Friday, April 2, 2010

Home Depot + Building = New Brewing Equipment

I had a couple goals for the day with regards to preparing for my next batch.

1. Read up on all grain brewing and partial mashing from the following books.
The Brewmaster's Bible - Stephen Snyder
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing - Charlie Papazian
Homebrewing Guide - Dave Miller

2. Buy a 5 gallon water cooler to act as a mash/lauter tun and some copper tubing to construct a wort chiller.

Since I'm trying to accelerate paying off my students loans (curses), it seemed more cost effective to buy materials and then assemble everything myself. The spool of copper tubing was under $12 which is much cheaper than buying a pre-made wort chiller. The water cooler cost around $18, but considering it's multifunctional use I'll probably use it for something other than brewing at some point. Here are some pictures of what I put together.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Common Place II

A week ago I frequented the home brew shop in my area and picked up some materials for my next batch. One of the best ways to develop your brewing skill is by making the same beer repeatedly. Since my first batch, I have not brewed the same beer twice. There are so many variables to consider when making a beer that you really just need to experiment with different mixtures and find what works best and suits your palate. Realizing now is as good a time as ever, my Common Place is going to get remade.

My new recipe is as follow:
3.3 lbs Muntons light LME
3.3 lbs Muntons amber LME
1 lb Crystal malt (40 L)
1 lb Vienna malt (10L)
1.5 oz Northern Brewer hop pellets (bittering)
.5 oz Chinook leaf hops (finishing)
California Lager yeast (Wyeast 2112)

While I'm still using malt extract as a base (could have used dry spray malt) I'm adding a 1/2 lb more of each specialty malt and will be doing a partial mash. I'm sticking with the same grain bill in order to try and keep that aspect constant. I think Vienna is a good malt to use because it will add some body, a copper color, and a toasty quality I enjoy. The Crystal malt will serve to sweeten the beer hopefully giving it a caramel flavor.

I have decided to try a new liquid yeast by Wyeast. The results should be the same as the first batch where I used a White Labs product. Just going with a different company to see if there is a noticeable change.

The biggest change I'm making is replacing the Willamette finishing hops with Chinook. I've found Chinook to be a spicy, piney hop similar to Northern Brewer. It is also a little on the pungent side so my hope is that they will add more aroma while retaining the piney quality typical of this style. In addition, I'm going to be splitting the batch in half after it's done in the primary fermenter. I'll dry hop one carboy with 1/2 oz of Northern Brewer and the other with 1/2 oz of Chinook. Maybe it would be good to bottle a control before dry hopping. Essentially, I'll have three different finished products from the same beer to sample. This will help to refine my recipe all the more.

Looking at brewing this coming Saturday.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Common Place Review

One of my favorite beers is Anchor Steam beer. After my first glass I was not exactly sure what caused me to fall in love with it? Given some time a few qualities stood out. First, I enjoyed the piny hop character which was different than beers I had sampled in the past. Second, was the unique way this beer is fermented. It utilizes a lager yeast stain that is fermented at low end of ale temperatures. For me this provide the best of both worlds in that I could enjoy the fruity notes of ales, while getting the clarity and clean smooth flavors of a lager. Lastly, I thought this was the most well-balanced with a great malty body and hop presence.

Last Spring I wanted to enter the Sam Adam's Longshot competition so I began thinking of a beer style that would be fun to make. I was drawn to the Amber Hybrid category that California Common beers fall under. I took my time on this beer in order to produce the best product I could. I sanitized like no one's business, took great care at every step, and the end result was the best beer I've brewed thus far. Below are my ingredients.

3.3 lbs Briess golden light LME
3.3 lbs Briess sparkling amber LME
.5 lb Crystal malt (40L)
.5 lb Vienna malt (10L)
1.5 oz Norther Brewer leaf hops (bittering)
.5 oz Willamette leaf hops (finishing)
San Francisco lager yeast (WLP810)

It tasted great and pretty damn close to the original if I don't say so myself. While the hop notes did mellow over time, lagering the bottles in my fridge helped to produce a clean, crisp beer. After all, home brewing is about your tastes and got close to what I was wanting to produce.

