Posts Tagged ‘Hobbies’

The brew: American IPA part II.

The last IPA turned out well, or at least, it would have turned out well. Thanks to work and life (yet again!) I was not able to get the batch into the keg until almost 4 weeks into the primary! Fortunately, the yeast were healthy enough to not give way to autolysis and those wonderful flavors that come with. In fact, it was still a very drinkable batch. My only issue was that it seemed that a majority of the hops dropped out, leaving me with an overly bitter and unbalanced ale. Perhaps it was a process/fermentation issue. Or perhaps it was something else. I suppose the only way to get an answer is to try to brew it again. Oh darn!

Photo courtesy: bjcp.org

BJCP Guideline 21A – American IPA (2015):

Overall Impression: A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong American pale ale, showcasing modern American or New World hop varieties. The balance is hopforward, with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, and clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through.

Commercial Examples: Alpine Duet, Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Lagunitas IPA, Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Stone IPA

Here’s what was supposed to happen:

American IPA Recipe – 5.00 gal Batch (Based on Brewing Classic Styles Recipe)

– 12 lbs, 12 oz. US 2 Row
– 12 oz. Munich
– 1lbs. Crystal 20°L
– 4 oz. Crystal 40°L
– 1 oz. Magnum at 60 mins
– 1 oz. Centennial at 10 mins
– 1 oz. Simcoe at 5 mins
– 1 oz. Mosaic at 0 mins
– Fermentis SafAle US-05
– Single Infusion Mash at 152 F for 60 mins

According to BeerSmith (for my equipment profile):

– OG: 1.069
– FG: 1.015
– ABV: 7.18%
– 62.8 IBUs

Here’s what really happened:

Imagine a beautiful, sunny, California morning. The was a very slight breeze. The sun was out just enough to keep the temperature under the shade to a perfect 68-70 F. Three friends gathered all their brewing equipment at one friend’s home brewery (his garage), and set up for the morning. Conditions were in place for a perfect brew day. So perfect, in fact, that if it wasn’t 0700 am at the start of our brew day, I would have started the day with a breakfast stout… I didn’t. But I seriously considered it.

So I heated up my water as usual. Time for dough in…DOH! I only got up the high 140s F (146-148 F). But I remembered my last batch only hit 144 F, and it still turned out okay. I think the low temperatures may be due to the very thick mash caused by some equipment limitations (see the above grain bill and insert into my 5 gal. cylindrical cooler). It’s okay though! Moving on…

I sparge approximately 1.34 million times to work my way up to 6.5 gal. pre-boil volume in the kettle, turn the fire on, and sit and wait. Since I’m going full boil on a turkey fryer, getting the wort to boil can take awhile. During these downtimes, the 3 of us usually help the other with their brew day where needed. After there’s nothing else to help with, I get my kettle additions laid out and ready to go (hops, whirlfloc, and the like).

I don’t really have the luxury of video or audio to allow for the awkward dead air, but that’s basically the feeling I had while I waited for the boil. And finally! I see some rolling wort action! First addition of Magnum here we…

Photo courtesy: Hopunion.com

Oh crap. I saw the M on the hops and threw them in there. But it wasn’t Magnum… it was Mosaic! Well, there goes my aroma addition, and really my whole hop schedule. I wasn’t then going to add Magnum and the rest of the hops. So instead, I slightly improvised and used the hop schedule below (based on what I had available):

– .8 oz. Mosaic at 60 mins
– 1 oz. Simcoe at 5 mins
– .5 oz. Amarillo at 0 mins
– 1 oz. Citra at 0 mins

As you can see, it’s a much different schedule than what I planned. But what’s that old saying? Oh yeah.. Don’t worry. Relax, and have a homebrew! (Or something like that..) Here’s to another 5 gal. of mystery beer! Cheers!
Here I am starting to write this minutes away from the Brewers Showcase in Sacramento, California – the grand finale of the awesomeness that is the California Craft Beer Summit. By the time I finish this, I will likely be plenty inebriated and cooked well-done thanks to this lovely Sacramento heat. The overall experience was amazing to say the least.

The first year of California’s Beer Summit included a host of talks and classes by some of the most recognized names in the brewing industry. The guest list consisted of the past, present, and future of the California and U.S. craft beer scenes. Greg Koch, Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo, Tony Magee, Matt Brynildson, Dr. Charlie Bamforth, Ken Grossman, David Walker, and several others addressed craft beer industry professionals and fans alike. Many of the key points were highlighted on the California Craft Brewers twitter feed, but I will highlight a few of my own takeaways.
The main entrance to the Expo Hall

The main entrance to the Expo Hall.

Well… that lasted a whole two paragraphs… The whirlwind of a weekend didn’t stop at the end of the Summit, but instead continued through the Brewers Showcase with an outstanding showing by some of California’s finest. The hundreds of beers available and numerous cornhole games kept me preoccupied and away from the digital devices (with the exception of UnTappd checkins in the rare case you didn’t see them). But don’t worry, I’m now well rested and fully recovered!
The turnout for the Brewers' showcase.

The turnout for the Brewers’ showcase.

There was a lot going on at any given time during the summit. There were “Educational Sessions,” which took the form of a typical lecture with a powerpoint and Q&A at the end. There were also “Tap Talks” and Food & Beer demos that took place on small stages at different corners of the main expo hall – these talks gave the speaker a stool and mic with a smaller audience. I believe there was just enough information given to create a craft beer encyclopedia, so I will not do it injustice by providing summaries with potential for misinformation. Instead I will highlight each of the talk that I went to with one main idea or sentence. But enough with the talk! Beer time…
One of the entrances to the Educational Session rooms.

