Archive | December 2012

First Game!

HEEEYYYY YYOOOOUUU GUUUYYYSSS!!!

I’m going to start running free NYC beer games for anyone who’s interested in playing along.

Mikkeller, the gypsy brewery that brews the novelty beer 1000 IBUs (which I just reviewed, thank you very much), makes an incredible line of single hopped beers, each one utilizing a different hop’s taste.  While Mikkeller’s can be expensive, they’re almost always worth it.  The single-hop series is another shining example in their long line of success.  As a prize to whoever can find the following Mikkeller’s beer, I offer one bottle of single hop IPA (the hop is your choice).  Obviously, you have to be 21 to play.  You can pick up your beer at the next Two Girls, One Pint event if you win.

GAME DETAILS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Objective:

Find a Bottle or Draft of Mikkeller’s Not Just Another Wit, and take a picture of yourself with the beer and a newspaper.

MIkkeller's Not Just Another Wit

You do not have to buy the beer, just find it.  Also send in the location where you found it. It’s literally that simple.

Good luck searching, and have fun!

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Mikkeller’s 1000 IBUs-An Imperial IPA

MIkeller's 1000 IBU

Overall: C+

Price: D-

Taste: A

Type: 12 oz Bottle

9.6% ABV-1000 IBU

I’ve been writing about too many imperial IPAs.  I may have said this before.  I’m a hop-head.  I’ve confessed.  Now indulge me.  I was out one night in late October and I stumbled upon this novelty.  I thought to myself, “1000 IBUs?  How can anything be that bitter?”  Well, I have the answer…it can’t.  Like many triple IPAs, there’s a point of hop concentration where the tongue can’t absorb any more resin.  The beer can contain as many hops as the brewer wants to put in, but it doesn’t really matter after about 100 IBUs (please write in if you feel differently).  However, I do find that occasionally there are wonderful flavors in these IPAs from the beta resins at these high levels.   But let’s get back to the story.  I wanted this beer.  I had to at least TRY it, even though it was really expensive (I’ll get back to that later).  Mikkeller, a small gypsy brewery, has become one of the most renowned breweries in Europe for a reason, and they specialize in oddities like this.  I’m a huge IPA fan (not to overstate the obvious), and this was one novelty I couldn’t avoid.   Turns out, this beer is surprisingly drinkable.  It’s light, hoppy, and actually, very good.  It pours a golden orange, with a medium head.  My friend told me it would annihilate my taste buds, but it didn’t.  Sure, you can taste big citrus and piney hops, but it levels out and turns into a delectable treat, offering a smooth golden after taste.  This isn’t the best imperial IPA of all time, but with what Mikkeller did to this crazy experiment, it amazes me to say it might be in the top 5.  With Mikkeller’s odd history of unique brews, maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised.  HOWEVER…and that’s a big however…the fantasy ends there.  The beer costs between thirteen and sixteen dollars for a 12 oz.  That’s absurd.  I don’t care if there’s a little hop dragon breathing liquid resin into my beer, it isn’t worth that price.  1000 IBUs nearly fails in price, but redeems itself for being a singularity…an anomaly…. The Great White Buffalo.  And for that, it might be worth trying, at any price.

In Conclusion: A great novelty beer.  If you have the money and the idea entices you, I’d say try it, but know that it’s going to be a one and off because of the price tag.

Food Pairing: Spicy and savory foods with cream.  Falafel and Fajitas would be great.

“This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption…Beer.

-Friar Tuck, Robin Hood-Prince of Thieves

Unibroue’s Don De Dieu-A Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Don De Dieu

Overall: A-

Price: B

Taste: A

Type: 12oz Bottle

9% ABV-10.5 IBU

Don De Dieu was “commissioned by the King of France to pursue, by the way of the great Canadian waterway, the exploration of this vast and inhospitable land called America”, or says Unibroue.  With this beer, Unibroue could easily continue to explore and expand their share of the North American beer market.  While La Fin Du Monde is probably their best known ale, Unibroue’s Don De Dieu and Trois Pistoles come in as close seconds.    Unibroue have proven themselves consistent beyond belief, and this beer provides another Canadian treat for Belgian fans across America.  It pours a golden pale amber.  Despite being darker then you might expect for a pale ale, the creamy yeasts dominate the darker flavors.  It’s slightly acidic, but the finish is so clean you won’t remember it.  A very drinkable strong ale, thought you might want to take it slow with this one, because after two or three you’ll be gone.  Four packs are 10 to 15 dollars.  That’s not bad considering the outstanding quality and consistency of the brew.  Unibroue is definitely one of the best breweries in North America, and after you have a Don De Dieu, I think you’ll agee.