Going into the competition I had very low expectation as a newbie brewer. Upon receiving my feedback in the mail I was pleasantly surprised. I was given a 35.5 out of 50 and during the judging it went into a second heat. Not what I expected, but it certainly felt good after tending to each detail meticulously. Among the comments received in critique were: "well balanced, could use more carb, finishing hops lacking, low aromatic hops, clean, low esters, light toasty malt aroma, slight creaminess, could use more malt and hops, and attractive beer." The feedback was free and really helpful for growing as a home brewer. Yes, it hurt the pride a little, but in the end humility and a teachable attitude are key.

The average grade from the two judges came out a C- which I'll gladly take. Personally, I gave this a solid B, but I'm bias and have much to learn about this style. Looking forward to brewing this again.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kitchen Sink Kream Ale Review

This Kream Ale was the last of the four brews I attempted of the winter months. I wanted to brew a beer that could be lagered for some time in case I forgot about it. Cream Ales are usually fermented at the low end of ale temps in order to produce a lager-like beer. Sometimes there are cold conditioned, but do not have to be. As it turned out, I forgot about this beer and it stayed in the primary carboy for close to three months. The temperature was at a consistent 55 degrees so I guess it got a good cellaring. I wanted to use up some of the remaining grains and hops I had left from the first three brews so I added them to the recipe. It was a partial extract brew in that I only used 3 lbs of Amber LME. The remaining grain bill included: 1 lb Faked Maize, 1/2 lb of Flaked Rice, 2-Row Pale malt, Munich malt, Caramunich malt and 1/4 lb of Rolled Oats. Not really sure why I used all of these? Maybe curiosity had something to do with it. On the hop side I used 1 oz Saaz and 1/2 oz Perle to bitter and 1/2 oz Simcoe for finishing. I probably could have used the Simcoe to bitter since it has a higher AA%, but I did not want to over do it.

I was also able to keg the entire 5 gallons after fixing the leak to the best of my ability. I think it might have a leak still, but I've been keeping the pressure up and I'm able to get a good draw. It was rewarding to tap my first keg and pour a homebrew. I have the keg sitting in the basement which is between 50-55 degrees. Doing so has given me a nice cask-type ale than you'd find in England. It as turned out to be a very sessionable beer.

Appearance: It is a very clear copper hue with pale highlights. The head on a freshly poured pint is dense and foamy. There is some carbonation in the beer, but for the most part it is relatively low. The use of saffron threads helped to give some honey-like color. Darker than a typical Cream Ale.

Aroma: The aroma is light and slightly fruity. Since it was not fermented at high temps the fruit ale notes do not present themselves as much. I think the strongest scent is that of DMS or corn, which comes across as plastic. There is an earthy hop character which I attribute to the Saaz and Perle. I do receive some toasted grain hints probably from the Munich and Caramunich malts.

Taste: At first I was met by the plastic qualities that using too much corn impart. They are not overpowering, but take some time to get use to. Aside from that, I'd say the malts and hops balance pretty well. I experience the light adjunct ingredients, but also notice the toasted malts. There is a slight hint of honey due to the saffron I did not expect to find. The hops are earthy and pungent. The finish is rather dry, but palatable. I had a Bass Ale recently (last night) and found my beer to be close in flavor (which I considered a good thing). Drinkable!

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of the spectrum, but that is to be expected. Dispensing from the keg provides a nice head that lasts the entire glass and just enough carb to prevent it from being flat. Easy drinking and low in alcohol (between 3-5%). I'm left feeling satified after a pint or two.

Grade: B- (or B on a good day)

Split-Log Porter Review

The house I am currently residing in has a wood burning stove. Over the winter my roommate and I would fire it up to about 500 degrees in order to fight off the winter chill. I enjoy the smell of a burning fire. Maybe that is why I enjoy oak aged beers. Most of these beers are aged in re-used Bourbon barrels which have been charred during there production. I had the idea of brewing a Porter and aging it on some oak chips as to replicate that smooth oak flavors I enjoy. I used a couple ounces of heavy toasted while oak cubes and a few medium toasted oak spirals. These spirals are interesting in that they allow for the maximum amount of surface area for the beer to interact with the wood.

