Tag Archives: Beer reviews

Founders Dirty Bastard

FoundersDirtyBastardTaking a momentary break from the whisky I have been downing, I turned to a close relative: scotch style ale. A malt monster with a nice warming 8.5% ABV.

Appearance: deep red amber, light carbonation, no head retention and no lacing (I suspect the glass…)
Nose: damp brown sugar oatmeal
Palate: sweet malt up front, caramel, toastiness and syrupy, hop balanced toward the back of your tongue, with alcohol notes through the back, medium light mouth feel
Finish: bitter finish with long lasting esters, complexity as it wears off.

I like this kilt warmer of a beer. It’s a great all around beer and I would love to have this with some spiced desert, maybe some apple pie, or a spice cake. It really is a super heavy malt beer, with a ton of sweetness. I wouldn’t mind a bit more hops to balance out the malt sweetness, but only maybe 5% more, nothing big. This is a really enjoyable beer and at 8.5% ABV is still dangerously drinkable.

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Redemption Rye

RedemptionRyeBourbon education review #3: Redemption Rye.

  • Color: salted caramel popcorn
  • Nose: spicy, green apple skin, deep forest flowers
  • Palate: spice notes,  caramel, light vanilla, hint of oak char, medium mouth feel
  • Finish: sweet finish, grassy

Overall I really enjoy this whisky and for around $30 I think it’s a great deal. This is, obviously, a rye whiskey, but meets my criteria of being aged under 4 years, and completes my intro to young bourbon education. I’m really excited to get into some of the more mature bourbons and see how the flavors develop and mellow with more time spent in the barrel.

I’ve had bottle of Redemption Rye before, but only recently read up on where they source their distillate from. This comes from LDI in Indiana, the same company that sources the blends for High West. It would be great to do a side by side comparison of Redemption and the High West rye offering to see what aging does to the distillate.

Redemption is a great sipper as well as a good mixer. I have enjoyed it in a boulevardier as the spiciness  adds great depth to the cocktail. This is also a great base for Manhattans,  and let’s the rye really shine. I recommend this as a great start for young high rye bourbons.


Bottled In Bond Mellow Corn

MellowCornWell, hello there. Here goes review #2 in my bourbon education: Bottled In Bond Mellow Corn.

Color: light straw, young corn kernel
Nose: hot, light fruitiness, soft vanilla
Palate: oily mouthfeel, light on the front, really hot, bitter on the way down, no complexity, super light spice that is only noticeable as it claws it’s way over the bitter ending at the back of my tongue.
Finish: long numbing finish, bitterness hangs on until the, well the bitter end. Green wood in my soft palate later

I am disappointed in this offering. At least compared to my previous review of Jacob’s Ghost. I would have thought that the extra time, at least 4 years since there is no age statement on the bottle, would have mellowed this out even more than the Jacob’s Ghost. However, this may be attributeable to either the mash bill, being 81% corn, or the ABV at 50%, or both really. This is a fast sipper to me, I don’t want to spend lots of time rolling it around in my mouth, I don’t mind the brief impression it leaves me when drunk fast. Notably, however, this is a straight corn whiskey being above the 80% mark of corn in the mash bill. The spiel on Heaven Hill’s website mentions that it is a precursor to what we know of bourbon today. With that in mind, I’m glad that I have given it a try as part of my bourbon education.

I am not going to be able to get through this bottle with any type of speed, unless I invite some less discerning friends over. There is always the market for a higher proof liquor, ’cause as Dave Chappelle said, “…it’ll get ya drunk!”

After doing some reading the Bottled In Bond certification turns out to be a pretty great distinction. It signifies that the whiskey you are drinking was distilled and bottled at one location. If the spirit is bottled somewhere other than at the distillery, the label has to state that. In the case of Mellow Corn, underneath the designation of Straight Corn Whiskey it says: “Distilled by Heaven Hill Distilleries, INC. D.S.P.-KY-354 Louisville, Kentucky, Bottled by Medley Company Bardstown, KY D.S.P. KY 31”. This becomes an interesting designation in the current American whiskey scene as many bottlings are actually from sourced spirits. For example the Redemption Rye reviewed on this blog earlier is actually distilled by LDI, a company that produces spirits and then aged and bottled somewhere else. That isn’t to say that it diminishes quality (LDI also produces the spirit for High West, one of my favorites), but it does increase transparency. Whether that is a good thing or not, I leave it to you to decide.


