What did you think?

If you were able to snag a taste or two or five of my homebrew creations last Friday, please tell me what you thought. Add a comment to this post, and feel free to post anonymously. Be honest and be critical. Just saying it's good or bad doesn't help make it better the next time around.

And remember, relax don't worry and have a homebrew!

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Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA

This is great. Hoppy, refreshing, hint of flowery Jasmine. Just makes it go down smooth. Makes me reconsider an idea I had for a homebrew...maybe IPA's can have some of this floral aroma and flavor too. Curious...

Anyway, too lazy to take a photo and give a full review. But it's got a nice color, it's crystal clear, has a great flavor, and is delicious. Jasmine is the perfect amount, you get a hint but not overwhelming.

Company site

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La Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen Ipa Tripel

Pours frothing piling inches of marangue like foam on top. Very like a Belgian in carbonation. Head sticks out above the glass despite a moderate rate of bubble ascent. Nice light gold color. Very clear.

Not a ton of aroma. Citrus and a bit of spice. A tad of earth..the sense of green freshness...probably from the Saaz. Bottle also says there are Amarillo and Tomahawk hops.

Tastes great. On the sweet side for an ipa but very expect in a Belgian. The hop bitterness doesn't come in until the end after the swallow which is nice. The bitterness washes away the sweet and hangs out for a little while. Easy to put down but a little less sweetness would make it even easier.

Mouthfeel is slightly coating at first but I find the bitterness crisp it out. At 9% & 750ml, I'm in for a fun evening.

This is a nice beer, one I'd definitely buy again. It's just really interesting to see a Belgian tripel aspiring to take on some of the big "San Diego" IPA characteristics.

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Dogfish Head Midas Touch

A- Beautiful golden in color fitting of the name, not unlike clear honey. Extremely clear. Fizzy with a nice head that falls away quickly into a light foam.

S- Not a great aroma. Very alcohol apparent with a bit of a medicinal quality.

T- Very sweet and honeylike. Sadly I don't get any of the saffron the label proclaims. It's easy to drink because of its sweetness, but it's not the easiest to drink. It's syrupy

M- Thick in the mouth due to the sweetness, but otherwise washes away smooth.

All in all it's an interesting concoction. The overwhelming sense is sweet with sadly not a ton of complexity that I expected from the muscat grapes, honey, and saffron. It's worth a try. Once.

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Unibroue Quatre-Centieme Brassin Commemoratif

I read about this beer in the most recent All About Beer magazine. The beer is by the Canadian brewery Unibroue, a maker of many fine Belgian-inspired beers like La Fin Du Monde, Maudite, etc.

It poured very pale, a nice fizz to it, and created a great head in the tulip glass. It's very Golden in color and cloudy...a bit like Hoegaarden but maybe a bit darker. It's actually quite sweet, but at 7.5% it packs quite a punch and the sweetness completely covers the ABV. There's a bit of spice in there, the AAB articles said they used 4 spices to commemorate 4 centuries of Quebec City, but after an initial sense that something interesting is in there I lose it in the sweetness.

It has the mouthfeel of a session belgian witbier with a very distinct Unibroue quality to it. Not sure where it's from, likely a consistent yeast, or it's a just a slightly modified Don De Dieu (label has that on it actually). The beer actually has an enjoyable aftertaste that lingers on my palette and I like. Although I'm so used to bitter hoppy beers that maybe my taste buds are just reveling in something new.

All in all, it's very easy drinking, has a nice aroma, and a good flavor. Maybe too sweet, maybe not the most complex beer in the world. But for a delicious, easy drinking wit-style plae beer, you could do much much worse.

Only thing that sucks is I paid 10.99 for the 750mL at my grocery.

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Homebrew explosion!

I've been homebrewing!

So far two finished batches. One is an Irish Red Ale, the other is a Double IPA (although I'd say it's a heavier bodied IPA, not quite double/imperial). Both were kits I got from Midwest Supply.

I haven't formally commented on them yet, but I will soon. In short, the Irish Red Ale started a little funky when it was young...something seemed off. But man it's mellowing out nicely and is getting to be very drinkable. The IPA on the other hand was outstanding from the first sip only 4 days after bottling. More on those soon.

Now I've got a DFH 90 min clone in the primary. Yesterday it ended up making quite a mess as the yeast kraeusen came right up through the airlock, clogged, then started spraying wort all over the place once enough pressure built up. Here's some photos of the mess.

Woohoo! Go yeast, go!


Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA

So tonight after a long day in the Seattle studio, I hit up the Whole Foods again for a sleep aid in the form of a Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA. Woooweee!

