Friday, January 29, 2010

Beer Journey Coming Soon and Maybe More

Greetings all!  Well, the holiday season is almost a distant memory as most of us get thrown back to the reality of the daily grind.  Beef and I have tried to remedy this with a spot of retail therapy, in the form of a beer gift pack. On special might I add!
We were looking for the next beer to experience and write up on BeerDakari when Beef came across this box set for $15!  Grabbing one box each, we excitedly exited the shop and chatted about the amount of money we'd saved as well as when would be a good time to start this beer journey.
We decided that since we had 2 boxes (containing: 1x La Trappe Blond (6.5%), 1x La Trappe Dubbel (7%), 1x La Trappe Tripel (8%), 1x La Trappe Quadrupel (10%) and 1x La Trappe tasting glass), we should enjoy one box and then use the second box to take some more detailed notes about what we were tasting and our thoughts.  This one is going to be interesting so stay tuned!
One other thing that could be in the pipe line is a blog entry on shopping for beer.  What you might look for in a kit beer, what equipment you might need for basic brews and where is a good place to start for supplies.

We look forward to bringing you more entries over the coming weeks.

- Stass

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Samuel Smith Imperial Stout (7%)

Ok, going to take this a bit slower. this Samuel Smith offering pours with less head but definitely darker in colour than the Taddy. I must confess that i have tried this before, and am generally a bit taken aback but Imperial Stouts. they seem to be hoppier and leave an aftertaste i do do enjoy. still, after the taddy, will be interesting to see how different this is in comparison.
If i thought the Taddy had some taste about it, this one is a fist slamming sort of beer. the intense sort of caramel taste in it is, while enjoyable, almost too much for a simple man like myself. The alcohol smell is also more pronounced and am glad i didn't drink this one first. much more robust than the taddy, i find it almost overbearing. each taste by itself is quite nice, but in combination, and with the higher alcohol, it is too much for me to enjoy. hopefully like the taddy, if i let it warm if may mellow out in taste.
As it warms, there does seem to be a slight mellowing. hopefully this is a sign the tastes are blending a bit more so it is not so intense. still, the alcohol taste still resides high. still, the aftertaste is also more bearable. After a great australia day weekend, this beer is now starting to make me sleepy. While i didn't have beers like this on the camp, many homebrew bright ales were consumed with great pleasure. It may not be right, but it made a great breakfast beer yesterday. I hope everyone else had a great day too, even (or especially) if you didn't start it the way i did with 2 longnecks at 8am.
anyway, as for this beer, unless sleepiness and alcohol are taking effect, the warmth has made this beer much more drinkable, however, as i have said, the intensity of this beer is too much for me to enjoy. maybe on a cold winter day i would contemplate this beer, but maybe only if shared. it sure doesn't taste like 7%.
Good luck to those that give this beer a go, and Happy Post Australia Day Everyone.



Samuel Smith Taddy Porter (5%)

Wow! A dark, rich porter that does not leave a lingering coffee roasted taste in the mouth. A very pleasant taste with a slight tingle on the tongue, with a bitter chocolate smell. the tingle may well be from minerally water. the blend of malts and hops is very well done. I can't say this very often, but it is a very easy drinking porter. I would say that if someone had never had a porter before, this would be a good one to try them on. however, there is still quite an intense taste while it rolls on the tongue. Still, without a harsh aftertaste, even if someone did not enjoy it it won't leave a psychological scar on their tastebuds. A very good english style stout/porter. It still has a smooth texture, however, with the dissipation of taste after swallowing, I can't help but sense wateryness, but i think this is just from never having a smooth stout/porter that doesn't leave a lingering aftertaste. I am actually surprised at how quickly i am drinking it. It is not exactly a summer beer, mind you, I have found my tolerance to be quite capable of overcoming this most of the time. This is a beer i would recommend my brother and stass to try. they both seem to like a bit of taste in their beer. It is funny, last week i had a beechworth robust porter, and besides being lighter in texture, i sense similarities here.
As i continue and the beer is allowed to warm (not much with me drinking it so quickly though) the tingle on the tongue is reducing, the smell is less intense, and there is a mellowness in the chocolate taste that only makes this beer more enjoyable. therefore another first. a beer that is good cold and as it warms. the hops do not become overemphasised, the chocolate/malt taste has not diminished and there is still no offensive aftertaste. ok, so there is the possibility i am drinking it too quickly and so mellowing out (in mind and tastebuds) myself. One thing i have been intrigued about recently is the term 'dryness' when describing beers. i have heard Guinness described this way, and must say there is a sort of sense of what that might be with this non-lingering aftertaste. I get the same thing from Guinness, so am wondering if this is the case here. anyone that knows about this, please leave a comment to deny or confirm my sense.
Until then (and after it), i am just going to keep enjoying this beer. Samuel Smith triumphs again!!!!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Zywiec Porter, Poland (9.5%)

