Apr 25 2010

Beer #2

For my second beer, I wanted to try something a little different. I wanted to try making a lighter smoked beer, also known as ‘Rauchbier.’ I noticed that Midwest Supplies sold a peated malt, described as: “While the malt is in the kiln, peat moss outside the kiln is gently smoked over slow burning coals, allowing its vapors to drift above the malt.” This sounded intriguing, so I figured I would throw some in.

  • 2 parts Simpson’s Golden Promise
  • 1 part Crisp Amber Malt
  • 1 part Peated Malt
  • Chinook Hops
  • Amarillo Hops
  • Scottish Ale Wyeast W1728

Overall, the beer came out just okay, but better than I was expecting. It a dark amber, slightly cloudy. It also seemed a little off-color, not sure why, maybe it had something to do with the hops. I had an obviously smokey , campfire aroma, mixed in with earthy woody smells. On tasting it, I thought the smokey flavor was a little too powerful. It’s probably good for a smoked beer, but I was trying for something a little less intense. However, underneath the smoke it was a nice, crisp ale. If it weren’t for the smoke, it would be a nice, refreshing brew, and it had a nice hoppy bite to it. The carbonation seemed low, so next time a little more honey before bottling it. I think I will revisit this recipe, both one without any of the peated malt, and one with the amount used either halved or quartered.

Apr 17 2010

Beer Review: Sam Adams Noble Pils

I saw a 6-pack of Samuel Adams Noble Pils at the store last night, and since I’ve heard good things about it, I picked it up without hesitation. It was defiantly a good choice. Nice clean pour, amber color and clear. Head is light, recedes pretty quickly. Light hoppy aroma. Very crisp, with a slight grapefruit flavor of hops, and a nice bitter after taste. Personally, I think it had more flavor than most pilsners. Very drinkable, and very nice chilled.

Sam Adams Noble Pils

Apr 15 2010

Beer Review: Southampton Triple Abbey Style Ale

The Southampton Double White is one of my favorite beers. So I was thrilled today when I was picking up a pack of Sam Adams to celebrate their 25th anniversary that I spotted a large bottle of Southampton Triple Abbey Style Ale. Previously, I had only had their three flagship beer – the Double White, IPA, and Altbeir. I had no idea they made a triple, and it is one those beers I like to consider a “secret beer,” one that isn’t mentioned on the brewer’s website.

When I first poured the beer, I noticed that it was dark amber, slightly cloudy. The head was yellow and receded quickly. The nose was quite mellow, mostly being sweet and malty. It has a medium heavy mouthfeel, and it the alcohol taste was pretty strong, or at least stronger than I would expect from an 8% ABV beer. Taste wise I can only really describe it as having a sweet, almost caramel or candy like flavor. Again, because of the hotness from the alcohol, it reminded me a little like a whiskey. Defiantly a good beer, although it’s not one that you sit back and chug on a summer day, it’s better for sipping and enjoying.

Apr 13 2010

Beer Review: New Glarus Spotted Cow

First of hopefully many beer reviews. A colleague who lives in Madison, Wisconsin brought be a highly sought after local beer: New Glarus Brewing Co‘s Spotted Cow. I believe it’s classified as a farmhouse ale.

The beer is dark gold in color and cloudy. It has a light head that recedes quickly. The aroma is really nice, slightly fruity and yeasty. But most of all, it smells like Gouda cheese, and not in a bad way. The taste is sweet with major nutty and buttery characteristics. It’s very low in bitterness/hopiness. It has a medium mouth feel, and although it’s not very light it is very drinkable.  I’ve had it both cool and warm, and warm actually seems better, as more of the complex flavors are enhanced. It’s defiantly a good beer, I can see why its a prized local brew.

Apr 6 2010

Beer #1


First of all, I’m getting my grains, yeast, and hops from Midwest Supplies. The Brooklyn Brew Shop has some of the best kits around, and I’m currently anxiously awaiting an order of Bel-Gin Strong from them, so if you’re new to this (like I am) then you should check them out.

