Thursday, March 6, 2014
I try and enter 2 competitions a year, the National Homebrew Competition and the local America's Finest City Homebrew Competition. I've always done OK in both, yesterday I received my judges sheets back for review.
They Call Me Porter: Scored a 39.5/50 Overall. Category #12B Robust Porter. 3rd Place, America's Finest City Homebrew Competition 2014
Judge #1, Certified 40/50
Aroma: 9/12 Moderately high roasty aroma, some dark chocolate, tobacco, a hint of caramel. Hops aroma is moderate. Fruity ester is mute.
Appearance: 3/3 Very Dark brown in color. Large tan head with good retention. Some garbet? highlights.
Flavor: 15/20 Moderately strong malt flavor. Coffee, dark chocolate, grainy characters. Hop flavor is moderately low, bitterness is moderate. Semi-dry finish. Fruity esters moderately low.
Mouthfeel: 5/5 Medium body, medium carbonation, slight astringency. (Not harsh) Semi - Dry finish
Overall Impression: 8/10 A robust porter with great roasty dark chocolate character. Could use some more hops, but complex dark malt characters. Tasty Brew!
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
|Just got word that this placed 3rd in Cat 12. Quaff's Americas Finest Homebrew Comp.|
Peering into a vast array of bottles nestled together. Looking down each row, studying them one by one. Attempting to find the perfect bomber to enjoy after work. Eying in on a Drakes Denogginizer, I happily close the refrigerator door without noticing a single Porter. Did I walk into the bottle shop predisposed to purchase an IPA vs a Porter? It's possible, or maybe its just how I feel about the style in general. Predictable.
When purchasing a beer I want it to be exciting and different. I want to be arm and arm with the hot girl at the party. Maybe even outside my league. (or brewing skill set) Porters are, well just porters. They are the back-up girl when someone cancels on you last minute. There like a moped, "Always fun to ride, but you never want to get caught riding on one". They are predicable.
Now with that out of the way, an American Porter was probably the first or second style you homebrew. Good or not, it was your first. More importantly, it was yours. While it's true, normally I do not purchase Porters, I do enjoy drinking them. They are my fat girl.
When I started out working on a Porter recipe, I wanted it purely American. Style 12B Robust Porter, which is a horrible style name (BTW). Wanting the recipe to maximize the roasted and chocolate notes I love. For strength, I went right under 7%. Fairly strong, yet contained. I ended up doing a split yeast pitch on this beer. The WLP028 started off for 2 days then I pitched WLP090. This should bring out some traditional English characters without the phenolics associated with English Ales. This is my third re-brew of this batch, I think I like where it is, just needing to re-brew it one more time without any changes.
Aroma: Somewhat burnt, coffee/roasted barley acridness. More coffee and chocolate as it warmed up. I do get some husky grain notes also, this seems to come forward the longer this beer is on draft.
Appearance: Thin head, that somewhat appears after I finish pouring the taster. I'd say about a 1/4 thick. (It doesn't last long, but I like my porters low on the Co2.) The head is clearly dark tan, small bubbles dissipate quickly. The beer shows black, but as you take a sip the black changes to a dark burnt chocolate red.
Friday, February 7, 2014
|A beer before the rain|
Aroma: Strongly Simcoe, incorporating a resin like pine note. Sweetness that I can't pinpoint but I'm sure its hops related. I get a hint of a rye malt likeness that is very pleasing. I *think* I can smell the Apollo hops, a hint of garlic, just at the threshold of pleasant.
Appearance: Golden yellow, small amounts of hop haze but mostly clear. A perfect 3/4 inch of brite white head adorns the top of the IPA glass. Nice lacing during the tasting A thin, yet resilient head stayed on top of the beer until it was refilled.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Over Thanksgiving weekend, when people loose all sense of self control, knocking down the doors of their local Best Buy. I wanted to pull out a chair and brew a couple beers and relax. Normally, I have a some recipes in the works inside Beersmith and this was one of them. A West Coast Red IPA with a clean malty profile backed with the correct, west coast amount of hops. Looking to be around 6.3% and 53 IBU's.
Red IPA's always have a special place in my brewing. I'm attracted to the burnt amber colors they produce. Pair that with a clean white head, resulting in a magical combination. I wanted the beer starting off with Summit, which has quickly jumped into on of my favorites for bittering these styles. For the aroma/dry hops I used Citra, Centennial and Simcoe generously throughout.
Aroma: Sweet toffee with a pine bitterness. Smaller than expected on the nose. I really had to look for the aroma hops.Which was surprising for the amount of dry hops used.
