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!

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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.