Sunday, July 31, 2011

Southern Tier Tasting @ Chapel Street Cellars

Hi All,

A while back I heard about an amazing beer from Southern Tier called Creme Brulee, but found out too late to try any. I then heard Chapel Street Cellars was having a tasting that included it so was onto it straight away to get a spot. On Wednesday I made my way down there for it, and after being warmly greeted by Joanne and Rob, I sat down and prepared myself for the 8 beers they would have on show.

The first beer was a cherry saison (8%) which was translucent caramel in colour and some slight cherry sweet smell over the top of the typical fruity nose you get on a saison. Joanne showed off her tasting skills by noting a vinegary yeast aroma which I related to a white wine. There was some slight sweet fruit on the front of the palate which ran into some light sourness on the sides which transforms into tartness on the back. Still, with all these flavours being slight, it did not linger too long. I knew though not to let it warm up too much, as the sourness and tartness became stronger in aroma and flavour, but was interested to see it kept a little sherbert sweetness. Rod (the bloke sitting across from me) was not so lucky, as he let his sit too long, and his tastebuds (and his face, but the way it contorted) were tortured by his last sip of it.

Next was was the Hoppe (8%) an American strong ale which had a slightly darker caramel colour to the cherry saison, but just as translucent. Some definite caramel malt smell and to me some slight dankish hop. The malt body coats the tongue well before fresh hops hit from the midpalate to clean it up by the back. Pretty well balanced, and the meld of malt and hop only improved as it warmed up. I also found it went well with the chicken pizza I was eating halfway through the tasting. Definitely my favourite from the first half of the tasting.

A Double IPA then came to step up from the hops in the previous beer with the Un*eartly at a decent 11% alcohol. It had a reddish hue to the caramel body, that came through in aroma and upfront in flavour. However, flavour dissipated on the midpalate before a sharp rise in the bitter hops and then the alcohol leaves a bit of a dry aftertaste. This beer did not change as it warmed up

Letting malt start to take over the tasting, the Iniquity Black IPA (9%) came up, which while black, still had quite a bit of translucency to it. A balance of bitter and sweet in a dark malt nose with a hint of liquorice. Like the Hoppe, there is good body through the malt with a slight spike of hops before it cleans up reasonably at the back. As it warms, the spike in hops is noticably reduced, which of course I enjoyed more.

From here on we were going into Imperial Stout territory (Woohoo!), so while we ate pizza to help us get through it, we were also able to taste a couple of the beers they had on tap. First was the Mikkeller 1000 IBU, which has a very short sweet front before citrus hops hit and rise long and sharply to then die off slightly at the end. But it isn't done yet, as 5 seconds after swallowing the hops come back to hit hard in aftertaste and linger for quite a while. All I can say is that I am happy we were eating pizza at this stage. Of course, the Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted tasted like water after the Mikkeller, but seemed more even in profile.

Our first step into the Imperial Stouts was the Javah (10.6%), which surprisingly had very little coffee as far as I could tell. Maybe if I didn't know it was a coffee beer I may not have noted the very slight coffee aroma that was all I could get of that aspect in the beer. Where it was bold was in the classic malt smell that also had alcohol mixed in with it, just so you know what you are in for when you get your tongue near it. There was a pinching sweetness on the very tip of the tongue before the hops even out and then the alcohol kicks in, which helps clean up the flavour, but left me phleming a little bit at the back. As it warms the sweetness holds on longer and the alcohol hits from the midpalate, both removing any trace of hops in the beer.

Coming from that it was natural to move onto the Mokah (10.9%) which was dark viscous with a hint of brown in the head. Some lovely chocolate and vanilla smell that was quite sweet and reminded Rod and I of Cottees Chocolate Ice Cream Topping. Unfortunately this did not come across in the flavour, leaving me very disappointed with the front palate flavours before the typical hop and alcohol hitting after. These later aspects in themselves spiked quite a bit on the tongue creating further disappointment, but luckily as it warmed both these aspects died off a bit, and more of the smell came through in the flavour. Well worth letting it sit for 20 mins before drinking.

