Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brewers Pilsener Lager (4.9%)

I am getting again a deep caramel background to this beer in smell which intrigues me for a pilsner. quite a nice head on pour and cloudy orange colour. very similar in body and base flavour with the caramel tasted in Moonlight, but a fairly faint and well blended hop taste from mid palate. still, the base of the malt in this beer does resound, and is interesting to have this for what should be a very easy and refreshing beer. For myself i would rate this as being more deeply flavoured than what i would expect for a lager style beer, let alone the rest of australia who would probably think it a brown ale on taste, compared to the watery/thin lagers we are use to.

letting it warm a bit i can get back to the raspberry stout. upon tasting it had quite a fine and frothy head, which for me i am thinking of contributing it to the caster sugar used in the raspberry sauce. i more refined sugar being evident in the second state fermentation might create a finer carbonation in the beer. this actually made it much more enjoyable to drink, along with a great smooth body that resembled a Guinness in many way (not a Guinness fresh from the keg though). the texture was as good as i have had in one of our beers, and the initial flavour of raspberry seemed to work well with it. disappointment stated mid palate, when the cooper's stout took over creating a dusty flavour common with that stout, leaving the mouth with almost a dry hop taste which stayed on the tastebuds for a while after swallowing. I look forward to laughing at the opening of more of these bottles, and the tasting. I see we maybe should have had less caster sugar, or longer first stage fermentation to remove the sugar from the wort when it went into second stage fermentation, and blend the raspberry better with it. using a tooheys old base beer may also help if the caster sugar creates some body itself...

warmth isn't doing much more for this beer, so i guess in that sense it is a classic lager that is meant to be drunk cold. it is enjoyable for what it is, but can't help feel there is a blending of styles trying to be done through this beer. the hops are not harsh, but i guess being a malt-head it just seems strange to get this flavour. I guess it reminds me a bit of our own 'malt beer' which isn't really a malt beer in my regard, but does have a caramel malt-like hit in it. it is easy drinking enough (again for someone like myself), but there is something not quite consistent.

well, that is enough from me.


PS: if anyone has any recommendations for European beer for me to try, please comment them so i can have a look myself. Cheers.

Natural Blonde Wheat Beer (4.5%)

Another Grand Ridge brew? here it is. frothy on pour but quickly dissipating, i am suddenly hit by a slight sulphur nose that takes me back to the belgium beer tasting i had last week. This corresponds into taste, and must say i find it quite disappointing to my personal tastes. There seems to be a decent body at the background of this beer, but the heightened sulphur flavour overcomes this. luckily though this does not have a powerful length on it so aftertaste is not too bad. Seeing Joel did give me these grand ridge beers for my birthday, and seeing Grand Ridge keep their beers away from chemicals, the life of them dimishes quickly, and 6 months may be too long to leave then undrunk.
A bit of warmth does help with the taste, to bring in more of a citrusy flavour that at least goes with the thin mouthfeel, and the sulphur does diminish with this...

while i give this beer a bit more time to warm, I can let you know that stass and I have decided to open one of our raspberry stouts early as they just seem to be exploding and ruining our bottles. he did go outside with a large plastic container to allow the beer to explode from the bottle into that. and did it ever explode. i closed the glass door to kitchen when he was opening it, and it was worth it. when it opened, it went off like a mortar shell. we still managed to drink about 400ml of it, but the rest of it went all over stass and the (outside) walls of this place. Still, later that night at a Twoks gig, i managed to get Leffe Blonde all over me, so i guess it was even...

back to the beer, the carbonation again seems to be a bit high to separate the taste, sensing a more simplistic beer because of it. having beer from a keg really does add something to a beer, and generally it helps create a more rounded taste, and depending on the use of the keg, a fresher taste as well. here, the back of the tongue is getting overstimulated with the carbonation and so less of the beer is able to be tasted.

well, left disappointed with this beer, but one more Grand Ridge beer to try today...


