Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Beer Words: Fermentation

Brewer's Yeast

Fermentation is a key part of brewing. This is when the alcohol is created by the yeast. Wikipedia has a decent overview of fermentation that will cover the more general meaning of the word. Here's an overview of the brewing process and where fermentation fits in.

  • heat water
  • steep grains
  • add malt extract
  • add bittering hops
  • add finishing hops
  • cool wort
  • transfer wort to fermenter
  • pitch yeast
  • let the yeast work
  • yeast is finished "working"
  • keg or bottle it
  • wait for it to clear
  • serve

Fermentation is all about the yeast or brewer's yeast to be more specific. The yeast creates the alcohol. It also contributes to the flavor of the beer. What else do you need to know about fermentation? Each type of yeast has different characteristics. Some yeast can live at cooler temperatures and some at warmer. Some yeast can tolerate higher percentages of alcohol so it is used to create beer with a higher alcohol content.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Brew Pub: The Brickskeller - Washington DC

This is one of the first great pubs I was ever in. I haven't been there in about 10 years. I first tasted McEwans Scottish Ale here. I think I even bought a whole case shortly after that. I remember walking up into the pub. It was kinda easy to miss as I remember it. There must have been a bar area that we walked past to get to the tables. The tables were in a fairly cozy room that had (what else?) brick walls all around. This place blew my mind. Being a relatively uneducated beer fan I honestly didn't know there were that many types of beer in the world let alone brands. Holy smokes! Here's their beer list. I just hit the BeerAdvocate page myself and it seems that some people have a bone to pick when it comes to the Brickskeller. All I know is that it blew my mind 10 years ago as an uneducated beer fan. I would still go there today. I'll do my homework first of course. I'll go to Beer Advocate to make a list of 20 beers and see if they are on the list. So what, if they don't have 10 of them. I'll be ready for the 10 they do :-) Have you been there? What did you think of the place? Has it changed in 10 years?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Beer Blogging is hard work!

Nothing major to post today. I was looking around for a site that gave a great down to earth brewing overview. Here is what I found. This guy does a great job of documenting the process and even has pictures. Check out Paul's Brewing Home Page.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Tasting Time Again: Stoudts & Victory V-12

So it was about 65 degrees tonight. Isn't that the suggested temp for fermenting beer? Heheh...well no brewing tonight. Just some microbrew tasting. Or maybe they call that craft brewing these days (shrug). So I was down at Bryan's place tonight. I brought a cigar with me, an El Rey De Mundo Robusto. Bryan presented me with a golden coppery beer in a pint glass. I was kinda puzzled by the nose and taste. I didn't take notes, but, I remember it being very complex. I couldn't place it. After a minute or so he gave it up. Stoudts Double IPA was more than I was expecting. Wow, not exactly one of those brews that you can categorize easily. Definitely enjoyable, but, not for the faint of heart :-) A bunch of conversations later and the arrival of some other guests brought out the bigger beer. Victory V-12 is a 12% quadrupel that is utterly drinkable. I can't say I have anything to compare it to. It has a subtle nose and a balanced taste. We shared a large (750 ml) bottle of this limited edition brew. This is an excellent high end beer for that person who hasn't tasted too many high end beers. Thanks Bryan :-). So toward the end of the night Bryan suggested Stoudts' Fat Dog Stout. Kinda heavy for the finishing beer, but, it went well with the cigar. Again no tasting notes. It pours a deep brown with the light catching a reddish tint. This is not the Irish stout that you may be familiar with. It is much more than that. Kinda like a Stout with a suppressed porter personality.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Brewing Experience: Sharing

From that point on I needed to share this with everybody! I shared it with my Dad and he liked it. I shared it at a party and found a fan. Of course some people swallowed and said, "It's really too dark for me." That was fine I knew not everybody would like it. That was the first time I brewed the Altbier. It's still my favorite to brew. That's why my latest batch was a big disappointment. Note to self. Don't ferment at 80 degrees. At least I think that was the problem. (shrug) Since then I have brewed: I've shared all of them. Sometimes they like it sometimes they are just being nice :-) Either way it's a fun hobby!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Flying Fish: Variety Case

