Thursday, November 5, 2015

Unlabeled Mystery Beer of Mystery

I found a couple of unlabeled bottles of homebrew in the basement so I decided to give one a shot. Turns out it's a bottle of Festivus Feats of Strength from a few years ago and it's certainly changed.

Appearance: A little bit of a pour explosion. It was at cellar temp but probably needed some time in the fridge to tame it. Dark brown with a thick off-white head. Cloudy, most likely stirred up sediment, and slightly transparent on the edges.

Aroma: Raisins about with some muted spice. Most of the spices have dissipated with time but I'm still getting some clove and cinnamon.

Flavor:  A bit astringent from the spices with a hint of a metallic taste. Huge candy sugar and molasses. Where did this come from?! Checking my notes from before suggests the raisin and fruit have become more of a molasses. Slightly smoky even. I'm thinking the metallic aftertaste and the molasses is suggestive of some oxidation, not surprising for such an old beer.

Mouthfeel: This one is still thin and has gotten more so with age. Definitely the week point. Maybe some wheat or oat would help.

Overall: Aged pretty well for a 5 year old beer. There's a lot of oxidation but not all bad, that molasses is quite nice. I've got one more bottle but I don't think I'll save it another year, it's past its prime for sure.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fresh Hop IPA 2015

As seems to be the case of late, I've been way to busy to do much homebrewing. I've been putting some quite ratings of beers I'm drinking on untappd (add me if you want) but I haven't had much to post here.
A few weeks ago, I brewed two batches, both all grain biab, in about 6 hours! I had some great help to get me through the day and everything went pretty smoothly. This post is about the fresh hop IPA for this year. I got a pretty good harvest off my Cascade so that went into this batch.
Brew day was August 30, 2015.


12lbs american pale malt
1.5lb flaked wheat
1lb crystal 20
1oz Centennial for 60 minutes
1oz Cascade for 30 minutes
Irish moss at 10 minutes
2oz Galaxy at flame out
8.8oz fresh Cascade dry hopped
1 packet of US-05

BIAB mash, 24qt at 155°F for 1 hour
Rinse with remaining water to about 7 gallons (a little under to prevent a boil over)
Boil was 1 hour and went into a bucket fermenter with the fresh hops for 3 weeks

OG: 1.068 (pretty close to my planned 1.061)
FG: 1.008
ABV: 6.78%

Bottled on September 20, 2015 with 100g priming sugar to 32 x 12oz since there was a lot of absorption in the boil and dry hops.

Tasting notes

I tasted a little less than a week after bottling so I didn't expect tons of carbonation but it was conditioning in the kitchen in September so it should be mostly there.

Appearance: Cloudy but there was a lot of sediment in this bottle so to be expected. Golden color and a thick off-white head that took a while to settle so there's certainly carbonation. I'm also tasting it warm so I figured there'd be a lot. The wheat definitely helped with retention.

Aroma: Spicy hops with a bit of stone fruit (the Galaxy maybe?) Sweet citrus and a bit of banana but very subtle. There's also a little paint thinner in the background that may have come from a slightly high fermentation (into the low to mid 70s). Barely noticeable though and certainly not off-putting.

Flavor: A bit of bready malt but not overstated. There's enough bitterness to remind you this is an IPA but it's not overly harsh; more Easter US, less Western. Come slight mango and orange but not a lot of citrus in the month.

Mouthfeel: A bit thick but not too bad. Seems to be from the wheat and should tame itself when colder. 

Finish: Hangs for a little on the middle of the tongue. Hope bitterness can still be sensed for quite some time.

Overall: Not as much of the fresh hop came through as I'd hoped. Maybe not as pungent a batch this time? Or perhaps I should have split between a short boil and the dry hop. It's a decent beer and despite the slightly hints of a warm fermentation with the banana and fusels it's tough to detect, I had to drink it warm and search them out. It'll be a good day to day drinker for the fall but it's not going to win any awards.