With the chill off Winter beginning to lift, got on the bike for the first time to enjoy a bit of sunshine and head out to Stass' for some beers and homebrew chat.
Apart from learning I need to do more cardio work (ok, I had figured that out before this), I took a Nogne O Sunturnbrew to see what we could learn from it.
Before this 11% beer we needed to 'warm up', and luckily our latest homebrew was ready for drinking. Just a partial mash of chocolate malt over a standard dark ale extract, but happy to say the malt really filled out the extract well with sweet and roasted characters and give a fuller body to the beer overall. A tasty, easy drinking brew perfect for the change of season. I think keeping the mash temp a bit lower really helped to give the malt a cleaner flavour, as some other mashes have caused some tannins to tain the beer. Still, Stass added a shot of coffee to my beer, which taste wise I didn't appreciate (unlike many others), but the way the heat from the coffee blew out the carbonation from the beer, but then it also seemed to capture that carbonation to make a really nice creamy head and good texture overall was interesting.
Still feeling like we needed an 'inbetween' beer, Stass pulled out a Moylan's dry Irish stout, where much of the smell and taste reminded me of the Goat Surefoot stout, but with a slighty drier finish, and not quite as much hop character as I get from Goat. Still found it a good blend of sweet malt up front and cleansing dryiness (rather than being too roasty) at the back, and a bit more going on texturally to help meld the two flavours on the midpalate, and bring some balance overall.
Alright, the Sunturnbrew. As expected it needed some time to breath for the smoke character to come out and the sherry/sweet dark fruit characters to come out in aroma and taste, but the biggest thing I was getting from this smoked barleywine was alcohol heat. I basically burnt the front of my tongue everytime I took a sip. Mind you, I made the mistake of getting a fair bit of sediment in mine, while Stass had a much better balanced example of the beer to slowly sip on. Still, this is a beer that needs 4-5 people to share anyway. The sherry port front led to a smokey middle and alcohol ramps up on the sides of the midpalate, and the heat holds through the back with just some return of the smoke to try and clean up the back and keep something in aftertaste. Still, the brain haze from the alcohol made for an almost trying end to the beer, and the smokey bbq chips we were trying to compare and contrast it with were not even getting a look in. Had to wait a little while before getting on the bike to make the trip back home. Still, a good set up for the Imperial Stout tasting I will be having in a couple of weeks.
On Saturday I also had a couple of beers at The Termi in Clifton Hill while watching the disappointing second Bledilsoe game. I had the Bridge Road B2 Bomber, and the last bottle of Sierra Nervada Porter. I can never remember if I personally prefer the Porter over the Stout, but with the game on, unfortunately I was not focusing on the beer. Still I have to say, for them to retain the balance they do on a beer I would classify as a very american style, just shows the quality these brewers do with all their beers. Light (texturally) but full (flavoured), sweet and bitter, just so technically proficient, they are a hard brewery to go past in any of their beers. Maybe that is why I can never remember if I like the Porter of Stout best. At least something came out of the trip to the Termi, and glad to have a found a pub showing the rugby that only have 5 kiwi supporters and a good selection of beers. Maybe I just need that seeing the rugby itself seems to be getting worse for the Wallabies.
Having tried the Porter Baltique from Les Trois Mousquetaires was interested to try more of the range on Friday at Purvis. While I was intrigued with them, I do have to say I was not overly impressed. I don't really remember what the Kellerbier was like, the Sticke Alt the meaty malt and a bit of Gose saltiness to make it taste a bit like mussels, the Maibock had a medicinal quality to go with the citrus and slight caramel malt I would expect from this style, and the Doppelbock was quite understated for what I normally enough from the style. I could not find any use by date or packaging date on the bottles, so not sure if maybe some of them had turned bad, as not sure if they were intended to taste the way they did. Maybe the Porter Baltique is their one good beer, even though I have found the latest batch to be not as good as the 2010 I really liked. Hmm, bit undecided about this brewer after that.
All for now.