As we neared the end, the Oat (11%) appeared showing little carbonation and smelling pretty subdued to go with it, apart from hints of liquorice. Dangerously easy drinking Imperial Stout with texture and classic style flavour holding over the whole palate very well and allowing it to slide down your throat. Even with that much alcohol, it hardly cuts through the texture of the beer, even as it warms up.

Finally, the beer that brought me here, the Creme Brulee (9.2%) appeared in front of me, and was almost surprised by it as I had really let myself get into the tasting and had nearly forgotten about it...nearly. Still, from now on I will remember it as the beer that smelt like Cottee's Caramel Ice Cream Topping, a combination of luscious burnt sweet caramel with a touch of vanilla, and luckily this time in transfers well into flavour. It is lighter in mouthfeel so it feels like you are drinking a cloud, and this beer may as well come from the heavens, as even with this lightness, it still coats your tongue lovingly with only the slightest sting of bitterness to bring you back to earth and cleanse the tongue. Absolutely amazing, and one of the most impressive and enjoyable beers I have ever had. Even better, as it warmed up, this profile held on, with only the alcohol coming through a little more.

Needing time to settle down after that last beer, I sat around talking more to the group I had been tasting with, and also Rob and Joanne. The store itself is very interesting having a good selection of beer even with limited space seeing they also have wine and spirits available. They even also have around 5 taps of beer to try, and Rob was nice enough to give me a taste of the latest Red Duck IPA, which I found to be of similar profile to the Bengal, but more towards the hop in flavour, probably making it a better balanced IPA, but of course not as enjoyable for me personally.

Cheers to Chapel Street Cellars and all those that came and appreciated the beer journey with me.


PS: Also had a tasting of Durham Brewery at Purvis on Friday. The Triple came out on top as the best beer for me in the range, as the IPA, Barelywine and Imperial Stout all seemed a little dull overall. Also had a try of the Brooklyn Brewery Local 1 Belgian Golden Ale. Wow, a very good example of the style with slight spice, zesty orange and non-spiky yeast character. Overall a very nice even beer for the style. I look forward to drinking the bottle of this I have at home.

PPS: Stass and I will be kegging our latest brews today. One is a Guinness that we tried a couple of years back, and now we have the keg, want to see if we can get it any better than that. The other one is a very special brew I have been contemplating for most of my homebrewing life...but more on that later.

PPPS: Have just found out The Wheaty in Adelaide will have kegs of the Moo Brew Vintage Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout on Wednesday. Yes, like the Rogue's Chocolate Stout I went over there at easter for to have on tap, I will be doing the same for this.

PPPPS: Basically anything is a post script after that Creme Brulee!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Best Guinness in Melbourne is at...

...the Drunken Poet, especially while also enjoying a Tim Cannon gig. Good Guinness (and only $8 a pint!!!), good people, good vibes.

65 Peel Street, West Melbourne (across the road from Vic Markets), in case you are wondering where it is.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Prickly Moses Tasting @ Young and Jackson

I only found out yesterday this tasting was on, but managed to get myself and Joel in their for a tasting. While Joel had a parma, I saw that they had the Hunter Chocolate Porter on tap, which I tried nearly exactly a year ago in the bottle. Again I wasn't highly impressed by it, but there was some decent sweetness, and maybe they have tweeked the recipe a bit. The texture still isn't there as much as I would expect from this style of beer, but again, inoffensive, and is tasting better than the alkaline that came out of the bottle version. Therfore, it could have been simply a carbonation problem previously.

