Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fresh Hop IPA 2013

After a few years of trying, I've finally managed to get a good hob yield so I brewed a fresh hop IPA with the hops. I'm not entirely sure what I used as I don't remember which plants survived but I believe this is mostly cascade with some fuggles. The recipe is simple, 12 lbs US 2-row, 1 lb 20L crystal, and 1 lb flaked wheat for some head retention. Mashed at about 151°F for just over an hour. I did a brew in a bag this time; about the largest I can handle and just enough for a 5 gal batch.
I boiled for an hour with 1.1 oz of Chinook pellets at 12.1% AA for bittering then at flame out I added some Irish moss to help with clarity and 8.7 oz of my fresh hops. Chilled and pitched US-05 then fermented for about 2 weeks. OG came in at 1.062, a hair under my expected 1.066 but good enough. I ended up with 4 gallons in the fermenter. One of these days I'll learn to boil with more because I always come up short but can't top up without dropping OG.

Of course, I couldn't let the extra hops go to waste so I had a nice pour over with a tasty craft pale ale from Widmer Brothers.

The beer has only been in bottles for about a week but it's been warm so I decided to give it a shot. Carbonation is a hair low as expected but pretty good overall.

A: Slightly cloudy cider colored. A small head that falls fairly quickly. I expect something larger with the wheat but it's still under carbonated so that might change in the weeks to come.

S: Spicy with a hint of citrus rind. There's a slightly sweet malt but not too much. The hops are clean and mellow, not overpowering.

T: A little grassy with the fresh hops with a mild astringency on the palette. There's some brightness like a slightly lemon flavored iced tea. Malt is caramel flavored and subdued. Mouthfeel is medium with a little sugary thickness from the 1.009 finish.

O: Not too bad. I wish I had caught the hops a few days earlier to cut back on the grass flavor. If I had, I could have used some more for a massive dry hop but they were too far gone by that point. I'm pretty pleased overall. There's enough body to hold up to the cool autumn nights without being heavy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

More kefir experiments

Right now I'm mashing my next kefir experiment, a kefir and yeast fermented sweet stout. I'm also drinking the last of the kefir lambics so I figured I'd review.


Definitely getting some wheat in the nose along with a slight spiciness likely from the Saaz (even though it was well aged and boiled for a while). There's a little cooked fruit in the background, cherry-like. I might be getting a small amount of DMS like sweetness. Overall, the aroma is quite subdued.


While not super cold, I did refrigerate for and hour or so. Despite this, there was a huge pop when I cracked the top. I'm glad this was the end of the batch so the bottle fill was a little low so there was no mess.
A thin white head with large bubbles rapidly dissipates but this isn't surprising for a funky/sour beer.
Deep golden color, almost brassy with a slight haze.


A bit harsh and biting on the front end like a rye ale. There's a little solvent flavor when I aerate, perhaps some fusels were created during the long bottle conditioning. Quite dry with minimal hop flavor. It's also a bit vegetal but not overly so. So real sourness, just hints of it in the background. Quite disappointing.


Despite the pop when I opened it, the carbonation isn't particularly high. The wheat is boosting the body leaving it with a medium body that hangs on your palette just long enough.


Still disappointed there's really no sour but I hold out hopes for the sweet stout. That said, this isn't a terrible beer. If I had another six pack, I'd finish it off but it's not a re-brew batch.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Westvleteren 12

Yes! I got a bottle thanks to a friend who agreed to a swap. So, without further ado, here's the skinny.

Appearance: An off white head that hangs on for ages. The body is a milk chocolate brown.

Smell: Malt forward with dates, raisin, caramel, grapes, sherry, and cooked cherries. Very little hop in the nose.

Taste: Very complex malt flavors with a balanced hop bitterness. There's a little toastiness to complement the same caramel luciousness in the nose.

Mouthfeel: While there is a little thickness, it's surprisingly light for a 10.5% beer, no doubt due to lots of candi sugars. There's a little tickle of carbonation but it isn't particularly high for a Beligian.

Overall: A wonderful complexity of cooked fruits and a perfect balance of malt and hops shows me why this beer is so often rated as one of the best in the world. That said, it's a bit expensive to have more than once or twice unless I lived nearby the Abbey and could get it with less hassle. But don't misunderstand me, I really enjoyed this beer. 97/100