Tag Archives: tasting

The Friedlieb, Coffee Porter IV – Review

The Friedlieb is a beer Chas has been working on for a while. Back in the middle of 2015 he made the fourth version of this beer. No write up on the brew day, but I can say that the changes to the recipe were more of a slight alteration rather than any significant.

The Friedlieb IV for drinking

The Friedlieb IV ready for drinking and review

Before starting the review, I need to admit I had this beer for about eight months. Got it in June 2015. Drank it in February 2016. The flavours had settled down a fair bit and the forward hops softened to almost nothing. Now that’s out of the way, onto the review.

This is a big coffee porter. It comes in at 10.2%, the strongest version of this beer yet. You can see from the photo it’s very dark. You can’t quite see that it’s not very cloudy.

There’s a smooth coffee aroma. Has a push of smoke towards the end and slight very soft rounded yeast aroma.

The beer starts with plenty of smoothness. Dark malt from start to end. Smoke and coffee giving this lots of complex flavours that keep it lively and interesting. The yeast flavours are present the whole way from the middle. This yeast is a bit Belgian in style, rounded and with some slight tropical fruit to it.

There’s heaps of flavour here and character. Body is good with only a tiny bite from the alcohol.

For food matching this would go well with big winter food. Think mixed flavour stew. Or rich tasty sausages. Or super slow cooked red meat, lamb or beef. Anything hearty and deep flavours with pleanty of protein would work a treat.

This beer has heaps of flavour, but not a big thick body. So you need something to eat with this, or you get overwhelmed by the end. Really good beer, with a slight tweak this would be a great beer.

Chas has been working on this recepie for a good few years. I’m hoping he’ll return to this and brew another batch. Would be more than happy to help give a hand in the quality testing of the final product.

-Mikey

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Gift of the Dad, the bottling

Sunday week ago (31st) was a bottling and brewing day at my place. The five carboys of the Pale Trial Ein were ready for bottling and Pale Trial Zwei needed to be brewed. And Chas was there for it all.

Was great to have Chas back after a bit of a break. Bit of craziness and some well oiled processes made the day run smooth. Or as smooth as possible.

Pale Trial Ein ready to bottle

Pale Trial Ein in the carboys and ready to bottle

Will talk about the brew in another post because there’s a lot to talk about with the Pale Trial Ein. This is the pale ale that I brewed three weeks back. Used some of the equipment and ingredients I got from my Dad.

As there were five carboys of pale ale, and I wanted to keep them separate, we didn’t bother with bulk priming. But we did get to finally use the Easy Siphon I bought a few months back. Once we got it working it worked a treat. The bottling process was slowed down by needing to prime each bottle. That was made harder when I ran out of carbonation drops and had to measure out sugar. Uhg. Needing to take five gravity samples didn’t help.

Comparing the Pale Trial Ein beers was interesting. The first thing is the different colours. Wow. How is that possible? But there you go, same batch in five different carboys with only a couple minor differences in ingredients can make a big change.

Pale Trial Ein samples

The five different samples of Pale Trial Ein (1-5, left to right)

To recap, and make this easier to explain, here are the five types:

  1. Normal yeast nutrient (the one I’ve been using all year)
  2. Normal yeast nutrient plus a Campden tablet
  3. Just newly acquired yeast nutrient (the really old stuff I got from my Dad)
  4. Just a Campden tablet
  5. Newly acquired yeast nutrient and Campden tablet

It was clear that those with the Campden tablets (2, 3 & 5) were darker. But the normal yeast nutrient (1 & 2) was also slightly darker than the newly acquired stuff (4 & 5). And the one with just the tablet (4) is the darkest.

And the flavours, too. Side by side comparison of yeast nutrient was clear. The stuff I normally use (1 & 2) had more smooth full hop flavour up front, but a really bad bitter and metallic taste at the back. The newly acquired (4 & 5) was softer and less hop fruit flavour but rounder and mellow overall with no harsh kick.

When comparing the Campden tablet ones (2, 3 & 5) to non-Campden tablets (1 & 4) it’s clear. The ones with the tablets have a richer hop fruit flavour. And the one with only the Campden tablet (4) is a fair bit dryer from up front to end.

Have to say that the newly acquired nutrient and Campden tablet (5) was the best one. After that, normal yeast nutrient and Campden tablet (2). Then newly acquired yeast nutrient (3). Then just Campden tablet (4). And lastly just the old yeast nutrient (1).

Pale Trial Ein bottled

Pale Trial Ein in bottles, see the numbers on the top

And finally, the gravity readings. They pretty much all came in at 1.014 which isn’t really a surprise. The one with just newly acquired yeast nutrient (3 & 5) came it at 1.015. The beers will end up at 5.8%-5.9% alcohol after conditioning in the bottles. I do hope the bitterness settles down a bit.

To summarise, Campden tablets are awsome. And the really old yeast nutrient is better than the stuff I’ve been using. Go figure. Next post from me will be the write up on the brew.