Stopped by the distributer and picked up a variety case from Flying Fish. The variety consists six bottles each of: I have had this before. I'll post my impressions here later. Porter Dark brown and somewhat transparent. Kinda like looking through a reddish brown beer bottle. There's a 1/2 finger head that shrinks to a 1/8 finger and stays until the end. There's a coffee like sweet malty smell. Somewhat bitter up front with a huge pleasant deep roasted dark finish. This starts clean and carobonated for a porter, but, not bad. Except for the lack of taste up front this is drinkable. So you can drink alot of it just expect all the flavor in the finish and after taste. Abbey Dubbel Good coppery color with large bubbles. The head dissipates quickly and leaves an aroma of alchohol and caramel. The taste is less than inspiring kinda tangy and fruity alcohol taste. Not much to say about the mouth feel. Average and not too carbonated. This isn't offensive, but, it isn't something that I would seek out again. Eh.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Brewing Experience: Fermenting

Of course I obsessed over the beer during the fermentation. I opened it few times to see what it looked like. Yech, it was scary! All those bubbles and that frothy yeast stuff gave me second thoughts. Well finally the yeast finished working and it was time to bottle. I didn't have bottles so I went to a local beer store and picked up three cases of empty Budwiser bottles. Of course they were stinky with that stale beer smell. Some even had cigarette ashes in them. And of course all of them still had the labels. So I decided to clean them using chlorine bleach & water in the bathtub. Those labels were a pain in the butt. After soaking them for a few days and cleaning each one twice I was ready. Of course bottling had it's share of problems too. First you sanitize the caps that come in the kit. Next came filling the bottles. I used the bottling cane which was pretty slick. Hey, I only spilled one bottle of beer. Not bad :-) Then I had to figure out how to use the bottlecapper. It was really easy, but, of course I messed it up somehow. I finally got hang of it. I put all the bottles back in their cases and stored them in one of our closets. Again I was obsessed and wanted to try the beer every day. So I did. Actually I would recommend doing this so you can appreciate the way the beer improves throughout the process. After about two weeks it was carbonated and ready to drink. Whoohoo! I brewed my first batch of beer. I put a few bottles in the fridge for tasting later. At this point I pretty much knew how it was going to taste, but, I hadn't tasted it cold. I poured the first glass and it was very foamy with a huge head. I noted this for the next time and proceeded to take a sip. I distinctly remember hoping it would be better cold. Hey it wasn't bad. The nose was a little harsh, but, the taste was actually good. I did it. It didn't suck! Heheh...what a good feeling. Next time, Sharing :-)

Beer Words: Wort

First you might want to look a this abridged list of beer words. It's handy and the definitions are short. So what is this thing called wort? I don't know about you, but, I love to say it. People look at you funny and you can pretend you are a real brewer ;-). Here's my definition... Wort is what you call the liquid that you cook on the stove when brewing. When you are done cooking it you ferment it and make beer. A basic wort will contain water, sugar (in the form of malt extract) and hops. This is the first chance you get to control the taste of your beer by adding various ingredients. The word in use... When making the typical 5 gallons of homebrew you may choose to cook your entire 5 gallon wort at once. If you don't have a pot big enough for this, you can cook a smaller wort at first and add the remaining water to the wort later just before you ferment. By the way, wort, is a good woody word ;-) Yes, "wort" is good and woody. What about "sparge" and "malt"? Oh and don't forget about "Zymurgy", "Spa-a-rge" heheh "Zymu-u-urgy". Oh dear. There's a funny thing, -- all the brewing words sound woody ;-)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Brewing Experience: The Wort