There are a couple things I would do differently next time I brew this beer.
1) Pre-soak the oak in some Bourbon so it can absorb some of those flavors.
2) Use only one variety of oak cubes or spirals as to keep the wood profile consistent and simple.
3) Watch the airlock to make sure it stays filled. Some bacteria might have entered the carboy after the water evaporated from the airlock.

Appearance: Black at first glance, but when held up to the light it is a deep mahogany or garnet color. It has only been two weeks since I bottled it so the carbonation is still pretty low. The picture shows a weak beige head that dissipated quickly.

Aroma: An extremely high wood scent. It reeks of moderately burn wood, but does not contain familiar hints of Bourbon. This makes the aroma rather bland and not as deep. It smells like ash to a certain degree. After wafting for some time, I was able to key in on some roasted malt notes.

Taste: There are some off flavors right at the start. It is bitter, puckering, astringent, over the top wood notes that are not developed or smooth. I was hoping the flavors would mellow out and compliment the deep roasted grains, but there is a medicinal quality to it still. I do get burnt malt notes towards the end of the sip and minor coffee expressions.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation has not built up yet so it is still rather watery. In regards to the texture, it is very one dimensional with the wood being the boldest. I was hoping for a more well-rounded beer. The aftertaste did show some promise (coffee and roasted grains), but lacked the Bourbon component. Minor carbonation did not add anything life to the beer.

This Porter was awesome and tasted great after spending time in the primary fermenter. I should have kept it at that and not decided to age in on oak. Shoulda, woulda, time! For now, I'm going to let it cellar for a while and see what happens carbonates.

Grade: D+

Macedonian Myth Review

My Midas Touch (Dogfish Head) clone was the
first batch I brewed and it also took the longest. Brewed with 2 lbs of honey and saffron threads during the boil, than 4 cups of grape juice concentrate added at the peak of fermentation this beer is sweet. Boasting an ABV of 8-9%, this is the highest percentage I've obtained as a homebrewer (based on rough calculations). I accidentally primed it with Cane Sugar instead of Corn Starch causing me to wait longer for it to bottle condition.

Appearance: Not pure gold like the original version, but it does have golden highlights on the sides of the glass. Ruby red with a large plume of tan head that fades slowly, I was rather proud of it's appealing nature. There are visible beads of carbonation that maintained a small film.

Aroma: The first waft brought strong hits of grapes, blossoming flowers, and an faint alcoholic sting in my nostrils. It reminded me of a Belgian Triple of Quad without the spicy yeast profile. Taking a couple minutes to savor the smells, I'd conclude that it has fruity wine-like notes.

Taste: Stronger alcoholic presence on the palate that provides a warming effect. Darker fruit flavors come to the front as sweet undertones dominate. I can isolate the grape concentrate confirming the wine-like aromas. There is also a pleasent hint of honey on the back of the palate. I cannot pick out the hops, but I know they help to balance out this beer. I think the Cane Sugar used for priming added an apple-like flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium body because of the residual sugars, but the higher alcohol helps to lift them off the tongue. My lips are sticky and the honey/grape flavors coat my palate. The carbonation gives it a minor champagne-like quality.

Although I did not brew a perfect replica of Midas Touch, I have something that I'm proud of and the time spend waiting has been worth it.

Grade: C+

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Maple Marzen Review

This was the third of four beers I have brewed since September. Unfortunately, none of them turned out how I had hoped. Due to a mixture of getting busy and the holiday season, I was not able to devote as much time to watching these beers through the process. Regardless, of the outcome I want to give you a quick update on how they turned out.

I added 12.5 oz of Maple syrup during the boil in hopes that it would lend a sweeter character to a rich malty beers. I used at Oktoberfest Lager yeast making this the first lager I've attempted to make. Not having a fridge space to properly ferment in led me to place it in the garaged during the Fall months. This was not the best choice as the constant fluctuation in temp from day to night seems to have shocked the yeast. As a result, I do not think it fermented thoroughly and might have produced some off flavors. Not having much hope for a good outcome I used 2.5 gals to test out my new keg. This turned out disasterous as it had a leak and the beer never carbonated and soiled. The remaining 2.5 gals were botteled and cellared for some time. About three weeks ago I placed the bottles in the fridge for consumption.

