Tag Archives: Dark Ale

Dark American Ale – Review

Way back earlier this year I helped out someone make some home brew. I got a bottle of it a few weeks later. It’s been in the fridge for months. And now I’ve tried it.

Dark American Ale

Dark American Ale ready for drinking

This was a beer I made with my wife’s boss. We were away for a weekend at their holiday home. Plus we made a kit beer. I was able to provide some really good advice to speed things up and get better results. It was a fun couple hours.

The beer is a kit called Dark American Ale and comes from Brewcraft/Liquorcraft. Ingredients included cans of liquid malt and some steeping grains. Nothing too complex. And looks like it turned out well.

The aroma is a nice hint of sweetness and slight dark nutty malt. A slight hint if burnt caramel. Exactly what you would expect. It’s a good set up for a beer of this style.

First taste has the dark malt come out. Next follows a bit of dark caramel sweetness. Finally the hop bitterness at the back.

For something that’s ‘just’ a kit, there’s plenty of mouth feel. Lots of flavour at the start and middle. The flavour isn’t thick, but you’re not expecting or wanting that here. While the beer does get thin the flavour doesn’t completely drop off.  That said the hops at the end take over, with the malt only just holding it all together.

The only real downside us a slight metallic taste. It comes at the back, and lasts long after the beer. It’s a drawback on a nice beer which is a real downer.

Food wise, this could work with a stew meat thing. Maybe a casserole or think sauce meat pie, something gutsy and rich.

I like the flavours at the start. Good and balanced. The finish really let’s it down. Overall nice but not great.

-Mikey

Tagged , , , ,

Mangrove Jack’s Mildy Dark – review

While I was on my holiday, Mikey did a brew of Mangrove Jack’s Mildly Dark all on his own.  This was a simple extract kit with a few other things thrown in to make it a dark.  Judging from the recipe, Mikey threw a couple extra malts in here, and, if I remember correctly, Mikey mentioned he had trouble getting everything to ferment.

Because of this, the beer took a little longer than usual to condition in the bottle as well.  We tried it a couple weeks ago and it wasn’t quite ready.  We tried it again over the weekend and it was definitely ready.

mildly darkOn the colour, it was a good dark brown with a bit of red when held up to the light.  Dark, but not murky.  It was almost a brown ale in colour, but I’d consider it over the line to be a “dark” ale.

The smell was great and interesting, with quite a bit in there.  The main things in there were toffee, citrus, and apple.  The interaction of the apple and the citrus was great, and really complimented the toffee smells well.  When I really stuck my nose in there, I also was able to find a little bit of chocolate in there too.

The taste was great and easy.  The beer was quite obviously hopped, but mildly so, with the malt really taking the foreground.  Gladly, the apple came through in the taste as well, which interacted with the malt quite well.  Mixed in among this was a bit of a licorice taste  with a tiny bit of molasses as well.

Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot at the end to really round out the flavour, which I would have really liked to see; just something to round everything out.  I think if an additional taste hop had been added, a little bit of complexity could have been added in the finish.  The kit that Mikey made didn’t call for any additional hopping, but had he added something mild, it would have been welcome.

I think this beer would go well with a nice hard cheese.  It’s a fairly sweet beer, but not overly so.  A hard, but fairly mild cheese would be a great way to accompany this beer.

– Chas

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Baltic Porter – Review

Mikey made his Baltic Porter while I was away, and luckily enough, it was ready for drinking as soon as I came back!

It definitely looked like a porter!  Nice and dark, good head.  That’s where the porteryness ended though – although it still turned out to be a great beer!

baltic porterOn the nose, there was a ton of apple and a bit of honey along with a bit of malt.  I’m not sure where the apples were coming from, but the honey was probably coming from the added Crystal grains.

This continued through with the taste, along with the apple.  This was right up front and very refreshing.

With that, there was a good amount of body, just not as much as I usually like to see in a porter.  So while it looked like a porter, this beer was very quickly moving away from what I’d consider a porter.  I’d classify this closer to a dark ale.  The good news is I love dark ales, and this was a good one, so I’m not complaining.

On the porter side though, there was a hint of the typical porter tang/bitterness at the very end, along with a very minor hint of smokiness, but the beer was so light it was still hard to call a porter.  It was a bit creamy like a porter, just not robust like a porter.

The surprising part about this beer is that it was 7.2% alcohol, which you’d never know by drinking it – until you’ve had a couple that is…  it’s a pretty smooth beer with only the slightest hint of dryness from the alcohol.