I remember sitting on my kitchen floor in Rockville, MD trying to figure out where to start. That week I stopped by a home brewing supply store. I was too embarrassed to ask any questions. I guess I felt I needed to case the place first :-). I stopped by again and asked the guy if he could help me out. This is the part that never seems to change. I've been to at least five home brew shops and they are always eager to help. I walked out with buckets and gadgets that I didn't even know the name of. I also chose my first beer kit, German Altbier. So back to sitting on the floor in the kitchen. Now you have to understand, I was about the most unorganized guy you ever met back then. This whole thing was frying my brain. I read so much home brewing information that I was paralyzed. I eventually got the equipment sterilized and started heating the water for the wort. I remember thinking that I could get this done in about 2 hours. Right, it took me that long to heat the water. Anyway, with stuff sprawled all over the place I noted the time and began the process.
  • Oops forgot to crack the grain.
  • Ok done, now I steeped the grain
  • added the dry malt and malt extract
  • read the instructions...waited for the wort to boil
  • read the instructions...added the bittering hops
  • read the instructions...crap! it's boiling over!
  • read the get the picture etc. etc.
Once I was done I measured the specific gravity and read the next step. Ok I wasn't ready for this, "Chill the wort." I started trying to chill it by putting the plastic bucket in the sink in cold tap water. About an hour later (probably 1:00 AM) it wasn't anywhere near cool enough. So I added all the ice we had in the freezer. Finally around 2:00 AM it was cool. I pitched the yeast added the airlock and went to bed. Whew. So, my first brewing experience didn't go so smoothly. I would really like to put together a foolproof guide to help beginning brewers avoid these type of problems. Next time I'll post about what happened during fermenting.

The Brewing Experience: Inspiration

I was just checking out a discussion over at fngeeks. Jeremy is one of the people that runs the site and posted a link to this blog. Thanks Jeremy :-) Anyway, I was reading peterfn's post in the f'n bar discussion. He mentioned that he has brewed in the past, but, that he hasn't been active recently. I can identify with that. I seem to brew a few batches and not get back to it for a while. At one point I think I stopped for 4 or 5 years. The summer is especially tough due to the temperature issues. I just found that out with my Altbier. That's the thing about brewing. There are so many variable factors. Why do we do it? So we can drink beer that we made ourselves of course :-) This post will be the beginning of a series of posts about my brewing experiences. I became involved in brewing when my Dad started making his own wine. He started back in the early 90's. His inspiration has its roots in his childhood. As a kid growing up in rural Central/Western, PA he helped make beer and root beer for each Forth of July. As he tells it the finished product was a lot different. Not exactly up to par with the microbrews on the market today. They used to do some strange stuff like putting a raisin in the bottle before capping it for carbonation, but, that's a post for another day. His father also made his own wine back then. These experiences inspired my dad to try his hand at making his own wine. During weekend visits with him we would sample wine from the previous year while preparing a new batch. It was so cool to think he made the wine we were drinking and it was good. He eventually suggested that I try it out, but, I'm not much of a wine drinker. Then the conversation turned to making beer. His friend Frank had been making wine and brewing beer for a long time. Eventually he offered to show us how to make beer. I was so "into" microbrews back in 1996 that I jumped at the opportunity. I think my favorite beer back then let's see...this is a hard one ;-)...anything from Sam Adams...heheh...oh except the cranberry lambic (shudder). The first beer we made was an awesome Octoberfest that Frank just knew how to brew from memory. No instructions at all! I'm still amazed at that. I split the batch with my Dad and I think it was gone in a matter of weeks. I shared it with my friends saying, "Hey we made some beer. Wanna try it?". When they said it tasted really good I was hooked. So there you go...I decided to get my own equipment and read everything under the sun about it. Next time I'll post about my first batch.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Belgian Beer

"Is all beer from Belgium made by monks?" This was a question that came up at Monday night football. It kinda sounds silly. I mean I have been drinking the stuff for years. It couldn't be, could it? I found this web page by Rick Steves that indirectly answers the question. If you don't want to follow the link the short answer is, no. That doesn't make Belgian beer any less intriguing though. Now I want to plan a trip to Belgium to tour the breweries, restaurants and monasteries :-)

