Stonington Memorial Summer Ale

Rev.2 of SMSA is ready to go. After two days in bottles, it was already fully carbonated! Contrast this with my three big beers which are still flat as slate after three or more weeks in their bottles.

The strangest thing happened - SMSA2 tastes nothing like the original SMSA. It tastes just like Blue Moon. It transformed itself from an American Wheat Beer to a Belgian Witbier. There must have been some residual belgian WLP570 yeast left over from Doree Forte in some vessel I used for SMSA2.


"Public" Brewing

So today was supposed to be my first public brewing. I did brew in public. I did a Brewer's Best kit IPA. Only problem was that I had nobody else here. Better luck next time. If any readers are in the Mystic, CT area, my next public brewing is on August 4th. Email me (keith@brainardbrewing.com) and let me know you want to come! It will be cool! I'll have lots of different beers for everyone in attendance to sample, and you will all learn a lot about the brewing process!


Second Wine Tasting

Oh yeah - I did another wine tasting Tuesday. It was a bunch of whites, which was nice. I like the whites more than the reds. Seems to parallel my beer tastes right now. I ended up liking the sweeter wines, which made me feel girly, but it's OK I'm man enough to admit it to the blogosphere (which judging by my comments is about ZERO for me, but it's okay). Wine tastings are fun and economical and educational.

Laguna Mega IPA Tasting

I finally decided to post tastings of my own brews here. I post the commercial ones on BeerAdvocate.com now, but I can't post my own there, since nobody else in the world (except for a few dozen friends and associates) can taste them.

Laguna Mega IPA is a Lagunitas IPA clone from BYO's 150 Clones magazine/book. Except I doubled the hops at all stages. I did this as an extract brew, with DME. I also used leaf hops. Yeast was White Labs vial, with no starter. The name is kind of a pun on Laguna Seca, a famous race track in Cali (actually now it's Mazda Raceway or something), but it is all I could think of every time I hear the name "Lagunitas". The label has a background image of Laguna Seca. I grew to love Laguna Seca in Gran Turismo 2, and since I never got a later version of the game, that is still holding a soft spot in my heart..

If you look closely, you can see that this one was bottled a few months ago, on 4/20/07, but it is still tasting the same as it did in May. I am drinking it in my Javit Crystal Clipper Tankard (sounds fancy, doesn't it?). I got it from my Mom, she says it was from Newport in the '70s or something, and I like it because Mystic (where I live now) is all about boating. Plus a tankard is just more interesting than a pint glass.

Scores in each category are out of five. Overall is weighted average of all scores. Appearance is 20%, Smell is 20%, Taste is 40%, Mouthfeel is 10%, and Drinkability is 10%.

Appearance (4): Copper color, strong head, which lasts to the bottom of the glass. Not crystal clear, but fairly clear, especially considering I didn't use clarifying agents (e.g. Irish Moss) on this one. Beautifu color, and I impress myself with its clarity. And who doesn't love a good head?

Smell (2.5): Overwhelmingly fruity. Grapefruit, strawberry, and tangerine. This smells of citrusy American hops - BIG TIME. Really lacks balance from malt to counteract the hops.

Taste (2.5): Taste is again nothing but fruity hops. If I didn't KNOW (since I made it) that there was no fruit in it, I would INSIST that there was fruit in there. But there isn't. Just lots of Magnum and Cascade (and a few Willamette) hops in there. There is also a hops bitterness that is slightly grassy and earthy, which you can sometimes taste if you forget to notice the fruit. It almost tastes watery and extremely hoppy at the same time, which is an interesting combination. However, again, it lacks balance that it really needs. No alcohol or malty flavor to rein in that hop monstrosity. What do you expect when you double the hops, but nothing else?.

Mouthfeel (2.5): A bit too foamy in the mouth for what I'd think an IPA should have. Not that I don't like a foamy brew, but I believe it to be slightly out of style. Also the watery feel is not optimal.

Drinkability (3.5): I personally could drink this all night. It is not for everyone. The hopheads will like it. Those seeking balance may be disappointed. But the fruit flavor combines with bitterness to make a beer that I think is easy to drink.

Overall (2.9): I wish I could rate this higher, because I do like it, but it just isn't balanced like it should be. From what I've read, IBU above 70 (this is about 130) is not detectable by humans, so next time I make this, I'll probably scale up the malts to balance out the hops that are in there. Plus, I don't really use leaves any more - it's pellets for me... But if you live in CT and want to try it, I have about 3 left, so come and get it while you can!

Doree Forte Tasting!

Yesterday while the 'rents were here for the 4th, I had to crack the bottle of Doree Forte that I made before I put it in secondary (where I also added 12 oz. of corn sugar). This bad boy is 10.6 ABV, but it was totally awesome. If I didn't know it was a homebrew, I might have thought it was from Belgium. I can only hope that the extra corn sugar didn't ruin this potentially delicate child I have here. I'll have to let you know in about two or three weeks, after I bottle and it conditions up.


GSX-R1.104 Update

I just transferred GSX-R1.104 to secondary. The gravity dropped a few points to 1.028, which is only 1.003 above what BeerSmith predicted, so while it is high, it isn't outrageously high. It must have been that darn partial mash "steep" procedure leaving all the unfermentable sugars. Grrr!

Anyway, that makes it 10% ABV, and about 370 calories per bottle. Strong. But the flavor was still DOMINATED by alcohol, and it was also very sweet on top of that. It is more like Brandy or something than beer, but maybe that isn't a total disaster. I wonder if anyone would go for that type of thing? Probably. I should call it "BarleyBrandy", or more accurately "LiquidMaltExtractBrandy".

Tomorrow I bottle Big Slick. Another hot alcohol monster. It may have mellowed by now, since it is only 8.5%. We'll see... the bottle I made last week is almost ready to try. The bottle of Doree Forte has been ready since day three, but I will try it in two days. Tomorrow I taste Allagash Tripel, and then the next day, it's my own creation. Then I think the day after that would be a reasonable time to pop the Big Slick.

Which reminds me - I haven't been posting tastings on here so much. It's because I put them on www.beeradvocate.com now, so go there. It has a great tasting notes database. They are awesome. From now on, I may only post my own tastings here (that is, tastings of my own beers)... we'll see how it pans out.