Appearance: Pre-fridge it poured a clear bronze with colors highlights of Fall leaves. The head was relatively minimal, but overall the beer did look like a legitiment Oktoberfest beer (almost Spaten-ish). Post-fridge it is now a cloudy bronze and lacks any head only producing a couple bubbles. It looks like some kind of chill haze.

Aroma: A mixture of maple syrup and malts where the syrup overpowers. It does not have a crisp clean lager scent, but rather a sugary nose (caramel). I can barely make out the hops and thankfully I do pick up minor bready and biscuit notes. Basically, it smells like wort rather than a fully fermented beer.

Taste: Watery, weak, sweet, sugary, and tastes like I put too much syrup in it. I do notice the 2 oz of Hallertau hops I used to bitter and 1 oz. of Saaz for finishing. They give an earthy finish to the sip. There is a slight lager characteristic, but for the most part, I feel like I'm drinking wort.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium with a watery texture. The aftertaste had a high sugar residue with a pungent subtle bitterness. Minor carbonation suspended in beer that adds a little life.

I hope to re-brew this batch without the maple syrup and properly ferment it at a consistent temp.

Grade: D

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bottling Split-Log Porter

After kegging the Kream Ale I decided to bottle the Porter I had brewed in November and aged on oak cubes until yesterday. During the process I would regularly "check in" to see how it was progressing. Unfortunately, every time I took a sample there was a very astringent, puckering, heavy tannin, medicinal woody smell and taste. Hoping the flavors would be corrected over time I let it age longer than normal. While the flavors did mellow out, it is still off somehow. This was my first experiment at oak aging and I have a lot to lear. I enjoy barrel aged beers and wanted to replicate that. One of the thinks I recall in this process is coming to the realization that breweries most often reuse old Bourbon barrels which impart their unique qualities. My beer was lacking in that catagory so next time I decide to age a beer on oak cubes, I'm pre-soaking them in Boubon to draw out that flavor. I learned this one night while frequenting my watering hole. I struck up a conversation with a guy who happened to be a fellow home brewer. I told me he did this one time and the beer turned out it's worth a try at least.

I enjoy bottling, but the cleaning gets old quick. That is way kegging is probably quicker and easier, but after my experience last night I more comfortable sticking to bottling.
So it was an eventful evening upon the completion of kegging and botteling both beers.

I ended the night with a sense of accomplishment and excited to move on to the next series. I think I'm going to brew each one seperately so I can watch them more carefully and give them my full attention. In two weeks both the keg and bottles should be ready so consumption.

As you can see to the right I enjoy putting labels on my fermenting buckets and keg. I think it adds a nice touch (kind of like a well traveled suitcase). Oh! During bottling I found out that Pilsner Urquell and Peroni bottles do not work. They do not have a lip for the cap press to grab onto so don't save them for homebrew.

Lately, I've been reading up on some interesting beer blogs and realized that I need to perfect my craft and grow as a homebrewer (unfortunatly, as with most hobbies, that requires cash). The best beer I've brewed to date was Common Place. I'm finding that I want to brew that beer over a couple times and perfect my recipe and quality of product. Do some experiments with hopping, use a partial mash, and explore better grains to use would all be interesting to me.
I think I might interrupt my next series of brews to attempt a second batch of Common Place...we'll see.

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Home Brewing!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kegged the Kream Ale

So after about 3 months I finally got around to doing something with my remaining beers I have been lagering. I brewed Kitchen Sink Kream Ale on 11/28/09 and left it to take care of itself. I sporadically check in on it to take gravity readings which have been consistent since early January. That sample had major hints of DMS making me think I used to much Maize in the brew. Thinking that time would fix this issue I forgot about in the basement for over a month.

Today I decided that enough time had gone by not to mention I wanted to free up a carboy. I recently bought my first keg and had attempted to keg a half batch of my Marzen. This did not turn out the way I hoped. The seal leaked and after numerous efforts to stop the bleeding I gave up. I ran out to the homebrew shop and picked up some supplies and gave it another go. Under the advise to put a lube on the seal I went with some glycerin and that seemed to do the trick.

