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What Beers Did You Drink Today? Or Yesterday? (Part 1)


Susan in FL
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My wife and I did our annual Anchor Christmas Beer tasting last night.

We're up to 4 years now, 2002-2005.

The 2002 remains the least favorite of the bunch. Too much potpourri type spice. Star Anise, maybe.

The 2005 is nice. Easily the least sweet and least spiced of the bunch. Will have to pick up another six pack for consumption.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I love Christmas.....

Corsendonk XMAS 8.0% Belgian Seasonal

La Rulles Cuvee Meilleurs Voeux 7.3% Belgian Holiday Ale

Smuttynose Winter 8.0% Belgian Style Dubbel

St Fueillen Cuvee De Noel 9.0% Belgian Winter Ale

Gales Christmas Ale (Cask) 8.5% English Holiday Ale

Rogue Santas Private Reserve 7.5% Holiday Ale

Allagash Curieux 11.0% Special Triple

Ouch, my head...

http://www.maxs.com/

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Ooh. I'll have to see if I can find some of these Christmas ales.

The last beer I drank was, I'm quite positive, a Straub... cheap and not really too offensive. I think in the New Year one of my projects will be to learn more about beer, because my knowledge in that area is quite lacking.

Jennie

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Tonight my boyfriend came home with a Dogfish Head Chicory Stout. I am enjoying it quite a bit. It's fairly sweet.

Is there, like, a Beer 101 Book for Idiots who Know Nothing about Beer? I really am sort of in the dark even about the various types of beer (although I think I like stouts and hefe-weizens).

Jennie

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Tonight my boyfriend came home with a Dogfish Head Chicory Stout.  I am enjoying it quite a bit.  It's fairly sweet.

Is there, like, a Beer 101 Book for Idiots who Know Nothing about Beer?  I really am sort of in the dark even about the various types of beer (although I think I like stouts and hefe-weizens).

Jeniac...

You NEED to get yourself to the Penn Brewpub in Pittsburgh. I had their Winter Bock last week (got "iced" in on Thursday night). If you like the German styles, this place is right up your alley. Take your boyfriend with you and chat up the brewer. He'll tell you everything you need to know about beer, probably in the interest of selling you some!! Seriously, great beer and German food, well worth the cab ride to North Pittsburgh (just over the 16th Street Bridge).

If you liked the Chicory, see if you can obtain some Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout. It's a whole 'nother class!

Krup

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Yesterday after pints of my homebrewed bitter I opened a 750ml bottle of Tree's Spiced Midwinter Ale. Tree is an excellent small brewery in British Columbia. Their Hophead IPA is one of the best in the province. But this... it .... well, the first beer ever that I have dumped, that was not infected. It was awful. 6.5% ABV but with a starting gravity well over 1.070 I'm sure. Incredibly sweet with enough wierd artificial like spice flavours to try to balance it, kinda mapley but also a bit like Karos corn syrup. So I opened a bottle of 90 minute IPA instead. Ahhh, Dogfish Head, if only you distributed here.

Edited by mtigges (log)
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We have a new store in town called World Market and I picked out several interesting sounding beers. The first was Melbourne Brothers Apricot Beer the second was Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde. I might not have been in the mood for beer last night but both just tasted to me like plain old regular beer. Which I prefer drinks leaning toward the sweeter side and these were not at all. Since I was running out of corks I will try another one shortly. I think I got spoiled on that first raspberry one I had that I mentioned a few posts ago.

I still like Woodchuck amber, so so far that's two I'd buy again. And I think the amber is far & away better than the other woodchuck flavors.

Maybe I'll try these corkers again tonight...maybe not though :rolleyes: . I need one of my kids to come over & finish these for me. Knew they'd come in handy for something. :laugh:

...But this... it .... well, the first beer ever that I have dumped, that was not infected...

:shock: Ugh, what's an infected beer???

Christmas ales??? Hmmm, need to check that out. Which one is kinda sweet???

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Over the weekend I enjoyed some Full Sail Amber Ale. It had been a while since I last had anything from Full Sail, and I'm glad to see things are still as good as I remember. I also purchased some of the Rip Curl English Pale Ale, which I've never had before. I haven't opened one yet.

I've enjoyed Full Sail's Amber Ale several times before. This particular weekend, it went well with chili. It has a plesant toastiness to it, but still a nice bite. I passed on the WasSail. I seem to remember it having too much of a spice profile for my liking. I prefer Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale for that type of brew.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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...But this... it .... well, the first beer ever that I have dumped, that was not infected...

