L's Ales: Summer Starlifter

So, I have a little bit of a back log of post I need to get out due to my work schedule, but I am taking a break to get a few out there. I am still working on my visit to a few breweries, including New Belgium & The Duck Rabbit Brewery. New Belgium was the most heavenly of trips, but you will hear about that soon. I recently got to take a part in Iron Brewer. A few of my tweeps have taken part in it before and I was jealous that they got to take part and I missed out. I was pretty disappointed when I found out that I missed Round 1 sign up for Batch 3 but was ecstatic as soon as I found out Round 2 sign ups were going out! This really excited me because it would be my first brew in about a year. I have missed so much about it and this is a great opportunity to get some feedback from complete strangers.

Iron Brewer is really just an opportunity to challenge yourself to make a beer using ingredients that you might not normally use. They give you 3 ingredients and that is about it... they let you decide on your style and recipe on your own. The point is to be creative and make something that you think will stand out and compliment the given ingredients. I thought the ingredients for my round were a little uninspired but that is where the challenge comes from. I was to use Crystal 120, White Wheat Malt, and Faulkners Flight Hops. I thought the other rounds had a better set up but I was not going to let this put me down. My initial reaction was, "I always wanted to brew a hefe", so I got started on writing that recipe. It was after I went to bed and woke up that I realized that sure, I could do something interesting with the style but that kind of goes against what the competition was about. Originality. Given my list, nothing was original about that. Then I got to thinking and this is where it all starts again. The obsession picks back up and the madness goes completely out of control... I love it... I decided to brew a session ale for the summer. The Saison is always a style I wanted to brew but have never done so. I thought this would work out perfectly. I wrote up the recipe and quickly started getting everything together in order to do it... I also quickly remembered why I wanted to upgrade my equipment.

I am tired of my corona mill. It gets the job done but I am glad this was a fairly small batch. This is one of the most annoying tools in my arsenal. I totally works and I get great efficiency from my crush but the amount of time and energy it takes to do so is questionable at some points. Like back when I brewed my Fat Bastard Barley Wine. About 25lbs of grain in this beer, all crushed with the corona. It sucked. I had made my starter a few days before and once I got the brew going I decided to sample the beer it produced. I figured this would give me an idea of what this yeast is capable of, even though the ingredients going into the beer are nothing like that of just a base malt. Granted it was not carbonated but it was quite a treat. I ended up drinking a whole glass of it just because it was that good. Who would have thought that a starter would be something that I would want several bottles of.

I actually did 2 brew days for this beer. The first was a pilot batch of the same recipe just because I was worried about not having had used my equipment in a while and possible infection. I brewed them 3 days apart and both brew days went surprisingly well. The first had a few issues, but nothing too major. Just problems hitting my first few mash temps. I just had to adjust and move on. I should not have done such a complicated schedule. I usually do a single step mash and have great results and always hit the temp. I guess I was worried about nothing. The wort came up a little short but in my second batch, that was not an issue at all. Then again, what could be bad about having 10 gallons of a Sessionable Saison around your house? Again, this was my first attempt at one so that was kind of scary all in its own.

The final product. I cannot wait to taste it out of the fermenter and get everyone elses feed back as well. I'll throw some notes up here soon enough. Really excited to be brewing again. Though, I had a major problem with flys on both brew days. I wonder if that an east coast thing because I have never seen so many in all of my days of brewing. Anyway, take a look at that.



La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado

La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado

An interesting beer for sure, and a very interesting collaboration. I always wondered how Stone decided which breweries they were going to work with, especially since they always work with two others. All the other breweries I can think of, when they do a collaboration, only work with one brewery. So it got me to thinking. It turns out this one makes complete sense! Stone decided to brew with Patrick Rue and Tyler King of The Bruery and Dick Cantwell of Elysian Brewing.

So besides The Bruery being a kick ass company I haven't really made the connection with them but the beer has more meaning toward them. The name of this beer breaks down to, "The Heavenly Pumpkin of Citracado", ... whatever that really means but they seemed to have spelled "Citrueille" wrong. "Citrouille" is French for pumpkin and I guess that has a link to The Bruery because this was done purposely in honor of Patrick Rue. They also suggested the link of using yams in this beer, along with other ingredients. I have the Stone label, but apparently there are two others. One to represent each brewery. Elysian and my favorite, The Bruery. This one is just funny.

Now, I don't know many other brewers that know a ton about brewing with pumpkins than The Elysian Brewing Company. I guess Mitch Steele at Stone doesn't either. Every year they host The Great Pumpkin Beer Festival and I think that is exactly what they were going for. A great background in brewing and the brewers to match. The pumpkins were grown over at the Stone Farms, which apparently just got an upgrade.

Well, I guess I already broke the first rule of this beer. The whole "Drink Fresh" thing, I just threw out of the window. But I had this beer once it was first released. This is my second bottle. It just happens to be about 9 months later... I notice the differences but I wish I took better tasting notes the first time around. I thought it was more enjoyable aged. I really liked it fresh, if that helps to put it into perspective.

It was almost pitch black on first look but when you put it up into the light, a deep ruby color graced the glass. It poured a tan head and smelled a little bit of lemon and, can you smell pumpkin in a beer? The sweetness is this beer leaves in your mouth is magnificent. The yams and pumpkin do this beer good. It drinks really light but it sits at 5%. Maybe that has something to do with it. A nice low carb, Damn Good... even though it is not fresh.

I hope I can make it to the Pumpkin Fest this year... even though I am all the way on the other side of the country. Though, it is home. Maybe a visit to the family is in order... and to see what Elysian brews this year.