I racked the 5 gal. batch of Kitchen Kream into the keg and sealed it up. My F.G. ended up being 1.006. I did not expect this brew to be a big beer as much as it is an experiment. Still trying to work on my lagering skills and getting use to this whole kegging system (which is not that hard). The beer smelled fruity, had some hop notes, and still contained some DMS. After a couple sips it tasted and smelled similar to a plastic toy or packing. We'll see how it turns out after 2 weeks of conditioning and getting the keg operating smooth.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Upcoming Series...

Currently I have four brews that are either lagering or cellaring for a couple more weeks. I sampled a couple last night and they are almost ready. In the meantime, I'm going to be attempting to brew a series of beers that fall in the catagory of Light Hybrids. There will be 4 beers total. Here's the line up:

Matthew - Cream Ale

Mark - Blonde Ale

Luke - Kolsch

John - Wheat/Rye Beer

I'll be posting the results of my current beers as then finish.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Airlock is bubbling...

This was the action a couple weeks ago as my Dark Cream Ale was fermenting in the primary. Since I used a good amount of left over ingredients from my previous three beers I'm calling this one Kitchen Sink Kream Ale. I'm going to be moving it into a cooler location soon and let it lager for a couple weeks and then we'll see what it tastes like.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Local Sam Adams Competition...

On Nov. 10th Binny's in Willowbrook, IL hosted a Sam Adam's competition for local homebrewers. I invited Papa Smiles to join me at this event with was unique to say the lase. According to the Binny's staff there were 80 total entries. Unfortunately, I did not place with my entry of Common Place a California Common style beer. Check out the link to Binny's beer blog to see who won (
My buddy Matt (and his co-brewer Matt) attended the even with me and entered his Pale Ale (Special Delivery) which unfortunately did not place as well. However, he did have a dynamite lable which you can view by visiting his link (

The evening started out with brewers submitting their entries and milling around. There were Sam Adams reps present who gave out samples of the Imperial Series and the Holiday Pack. Between 6-8pm conpetitors could chat about their brewing practices while enjoying some food made with Sam Adams beer and mingle around sampling various beers. I had the privilage of meeting Tim (the 2nd place winner) who gave me some words of encouragement and advice. I was amazed to see a wide range of people from a guy that looked he should be LARPing, retired guys with too much time on their hands, to a woman with a very fiesty personality. The underground world of homebrewers is complex no doubt. Before the winners were announced Sam Adams gave out samples of Utopias, a 25% ABV beer, which tastes more like a sherry or cognac. We got complementary gifts which made the evening worth it.
Here are some pics from the evening...

At the end of the night is was good to have branched out in the world of homebrewing despite not winning any prizes. Besides, after spending so much time and putting so much dedication into brewing a beer it's hard not to share it with others.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Seasonal Depression Syndrome

The last two weeks here in Chicago have been nothing but depression. Cold, rainy, and sun depraved. The advent of Winter should mean one thing for the beer drinker: dark, rich beers. Once we have worked through the early Fall/Oktoberfest beers there is a plethora of Porters, Stouts, Brown Ales, and Schawrzbiers that will help you get through those cold blustery days.

Today I transfered my Split-Log Porter to the secondary fermenter and added oak infusion spirals (medium roasted). The O.G. was 1.042 and my gravity reading today came out at 1.019. I'm pretty happy with it so far. I took a taste test and there was definately an English Porter flavor. Roasted grains were present in the aroma and taste (chocolate malt/black patent). There was a definate hoppy bitterness which rounds out the dark malty backbone. Now I just have to wait about 6-8 weeks to get the desired Oak flavor.

In the mean time, I have my Maple Marzen out in the garage fermenting away. I think I'm going to give it a couple more days till I rack it to the secondary. It is my first Lager and I'm noticing that the yeast is definately taking longer to do it's job.

If you would like to try some good Porters or Stouts here is a quick list to get you going (this is not a definative list).