One of the entrances to the Educational Session rooms.

September 11th, 2015 

Moment of Silence – This was not a part of the Summit, and by the time you’re reading this it will no longer be September 11th. But in case you missed it, please share with me a moment of silence for those lives taken over 14 years ago. 

State of the Industry: Current Trends & Statistics Where the Industry is Heading – Bart Watson, Chief Economist for the Brewers Association.
  • Main takeaway:  While there are currently over 500 breweries in existence and in planning, there is still room for growth for another 200+ breweries! (I knew these crowded cities were good for something! California beer is awesome!)
  • Also, the next “IPA” will likely be…. an IPA.

Craft Beer “The New Top Shelf” How craft beer can increase your overall bottom line – David Macon, VP Sales & Marketing, Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
  • Main takeaway (although tailored for beer retailers): Be objective in beer selection; use proper glassware; utilize Brewers Association standards for draft & refrigeration systems; try beers often; and have fun!

Value of a Cicerone – Virginia Thomas, Cicerone Certificate Program
  • Main takeaway: Knowing how to taste, describe, and experience beers will allow you to help others do the same! Cicerone Certification helps this process.

From left to right: Dave Gull (New Helvetia Brewing Co.); Ryan Graham (Track 7 Brewing Co.); Glynn Philips (Rubicon Brewing Co.)

From left to right: Dave Gull (New Helvetia Brewing Co.); Ryan Graham (Track 7 Brewing Co.); Glynn Philips (Rubicon Brewing Co.)

Sacramento Brewers Panel – Glynn Philips (Rubicon Brewing Co.); Ryan Graham (Track 7 Brewing Co.); Dave Gull (New Helvetia Brewing Co.)
  • Main takeaway: Sacramento beer is awesome, and the beer scene is rapidly becoming one of the premier California beer scenes! “Drink local, go with the home team!” – Dave Gull
  • Also… Glory, glory Sacramento!
September 12th, 2015

Beer Styles: the Advanced Course – Mike “Big Mike” Moore, Beer Judge, Beer Educator & Food Specialist
  • Main takeaway: History and origin is very important to beer style and beer overall! Remember the history of what’s in your glass!

Homebrewing – Gary Glass, American Homebrewers Association
  • Main takeaway: Homebrewing is easy, fun, and better with friends…. Join the AHA!

The hop wall and  the history on hops.

The hop wall and the history on hops.

Reverence for Beer – Dr. Charlie Bamforth, UC Davis
  • Main takeaway:Use the proper glass, and treat the beer with the respect and reverence it deserves!
  • On “yellow, fizzy” beer: “Its up to you – what you like, and have reverence for it.” – Dr. Charlie Bamforth

Beers You Can Age & How to Store Them at Home – Matt Brynildson (Firestone Walker Brewing)
  • Main takeaway: 97% of the beers produced are not made to age – if the brewers wanted it aged, they would age it themselves. The 3% produced that can be aged should be stored properly and in a controlled environment.

Keynote – Greg Koch (Stone Brewing Co.)
  • Main takeaway: The craft beer industry is booming in the U.S., and there is potential for growth on the international level.
  • Stone Brewing will remain strong and independent in its own brand! “My answer is no or hell no” – Greg Koch
During the Keynote with Greg Koch. "My answer is no or hell no" - Greg Koch on Stone Brewing being sold.

During the Keynote with Greg Koch. “My answer is no or hell no” – Greg Koch on Stone Brewing being sold.

 

If you couldn’t tell, the first ever California Craft Beer Summit was worth every penny, and I enjoyed every second of it. The education alone was worth the cost.. not to mention the special releases and tastings available all weekend!

The one that got away...

The one that got away…

 

As I’ve said before, California’s Craft Beer Summit included some of the most iconic figures in today’s American craft brewing scene. While being within arms reach of many of these guys and girls, it’s easy to see that they are all still just regular people whose passion and drive led them to great success in the craft beer world. I mean, after the Summit Greg Koch threw on his backpack and sunglasses and walked a few blocks over to the brewers’ showcase! If I saw him in passing in Downtown Sacramento, I would have never looked twice. The same was the case with the Cilurzos, with Mitch Steele, and the rest of craft beer community. Unfortunately, I turned into a 13 year-old boy around Taylor Swift anytime one of these people sat or stood around me, which is why I have no pictures with them. Nevertheless, being in the same room with some of the same interests as these folks was truly an amazing experience. Time to start the countdown to next years’ summit!

