Archive for October, 2007

80 Bottles of Beer (No Comments)

The Halloween Party went well and although we had fewer guests this year, more beer was consumed. We went through about 80 bottles of beer, which leaves us with close to 150 bottles on the shelf. We may need some help drinking it all up.

My fears about the smokiness of the Scotch Ale were apparently unfounded. It was the most popular, or at least the most consumed, beer at the party. We also managed to clear out almost the entire stock of ‘Special Reserve’, which is just a fancy way of saying Old Beer.

Quite a few movies were shown, but as usual, I didn’t actually watch any of them. Much fun was had by all, the party went into the wee hours of the morning, and I look forward to doing it all again next year.

– Chris

Tasting the Halloween Brews (No Comments)

I tried all four of the Halloween batches tonight. I’m happy to say that 3 of the 4 are fully carbonated, and the 4th is close. So here are my initial notes:

1) The Beerios is excellent as always. This batch seems slightly hoppier and a little more bitter than the previous batch, but I’ll know for sure when I finally taste them side by side. The hops I used this time were a sligtly higher Alpha Acid than last time, and even though I adjusted my additions, that may have affected the results.

2) The IPA has a very floral aroma and a wonderfully citrus hoppy flavor with sweet malty undertones. By itself, I don’t notice any differences form the previous batch, but I suspect the hop flavors are stronger as a result of a longer dry hopping period and substituting Cascade Hope for Northern Brewer Hops used in the previous batch.

3) The Chocolate Stout is a dark and roasty brew with a sweet chocolate finish. The bittersweet chocolate taste has mellowed considerable since bottling day, but the batch seems just a little too roasty. We may want to reduce the Black Patent or Roasted Barley the next time around.

4) Finally, the Scotch Ale seems a little under carbonated, but that may just be an effect of how thick the beer is. This beer coats the tongue, which is good, but unfortunately it has an unpleasantly smokey flavor. This is our first time using peat smoked malt and we may have been a little heavy handed. Cindy was less put off buy the smoke, so it may have also been my perception because I sampled this beer immediately after drinking the Chocolate Stout. Anyhow, we will probably halve the peat smoked malt if we try this recipe again.

Finally, for my two readers, I would like to remind you that the Halloween party is this Saturday. Oh, and I’ll be diggin into the archive and bringing out the ‘Special Reserve’ batches for tasting and drinking up. As a warning, some of it is quite old, so I cannot guarantee that all of those bottles will taste good. I will be sampling several of the previous batches to compare with more recent batches. Hopefully others will be willing to compare batches and comment on the differences.

– Chris

Bottling – Day 2 (No Comments)

Only 102 bottles today. I bottled the Double Chocolate Stout and a batch of Beerios today. Both had appropriate finishing gravities and tasted rather good for flat beer. The blend of chocolate and coffee in the Chocolate Stout makes for a very flavorful and roasty beer.

I have bottles left from the previous two batches of Beerios, so I am looking forward to tasting all three of them side by side. Each one one has a few small changes in the recipe and I am curious how different the flavors are.

Anyhow, I’d write more but it’s late and I am tired from two evenings of bottling. Oh, one last thing, we bought a stick of the Old Chub lip balm, and I really can’t recommend it.

– Chris

Bottling – Day 1 (No Comments)

103 bottles of beer on the wall . . . actually, 103 more bottles. I’m a little behind with the beer for the Halloween Party, but as long as conditioning/carbonation goes well, it should all be ready in time.

Today I bottled the IPA and the Scotch Ale. I was a little disappointed by their final gravity, both came in at 1.030. They still fermented rather fully because they were high gravity beers to start, but I was hoping for a final gravity below 1.024. I suspect that they will both taste a little sweet as a result, but it is hard to tell without the carbonation.

The Scotch Ale isn’t quite as smokey as I had feared it would be after tasting it during the transfer over a week ago. It still has a little more smoke flavor and aroma than I would like, but it is not overpowering. The IPA on the other hand has an incredibly strong hop aroma from the Dry Hopping. I should have transferred it off the hops last week, but we were very busy. I like the aroma and flavor, but it doesn’t seem quite as balanced as it was in my last batch. I’ll post my final impressions after the beer carbonates and I can taste the two batches of this IPA side by side.

Finally, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t sent out the invite for the Halloween Party. I will try to send it out tomorrow, but no promises. For the two of you that read this blog, the Party will be at 7 on the 27th.

– Chris