In Conclusion: A great beer for a decent price, for all occasions when a Belgian Strong Ale is appropriate.  A lighter, hoppier alternative to heavier creamier Dark Ales, Tripels, and Quads.

Food Pairing: All kinds of savory poultry.  Quail, Duck, and Roasted Chicken.  A great beer for large holiday feasts with friends and family.

I drink to make other people interesting.
-George Jean Nathan

My First Homebrew

The title is kind of a lie. I’ve brewed before, but I’ve never created my own recipe or used my own equipment, so this was a first…of sorts.  Whatever experience I had, it didn’t feel like this was going to be easy.  I kept telling myself it would be ok.  My friend, Hunter, came over to help me brew.  He had done a few Homebrews himself and I thought having him there would help me stay calm.  Plus, I had Charlie Papazian in the back of my head whispering , “Relax, have a Homebrew”.  As it turns out, despite my apprehensions, the whole process was pretty painless.  Instead of homebrew (because I didn’t have any), we bought a six pack of Sam Adams Latitude 48.  I wanted to make a strong pale wheat ale.   I’ll tell you from the beginning, I ended up with a pale  ale, but it wasn’t strong or carbonated enough.  I think we put too much water into the batch. At the end of this article, maybe you can tell me what what you think….

Around 3pm, we started brewing.  First we sanitized everything using Star Sans.

Sanitizing Things

Then we began by steeping a 1/3 lb of Victory grains for 30 minutes in 1 ½ gallons of water.  This gave us the doughy base I wanted.

Victory Malt SteepsSMells like Warm Bread

We let that cool, filtered out the grains, and put it back in the pot. Then we added our malts, 5 lbs of Briess Bavarian Wheat and brought to a boil for 75 minutes.

Filtered Victory MaltPouring Beer Back in

We tried a method of continuous hopping (check previous article) with pellets.  We added an ounce of warrior hops right off the bat, for the bitter (Warrior’s high in alpha resins).

Stirring in Hops

We waited about twenty minutes, and then continuously added another ounce of Warrior over the next 20 minutes in increments of an eighth an ounce every 2 ½ min.  We continued the flavoring with an ounce of New Zealand Motueka and an ounce of Mt. Hood from 40-60 minutes in ¼ ounce increments (on the same schedule).  These hops have relatively low alpha but high beta resins, and they smell and taste wonderful.

Beer:Hop Wonderful

We added the same hops for aroma.  Specifically, we added an ounce of New Zealand from 60-68, and an ounce of Mt. Hood from 68-75.  To be honest, at this point, we got a little lazy and just started dumping hops.  At 75 minutes we took our brew off.  We added 3 gallons (I think?) of clean cold water to a carboy and then poured our mixture in via a funnel, and filtered out the hop pellets (for no reason).

Straing the Hops for No reason

We waited till it cooled down, then I took a measurement.  The specific gravity was 1.027 at 80 degrees F, so the real specific gravity was about 1.0032 (way lower than I wanted).  I waited till the temp got down to about 76, then added a tube of California Ale yeast (which was warmed up and shaken).

The Yeast

I should mention here that all of our ingredients came from the Whole Foods Beer Store on 2nd ave, the F, M stop in NYC.  After brewing, I let my wort age in a dark corner of the room.

The Wort

After a few days, I had to add a tube to catch the run off because it ended up being much more than I expected (I think I may have loss some carbonation here).

Run off 2Run offSediment at the Bottom of Wort

After 2 ½ weeks, I decided to bottle.  I tasted at this point, and while it was very good, there wasn’t much carbonation.  I added priming sugar, and then bottled the beer.

Clean BottlesBottling 1Capping 2

CappingMy Girlfriend, Jade, Labels BottlesBottles Galore

The specific gravity at the end was 1.004 spg at 75 degrees F.  So the beer was very weak at about 2.8 or 3 percent.  That being said, it tastes better than most beers that I buy, and it was a lot cheaper.  I spent about 25-30 dollars on ingredients, and I was able to brew 3 cases of good beer.   I’m going to brew a strong English ale next, and use more malt and two yeasts.  If you have any other ideas about how to brew a better beer, let me know. It was exciting to see something I made grow and change over the weeks, and to be able to savor my creation. I hope that some of you who read this will consider doing the same.  Oh, and get a bottle dryer.  Get a bottle dryer.

Beer, the cause of, and solution to all of life’s problems.”
– Homer Simpson