Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chocolatey and Roasty

Chocolatey and roatsy are two of my favorite words when it comes to beer. If a beer is either chocolatey or roasty they are typically beers that I like.

Yesterday, Matt and I bottled the latest beer that I had brewed about a month earlier along with some friends. I wasn't sure what to expect since I had taken a recipe from Austin Homebrew Supply and added an additional pound of dark malt. I wasn't sure what this modified recipe would do for the final product and since reading Designing Great Beer I have learned that randomly adding ingredients isn't precisely the way to modify a recipe. So, as I set about cleaning and sanitizing the space, equipment and bottles I was little nervous about the outcome.

Once we started the siphon, I put some beer in the hydrometer tube to determine the final gravity and alcohol content. I think we finally have a hang of this process and the beer ended up being about 4.5% alcohol by volume which I think might be the first time I've made something more than near-beer.  (Actually, I don't think that is true entirely, but I'm just not certain what the content was in the previous two batches was).

Then as the beer was transferring from the carboy to the bottling bucket, I poured two sample glasses of the finished but not carbonated beer.  I really wasn't sure what to expect. I was a little worried, to be honest.  What if this beer just wasn't good at all. I suppose I shouldn't have been too worried, the beer had a great foundation with good flavors including chocolate malt.  It smelled pretty good so I proceeded to give it a small sip. And I was pleasantly surprised.  The chocolate and roast flavors were the most pronounced. It was probably the most complex beer I  made so far.  It is, I should say. 

We filled the Party Pig and then bottled about another case and a half.  It just needs to condition for about three weeks or so and then chilled and enjoyed.  We plan to try the Party Pig first and save the bottles for a summer camping trip with friends so we can share it.  I can't wait to taste it once it is carbonated in the bottles.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Recent Adventures in Beer

I've been absent from the Beer Blog lately and that isn't for lack of trying. The brown is still in the carboy brewing and the ESB has matured nicely in the bottles that it has lost that Belgian sugar taste.
Since that time, there have been a couple of beer related events. 
On April 28th, we went to our favorite local beer bar for the NFL Draft's opening night.  We intended to go to a super secret beer club, but when we arrived we discovered it was closed for a private event. We ended up at the public bar to watch the draft instead. While there, we talked with some other guys at the bar.  That is one of the things I love about beer. It is a great way to have a conversation with a total stranger.  It began with a discussion of Allagash beers, which was a favorite of one of the attendees.  Turns out he is also a regular but more regular than we are and also a member of the beer club with a lot more beers under his belt.  He knows his stuff when it comes to dealing with the beer club politics.  This conversation led to each of us trying a different Allagash beer.  Myself and another guy tried the Allagash White.  Matt tried the Allagsh Dubel and the Beer Chancelor and the fourth guy had the Allagash Tripel.  We discussed the various complexities of these beers and enjoyed conversation about that as well as about Football. 
Two days later, we went back to the same bar for their parking lot beer fest.  We got there early, went inside to have a pre-beerfest drink and then went out to the festival.  It was a really hot day though and I learned a very important lesson, kids.  Hydrate!  We had walked to the bar - about three miles - and by the time I had that first beer and not a lot of water I started to feel dizzy.  We didn't stay long.  I wish we could have, there were a lot of beers but the thought of just standing in the sun all day didn't sound like fun once we were out there. So, when we talk about drinking responsibly, there is more to it than not driving or useless bar ware. Make sure you keep hydrated.
The next day, though, we donned our Ye Old Renaissance Festival Costumes and joined some friends for a day of fun at the Georgia Renaissance Festival.  I was hoping for great local beer, but alas they were service Ye Old Wisconsin Leinenkugel.  They had the Amber and the Summer Shandy.  For as ridiculous as it sounds, the Summer Shandy was actually very satisfying and refreshing.  A good time was had by all. 
On Monday, we were out at the bar with some friends and I was able to introduce some folks to some of my favorite beers.  My friend Jack wanted to try some stouts so he had Bell's Java Stout and, my personal favorite stout, Duck Rabbit Milk Stout. He was pleased with my recommendations.  Several of us decided we should get together more often.  Beer brings people together.  

There will be bottling soon. I'll update on the brown when that happens.  The next project will be using what I learned in Designing Great Beer to create my own recipe. First plan - a wheat.