Sam Adam's - Honey Porter

Summit Brewing Co. - Great Northern Porter

Breckenridge Brewery - Vanilla Porter

Samuel Smith - Old Taddy Porter

Great Lakes Brewing Co. - Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

Anchor Brewing Co. - Porter

Southern Tier - Porter

Great Divide - St. Bridget's Porter

New Holland Brewing - The Poet Oatmeal Stout

Samuel Smith - Oatmeal Stout

North Coast Brewing Co. - Old #38 Stout; Old Plowshare; Old Rasputin; Old Rasputin XII

Big Sky Brewery - Snow Elk Oatmeal Stout

Red Hook - Double Black Imperial Stout

Bell's Brewery - Special Double Cream Stout

Two Brother's - Northwind Imperial Stout

Rogue - Mocha Porter; Shakespeare Stout; Chocolate Stout

Sam Adam's - Cream Stout

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In the Kettle..

Yesterday I was able to brew Split-Log and I'm currently babysitting Maple Marzen while it boils. As it turns out, I could have brewed a Brown Porter or Robust Porter. The difference is rather hard to tell, but based on my O.G. of 1.042 it closer to a Brown. (not quite high enough to be a "robust" porter). I'm sure aging it with medium toasted oak will darken it a little.

I'm excited to see how my rendition of a Marzen turns out. Of course I'm adding a little to it (maple syrup) so I won't have a control to base future batches off of, but in the end doing something unique is what it's all about. Maple Syrup is basically sucrose (which will break down during the boil) and it will add a darker amber color.

Here is the recipe:
1 lb. Vienna Malt 10L
½ Munich Malt 10L
½ lb. CaraMunich Malt
¼ lb. Biscuit Malt
(2) 3.3 lbs. Briess CBW Munich LME
12.5 oz. Maple Syrup (SpringTree-100% pure, grade A dark amber)
(2) 1 oz. Hallertau hop pellets (bittering)
1 oz. Saaz hop pellets (finishing)
Oktoberfest Lager yeast (WLP820)
1 tsp. Irish Moss

It's been a good two days...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On deck...

Once I'm done brewing Split-Log Porter, I'll be brewing an Oktoberfest style beer. Although it might be a little late into Fall, this style is one of my favoirtes (along with Vienna style lagers) and can be enjoyed year-round.

Despite the fact that it is not March, I've decided to name it Maple Marzen. This beer will be brewed using Munich and Vienna Malts, Munich LME (new 2009 product by Breiss), Hallertau hops, and the addition of Maple Syrup.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Split Log Porter

After getting some quick feedback on Facebook I've decided to brew a Robust Porter. I'm excited to get this one under way because I'm going to be aging it with American White Oak. While owning an Oak Barrel would be nice, they are rather expensive so I bought some wood cubes and a couple infusion spirals. These spirals are cut to maximize surface area for the beer to interact with after you rack the beer to the secondary fermenter.

Here are the ingredients:

1 lb. Crystal Malt 120L
1 lb. Chocolate Malt
½ lb. Rolled Oats (thick cut)
¾ cups Black Patent

3.3 lbs. Briess CBW Sparkling Amber LME
3.3 lbs. Briess CBW Traditional Dark LME
1 oz. Northern Brewer hop pellets (bittering)
½ oz. Perle hop pellets (finishing)
British Ale yeast (WLP005)
1 tsp. Irish Moss

I was going to brew it sometime this week, but my evenings got busy. Saturday!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Know thy Grain

One of my favorite aspects of brewing
is undoubtably the various types of grain. Let's face it, without grains, there would be no starches and without starches, nothing for the yeast to feed on to make beer. As I have sampled different beers the ability to pick out certain grains has become increasily easier and fun. For example, Hoss by Great Divide has a nice spicey note which can be attributed to the use of Rye. Many amber ales use a Crystal Malt to impart a rich caramel flavor.

On my last visit to the homebrew shop I stocked up on some grains for the coming months of brewing. I thought it would be wise to try and understand what each grain profile before I started brewing. For each grain I took out some of the starch and gave it a taste(let it dissolve). It might sound odd, but I actually found it helpful for identifying the taste in the finished product. What follows is a break down of 8 grains.

