A couple of months ago I popped open a 2008 Brooklyn Monster. It poured a deep reddish amber with a brassy gold glint. Being a couple of years old, it had mellowed, the bite was gone, and there was no perceptible alcohol flavor. It was sweet with an almost dry finish. Barleywines and stouts are worth aging for a couple of years. It's really amazing how much better they are when they mature.
November 2010 Archives
This is a great imperial stout. I have to say this, as generic as it sounds, because some imperial stouts are not great. One thing that causes them to be not so great, in my opinion, is over the top roasted malt characters, just not my thing. Goose Island Night Stalker is balanced. It pours a deep reddish black, you can only see the redishness when the glass is mostly gone, it's very dark as the name Night Stalker would imply. It poured with almost no head. Most reviews I have read say it has an inch of head. I find normally temperature has a huge effect on this, mine was poured at 52 degree Fahrenheit, not exceptionally cold so I am not sure where all the talk about head comes from. The aroma is typical of imperial stouts, that sweet, carrot like malt smell, and Night Stalker adds an ever so slight hop bouquet to the mix. It has a sweet malty taste with a slight hint of roasted barley. It's up with there with the best of them. Without doing a side by side with Brooklyn Chocolate Stout or Old Rasputin it's hard to say just exactly where it lies. I am going to say it's just a little maltier and sweeter, with a little more in your face bam! to it. At first it also has just a little tangy malt bite to it. This mellows as you work your way to the bottom of the bomber.
This past months beer club selection was Hop Hemp Rye from O'Fallon Brewery. It pours cloudy and retains a minimal head. Mostly hempy with a remote hop character. It was good with hot salsa and had a bit of a rancid fruit taste. Worth trying but nothing spectacular either.
Dethroning the King: The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon this looks like it would be a decent read.
In the past I have always fired up Adobe Photoshop to create my labels. However I discovered a couple of cool sites that you can use if you are in a hurry and want to create some quick labels without the hassle. Pixlr is a is a sweet Photoshop/GIMP like editor, it works like a charm. Also beerlabelizer.com has a few out of the box labels to choose from that you can save as jpeg or just print. You can see them in the image on the right. Below are some of my originals. You might notice our friends over at Budweiser stole my Jack's Pumpkin Ale label. If you get a chance look at the first year they came out with theirs and compare it to mine. The only problem is that I came out with mine in 2002 and they came out with theirs in 2005. Nothing like stealing a little IP. But you can do that when you're big and evil. To their credit they have since changed their label, however I still hold IP on the name. Maybe I should just be happy that the biggest beer conglomerate in the world liked my name enough to use it. The guys on Reddit.com/r/Homebrewing have done some cool labels as well you might want to check out for inspiration.
The new series Brew Masters airs on Discovery tonight. I like Sam, I just wish it wasn't on so late.
Each fall Founders Brewing does a Breakfast Stout Breakfast with the motto, "You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning". In the past it has been catered by San Chez Bistro. This year it was catered by Gilmore catering.The food was excellent and it did not seem to run out as it has in the past. This year Jeremy Kosmicki, head brewer at Founders also brewed up a hazelnut and a vanilla bean version of the Breakfast Stout. Both were not overpowering but had just a hint of character from the bean and coffee. I asked him about pitching the vanilla beans. He just dumped them in and hoped for the best, without a lot of worrying about what evil they might impart. After all it would be quickly consumed by Founders patrons. Here's looking forward to next years Breakfast Stout Breakfast!
The raspberry does not overpower the mead like the blueberry does. It does cast it's definitive character however. It possesses a nectarous raspberry nose, sweet with a little tartness, it finishes with a dry crispness. Not only did the raspberries make a great product, they really cleared up the mead. The cinnamon and vanilla did not come out so well. I guess I should have boiled the cinamon sticks. I think they ruined the batch they were in. The fruit infusion seems to be a great way to add a little something to your mead.