Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

Here is a link to a National Post story on the top Beer books of the year:

It was quite a 2011 for yours truly! Hitting beer number 1,000, multiple home brew batches, beer drinking in Germany, Czech republic and throughout Canada and the U.S. It will be hard to top it in 2012!

Here is to all my beer buddies, including but not limited to Sith@Heart, iRob, Doogie, Big Daddy, Dr. Haggis, Half-Price, NYBJG - you all know who you are!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Coffee Porter - coffee time

Today (after 2 weeks fermentation) I added the coffee. I cold steeped about 1/4 pound of freshly ground coffee beans in a quart of cold water for 24 hours, and then added it to the carbuoy.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Homebrew: Coffee Porter

I have tried chocolate porter in the past, and was pleased with the results. This time I thought I would try coffee porter. It was also a good excuse to try and use a bunch of ingredients I had on hand...

Steeped at 150 (ish) for 30 minutes:

.8 oz black patent malt (500-600L)
1/2 lb. medium crystal malt (75L)
1/2 lb. chocolate malt
1.5 oz roasted barley (probably a no-no for Porters, but what the hell)

Bring to boil. Add:
.6 oz Northern Brewer hops (9.8% AA)

20 minutes later:
.8 oz. Willamette hops (4.8% AA)

25 minutes later:
.5 oz. Willamette hops (4.4% AA)

5 minutes later:
1 tsp. Irish Moss

Added water to make 5 gallons. I pitched Wyeast 1275 (Thames Valley) liquid yeast. However, after a day and a half it did not appear to be fermenting. So I added a pack and a half Coopers dry ale yeast. That appeared to do the trick. I guess we will find out.

After 5 days I racked to the carbuoy. Next step is to add the coffee. Still haven't fully decided how I am going to do that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Homebrew: American Style IPA

A big thank you to iRob for his help with this batch. I used a clone recipe for Stone IPA as the base, but substituted the ingredients based on what I could get at the Vineyard.

Steep 6 oz. 40L crystal malt at 150 F for 30 minutes.
3.5 kg light dry matl extract
1.5 oz. Falconer's flight hop pellets @ 10.5% AA (bittering)
boil 45 minutes @ 3 gallons
.5 oz Falconer's Flight hop pellets
boil 14 minutes
1 oz. Cascade hop pellets @ 5.9% AA
pitch yeast Wyeast 1272 American Pale II (note - this was added the next day - my original yeast had turned)
1 week later: racked to carboy, added 1 oz. Cascade hop pellets (5.9% AA)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Beer in Calgary

Well, with Bottlescrew Bills, Wurst, Craft, and now Beer Revolution, a serious beer drinker in Calgary can actually find some good, non-mainstream brews on tap. Now all this city needs to do is work on the overly small number of craft breweries. I have high hopes for the Village Brewery!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wheat beer / Cherry Wheat

Making my first split batch. The base beer is a German weisse beer. The "split" will be a cherry wheat.

Wheat beer (Weissbier):

3 lbs. wheat extract (60% wheat, 40% barley)
9 oz. malt extract
2 gallons water
1 oz. Hellertau hops (2.8% AA)
boil 1 hour
add another 3 lbs. wheat extract at knockout
add water to make 5 gallons (19 litres)
yeast: Wyeast 3638 (Bavarian Wheat)

I let the batch ferment in a primary fermenter for 12 days. Today, I took 5 lbs of cherries (fresh, then I froze them, then thawed them) and put them into a 3 gallon carbuoy, and added the beer to fill. This will be the cherry wheat. The balance I bottled with 1/2 cup sugar.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Story on Belgian Beer

If you could only drink the beers from one country for the rest of your life, it would be hard to argue against picking Belgium. The festival in Grande Place (which I think is one of the great squares of Europe) sounds fantastic!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Insane" IPAs

As someone who has been on a major IPA kick for the past month (since finishing the book "Hops and Glory") I wish I had attended this event!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tasting Notes - Oatmeal Stout

What surprises me about this batch is that different bottles have different tastes. Some are dark and clearly stout like, while others are more akin to Newcastle Brown. Not sure why this is so. The bottles that are properly stout like have a nice flavour and a good thickness to them. The "brown" bottles are a little thin. Hmmm.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Beer Number 1,000

At long last my friends (or iRob at least), I give you beer number 1,000!

Beer 1,000 was Budvar Krouzkovany Lezak (yeast ring lager - 12°). This is a krausened version of Budvar, served on tap at the Masne Kramy pub. The added yeast makes this beer slightly more bitter than the bottled or normal draught versions, and also gives it a slightly more complex taste. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Road to 1,000 - number 999

Our Czech trip had now taken us into Budejovice - home of the original Budweiser. As is often sadly the case, there are all sorts of great beers brewed by the brewery that you can't find in Canada. Such was the case with beer number 999 - Budvar's dark beer, Budweiser Budvar Tmavy Lezak. This was a smooth dark lager with a slightly bitter aftertaste. We drank it at a great pub / restaurant owned by the brewery - Masne Kramy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Road to 1,000 - numbers 997 and 998

Another two-fer! In the Czech Republic this is rather easy, as establishments all tend to sell only one beer makers product, so you can sample multiple beers from the same brewer at one sitting. In this case, the beer was the "Master" brand by Plzensky Prazdroj. Number 997 was the Master Tmavy (dark). According to its website, it is "the 18° special, full-flavoured beer". I found it to be fairly sweet. Number 998 was the Master Zlaty (Gold). It has a deep gold colour, and is 15 degrees. It is slightly dry with a caramel start and a bitter aftertaste.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Road to 1,000 - beer number 996