Getting to the tasting, I saw the chocolate beer they were suppose to be showing was not on tap yet, so after having ordered a Session Ale and a Blueberry Hefewiezen, I then also added a Stout after hearing from one the brewers the chocolate beer would only be put on tap once the stout was finished. The Session Ale wasn't easily drunk, especially with a hop characteristic which didn't seem to blend well with the malt, and left me with an aftertaste that didn't sit with me very well. The up front taste profile was a bit disjointed too, so found it hard to pinpoint this beer. The Blueberry was much simpler and therefore I found it easier to enjoy with sweet fruit aroma which translated into flavour. The usual banana yeast character of this style of beer wasn't present, but the wheat body carried it well enough to make it a nice, refreshing beer, even as the sweetness did increase as it warmed, and even seemed to separate from the fruit a bit. The Stout again was pretty simple with a good roasted malt flavour but managed to steer clear of bitterness or dryness that sometimes comes with this. Like the Red Hill Imperial Stout I spoke with fellow blogger James about at this event, this stout is an easy drinking beer for the style.

Finally, the Grounded Pleasures Chocolate Ale was available, so grabbed a glass and got tasting. While cold I was a little uncertain as was getting both sweetness and an alkaline aroma from it. Joel was getting an iced coffee smell from it himself, so both of us were a little confused. On taste, there was some choc sweetness when went into an orange and/or light malt sweetness before a strange aftertaste came over at the end and seemed to linger for quite a while. The beer has a cloudy translucent browny body and quickly diminishing head. To not make a chocolate stout or porter is an interesting approach by the brewer, and have to say this intrigued me greatly to go and try this beer yesterday. The aspect that the sales of this beer will go towards Uganda (where the chocolate is sourced from) is also an interesting slant. I would recommend everyone try this beer out for themselves, especially those that have tried chocolate in beer before. With such a different approach, I can understand why I may not have enjoyed it that much (my experience with chocolate beers maybe being a disadvantage to me). probably the closest chocolate beer I can relate this beer to is the Magnus Czekoladowy, with a lot of upfront sweetness but not much body to it.

Well, I am still waiting patiently for my Moo Brew Vintage Imperial Stout to arrive, and realising my brother get back on the 6th August, we will be getting together to try this while watching the first Bledisloe rugby union test. Still, I am sure I will be back on here before then with a few more adventures in beer to share.



Monday, July 18, 2011

Finally, Red Hill Imperial Stout on Tap!!!!!

Ok, it has been a couple of years now since I have been waiting to have this beer on tap. Everyone I talk to has talked up this beer, and for the past couple of winters, I have always been away when it has been on tap anywhere, and gone by the time I get back. This says enough in itself, so have been pretty eager this year to make sure I didn't miss out. I thought I might have missed the boat again when I went up to Newcastle for my Grandpa's 90th, and had heard from Red Hill they had sent out the kegs that weekend, but luckily a couple of places I went to recently had it on tap.

I think this photo en-capsulates my relief at finally being able to try this beer on a visit to The Local Taphouse. Thanks to my mate Cam for taking the photo for me in this state, and sharing my first taste of this beer on tap. As you can see there is a generous creamy brown head over the motor oil black body. Was picking up a trace of chocolate and liquorice on the nose while it was cold, with a slight hint of hops to create some depth in aroma. Once it warms though the alcohol really stands up over it. In the mouth there is that dark sweet malt hit before a somewhat dulled liquorice comes through that sits a little heavy before the alcohol comes through the clean up the palate. The mouthfeel was creamy but not as much as I expected, which left me a little dissapointed, and after tasting a fair few Russian Imperial Stouts, found it to be fairly easy drinking for the style. Again, as it warmed up, the alcohol became a lot more noticeable in flavour and sensation, but didn't quite reach that level where the warmth rises from your stomach, into your lungs and a contented sigh as the alcohol rises out through your mouth and also up into your brain.
I then took the opportunity to try it again at the Royston on Friday night, and have to say, it displayed better than when I had it earlier. There was definitely more creaminess, and having let it warm up this time around, the dulled liquorice on the midpalate was diminished as the alcohol came through earlier. Having tasted a few other beers before getting to this one, the alcohol did hit me a bit harder. Overall, I would say an easy drinking version of the style which is great for the general aussie public that may not have experienced this style of beer before. Probably an even more delicately flavoured version would be the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, with chocolate and vanilla aspects coming into it. Unfortunately I personally like a bit more depth in this style, so would rather a Moo Brew Vintage Imperial Stout on tap over this, with bigger malt characteristics and that contented alcohol sigh I spoke of before. Also, as I found recently in a taste off, the Clout Stout from Western Australia also bodes well for an aussie version of this style of beer.

