Friday, September 3, 2010

The Brutal Truth: Wheat Stout

Here we have a sample of Don's Wheat Stout, which has Wheat in it as a supposedly major part of it's grain bill. I'm not sure how to classify this beer, but he's telling me it's a Stout, and the closest thing I see in the book is the American Stout guidelines. So, against that we'll throw it, and see what sticks after it goes through the meat-grinder of The Brutal Truth!

Appearance: "Jet Black" is the color descriptor, and "Persistent head of light tan to light brown" is the description for the foam. I'll give it that. Hell, I'll give it a three of three, because the foam is still there, minutes later and it's still jet black. Snap, Don nailed that one! Granted, this isn't too difficult on a black beer. I think this is where Pale ales tend to take the hits.. Score: 3/3

Aroma:  I'm getting a faint to moderate chocolate malt on the nose, not so much a roasted note. Perhaps minutely, but ever so slight, if that. No alcohol hit in the aroma, and no hops either. Appropriate for style. It's an inviting smell, and I can no longer put off tasting this thing.. Score 9/12

Flavor: Chocolate. Wow. Soft as a pillow. Almost no acrid roast flavor here whatsoever. *Extremely* smooth. This is a stout for people that don't even like stout, if Roast character is not their bag. If there are hops in here, I can't taste them, other than to say the bitterness is equal to the task of balancing the dark malts, but not popping up any more than that. that I've had this beer for more than a few sips, I'm starting to pick out the roast malts now.. that real roast barley, not just a chocolate malt or brown malt flavor. It's definitely there, and takes a backseat for the first block of the road-trip, but jumps up from the back seat like a knife wielding maniac might in a crappy B-movie.. you don't know it's there till it's too late. But I got it now. Well done. No esters here that I can perceive, and a moderately dry finish. How about a touch of malted milk ball? It's in there. Yeah, well done. Hit me with a 17/20 Hayyyy Hoooo!

Mouthfeel: Medium full body, silky in feel. No astringency from any dark malts.. err, maybe just a molecule worth, but that's it. Still, well done. Carbonation is on the medium low side in this bottle-conditioned version. Score it 4/5

Overall Impression: Love it! Strangely, the guidelines call for a hoppy beer in the overall impression area, but then tell you low to high in the flavor department. As such, we can take our liberties with this confusion and rank the crap out of this beer as being generally freakin' awesome. Were this my beer, I'd be especially proud. I'm halfway through a bomber of it now and am enjoying the hell out of it. There is a range of ways you can go with this beer, and this is a great interpretation of one. I'm gonna give it an 8/10. I sure as hell hope Don puts this one into a competition somewhere and tells 'em how the Krausen Commando's do it Stout Style on the east coast.

Total score: 41/50. SNAP! This beer is awesome. Have Don hook you up with a bottle and see for yourself.. it'll be worth the trip.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Garden update from planter box.. & pizza tips!

A few pics from the planter box thingy I planted with a few lettuce and radishes.. wherever there's a piece of straw poking up, there's a lettuce or basil plant. The two basil's are on the ends and the red and green lettuce are towards the middle a bit more. There's radish everywhere there was a space inch of room. I guess I can pull that straw out of there, since all of the plants are now visible..

Rather small tomato from a planter tomato plant.. the big one on the right, if you're a regular follower.

The turnips and lettuce are a little sad here cause I took this pic in the middle of the afternoon, so they're a little wilted there, but they're almost getting to be about the right size now.. I am *so* looking forward to a salad again.

Some chile peppers off the plants that I made into..

Pickled pepper rings! Love 'em. The best thing in the world? Jalapeno pepper pizza. Better than pepperoni, I think now. Just really LOVED this the other day. Also, I picked up a wooden pizza peel at Sur La Table to go along with my metal one. Why two, you say? Cause I found out the hard way that a metal peel is for removing pizza only, and the wooden one is for putting the pie in only. The wooden one helps the pie slide right off with just a touch of flour on the peel, but it's way too thick to use to get the pizza out of the oven.. but the metal one slips right under and get's that pizza out of there. The uncooked pizza will stick to the metal peel like glue, however, so you need the two peel combo to make the magic happen. Trust me. I cried sometimes.

Pre-vinegar photo op..

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

American Freshhop Amber brew day..

Brewed with Commando's Kapros and Rockhill yesterday. Jody brought up his newfangled Top Tier brewing rig and it seemed to work like a charm. Me and Savvas worked our magic on an American Amber style with all of the aroma hops (2 minutes before flameout) handpicked off my vines just before being thrown into the pot. Everything went fairly well until we got a hop lodged into a line somewhere.. it later turned out to be two jams.. one in a transfer line, of all places, jammed into a bend in the 90 degree elbow, and the other right into the end of the pickup tube. Sheesh, the dreaded double whammy!

That's the only pic I got so far for the day. Me, simultaneously stirring the mash and sucking back a pint. I have mad skillz.

We didn't even get all the hops picked off the vines, either.. there's a few more on the Cascades triangle still, and we didn't even touch the Nugget plant at all, not that there's terribly much out there to grab. I'll grab some more pics of that later, but I didn't have the wherewithal to work my camera much yesterday. We got some good shots of Jody and his bag o'hops though.. you gona settle up with those, kid, and upload 'em or what? I'll get back to you regular readers when he get's his act together..

Other than that, been harvesting some habaneros and stringing them up to dry.. but they're not drying so far. I think I'll have to move 'em up into the attic where it's stinking hot. Lots of activity in the window sill planter thingy I got the other day.. lettuce popping up, radishes all crazy like, and looks like a basil came up as well. I'll get some pics in a bit, but the wife took my SD card away somewhere.. gotta find that still.

I'll come back later with some more pictures.. stand by.

[Edit, photo insert!]

Some madman, who just threw in a crapload of wethops, that eventually jammed up the works. What the!