Overall, great beer, regardless of what you call it.  I’d gladly drink more.  Mikey wants to add some chocolate, which I’d welcome.

Given the sweetness and apple/honey tastes, this beer would go well with either apple or pumpkin pie.  It’s a desert kind of drink…

-Chas

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Bottling the dark ale and other updates

Hi!

We had a busy day today.  Mikey came by and we bottled the Dead Guy Dark Ale I made two weeks ago.  We got 61 bottles in total and a final specific gravity of 1.012.  This should give us an alcohol content of about 4.4% once bottle conditioning is finished.  Since it’s a dark beer, I want to give it at least three to four weeks before trying it.  Home brewing is a waiting game…

My 61 new friends!

My 61 new friends!

The hops profile calmed down a little bit, which was good because I wasn’t crazy about it when it was just wort.  I think once the beer is given some time to condition in the bottle, it should turn out pretty well.  Hopefully things will all settle together and add some complexities and body to the brew.

After bottling, we also brewed up a porter, but I’ll do a separate post on that later.

In other news, we’ve also created two new sections.  The first one is Wildly Inaccurate Facts About Beer.  To counter this, we’ve also added a section called Wildly Accurate Facts About Beer.  The topics of these sections are pretty self explanatory.

That’s about it for now!

-Chas

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Dark Dead Guy Ale

Well…

It has been an exciting week!  It was Good Beer Week, which meant lots of great stuff to try around Melbourne.  I’m not quite as hard core as Mikey, but I still managed to get more than a few brews under my belt.  Although this site is technically home brew related, if we get lucky Mikey may talk about Good Beer Week.  We’ll see!

However, I still managed to make some home brew: Dark Dead Guy Ale from Australian Home Brewing.

This kit was pretty cruisy, but quite fun.  It called for a 30 minute boil of some hops and then just mixing that in with a kit can and some malt into a 30 litre fermenter.

The Hops

The kit included two hop varieties: Perle hops (alpha 6%-10%) and Saaz Hops (3%-4.5%).

Now, I’ve still got A LOT to learn about hops, but it was great to be able to smell the difference.  I’ve included the alpha acid levels above mostly so that when I do learn more about hops, I’ll have a reference!

The Perle was the taste hops, and about 14 grams of that was thrown in for the 30 minutes.  Much to my housemate’s displeasure, this filled the house with the lovely smell of hops.  Perle has a great spiciness about it, and it was a pleasure to stand over the stove breathing in it.

At the 25 minute mark, I threw in anotheLast five minutes of the boil - all hops added!r 14 grams of the Perle as well as 10 grams of the Saaz.  These late additions were for aroma.

Last five minutes of the boil – all hops added!

It was amazing how the Saaz changed up the smell entirely.  I found that although I found the Perle a bit spicy, it had a lot more bitter to it in smell.  The Saaz, on the other hand, was much spicier, and less bitter than the Perle.

They had their own complexities too, and now, upon writing this, I realise I should have taken some notes… Anyway, it was very interesting how the aroma changed quite abruptly upon adding the Saaz.

Following that was steeping for 20 minutes.

The Rest of It

While all that was going on, the contents of the two cans went into my (sanitised) fermenter and were stirred together with some water.

The rest of this is child’s play.  Pour the hops through a strainer, top up to 21 litres, getting the temperature into the 18-24 degrees C range, take a gravity reading, then pitch your yeast.

For those who are curious, the yeast that was supplied with the kit was a BRY97 American Westcoast Ale Yeast.  No surprises that I used an ale yeast to make an ale…

20130526_155852The original specific gravity was 1.040, so, as with the last big batch, we should get something between 4.5%-5% after bottling.  Maybe something a bit higher.  Although the OSG is a little higher than the lager, I don’t expect to get as low an FSG as I did with the lager since this one is generally just a thicker beer… we’ll see.

The wort was a little interesting in taste.  The hops was quite bold, and, I have to say, a little confronting.  Not confronting in “oh wow, that just opened my eyes to a new world,” no, it was confronting in a “oh wow, that hobo isn’t wearing any pants” kind of way.  Maybe not that bad…  I think it will settle down in the fermenter.  Then I want to give it at least a month in the bottle.

Finally, I was a bit worried at first because things didn’t start bubbling for quite a while.  I gave the fermenter a squeeze and things were definitely sealed up, so I was a bit concerned.  To my pleasure when I got home from work today, it was going nuts!  Probably the most energy I’ve seen in an airlock since I’ve started.

This is an excitable brew…

-Chas

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,