Southern Tier - Mixed Case

Tonight was the Eagles first preseason game. That means my neighbor bought a mixed case and invited the gang over. Tonight was Southern Tier. Their mixed case contains a porter, ipa, tripel and an ale. Well it is supposed to. The porter was missing :-( Here's my overview of the three that we tasted. Phin & Matt's Extraordinary Ale It has a thin coppery orange color with almost no head even with a pretty aggressive pour. The nose was hoppy with some malt character. It tasted bitter and tangy with a malty finish. The carbonation was more present while tasting. It is definitely clean fresh and dry. This is a drinkable beer, but, not something I would go out of my way for. Tripel Again this beer has a thin coppery orange color with almost no head. It doesn't have much of a nose at all except for the very slight banana alcohol scent. I certainly didn't expect the taste. It doesn't coat the tongue like other triples. You can definitely taste the alcohol just before, during and after the finish. Even letting it warm up a little didn't help much. This seems like a mass market attempt at a Tripel in that it's not too different, not too strong. It honestly reminds me too much of a Malt Liquor without the nasty nose. Ok I'm a bit harsh here, but, hey if you are going to brew something and call it a tripel it should have more redeeming qualities. IPA Here we go, it presents a dark copper orange, but still not much head to speak of. I really enjoyed the nose of sweet grain unmasking the hops. The best of the three so far. It definitely tasts hoppy. You can't deny that. Then it finishes with a slight malt flavor. As with the others this isn't a heavy beer it feels clean and the carbonation is more present while tasting. This is a good IPA, definitely a better beer than the other two. I would say its an IPA that finishes sweet instead of dry. I like it :-) Sometimes I wonder if my taste buds are deceiving me, but, the gang agreed that the IPA was the best and the others alright.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Brewing - Before Getting Started

So you are probably confused. How will you know what to do? Take a deep breathe and relax it isn't as complicated as it might seem. If you like to read about things before you get started, grab The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing. Tons of people have used it (and the original version) to get started. Also, the home brew store may give you (or sell you) a small pamphlet that explains the basics. One note of caution, you can read until your eyes fall out, but, at some point you just need to jump in. If you are worried that you will mess it up, you should try to find somebody who has brewed before and invite them over to help. A good way to get started is to buy the equipment and an ingredients kit. This way you don’t have to worry about the recipe and the all the steps are written out for you. Keep these general guidelines in mind:
  • Keep things clean.
  • Follow instructions in the ingredient kit.
  • Set aside 4 hours the first day. Depending on how you chill the wort it may take more or less time.
  • Make sure you have a cool place to keep the beer while it is fermenting. 65 to 75 degrees is recommended for Ales. The closer to 65 the better. (Depending on the yeast.) This isn’t a problem if you have a cool basement or if you are doing this during the winter months (those of you that have cool winters).
  • Chilling the wort can be very time consuming so read up on this and decide how you will do it ahead of time.
After you brew and bottle your first batch plan to brew a second batch soon after you taste it. It will be much easier the second time and the practice will help you remember the steps. This way you can remember to avoid any mistakes you made the first time.

Basic Brewing Equipment

Here is what I use to make 5 gallons of beer (actually a little less). I just asked the person at the home brew store what I needed and he set me up.
  • 6.5 gallon plastic fermenter (bucket)
  • 6.5 gallon plastic secondary fermentor (bucket with spigot)
  • 3 or 4 gallon pot to boil the wort in
  • long spoon
  • thermometer, the kind that clips to the side of the pot
  • air lock
  • wort chiller (not necessary, but, saves you lots of time)
  • hydrometer
  • deep sink or sink with hose
  • "One Step" Sanitizer
  • 53 or so 12 oz bottles
  • 4 feet or so of plastic tubing (3/8 outside diameter I think)
  • racking cane ( tube with simple shield on bottom to limit sediment transfer)
  • bottling cane ( tube with valve on the end )
  • clip to hold racking cane on the side of the bucket
  • Plus the stuff that typically comes with ingredient kits.
  • Grain steeping bag
  • Malt extract
  • Crushed grain
  • Priming sugar
  • Bottle caps
  • Yeast
If you want to save some money you could skip the wort chiller. It is no’t necessary, but, it really saves you time.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Learning to make beer...