:shock: Ugh, what's an infected beer???

Well, on one level, all beers are (or were) infected ... by fungus, namely s. cerevisae. But there is almost a certainty that there are other organisms living in the beer.

A small list of offending organisms:

acetobacter

pediococcus

lactobacillae

brettanomyces (or any wild yeast)

the first three are bacteria, the fourth is a yeast. There are many more organisms that can inhabit beer. Most don't like beer after a healthy yeast population has fermented to a relatively dry level, too anerobic or an inhospitable pH. But some are ok. The affect of an infection is noticed on dryness, flavour, aroma, or all three. Some notable off-flavours which may be due to an infection are sour, horsey, butterscotch.

The reason I say may be due, is in some styles those flavours are not out of style. In order of those flavours: lambics are sour, Oud Bruins can be horsey (any beer purposefully brewed with brett can be horsey), some lagers (low levels of diacytel distinguish some substyles of lager beer and are by some considered essential - though I disagree).

Most infections which leave disagreeable levels of off-flavours tend to overwhelm the flavour profile of the beer. Styles that purposefully employ bacteria or other yeasts usually have a characteristic or a brewing technique which inhibits overwhelming levels of off-flavours.

For instance, some Berliner-Weisse, another purposefully soured beer are brewed with bacteria but some are not. In the latter case the bacteria are added after fermentation of the monosacharides (by the primary yeast culture) is almost complete, since it is such a low gravity and dry beer, the bacteria are not able to overwhelm the beer with sourness. In the former case a sour mash is used, where a mash is allowed to sit for up to 2 days, allowing naturally occuring bacteria to sour the mash. In the subsequent boil, the bacteria are killed. Both are infections, but purposefull.

One of my favourite local breweries had a bout of a lactic infection a year and a half ago. Many of their bottles were noticeably soured. Not good in an IPA.

I have heard Redhook has an ongoing problem with diacytel resulting in butterscotch flavours. This may indicate an infection by wild yeasts, or some bacteria, but not necessarily. I have only tried Redhook IPA once, and there was some diacytel but not an overwhelming amount. Yeast produce diacytel during initial phases of fermentation, but in later phases they metabolize it, so diacytel in finished beer is not necessarily a indication of infection. Rising levels over time though certainly would be.

Whew, that was longer than I intended, sorry.

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Whew, that was longer than I intended, sorry.

Don't be sorry. That was a good post. Thanks! I've had infected beer that was awful. There was no question about it. However, I am wondering... Is an infected beer and one that "has gone bad" the same?

That brings me to what beers we drank today. One was Baltus O.V.S. Ale, Heavyweight Brewing Company, and we both poured it down the drain. It was undrinkable -- quite sour and yucky. I wasn't sure if it was "a bad bottle," or infected, or if they are one and the same thing. Is sometimes just one bottle -- say out of a sixer -- infected, or is it always an entire batch?

On the other hand, the good beers were (in order of how much I liked them) Victory Hop Wallop, Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, Dominion Winter Brew, Lancaster Hop Hog IPA, and River Horse Hop Hazard. We didn't each drink a bottle of these; we split them. :smile:

The Hop Wallop is wonderful! It tastes sooooo Victory! It may have at least temporarily replaced Hop Devil as my favorite beer. There was one other beer tonight which I didn't like, an Allagash Grand Cru which has been in our fridge for a year. We didn't think it was bad, though; we thought more likely it was a style of beer we don't care for.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Whew, that was longer than I intended, sorry.

Don't be sorry. That was a good post. Thanks! I've had infected beer that was awful. There was no question about it. However, I am wondering... Is an infected beer and one that "has gone bad" the same?

I don't think so. For instance, a beer can merely be oxidised. The problem though is once it becomes oxidised then it is possible for a bacteria whose growth is otherwise inhibited to begin to grow and add other flavours. The other common way a beer can be off is for it to be light-struck. UV light will break down hop isomers into flavour compounds which result in a beer being considered skunky. See Corona. Of course some beers just don't improve with extended aging, I'm not really familiar with why that is though. I think it's probably the same with all beer, just the age range at which they're their best is dependent on the nature of the beer. Bigger beers like barley wines age better because they need to for the flavours to mellow out be harmonious.

Interestingly there is a very strange way for a beer to become off. It's been debated for quite awhile wether it's true or a myth. HSA, stands for Hot Side Aeration. Some people contend that when the brewing liquor (strike or sparge), mash or wort is oxidised that this will result in similar cardboardy flavours given enough time as a regularly oxidised beer. I'm not sure, I can't say if I've ever had it in my beers, I don't worry about it.