...And Now For Something Completely Different...A Polish Porter. Actually, i am glad to be having this second, as there is quite a strong smoky taste, and the alcohol is quite high. not a session type of beer. There is little head but a very dark body to this beer. there is smells of chocolate and is almost port-like as well. there is a definite alcoholic tingle on the tongue that reminds me of the Gulden Draak I had recently. After the previous beer this one is really hitting me with the alcohol, so is definitely a winter warmer. not so necessary in summertime. the alcohol tastes is definitely more pronounced in this beer over the draak, but it hasn't lost any smoothness in texture which is quite appealing, and may be why i am able to drink it so easily. this is therefore a massive warning to others like myself tempted by a smooth bodied beer. respect this beer for what is can do to you. even my lips are starting to tingle. a couple more of these and i reckon i could cope with a polish winter...well, maybe for not very long. ok, as i get towards the end not feeling the alcohol slightly as much as the Draak, but much of a muchness at this level. still, the malt really helps the mask what it can and keep the smoothness of the beer intact.
Anyway, better stop writing before i babble anymore into noncoherence.

Yay for Beer.


Monty Python's Holy Grail (Ail/Ale) (4.7%)

This beer was produced to mark the 30th Anniversary of Python, and as the label says, tempered over burning witches', and can you ever taste witch in it (unless i just got turned into a newt). Maybe the witches in my batch were particularly warty, but there is definite sourness in smell, and the hops are slightly overpowering for an english ale. the beer itself is smooth enough (wink wink, nudge nudge), and lacks head on the copper body. I have tried this beer before, and i must say it slaps you round the head like a fish with the hops. I also sense some citrus (have we done oranges?), but to be honest the hops overpowers it (the black knight is never defeated...have it you!). Being a Python fan i would love to say something better about it (ohh Denis, there's some lovely filth o'er 'ere), but unfortunately it turns out like a castle filled of virgins (16-19 years old) that the hops bravely save you from enjoying (you're gay, aren't you?). There was (not) much rejoicing. Would probably prefer 'huge...tracts of land'. maybe it tastes better out of the Holy Grail itself...


Monday, January 18, 2010

Surprise Beer 2 - the Unknown Homebrew

Hmmm, found the beer in my stash the other day. not sure how long it has been there for but pretty sure it is from my mate Gary (a fellow homebrewer, who has a great water source). the pours very clear and think from first taste it may be a bitter, but definitely not like a VB or Melb Bitter. This is what i think a 'real' bitter should be like, where the bitter is not just in aftertaste, but more a fundamental basis for the beer (as i say, 'real'). there is a definite sourness that i think just shows the beer is a bit out of date, but this is mainly in aftertaste, so doesn't take away from the 'main' of the beer. I wouldn't make others drink it, but as Gary's daughter knows (and everyone else that tried that mexican beer at that party), i'll drink any of Gary's out of date beers, or most out of date beers in general. Maybe not as bad at Stass and his dad having 30 years old apple wine, but still, it's age is apparent. 

Gary, now i have had the beer, I'll get the Grolsh bottle back to you. they are good for putting homebrew in!



Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel, Germany (5.3%)

Seeing the last beer i spoke about was a dunkel thought i would start with this as a comparison, and as i don't want to be typing this beers name after a few. When i first opened it, it poured with a bigger head than expected, and saw the colour was quite light for a dark beer (even if it is a wheat beer). Thought i sensed the dark malts in it on first taste, along with the slight bubblegum that comes with german wheat beers. This was also smelt in the beer, but thought maybe letting it warm might bring something more, but as i taste it again now, the bubblegum taste it only increasing, and can't help but make comparisons to Hoegaarden. Still, there may be a slight more smoothness to the beer that the darker malts may have helped contribute to the beer. Think i prefer the Erdinger, and even the previous Emerson dunkels over this offering.


Environmental Impact of Beer

Ok, I know i said previously i didn't want this to turn into a social commentary, but after seeing and purchasing Baraka, and every 6-12 months reading an ecology book, it got me interested to see what the environmental impact beer production and consumption has on the world. Doing a quick search on wikipedia I found the following:

Draught beer's environmental impact can be 68% lower than bottled beer due to packaging differences.[139][140] Home brewing can reduce the environmental impact of beer via less packaging and transportation.[141]

A life cycle study of one beer brand, including grain production, brewing, bottling, distribution and waste management, shows that the CO2 emissions from a 6-pack of micro-brew beer is about 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds).[142] The loss of natural habitat potential from the 6-pack of micro-brew beer is estimated to be 2.5 square meters (26 square feet).[143]

Downstream emissions from distribution, retail, storage and disposal of waste can be over 45% of a bottled micro-brew beer's CO2 emissions.[142]

Where legal, the use of a refillable jug, reusable bottle or other reusable containers to transport draught beer from a store or a bar, rather than buying pre-bottled beer, can reduce the environmental impact of beer consumption.[144]

On one hand, by always looking for new beers to try, imported bottled beer would create alot of CO2 emissions. However, with the homebrewing I would hope that this is negated with the resuse of materials, and lack of packaging and transportation. I guess it is one of those things people don't think about. Where did this beer/wine/spirit come from, and what has had to happen to get it into my hand and down my gullet? we can look at many things in the world this way, and got me to try out a carbon calculation ( Between car, flights and electricity, I produce about 5 tonnes of CO2 a year, which I am happy to say is the global average for an individual, much less than the 28 tonnes supposedly used by each individual in developed nations. while it doesn't cater for everything i do, is a decent guide to get us thinking about how much we use. luckily i am able to ride my bike around alot and I also make greenpower contributions.

Anyway, just thought i would like to share that with whoever reads this, and myself when i come back to read this blog in the future.

As for my lack of communication on this blog in recent weeks, in the lead up to Australia Day, I have decided I will be tasting many beers that my friends gave to me for my birthday last month that I haven't had a chance to try yet, and putting them up here. the first one will be later today, probably while watching australia beat pakistan in the cricket.

Cheers to more beers,


PS: Seeing this post has now had over 100 views and is the most viewed post on this blog, I have focused on this topic again to update my position on it in another post. I would appreciate your thoughts on this obviously interesting topic from those reading this.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January Update

Hi All,

Sorry it has been 2 weeks since i last got on here, but after the KB lager, there is not much that is noteworthy after it. still doesn't mean I haven't been having a brew or three. from mountain goat, coopers, leffe, monteith's, not to mention a few of our homebrews, I have been keeping the faith. hmmm sacrilege...

Anyway, just last night my brother and I hit lower Fitzroy to do a pub crawl around where he lives, and found some interesting pubs in the maze. good vibes in the Union Club Hotel on Gore, and a good beer selection at the Napier Hotel. A big parma went down well at the Standard, and a Ranga at the Rainbow Hotel went down well to start proceedings (creamy, caramelly sense from the red ale). another good pub in the area i haven't plugged yet is the Lambsgobar, with a great selection of beers to try out.