Ok, now to some other beers I have been 'puttin down me gullet'. While I was at The Local, I tried a few other beers on the tasting paddle. Was interested to see that they had a lambic beeron tap, so made sure to get that while continuing my education on IPA's. I was initially told to have the lambic last, but seeing the tradition is to have this beer before or over food, I had it first. Ok, Lindemans maybe isn't the most traditional lambic brewers in Belgium, but to be confronted with a kriek with almost no sourness at all, and a very sugary sweetness that had me thinking I was drinking liquified cherry sherbert, I was a little disappointed. The red of the beers was so bright it looked like an alcopop you would see chicks drinking, unfortunately though with an alcohol content of only 4% and a price of $13 for 310ml, I doubt that would work for many of them. While I do enjoy the Faro Lindemans produce, and yet to try the better versions of their lambics (ie, cuvee range), I was well and truely ready for my meal by the time I finished this beer.
While I tucked into the 3 beer burger, I tried my luck on the IPA's. The Murray's Icon Double IPA has a good blend of malt and hops, and again, found this to be just another example of this brewery not putting a foot wrong with the beers they display. The Red Hill Black IPA showed me more of the muddled liquorice flavours that took away my enjoyment of the Imperial Stout, but the big winner was the Doctors Orders Pulse Belgian Oatmeal IPA. Ok, so we all know by now my 'wuss' status with hops, and while the oatmeal did help to soften the flavours in this beer, I was delighted to see a great delicate balance of hops and malt, along with a sense of banana from the Belgian yeast here. An intriguing combination of ingredients has brought about a beer I would happily recommend anyone just getting into IPAs to try, or people like myself that appreciate a subtler style of IPA. Ok, the banana could be a bit strange for a first timer, but this was limited while drinking it cold. Still, I reckon Cam also found this one enjoyable, and I hope he doesn't mind me saying he is probably slightly limited in his exposure to beer...well at least compared to me. So to find a beer we both enjoyed equally was a good find. I hear this beer will be going into growlers at Slowbeer soon, so will have to go and get me some of that when it is tapped.

I have also picked up a bottle each of the two Brooklyn Brewery beers that have made it to our shores (Lager and Local 1). Sharing a lager with Damian at Purvis, there is a nice light honeyed malt sensation on the front of the tongue before what seemed like a dulled hop flavour came over it that hung around a bit in aftertaste along with some dryness. I found some similarities between this and the last lager of this type I had (Thunder Road Fullsteam Lager) with some nice malt up front and the dry finish (though not as dry as the Thunder Road), but their was a bit more in the body and mouthfeel of the Brooklyn (expected seeing the Thunder Road is more of a pilsner in my opinion). Not sure if this dulled hop finish is intended (I doubt it) in the Brooklyn, but have another bottle of it to try and find out later on.
I also tried a Cuvee Des Trolls while I was there. Not sure if it was over carbonation mixed with some citrus zest/spice, but after a spritz of this the light malt body evens out on the midpalate and then easily cleansed with alcohol on the back. Easy drinking apart from the 7% alcohol which may hit the unsuspected drinker.

While I was at the Royston on Friday, while I was waiting for my Red Hill Imperial Stout to warm up, I tried the latest batches of Bridge Road Bling IPA, and the 2 Brothers Voodoo Baltic Porter. The Bling had a bit more hop zing (or 'tang' as someone I spoke to about it at the bar said) than I remember having last time I tried it, which was a little overpowering for someone like me, but still has a nice freshness to it, even if the malt doesn't quite carry (or dull as it may be in my case) it through. The Voodoo though was tasting good, maybe not quite the weather to enjoy a dark lager in, but still with enough roasted character in the malt, but with a light body so any newcomers to dark beers could appreciate without the fabled weight in the stomach that turns off many a straight pale lager drinking from turning to the dark side of beer.