1001 Beers: World Wide Stout

Beer Number 15: Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

Some day we'll tell our grandchildren about the high-octane beer wars of the early 21st century, about the combat between extreme beers that used high-tech yeast strains to convert fermentable sugars into ever-increasing levels of synapse-loosening alcohol. Some day we'll tell them--assuring our capacity for long-term memory was not among the casualties.
I find this so true. Looking all over the beer world and the things that are being done, it seems so ridiculous. But I love it all! I think it is all part of the allure. One of my favorite things for sure. This is what World Wide Stout and Dogfish Head is all about.
Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione says, "Our goal was to brew the world's strongest beer. And we succeeded... for one month."
According to 1001 Beers, they were soon surpassed by Sam Adams Millennium and when Sam tried to up his beer to beat that The Boston Beer Company released Utopias. Pretty funny if you ask me. Though, 18% for a beer is pretty intense. I can only imagine what Utopias 27% could be like.

I am not usually a fan of Dogfish Beers... Well, I am not really sure how to put it. They grow on me. I think they are pretty much full of gimmicks but that is, again, part of the allure. They do it and that is what I love about them. For sure Dogfish is my number two most Sought After Company.

I am glad they are. I LOVE this beer. It is incredibly thick. Almost a chewy consistency. It is soooooooo incredibly boozy too. Which works for this beer, surprisingly. I thought it was almost vodka like in the finish. Yeah, that boozy but the dark fruits of this beer cuts through the alcohol... for a little bit... and then it creeps back up. One magnificent beer. No other way I can put that.

986 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Torpedo

Beer Number 14: Sierra Nevada Torpedo

This is another beer that I got from my trip to Sierra Nevada and it is all about the hops. This is my favorite beer from Sierra Nevada's year round selection. I first had it at Disney Land. The creation of this beer is interesting and I am kind of disappointed that I did not find the torpedo when I was on the tour.

This beer is straight, amazing, hops. Very clean. Apparently the whole point of this beer was to get more hops into it than ever before. A malty experience with good hop flavor and aroma. Again, a classic beer. How else do I put it?

987 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



Funny Joke I Heard

You beer lovers should enjoy this.
One day an Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman walked into a pub together. They each bought a pint of Guinness. Just as they were about to enjoy their creamy beverage, three flies landed in each of their pints, and were stuck in the thick head. The Englishman pushed his beer away in disgust. The Scotsman fished the fly out of his beer, and continued drinking it, as if nothing had happened. The Irishman, too, picked the fly out of his drink, held it out over the beer, and started yelling, "SPIT IT OUT, SPIT IT OUT YOU BASTARD!!!!"


1001 Beers: Pale Ale

Beer Number 13: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

What can one say about this beer. I mean it is the classic pale ale. The best selection at pretty much any place that you go to that is not geared toward craft beer geeks. Most popular pale ale out there.

I brought this bottle back from my latest trip to Sierra Nevada. I learned a lot about the creation and production of this beer. It is hard to image what is so significant about this beer with everything going on in the beer world today but times were much different back then. From 1001 Beers:
Sierra Nevada's founder Ken Grossman wanted to make a beer that didn't reference English pale ales, and that had a pronounced hop aroma--there weren't many in those days.
I know, right? Anyway...

A very clean, crisp, dry, and a little toasty. Grassy nose with a little citrus aroma. The Purest Ingredients and the Finest Quality. Simple enough.

988 Bottles of Beer To Go!



Black and Blue, Red and White

I picked up a few more bottles from Dogfish Head, and what I figured out is they may not be my favorite brewery (Much Love for New Belgium), but they are for sure probably my number 1 or 2 sought out brewery. I mean, I pretty much have it down to clock work when New Belgium is releasing a new beer and where to find it... I have emailed them once or twice :p but I know what is coming out none the less. With Dogfish, I look at their calendar and I find tons of stuff in store that isn't even mentioned and I must have. What the hell? Well, what can I say?

This is my second time having Red & White. I was not a big fan of it then, and upon first taste... I am not so much this go around either. I guess some beers are just hit or miss. Though, as I am going on, it is growing on me. Or I am just losing my palate all together. This may be a bad thing with Black & Blue coming up next. I loved that beer. Oh, how glad I am SWMBO picked me up a bottle. I am hoping she likes it too. We will see.

Red & White poured with a big, frothy, golden head. The nose was fairly mellow. I mean, I could pick out a little bit of spice and oak in the nose but it was very tamed. Not what I would expect from reading the description on the label.

Red & White: Ale brewed with coriander & orange peel with Pinot noir juice added with 11% aged in Pinor noir barrels and 89% aged on oak barrel staves.
It had a citrus tang for sure and the barrels, I would say play a pretty decent role in the flavor profile but they are kind of hidden in the back as well. They linger upon finish but this beer pretty much drinks like a wine. Maybe that is just the Pinot Noir juice... though, I have no idea what they hell Pinot Noir juice is... Does that even exist? I guess so, right?

Well, now it comes to the Black & Blue. This beer is far better as it warms up. It is a very smooth beer. I honestly didn't see that many qualities of beer in it. I think the blend of Black and Blue berries really sets it apart. I get a lot of the flavor of those two berries but not much carbonation, or nonetheless, presence of a beer. It is nice in a silly kind of way. I guess I just want to share this beer with non-drinkers but, they are even still skeptical. I can kind of see it as a wine, just like the Red & White but I guess it does not fit the profile. Another Malty Dogfish Beer.

I preferred the Black & Blue over the Red & White but it is really starting to grow on me. The Black & Blue was always a favorite from taste one, so that will be hard to compete against but hey, I win either way I guess.