I recently decided to take on the challenge of becoming a BJCP certified judge. There were a few reasons for this, which are common among most BJCP judges:
  1. I’d like to be a better homebrewer. Knowing the styles and how to identify flaws will help take my brewing to the next level. I’d also like to eventually enter competitions myself.
  2. I want to be a better beer drinker. I want to be able to describe a beer, and what I like and/or don’t like about it. If someone asks why I don’t like a beer, I don’t want to say, “Because it tastes bad.” Or, “I don’t know, I guess it’s just not my thing.” I suppose both are valid, but I would rather be able to answer, “Well, I’m just not a fan of the yeast character or phenolics in the beer.” Or, “I’m not a fan of the malt-forward IPAs. I’d prefer them to be drier with more American Hop at the forefront.” Maybe even, “I should probably rename this one Jolly Green Giant IPA.”
  3. I think it’s a good way I can give back to homebrew community. I will probably never be a professional brewer or brewing scientist or the next Gordon Strong, BUT I can still use what I know to help those just coming into the hobby or those wanting to learn more.
With that being said, I’ve compiled a list of commercial examples for each of the styles listed in the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines. All credit for the list goes to the BJCP, as the examples are listed within each style. I’m only bringing them all to one location for an easier reference for everyone. Of course, if I’ve made a mistake or typo somewhere, please let me know so I can fix ASAP!
More information @ http://www.bjcp.org
STYLE: EXAMPLES:
1 A AMERICAN LIGHT LAGER Bud Light, Coors Light, Keystone Light, Michelob Light, Miller Lite, Old Milwaukee Light
B AMERICAN LAGER Budweiser, Coors Original, Grain Belt Premium Lager, Miller High Life, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Special Export
C CREAM ALE Genesee Cream Ale, Liebotschaner Cream Ale, Little Kings Cream Ale, New Glarus Spotted Cow, Old Style, Sleeman Cream Ale
D AMERICAN WHEAT BEER Bell’s Oberon, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen
2 A INTERNATIONAL PALE LAGER Asahi Super Dry, Birra Moretti, Corona Extra, Devils Backbone Gold Leaf Lager, Full Sail Session Premium Lager, Heineken, Red Stripe, Singha
B INTERNATIONAL AMBER LAGER Brooklyn Lager, Capital Winter Skål, Dos Equis Amber, Schell’s Oktoberfest, Yuengling Lager
C INTERNATIONAL DARK LAGER Baltika #4 Original, Devils Backbone Old Virginia Dark, Dixie Blackened Voodoo, Saint Pauli Girl Dark, San Miguel Dark, Session Black Dark Lager, Shiner Bock
3 A CZECH PALE LAGER Březňák Světlé výčepní pivo, Notch Session Pils, Pivovar Kout na Šumavě Koutská 10°, Únětické pivo 10°
B CZECH PREMIUM PALE LAGER Bernard Sváteční ležák, Gambrinus Premium, Kout na Šumavě Koutská 12°, Pilsner Urquell, Pivovar Jihlava Ježek 11°, Primátor Premium, Únětická 12°
C CZECH AMBER LAGER Bernard Jantarový ležák, Pivovar Vysoký Chlumec Démon, Primátor polotmavý 13°, Strakonický Dudák Klostermann polotmavý ležák 13°
D CZECH DARK LAGER Bohemian Brewery Cherny Bock 4%, Budweiser Budvar B:Dark tmavý ležák, Devils Backbone Morana, Kout na Šumavě Koutský tmavý speciál 14°, Notch Černé Pivo, Pivovar Březnice Herold, U Fleků Flekovský tmavý 13° ležák
4 A MUNICH HELLES Augustiner Lagerbier Hell, Bürgerbräu Wolznacher Hell Naturtrüb, Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Gold, Löwenbraü Original, Paulaner Premium Lager, Spaten Premium Lager, Weihenstephaner Original
B FEST BIER Augustiner Oktoberfest, Hacker-Pschorr Superior Festbier, Hofbräu Festbier, Löwenbräu Oktoberfestbier, Paulaner Wiesn, Schönramer Gold, Weihenstephaner Festbier
C HELLES BOCK Altenmünster Maibock, Ayinger Maibock, Capital Maibock, Blind Tiger Maibock, Einbecker Mai-Urbock, Hacker-Pschorr Hubertus Bock, Mahr’s Bock
5 A GERMAN LEICHTBIER Beck’s Light, Bitburger Light, Mahr’s Leicht, Paulaner Münchner Hell Leicht, Paulaner Premium Leicht
B KOLSCH Früh Kölsch, Gaffel Kölsch, Mühlen Kölsch, Reissdorf Kölsch, Sion Kölsch, Sünner Kölsch
C GERMAN HELLES EXPORTBIER DAB Original, Dortmunder Kronen, Dortmunder Union Export, Flensburger Gold, Gordon Biersch Golden Export, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
D GERMAN PILS König Pilsener, Left Hand Polestar Pils, Paulaner Premium Pils, Schönramer Pils, Stoudt Pils, Tröegs Sunshine Pils, Trumer Pils
6 A MARZEN Buergerliches Ur-Saalfelder, Hacker-Pschorr Original Oktoberfest, Paulaner Oktoberfest, Weltenburg Kloster Anno 1050
B RAUCHBIER Eisenbahn Rauchbier, Kaiserdom Rauchbier, Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, Spezial Rauchbier Märzen Victory Scarlet Fire Rauchbier
C DUNKLES BOCK Aass Bock, Einbecker Ur-Bock Dunkel, Great Lakes Rockefeller Bock, Kneitinger Bock, New Glarus Uff-da Bock, Penn Brewery St. Nikolaus Bock
7 A VIENNA LAGER Cuauhtémoc Noche Buena, Chuckanut Vienna Lager, Devils Backbone Vienna Lager, Figueroa Mountain Danish-style Red Lager, Heavy Seas Cutlass Amber Lager, Schell’s Firebrick
B ALTBIER Bolten Alt, Diebels Alt, Füchschen Alt, Original Schlüssel Alt, Schlösser Alt, Schumacher Alt, Uerige Altbier
