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November 24, 2009

Homebrew Update and Thanksgiving Pairings

Ten Dudes Kinda Hoppy IPA - brewed Nov. 2007

We realized the other day that we have a full 6 beers readying themselves in either bottles or in fermenters:

1. "#3" Barleywine - Brewed 9/23/09 - Final ABV ~ 9.8% (for our 3rd anniversary in homebrewing)
2. "Pipe Reinforcement" Brunch Stout - Brewed 10/13/09 - Final ABV ~ 3.5% (from an all grain breakfast stout kit)
3. Kölsch - Brewed 10/27/09 - (from an all grain Kölsch kit)
4. Smoke Ale - Brewed 11/10/09 - Exepected ABV 8.3%
5. "Dark Road" Imperial Stout - Brewed 11/14/09 - Expected ABV 14% (dark lord clone recipe)
6. Mild Ale - Second Runnings from Dark Road

We are playing to try an Oatmeal IPA recipe after the holiday.

Speaking of Holiday, here's what I'll be pairing Thanksgiving dinner with, thanks to Beer Advocate:

Dinner: Allagash Grand Cru - Strong Belgian-style Ales' "higher alcohol percentages cut through fats and starches, provide an edge of sweetness, and boast very diverse and complex flavors that lend themselves very well to this pairing."
Dessert: Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout - "Ensure that your beers are sweeter than your desserts. Rich and big Stouts are our favorites, and tend to work very well."
After Dinner/Digestive: Dogfish Head Raison D'Extra - "Time to kick back and let that food digest. No doubt you are bloated at this point, so the moment calls for something smooth and numbing."

I likely won't update again until Monday, so have a wonderful and hopefully beer-filled holiday weekend.

November 19, 2009

Blind Tiger Ale House: The Best AND Worst Beer Bar in NYC

The photo above is deceptive. Its taken from outside the bar through their front window (also note i didn't take it, I borrowed it from MSNBC). Also of note is how few people are in the bar when the photo was taken. Imagine the complete opposite of the crowd above...and then double it, and you start to get an idea of how crowded Blind Tiger's VSK Event was on Wednesday evening.

Their beer list was staggering, as it often is. The faithful Blind Tiger patrons are always to be counted on to show up in droves. Looking at the list, there are multiple beers that are once-in-a-lifetime level:
Del Borgo/Dogfish Head My Antonia
Sierra Nevada Limb and Life (in collaboration with Dogfish Head)
Allagash Interlude '07
Lagunitas Barrel Aged Ruben and the Jets
Goose Island Demolition
Stone Vertical Epic '06
Dogfish Pangea
Dogfish 120 redux'08(via Randall)
Brooklyn Backbreaker (cask)
North Coast Old Rasputin 10th Anniversary (aged in bourbon barrels)
Brouwerij De Regenboog Wostyntje '08 (mustard seed ale)
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout '04
JW Lees Harvest Ale aged in a Calvados Cask (Wooden Pin)
Bear Republic Apex '08 (imperial IPA)
Rogue Chatoe Rogue Wet Hop
Rockies Fresh Trak (fresh hop)
Captain Lawrence Nor'Easter
Southampton Saison
Chelsea Imperial Mild Aged in Bourbon Barrels
Blue Point 10th Anniversary IPA
Smuttynose Big A IPA '07
Kuhnhenn All Hallows (Pumpkin Ale)
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine
Flying Dog Horn Dog Barley Wine '07
Great Divide Hoss Lager (Vienna Lager)
Lefthand Goosinator
Farnum Hill Cider Semi Dry
Magic Hat Sour Notion
Picobrouwerij Alvinne Melchior (Belgian Strong Ale)
If you're anything like me, you're wiping up all the drool that has spilled out of your mouth while reading that list. Seems a LOT of people felt the same way.

We showed up at about 6pm, which is already regrettable since the event technically starts at 3pm, but I do have a (dumb) day job. Any time I go to Blind Tiger, I brace myself for the annoyance of how small the space is versus the large amount of patrons, but this was a whole new level. I walked in the door, looking for my friends. I made my way through the crowd and it took me about 7 minutes to maneuver from the front door to the bathroom, something that would normally take about 3 seconds. I finally found my friends who were squishing their way through the room the same as I.

