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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Random Tuesday Tasting

Warmed up with some rum
A few Tuesdays ago my buddy Eric of Addison Homebrew Provisions stopped by to hang out and have a few beers.  I took advantage of the opportunity to get some one on one feedback on my Rhino Stout (not to be confused with Imperial Rhino Stout still in secondary), discuss the schedule for some demos I’m going to do for him in October and give him a New Glarus Belgian Red I knew he would enjoy.   My wife Bonnie joined us sporadically as she was cooking and taking care of our daughter.

After getting feedback on the Rhino, too thin and green, it was time to start opening some bottles.

Nice little surprise
The IPAs

I’ve been a little lupulin deprived lately so we decided to start with some IPAs.  This presented a great opportunity to open some of the extras I’d received in some recent beer trades.  We started with the Old Man Hopper's India Pale Ale from Rust Belt that I received in The Barrel Aged Yeti Trade.  Overall it was a pretty good IPA; it wasn’t overly bitter or harsh just well balanced. Some hop aroma was present, could really tell if it was dry hopped or just had a solid aroma boil addition. Definitely towing the line between a pale ale and an IPA. 

Fight Dead Hop Flavor
Drink IPAs Fresh!
Next up was Arctic Panzer Wolf from Three Floyds. I got this beer as an extra in the Math Trade #4 - The Quad Lazer.  Killer name, killer label and killer beer, I’ve had some many bad imperial/double IPA that I’m pretty gun shy about them, so the fact that this was really good was a nice surprise.  Lots of really nice piney hop aroma with a gorgeous color and well balanced flavor profile. No mistaking the bitterness here but again it was nicely focused.

Ended this section of IPAs by opening a year old Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA.  I guess the only thing that annoys me more about using the term Imperial on any beer not a stout is a random spellings of it.  Last year when it was fresh I had a debate with my buddy Marshall on whether or not the beer needed to age.  I personally enjoyed the beer fresh while he thought it could use some age.  I wish he could have made it over so I could grab his notes on it now.  Definitely lost what made it good a year ago, Eric and I described the aroma as dead hops.

Bambic in my broken Zeno glass
The Sours

As I’ve been really into sours lately and knew Eric was an enjoyer of them as well I decided to open a few bottles I’d been dieing to try, starting with Jolly Pumpkin’s Bambic.  The story behind Bambic is pretty cool; it’s a blend Bam Biere and Batch 2 & 4 Lambic done to celebrate Winking Lizard’s, a beer tavern in Ohio know for their World Tour of Beer, 25th Anniversary.  Now this was an excellent beer, the sourness was up front, great nose with excellent notes of the oak.  I got a good laugh when I gave Bonnie a sip, she just doesn’t do sour beers.

More of a dark sour then a stout
After that we opened a bottle of The Bruery’s Tart of Darkness… I’ll be honest this is a good sour beer, but not as fantastic as I’ve heard.  The sourness was a little one dimensional and while the label lists it as a stout there were no stout in it outside the color.
It’s really just a dark sour. I have a couple more bottles that I’m going to sit on and to see if it changes with age. 

The Rest

After the sours we sort of drifted into opening random beers from the beervault.  Eric had brought over an Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence that he wanted to try so we popped the cork on it next.  For most of the time we’d been drinking we’d also been letting this bottle warm so it was at a really nice temperature when we started to drink it.  It had a lot of good bitter chocolate notes on the palate and in the nose which paired nicely with the coffee undertones. The label lists it as a Belgian style chocolate stout but I didn’t get any yeast notes that would give me Belgian style.  Eric who does not like coffee wasn’t a fan which Bonnie the coffee connoisseur loved it.  Bonnie’s Notes: It had deep coffee flavor, possibly a French roast/Italian roasted coffee (dark roast) and a nice note of chocolate.  It was dyn 'o mite. Shouldn't be called chocolate indulgence, should be coffee goodness. First stout I’ve really liked in a long time. 

More like coffee goodness - BJB
I decided to then open the last bottle of brother Ryan’s pale ale that he brought back the last time he was in town.  This was the second time I’ve had it and everyone agreed it tasted off.  It might have been his hop choices, but I really believe it comes down to temperature control for primary fermentation.  This is a subject that can, should and will be its own post.
Bonnie had the next choice of what to open and decided to grab out her bottle of Ballast Point Sculpin that Total Wine now feels is a limit one kind of beer.  This was not the Sculpin that’s been swimming around the top of the craft beer scene this last year. It was definitely off and just didn’t sing to anyone of us.  Bonnie was let down as she really loves this beer.  Bonnie’s Notes: inconsistent, have had fresher (odd considering it was a fresh batch), too sweet on finish.

At this point I needed a palate rinser and my cider wasn’t getting it done so I reached for a ribbon, a blue ribbon that is.  I drink and enjoy PBR as it is a perfect example of a light American adjunt lager.  After that I cracked a Yeti which is one of my favorite imperial stouts.  Either it was off or my palate was off because it didn’t taste right.  It had a mineral graininess on my tongue that I didn’t care for.

Overall I had a great time.  There are few things I enjoy more these days than sitting in my garage drinking and discussing beer with a good friend.  The ability to talk about homebrewing was an added bonus.



The Line Up (Left to Right): Rust Belt - Old Man Hopper's IPA (nice IPA but almost a pale ale), Three Floyds - Arctic Panzer Wolf!, Stone - 14th Anniversary (aged IPA experiment - better fresh), Bambic - AWESOME!!!, The Bruery - Tart of Darkness (Get the stout off the label this is a dark sour), Homebrew Pale Ale, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence (do you like coffee? yes - you'll love it, no - just ok), Ballast Point - Sculpin (was the batch off?), PBR (always a winner), Yeti (either it or my palate was off).

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