salt.

(please read the results after the break.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Experiment: White Peach Golden Sour

I racked my Sanctification/Temptation clone from my 6.5 gallon glass carboy into a 3 gallon glass carboy to free the primary for my 100% Brettanomyces Pale Ale. When I did there was about a gallon or so left over. So I cleaned up a 1 gallon glass jug from my small batch exploits and racked the gallon of leftover beer into the new carboy. I like situations like this, It requires very little extra work, and almost no additional money to try something new. I had just finished reading TMF's post on his white nectarine sour blond and had that on my mind.

(please read more after the break.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: White Peppercorn, Orange Peel, Vanilla & Orange Blossom Honey Saison

Saison w/ White Peppercorn, Orange Peel, Vanilla & Orange Blossom Honey

Appearance: Orangish, the prefect hew. The beer is slightly hazy with a wonderful billowy head.

Aroma: Slight citra hop from the pour, and a vague sweetness remains after in the aroma. The spices are lost. The orange peel may have added to the citra hop.

Taste: Spicey; pepper and vanilla bean pod. The hops keep the sweetness in check and the honey increases the whole thing.

Mouth feel: Full and rich. The saison yeast really adds to the mouth feel.

Overview: This beer is a nice blend of spice and hops. Overall I think that it loses some of the saisoness by overdoing it. I should have tried this beer sooner, I am not sure what was lost over time.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Re-education Series: Citra/Galaxy Wild Pale Ale

After only an hour the
klaussen was growing.
As a connoisseur of beer nothing else grates on me like untrue statements about beers. Some of my favorites are: "I don't like craft beer, it's bitter." "I don't like dark beers, they're so heavy.""All beer tastes the same why why are you buying that craft shit." "I like craft beer,...Corona is my favorite." "Are you too good for American Beer" says the guy drinking a Budweiser.

What is to be done? I'll tell you! The answer is Reeducation. A series of reeducation beers whose main goal is to offer an enhanced characteristic to your target audience. Find out what I started with after the break!

(please read more after the break.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Bramble Fruit Berliner Weisse

Bramble Fruit Berliner Weisse

Appearance - Beautiful red, with a stark white head. The head rises out of the highly carbonated berliner weisse but fades into nothingness just as fast. The lacing on the glass is acceptable for a beer with as little foam as this.

Aroma - Bramble fruit, jammy, and a bit of grain.

Flavor - Berry seeds, slight sourness, light jam, and grain.

Mouth-feel - Light mouth-feel, high carbonation, slides right back in the mouth. Easy drinking.

Overall - Refreshing and light. A nice beer, the lactic bacteria stripped all of the sweetness from the berry addition, I would have liked a touch of that but I understand why it isn't present. Looked great. B effort, could re-appear later.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm Freaking Out Man

I strive to be honest in my everyday life, and my blog should be no compromise.

Confession: I freak out all the time.

So it was a regular Sunday night, I was accustomed to a lack of activity from the airlock on my Batch 001 sour ale. Then as quickly as could be, white dots had formed, I was sure this was mold, how could it be anything but disaster?! I checked, airlock in place firmly, liquid topped off, but there it was, something new on top of my fermentor long after I thought things were done. I was freaking out. I did what any sane person would do, I consulted Michael Tonsmeire (TMF) an expert in the field of sour ales.

(Please read more after the break.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review: Orange Pepper Saison

Orange Pepper Saison - as reviewed by Derek

Aroma - bubblegum and bananas.

Look - amber with great head retention (the picture was probably over a minute from an aggressive pour).

Flavor - bananas and cloves up front, hints of pepper in the finish. There are hints of bitter citrus that come through, but they don't blend as well as I'd like.

Mouth-feel - I cranked up the C02 a little bit, so it has a little bit of a bite, but it is fairly light on the tongue.

Overall - I'm pretty happy with it, I have the peppery finish I wanted, but the orange bitters seem to not have blended in well. One suggestion was that the glycerine on the bitters might have affected the taste. Overall I'd give it a 3.5 / 5.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Iron Brewer Wrap-up

I didn't win.

