Thursday, June 30, 2011

Three Philosophers Belgian Quad

First I would like to apologize it has been a few weeks since my last post, I have been feeling under the weather.  Summer time colds should be against the laws of nature! 

One of the last beers I was able to sample before my sickness and hiatus from beer for while I was beating this.  I was able to experience Brewery Ommegang's Three Philosophers Belgian style blended quadruple.

I pour the ale slowly into my goblet so that I do not disturb the sediment in the bottle from the natural carbonation.  The ale pour brownish/slightly red with a khaki colored head about 1/2" thick.  The foam is stick and creamy.  The aroma of this ale exploded from the glass with notes of dried fruit, raisins, dark malts, and hot alcohol.

The first sip I notice the typical Beglian bready yeast flavors, followed by the dark, dried fruit flavors from the dark malts.  There seems to be a sort of soft spice that I could not put my finger on exactly what it could be, but wonderful none the less.  There are also hints of cherries, that are not over powering.  This is from the ale being blended with Kriek (Cherry Lambic).  The ale finishes dry with a slight taste of what could be cocoa.  Strange I know but I swear it's there!

The mouth feel is thick and creamy, highly carbonated and almost tingles the tongue.  Do not make the mistake I did and over chill this ale.  On the bottle the recommended serving temperature is 50 degrees do not sell your self short by drinking it colder.  I had to let mine warm up to full experience the greatness this complex beer has to offer!

Wonderful Belgian Ale, head out and pick one up!  You wont regreat it!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sweetwater Blue

One of my favorite places in Atlanta is the Sweetwater Brewery.  I've toured it, i've drank from their 'dank tank' and it was everything a beer nut could imagine!  Sweetwater Blue has a special place in my heart because I have been able to turn quite a few people away from Anheuser Busch with it.  It is my "Oh you've never had a craft beer before?  Try This" Beer typically their eyes bulge and they look at the glass take another drink look back at the glass and go WOW! 

Sweetwater Blue, is one of the flagship ales from Sweetwater (the other being their 420 Pale Ale).  The beer can be found primary in the Southeastern United States.    I mean why not?  The best NCAA teams are in the SEC any way! 

The ale pours smoothly into my pint glass leaving a quarter inch of head that dissipates quickly.  The ale is just a shade darker then gold.  The aroma instantly clues you in, it's called "Blue" for a reason.  The Blueberry aroma pairs nicely with the slight twang of the floral  hops.  The first sip is smooth, the malt sweetness is smooth and refreshing.  The Blueberry is not over powering or to sweet.  This is a beer with a bit of fruit, not a fruit beer.  I am not a fan of fruite beers I find them to be far to sweet, but the Blue does it for me.  It's great on a summer day!  This is by no means an 'earth shattering' beer.  But, it is a good beer and worth picking up a 6 pack of.  This is a 'Gateway' beer, it will lure you over to the dark side away from fizzy yellow water!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Ayinger Brau-Weisse and Brewing a Hefeweizen

We have been having fun around the brewery!  Style of the month at my local homebrew club was wheat and rye beers.  So why not brew a Hefeweizen?  After all it is hot as hell and Hefe's are great on a warm day!  So that is exactly what we did!

As my strick water was pre heating to attain my 152*F 60 minute mash, I decided to enjoy a beer and offer a review.  Ayinger Brau-Weisse which is one of the most authictic Hefeweizen's you can get.  This comes strait from Aying Germany thanks to Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer Brewery.

Got a bit excited on my pour!

The Hefeweizen pours smoothly into my pint glass, with about 3" of fluffy white head, due to my pouring to fast! [eerrr Rookie mistake, oh well]  The appearance of this ale is honey, slightly light copper in color, and hazy/cloudy.  The aroma is dominated by wonderful aromas of bananas and clove.  The flavor is smooth, the yeasty charactor compliments the banannas and clove perfectly.  The carbonation is crisp, and wonderful!  The finish has some slight spice, and leaves you wanting another sip!  This personifies authentic Hefeweizen.

If you are interested in what a truly refreshing, true to style, authentic wheat beer tastes like this one is for you!

Drink like a GERMAN!!! CHEERS!!!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Life on the Brew Front

Life on the brew front has been exciting.  Things are changing, equipment is being upgraded, and now toys are being added. 

So, lets start with the addition of a vintage 1939 General Electric Kerorator to the brew house.  This was a true rags to riches story for the refrigerator.  I'm sure in it's hayday of the 40's and 50's this piece of history hummed along in someones well-to-do kitchen of the time.  Never creating an issue, until it was no longer the lastest and greatest so it was sold.  The GE has probably changed hand 10-20 times in the past 72 years, until it looked like this.

Just in terrible, cosmetic shape, but no worse for the ware in the mechanics of the machine.  Also, a testimonial for true craftsmanship, still working fine 72 years later.  Despite a frayed electrical cabel (the cloth cover was looking ratty) still running like a brand new one.  So, my wife and I went to work, countless hours with an angle grinder, digging through what we could tell was 3 different coats of paint.  With some work, love, and a few curse words.  She is now the work of art that resides in the brewery!  The second tap will be added this weekend.


Now that the "Beer Dispensing System" is almost complete, lets move to the actual brewing side.  Steps have been made to finally convert to an all grain system.  Without utilizing a MLT (mash lauter tun), I am going to utilize the BIAB (Brew In a Bag Method).  It is a relatively new brewing procedure were your mash is actually done inside the brew kettle, with the grains in a grain bag, inside a steel basket to support weight.  This allows for all-grain brewing without any more then a pot big enough to hold your full biol volume, and your extra sparge water, and a burner.   I have the pot under control a converted 15.5 gallon keg, and a brand new Blichmann Engineering Burner.

Blichmann products are supposed to be top of the line.  This thing is supposed to make 10 gallons of water boil in 13-30 minutes (I currently wait an hour for 7 gallons to boil), and be remarkably fuel efficient.  It will get it's inaugural run this weekend, with a summer time style of wheat beer an "American Hefeweizen".

So as I move into a new phase of my brewing, now I can better perfect recipes of my own Ales by controlling the amount of grains in the mash.  I also should be able to perfect fermentation temperatures with my small chamber.

We getting serious around here, come by and check us out some time!