November 2011 Archives

Allagash Curieux

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Curieux.JPGWhile this is a year round ale for many, and may not venture into Limited Edition territory, it is still a treat for anyone in Michigan. Allagash does not distribute this far out. I picked this ale up while in Dallas. The aroma is lemon meringue pie, the honey hue nicely sets up the circus peanut, Belgian ale taste. It is similar to the Brooklyner-Schneirder Hopfen-Weisse in that much of the character is a result of the Belgian yeast. Granted this has some [quite a presence of] unique nuances as a result of the bourbon barrel aging. Of any bourbon barrel aged brew I've sampled, this one, has the mildest touch of bourbon that I have ever detected. This is not a bad thing either, the flavor profile blends appropriately this way. I expected a lot from this ale, and it delivered. With very little up front, it has just a little bourbon burn in the finish unexpectedly giving a little kick before it's gone. So if you can get your hands on this strange, inquisitive, curious, curieux brew do so. Granted I say that a lot. But I still mean it. Just because I seldom buy bad brews does not mean they're not out there. They exist by the truck load. But life is just too short for bad beer. So go buy yourself a Real Ale while you have the chance.

Black Clu - Bardic Wells Meadery

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Clurichaun, from the label

"Like their better known cousin the Leprechaun, Clurichauns are mischievous, Celtic fairies who enjoy playing practical jokes. Clurichauns (Kloo'-ra-kahns) live in wine cellars and are avid drinkers. Treat him well and a Clurichaun will use magical powers to guard your cellar, prevent casks from leaking, and keep the contents from going bad. A favorite Clurichaun pastime is riding sheep bareback on moonlit nights. These wee folk know how to party."

So there you have it, having a few Clurichauns around is bound to be a good plan. Black Clu is good, the label is designed by a local, and the mead/melomel hopped concoction is created locally by Bardic Wells Meadery, a pretty much one man operation that produces meads only available in Michigan.

BlackClu.JPGAs meads go, I do like this. The hop addition is almost undetectable, the cherries really complement what small nuance is present. My only criticism is that it has a bit of 'cardboardiness' that meads tend to have. Nothing to over the top like most commercial meads I have had, but more than I would want, since I find it to be a very undesirable characteristic. To really cast judgment I will need to sample more of his meads, to see if it's a result of the stone fruit, or something else.

In the end the very best meads and melomels I have had, are my own. My buddy Jay makes a decent one as well. My favorite was the Blueberry Melomel that I last year. Meads can have some really off smells, normally the flavors are decent, but sometimes they smell like fingernail polish, body odor, or cardboard. My guess is that fermentation temps have a lot to do with this.The better ones, like Black Clu have a honey aroma that dominates the nose.

This Black Clu really grows on you. At first I wasn't crazy about it, but it keeps getting better with each glass. It's the best commercial mead I have had. Well worth purchasing. 

Explosion at Otter Creek

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I have heard of carboys blowing up, but this is a new one. Otter Creek had a fermenter blow according to the Burlington Free Press. The last I sampled their brews was during my 2002 East Coast Beer Tour, at the time I was less than impressed. But they're still around, so perhaps they have improved.

Oatmeal Cluster Stout

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Today I bottled up some of the Oatmeal Cluster Stout I brewed in September. Notes of toffee, chocolate, coffee, bourbon and vanilla create a pleasing aroma. My mash temps were a little low, creating some lack of body, but all, in all, this is a very pleasing brew. I had struggled to carbonate it. It sat for weeks with ten to twenty pounds of pressure on it, and remained flat. I let it age a few more weeks and then today I shook the daylights out of it and turned up the pressure. It's now carbonated. I am still not sure just what the issue was. My best guess it that a coffee bean was stuck in the line, affecting the carbonation as it dispensed. I only used three beans, but it seemed to add plenty of coffee character to five gallons. On the flipside I used six to eight fresh bourbon vanilla beans and I only have a slight vanilla flavor. Vanilla flavor is greatly dependent on the other flavor aspects of the ale. My cream ale only required three beans for a week in secondary to create a huge vanilla flavor. One thing about vanilla is that it quickly fades as the days pass.

I want to make another attempt at this brew being a bit more careful with my mash temps and sparging. I might also save some out that has no bourbon, coffee, oak, or vanilla to be able to compare the two.


19 Lbs American Two Row Malt

2.5 Lbs Munich Malt

1.00 Lb Carmel/Crystal Malt (120 L)

½ Lb Carmel/Crystal Malt (40 L)

½ Lb Chocolate Malt

1 Lb Oatmeal

½  Lb. Black Patent Malt (Debittered)

¼ Lb Roasted Barley

3 oz Cascade (2 leaf, 1 pellets)

2 oz  Willamette (Finishing)

1 Teaspoon Yeast Nutrient

1 Teaspoon Irish Moss

Cultured American Ale Yeast

Seven Vanilla Beans, Oak Chips, and Coffee beans in spirits pitched into secondary.

Makers Mark Bourbon at Kegging

Learn to Homebrew Day

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Well I suppose for a website that calls itself the "Home of the Homebrew" no excuse is good enough not to brew on Learn to Homebrew Day. I made tea, I don't suppose that counts, even if I did buy it at the homebrew shop. I hope everyone had fun today and we won over a few new homebrewers.


The Brewmaster


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2011 is the previous archive.

December 2011 is the next archive.

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