Alright, I have said enough. Happy drinking to you all, especially to Rowan, whose birthday it was yesterday. I hope you enjoy brewing the Russian Imperial Stout as much as you liked drinking ours.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Moo Brew Excitement!!!...and other stuff

WooooooHooooo! Just received my first bottle of Moo Brew's Barrel Aged Vintage Imperial Stout. Big thanks to Jon and the rest of the Moo Brewers for sending this up for me. They even made note of my blogging by putting it on the parcel they sent up to me...I look forward to getting the rest of my allocation soon, and hopefully drinking it once my brother is back from overseas (as Blackboard would say on Mr Squiggle...Hurry Up!).
I also need to thank Damian from Purvis for setting aside a bottle of another imperial stout, this time the 8 Wired Batch 18, which looks pretty interesting. Both these beers, along with the left overs from my first Imperial Stout tasting for the Winter will go together well to make up the next one, which I hope to happen soon now my arsenal is large enough, and my limits of storing beer has been reached. I also need to get a taste of the Red Hill Imperial Stout on tap, so if someone knows where it is on, please let me know (I have never had it on tap before!!!!!!). Still, while I was a Purvis, the shipment of Brooklyn Brewery beers (no, not the Black Chocolate Stout, but the Lager and Local 1) came in, so look out for a tasting of those coming up.

While speaking of tasting, I should mention that I was on Little Creatures Pale over the weekend, while attending my Grandpa's 90th (official 'Happy Birthday' for yesterday!!!). I did not have time to bring some beer to the event, but luckily I had a beer angel in Pete to bring the Pale's along to give me some flavour of the beer type. It went down well, probably too well...

On the homebrew side of things, Stass, Brad and I had a taste of our attempt at a mulberry fruit beer, which came in a molasses form that Brad had found while living in Turkey. I have to say, there is some nice fruit tartness in it towards the back, and while our hop selection may not be bang on (even though it tasted alright at the wort stage), it has at least evened out the sweetness from the fruit that may have been a bit overpowering up front. I hope though that sourness does not come on too early, so it has enough time to carbonate and for us to drink before it goes bad. Come on hops, do your thing! I also need to hear from Team Harrod about our IPA taste off. We will need it soon before the hops start to die off, so bring it on!
We have some interesting thoughts starting to come in terms of brews to come, and now we have the second fermenter, we can keep on doing a bit of an experiment each time we do some brewing, which I am looking forward to.

On Monday I also had a visit to Josie Bones with my mate Cam. With the weather as it is, I recommended the Beard and Brau Black Milk Snout which went down so well for me the week before. The same creamy chocolate smell leaning towards a Baileys was still there, but in flavour coffee was coming out a lot more than I recall, and had thinned out in texture a bit. I went for the Brew Dog Citra IPA, which had a lovely sweet orange smell to it, and a nice amber malt backbone to display the citrus hop over. Was pretty fresh seeing they had only tapped the keg the day before, so enjoyed it quite a bit (well, as much as I can personally enjoy an IPA). Then showed Cam my namesake in the style of a burger (Bogan Burger) over a Holgate Temptress. Argh, it took me forever to get the cold out of it so there was not the chalky/alkaline-ness that so ruins this beer, still, managed to get there by the end, and with that massive burger to consume, we had time...



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bourgogne des Flandres Bruin, Belgium (5%)

Finally, after a week I have a chance to try out this beer...

I actually found this beer at Cool Wines in Hobart, and seeing the weather has cooled again today, a dark beer aged in oak barrels feels right.

On the pour I initially had some syrupy red wine, then some chocolate, before it seems with an alkaline smell that reminded me quite a bit of dark beers I tasted from Belgium. There wasn't much head to come from it, and some slight winey/dark malt sweetness is coming back into the aroma as it gets exposed to the air.