On Thursday i hit revolver (for a Twok's gig. better plug them, and the gig was well worth a plug) and found a Emerson's Dunkelweiss (6.3%). I do enjoy a dark wheat beer and must say i was impressed with this as well. quite smooth dark brown beer with a decent head. I must say NZ beers don't impress me too much apart from the odd Monteith's (summery beers), but like the range this brewery has, and that this one seemed to come off quite well. was a little miffed at the 'caramel chocolate bananas' on the label. banana is pretty standard with wheat, and choc from the malt can be covered as well. the only thing that came to me could be the use of brown sugar for the caramel on the bottle. must say the banana was easy to taste, the chocolate slightly harder and the caramel very difficult to find in it. I'm still not sure on the last one, but at the very least it took some warming to get more than a standard dark wheat beer taste from it. still, worth the effort, and saw revolver also had the London Porter that Emerson's also do. this will require another visit to this pub. Luckily Midnight Circus are playing there on the 29th Jan, so will have to try it then.

With Australia Day coming, I am happy to announce that our Little Creatures Bright Ale batch has come through quite well. I little over-hopped but the drinkability is stupidly high (which three longnecks can attest to from last Tuesday night). this will mean perfect conditions for drunkeness while camping for Australia Day.

One thing I am also looking forward to later in the year is the next batch of Moo Brew Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Vintage Release. having tried it for the first time 8-9 months ago, and keeping one spare to try out when the next batch comes out in a couple of months time, am looking forward to seeing if storing this beer for a year does anything to it. while there was an alcohol sting (at 8.5%) it was still quite smooth as i recall. luckily now we have this blog to record the next tasting.

in terms of the blog, I would like to send a shout out to my mate JR who is spreading the word of this blog, along with another mate, Jaimi Faulker. Jaimi has shown that beer and music are a great combination putting a link to this site from his muso page (Stass/Bill, require your assistance putting in a link here back to his). Big thanks to both these boys for; 1) finding this blog in some way interesting, and 2) sharing the love of beer with others. That is basically all Stass and I are doing with this, and like to see people are leaving comments upon visiting. If anyone has any beers they think we should try as well, let us know. as you know we are up from trying anything, and any feedback is appreciated.

Well, bring on Australia Day, and the aussies continuing to do well in the cricket (where is my KB?)


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Gulden Draak, Belgium (10.5%) & KB Lager (4.6%)

Happy New Year! As a treat, I have two beers to share that made an impact on me during my drinking over the holidays. while there were tooheys old, cascade premium lager, boag's st george (with banana), coopers pale ale, fat yak, little creatures bright ale and Feral White (this last one not being any good) that i can remember having, these two stood above the rest for their own reasons. The first was a bit of a surprise in many regards. firstly, i saw it in Nelson Bay, secondly, i had actually ordered a Piraat, an thirdly it was actually pretty good. of course it didn't have a head and trying to drink it quickly to make a movie made my head spin for 30 mins, but the texture was smooth, the malt was dark and rich (to the point of tasting like berries on the back of the tongue) and there was little harsh alcohol to ruin the aftertaste. still, even with this ease, it was still a sipping beer (port-like), and my tongue was tingling with each taste by the end as the alcohol took effect. still, a highly regarded high alcohol beer is the end result from this tasting.

Now, a change of pace. back in the 80's this beer was everywhere at the cricket and an aussie staple. in recent decades with brewery take overs, this beer has been relegated to near extinction status, but on a lucky endeavour into a bottlo in Shoal Bay, a case of this beer was found and bought for our new years celebrations. I am very proud to have been able to find and consume this as in my whole life i had only tasted it once before on a footy trip in country NSW. and my word did it go down a treat. No, it didn't taste great with the yeasty afterburn and watery taste, but as i have said previously, nostalgia can have such an impact on drinking, and why people go back to the same beer, over and over again. my stomach is still getting over this beer (or was it just i had 15 on NYE?). we found it was alright as the first beer, and when it was really cold or sort of warm. if you had just had a couple of beers before this one it was quite difficult to drink, and if it was cool it did not go down too well either. still, in comparison with other mainstream beers, we found this one not to be as bad.

Anyway, hope your end of 2009 had the good beer journeys i had, and looking forward to trying and recording more beers in 2010.