Moonlight Nut Brown Ale (3.3%)

Yes, you do read it correctly, it is a midstrength beer, and one i have been looking to retry for some time. I did have this once at a beer tasting event but after 15 other beers, i could not get much from it, so here i am to try it with a fresh palate. quite dark in colour for a midstrength beer, with a lovely caramel malt nose. definitely needs a bit of warmth in it to get some more flavour from it...

As I let it warm, I suppose i can let you know, that another bottle of the raspberry stout has exploded, this time sending glass across my bedroom as i slept at 3am on tuesday morning. Having found the main bits of glass, it has been now left to my feet to find the rest, and my room now smells of raspberry. i guess we take the good with the bad.
Also, I have just booked my first four night in Belgium with brussels having a belgium beer weekend the day after i arrive. it just seems this trip was fated after Jaimi first adviced i make the trip over that way. However, we are having trouble finding accommodation in Munich for Oktoberfest, so not everything is going smoothly...

Speaking of smooth, the smoothness of this nut brown is coming through well to give this beer a nice mouthfeel, something not accustomed to midstrength beer as i have found (not that i try many). There is a heightened sense of carbonation which takes away slightly from the feel and leaves the tongue tingling a bit in aftertaste. I can't help but think this could rival the samuel smith nut brown if the flavour and alcohol was boosted, but in regards to what the brewer is trying to attain through this beer, they have done quite well. This, with the Little Creatures Roger's midstrength, are the only two beers to have attempted to create some interesting flavour and texture in such a style of beer, and so commend them on it.
The caramel malt nose and taste do come through more with warmth, and therefore makes this beer rewarding to sip, instead of just 'making do' with other midstrengths at a footy game.
Actually, while speaking of caramel, have just found there is a Japanese brewer (Iwatekura) that make a beer called a 'Caramel Ale'. At the very least, I can say I am quite exciting at trying to find this.

Well, here is to malt, caramel, raspberry, chocolate, and everything sweet that is, and can be, in beer.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Karma of now having a bad day...

First, I want to send out a public apology to Denewey and Stew and all those that attended her farewell/his birthday last night for being the first one to leave and leaving in such a party pooper way. Yes, i have just endured 10 hard and monotonous hours of work to pay for my crime after only getting 2 hours sleep contemplating my old man, party pooper ways last night. it has therefore been a bad day for me getting annoyed at myself for choosing to work today and not getting up to do my bit last night and sing karaoke (wouldn't have done Jeremy justice anyway).
Thanks to Denewey for making me feel better this arvo, and allowing me to apologise before she leaves on Monday. gonna miss ya Denels, sorry for being a meathead.
In my state of self-loathing, what better way to displace some of this disappointment then trying an American stout. Ok, Ok, you know i know they can actually do some decent stouts,
but have to try something. Unfortunately, the Sierra Nevada Stout is quite innoffensive with a nice choc aroma, and dark rich flavour. the texture could be better and leaves the mouth a bit dusty/hoppy, but even in my current disapproval of all things, I can't say this beer is bad (damn it!). I can say though that i will not be going out of my way to drink any more of it (aha, a small battle won by the self-defeated).
Anyway, while i keep playing these pitiful games with myself, good to see everyone kicked on and had a good night without, and in spite of me, and next time i go to that karaoke bar will get up and sing 'I Am Mine' by Pearl Jam (sorry, but it also wasn't going to fit well with the classic karaoke songs people were singing last night either, not just that i would be singing it). so from a couple days ago of belgium beer excitement, japanese karaoke and my own lack of judgement have brought me back to earth. at least i made cup cakes and fudge brownies for desert last night after dumplings to make up for my shortcomings.
Happy Birthday Stew, and see you in Berlin Denewey (and you too Jaimi).