So what does it take?

It really isn't that hard. It is basically cooking and cleaning. (if you don’t know how to do that, this is a great time to learn ;-) Have you ever taken 3 or 4 hours for any project? Yes? Have you done this two times in two weeks? Then you can brew beer. The most important aspects of brewing basic home brew are:

Friends :-)

One of my Dad’s friends showed us the process for the first time. Ever since then I have tried to have a few people around when I brew. It gives you something to do when you are waiting. Hey, they might even help…heheh.


Clean everything, wait for water to boil, wait for the end of the boil, wait for it to cool down, rack it into the fermenter, wait for it to ferment, bottle it, wait for it to carbonate and then….after you cool it you get to try it!


This is actually easier that it used to be. There’s a sanitizer called “one step” that makes it easy. Basically you just soak your stuff in it or wipe it down well with it and you’re done. The hard part is remembering to clean everything you touch.


After cleaning everything and the water is heated you start timing things. Each of the following happens at a specific time; steeping crushed grain, add the malt extract, add the bittering hops, add the finishing hops, cool the wort and pitch the yeast.

Ran out of time today. Tomorrow I'll post another beginners entry about the equiptment you need.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


I'm going picture happy tonight. I'm adding pictures to all the posts. Check them out! -Adam

Jockey Box Chiller

UPDATE: I don't use this setup anymore. It seemed like the copper diameter was too small. I'll have to give it another shot. If I do I'll probably use larger diameter copper and neatly wrap the copper around a coffee can and bundle it together permanently like my wort chiller. With summer coming I'll have to get on the ball. After kegging the Altbier I needed to find a way to serve it cold. There are a bunch of ways to do this, but, I had to have something by the end of the day. A bunch of friends were coming over to play pool. You can buy chillers called jockey boxes or you can use a kegerator. Heck you can even put the whole keg on ice if you want, but, changing the temp on the unused beer every tiime you want to drink it is not supposed to be good. I was going to go to the Wine & Beer Emporium to pickup one of those modified beer cooler jockey boxes (who came up with name anyway?), but, I really didn't have time for the drive after work in rush hour. I honestly don't even know if they carry them. So I started searching the internet for do it yourself solutions. I knew this needed to be a quick solution so I tried to cut corners where ever I could. I found some instructions on the internet that were perfect. The more I thought about it the more I decided to really simplify it. Here is what I used.
  • One picnic style tap that I disassembled
  • 20 feet of 1/4 inch outside diameter copper tubing
  • 10 feet of 3/8 inch outside diameter plastic tubing
  • two hose clamps
  • our picnic cooler (medium to large size)
  • 3 small bags of ice
  • water
  • one step cleaner
Jeremy was over at the house for dinner so he decided to ride with me to Home Depot and get the stuff we needed. We spent a while trying to determine what size tubing to use and how to put it all together. Once Jeremy convinced me we didn't need to be perfect it didn't take long. When we came home we put it all together, hooked it up to the keg. Poured a glass....and...blech....what was that taste? I thought it was the beer, but, that was only half the story ;-). We realized that it must have been the tubing. We didn't clean it before using. In retrospect that seems like a really dumb thing, but, hey we really wanted to try it out. So we siphoned some one step solution through the setup and tasted again. Whoohoo...cold home brew with no strange chemical taste! Thanks for the help Jeremy! Our next project is to make a nicer setup.

Altbier revisited

Ok, so I had some friends over to play pool and we all sampled the Altbier. Overall I'm somewhat disappointed. I think the nose is kinda off and it finishes with a strange taste. As I understand it the warmer your ferment the more likely you will have too much esters build up in the beer. (Brew Your Own Article) There is a moment of maltiness and good bitterness upfront, but, as my neighbor says, that doesn't last long. Oh well, now I know what happens when you brew beer at 75-80 degrees :-(. This batch reminded me of another Altbier that I brewed a long time ago when I first got into home brewing. I guess the same thing happened back then. On the bright side, I did get a chance to build a jockey box to chill the beer as it comes out of the keg.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Some Good Growler Time

So I was sitting on a friends deck shooting the breeze over a pint. We often talk about the weather, running(not me just him), mp3s, Dave Matthews, work, family, etc. You get the picture. We were drinking a beer that he brought back from one of the many brew pubs that he visits. Then he brought up the topic of growlers. There's the screw top, porcelein stopper, metal handle, color, shape and other interesting things that these places do to make their growler stand out or in some cases not so much. Then he suggested that one of the most important things about the growler is what you do with it. Beer from the tap doesn't stay fresh in these for very long. Even if you don't open it and keep it in the fridge you still only have a few days before the taste changes. I guess it is the air that comes into contact with the beer. CO2 is the secret ingredient that helps to keep the beer fresh. Who cares, right? Well if you can't keep it, you need to drink it. That is where it all begins. So, next thing you know you're emailing and calling friends to share it with. I can't tell you how many summer evenings my friend and I have spent over a pint from a growler he picked up in his travels. I think we have solved the problems of the world 10 times over. So if you don't own a growler you might think about picking one up the next time you're at the local brew pub.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Kegging the German Altbier

One of the first kits I ever used was a Brewer's Best German Altbier from L.D. Carlson. I have since brewed with this same kit many times and it has become one of my favorites. Using a kit gets me back in the swing of things, because it is easier. So that is just what I did about a week ago. The fermentation has been quiet for about 5 days now, but, I haven't had the chance to keg it. As usual I'm hoping things went well. The wort was a little warm when I threw in the yeast and the temp fluctuated a bit during the fermentation. The summer heat here in Southestern Pennsylvania was sporatic over the last few weeks and our airconditioner was on and off several times. Before I can start I need to clean the Cornelius Kegs (soda kegs). This is one of the most important parts of brewing, cleanliness. Leeners has a reprint from Brewing Techniques' Jan/Feb 1997 on keg cleaning. This is the way I was told to do it by the owner of Brew by You (no longer in business). It seems to do the trick. Of course as I was looking around the web I found an article about brewing in hot weather at Brew Your Own via the search engine. It made me a little wary about how my beer is going to taste. Urghhh. Oh well nothing to do now, but, finish the process. After a couple of hours cleaning and remembering what to do I'm done. Warm flat beer anyone? What are my impressions? Well here goes. Appearance It's flat so there's no head to speak of. The color is a nice deep copper. Clarity is already good. I didn't even rack it off for a second fermentation so that is impressive. Smell Kinda hard to tell. It isn't offensive, but, there's no carbonation so you get less of a scent from it. Taste Clean, sharp bitterness on the back of the tongue. I'm thinking something like St. Pauli Girl Dark. Mouthfeel Too warm and no carbonation for me to tell. Drinkability This has proven to be a very drinkable beer. So far things are looking good. Overall I think it will be a good beer. Whew I was worried about the warmness of the fermentation. I'll have to revisit this when it is cold and carbonated. That poses a whole new problem.'s a pain. Can't just put it in the garage to get cold.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Beer related sites...

Beer, Brewing and the Internet were not always best buddies. I just can't believe what has happened over the last 10 years. If you haven't checked these sites out yet, you should. Proves useful when I want a new beer to try and on my way to Shangy's. Also helps me understand why other people like 1997 John Barleycorn Barley Wine from Mad River brewing company. Even after reading the reviews it didn't help though. Oh well, not my cup of tea I guess. The owner did take the case back happily. Now that is good business. I walked out with the Old Ale I wrote about earlier among others. This is a new one for me. The reviews/tasting notes/database entries don't exactly jive with BeerAdvocate all the time, but, there is a ton of info here. I'm very interested in exploring this one a little more. Um...I haven't used this alot, but, it seems like there is a ton of stuff ranging from brew pubs to beer education and a discussion board. I liked the article they had on hosting your own beer tasting. It talked about the strategy including flights, timing, and coaching of the event. Wikipedia Beer Stuff If you are the kind of person that likes to know about the history, chemistry, jargon, types and literally anything else this is a great way to start. I truely love Wikipedia. Who would have thought an enclylopedia that anybody can edit would be so useful. Check it out. Well that ought to hold you for a while. Did I miss any essentials?

Rogue - Brutal Bitter

So tonight it is Rogue Brutal Bitter. I just love to say it and roll my "r"s over and over again. This is one of those beers that I'm either in the mood for or I'm not. It has me re-examining every time I drink it. Of course that kind of confusion drives me away sometimes too. I don't know. Go buy some and try it for yourself :-) Served in a pint glass a little warmer than it should have been...oh well. Appearance: color is on the orange side of yellow a little cloudy, but, who cares...heheh good head took over a few minutes to even really make a dent in it Smell: nose is hoppy, but, doesn't knock you gets you ready for what is to come Taste: the first sip is clean and bitter, but, not bitter to a fault the bitterness rounds out around the tongue, and malt eases the bitterness down a tinge of nuttiness, before the finish very complex & hard to describe tangy like a sour apricot chutney tea in a very beer way...heheh Mouthfeel: light body clean and dry at the close Drinkability: If you are looking for a very hoppy beer that is very drinkable, almost thirst quenching, this is it.

Iron Hill Brewery (West Chester, PA)

My wife (Jackie) and I went to Iron Hill Brewery in West Chester, PA this weekend for their Caribbean Beer Dinner. The dinner features two courses and with each course you get a 10 oz. beer... all for $19.95. The first course, an appetizer, was Coconut Shrimp with a chipotle-orange marmalade and pineapple salsa. You got 3 shrimp sizeable shrimp that tasted very good and had nice presentation. The first beer was their Anvil Ale... which has a nice crisp hoppy flavor. ANVIL ALE O.G. – 1.048 Color – 9.5 L IBU – 30 Alcohol % (abv) – 5.0 The first course was followed by a good sized piece of Jamaican Jerk Salmon which sat on top of some green tomato slaw. Around the outside of the plate sat about 3 curried rice cakes... which are about the size of a golf ball and are basically deep fried curried rice. The fish had a great spicy jerk flavor and was accompanied by an Ironbound Ale. The Ironbound ale also is a hoppy beer, consisting of 4 different varieties of american hops. This beer was great for cooling your mouth off when the spicy fish got to be too much. IRONBOUND ALE O.G. - 1.050 Color - 12.5 L IBU - 30 Alcohol % (abv) - 5.1 All in all, the dinner was very nice and well worth the small price tag. In addition to the meal, I tried their seasonal beers, Red Ale and Saison. I did not like the Red Ale and actually drank only half of it before I asked for another beer... the bartender asked why I didnt like it and was nice enough to give me another beer on the house. The Red Ale had a sour flavor that turned me off. The Saison was dry, tart, and reminded me of a tripel... which Jackie and I both liked. If you've never been to an Iron Hill Brewery, I highly recommend it... their handcrafted beers are great, the food is top notch, and the atmosphere and staff make it my favorite restaraunt and bar in West Chester.

Old Stock Ale - Barley Wine um..Old Ale...

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewery was one of my recent acquisitions. This is definately good. It is an Old Ale . I was under the impression this was a barley wine (American Barley Wine, English Barley Wine). That is what the guy who sold it to me said. (I guess I could have read the case. ) I'm not exactly sure what the difference is just yet. All I know is that it appeals to me. I'll post my detailed impressions after I taste it again.

Monday, August 08, 2005

We tasted Rochefort #10!
It was delicious, like a dessert can be delicious. There was nothing offensive about it. Nothing really stood out as the prominent flavor. I did notice the alcohol, but, it just signalled the warmth that was to follow. I'm not used to characterizing beer and writing about it, so I'll need to taste it again. Until then, here is the BeerAdvocate page for Rochefort #10.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Beer from the Make Blog

So lets start this off with something from the Make blog. If you like to "do-it-yourself" or want to read about those who do this is an awesome site. Warning, if you have too many hobbies already you may not want to click through ;-) HOW TO make Beer! From the shadows... Let me know if it is worth the read. Wait, I think I'm supposed to do that? Oh well.