C KELLERBIER PALE Paulaner, Paulaner Brauhaus, Hofbrau, Tegernseer Tal. (bottled) Ayinger Kellerbier, Hacker-Pschorr Munchner Kellerbier Anno 1417, Hofbrau Munchner Sommer Naturtrub, Wolnzacher Hell Naturtrüb
KELLERBIER AMBER Greif, Eichhorn, Nederkeller, Hebendanz (bottled) Buttenheimer Kaiserdom Kellerbier, Kulmbacher Monchshof Kellerbier, Leikeim Kellerbier, Löwenbräu Kellerbier, Mahr’s Kellerbier, St. Georgen Kellerbier, Tucher Kellerbier Naturtrub
8 A MUNICH DUNKEL Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel, Chuckanut Dunkel Lager, Ettaler Kloster Dunkel, Hacker-Pschorr Alt Munich Dark, Weltenburger Kloster Barock-Dunkel
B SCHWARZBIER Devils Backbone Schwartz Bier, Einbecker Schwarzbier, Eisenbahn Dunkel, Köstritzer Schwarzbier, Mönchshof Schwarzbier, Nuezeller Original Badebier
9 A DOPPELBOCK Dark Versions –Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel, Ayinger Celebrator, Paulaner Salvator, Spaten Optimator, Tröegs Troegenator, Weihenstephaner Korbinian,; Pale Versions – Eggenberg Urbock 23º, EKU 28, Plank Bavarian Heller Doppelbock
B EISBOCK Kulmbacher Eisbock
C BALTIC PORTER Aldaris Porteris, Baltika #6 Porter, Devils Backbone Danzig, Okocim Porter, Sinebrychoff Porter, Zywiec Porter
10 A WEISSBIER Ayinger Bräu Weisse, Hacker-Pschorr Weisse, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen Naturtrüb, Schneider Weisse Unser Original, Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
B DUNKLES WEISSBIER Ayinger Ur-Weisse, Ettaler Weissbier Dunkel, Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Dunkel, Hacker-Pschorr Weisse Dark, Tucher Dunkles Hefe Weizen, Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel
C WEIZENBOCK Dark –Eisenbahn Weizenbock, Plank Bavarian Dunkler Weizenbock, Penn Weizenbock, Schneider Unser Aventinus; Pale –Plank Bavarian Heller Weizenbock, Weihenstephaner Vitus
11 A ORINARY BITTER Adnams Southwold Bitter, Brains Bitter, Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter, Greene King IPA, Tetley’s Original Bitter, Young’s Bitter
B BEST BITTER Adnams SSB, Coniston Bluebird Bitter, Fuller’s London Pride, Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter, Shepherd Neame Master Brew Kentish Ale, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Young’s Special
C STRONG BITTER Bass Ale, Highland Orkney Blast, Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Pale Ale, Shepherd Neame Bishop’s Finger, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, West Berkshire Dr. Hexter’s Healer, Whitbread Pale Ale, Young’s Ram Rod
12 A BRITISH GOLDEN ALE Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, Fuller’s Discovery, Golden Hill Exmoor Gold, Hop Back Summer Lightning, Kelham Island Pale Rider, Morland Old Golden Hen, Oakham JHB
B AUSTRALIAN SPARKLING ALE Coopers Original Pale Ale, Coopers Sparkling Ale
C ENGLISH IPA Freeminer Trafalgar IPA, Fuller’s Bengal Lancer IPA, Meantime India Pale Ale, Ridgeway IPA, Summit True Brit IPA, Thornbridge Jaipur, Worthington White Shield
13 A DARK MILD Banks’s Mild, Cain’s Dark Mild, Highgate Dark Mild, Brain’s Dark, Moorhouse Black Cat, Rudgate Ruby Mild, Theakston Traditional Mild
B BRITISH BROWN ALE Maxim Double Maxim, Newcastle Brown Ale, Riggwelter Yorkshire Ale, Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, Wychwood Hobgoblin
C ENGLISH PORTER Burton Bridge Burton Porter, Fuller’s London Porter, Nethergate Old Growler Porter, RCH Old Slug Porter, Samuel Smith Taddy Porter
14 A SCOTTISH LIGHT McEwan’s 60
B SCOTTISH HEAVY Broughton Greenmantle Ale, Caledonia Smooth, McEwan’s 70, Orkney Raven Ale, Tennent’s Special Ale
C SCOTTISH EXPORT Belhaven Scottish Ale, Broughton Exciseman’s Ale, Orkney Dark Island, Pelican MacPelican’s Scottish Style Ale, Weasel Boy Plaid Ferret Scottish Ale
15 A IRISH RED ALE Caffrey’s Irish Ale, Franciscan Well Rebel Red, Kilkenny Irish Beer, O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale, Porterhouse Red Ale, Samuel Adams Irish Red, Smithwick’s Irish Ale
B IRISH STOUT Beamish Irish Stout, Guinness Draught, Harpoon Boston Irish Stout, Murphy’s Irish Stout, O’Hara’s Irish Stout, Porterhouse Wrasslers 4X
C IRISH EXTRA STOUT Guinness Extra Stout (US version), O’Hara’s Leann Folláin, Sheaf Stout
16 A SWEET STOUT Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout, Left Hand Milk Stout, Lancaster Milk Stout, Mackeson’s XXX Stout, Marston’s Oyster Stout, Samuel Adams Cream Stout
B OATMEAL STOUT Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Broughton Scottish Oatmeal Stout, Figueroa Mountain Stagecoach Stout, St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Young’s Oatmeal Stout
C TROPICAL STOUT ABC Extra Stout, Dragon Stout, Jamaica Stout, Lion Stout, Royal Extra Stout
D FOREIGN EXTRA STOUT Coopers Best Extra Stout, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, The Kernel Export Stout, Ridgeway Foreign Export Stout, Southwark Old Stout
17 A BRITISH STRONG ALE Fuller’s 1845, Harvey’s Elizabethan Ale, J.W. Lees Manchester Star, Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome, Young’s Winter Warmer