PS: and to top things off, some of our raspberry stout has started exploding. what next can go wrong?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

12 hours of belgium beer heaven


Well, in the past 12 hours my 'good beer guide to belgium' book arrived in the mail, then did a belgium beer tasting at Purvis and now have a contact of a belgium beer distributor who was hosting the tasting last night. Now i wake up this morning to find that the day after i arrive in brussels there is a Belgian beer weekend festival happening in the centre of town, that will have 50 breweries, including all 6 Belgian trappist breweries. What a way to start my beer journey of belgium and find out what breweries i wish to explore more. This trip is planning itself!

OK to last nights beer tasting. Peter Van Osta is in town for this weekend's beer expo and was willing to put up with the aussie palate for the night to host a belgium beer tasting at purvis cellars. was a good turn out (double what was expected) so we had to break up into two groups. 21 beers were on show ranging from the well know (Kwak, Westmalle), to a 'kitchen sink' brewer (gives me a bit of hope) and even an Italian brewer posing as a belgium. as previously, below is the beer journey i went on (and basically what i wrote at the time).
1) De Troch Chapeau Framboise Lambic (3.2%) - sweet in smell and taste (almost overbearing). quite smooth and keeps head well. Fruit beers are traditional 'starter' beers in belgium. this one was so sugary that after rinsing the glass there was still sugar crystals left in it. hmm, raspberry.
2) Oud Beersel Kriek - this cherry beer had a cordial smell, but not as sweet or smooth as the Fram. it had very little head, but surprisingly had a chuppa chup taste in it.
3) De Kninck Blonde (6.5%) - This Antwerp beer was clear yellow but sulphur smell. found it a bit winey and sour and quite dry. mind you, i did get the dregs of the bottle.
4) Caulier Bon Secours Ambree - Caramel smell with a spicey taste, light bodied and frothy. definite belgium flavour coming through
5) Caulier Bon Secours Blonde - sulphur smell. cloudy yellow with froth. slight sting of alcohol maybe, as blonde taste cannot mask it.
6) Bavik De Brabandere Petrus Dubbel Bruin - yes, there was a bit of excitement when i saw this beer. starts well with a slight choc smell in a frothy clear brown beer. taste of alcohol but was smooth, but not a lot going on taste-wise
7) Brouwerji Strubbe Keyte Ostens Belegeringsbier (do the names have to be this long?) - in the end similar to beer 3, but not so bad in aftertaste. beer title longer than it's description!
8) Oud Beersel Bersalis Kadet (4.2%) - described as a triple tasting beer but at half the alcohol, it had a sweeter smell with the spice of a triple in taste. found there the be a dry, slight hop (?) aftertaste.
9) Oud Beersel Bersalis Triple (9.5%) - malter, now here is the triple taste i have been looking for! slight alcohol aftertaste but blended with spice to mask
10) De Landtsheer Malheur 10 - frothy with clear yellow colour. slight sulphur smell. sweet with alcohol aftertaste.
11) De Landtsheer Malheur 12 - dark brow with sweeter smell. malt hit but killed by alcohol burn. has a bit of a barleywine character to it.
12) Caulier Bon Secours Brune - again with the sulphur but with a touch of malt. light brown colour with a dusty flavour.
13) Tenute Collesi Bionda Alter - served very cold. sweet sulphur smell.
14) " " " Ego - sulphur, cloudy lemon cordial/ginger beer colour. decent texture but not getting much flavour. pale ale-ish.
15) " " Ambrata Fiat Lux - Only slighty sulphur. malt but then goes a bit sour in the mouth. again, not much aftertaste.
16) " " Rossi Ubi (red beer) - nice malt nose with little head retention. still sulphur, still a bit sour but malt overcomes for a sweet aftertaste.
17) " " Nera Major - dark malt but with an alcohol smell. watery texture for such a beer - quite a bit delicate actually. not good after trying 16 beers before, but would be interesting to try again on a fresh palate.
18) Waterloo Triple Blonde 7 - sour smell with slight taste of it also, but still has decent ale texture to it.
19) " Double Dark 8 - Slight sour/sulphur smell. darker than 7 with more malt with alcohol aftertaste.
20) Bosteels Pauwel Kwak - Sweet! Caramel flavour but alcohol overpowers.
21) Westmalle Triple - sulphur in smell and taste. spiced with a alcohol taste (duh, it's a tripel [yes, I did write that at the time]).

