Saturday, July 11, 2009

Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout from Terrapin Brewing

As I write this, I'm sipping on a seasonal beer from Terrapin Brewing in Athens GA called Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout. I'm drinking it during the wron season, since this is their Winter seasonal, but Florida doesn't have much in the way of seasons anyway. We know it's winter when we have to wear our slippers to get the newspaper in the morning. The four seasons are generally called "Warm, hot, hotter, and hottest". But I digress.

Terrapin's Coffee stout is actually made with coffee, unlike some others that derive their 'coffee' flavor from highly roasted malt. The coffee probably inhibited the head, since there is almost none. The stout poured the color of used motor oil. The coffee flavor is quite prominent, and there's a touch of sweetness as well. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth from the oatmeal. Alcohol is 8.1%, but you wouldn't guess it from the flavor. It does sneak up on you though.

It's interesting to be drinking this because a few years ago I made a coffee Imperial stout as one of my early homebrews, and it was very similar to this. The alcohol level was a little less and the texture wasn't as creamy, but the coffee was just as prominent and flavorful. This is a good beer - check it out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Saranac ESB Extra Special Bitter Ale

Tonight I grabbed a Saranac from the fridge - their ESB - which was part of their 12 Beers of Winter assortment. I recently found out that Whole Foods has their 12 Beers of Summer in stock now, so I'm 2 seasons behind! So many beers, so little time... I think this might have sat in the fridge a little too long, because it displayed some of the same flavor characteristics as the Alligator Drool I reviewed a few days ago. It definitely had a sour character to it, which I wasn't expecting. Not as bad as the "Drool", but there none the less. It poured a little darker than I expected from an ESB, and had very little head. The nose had some hints of caramel, which was good, and was also present in the flavor. I hope I got a bad bottle, because it definitely had potential, if it weren't for the sourness.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Homebrewed Rye Wheat Ale

A couple of months ago, I decided to create a unique beer that I hoped to enjoy during the summer. I'm not a big fan of commercial summer beers, because I feel they're usually less interesting and flavorful than beers from other seasons. I had a container of Briess Wheat malt extract and decided to base my summer beer around it. I also had a good supply of malted rye, so that went into the wort as well. I then added some traditional wit beer elements - coriander and orange peel - and came up with my Rye Wheat Ale. It has the citrusy elements of the wheat malt, along with a spicy touch added by the rye. Some hops rounded it out, and I'm pleased with the results. Here's the recipe I used for 2.5 gallons:

3.3 lbs Briess Bavarian Wheat LME
6 Oz Rye Malt
4 Oz Wheat Malt
4 Oz 30L Crystal Malt
.3 Oz Orange Peel
.3 Oz Coriander-crushed
1/2 oz Perle hops - 60 minutes
1/2 Oz Spalt Hops - 15 Minutes
1/4 Oz Hallertau Hops - 5 minutes

I fermented using Safale's new wheat yeast - WB-06 and primed with corn sugar. My only problem is that it gets warm too fast in that big glass!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tucher Helles Hefe Weizen

Now this is a true Bavarian Hefe Weizen, complete with the banana and cloves esters that are the trademark of an authentic Hefe. These flavors come from the yeast itself, and they're somewhat unique to this style. As you can see, it also has the huge fluffy white head and cloudy appearance that is also traditional for this style. Tucher is a German Brewery, in case you hadn't guessed. This made for an excellent summer brew.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Higland Brewing - St. Terese's Pale Ale

Today, I tried a beer from an assortment pack that I bought at Whole Foods. The assortment was from Highland Brewing in Asheville, NC. This is St. Terese's Pale Ale. I'm not sure who St. Terese is, and why she is honored with her own beer, but at least it's a GOOD beer. The Highland Brewing web-site describes it like this:

"A golden pale having a slightly malty body balanced by an assertive American hop flavor. This pale ale displays a delicate hop nose due to the process of dry hopping. A crisp and refreshing beer perfect for any occasion."

I definitely agree with the assertiveness of the hops. When I took my first sip, I had to look at the bottle again, thinking I had picked up their IPA instead of the pale. I was surprised to see that I hadn't made that mistake. This was an excellent beginning to the assortment. I'm looking forward to the other 5 varieties that await me.

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Ruben & The Jets" from Lagunitas

Someone at Lagunitas is a BIG Frank Zappa fan. They've created numerous brews in honor of Frank Zappa's albums. This one is "Ruben & The Jets", a "BoppaDooAyDoo" style ale, according to the label. It's a big rich, sweet ale with an alcohol content of 8.6% abv. It poured a deep brown, with some ruby highlights. The head was small and disapeared very quickly. The flavor had plenty of highlights from dark fruit, brown sugar and caramel. It finished with a strong hoppiness that nicely offset the sweetness. Lagunitas does a good job with these bigger beers. I have a couple of other varieties in the fridge for the future.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Alligator Drool Beer - Florida

Today's beer is rather unique because it's a special beer brewed under contract for a local Orlando hotel chain. I really wanted to like this beer because it's brewed for the Rosen chain of hotels, and I have a lot of respect for Mr. Rosen, a very successful entrepreneur and an all-around good guy. Unfortunately, his beer has left me underwhelmed. I know he had nothing to do with the brewing of it, but I'm sure he must have approved it. It poured a nice amber color, with a small white head. So far, so good. The nose had a sour, almost vinegar-like character. That sour character followed through to the flavor as well. I almost think the beer was exposed to some conditions that spoiled it. I can taste some hops, but the sourness is very distracting. Unfortunately, I paid a lot of money for a six-pack of this, so I guess I'll be working my way through it. Maybe the next bottle will be better - but I'm not holding my breath.