Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: BANGARANG - Thud Butt

I wanted a Hop Bomb that would make you BANGARANG!, and I got one, and I have the lost volume to prove it too.  I underestimated the impact that the dry hops would have on the final volume, as well as the difficulty of getting 5 oz of hops into the Better Bottle, and out again.  The bitterness is low for the style and needs to be adjusted.  I attribute this to using the home grown hops since I was guessing at AA% for the bulk of the hops in this brew.  A little more gypsum wouldn't hurt either.  There is a sweetness that is not malt derived that came from all the hops, it might be best to cut back on the additions next time.  The color is also darker than I wanted.  Other than these few details the beer tastes great.  Super dank and hoppy with big citrus and a supporting malt backbone that finishes dry.  Alcohol is present yet clean.  I will be sad when this beast is gone.

Look: Pours a rich, hazy amber w/ a thick, dense, long lasting beige head that leaves thick lacing throughout. Sparkles.

Aroma:  Smells of big resiny hops, grapefruit peel, citrus, orange zest, dank, tropical fruits, pepper, spicy hops, sweet toffee and light caramel, spicy & floral alcohol, raisins.

Taste:  Taste mirrors the nose.  Dank hops, resin, chocolate, citrus peels, spicy alcohol w/ hints of rose, big hops, passion fruit, spicy hops/pepper, raisins, lightly burnt sugar.  Sweet hops.  No off flavors.  Nos solventy alcohol.

Mouthfeel:  Sweet, creamy, full body, spicy alcohol warms the throat, semi-dry finish, drinkable.  Bitterness comes in the finish and, with the carbonation and low FG cleans the palate, but the bitterness is fairly low for the style, more English IPA then American.

Overall:  Big Hops!  Hops shine in the flavor and aroma, though not in the finish.  Malt plays a great supporting role.  Hops give a heavy resin and sweetness.  Color is a little dark.  With a few adjustments this beer will be all the glory it was supposed to be, but it definitely makes you BANGARANG!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Update: Hops, Promotion and New Schedule, Vacations

It has been awhile since I last posted, there was a nice vacation to Portland with family which included a couple visits to Full Sail's Pilsner Room which was a short walk from the hotel, dinner at Burnside Brewing, as well as lunch at Bridgeport, and a trip to Cascade Barrel House and Belmont Station.  We also had a church campout where, surprisingly, my pastor who always complains about the amount of hops in Pacific NW beers tried my DIPA with 1# of hops in 5 gallons and enjoyed it.  I also got a nice promotion at work which brought new hours and much more work.  The new hours are nice, they give me much more time with the family in the afternoons, and open up the potential for going home after work and getting in a full brewday which will keep weekends opened.  I can even bottle in the evening and not have to worry about finding time on a Saturday morning.

Speaking of brewing and bottling.  I have a second edition Hefeweisse in the works soon, as well as an English Bitter.  I will be bottling the Lambic I brewed last September from the yeast on Blackberry skins in the next week or so.  Gave it a taste this morning and it is very nice, fruity, clean lactic tartness, no acetic, maybe a little high on the oak, but I like oak character, so I am okay with that, no oxidation, slight funkiness.  

The new hops are coming along quite nicely with much better growth on some of my new first years compared to last years Chinook, which has already surpassed the height of the trellis and I am having to get creative with how to keep it out of the other varietals next to it.  I had quite a bit of Aphid issues this year, and the mild soap spray I used killed them all off, but scorched some of my leaves as well.  I had a buddy who grows lots of hops (I got most of my rhyzomes from his hop yard) come by to take a look at the plants and he recommended fertilizing and longer deeper waterings.  Since giving longer waterings and adding some Miracle Gro the plants are looking much healthier.  I've even got some healthy side arm growth going on my big plants.  All in all it is looking to be a good year of growth; hoping for a decent yield on my Brewer's Gold, AlphAroma, Cascade, Shinsuwase, and maybe even Blisk and Cerara.  Chinook should be good this year.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: Cavendish & Cloves Collide

Yes, this review is long overdue, like, 14 months overdue.  I brewed this Hefeweisse the last weekend in March of 2011.  First double batch, first step mash, first time culturing yeast from bottles, first open fermentation.  Lots of firsts.  Also a last... the last bottle.  I enjoyed the last bottle of my hefe on 4th of July with breakfast: Chocolate Clove French Toast.  The pairing was heavenly.  As I enjoyed the aroma and flavor of the beer, and paired it with the meal, I decided it needed a review, something to compare with when I rebrew this beer, as I will do soon.  I had forgotten how much I loved the beer, and was glad to get the itch to brew a new one.

Look: Pours a crystal clear goldenrod with a huge billowing white head until the yeast get swirled in and it goes murky and the head turns light beige with flecks of brown in it.  Carbonation roles up the middle of the hefe glass and keeps the head lasting to the very end.  Faint lacing.

Aroma: Smells of over-ripe bananas and clove.  The esters and phenols are balanced and very prominent as they should be.  Hints of vanilla and strawberries come up as well, mild bubblegum.  Sweet malt.  No hops.

Taste: Taste mirrors the nose with lots of banana and clove, touch of cinnamon, a little strawberry and bubblegum, fresh cereal, sweet malts, grainy.  Tart.  No hop presence.

Mouthfeel:  Rich and creamy, big carbonation dances on the tongue keeping it light, dryish finish, sweet, just enough bitterness to balance.

Overall:  Very impressed with how this beer turned out and how it held up since everyone says they have to be drank fresh.  Big banana and clove, both in balance, light vanilla and bubblegum, tart finish, big carbonation and great head, light malt sweetness and graininess.  Biggest problem (not from age, it was in the beer 14 months ago as well) is the lack of protein haze.  Without swirling up the dregs and adding them to the glass this beer is crystal clear.  The lacing is lacking as well, but could be from the age.