One first taste there is quite a bit of flavour, but is evened out better than other dark beers I have had from Europe. I assume it is the oak aging that has brought about this mellowness. It is funny though, the sweetness in flavour seems to increase as it passes over the palate, but the alkaline in the aroma seems to help cleanse the sweetness on the back, along with the fact that the sweetness does have a thin, refined and artificial sense to it that helps remove it easily from the taste profile. It is also interesting to have this sweet and then alkaline flavour on the front of the tongue, before the even out on midpalate and slides down with very slight alkaline aftertaste, but does not leave the tongue too dry. As I said, the oak aspect does allow for a general mellowness making it much easier to drink that some other dark beers of this style, and better melding of the flavours, so there is no big spike or overbearing aspect. I would expect there may be more spikiness if I had cooled this beer before tasting, and the sweetness does take on a caramel slant as it warms/oxidises further. I would assume it was about 8-10 degrees when I tasted it. The oak would also seem to add some body to the beer, and while it still has that familiar thinness in texture, it still manages to coat the tongue substantially to allow the taster to appreciate the flavours and their profile. I am actually fairly impressed with this beer, maybe just as I have tried a few of its type and been mostly disappointed with the aspects I thought I might find in it. Maybe I just don't appreciate the raw flavours that normally come from a Belgium Brune, and so why I was attracted to the oak ageing, and which for me, have helped me enjoy this style better. Anyway, happy to have found and tried this beer to get a better understanding of it.

In other news, I took around some gluten free beer for my cousin's birthday yesterday, and it seemed ok, and has a definite European slant that I found interesting and not offensive (not bad for some of the GF beers I have tried). The Estrella Daura has a fairly refined sugary front before it waters and evens out in flavour on the midpalate before a dry and astringent end comes through at the end.
As my cousin is about to marry a bloke with Finnish ancestry, and I have been asked to MC the gig, I have neem doing some research and found that there is actually a style of beer from Finland that is traditionally drunk at weddings. It is called Sahti and has notes of juniper and honey. Thanks to Craig and Paul at Purvis, I managed to get their last bottle of a Nogne O Sahti to give to them last night, in the hope they can contact some of his family to get some real Sahti from over there. Anyway, if anyone here can give me a hand in understanding or sourcing more of the Nogne O Sahti or even 'real' Sahti, that would be greatly appreciated.



Monday, July 4, 2011

A Traveling Russian (Imperial Stout), and other Beer Adentures

Sorry it has been a week since I was able to post anything.

On Wednesday I caught up with Stass and drank a few Black IPA's to prepare us for our own we are brewing in competition with Team Harrod. I had a bottle from another mate that attempted his first black IPA as well, and seemed the malt character overpowered the hops in terms of flavour, but there is still some bitterness that can be kept to start working on Tim's next attempt. Good luck mate!
I also had a bottle tucked away of Mountain Goat's Thorny Black IPA, which I find has a great balance of hop aroma flavour and bitterness, with the malt carrying it well in all facets. One of my favourite Black IPA's I have found thus far. I think much of it comes down to the use of Marlborough hops from NZ.
I was also quite impressed with the Otway Black Panther IPA, which has a strong malt body to create quite a bit of texture to it, and the dark malt works well in flavour with the citrus hops, something I hope to bring out in our own attempt. However, I did find the bitterness at the end was a bit overpowering, but then I have limited enjoyment from this aspect of beer, so I can see why many people would love this beer.