From Eugene, OR it's not exactly local to the Seattle area. But I spent some time in Whole Foods looking through all of the beers. They had quite a few breweries I'd never seen before since I am on the other side of the country after all. They had some interesting Stone beers I'd never seen as well as some Japanese beers. In general, a great selection. While I was there, a worker stocking the shelves struck up a conversation with me and we started talking beer. He knew his beers well and pointed me towards a few good directions. Another guy showed up and also knew his beer...although he made a comment about how super hops beers are a great exploration. While I agree, I've come to find that I appreciate balanced beers better than overtly hoppy beers. Hops are great, but something that is super bitter and smells like a pine cone just for the heck of it really isn't that amazing. But I digress...

Ninkasi Tricerahops. A beautiful double IPA. 8.8% ABV but you'd never know it. Rather bitter with a long residual bitterness. HAS to be over 100 IBUs. It has a golden, finely brushed copper color. Fairly light carbonation. It's a very slow trickle with hardly any head.

It's definitely bottle conditioned as there's a layer of loose sediment several millimeters thick. A slight movement of the bottle and the sediment is all over the place. I tried very carefully to not disturb it coming out of the store, but of course the checkout girl turned the beer quickly on its side and back to scan the barcode and all the sediment went into suspension. I put it on ice for a while and some of it settled out again, so I'm not sure how that stuff affected the taste.

The double IPA is well-balanced with malts. I'm guess an excessive bill of pale malts and some caramel or amber malts which has given it a sweeter flavor and deeper color. It has a touch of sweetness but isn't coat your mouth with stick malt like some DIPA's. Really it's not overly heavy which is a problem with some IPAs...some feel like a whole meal.

Ooo just got a hint of espresso or rich coffee in the aftertaste. Kind of like you've had a cup of coffee, but now your done and you have that bitter taste that makes you click your tongue and look for a piece of gum. There's also a bit of pretzel dough or something.

Aroma is what you'd expect. Fresh NW hop aromas with a hint of something I can't define. One thing I know is my nose sucks. I can't smell anything. Too bad. But then again, maybe they didn't go crazy with aroma hops.

Anyway, it's a super bitter, super hoppy double IPA that is nicely balanced and lip-smackingly delicious. Now I want them to make a Hopisaurus Rex!

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Hale's Ales Mongoose IPA

What prompted me to start blogging again is the fact that I'm in Seattle for work. My hotel is right above a Whole Foods and they have a great beer selection. Since the Pacific Northwest is the cradle of American Hops, I've tried a couple of local IPA's to see how they craft them out here.

Yesterday I had the Mongoose IPA from Hale's Ales, which is local to Seattle. There was a note from Whole Foods calling it out, so I figured I'd give it a try. The bottle says they use 50 lbs of hops per batch, including Amarillo leaf hops. It also uses pale malted barley, Crystal malts, Centennial and Nugget hops, Hale's special yeast and filtered water.

Well, it had hops. I had it yesterday so I don't remember all the details. But it was really good and a great IPA. Nice flavor, great bitterness, typical NW aroma. But what was nice was no cascades...so you didn't quite have that hop profile in a lot of PNW hop beers. It must have been fairly strong because after the 22oz. I felt pretty good.

So yeah, if you're out on in the Seattle area it's a nice local to try. Although I suspect there are better (and the guy at Whole Foods today agreed).

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Catchin Up

It has been a very long time since I've blogged, which I guess is something that happens to a lot of people. It's tough to keep up, and it's hard to take the time to write things out. But I doubt many people read this so who cares! Oddly enough I have received a few emails from random folks and a couple of comments, so you never know.

At any rate, I have been drinking beer. Lots of it. And I've tried a bunch of great new stuff that I'll probably never try again and they'll be lost forever. Oh well.

A few things I remember drinking:

-Pilsner Urquell, a beer a drink all the time. Probably one of my favorite session beers of all time as it's got everything. Crispness, Saaz hops, bite, flavor, and of course it has all the history and the fact it's THE pilsner.

-Many, many growlers from the Whole Foods beer store on Houston St. Everyone in the city has to go to that store for beer. They have the best selection. New Beer Distributors also has a good selection, but not very well temperature controlled and I question how long they've been on the shelf in some cases. I have gotten dead beers there unfortunately.

-Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale. Fan! Tastic! Love it. Hops from New Zealand and just beautiful. Great aromas and flavors and well balanced.

Also, I recently started homebrewing. I've bottled and had my first couple of an Irish Red I made. More on that soon. Good news is it's beer! But it's just a beer, which is disappointing in some way. It's a tad watery and has some off-flavors I think, but I'm happy it didn't grow mold or something so can't complain. Because, I, made beer. Which is awesome.

Well maybe I'll blog more.

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Malt beverage brown ale 12% aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. Wood is Palo Santo wood giving it a special flavor.

Super dark like a cola. No light gets through. Very caramely with hints of vanilla. A slightly off aftertaste but a smooth flavor and texture.

Like a stout but different. Good to try and I recommend it.

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