B OLD ALE Burton Bridge Olde Expensive, Gale’s Prize Old Ale, Greene King Strong Suffolk Ale, Marston Owd Roger, Theakston Old Peculier
C WEE HEAVY Belhaven Wee Heavy, Gordon Highland Scotch Ale, Inveralmond Blackfriar, McEwan’s Scotch Ale, Orkney Skull Splitter, Traquair House Ale
D ENGLISH BARLEYWINE Adnams Tally-Ho, Burton Bridge Thomas Sykes Old Ale, Coniston No. 9 Barley Wine, Fuller’s Golden Pride, J.W. Lee’s Vintage Harvest Ale, Robinson’s Old Tom
18 A BLONDE ALE Kona Big Wave Golden Ale, Pelican Kiwanda Cream Ale, Russian River Aud Blonde, Victory Summer Love, Widmer Citra Summer Blonde Brew
B AMERICAN PALE ALE Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale, Firestone Walker Pale 31, Great Lakes Burning River, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Tröegs Pale Ale
19 A AMERICAN AMBER ALE Deschutes Cinder Cone Red, Full Sail Amber, Kona Lavaman Red Ale, North Coast Ruedrich’s Red Seal Ale, Rogue American Amber Ale, Tröegs HopBack Amber Ale
B CALIFORNIA COMMON Anchor Steam, Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager, Schlafly Pi Common, Steamworks Steam Engine Lager
C AMERICAN BROWN ALE Anchor Brekle’s Brown, Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Bell’s Best Brown, Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, Telluride Face Down Brown
20 A AMERICAN PORTER Anchor Porter, Boulevard Bully! Porter, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Founders Porter, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Smuttynose Robust Porter, Sierra Nevada Porter
B AMERICAN STOUT Avery Out of Bounds Stout, Deschutes Obsidian Stout, North Coast Old No. 38, Rogue Shakespeare Stout, Sierra Nevada Stout
C IMPERIAL STOUT American –Bell’s Expedition Stout, Cigar City Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout, Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout, North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout; English – Courage Imperial Russian Stout, Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout, Samuel Smith Imperial Stout
21 AMERICAN IPA Alpine Duet, Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Lagunitas IPA, Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Stone IPA
SPECIALTY IPAS BELGIAN IPA Brewery Vivant Triomphe, Houblon Chouffe, Epic Brainless IPA, Green Flash Le Freak, Stone Cali-Belgique, Urthel Hop It
BLACK IPA 21st Amendment Back in Black (standard), Deschutes Hop in the Dark CDA (standard), Rogue Dad’s Little Helper (standard), Southern Tier Iniquity (double), Widmer Pitch Black IPA (standard)
BROWN IPA Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, Grand Teton Bitch Creek, Harpoon Brown IPA, Russian River Janet’s Brown Ale
RED IPA Green Flash Hop Head Red Double Red IPA (double), Midnight Sun Sockeye Red, Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA, Summit Horizon Red IPA, Odell Runoff Red IPA
RYE IPA Arcadia Sky High Rye, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, Founders Reds Rye, Great Lakes Rye of the Tiger, Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye
WHITE IPA Blue Point White IPA, Deschutes Chainbreaker IPA, Harpoon The Long Thaw, New Belgium Accumulation
22 A DOUBLE IPA Avery Maharaja, Fat Heads Hop Juju, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Port Brewing Hop 15, Russian River Pliny the Elder, Stone Ruination IPA, Three Floyds Dreadnaught
B AMERICAN STRONG ALE Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale, Great Lakes Nosferatu, Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster, Port Brewing Shark Attack Double Red, Stone Arrogant Bastard,
C AMERICAN BARLEYWINE Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine, Anchor Old Foghorn, Great Divide Old Ruffian, Rogue Old Crustacean, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Victory Old Horizontal
D WHEATWINE Rubicon Winter Wheat Wine, Two Brothers Bare Trees Weiss Wine, Smuttynose Wheat Wine, Portsmouth Wheat Wine
23 A BERLINER WEISSE Bayerischer Bahnhof Berliner Style Weisse, Berliner Kindl Weisse, Nodding Head Berliner Weisse, The Bruery Hottenroth
B FLANDERS RED ALE Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge, Duchesse de Bourgogne, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Rodenbach Klassiek, Vichtenaar Flemish Ale
C OUD BRUIN Ichtegem Oud Bruin, Liefmans Goudenband, Liefmans Liefmans Oud Bruin, Petrus Oud Bruin, Riva Vondel, Vanderghinste Bellegems Bruin
D LAMBIC The only bottled version readily available is Cantillon Grand Cru Bruocsella of whatever single batch vintage the brewer deems worthy to bottle. De Cam sometimes bottles their very old (5 years) lambic. In and around Brussels there are specialty cafes that often have draught lambics from traditional brewers or blenders such as Boon, De Cam, Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Lindemans, Timmermans and Girardin.
E GUEZE Boon Oude Gueuze, Boon Oude Gueuze Mariage Parfait, Cantillon Gueuze, De Cam Gueuze, De Cam/Drei Fonteinen Millennium Gueuze, Drie Fonteinen Oud Gueuze, Girardin Gueuze (Black Label), Hanssens Oude Gueuze, Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René, Mort Subite (Unfiltered) Gueuze, Oud Beersel Oude Gueuze