The Woes of Conversions: McQuaker’s Oatmeal Stout

After the American Pale Ale went as well as it did, I had a busy summer. Unfortunately, I was busy with everything but brewing. I found myself hating my job, and looking for something else, and just generally dreading the winter doldrums. The shining light through all of this is that winter means heavy dark beers, the stouts, porters, and heavy malt and spice beers come out and it’s just delicious! With that in mind, I asked two buddies of mine if they wanted to brew an oatmeal stout with me. We agreed that yes, we would like to get trashed and brew beer together, as you can imagine, it was a tough decision and I had to twist their arms!

Well life seemed to conspire against me to brew this batch. I bought the ingredients in October/November 2012 and didn’t end up brewing until February 9th, 2013! There were plumbing issues in my apartment, scheduling conflicts, and life in general that got in the way. One of my buddies and I decided to just plow ahead and brew.

As brew day approached I got very excited, and started gathering the ingredients together, the yeast and hops from the fridge, and the crushed grain from the paper bags in the pantry. Everything smelled fine, and I began sanitizing. I will caveat this batch and say, that I have never been good at knowing how many ounces there are in anything, let alone in gallons, now I know there are 128 oz. in a US gallon.

The grain was steeped in 5 gal. (actually 2.5 gal) of 158° F water for 40 minutes, and then I added the dry malt extract, and some additional water, I brought the liquid to a boil and added the hops for a full 60 minute boil. After the cool down, I poured the wort into the primary fermenter. Shock ensued as I was at just under 3 gal! That’s when it hit me, I should have just looked up how many ounces are in a gallon, as opposed to trusting myself. Though, I will say you don’t learn unless you step in a pile of shit, and have to scrape it out of your tread. I added as much pre-boiled water as I had on hand then added ::sharp inhale:: tap water, ugh! I was for sure that this batch would turn out off-flavored and just all around terrible.

At this point, the only thing left to do was to pitch the yeast and wait for about 4 weeks to taste the beer. As I was reflecting on the process, I wasn’t really that disappointed. Every time I brew a batch of beer, no matter how good or bad it is, I always learn something new. And to be honest while having good tasting beer is rewarding, I feel like I don’t learn as much as when I have a batch go wrong, either on brew day, or in the bottle (as a latent result of an error along the way!) Thus each batch makes me enjoy brewing all the more. I think the one pursuit in my life that I like coming back to again and again, is learning. There are so many things in this world to learn and so many experiences to have. Why not try to have experiences that not everyone else has. Life should be interesting, life should be challenging, life should be tasty!

Grain Type:

  • 2 lbs US 2-row malt
  • 1 lbs UK flaked oats
  • .75 lbs US Chocolate Malt
  • .75 lbs US Victory Malt
  • .5 lbs TF&S Dark Crystal 185L
  • .5 lbs UK Roasted Barley

Extract Type:

  • 3 lbs Plan light muntons dry malt extract

Bittering Hop Bill:

  • 1.8 oz. US Kent Goldings

Yeast:

  • DCL S-04-SafAle (English Ale)

 

Tasting Notes:

This beer, as I thought it would, turned out terribly weak and watery. The great thing was that this was done right in time for St. Paddy’s day, so I dubed it a Session Stout. In the depths of the beer there was that great roasty taste, with all the elements that you love from stouts, but it was just way way way watery. Live and learn right?!


A Common Misconception

steam-bio

Joe’s On Broadway, a great hole in the wall bar that has been around for.. well, a long damn time; it also shares the distinction of being very close to my house. While frequenting Joe’s recently I decided to have another go at Anchor Steam, the progenitor of the craft brewing explosion in America. Continue reading


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