After sitting in the sun with Stass to try out these beers, I met up with my brother in the afternoon for a visit to Josie Bones. Having gotten into the Korbinian recently, seeing another German bock on their taplist was something I just had to have a try of. The Weltenburger Kloster Asam Bock has very similar caramel malt character that I appreciate so much, but doesn't have have the residual sugar that I enjoy in the Korbinian. So as Mick enjoyed this I went for the Beard and Brau Milk Stout. I have tried this before, but out of a bottle and have to say I wasn't that impressed. However, out of the tap (with sparkler attachment) the creaminess of this beer really came through in flavour and texture, and combined with some choc malt and alcohol taste, I have to say I was tasting the beer equivalent to a Baileys, which had me very excited. Finally, my two favourite worlds of alcoholic beverage came together. Okay, I would probably prefer a Baileys over it, but was interesting to see that the flavours and texture of it could even be approached in a beer. I guess for me there was quite a bit of liquorice which took away from the Baileys flavour I could get.
After that I could only go downhill from there, but had a De Ranke Bitter, where the bitterness ended up just finally making my tastebuds give up, and after all the other bitters beers I had through the day, it was understandable for someone of my limited capacity for bitterness. I can't even remember what Mick had now, but must not have been that impressive.
After that I needed to get back on my sugar to allow my taste buds to come back to life, so after a sweetly syrupy reisling we went to Ladro and I had the Nord pizza which has honey as a topping.

On Friday, after a failed attempt to get the Hitachino Nest Espresso stout in a Slowbeer growler, I went to the Royston for a parma and a taste of the Wee Jimmy Scotch Ale from True South before heading to Purvis for the free Friday tasting. I found the Rogues Santa's Private Reserve and Anderson Valley's Brother David Triple to be quite nice. The Rogue did not quite have the dark fruit flavour I would expect from a Chrissy beer, but found the malt character to be to my liking, as with the Triple. I also had another taste of the Korbinian and a Renaissance Porter which I found a bit too dry for my liking. The Anderson Valley Brother David Double I found had a decent Dubbel profile, but the alcohol was a bit too high in it.

Saturday then I headed out with Stass to Grain and Grape, to get a second fermenter and get some supplies for our next brew. With Brad now back in the brewing team, he came in with the idea to using a molasses spread that he enjoyed while in his time living in Turkey, so we thought we would try making a beer with it. Not having tasted it, we still thought we should get some hops to balance out the expected sweetness of a fruit molasses, and seeing Stass has a Hallertau hop plant growing in his backyard, we should try it out and see what we can expect from that hop. I have to say that the combination of mulberry molasses and the Hallertau was quite well balanced after the boil, so we have some interesting thoughts on how it may come out.
I then made my way back to Slowbeer to finally get a growler of the Espresso Stout, and while there, gave Chris a taste of our hombrew Russian Imperial Stout. Was happy to find he seemed fairly impressed with it, so then went down the road to Purvis to give Damien a taste, who also seemed equally interested in it. I then met up with my mate Rick and shared some of it with him and a few of the gang at his farewell to Europe for 5 months with his girlfriend. They picked up on the port aspects in it which was good to see, before I then kept the bottle going at my brother's for dinner, giving him, his girlfriend and her brother a sister a taste of it too. Then on my way home I saw Tim was at Joel's place so gave him the last of the bottle to try out. He seemed to be the least interested in it, but then he had been drinking for a while before getting to it, and probably isn't his style anyway. So was able to share one bottle of our Russian Imperial Stout with about 10 people, and all in about 7-8 hours.

Yesterday then was my friend Mel's birthday celebrations, so hit Prudence in North Melbourne. The coffee and chocolate cake Stass made went well with the Coopers Extra Stout, and only a little worse with the growler of Hitachino Espresso Stout that I had brought along as my contribution to the event.

So I am looking forward to seeing how our homebrews start coming along, Stass and I have also been discussing taking this blog and getting into a proper website with it. I have finally just received the latest Beer and Brewer mag after yet another stuff around with my subscription, and thinking of going to the upcoming Josie Bones dinner focusing on British fare. If anyone has any advice or thoughts after reading this blog of how we could improve things taking it to a website, please leave a comment to let us know your thoughts. We would be very interested to get some feedback on what people like and don't like about this initial manifestation of beer media.



PS: Happy Birthday to my cousin Anna, who is only able to drink gluten free beer (poor didums). Hopefully one day I have brew a decent gluten free beer for you.