That brings me to what beers we drank today.  One was Baltus O.V.S. Ale, Heavyweight Brewing Company, and we both poured it down the drain.  It was undrinkable -- quite sour and yucky.  I wasn't sure if it was "a bad bottle," or infected, or if they are one and the same thing.  Is sometimes just one bottle -- say out of a sixer -- infected, or is it always an entire batch?

I'm not familiar with that beer - the style, but it sounds to me like it was infected. Acetobacter is a very common contaminating bacteria and results in sour flavour given hospitable environment. As mentioned above, a bad bottle and infection are not necessarily one and the same thing.

Wether or not an entire batch is infected or just a portion of bottles depends on when the infection happened. It can only happen post-boil. And it is very unlikely that an innoculation of bacteria or wild yeast post fermentation will result in off-flavours (because of the alchohol, pH and lack of o2). Most breweries use caustic agents to clean and sanitize their equipment, and these chemicals are very effective, so it's actually quite difficult for them to be infected by dirty equipment. If an entire batch is infected, it's likely because the yeast they pitched was not pure enough. A brewer will tend to collect yeast from a fermenter, for pitching into a subsequent batch, and infection can grow through these generations. (It should be noted that many brewers (and not just homebrewers) use dry yeast akin to the bread yeast you buy, and it is well known that there is a certain percentage of contamination in these products.)

For a single bottle to be infected it would have to be a problem with the bottle (obviously). Again most breweries are pretty good about cleaning bottles, in fact some sterilize them on the line, but few breweries have the equipment necessary to keep out all o2. This is where a bottle is in jeopardy.

With all that said, most bottled beers are filtered, even most microbrews. However, few use a filter fine enough to filter out bacteria, it's mainly for clarity, but they will filter out all yeast. And the biggest breweries pasteurize, or irradiate to kill the beer (born on my ass). So, you'll never find a budmilloors that is infected. The best thing is to buy non-filtered bottled beer, or even bottle conditioned. The small amount of yeast present actually metabolizes the oxygen (in fact oxygen is a major requirement for yeast health at the onset of fermentation) which aids in inhibiting bacterial growth. Plus, it's healthier, and the b-vitamins aid in reducing hangovers.

On the other hand, the good beers were (in order of how much I liked them) Victory Hop Wallop, Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, Dominion Winter Brew, Lancaster Hop Hog IPA, and River Horse Hop Hazard.  We didn't each drink a bottle of these; we split them.  :smile:

Victory is amazing.

The Hop Wallop is wonderful!  It tastes sooooo Victory!  It may have at least temporarily replaced Hop Devil as my favorite beer.  There was one other beer tonight which I didn't like, an Allagash Grand Cru which has been in our fridge for a year.  We didn't think it was bad, though; we thought more likely it was a style of beer we don't care for.

Grand Cru is one of those love 'em or hate 'em styles. I for one am always interested in trying them, but it's not a beery beer. Not one to toss back a few pints with friends. The local brewpub (across the street from work!) brewed one this year that is amazing. But I agree it's a challenging style.

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Rogue Morimoto Imperial Pilsner, quite a bit of hop bitterness. 750 Mil. nice ceramic bottle

Brewed with four ingredients: 100% French Pilsner Malt, 100% Sterling Hops, Free Range Coastal Water and Czech Pilsner Yeast.

Very good 8.5/10, quite strong 8.8% ABV

www.rogue.com

Deschchutes Bond Street Series Hop Trip Pale Ale, local fresh hops and nice flavor. 22 oz. bottle

Deschutes claim 5.5 pounds of hops per barrel brewed. Another nice selection 7.5/10, 5.5% ABV

http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/Brews/Bond...es/default.aspx

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, this is one of my favorite beers, too many awards to list. 22 oz. bottle

If you like IPA's try this one. In comparison to Bridgeport's IPA, it seems to have a more floral scent and more flavor.

Excellent 9/10, little bitter 7.0% ABV

http://www.bearrepublic.com/frameset.html

Twitter: Audiofan2

www.sacramentocook.com

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I can't stop drinking this year's Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale,

part because I love the flavor, part because it's high alcohol content makes it a nice 2 beer buzz, but mainly for nolstalgic reasons. My first of the season a few weeks ago opened up so many fond memories of Holidays past.

I wonder if that's a great sales strategy or just coincidence?

