Showing posts with label strong ale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label strong ale. Show all posts

Friday, November 30, 2018

An Adventful December?

One of the highlights of growing up in Germany, the joys of being an Army brat, was getting a fancy German Advent calendar with chocolates rather than just wee pictures - perhaps my memory is faulty but I always remember the British ones being somewhat dull as a kid. Complete side thought, Germans in particular, and more broadly central Europeans, do Christmas the best. Any how, it seems that Craft Beer™ Advent Calendars have been all the rage in recent years and I thought I'd jump on the old bandwagon. Only one minor issue, I have an aversion to having stuff curated for me, I much prefer to survey what's available and make my own decisions, yes I can be something of a contrarian, I know.

The plan as it currently stands is to buy 24 bottles of seasonal beers, drink one each day of Advent, and then write a blog post about it. Pretty simple really, and if you have any recommendations of beers to include, I am all ears - assuming I can find them in the stores of central Virginia.


However, Advent is just the lead up to Christmas, and so naturally that got me thinking about what I am going to have on my table come dinner time on the 25th. I have a decent collection of big boozy beers that would go nicely with dessert - hopefully Mrs V is going to have another stab at making a traditional British Christmas pudding, minus the coins. So I need something from the cellar to go with pud, here's the long list of options:
  • Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout - 2013 vintage
  • Olde Hickory Irish Walker Barleywine - 2012 vintage
  • Victory Old Horizontal - 2010 vintage
  • Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale (2010)
  • North Coast Old Stock Ale - 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016 vintages
  • Fuller's Vintage Ale - 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 vintages
  • Starr Hill Bandstand Barleywine - 2013 vintage
  • Lickinghole Creek Enlightened Despot Batch 1 (2014)
  • Alewerks Brewing Grand Illumination - 2009 vintage
  • O'Hara's Barleywine Aged in Irish Whiskey Barrels Edition 3 - 2015 vintage
Naturally with twin 14 month old sons to deal with I won't be just parking on the couch and drinking all of the above, though tempting it may be, so I will have my latest batch of my best bitter homebrew on the kegerator, this time hopped with Australian Galaxy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More 'Innovative' Shit

Checking through my Facebook news feed this morning, I came across a story on All About Beer concerning Stone Brewing's latest 'innovative' offering as part of their Stochasticity Project, an 8.8% Imperial Golden Stout.

My immediate thought was 'great, more marketing driven bullshit', though perhaps not for the reasons you think.

I have no problem with the concept of a golden stout, for the simple reason that my understanding of beer and its history stretches back beyond the 1970s and the 'craft beer revolution'. You see, the word 'stout' as pertains to beer originally meant 'strong', it didn't necessary mean 'dark, Irish, with nasty nitro cream head'. As such, you could drink stout ales that were pale in the 17th Century, and while they may not have been as pale as we understand them, they were sufficiently pale so as not to be dark.

I noticed in some of the comments on the Facebook post a claim that the term 'imperial stout' was itself a tautology, and again I lament to myself that the word 'imperial', much like the word 'India', has been co-opted to mean something that it didn't originally mean in the context of beer. Imperial stout was those strong dark beers shipped to the Russian Imperial court by English brewers, imperial didn't mean 'strong', stout did.

On the All About Beer story itself, is the following line, which is the one that really got my goat:
One of the great things about American brewers is their willingness to experiment. This is a perfect example of that ingenuity and determination.
A more accurate version of that would be:
One of the great things about American brewers is their willingness to take old forgotten styles, tweak slightly, and flog at a premium price. This is a perfect example of that.
Sure it might be a tasty beer, but let's not imagine that it is actually innovative, or anything new, or that adding cocoa and coffee to a strong pale ale makes it in any way a stout as we understand them today.

If you want a proper Stout Pale Ale, you should try Durham Brewery's White Stout, which I drank in the UK over the summer, it was delicious.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

There's A Gale Coming

Today, assuming no lapse in common sense, will be my first bash at using some of my new brewing equipment. I decided to get myself a bigger cooler for mashing in, going from 2.5 gallons to 5, though I am keeping my batch size the same. This basically means that I can do any strength beer I want without resorting to using malt extract to bump up the gravity.

With a bigger mash tun comes more wort, so I have temporarily borrowed a friend's flat bottomed brewpot until I am employed again and can get one of my own. With more wort comes the need to finally break out my wort chiller, which has sat in its box since I bought it about 18 months ago. All in all, I am looking forward to getting some brewing done, especially as this batch is destined for Mrs V's uncle and his annual gift baskets for his clients.

The beer I plan to brew today is a strong ale, though not barleywine strong, essentially it is an 'old ale' in BJCP parlance (although there is no real difference between old ale and barleywine), but I like to think of it as just a Strong Ale. The recipe is:
  • 86% Golden Promise Pale Malt
  • 5% Munich Malt
  • 4% Malted Oats
  • 4% Pale Chocolate Malt
  • 1% Peated Malt
  • 21 IBU Kent Goldings for 90 minutes
  • 9 IBU Kent Goldings for 15 minutes
  • Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield apparently)
You can see a couple of twists in there, the use of malted oats and peated malt, which are intended to give the beer a warmth and smoky background ideal for sitting in front of the fire during the dark days of winter. According to Beer Calculus, that little lot should give me the following numbers:
  • O.G. 1.073, 17.7° Plato
  • F.G. 1.018, 4.6° Plato
  • ABV 7.5%
  • SRM 16, light to medium brown
  • IBU 30
The name for this brew? Dark Island Winter Gale.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hopdaemon for the Soul

Another of the Kentish breweries I was keeping an eye open for in the shops when we were in Ashford was Hopdaemon. Started by a Kiwi with a love of English ales, I was very happy to find a few bottles sitting in the Ashford Tesco - just a quick side note, I am sure lots of people complain about the big supermarket chains dominating the market, but when they also source local products then they are to be applauded, so well done Tesco.



The Skrimshander IPA is a light orange colour, which had a thinnish white head - my brother conveniently has a nonic glass which I commandeered for the duration of our visit. Again this is a mobile picture so the quality isn't as I would like. I found the nose rather subtle, definitely citrusy but not overpoweringly so, which I liked. Drinking wise, this I enjoyed muchly - it is quite bitter and that light citrusness kind of catches the back of your throat but then gives way to a soft sweetness. The finish was very dry and coupled with a gentle carbonation makes this nice, refreshing beer.


The second of the Hopdaemon beers I got was a darker strong ale called Leviathan. When I poured this I was put in mind of Hobgoblin, especially as it was a beautiful ruby colour, there was however very little head to speak of. The nose was dominated by cocoa and an almost Christmasesque spiciness, both of which came through in the drinking. I am assuming however that something had gone awry with this bottle as I found it a bit thin in the body and it was rather flat and lifeless. A shame really because the nose had promised much.


The brewery only started production in 2001 and has already garnered a collection of local awards as well as creating waves nationally. From an artistic side, I also liked the quirkiness of the labels on the bottles and the brand names as well (a scrimshander for example is a whale bone carver - hence the picture on the label). Having thoroughly enjoyed the Skrimshander I am planning to try the rest of the range, and of course to find out if it was just a bum bottle of Leviathan (I wonder how much it would cost to get some sent to Prague?).

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...

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