Pale Malt 2-Row This malt is a standard all-purpose grain used in most beers to add body and serve as a foundational building block in grain bills. It gives a smooth less grainy flavor. Smell: light, crisp, and straw-like
Color: "pale" to golden blonde hue with white starch compound.
Taste: flour-like and lightly sweet

Munich Malt 10L A common grain used in a majority of darker German beers. It is kilned slightly higher than Pale Malt which gives it a deeper color, richer aroma, and fuller flavor.
Smell: similar to 2-Row with a little bit more of a bready aroma.
Color: just a shade darker than 2-Row if not the same.
Taste: sweet and chalky.

Vienna Malt 10L A grain that is used in Marzen, Oktoberfest, and Vienna style lagers. It has high acidity, yeilds a deeper color than Munich Malt, and is very rich/aromatic.
Smell: similar to 2-Row and Munich, but more straw-like and earthy.
Color: looks exactly like Munich and 2-Row.
Tastes: exactly like Munich, less chalky, and an ever-so-slight bitterness.

Biscuit Malt A lightly toasted malt that lends a garnet to brown color and increased body. It has a rich biscuit or bread flavor and aroma
Smell: more well-rounded than 2-Row, full toasted aroma.
Color: looks toasted, very neutral, starch is tan.
Taste: like a Triscut cracker.

CaraMunich This is a Belgium Crystal malt that is medium-copper, gives the beer a rich caramel sweetness both in aroma and flavor. It has no enzymes and is not associated with Munich malt.
Smell: like a bad of oats, richly toasted, and cereal notes.
Color: looks copper and amber.
Taste: sweet and caramely

Crystal Malt 120L A dark highly kilned grain with no enzymes, but the unfermentables give the beer an enhanced mouthfeel, rich body, better head retention, and great color.
Smell: roasted, deep cereal notes, nutty, sweet to sharp caramel notes
Color: mahogany-almost black roasted
Taste: a little like toffee or caramelized sugar.

Chocolate Malt Used by brewers in all types of beers to impart color and chocolate/coffee flavor. It is named more because of the color rather than the it's flavor. Highly roasted and similar to Black Patent, but lighter and used more in Porters.
Smell: robust, dark nutty, and burnt grain that is bold.
Color: has a deep choco bean, rich burnt brown look
Taste: burnt, coffeeish and dark choco chalky flavors.

Black Patent Also known as "black malt" this grain is kilded at very high temps for a long period of time. Just about all the starch and enzymes are destroyed so the malted is used to add a sharp burnt flavor found in most Stouts/Porters.
Smell: burnt like charcoal and rather sharp smokey noes.
Color: like black coffee grounds.
Tastes: dry, chalky, and burnt/charred.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Get you some...

Over the last year my former roommate Noel and I have been trying to get our hands on every Rogue beer we can find (which is rather hard in Chicago). As of right now, not counting the Capt'n Sig's Northwestern Ale I have in my fridge, we have sampled 21 of John Maier's gifts to humanity. I will hopfully get around to posting my findings for each beer, but in this post I'll breifly comment on the Morimoto Signature Series.These ales, and one lager are unique and full of flavor. According to Rogue's website the Imperial Pilsner is, "a hedonistic mouthful." While I'm might not go as far as to use that description, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the complexity and diversity the Morimoto trifecta deliverers. Now, Rogue Nation might get a little upset with me at what I'm about to say, but most of Rogues ales tend to taste very similar...if not the same. I've chalked this up to the use of "free range coastal water" and "Pacman yeast" so don't go and throw and fit on me. In any case if you want to try a solid Rogue beer (or three) that breaks the norm, get your hands on one of these.

The Soba Ale has a very unique taste due the addition of roasted Soba (Japanese for buckwheat) malt. They give it a nice full-bodied taste which balances well with the hops. The Black Obi has a similar profile to the Soba ale, but takes it a step farther with more roasted grains which lend a richer, darker flavor (almost like a schwarzbier). The Imperial Pilsner is your classic interpretation of an imperial style beer. It has pilsner character which shines through with a bold hop aroma and taste.

I would highly recommend making these you next beer purchase. They might run you a pretty penny (depending on where you shop), but they are definately worth it. Not to mention they have cool artwork!