I am very fortunate to have mates that are pretty good at making music, and hanging out with them while they show their 'art' has helped me find my own in the world of beer. Over the weekend I was able to give back a little when the boys invited me to come on a little retreat as they jammed and recorded some new songs they are working on.
Recently, Stass and I did our first ever all grain brew with our new bit if kit (which continually astounds us in its simplicity and ability) and went big by having to do a double mash to try and clone the Southern Tier Creme Brulee. Having tried to take time to mature the beer and carbonate it slowly, we took 16 litres of if with us, and set up one of the fridges as designated for the Creme and a Coffee Nut Ale that Stass also made for the weekend.
The boys set up the living room with the tools of their trade as the beer cooled, and once they were settled, we pulled off our first glasses of the Creme Brulee clone. Watching it settle reminded me of seeing a Guinness or Kilkenny being poured. The aroma showed the vanilla extract we added to the keg had melded well with the caramel malt. In smell or taste, I found it very hard to register the 8.2% alcohol we had managed to get from this first batch, and it didn't even thin out the lovely creamy(custardy?) texture of the beer. The bitterness I had tasted in it when we kegged it has settled out a little, but not enough for my own personal taste, but happy to say it did not take away from the beer much overall, and helped not too leave too much residual sweetness at the back. For our first all grain brew, I have to say it was an amazing success, and the rest of the boys agreed. I'm not ashamed to say a little tear formed in my eye on my first taste. It was a great moment, and glad to share it with Stass and the rest of the musos mates.
The first morning a few of us decided to instead of having a coffee with breakfast, we had a coffee beer. I have to say, not being a coffee drinker, the coffee flavour was way too strong and overpowered anything the nut brown base was trying to bring to the beer. However, by how strong some of the boys had their normal coffee, was not surprised when some of them said that it should have twice the amount of coffee in it. Still, even though the Coffee Nut was made especially for the retreat, it was pretty easy to see the Creme won as the more popular brew. This popularity was also helped by bringing along some cupcakes and hedgehog slice to try it with (the richness of the hedgehog probably comparing well with the beer).
Personally, I'd like to say how honoured I was to be able to hang out with those guys over the weekend, and help supply them with some beers they could enjoy when they weren't busy creating music with each other. It was great to get out of the city and hang out by the beach in a lovely house (thanks to Stass's family for the awesome digs), reading a book, playing cards, walking on the beach and 'trying to cruze' as much as humanly possible.
So, with very little Creme Brulee clone left after the weekend, I hope there is still some when my shipment of the real Creme Brulee comes from the States to see how close we actually got to it. I guess it also means we will need to brew another batch and see if we can get it any better...
Thanks for the feedback on the beers boys, and good luck with the new tunes.
PS: Speaking of beer and musos, I should plug a good mate of mine that put himself through hell so I could enjoy my beer journey of Europe. I recently sent a video of myself for Jaimi to possibly use in his latest music clip 'Turn Me Around', and funnily enough he actually used some of it. So check it out and look for the Yeti looking bloke sitting on a toilet with a message written on a piece of toilet paper...yep, I'm all class.
PPS: Speaking of getting some coverage, I have just this minute seen a message from Stass that he took some of the Coffee Nut Ale to the cafe he got the coffee he used in the brew, and heard they liked it. It may not have been the winning beer on the weekend, but these guys dig it. So here is a pic of Stass with one of the guys from St Ali with a bottle of the Coffee Nut. Nice work buddy.