Monday, March 21, 2011

Magnus Czekoladowy (6%) and my first day of work at a brewery

Hi Gang,

Found out through Slowbeer that they had this Polish beer, so went in their over the weekend to pick this new chocolate beer up. Yes, I know I already have 50-odd other beers, but you should know by now, when it come to chocolate beer, 'I must 'ave it!', and having just had the Choc Hops beer at the Microbrewry Showcase, I just had to try it straight away.
I had heard it was pretty sweet, and if I hadn't just had the Choc Hops, this beer would have had more of an impact than it did, but to be honest it is very sweet and was pretty difficult finishing the bottle. It definitely has that similar 'chico' smell but with a darker edge from the chocolate used. I baked a chocolate mud cake and made sure it was still warm when I had a slice with the beer. The warmth of the cake boosted its flavour, and so brought out more of an alkaline and bitter taste in the beer. However, I noticed as the beer warmed this reduced quite a bit. To be honest, the sweetness is pretty similar to the Choc Hops, but unlike the Choc Hops that was all front palate, and no back, this left the mouth with a sweet aftertaste, making the Magnus harder to go back to after each sip. It was probably good to have the cake, just to cleanse the mouth a bit. It has a decent body to the beer and works for the flavour in it. Did not notice the alcohol at any stage, but the sweetness just overrides anything else that could be in this beer. However, I would still say the Choc Hops is slightly sweeter due to the darker edge the Magnus has. For those like myself that were impressed with the Choc Hops at the Showcase, definitely try out this beer.
I also have the standard version of the Magnus without the chocolate to try as well. There is not so much of the sweet choc smell but still has dark malt, and the head retention is a bit better with the standard, probably because the use of actual chocolate includes cocoa butter, and the oils from that ruins the head of beer. Also, while it is cold, there is a slight alkaline smell coming from it, but it does not come out so much in flavour. The sweetness seems to be reduced as well, but is still the major taste like the chocolate version. The body of the beer is still the same and there is still the sweet back palate, but because it is reduced it does not hang around as long as the chocolate version, overall making it more of an easy drinking beer. In terms of ingredients, the only difference to the standard and the chocolate is that instead of the chocolate, the standard has caramel, which I guess, keeps that sweet taste in the beer. However, the caramel taste is not prominent in the beer as much as I would normally get from a beer with use of caramel malt.

Ok, I have waited long enough, time to describe the very first day I worked in a brewery, which happened on Friday. So Mountain Goat had the (cough, cough) privilege of having me in their brewery to help them bottle their first batch of the Surefoot Stout for the upcoming winter (hmm, stout, a good sign for me). With Dave, Shane, Jayne, and another noob Dan, we got set up and took the first half slow so us noobs could keep up. Once you get into the rhythm of the bottling and labeling machines, it was ok, but after a break at the Royston (yep, tough day), they stepped up the speed and then it was a bit more chaotic to keep up with the process. Still, just being able to focus on a small part I was able (barely) to keep up. The work was fine physically for me, but while it wasn't exertive, the repetition does get to you a little. I guess that is part of why they life to get it done quickly. Still, in the end we got there (and just in time for the bar to open) so we had one of the staffy beers (we have about 8 boxes of them at the end, and I have brought one home to enjoy) and then sat by the bar to have a few beers with the gang. I tried the cucumber sandwich (surprised and how much cucumber gets into the beer through the Randy) and then the new Black IPA. I have to say,a lot of hops, but the dark malt really contrasts the flavour to give it decent balance overall. The malt is almost of a smokey flavour it has been burnt that much, but was pretty impressed with it.
Anyway, let's just say I am looking forward to the next opportunity to do another days work there. Not only is it the closest brewery to where I live, just being able to hang out in that environment, and talk to the brewers to understand their progress individually and as a brewery, was a great experience for me personally, and hopefully it is the foot in the door that will open this area for me career wise. And so it starts...again.



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