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Another APA – Review

Another APA ready to drink

Another APA in the glass and ready to drink

As promised, I’ve tried Another APA from my good mate Ian.

Plenty of stone fruit aroma. Mix of peach and nectarine that’s been stewed for a few hours. That big, but not sweet, fruit hit on the nose. Plus this is a smell that doesn’t drop away.

Flavour wise the first thing to note is the exact tastes you would expect from the aroma. Stewed fruit from start to end. Some sort of spice/earth flavour in there. It kind of builds but then doesn’t come out fully. There’s a bitterness towards the back which is welcome. The beer is slightly tart at the very end which isn’t what I expected. Not a huge amount of body, about what you would expect from this type of Pale Ale

As the beer warms the stewed flavours settle a fair bit. The bitterness builds and the tart finish becomes more metallic. There’s even a hit of dryness as the body drops away. Not sure of the alcohol percentage in this, mainly because Ian doesn’t measure it. My guess would be around 4.5% to 5% as it’s quite easy to sink it quickly.

Food wise, not sure what to match to this. Initially I thought some roast pork. But the more I have it makes me want to have something both light and spicy. Maybe Thai or Vietnamese food.

This is an easy to drink beer. Except the finish. Not sure why that is but a quick Google later and I think there might be some DMS (Dimethyl Sulfides) issues with this beer. Ian, fix that and you’ve got a very nice beer.

-Mikey

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ESB 2014 – Review

UPDATE: 10 June 2014.
Whoops, I originally thought this was the Another APA. I’ve recently found out this was actually the ESB 2014. Review updated to reflect that.

ESB 2014 ready to drink

ESB 2014 in the glass and ready to drink

My good mate Ian made few brews earlier this year that he wasn’t so happy with. Then in March he made some more beers that he was happy with. The second one that I’ve tried is the ESB 2014.

Really nice tropical smell to this beer. Hints of pineapple with nice floral sweetness.

Smooth up front. Sweet and rounded. Good fruit salad tastes. Bitterness isn’t that strong as the hops are more about the fruit and wood flavours. Malt is a light pale and helps support the malt. Sort of caramel hints. Very easy drinking.

This is a very good beer. I’ve liked it from the start. As it’s warmed up it became softer and smoother, making it even easier to drink. Not sure if I’d call this an ESB as there’s a lot of fruit and isn’t that bitter. That said once warmed up it is a lot closer.

Food matching, I would say some kind of lightly grilled or barbecued meat. Something like lamb with herbs. The sweetness of the lamb would match the soft sweet flavours of the beer.

Good beer. Ian, make more of this.

-Mikey

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2014 APA – Review

UPDATE: 10 June 2014. Whoops, I originally thought this was the ESB 2014. I’ve recently found out this was actually the 2014 APA. Review updated to reflect that.

2014 APA ready to drink

2014 APA in the glass and ready to drink

My good mate Ian made few brews earlier this year that he wasn’t so happy with. Then in March he started made some more beers that he was happy with. The first one that I’ve tried is the 2014 APA. That stands for American Pale Ale.

First thing I notice is the aroma. There’s a bit of egg smell in there, but also the soft malt with a hint of earth smell and hint of stone fruit.

First flavour hit is an earthy malt bite with a touch of sweetness. The bite is clearly from the hops and comes in on the side of the mouth rather than the front. The eggy smell comes out a bit in the flavour. This isn’t something you would expect in an APA. The hop flavour here is both a mix of earth and spice. No real big bitterness feel, but sort of still there. Some very soft sweetness from this as well. The flavours are a complex mix.

Early on, this beer wasn’t doing much for me, but the impressive thing about this beer is what happens when it warms up. It gets a fair bit better. For an APA that’s not necessarily a great thing. The complex mix settles down a fair bit and becomes a lot easier to drink. There’s even an soft apricot flavour finish on this. This is hard for me to match to food. I would have to say Sheppard’s pie or similar big pub food.

-Mikey

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Mikey’s Sneaky Cider

Way back in February, Mikey made a really quick cider called the Sneaky Cider, and I finally got around to tasting it!

Firstly, it had a great colour.  Nice and clear, with the colour of a basic sparkling apple juice – not surprising considering it was just sparkling apple juice (with some alcohol!).

Sneaky ciderThe first impression was that this was a very dry cider, but not overly so.  Strangely, the whole drink resembled a Chardonnay.  This isn’t a bad thing, as I’m quite fond of the grape.  I usually like a drier cider, and, to my taste, this could have been even drier, but I acknowledge this isn’t for everyone.  All in all it was quite well balanced and, at 7.9%, the alcohol was well hidden.

On the flavour, initially there wasn’t a lot of apple flavours, but the drink was certainly refreshing!  As the drink warmed up, however, the apple flavours start to come through.  The flavours start off quite laid back, then a bit of aroma comes through, and, before you know it, the apple becomes the dominant flavour.  While the name of this cider came from the fact that Mikey made it quite quickly, the flavour is just as sneaky.

I like that this cider was on the dry side.  Popular ciders today are often to sweet and they take away from the natural tang of the apples.  This cider still had tang without feeling like you were biting into an apple: it tasted like apple, but not too much so!  Basically, it was different from what the commercial ciders are doing.

I really liked this cider.  I’d do this with some pork chops!

-Chas

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Fook Mi/Fook You Belgian – Review

My friend from Carnie Brew gave me a bottle of his Fook Mi/Fook You Belgian a few months back. It’s been in my fridge a long time. The beer was brewed and bottled in August last year. So, it’s been in my fridge about four months. That’s a long while.

Fook Mi-Fook You Belgian

Fook Mi-Fook You Belgian ready for drinking

Well, finally I’ve cracked it open. Before I get into the review let me just say this; thank goodness I left it sit for so long ‘cos it’s great.

Big sweet aroma. Almost like a toffee or caramel in richness, but a lot darker. Sort of a biscuit/toast smell.

Strong hit of flavour up front. First sweet then dark fruit quickly moving to biscuit-oat flavours. Slowly mellowing out with a dark and slightly dry toast taste crossed with stewed fruit flavour. This is a complex beer. So much flavour in here.

The body is really long. Well after the liquid is gone the flavour lingers. There’s no peaks or drop-offs in this beer, just solid ‘go’ from start to end. If I didn’t know that this beer was only 5.6% alcohol I’m sure I’d say it was closer to 8%, it’s that full.

The different flavours are hard to describe, I’ve tried my best above. I’m thinking the Amber Belgian Candi Sugar that was added might be the thing I just can’t nail with words. Needless to say it seams to have worked.

The beer is a slow drinking beer. Due to the big body and complex flavours I would be recommending this as a great beer to have with cheese. Pretty much any cheese from the basic cheddar all the way down to blue cheese, not that I’d have that stuff. Would go well with antipasto as well, pastes and figs comes to mind.

Well, I’ve finished writing this up and I still have half a glass. Guess that really sums up my review on this beer. You need to sit on it to really enjoy everything that’s going on.

-Mikey

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Baltic Porter II – review

Last weekend Mikey had another brew day with a few tastes, one of which was a take two of the Baltic Porter, and it turned out quite well.

The beer was intentionally lower in carbonation, as per the style, which was quite nice, felt good to drink and was nice to look at.

Baltic Porter IIThe initial impressions of the smell were quite interesting.  There was a bit of banana and yeast up front, which may be a sign of the fermentation being a bit warm, but it wasn’t an off putting smell at least.  With the banana were hints of honey and a bit of apple too.  This all interacted very well.  The banana was a bit too up front, so if we try this again, I’d like to make sure the temperature is better controlled.

Body was interesting and creamy, but a little bit confused.  As a porter the beer should be a bit heavier, but there are a lot of lighter porters out there that are great.  This beer couldn’t seem to make up its mind exactly how and where it wanted to sit in your mouth: it was heavy and light at the same time.  This added an interesting, albeit a little confusing, element to the beer that I quite enjoyed.

In regards to taste, there was a little bit of sourness in there that I usually associate with a stout, but it seemed to work well here.  Fruit flavours continued throughout with a bit of sweetness as well.  There was some hop bitterness as well, but it was well hidden; it could have been the Warrior hops pushing through as it really sat in my mouth after awhile.  The hops were nice, but a little unexpected for the style.

All in all, this was a great beer.  A little confusing, but still nice to drink!

-Chas

 

 

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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

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Random Task IPA – Review

Random Task IPA

Random Task IPA ready for drinking

The third, and final for now, in my current run of reviewing CarnieBrew beers is the Random Task IPA. Again, the ingredients are on listed on his blog under Beer 15.

This is a pretty good IPA. The aroma is quite nice with the Amarillo hops coming out nice and strong. There’s Cascade hops as well but the Amarillo leads the charge here. For those not familiar with hops, or just not a huge beer geek like me, Amrillo hops gives beers a lot of orange citrus characteristics and subtle floral-ness. Amarillo is the stereotypical hops in American IPAs and that’s because it’s freaking great stuff.

On first taste this is amazing. Just what you want in a bit American style IPA. Big hop flavours, plenty of the citrus bite followed by the floral hints. The base is a malt that’s just turned from golden to amber, and still has some golden ale lightness. Unfortunately most of that drops away. The beer takes a nose dive as the flavour and most of the body disappears in your mouth. But, it’s still there on the tip of your tongue!

The beer gets quite dry before a final splash of hops and you get a bitter spike. Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t make this beer a write off at all. Everything else works really well and still makes for a very enjoyable brew. If anything, it makes you want to go back for more and more to get that great up front taste. But it might not be the best idea to keep that up with something that’s 6.8% AVB.

Food? Stuff that, grab another bottle. I could forsake food all night if you just kept a supply of this stuff going. Maybe some tempura might tie me over.

CarnieBrew, you got a good one here.

-Mikey

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