The Recipe

So this is my first beer. I say that in the sense that this is the first beer I’ve brewed that is my own ‘recipe.’ I want to use the term recipe lightly, as I pretty much just picked malts, hops, and yeast that I thought would go good together based on their description. So here’s what I used to make one gallon of my very first beer:

  • Golden Promise (Simpson’s) – 2 lbs
  • Roasted Barley (Simpson’s) – 2 lbs
  • Northdown Pellet Hops ~0.5 oz
  • Belgian Strong Ale Wyeast W1388

The Golden Promise sounded good to me, which is why I decided to use it as a base and starting point for my malt.

Simpsons bring you this barley traditionally grown in Scotland. Golden Promise is very versatile, and may be used in many ales and lagers as it produces a sweet and clean wort. An integral ingredient in Scottish ales and lagers. Great base malt for UK and American IPAs.

I got the roasted barley as I wanted to add some color and chocolate and coffee flavors. I intended to really only use a handful, but ended up using half of the 1 lb bag. The hops also seemed to be a good overall pick, and the Belgian strong yeast was picked for it’s ability to produce higher ABV beers. I’ll admit it, I like a beer with hotness to it that gives you a kick.

The Result

First things first, something crazy happened here. I made exploding beer. The bottles didn’t explode, but every time  I open one of the Grolsch swing tops beer comes spurting out. Most of the bottle ends up as head. I don’t know why, I guess over carbonation maybe from using too much honey before bottling. But once in a glass, it’s delicious.

The color is extremely dark, on a scale of 1-10 it’s defiantly a 10. The head is, as mentioned, very thick from tiny bubbles and is a dark tan. The aroma is actually kind of sweet and fruity, but mostly smells like chocolate. The beer is defiantly hoppy, but the main flavor is coffee. Since when I open the bottles they more or less go volcanic, all the sediment from the bottom gets all kicked up. The result is there is a definite yeasty/woody taste. Despite the semi-sweet aroma, the beer is dry.

So in conclusion, it was a good first beer. Maybe a little too dry for my liking, but it has a good stout taste. Unlike many stouts, it doesn’t have an acidic quality to it. And I like the chocolate-coffee flavor, next time I would ease up on the roasted malt.

Apr 6 2010

Brewing: An Intro

Recently I started home brewing beer. For the last few years I’ve really gotten into beer. And I mean real beer, not Budweiser, Coors, Miller, or any of those abominations. I guess it started back when I was at RIT and I took a beer appreciation class. I’ll admit, the first reason I took the class was the idea of drinking beer for credits was extremely appealing. However, I soon began to love all the different flavors and unique brews I was shortly introduced to. My tastes grew, and shortly I was trying to find as many different beers as I could get my hands on.

Shortly after, I graduated and got a job in NYC at Firstborn as a Flash Developer (but that’s another story). Across the street from our office is a place called ‘Beer & Cheese’ which soon became my favorite place for obvious reasons. Later, though one of my project producers I ended up at beer and bacon tasting event, hosted in part by her fiancee who works for a beer importer. At the event, I was told about a new bar that only serves American craft brew. In fact, beers like Bud are not welcomed there. Instead, they keep a rotating tap of 20 microbews on tap, every week they have a totally different selection. And lucky for me, this new bar opened a block from the office. I soon became a regular visitor, heading down with a few coworkers every Friday after work

Soon after, I figured it was time- time to start making my own beer. I had made wine previously, so I had some transferable knowledge. I got my first kit from the Brooklyn Beer Shop, and unfortunately I screwed it up by accidentally watering it down. I did a few more kits, and finally got a loose grasp on it. I recently started ordering loose grains alongside kits from the Brooklyn Beer Shop to experiment with. And this is where it begins I guess, my trials, failures, and successes in the wonderful world of home brewing.