Beer number 996 was Gambrinus Unfiltered (12 degrees). This is an unfiltered (i.e. unpasteurised) beer. Deep golden, slightly cloudy, with a nice smooth taste. Has a slight bite at the end. Beer as it used to be. We had this beer at a pub called Pivince Stupartska 1869, which was recommended to us (for the beer) by the shop keeper at Bric a Brac, an antiques store.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The road to 1,000 - beer number 995

Hello again from the Czech Republic. Beer number 995 was Bernard Svelte Pivo, a pretty standard Czech lager. No exciting stories about where I had tis one either - picked it up in a bottle in Prague and drank it in the hotel room. Although even that is not all that bad as I think about it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Road to 1,000 - beers number 993 and 994

Another two-fer in Prague! This time at the Pivovarsky Dum (pub and brewery). A nice brewpub that makes its own beers. For 993 I had their Pivovarsky Dum Tmavy (dark) - a good dark lager with a slight taste of bitter coffee. For 994 I had the Pivovarsky Dum Lezak Svetly (Classic) - a golden coloured, sweet, unfiltered lager. Unlike Sith@Heart, who went for the green coloured nettle beer, which really did taste like, well if not nettles, some kind of green plant.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Road to 1,000 - Beers 991 and 992

A bit of a two-fer here, as I tried two separate Staropramen beers at the Potrefena Husa ("Wounded Goose pub"), one of a series of gastropubs in Prague owned by the Staropramen brewery. The first was the Dark: a nice and smooth dark lager. The second was the Granat ("garnet") a lovely red beer. I honestly couldn't tell if it was an ale or a lager. It was smooth as silk in either event. An excellent red beer (which, I am told, is what pairs best with pizza).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Road to 1,000: beer number 990

Greetings from Prague! I (with considerable patience and support from Sith@Heart) decided that if I was going to hit 1,000 I better do it in style. So here we are in the Czech Republic (via Germany) seeing the sights, having fun and of course enjoying the great beers.

Beer number 990 was a delicious and well timed Amber beer at the Klasterni Pivovar Strahov in Prague. Well timed because we found the monastary brewery during the rain, and it gave us welcome comfort. Delicious because it was a lovely, slightly hoppy unfiltered amber beer. It is named St. Norbert Amber. Those monks do good work!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Beer number 975!

Greetings from Cologne!

This is a fantastic city if you have never been. Gorgeous historical buildings, including one of the greatest cathedrals I have ever seen. But more importantly - lots of beer! There are 20 local brweries that all brew Kolsch as near as I can tell. And pubs / beers gardens everywhere showing them off. However, interestingly, although mny beers between 950 and 975 were Kolsch, 975 was in fact Kulmbacher Eisbock, a 28% "starkbier". Although it packs quite a punch alcohol wise, it did not taste that strong, with a sweet taste, frothy head and dark colour more reminiscent of strong Belgian beers.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Road to 1,000 - number 950!

Another major milestone reached - beer number 950. This was the Faxe Lager, given to me by the always awesome Sith@Heart, in a 1L can, with a 1L Maas to go with it...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Home Brew - clone of Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout

Having had enough of the kits, today I am trying the close recipe for Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Sout from Clone Brews (2nd ed.) by Tess and Mark Szamatulski.

Due to ingredient issues I have to make a few substitutions, but hopefully nothing that will have to meaningful an impact. (This beer is excellent if you have never had it).

So here goes:

Step 1: toast 8oz flaked oats at 300 degrees (F).

Step 2: steep the oats in 1 gallon of water at 150 (F) with 8oz 55L British crysta malt (now, here is sub number 1. I didn't have 55L, so I am using a mix of 40L and 70/80L), 8 oz British Chocolate malt (again, I don't have quite enough chocolate malt so I am also using a mix of chocolate malt, darker black malt and lighter malt) and 3oz roasted barley. (The recipe also calls for rice hulls, but this seems a pointless addition).

Step 3: Having steeped and sparged the above, I have added water to 1.5 gallons and bring to a boil.

Step 4: added 2.6kg (5.75 lbs) light dry malt extract, and 2 oz East Kent Goldings hop pellets (recipe called for 4.25% AA, but these are 5.2% AA, so it will be slightly more bitter than the recipe result).

Step 5: add enough water to make 10 litres, and boil for 50 minutes

Step 6: add 1 tsp Irish Moss, boil 10 minutes

Step 7: add enough water to make 5 gallons, cool to 70 degrees, pitch the yeast (Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale)

I will post again after I have racked and bottled it...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

NP article

Ahhh stout. In fact, shortly I will be brewing my next batch of beer - oatmeal stout. Until then...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Good G&M article

Amen to his points on beer (except maybe the champagne stopper point. I am drinking a Maudite right now which comes that way, and I simply cannot speak ill of Unibroue). But his point about boring beers on tap is (sadly) bang on

Friday, March 11, 2011

Road to 1,000 - Number 900

Hit number 900 tonight beer fans. Wild Rose Altbier - one of the seasonals by the always good Wild Rose Brewery

"Using a multi-step mash process, our brewers have created a mahogany coloured beer with amazing body and mouthfeel. This brew is cool fermented and cold conditioned resulting in a refreshing, clean tasting ale."

I expect to hit 1,000 sometime this year. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Molson M - a Canadian by any other name...

Molson M won the Canadian Brewing Awards 2010 gold medal for "North American Style Premium Lager". Now I have to admit, upon reading this I was sceptical that any big brewery beer could win gold.

My scepticism was well founded. I saw M available for the first time in my local liquor store this afternoon, so I picked up a can. Are you seriously trying to tell me this isn't just Canadian in a new can and twice the price? If so, I don't believe you. How this typical, mass produced, nothing-to-write-home about brew won anything is beyond me. Try it if you must, but don't say I didn't warn you.