Drink maker, heart taker!

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Is there, like, a Beer 101 Book for Idiots who Know Nothing about Beer?  I really am sort of in the dark even about the various types of beer (although I think I like stouts and hefe-weizens).

Practice, practice, practice! Enjoy the different experiences and have fun!

Twitter: Audiofan2

www.sacramentocook.com

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Is there, like, a Beer 101 Book for Idiots who Know Nothing about Beer?  I really am sort of in the dark even about the various types of beer (although I think I like stouts and hefe-weizens).

Brew Pubs can be a great place to learn about beer. They often have tasting samplers with smaller glasses of all the beers they brew. There's no guarantee they will be brewing true to the style they claim their beers are in; but, at least it will expose you to a variety of the types of flavors you are likely encounter in beer. Plus, you don't have to spend $10 on a six pack you don't end up enjoying.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Is there, like, a Beer 101 Book for Idiots who Know Nothing about Beer?  I really am sort of in the dark even about the various types of beer (although I think I like stouts and hefe-weizens).

Like others have said, nothing beats sampling. But in addition to that it does help to go armed with a little info. A good online source is the BJCP Style Guidelines. Just click on each style header and you'll get a ton of information including commercial examples of each.

I used to recommend the Michael Jackson Pocket Guides, but I see over at Amazon that the 2000 one was the last year. It still may be worthwhile to get an old one because the opening sections with all of the general information are pretty much timeless.

---

ETA: Audiofan2- you're just trying to make us east coasters jealous, aren't you? :wink:

Edited by TongoRad (log)

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Is there, like, a Beer 101 Book for Idiots who Know Nothing about Beer?  I really am sort of in the dark even about the various types of beer (although I think I like stouts and hefe-weizens).

Like others have said, nothing beats sampling. But in addition to that it does help to go armed with a little info. A good online source is the BJCP Style Guidelines. Just click on each style header and you'll get a ton of information including commercial examples of each.

I used to recommend the Michael Jackson Pocket Guides, but I see over at Amazon that the 2000 one was the last year. It still may be worthwhile to get an old one because the opening sections with all of the general information are pretty much timeless.

---

ETA: Audiofan2- you're just trying to make us east coasters jealous, aren't you? :wink:

TongoRad

Perhaps I am a California native still in a bit of shock myself as to the massive number of brewerys up here. Also the availability of the brewery founders at events. They are so nice and the opposite of any corporation.

Twitter: Audiofan2

www.sacramentocook.com

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Thanks for the helpful replies. I think after the New Year I'll be visiting the Penn Brewery. Eric and I went to the Sharp Edge brewpub the other night and acquired/drank:

Sierra Nevada Celebration - I really liked this beer, and thought it went well with my hamburger

Allagash Abbey (XXX?) - very creamy and delicious

Duvel - Eric's favorite beer, and I really like it too.

Affligem Noel - a little too alcoholic-tasting for me at first, but it got better. Imagine that!

Delerium Noel - I liked this as much as I like the other Delerium ales I've had.

I'll take pictures of the bottles and put them up here sometime soon....

Jennie

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Thanks for the helpful replies.  I think after the New Year I'll be visiting the Penn Brewery.  Eric and I went to the Sharp Edge brewpub the other night and acquired/drank:

Sierra Nevada Celebration - I really liked this beer, and thought it went well with my hamburger

Allagash Abbey (XXX?) - very creamy and delicious

Duvel - Eric's favorite beer, and I really like it too.

Affligem Noel - a little too alcoholic-tasting for me at first, but it got better.  Imagine that!

Delerium Noel - I liked this as much as I like the other Delerium ales I've had.

I'll take pictures of the bottles and put them up here sometime soon....

Very nice list! That was some evening of special beers.

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Yesterday I had to work, so after work we went to the bar and had:

Golden Carolus Grand Cru Emperor - VERY caramely, almost no hop flavor at all; one of our friends, who will not drink beer because of the bitterness, said she might drink this

Trappistes Rochefort, #8, I think - also really good, although I can't think of a way to describe it.

Alas, Christmas is over, so the last remaining excuse to consume prodigious quantities of Belgian ales is the New Year.... I actually got complimented by my boyfriend last night because apparently other girls have been unwilling to drink Belgian ales?! Amazing.

Jennie

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Couldn't resist the Nimbus Pale Ale with its amusing and irreverent Monkey as Christ label.

Pretty hoppy for a Pale Ale, almost closer to an IPA, but, with a lower specific gravity than you would find in that style.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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