Overall, frothy heads, sulphur smells/tastes and not as much malt as i would have expected, did bring down my expectations of bold malty beers for my trip to belgium, but of course enjoyed the fruit beers and those beers with enough malt to take away the sulphur i kept getting. fave brewer overall was Oud Beersel for well-rounded beers. like the choc and caramel in a few of them, mostly the Kwak, and would like to try the Nera Major again. Still, was able to meet Peter afterwards with my belgium beer book to ask him questions in breweries over there and get his contact for further hassling. For $10, a dead-set bargain.

Looking forward to the next beer tasting at Slowbeer for barrel aged beers. hmmmm. stay tuned for that one

- Beefy

PS: not that this should be a side note, but Stass and I have just bottled a raspberry stout using a standard cooper's stout with a raspberry sauce stass has a recipe for. as it's sort of an original for us, am putting up the name BARADAO for it (Black And Red And Drunk All Over). upon bottling, the raspberry is very present (seeing we put in the sauce a day before bottling) but has that slight dusty/yeasty coopers malt in aftertaste. hoping in the bottle it blends a bit more, and next time maybe using a dark ale, and not a coopers. still, we will let you know how it goes in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel (7.1%)

What an amazing beer to celebrate my booking of flights to Belgium and Germany. I pulled out the german beer stein i have and invited Stew over to try this beer. Just what i had hoped for when i picked it up a couple of weeks back. big malt hit with a nice spring of alcohol, but as smooth as you can get a beer like this. there was no lingering aftertaste, which made it very easy to drink, and the roundness of the taste across the whole palate was the perfect sensation after feeling good about taking a stab at this trip. I will definitely be going to this brewery when i am over in Germany, and hope they have it on tap. brown body with little head, it had the smell of caramel and alcohol, but mixed well. perfect for this autumn day where the temp didn't get above 20 degrees, and could think in 4 months time being in Europe at the start of their autumn enjoying these types of beers again. a perfect introduction to get me planning my brewery visits over there. and great to have stew enjoy it as much as i did as we chatted about plans for the future.
Will, let yas know if it tastes any better out of the tap over there. Sweet!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bridge Road Brewers, Bling IPA (5.8%)

OK, so this one was a purchase I made on the fly after doing the beer tasting during the week at Purvis. no idea what it would taste like but thought for Stass's birthday he might enjoy it. And, I am happy to say, both of us have.
It has a great blend of hops and malt, with the malt being the basic structure of the beer throughout the palate, with a spring of hops, which is good with the first few mouthfuls, but for me got a little much after a while. still, with a chocolately malt flavour and not a stinging hop taste or aftertaste (just a bit of dusty hops) it went down well. however, my one great surprise from the beer was how smooth and creamy it was. this seems to be a bit of a trait with the Bridge Road Boys, and only make me want to be on this Belgium beer tour with Ben from the brewery. If only there was enough numbers to make it happen.
Anyway, with the probable disappointment to come, at least it was good to see my beer-dar is working well, even for beer styles i don't much enjoy.

Cheers to that,


Meantime, Grand Cru Raspberry (6%)

Hi all,

just a quick one on this beer Stass and I just tried. wasn't really what i expected or really wanted from this beer. but still had enough raspberry flavour to make it interesting. only issue was that it had a sherbet raspberry what was a bit sugery, so didn't go down as well as i would have liked. a decent body and seemed to have a bit of a European flavour to it as well. So as i said, some interesting points, but didn't make for a full journey for me. Still, has got us thinking about our next brew, and we want to redo our raspberry beer, but up the stakes a little. will discuss this in good time.