Two people picked my beer first overall, but not enough. It was what I wanted it to be: Dry, crisp finish, well carbonated, and refreshing. I have nothing to be ashamed of with my beer. No hard feelings about not winning. I liked the winner's beer the best, so he was a worthy champion.

Podcast reviewing the beers.

Definitely worth doing, batch 4 here I come.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Iron Brewer Saison Review

Iron Brewer Saison

Tonight somewhere there is a man reviewing my beer. Not reviewing it myself didn't seem right. So I popped the top off a bottle. Surprisingly a bit of foam peaked from the bottle to greet me. I poured the bottle into my Belgian Tulip and it was spritzy. I like the flavor and as I review it I think I have a shot.

Appearance(6/10): The head rises and falls quickly with large billowing bubbles. The beer is a thick golden yellow. Marks down because it lacks lacing.

Aroma(8/10): Rosemary & Beer; the melding of the two is nice, the rosemary comes through as a subtle aroma without punching you right in the face, a bit of leafy hops continues in my nose,

Taste(17/20): The taste is just as I intended it to be. I am met with a bready nose and a bit of spice. The lemon is there but it's not a dominant overall flavor.

Mouth-feel(9/10): Prickly with a thick and coating mouth-feel. The high carbonation lifts this beer right into your taste buds.

Overall (40/50): that means it's a B/C on the western grading scale. It's a good beer though, on a less critical day it might have been a B/A but I'm trying to be harsh in case I don't win so that I'm not let down.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Imperial Doppelweizenbock

So in my goals at the end of 2011 I decided I wanted to brew a beer with lager yeast to see if I could do it and to explore more of what it was like. A recent article in Brew Your Own Magazine (March/April 2012) informed me more about the history and origins of lager yeasts. It's an interesting happenstance that we even have lager yeast because it's not naturally occurring. It was probably created as the result of a happy accident in Europe in the 16th century. It was the hybrid of ale yeast from Europe and wild yeast from Patagonia.

One of the first beers I fell for as a beer novice was Celebrator Doppelbock. The beer has rich toffee, chocolate, and coffee notes. If you've never treated yourself to some I would say that it is well worth the ten dollars per four pack. As my knowledge of beers grew I began to realize that I lacked the equipment to make a lager, and probably couldn't clone celebrator even if I wanted to. I have found even more hybridized yeasts that ferment at temps between lager and ale and have a more lager like profile. See which strain I've selected after the break.

(please read more after the break.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

More Soft Pretzels

This Pretzel is my Goal.
I am improving my method of the soft pretzels and I wanted to pass it along. After evaluating the local baker's pretzels I noticed a few things: low salt on the surface, sweet dough, brown crust, very soft, and a twisted crust. My pretzels in comparison were light brown, a bit more dense, salty, and the dough wasn't as sweet.

I improved my previous batch by allowing the dough a bit more time to rest, making larger pretzels, twisting the dough and lightening my salt. I have also decided that the egg wash is right for me.

(please see my pictures after the break.)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Making a Starter

Starters are essential for making beers with an original gravity higher than 1.060 for a 5g batch. A good calculator for deciding if you need a starter and what size starter you need can be found at Jamil Zainasheff's site I normally just use the calculator that is built into beer-smith.

After resolving to make a starter should gather your equipment. You'll need a sanitary container, preferably glass (it's harder to scratch so it's less likely that micro scratches will contain bugs, plastic sucks imho). I use an Erlenmeyer Flask made from borosilicate glass so my instructions will be tailored to this vessel; the use of other vessels is possible but you should do your own research into sanitation and procedure.

(Please read more after the break.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review: STL Witbier

Saint Louis Witbier

Appearance: Dull yellow thick with wheat and no carbonation, Kyle said he primed it and it has some carbonation but I think the bottle had too much head space.

Aroma: Huge fruits and bread. This yeast strain is great, I am a big fan.

Flavor: Grainy and Belgian with lots of esters adding what almost seems like a tart fruit flavor. I'd wonder if I didn't know.

Mouth feel: Under carbonated but not terribly so. Could have more carbonation.

Overall: A miss because of carbonation issues; a hit on the flavors. I think the recipe was great, the yeast was great, I might force carb a batch soon. This will be a good base for my next wit with flowers.