F FRUIT LAMBIC Boon Framboise Marriage Parfait, Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait, Boon Oude Kriek, Cantillon Fou’ Foune, Cantillon Kriek, Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek, Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise, Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, Cantillon St. Lamvinus, Cantillon Vigneronne, De Cam Oude Kriek, Drie Fonteinen Kriek, Girardin Kriek, Hanssens Oude Kriek, Oud Beersel Kriek, Mort Subite Kriek
24 A WITBIER Allagash White, Blanche de Bruxelles, Celis White, Hoegaarden Wit, Ommegang Witte, St. Bernardus Witbier, Wittekerke
B BELGIAN PALE ALE De Koninck, De Ryck Special, Palm Dobble, Palm Speciale
C BIERE DE GARDE Ch’Ti (brown and blond), Jenlain (amber and blond), La Choulette (all 3 versions), St. Amand (brown), Saint Sylvestre 3 Monts (blond), Russian River Perdition
25 A BELGIAN BLOND ALE Affligem Blond, Grimbergen Blond, La Trappe Blond, Leffe Blond, Val-Dieu Blond
B SAISON Ellezelloise Saison, Fantôme Saison, Lefebvre Saison 1900, Saison Dupont Vieille Provision, Saison de Pipaix, Saison Regal, Saison Voisin, Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
C BELGIAN GOLDEN STRONG ALE Brigand, Delirium Tremens, Dulle Teve, Duvel, Judas, Lucifer, Piraat, Russian River Damnation
26 A TRAPPIST SINGLE Achel 5° Blond, St. Bernardus Extra 4, Westmalle Extra, Westvleteren Blond
B BELGIAN DUBBEL Affligem Dubbel, Chimay Première, Corsendonk Pater, Grimbergen Double, La Trappe Dubbel, St. Bernardus Pater 6, Trappistes Rochefort 6, Westmalle Dubbel
C BELGIAN TRIPEL Affligem Tripel, Chimay Cinq Cents, La Rulles Tripel, La Trappe Tripel, St. Bernardus Tripel, Unibroue La Fin Du Monde, Val-Dieu Triple, Watou Tripel, Westmalle Tripel
D BELGIAN DARK STRONG ALE Achel Extra Brune, Boulevard The Sixth Glass, Chimay Grande Réserve, Gouden Carolus Grand Cru of the Emperor, Rochefort 8 & 10, St. Bernardus Abt 12, Westvleteren 12
27 HISTORICAL GOSE Anderson Valley Gose, Bayerisch Bahnhof Leipziger Gose, Döllnitzer Ritterguts Gose
BEERS KENTUCKY COMMON Apocalypse Brew Works Ortel’s 1912
LICHTENHAINER – NONE LISTED –
LONDON BROWN ALE Harveys Bloomsbury Brown Ale, Mann’s Brown Ale
PIWO GRODZISKIE – NONE LISTED –
PRE-PROHIBITION LAGER Anchor California Lager, Coors Batch 19, Little Harpeth Chicken Scratch
PRE-PROHIBITION PORTER Stegmaier Porter, Yuengling Porter
ROGGENBIER Thurn und Taxis Roggen
SAHTI Now made year-round by several breweries in Finland.
28 A BRETT BEER Boulevard Saison Brett, Hill Farmstead Arthur, Logsdon Seizoen Bretta, Russian River Sanctification, The Bruery Saison Rue, Victory Helios
B MIXED FERMENTATION SOUR BEER Boulevard Love Child, Cascade Vlad the Imp Aler, Jester King Le Petit Prince, Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca, Russian River Temptation, The Bruery Rueuze, The Bruery Tart of Darkness
C WILD SPECIALTY BEER Cascade Bourbonic Plague, Jester King Atrial Rubicite, New Belgium Eric’s Ale, New Glarus Belgian Red, Russian River Supplication, The Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme
29 A FRUIT BEER Bell’s Cherry Stout, Dogfish Head Aprihop, Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale, Founders Rübæus
B FRUIT AND SPICE BEER – NONE LISTED –
C SPECIALTY FRUIT BEER New Planet Raspberry Ale
30 A SPICE, HERB, OR VEGETABLE BEER Alesmith Speedway Stout, Bell’s Java Stout, Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA, Founders Breakfast Stout, Rogue Chipotle Ale, Traquair Jacobite Ale, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout,
B AUTUMN SEASONAL BEER Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, Southampton Pumpkin Ale
C WINTER SEASONAL BEER Anchor Our Special Ale, Goose Island Christmas Ale, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Harpoon Winter Warmer, Lakefront Holiday Spice Lager Beer, Weyerbacher Winter Ale
31 A ALTERNATIVE GRAIN BEER Green’s Indian Pale Ale, Lakefront New Grist, New Planet Pale Ale
B ALTERNATIVE SUGAR BEER Bell’s Hopslam, Fullers Honey Dew, Lagunitas Brown Shugga’
32 A CLASSIC STYLE SMOKED BEER Alaskan Smoked Porter, Schlenkerla Weizen Rauchbier and Ur-Bock Rauchbier, Spezial Lagerbier, Weissbier and Bockbier, Stone Smoked Porter
B SPECIALTY SMOKED BEER – NONE LISTED –
33 A WOOD-AGED BEER Bush Prestige, Cigar City Humidor India Pale Ale, Faust Holzfassgereifter Eisbock, Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale, Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, Petrus Aged Pale, Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo
B SPECIALTY WOOD-AGED BEER Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, J.W. Lees Harvest Ale in Port, Sherry, Lagavulin Whisky or Calvados Casks, The Lost Abbey Angel’s Share Ale; many microbreweries have specialty beers served only on premises often directly from the cask.
34 A CLONE BEER – NONE LISTED –
B MIXED-STYLE BEER – NONE LISTED –
C EXPERIMENTAL BEER – NONE LISTED –
The brew: American Wheat part II. The last wheat I brewed was about 2 months ago, and the last beer I brewed was almost 1 1/2 months ago. Work and life have been so busy – I ended up having to squeeze in a brew day last minute.