After awkwardly trying to find a spot to try to try to get one of the three bartenders attention, we looked at eachother and realized that even if we did get a beer, it would have been near impossible to enjoy it comfortably. It was incredibly frustrating, but we left without getting a single beer. It felt terrible to be so close to such a large amount of rare, delicious beer, but it was just too much.

I walked out never wanting to come back. They have SUCH insane events that it just becomes overwhelming. So, what do do? Number 1, waaaaah i went to a bar and it was too crowded, waaaaaah. Yeah. But at the same time I really wish Blind Tiger could somehow have a bigger space. Or maybe spread their rare kegs out more perhaps. All that said, our friend Jeff arrived a little after 9pm and it had started to clear out a bit. I guess next time an event of this magnitude comes along, I'll have to sacrifice a couple kicked kegs and just go later after a good chunk of the crowd has stumbled out. /endrant

November 18, 2009


To continue the week's homebrew theme, brewmate Jeff uploaded this video of our fermentation of the previously posted Dark Lord clone brew. As you can see, its fermenting like crazy! This is about 30x more bubbles than any other beer we've ever brewed. Hopefully it comes out actually tasting good.

Also, a name has been bestowed upon this loomingly dark brew.. Dark Road Imperial Stout!

November 17, 2009

Brew. Brew! BREW!

This past Saturday, my brewing team and I had our craziest yet most productive day of homebrewing yet. We've been brewing since September 2007 and we rarely find time for it on weekends, usually we have to cram it all in after work on weeknights. Anyways the slate for this dreary Saturday included not only bottling our 3rd Anniversary Barleywine that we brewed at the end of September, but also brewing the biggest (ABV-wise) beer we've ever attempted. We did some research about clone recipes of the infamous Three Floyds Dark Lord Imperial Stout and formulated our own:

19lb 2 row ---mash
2lbs Munich malt ---mash
.5lb flaked oats ---mash
.5lb special B ---mash
.5lb Flaked Barley ---mash
.5lb Crystal 60L ---mash

2lbs Roasted Barley ---steep
1.5lb Chocolate malt ---steep
.5lb Crystal 120L ---steep
.5lb Black patent malt ---steep

2lb honey ---boil
1.25lb molasses ---boil

2oz Super Styrian 7% (75 min)
1oz Nugget 13% (75 min)
1oz UK Fuggle 4% (75 min)

1 pack US-04 dry ale yeast
1 pack US-05 dry ale yeast

?lb coarse grind coffee, cold-steeped 12 hours just prior to bottling
2oz medium toast american oak beans, steeped in Jack Daniels for 2 weeks

target OG: 1.154 target FG: 1.039 target ABV: 14%

- 7 gallons mash liquor, strike temp 165º (23lbs mashing grain bill, 1:1.22 grist ratio)
- 2.5 gallons absorbed by grain <----NOTE: grain bag absorbed X2 as much as mash grain
- 152º mash for 90 mins
- 3.25 gallons sparge @ 175º to collect 7 gal pre-boil <---less than expected
- Begin 2nd runnings
- steep remaining 4.5 lbs dark grains in grain bag under 160º for 30 mins
- 75 minute boil, add all hops @ 75 mins
- final volume = 5.75 gallons (1.25 gallons lost in boil)

O.G.: 1.130

- 6.25 gallons additional sparge, 6.25 collected
- grain bag steeped 1 hour during main boil (approx. 140º)
- 60 monute boil
1oz UK Goldings (60 min)
.5oz UK Goldings (30 min)
.5oz UK Goldings (15 min)
1oz Crystal 3.8% (0 min)
- wort left to stand for 6 hours to cool
- 1 pack Nottingham dry yeast pitched
- fermented @ 66-68

O.G.: 1.050

As you can see above, we missed our O.G. but not by all that much. The second runnings brew is our first time experimenting with that, so if that turns out well we'll consider that a bonus beer. Of course its fun homebrewing, but it definitely makes us all wish we could have a larger space for all our stuff. We really take over wherever we brew as you can see.

All in all, it was about a 7 hour day, but hopefully worth it. If it tastes ANYTHING like Dark Lord, it will be considered a success.

November 16, 2009

Home(brew) Improvement

A little something occurred to us the other day while brewing our first Smoke Ale: we should be heating our wort at the exact same time as we sparge! It makes a ton of sense and cuts down on the time it takes to heat up that large amount of wort.

Of course, this is how a lot of the expensive brewing systems are already set up. Not sure why we hadn't thought of this before, but it was relatively easy. The only obstacle there was that the tubing coming out of the the mash tun ball valve was too long and we had to make sure there wasn't too much of it touching the heating kettle.

