Tasted: Fat Sam NEIPA

December 3rd, 2017 by scot

Fat Sam – the inspiration for this beer.

Fat Sam NEIPA is yet another North East India Pale Ale (NEIPA). Are you tired of them yet? I am not. My senses love the hops.

I think I may have finally found a winner. The combination of Mosiac, Citra and Rakau hops are ridiculous. There is good sweetness to this beer that brings me into the NEIPA territory.

I have had multiple today and I looking for my third!

Look: Typical NEIPA that I have been brewing over the past year: brilliant, light gold color. Hazy. Big white foam. Slightly rocky as it begins to recede. Great retention and sticky lace.

Aroma: The hops are huge here! Ripe tropical fruits: mango, pineapple, and papaya as well as stone fruits: apricot and peach. Nice balancing sweetness.

Taste: The cornucopia of hops continues: mango, papaya and apricot are strongest, lingering. There is a bigger sweetness than I have had in more recent NEIPA attempts. Minimal to no bitterness.

Body: Medium body. Medium/light carbonation. Crisp but not overly dry.

Overall: This beer blows away She Doesn’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl in every sense. The best NEIPA I have brewed. No question! Easy to drink. Mild enough on the senses to have multiple. Alcohol starts to sneak.

I have been searching for that crazy hop profile for my person NEIPA on high. I have finally achieved it. I could have left it at Mosiac and Citra but I think the Rakau mingles and plays like a pro with those other two big boys. I have already looked into picking up more hops to allow further brew days but, unfortunately, it looks like Farmhouse Brew Supply is out of them. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: In 2007, the CIA released documents that revealed the agency’s collaboration with the italian mafia in a failed 1960 attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro.

Trade, Ohio Fresh Hop Edition Part One

November 15th, 2017 by Matt Schreiner

So I think I had the next two beers I’m going to blog about last year, and I jotted notes on them and intended to include them in a big comparison of fresh hop beers, but I just never got around to it. So since they’re both beers I got in trades from a state I have yet to review, I figure I’ll do a blog about each of them. I could do a comparison tasting, but I’d rather let each be judged upon their own merits.

So, the first one is Hop Stalker by Fat Head’s Brewery out of Middleburg Heights, Ohio. I received it from a guy named David who I hadn’t traded with before. He actually sent me a couple of Ohio beers, but let’s just stay with the fresh hops. This one was bottled 10/4, so it’s about six weeks old.

The first thing about this beer that jumped out at me was the big smell of hops. Fresh, citrusy, and dank, yes, even at this age. It’s got a cloudy bronze tint to it that gets darker the higher in the glass, plus a creamy looking lacing and a constant carbonation stream. I think the taste has faded slightly, but it’s still got a healthy fresh citrus mixed with dankness and a bit of bitterness. I’m kind of surprised how not bitter it is for an 80 IBU beer, plus it’s rather crisp and clean with little evidence that it’s 7 percent ABV.

I think the thing I like best about it, other than the smell, is how balanced it is with citrusy hoppy flavor and the mild amount of bitterness.

A rather quite enjoyable beer.

Brewed: Fat Sam NEIPA

November 9th, 2017 by scot

Fat Sam NEIPA home brew is named for aforementioned character, Fat Sam, from the movie Fletch. The days that Chevy Chase was putting out great movies was short lived but they were nonetheless awesome. While watching Fletch, Fat Sam kept popping up in the front of my head. George Wendt always poses as a lovable role character in the movies and on television. It was time for Fletch to rightly honored: Fat Sam.

A hopped up American amber ale would probably have been more fitting, especially when one takes into account his quote: “I got some reds.”

Formulating the recipe for Fat Sam NEIPA

Continuing the quest for another NEIPA, I had decided that having high amounts of wheat and oats hadn’t been something that I brewed. I also hadn’t brewed a NEIPA with copious amounts of Mosiac and Citra. It seems that most of the “great” ones use one or the other or both. The Rakau was remnants sitting around from an earlier brew day. Enjoy!

Recipe for Fat Sam Neipa

General Information:
Brew Date: Thursday, November 09, 2017
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.062
Finishing Gravity: 1.010
IBU: 57.8
Color: 4.1 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.67%
Alcohol by Volume: 6.83%
Primary Fermentation: 9 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
10.00 pounds American 2-Row
2.00 pounds Flaked Oats
2.00 pounds Red Wheat

Mash:
Saccharification @152.8*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Citra @10 minutes
1.00 ounces 2016 Mosiac @10 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Rakau whirlpool, 20 minutes
2.00 ounces 2016 Mosiac whirlpool, 20 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Citra whirlpool, 20 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Rakau dry hop, 4 days
1.50 ounces 2016 Mosiac dry hop, 4 days
2.00 ounces 2015 Citra dry hop, 4 days

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

Updates:

  • 2017-11-10: @66.1*F, medium fermentation.
  • 2017-11-11 (morning): @69.8*F, hard fermentation.
  • 2017-11-12 (evening): @67.1*F, slowing fermentation, added dry hops: 2.0 ounces 2015 Rakau, 1.5 ounces 2016 Mosiac, 2.0 ounces 2015 Citra. Placed on heat @70.0*F.
  • 2017-11-17 (evening): Put on temperature control at 37.0*F.
  • 2017-11-19: Bottled with 3.50 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 24, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: FS.
  • 2017-12-03: Drinking great. Might easily be the best NEIPA I have made to date. Need to do a tasting write up.

Useless Fact: Warren Buffet filed his first tax return at age 13 to report income from his paper route, and claimed a $35 deduction for use of his bicycle.

Home brew supplies gets a new home

November 7th, 2017 by scot

Scratch built shelves to house all my home brewing supplies.

I have been home brewing for ten years, give or take. It has been a wild ride. During that time I have tried many techniques, some fads and some that have built the foundation of how I continue to home brew.

Some of the techniques that I tried needed new equipment or adjustments to equipment that I already had on hand. Nonetheless, the accumulation of supplies had taken up a good portion of one basement corner. Everything was neatly on the floor but, due to size, the sheer amount of square footage eaten up was ridiculous, besides, it still looked messy. A thorn in my eye.

For a couple of months I had thoughts of creating some type of shelving. The shelving would solve multiple issues/problems:

  • Get everything off the floor. We have had water seepage in the past.
  • Give us back some room in the basement. We need more room for ball handling drills.
  • Turn the neat messiness into just neatness.

The shelves were inspired by shelves a friend had built in his basement to store all of his wife’s stuff. The unit would allow my grain storage, which on wheels, to easily slide in and out on the bottom while the plastic container protects against water. The upper shelves would allow for carboys, kegs, kettles, etc to fit together nicely.

After eight hours of work, fourteen feet of shelving had been completed. The shelving was put together using the following:

  • 2″ x 4″ – used to anchor the back part of each shelf to the wall.
  • 1″ x 4″ – used to create the horizontal structure for each shelf.
  • 1/2″ plywood – for the shelf top, ripped to 18″ wide.
  • 1″ drywall screws – secured the plywood.
  • 2 1/2″ screws – secured all 1″ x 4″ pieces to each other via toe-nailing.

I used all screws in order to allow for this to be taken apart. The 10′ shelf was on 24″ centers while the 4′ shelf was on 16″ centers. This was due to the fact of wanting to place bottled beer on the 4′ section. It is much sturdier. All legs were 24″ in height (this forced the kegs to a top shelf).

After cleanup, it was time to load up all the supplies into their new homes. A few rearrangements later and I think I had a good configuration.

There was the added bonus of ease of access to the supplies as well. Now I know I never need to purchase another carboy. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Louis Chevrolet, the founder of Chevrolet, died bankrupt and poor working as a mechanic for the company he started.

Brewed: Lala American Barleywine

October 21st, 2017 by scot

Lala American Barleywine was originally brewed last year for my second annual family reunion held on New Year’s day at my house. I brewed it three months early, it was all set for gathering. Unfortunately, due to my lack of experience carbonating high gravity home brews, the beer didn’t carbonate completely, basically leaving it flat. Being the first time I had officially and specifically brewed a home brew for my extended family, I decided not server that beer. Furthermore, after almost a year in the bottle, I decided to pour it out.

It was time to brew this beer again, hopefully in time for the third annual New Year’s day reunion. Since last year, I had looked into how to get a high gravity beer carbonated in the bottle. My local home brew shop has some very useful information (yes, I still like brick and mortar). They told me to use CBC-1 – Danstar yeast that is made for cask and bottle conditioning. Due to the high level of alcohol hydrating the yeast will be a must as well.

Formulating the recipe for Lala American Barleywine

The recipe isn’t any different than last time, from a percentage of ingredient standpoint. I took the 5.5 gallon recipe and pared it down to 3.0 gallons. If I screwed something up this time around, I didn’t want to be “stuck” with throwing away so much time and effort.

I did brew this about a month later than last year. I am worried about how harsh this beer might be, especially after the high fermentation temperature. I thought it was cool enough that the temperature wouldn’t shoot up, plus, as mentioned, I don’t brew high gravity all that often. I wasn’t expecting such a big boost in temperature. It should have been placed on temperature control. Lesson for next time. Enjoy!

Recipe for Lala American Barleywine

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05 and S-04, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 3.0
Original Gravity: 1.077
Finishing Gravity: N/A
IBU: 92.5
Color: 9.3 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 120
Brewhouse Efficiency: N/A
Alcohol by Volume: N/A
Primary Fermentation: 30 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
7.50 pounds American 2-Row
6.00 pounds German Pilsner
0.50 pounds Carapils
0.50 pounds Caramel 60*L

Mash:
Saccharification @152.3*F

Hop Bill:
2.00 ounces 2016 Magnum @90 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Cascade @5 minutes

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

Updates:

  • 2017-10-22: @68.7*F, added S-05 and @-04 packet.
  • 2017-10-23: @74.3*F, great fermentation, just too hot.
  • 2017-10-24: @72.1*F, great fermentation, still a bit hot.
  • 2017-10-26: @66.9*F, slow, at best, fermentation, put on heat @70.0*F to finish out.

Useless Fact: When California joined the Union, the capital was San Jose, then they tried to move to Vallejo and finally settled on Sacramento in 1854.

Brewed: Lack of Focus

October 1st, 2017 by scot

Lack of Focus is a description of how I feel when it comes to home brewing. I go through periods of time where I am laser focused, not able to find enough time to brew all the ideas that are floating around in my head. These periods, with home brewing, typically last for months on end. Unfortunately, I recently have lost that focus. I no longer have an edge for home brewing. I need my mojo back!

I decided to spend some time cleaning my brewing kettle with steel wool. As you can see in the picture, it looks brand new. It sparkles. The trick is to clean it well after each use, rather than letting crap accumulate.

Formulating the recipe for Lack of Focus

Staying with Northeast India pale ales, I decided to try another first: oats and wheat. I am trying to get the hazy but glowing orange color that off the shelf NEIPAs display. Searching other recipes led me to the wheat and oat combo.

Over dry hopping could be a good cause for the lack of glow. I am begging to believe I have so much hop trub in suspension that it fights off the glow.

Bottling Day

Staying with my lack of focus theme, I forgot to cold crash this beer. I also added all ten ounces of dry hops at once. I was thinking of splitting them between primary and true dry hop but my schedule got the best of me. I threw them in together. Too much hop material without a cold crash. The beer was soupy, green. I should have paid more attention to the process. 24-48 hour at 37*F would have dropped it clean. Instead, I poured it out. My first drain pour of a non-sour beer in brewing career. So many first. Enjoy!

Recipe for Lack of Focus

General Information:
Brew Date: Sunday, October 01, 2017
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.054
Finishing Gravity: N/A
IBU: 61.6
Color: 4.9 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78.61%
Alcohol by Volume: N/A
Primary Fermentation: 8 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
5.50 pounds Maris Otter
3.00 pounds 2-row
1.50 pounds Oats
1.00 pounds Munich
1.00 pounds Red Wheat

Mash:
Saccharification @152.3*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @ first wort
1.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @15 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Sincoe @10 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @5 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @0 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Simcoe @0 minutes
4.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @4 day dry hop
4.00 ounces 2015 Simcoe @4 day dry hop
2.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @4 day dry hop

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls
~5.25 gallons of reverse osmosis water used

Updates:

  • 2017-10-02 (morning): @68.1*F, added S-05 packet.
  • 2017-10-03: @69.3*F, good fermentation.
  • 2017-10-05: @66.5*F, added dry hops, put on heat @70.0*F.
  • 2017-10-10: Attempted to bottle. Drain poured as I didn’t cold crash. Ten ounces of dry hops to much to handle – complete muck!

Useless Fact: Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

Trade, Georgia edition

September 12th, 2017 by Matt Schreiner

In thoughts of the state that today’s beer came from, I am writing about Scofflaw Brewing Company’s Basement, an IPA from an Atlanta brewery. It was in the big box of much goodness from Ryan. a very generous chap. It was canned sometime in July, but I can’t quite make out the exact day since it was a bit blurry.

It pours a very cloudy tannish orange mix, a thick healthy creamy head and lacing. I poured it a while ago and there’s about a centimeter or two of foam still on it.

Smell is dank and lemony with a slight bitterness on the back end. Taste is interesting. It’s got a bitter tang up front, then follows that with a juicy citrusy hoppiness. I’ll be honest, it’s not the best tasting beer I’ve had. The description says it’s brewed with all citra hops, and it doesn’t remind me of any other citra hop beer I’ve ever had. It’s got a creamy and smooth feel that might be the best part of it.

Not a bad beer, but not great. I was curious about it, so I’m glad I at least got to try it.

Trade, Iowa Edition

September 9th, 2017 by Matt Schreiner

Time for another beer from a trade, time for another beer blog.

This one is Fire, Skulls, and Money from Toppling Goliath in Decorah Iowa. It was acquired from Ben in Wisconsin, who is my source for TG bottles.

It looks like the typical Northeast style IPA, very cloudy and orange juice tint with mild head and creamy lacing.

Smell is a blend of juicy citrus with a mild bitterness in the background.

Taste is also a blend of citrusy hops with a mild bitterness that’s a bit stronger than I usually expect from the style, but it’s pretty well balanced.

It’s a very clean, creamy, and full bodied beer with a gentle alcohol presence.

All in all, a rather straight forward Northeast Style IPA, but a rather tasty one.

Trade, Connecticut via New York edition

September 6th, 2017 by Matt Schreiner

Yeah, that sounds complicated, but when you’re dealing with Evil Twin, the east coast gypsy brewer, you have to move around a bit. Overshores Brewing Company in East Haven CT brewed and canned this one, and Twelve Percent in Brooklyn NY distributed it.

The beer has one of my favorite names I’ve seen in the last year: I PLAN ON WRITING AN EPIC POEM ABOUT THIS GORGEOUS IPA.

And I plan on writing a moderately length blog about it.

Two things, first off: one, it is gorgeous. And two, it’s about as Northeast Style IPA as you can get.

It looks like orange juice, very cloudy, very orange, with a darkening hue as you go further down the glass. I honestly don’t recall seeing a beer do something like that before. There’s not much head, but it does have mild lacing.

Smell is orange juice and dank hops. I’m thinking there’s a lot of citra hops in this one. Damn, does it smell good.

Taste….um, orange juice? Yep. Totally citrusy and hoppy, dank and juicy. There’s a very slight tangy bitterness all the way on the back end. Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied, and has a mildness for 7% abv.

This is an outstanding beer, a damn strong IPA and as I said, it’s about as strong an example of a Northeast Style IPA that I’ve come across in a long time.

NOTE: after I posted this, I saw that it’s made with “hefty amounts of Galaxy, Amarillo and FF hops”. No Citra. Color me surprised.

Hunting for Hunters

August 31st, 2017 by Matt Schreiner

Today’s mission:
mini-horizontal (I was corrected that it is NOT a vertical) of 18th Street Brewing’s milk stout series known as Hunter: regular, vanilla, and coffee.

Before I get into it, I want to provide a bit of personal history regarding this beer series.

At the beginning of the year, in order to get them, I would, like ever since I went to their brewery in 2014, have had to go over into Indiana or find a store that in Chicago that got them, like Capone’s. Then one day, my favorite beer store in Oswego had 18th Street beers, and I thought “holy crap!” Then they started getting the Hunter series, and I thought “holy shit!” And now, at least three months later, I’m thinking “When will they bring back them back again?”

Today, we will go with first impressions first.

REGULAR – canned 3/24 or 5/24, the labeling is a bit smudged. Straight up dark color, least carbonated of the three with a minimal amount of lacing. Roasty notes on the smell, some chocolate. Taste is a little off, like there might be some sort of infection on it. I’m getting a little roast and some chocolate, but the strong tang is making me think this one might be bad.

VANILLA – canned 3/18. Not as dark as the regular, with some tanning on the edges and a bit more foam and lacing. Not as roasty, a little vanilla to the smell. Taste hits with a vanilla roast. Mildly sweet. Very tasty.

COFFEE – canned 4/27. Seems to be as dark as the vanilla, but the one with the most foam and lacing. Strong coffee notes on the smell, definitely the most prevalent part. Taste hits with a sweet vanilla, then a slight bitterness comes on the back end.

After trying all three and then going back to the regular, it doesn’t seem as bad, in that the tang seems to have gone away. Either it isn’t infected, or I’ve killed off the part of my taste buds that would detect a bad beer. If I had a 2015 Bourbon County Coffee or Barleywine on hand, I could open one of those and test said area of that sense.

Anyway, we will now plunge into more in depth thoughts.

The REGULAR has plenty strong roastiness on the smell. It’s a straight up milk stout. Lots of sweetness that plays well with the roasty malt. It’s got a good balance of flavors. There’s a slight oiliness to it, but it’s not overpowering. I personally don’t like stouts that are too oily. A little oiliness is good, and this has just the right amount. It’s a pretty good milk stout.

I’m still trying to figure out which of the two adjuncts has a stronger scent. The VANILLA is pretty strong, but it’s a milder strength, if that makes sense. For taste, it’s stronger than the coffee in terms of initial flavor on taste. The vanilla is more in the forefront, while the coffee seems to be mixed in with the roasty malt of the base beer. So far, I’m thinking this may be my favorite of the three.

NOTE added later in this blog: I ended up doing my review for this one on another site that will remain nameless last, and that was because I initially thought this was the best of the three, and with some time it still was. While all three of them were very well balanced in terms of taste and feel, there was a depth that this one had that the others didn’t. The exact description I would give is “velvety, plush, and soft”. Great description for a pillow, but honestly, the VANILLA felt like a beer pillow for the tongue.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that COFFEE is normally a stronger scent than vanilla, but I have now determined the smell is definitely the strongest of the three. The flavor of the coffee isn’t as strong as the vanilla and is well balanced, but I’m finding it to be slightly too bitter on the back end.

NOTE added later in this blog: I was reviewing these on that other site that will remain nameless. and the coffee came in really underrated, in my opinion, like my rating was over 15% higher than the median.

NOW for something a little fun. I took the last parts of each can and mixed them. Probably not much more than five or six ounces, but I’m going to try a COFFEE VANILLA HUNTER, with impressions typed live while watching a live (via YouTube) performance of one of my favorite songs, Born Slippy by Underworld.

OOOH, I know you’re thinking. He’s so cutting edge.

Definitely has a stronger sweet (vanilla) scent over the usual sweetness and roastiness of a milk stout, and I’m detecting coffee on it for sure. I probably shouldn’t have flash chilled the last of the cans, because the taste is definitely in need of some warming up to really come through effectively, so we’re going to let it sit for a bit longer in the glass. There’s presence of all three beers, though. It’s got roasty malt, bitter coffee, sweet vanilla, and all of the flavors are playing well together.

ADDITIONAL MUSIC NOTE: If you’ve ever seen Silence of the Lambs, you know Q Lazarus’ song “Goodbye Horses”. I just watched the “original video” on YouTube, and the singing is done by a black woman (or a really effective drag queen. Shit, I’ve seen the movie, and YOU NEVER KNOW). Either way, I think there’s a bit of soul music there that the one we all know is missing.

BACK TO THE BEER.

As it warms, the bitterness of the coffee pushes itself forward to battle it out with the sweetness the vanilla and what a milk stout usually brings. It’s a very smooth tasting beer, and I like how the qualities from all three seem to blend rather well into a balanced taste and feel. I just wish it wasn’t accompanied by that “shit, I drank three 8+% abv beers together in less than two hours feeling” in the back of my throat.

I will have to say I had a fun morning with this experiment, but in response to Scot asking me “When are you going to blog again, Matt?”, I have to say “You better break out something good tonight, bitch!”

 

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