Appearance: Glorious burnt amber color. Strikingly clear. Full white to light tan pillowy head. The lacing stays with the glass during the tasting. Beautiful stream of carbonation bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass for a good 3-4 minutes.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
|1 teaspoon of flour was added to keep this beautiful haze.|
I was born and raised in San Diego, but I spent most of my summers under 12 in Nashville with my mom, sister and Grandparents. My Mom didn't work while I was in elementary school, so she would fly back east, spending the summer months in Nashville while my Dad worked as a pilot for the US Navy. For me, this was normal, spending time with my cousins playing in the pool and working the garden that my Grandfather (Popa Charlie) had. Now, this wasn't a huge garden, but to a 6 year old this was a big plot of land suitable of feeding hundreds of people. I remember jumping off the diving board, then running over to the table to chuck green beans into a giant pile that my Grandmother would then can for the winter. After swimming we would venture into the garden looking for tomatoes and watermelon for Popa Charlie. (He loves to slice them about an inch thick and cover them with salt and pepper before dinner.) I remember walking through the garden and getting the best smells of hay, ripe veggies, vines and pine needles (from the trees the lined the back of the property.) Popa Charlie needed a tractor to maintain his property, for this he owned a little yellow tractor. I not even sure of the name, make or model, but it was his and us kids loved it as our own.
Monday, November 18, 2013
I've only crafted three Meads before this one. The first was a shot in the dark, that's still harsh at six years old. Since this was my 1st exposure to Mead I expected all Meads to taste this way. Phenolic and burning all the way down, not magical and beautiful like the ones I've read about in "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing". Charlie's Prickly Pear Mead is still high up on a pedestal, unattainable in my mind. (Wither it is good or not, really doesn't matter) The concept of me creating a well crafted mead seemed like a far off dream, obstacles like honey, blending and acid/nutrition additions kept me focused on what I did know, brewing beer.
Something changed while I was at the National Homebrew Conference. Walking the Expo Hall, I picked up a card for Dutch Gold Honey and saw they offered bulk prices. That next morning I sat and listened to Moonlight's Meads owner Micheal talk about mead. While he can initially come off as arrogant and cocky I finally understood him, he was just overly passionate about his craft. While his talk missed the technical aspects I was looking for, I came away with four important things. Fermentation temperature (63), Fermentation timeline (2-3 Months), 71B Yeast for fermentation and he uses Dutch Gold Honey for all his meads. Tasting the meads during his presentation I was blown away. Well crafted, solid meads. Maybe the ones I created years ago where all wrong? That night I tasted a couple of 2nd round meads with Jym Ferrier (they took out all the non-placing 2nd round beers for us attendees to enjoy) they where just as bad or worse than what I created years ago. Maybe we, as homebrewers are going about this the wrong way?
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
I was issued a challenge to brew a Barrel Aged Vanilla Porter within 2 weeks. For some reason I agreed to this idea. Choosing to take some of Shea Comfort's ideas and run with them. Going back to Shea Comfort's interview on the Brewing Networks Sunday Session, Brewing with Oak. The idea was simple, using a 5" piece of Honeycomb White American Oak in the last minutes of the boil. Knowing that wood will swell when you add hot water, releasing tannins, expelling positive (and negative) flavors and then capturing these flavors into the beer and hopefully cut the aging time normally necessary for this style of beer.
I started off with the base recipe from Black Butte Porter, raising the Original Gravity up, hoping for a beer finishing around 7.4%. Expecting to bottle and age this beer, I also wanted to push the bittering hops way up to 45 IUB's with a clean Magnum addition. Other than that, the base recipe stayed about the same. To push up the "Barrel Aged" feel, I ordered Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans, which I split and scraped out into a small glass jar. To speed up the extraction process, I added Markers Mark (1.5oz) and let them steep together while the beer was fermenting.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Aroma: Overripe pear mixed with the aromas you would expect walking into a lumberyard. Small amounts of a gritty hay like hint also linger about.
Appearance: A breathtaking golden yellow, crystal clear liquid just asking to be consumed in the tulip. A perfect lace adorns the top of the glass. Thin, yet resilient. The constant bubbles stream up constantly from the D etched on the bottom of the glass.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
|An, almost proper pint|
I've never brewed a traditional English Bitter. The more I think about it, the more I'm upset I get. It's no secrete that I love hops, but a well made English example could be rich in hop flavors and aroma. Maybe it's because a English Bitter isn't a popular style in America? Whatever the reason, I've really missed out on not brewing one because this one is fantastic.
Aroma: Hints of yeast and a breadiness that I can't pinpoint. The more I smell, the more this beer smells like beer, just good plain old fashioned beer. I feel like this is not the best quality to proclaim, but I mean this in all the best ways. I feel like I should be sitting in England drinking this.
Appearance: A golden haze that stays in suspension, topped by a small resilient head, reminiscent of a English Ale planted firmly on top of the glass. I was hoping it would clear, but without any finings this hope is quickly fading. I do really like the thin everlasting head on this beer. It really portrays an English feel to it.