November 13, 2009

Stoudt's Double IPA

Stoudt's Brewing Company is located in Adamstown, PA, and is a brewery that I've seen many many times on the shelf of my local beer store. For some reason that I can't quite pinpoint (for some reason I want to say its something I find displeasing about the font of their logo despite liking the logo in general), I've never picked up a single one of their beers. But it just so happens that in the book I'm currently reading, Red, White, and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey by Brian Yaeger, the author spends an entire chapter discussing Stoudt's brewery and family history, some of which you can read for yourself here.

So I was finally prompted to give Stoudt's a try, and what better way to start then their bottle-conditioned Double IPA. At 10% ABV, this certainly qualifies as an Imperial. What I couldn't help but think after I polished this off is that this is what a more drinkable Dogfish Head 120 Minute would taste like. Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoy the 120, but its simply not something one can enjoy any bit regularly. The Stoudt's DIPA however is perfect for a 1 or 2 12oz session. Complex, earthy, citrusy and malty. This is quite clearly a beer to be held as the definition of the style.

November 11, 2009

Flying Fish Exit 1 Bayshore Oyster Stout

I'll admit it. I was scared to try this beer. I am not a fan of anything seafood at all and I'll also admit that I picked this up at the beer store a week ago and put it back down and didn't purchase it. This time around, I bit.

Flying Fish Exit 1 Bayshore Stout is the newest in FF's Exit Series and their website describes it as such:
The third stop on our multi-year trip to explore New Jersey through its beer and culture takes us to Exit 1.

The southwest bayshore has been supplying oysters to Americans since colonial times. Until the 1950s, hundreds of millions of oysters were harvested annually. Now, thanks to efforts by many organizations, the oyster is coming back.

Oysters and stout had long been associated in the UK, but the tradition was gradually lost. Exit 1, an “export style” stout brewed with oysters, celebrates this tasty combination. The creamy flavor of English chocolate and roasted malts harmonizes with minerals from the oyster shells. Irish ale yeast adds a bit of fruitiness and a dry crispness. This rich stout is perfect for cool weather–and especially delicious when paired with a few Jersey oysters on the half shell.

Learn more about oyster restoration near Exit 1:

Beer brewed with oysters.
Alcohol 7.5% by Vol.

So despite my reservations about seafood tastes, I tried it and I am happy to report there is only the slightest hint of the sea in this beer. It actually makes me want to try seafood, so I consider it quite the success.

Definitely seek it out, as it is limited. And in case you missed it, scroll down a few posts and watch the very interesting making-of video of Exit 1.

November 4, 2009

Beer Saturday Part IV - No Joke Oktoberfest at Spuyten Duyvil

Our journey from Defiant back to Brooklyn was...interesting. Torrential rain, bad traffic and not having enough cash for the George Washington Bridge. Fun stuff! But Spuyten Duyvil's No Joke Oktoberfest was a nice little coda to our long beer day.

the list:
In Wooden Barrel:
1. Hoffstetten Original Hochzeitsbier von 1810
2. Schneider Organic Weisen-Edel Weisse

In Gravity Keg:
1. Zehender Mönchsambach Bernstein Lager
2. Spezial Rauchbier
3. Will Schederndorf Landbier
4. Bayer Theinheim Unfiltered Lager
5. Sauer Rosdorf Unfiltered Lager
6. Fischer Greuth Rauchbier
7. Fischer Greuth Lager
8. Löwenbräu Buttenheim Lager
9. Klosterbrauerei Weissenohe Dunkel
10. Mahrs Bräu Pils
11. Kraus Hirschaid Pils
12. Lindenbräu Gräfenberg Vollbier

On Tap:
1. Heller-Trum Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock Unfiltered
2. Hofstetten Kuebelbier Zwickel
3. Hofstetten Honig Bock (honey bock)
4. Mahr's Der Weisse Bock
5. Monchshof Festbier
6. Monchshof Schwarzbier

German Mead:
Steinwaelder Hausbrenneri Schraml's Dry Mead (matured in plum brandy oak barrels, 15.5% alc./vol.)
It was nearly impossible making our selections, so we just stuck to the barreled beers! Spuyten Duyvil is one of the best beer bars there is.

Also took a few photos of the Captain Lawrence Flaming Fury bottles when we got home: