Thursday, March 25, 2010

I miss blogging.........

I have given myself a new goal......actualy 2 new goals. 1. Brew more and 2, Blog more!

I've had 2 pretty significant life changing events happen to me this year....first, in January, I left my old company for which I had been at for 9 and a half years and started a new job. Second, and more importantly, I became a father!

Both experiences have been awesome. I wouldn't trade them for anything. hasn't left much time for the 2 B's. I knew I wouldn't brew too much early on, but I never expected that I would slow...or almost stop....blogging!

So, I will once again try to blog AT LEAST once a week.

Tonight's post.....a review of Mayflower IPA. Hope you all have a chance to grab one!

Appearance: Amber/Copper in color. Nice 2 finger head that laces at first, but mid glass seems to dissipate.

Aroma: Slightly malty with nice citrus hops aroma. very nice and what I expect and IPA should be.

Taste: Nice bitterness from the hops is immediatley noticable. Not hugely bitter, but enough to remind you it's an IPA. the beer balances nicely with some bready and roasty malt flavor. Great mix.

Mouthfeel: Easy to drink. This beer goes down great and leaves you longing for more. carbonation is just right where your tongue gets prickled, but not like you're drinking a soda way too fast.

Drinkablility: Thank you bartender.....may I have another! I guess when you cruise through a 6 pack in an evening, it's a good beer!

Overall: A This is one of my new favorite IPA's. It helps that it's local, here in MA. I can't wait to get to the brewery!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Harpoon 100 Barrel Serises: Island Creek Oyster Stout

I've been out of the loop for a while now. My new job is a little more demanding than my previous one, so posting at work is not possible anymore. I'm trying to be better, so you'll hopefully start seeing more posts out of me.

Harpoon has been doing a series of beers called the 100 Barrel Series. They're small batch beers that were originally started as experiments for the harpoon brewers and employees. Some of the beers they've turned out have been amazing, Session 28: Glacier Harvest '09 Wet Hop Ale and Session 4: Barleywine specifically and others, Session 26 - Catamount Maple Wheat, I didn't enjoy as much. So when I saw adds for Session 30: Island Creek Oyster Stout I had to try it. The description sounds both frightening, and exciting as well.
"This smooth stout is brewed with freshly harvested Island Creek Oysters. The roasted nostes of the stout blend beautifully with the mineral flavors of the oysters." actually brewed this beer with real oysters???? I'm scared......but I have to try it! Hopefully I don't get any sand in my bottle! :-)

Appearance: Black! Very black! Perfect 2.5 finger coffee/tan colored head. As it sits, the foam becomes frothy, almost like the cream on the top of a cappuccino. Head laces nicely on the glass as I drink it down.

Aroma: Nice roasted malt aroma mixes well with hints of coffee and butterscotch.

Flavor: Just as it smelled, the roasted malt packs a nice punch without being overpowering. Chocolate and caramel are evident and play a nice wingman to the roasted malt. Part of me thinks I can taste the ocean, but the other part thinks my mind is playing tricks on me. No bitterness.

Mouthfeel: This is a chewy and full bodied beer as I expected. Silky smooth as it coats my mouth.

Drinkability: This beer was fantastic. Although, I think you could put this side by side with the same beer but brewed without the oysters and I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. I was a little nervous at first....I wasn't sure what a beer brewed with Oysters tastes like, but it's damn good! Now I wish I could have found more than one of these. Definitely go try one if you find it.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Review: Sankaty Light - Cisco Brewers

I met some friends at the Oak Room in Boston and had the chance to try Sankaty Light from Cisco Brewers in Nantucket, MA. I can honestly say, this is my light beer of choice from now on!!

I did have one issue with this beer though. The bottle says Sankaty Light Lager (despite the picture on the left), but the website says it's an ale. I emailed the brewer to get to the bottom of it, so I'll update when I get an answer!!!

A: The beer is a light gold color with a thin white head that stuck around and left a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of light malts and a pretty strong dose of hops for the style.

T: The taste is light and starts out a little bready with very little malty sweetness. A nice clean burst of mild hops bitterness follows. The malt character is thin as you would expect. Overall, it’s quite refreshing. The after-taste is slightly bready with a nice hop aroma to finish it off.

M: Crisp and very smooth, light body, medium-to-heavy carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not filling at all, perfect when you want something light. It’s well-worth drinking on a hot day and you’re not looking to get too hammered.

Serving type: bottle

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A watched pot never boils.....

...but if you turn your back it will always boil over!!

I brewed my American IPA yesterday out in the fridgid cold, and stepped inside to warm up a bit and had a boil over. It was so cold that the bolied over wort froze as soon as it hit the ground. Other than that, it was a succesful day.

I've been very lucky these past few months. Things at work were slow.....very slow. So slow that I had a lot of time on my hinds. Time to do things like plan out 6 brew sessions....Belgian Tripel (3 seperate batches), Munich Dunkel, Winter Spiced Ale 2009 and recently American IPA. I also had the time to look for a new job....which I accepted a few weeks ago and start on January 4th! :-) While this new job won't give me access to great homebrew shops like my old one did, it will put me right next to my favorite beer bar in Boston (Bukowski's) and give me a 45 minute shorter commute.....each way!!!

Anyway...enough rambling. My Winter Spiced Ale turned out ok, but had no carbination. So in order to fix this issue, I sanatized a keg, and dumped them all into the keg and I'm in the process of force carbinating it. My sister-in-law helped me make an AWESOME label (which I'll post when I can get it off my thumb drive which I don't have now) and I think everythin will be saved, just not in time for Christmas. Oh well.

I brought my Munich Dunkel today to a meeting I had at Cape Cod Beer. I was lucky enough ot have the opportunity to meet with Todd and Beth Marcus, Owners of Cape Cod beer, for some insight into the business and starting out as a brewer! It was awesome. And, in edition, he tried my Munich Dunkel and had some good feed back. They're going to serve a few of them at his next homebrew meeting and send me some additional feedback as well. SWEET!!!!!!

Other than that, my wife and I are getting ready to welcome our first child in March. I'm trying to get a few more brew sessions in before then, for two reasons. One, so I'll have enough home brew to last me through the summer, and two because I don't want to assume I'll have enough time to brew much at first.

I hope you all have a happy and safe New Year!!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'm a winner!!!!!

So, Alan who writes at "A Good Beer Blog" holds a yearly yuletide photo contest. He gets a lot of amazing photo's from around the world (I use one from last year as my desktop photo). So this year I decided to enter a few of my pictures that I took while at Magnolia's in San Fran.

To my excitement, I received an email from Alan this morning informing me that I was one of the winners. I won a copy of 33 Bottles of Beer. It's a beer diary sort of that allows you to review beers on a flavor wheel so you can visually see how your beers tasted. Very cool. Hell, you could have given me a free bottle opener and I would have been psyched. Anyway, check out what Alan had to say here. Thanks Alan!!!

Back to shoveling snow!!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Spam Comments

I've had to turn on the comment moderation recently.  I've been getting a TON of spam comments (15-20 per day) so I turned it on so people didn't have to see them all.  Has anyone else had problems with this?  It's really annoying!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Magnolia's Pub & Brewery

Last week I was in San Francisco for a conference. The conference didn't start until Tuesday night, so my wife and I decided to travel out there early and take a few days to see the city. It was my first time there, so there were a lot of things I wanted to see like Alcatraz, Fishermans Wharf, Ghiradeli's Chocolate, Lombard Street and most of all the Haight Ashbury district.

I don't consider myself, nor have I ever, a Dead Head. I do like the Dead and even saw them when I was in high school down at Madison Square Garden. (Great show by the way). But this is a place where you can trace the historical significance back to specific period of time where an event or events happened. The 60's San Francisco music was that period of time, and the Dead where that "Thing" that makes this place famous!

About a year ago, there was an article I read inside All About Beer and a brewpub called Magnolia's Pub & Brewery. It talked about the great vibe, great beers and great location! Being that I was in that location, I had to stop by and check it out! We arrived a little early that day since we had a bunch of places to see. We killed some time by walking Haight street and grabbed a seat at the bar when it opened.

November was deemed "Belgian" month in the San Fran beer scene. Both Magnolia's and the 21st Amendment had predominantly Belgian beers available, with of course others. I started with their newest beer at the suggestion of the bartender, Destiny Unblonde. It was a Belgian Pale Ale and was very tastey. Unfortunately I didn't write anything down so no official review (until I go back and get more). The beer was a beutiful straw gold color and had a fruity taste and aroma to it. Very drinkable!

Next was the Deep Elem Dubbel. Again, no notes but it was a darker amber color with some raisony aroma and flavor! This was everything I'd imagined a Dubbel should taste like! Those, unfortunately, were the only two beers I had. We had to depart and get through the rest of the sites we wanted to see. I thought about trying to come back later in the week, but being with work folks and being at a work conference made it very difficult.

I will definitely make it back to San Fran and I know that this will be a place I spend some more time at. If you're ever in San Francisco, I highly recomend that you check out Magnolia's!!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

San Francisco

So I'm out in San Francisco for a work conference this week. runs a user conference every year and it is an amazing show. Tonight they had a concert which featured the Black Crowes. Yeah, that's right.......the Black Crowe!! was free......AND, it was open bar!!! Wow!!

So, what does this have to do with beer? Well, they had a great selection. I mean, we're in San Fran so naturally there is some good beer locally. Anchor brewery, Magnolia's, 21st Amendment are some big names here in town. And, about 3.5 hrs away is Sierra Nevada. So, needless to say, they had some good beer served at the show.

My wife and I decided to come out a few days early and she was a trooper. She obliged as we went down to Haight Ashbury and scoped out the "scene" there. I'm a Dead fan so this is like Mecca!! Then we went to Magnolia's. A GREAT brewery restaurant right on Haight street. Its been writen about in All About Beer magazine so I felt I had to go.

I only had two beers. My wife had their Root Beer, which in her words was "AWESOME", and I had a sip or two and had to agree. They make a Root Beer and another fruit soda that escapes me at the moment (hey, I just left a crowes show...throw me a bone).

This week at Magnolias was Belgian week so they featured Belgian beers. I started with there Unblonde. Light colored, spicy/fruity aroma and taste. It reminded me of a mix between a german hefe and a belgian woit. Very good beer!!

Second waas the Dubbel. Cramel colpor and taste. Some alcohol warmth although I'm not sure why as it only came in under 7% (I think....hey, I'm foing this from memory).

Overall, it was awesome. We also got an order of fries (Pom Frittes as Jay Brookes calls them) and they were out of thid world. If your ever in San Fran, I highly recomend Magnolia's.'s to hpping the rest of this conference is as good as the first day!!!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Odds and Ends

Boy, do I need to brew some beer!!!! My last batch was back in September. I brewed my Winter Spiced ale for this year. I'm changing it up. For starters, I brew it will all grain. Second, I'm not going to dry spice it this year with cinnamon sticks. I thought the cinnamon in last years batch was very overpowering and I really want to make sure the beer is what stands out, not the cinnamon. I still have 4 bottles from last years batch, so I'll do a side-by-side when this years batch is bottled and ready!

A little off topic, but a cause of why I have not been brewing, I just renovated my bathroom! This was a full renovstion, down to the studs and I did the vast majority my self, with the exception of the plumbing and electrical work. It is almost 100% complete which will be nice. We have a 110 year old home, so when you do these types of projects, there are always issues. We had many....which caused all the delays. I was planning on being done this past sunday, and then I was going to have 2 brew sessions this week after work, but this delays/issues keep piling up!! So, I'll brew soon enough!

Next up is 2 batches of Belgian Tripel. It was a big hit, so I'm going to brew a lot of it and trade it with some friends for some random things. This should be fun! I also think I'm going to brew up my brown session ale. I've been really craving some session beers lately, but all I have are the belgian tripels and some bigger IPA's. This isn't neccesarily an issue, but when you swill 4-5 of them you definitely feel it in the morning, which IS an issue!!

With the renovation of the bathroom, we rented a dunpster for all the demo. This allowed us to clean out the basement, which was long overdue. It was clutered with things we bought or collected over the years and have no use for. With this new found space, I'm going to try and carve out a space so I can brew down there in the winter. I'm not sure if it's a good idea or not to brew with a propane burner indoors, but I think if I do it by the door and have the door open, I'll have the proper ventilation I need to make everything ok. Besides, I've seen plenty of people in BYO or Zymurgy who have propane setups in their basements and it seems to be fine. We shall see!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Belgian Tripel

Things have been a little busy which has forced a lack of posting on my end. But there are some good things to talk about, so onwards!

I brewed a Belgian Tripel back in July from an Allagash clone recipe I got from BYO. It's been bottled for a while now, and I'm almost all the way through the batch. The company I work for is based in France and we have a lot of ex-pat's from France here in the US that I work with. Some of them are big beer fans. I decided to bring some in and gave them each a few bottles from the batch. other co-workers saw this and wanted some as well. Needless to say, I gave most of this batch away. But, all is not lost. They LOVED it!!! And they now want me to brew whole batches for them. Of course, I can't accept any payment or profit from this, as that would be illegal, but the beer is going to be brewed again next weekend in hopes to get it to them after Thanksgiving!

I was really happy with how the beer came out. I had a wonderful frothy white head, a nice tan color and powerful aroma. Some hints of alcohol were present in the aroma, and packed a powerful punch when sipping. I am no doubt going to continue to brew this. My next task it to tweak the recipe a little so I can call it my own. Now that I have a strong base recipe, it will be fun to figure out how to make this beer a little different without making it worse!!

Also, the final design for the label was done. Thanks to my sister-in-law for helping out with this. I've printed them on Avery address label paper, which makes it really easy to stick it to the bottle.