Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oerbier/DeStruise-Paxton Archaic beer Side by Side

I opened a bottle of Oerbier this afternoon and thought it would only be right to do a side by side with the Archaic Beer that I made from the recipe on the Homebrew Chef's (Sean Paxton) website.

The Oerbier pours a nice deep brown almost garnet color with a big fluffy off-white head. My beer pours a little bit darker but the head is more white than off-white.

The aroma (Oerbier)is very comparable to the way a box of crayons smells combined with a little anise and pepper. My beer is more licorice forward with a little bit of molasses. They have a very similar thing going on with the nose.

The flavor (Oerbier)is, again, reminiscent of that waxy sort of smell you can almost taste that you get from a box of crayons. I really like that flavor, I might start using crayons in my beer. I know I'm stretching trying to pull a flavor out of smell but really, that's what I get from it. There is also a peppery alcohol note that reminds me of grains of paradise though I don't think they are used in this beer. I could be wrong. This beer has something working on it because it has I little bit of a wild side to it. It's not real sour by any means but it is just starting to go that way. Could be some kind of brettanomyces or a mix of things. My beer's flavor has a nice anise flavor that sort of stands out more than the others. It also has the crayon descriptor that I've been using a lot but more in the background. These beers are so similar yet they have their own personalities. Mine is definately more licorice-like and clean because I didn't use any brett or bacteria in mine. I really wish I would have use some sort of dregs at bottling because I really like that dimension of the Oerbier. The recipe I brewed actually called for dregs from a bottle of De Struise Pannepot but I can't seem to get my hands on any.

The mouthfeel for both of these beers are nice and smooth, medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Both leave some excellent flavors to be appreciated well after the swallow.

The Oerbier is by far more drinkable than my version. I really wish i would have used some dregs from SOME beer with brett or bacteria in it. It would have dried it out a touch more and added a whole other dimension to the beer. I really like it still and it IS a bit young so this beer still has some developing to do. I am going to re-brew this recipe again for sure and maybe tweak it a bit.

What I would change with my beer:
*I would use just a little bit less of the Belgian Dark Candi sugar and maybe substitute with some organic cane sugar.

*I would definitely pitch dregs from maybe a De Dolle beer or Pannepot if I can ever get one.

Overall I'm pretty happy with this beer and the way it turned out. I'm also very happy with the Oerbier in my glass.

Friday, May 30, 2008

History of the American Beer Brewing Industry takes a look at the history of the American Brewing Industry.

Who Says You Can't Eat Pub Food at Home?

While I was down at Three Floyds Brewery my eyes were opened to a new dish that I had never seen before--Scotch Eggs. The gentleman I was sitting next to and talking beer with had ordered some before I seated myself next to him and while we were chatting, the bartender brought him out this plate with these interesting looking egg on them. They looked like hard boiled dinosaur eggs or something because they have a layer of sausage wrapped around them and then they are coated in bread crumbs and then fried. They looked so good that I had to try to make them on my own.

Here is what I did:

I had a lb of ground turkey on hand so I made turkey sausage instead of just using regular pork sausage.

Turkey Sausage Ingredients

* 1 lb ground turkey
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons sage
* 1 teaspoon fennel seed
* 1 teaspoon thyme
* 1 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/8 teaspoon allspice


1.Combine all ingredients (use less pepper if you don't want a spicy taste) and blend well.
2. If time permits, refrigerate overnight to let the meat absorb the flavor of the spices.

To Make your Scotch Eggs, Hardboil 6-7 eggs and cool them in cold water. Remove the shells and form the sausage into a patty and work it around the egg. Place the sausage wrapped egg into an egg bath and then roll in bread crumbs. I fried mine in crisco that I heated up slowly on medium heat. I heated my oil while I was prepping the eggs. I wouldn't fry more than 4 at a time because they will cool the oil down too much when you try to do them all at the same time. Turn as needed and be sure to stand them up on their ends to make sure you don't have any raw sausage their. If you use enough oil you probably don't need to worry about standing them up on their ends but it's something to be aware of. I am eating mine with a little bit of Sleeping Bear Trading Co's Michigan Mustard and it goes great with them. I'm also drinking a Belgian-Style IPA.

Struise-Mikkeller Elliot Brew

The Struise-Mikkeller Elliot Brew is a RateBeer special release--part of their Worldwide Masters Series. This is a Double IPA at 9.0 ABV and 130 IBUs. It is brewed with all the usual suspects and Belgian candi sugar and spices.

Poured into a chalice it appears a copper/orange color with a nice creamy white head that falls just short of a meringue. It has a slight haze to it. Leaves excellent lacing on my glass.

The aroma is really similar to Orval. First thought: "This is going to be super dry". Nice hop aroma with very mild Apricot. It really does hint at dryness. (Good topic for discussion: Can aroma give away how dry a beer will be. I think really dry beers have that smell that resembles a surface that has just been wiped down with an alcohol wipe.)

The flavor is great. It is very dry but somehow still leaves a touch of lingering candi sweetness. Big hop bite up front and as it washes over my palate it gives way to a very subtle spiciness that I can't really put my finger on. A very refreshing finish. Aftertaste makes me think of grains of paradise with floral hop notes.

The mouthfeel is pretty light bodied with moderate carbonation. Leaves a resiny coating of hoppiness to enjoy for later.

This is a very drinkable beer for 9.0 ABV. I wish I would have picked up more than one of these while I was in Chicago. Definitely pick this one up if you see it. Pretty much anything that De Struise Brouwers or Mikkeller had their hands in is bound to be pretty good.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Three Floyds Brewery--Munster, IN

Last Saturday after a stop at the Maproom and Sams Wine in Chicago I went to Three Floyds Brewery and took the brewery tour and drank a lot of great beer. Unfortunately there was no Dark Lord to be had since it is only available on Dark Lord day. Don't worry, all the other beers they are serving up have pleanty to offer. I finally got to try the Gumballhead--a beer made with red wheat and a ton of Amarillo hops. The Alpha King and Dreadnaught are two amazingly hoppy beers and I thought the Rabbid Rabbit (Saison)was pretty damn good too. The place has a really cool vibe about it that you can pick up on even in the parking lot before you go in. You are surrounded by clever sculptures, pictures, & taphandles. Hanging on the walls are giant pictures of all of the colorful characters that make up the beer labels but the patrons in the bar were just as colorful. I met some interesting people and had a blast here. I can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Flossmoor Station Brew Day

Here are some pics of my brew day at Flossmoor Station Brewery. I had a lot of fun hanging out with Matt and brewing my Biere Bella recipe. Matt is a cool guy who knows how to brew awesome beer. Everybeer that I tried down there was great! I also got a chance to meet Michael Pelter, president of the B.O.S.S. Homebrew Club as well as a few other members. Everyone was great and it made the experience that much better having people to talk beer with.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Whats Coming Up

Well this Memorial Day weekend I'll be heading down to Munster, IN to Three Floyds Brewery to take the brewery tour and to imbibe in everything, and I really mean everything that they are serving up down there. I will also be heading across the border into Flossmoor, IL where I will be visiting Flossmoor Station Brewery. I will be spending the day with Head Brewer Matt Van Wyk while we brew a scaled up version of my Biere Bella recipe, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale inspired by the infamous Duvel which I'm sure if you are into Belgian Beer you know all about. I'll post pics and whatever video I can once I am home and I'll let you know how it went. Should be a fun weekend. If you know of any other breweries or good beer bars in that area, drop me a line because I will be on the prowl for good beer Saturday night while I'm down there.



Monday, May 19, 2008

Neat Little Package

I found a way to help myself keep my hands off of beers that I want to cellar for a while instead of drinking them up. I figure if I put a little extra effort into the packaging like bottle wax or even doing up some labels I will be less likely to blow through them before they are aged properly. I guess I have a harder time popping open a neat little package for my own consumption over my more sessionable beers that will not be stored in a "neat lil package". Worth a shot anyway. I have severe lacking in the will powerdept.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

Bottling Extravaganza!

I know now that i really MUST love Belgian beer. I am staring 35 gallons of beer in the eye and I know that I would hate myself for kegging this up and tearing through it in no time instead of bottling it and letting it bottle condition the way I like. I just can't bring myself to keg up a Belgian style beer--something about opening that bottle i guess. Well I just bottled the Saison that I did as well as the recipe that Sean Paxton and Urbain from De Struisse put together. They have only been in bottles for about 4 days now but impatient as i am, i had to pop one open of each beer. I am so stoked about both of these. So young and so good. I can't wait until they are in their prime.



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