 

Photo courtesy: Bellsbeer.com

 

The absence of Bells Oberon in California has me craving a crisp and clean wheat that I can have a few pints of in this triple digit heat, no water having, California summer. The last wheat brewed unfortunately fell to my friend, Acetaldehyde. It might’ve been high fermentation temperatures, bacterial infection, an underpitched amount of yeast, or any combination of a few other post boil factors. I’m sure there were at least a few other things going on in that batch, but the green apple and fruity esters overpowered just about everything else. So I decided to keep going with the same recipe.

 

 

Here’s what was supposed to happen:

 

 

American Wheat Recipe (Based on Jamil Z. Recipe)

 

  • 5 lbs. 8 oz. US 2 Row (50%)
  • 5 lbs. 8 oz. White Wheat (50%)
  • 1 oz. Williamette at 60 mins
  • .3 oz. Williamette at 0 mins
  • .3 oz. Centennial at 0 mins
  • American Hefe Strain (WLP 320 or Wyeast 1010)
  • Single Infusion Mash at 152 F for 60 mins

 

 

According to BeerSmith (for my equipment profile):

 

  • OG: 1.054
  • FG: 1.014
  • ABV: 5.3%
  • 19.3 IBUs

 

Here’s what really happened: 

The brew day setup.

The brew day setup.

 

Everything went according to plan. I entered it into a few competitions, and it took gold in each one… Okay, not really. I actually haven’t even tasted it yet. I will be transferring from primary to keg tomorrow, so it should be ready in about a week.

 

But the brew day really did go as well as I hoped. I used a nylon mesh BIAB bag as my false bottom, which was used in combination with the bazooka screen. The 11 lbs. grain bill with 50% wheat in my 5 gal. mash tun worked out just fine – No stuck sparge  like last American Wheat brew day!

 

I did mash a little higher than I expected – 155 F. I was trying to make up previous experience with my mash tun losing several degrees over the duration of the saccharification rest. Fortunately or unfortunately, the 155 F was consistent throughout the entire mash. For my purposes (drinking at home), the 3 degree difference will not be a major issue. I did pitch warmer than I wanted. I was aiming for around 70 F, but pitched around 80 F due to time constraints on the brew day.

 

Other than that, the day was fairly uneventful. I put the glass carboy in the fermentation chamber set for about 65F (the temp controller probe was taped to the carboy surrounded by some cloth to try to get a closer read). Here’s to a successful batch of American Wheat!

This post roughly marks this blog’s 1 year anniversary! Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to also find me at Sommbeer.com!
Not too long ago, I saw a “web coupon deal” for a tour with tastings for two at a local brewery for a fairly reasonable price. I told my wife and friends about the deal in an attempt to get a small group to go with – new beer with friends is always a better experience. Local brewery tour and tastings? Check. Reasonable price? Got it. Friends to drink with? Done. It was only natural that I purchase this coupon.

Photo courtesy: Smosh.com

So my friends and I make the trip, and upon entry to the tasting room I was quite impressed. Great looking decor, friendly and knowledgeable staff, great beer selection, and board games along with the giant Jenga set that seems to be a must have in every brewery around town.

We took the tour of the 7 bbl. brewery,  shared laughs and kettle-envy, then sat down to enjoy our double-digit tastings. We started with the lighter, cleaner ales and made our way through to the stouts and porters. We talked about the ones we like, and the ones we didn’t. The words “buttery,” “astringent,” and “apple flavors” may or may not have been said at our table. In the end, many of the 5 oz tasters were still over halfway filled, and my friends and I opted to go to our typical go-to taphouse.

Now, this is not a criticism of the brewers or the brewery. Are my friends and I Master BJCP judges or even award winning home brewers? No. But we can tell you what we like, and what doesn’t taste right to us in a given beer. Perhaps these were off flavors. Or, perhaps some of these flavors were on purpose as part of the brewery’s style. I believe it’s up to us as the consumer to determine that.

The unpopular opinion here may be that it is acceptable for a brewery patron to not like a brewery’s beer. It is also okay to not see through a beer’s flaws simply because it was made locally. I don’t necessarily think there is a craft beer bubble in front of us, but I do believe the breweries that are making flawed or less than stellar beer may not survive as a business.

Photo courtesy: ETFTrends

According to the Brewers Association, a little more than 20 years ago there were less than 600 breweries in the United States. In 2014, the number of total U.S. “craft” breweries topped 3,418 with the number growing every day. The number is sky rocketing with little sign of slowing down. With this tremendous growth, occasionally a beer with “flaws” may be produced and sold to you.

I have listed some of these “flaws” or off-flavors (from BJCP.org) that you may find in a beer, commercial or homebrew. If you find them in a beer from a local brewery, should you throw the taster in their face and write a 2 page, 1/2 star review on every craft beer platform and forum?  I would venture to say that it would be more beneficial if you didn’t, and instead, you should probably have a discussion with someone at the brewery. Maybe they will thank you for the feedback. Or maybe you will learn something about the beers produced or the beer styles.

Off-Flavors and Brief Description
  • Acetaldehyde – Green apples, grassy (not from hops), vinegar or cider-like
  • Astringent – Tannic or tart, unpleasant
  • Diacetyl – Buttery, nutty, reminiscent of butterscotch, oily
  • DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide) – Cooked corn, vegetables
  • Lightstruck – Skunky, mercaptan
  • Oxidation – Cardboard, wet-paper, stale, sherry or leathery; musty or earthy
  • Phenolic – Band-aid, cloves, bananas, smoky, plastic, medicinal
  • Solvent – Pungent, harsh, acetone or turpentine
  • Sulfury – Rotten eggs, meaty, struck match, burn rubber

Photo courtesy: AskMen.com

This list is obviously a brief summary and is not all inclusive; it is only intended to serve as another quick reference. There is at least 2000 lbs of information out there on these off-flavors, their causes, and how to troubleshoot them if you run into issues in your own brewing. You can also check out the Beer Judge Certification Program or the How To Brew websites, which also have a ton of information on beer styles and/or off-flavors.

Did I make a mistake somewhere? Do you disagree with anything written? I’d love to learn and have a respectful conversation with you! Feel free to reach out to me on the Twitter, or you can email me at inbituinthebrew@gmail.com.
Don’t forget to find me on Sommbeer.com!

 
Today’s brew: Everyone’s favorite, THE American IPA. Like much of the world, my mainstay is the American IPA. I love most styles, but I tend to favor the Fresh Squeezed (Deschutes), Deep Ellum IPA (Deep Ellum Brewing), and million other IPAs on the market. I figured most of my non-American Lager fans do too, so why not get a decent and consistent recipe down.
My working layout (My morning IPA not pictured).

My working layout (My morning IPA not pictured). New school on the left (Beersmith.com), old school on the right (Notebook)

Here’s what was supposed to happen:

American IPA Recipe – 5.00 gal Batch (Based on Brewing Classic Styles Recipe)

  • 12 lbs, 12 oz. US 2 Row
  • 12 oz. Munich
  • 1lbs. Crystal 20°L
  • 4 oz.Crystal 40°L
  • 1 oz. Magnum at 60 mins
  • 1 oz. Centennial at 10 mins
  • 1 oz. Simcoe at 5 mins
  • 1 oz. Amarillo at 0 mins
  • Fermentis SafAle US-05
  • Single Infusion Mash at 152 F for 60 mins

According to BeerSmith (for my equipment profile):

  • OG: 1.069
  • FG: 1.015
  • ABV: 7.18%
  • 62.8 IBUs
Here’s what really happened: 

The brew day actually went fairly smoothly. I stayed on course with my intended recipe. My issues with the brew day took place pre-boil. The grain bill of almost 15 lbs. made my poor little 5-gallon mash tun work far harder than it should’ve. The mash was extremely thick, but I used a BIAB mesh bag as a false bottom over my bazooka screen. Multiple sparges were needed, but no stuck mash here! Since I can’t measure the exact volume of my wort, I can’t determine an accurate efficiency %. But that is one thing to plan for as I nail down my processes.

Not only was my mash thick, but I also had issues with my mash temperature. The plan was to dough in around 165°F, but by the time the entire grain bill was stirred in, I was mashing at the low end of the Beta-Amylase range of around 140°F. I hope the beer doesn’t turn out as dry and light as the numbers make it out to be.

 

******************************************

Photo courtesy: BJCP.org
BJCP Guideline 21A – American IPA (2015):

Overall Impression: A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong American pale ale, showcasing modern American or New World hop varieties. The balance is hopforward, with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, and clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through.

Commercial Examples: Alpine Duet, Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Lagunitas IPA, Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Stone IPA

On a separate note, you can now find me as a contributor on SommBeer.com. Check out my posts along with a variety of others written by an awesome SommBeer.com team!

Thanks to traveling, work, and having only one arm, I finally got to brew today. I have to admit, I’m a little rusty on my processes. I haven’t brewed since before the holidays! This year, though, I’m ramping up the grain mill to eventually start entering a few competitions.

Today’s brew: American Wheat. I didn’t want anything special (that’s later in the year) – just a cool, crisp, clean sessionable something or another that also allows my tastebuds to live another day. The original, original recipe was supposed to be an Ode to Oberon (Bell’s Oberon). I saw it everywhere as I was traveling, but of course, it’s not in California. As the brew day came closer, I decided to keep it simple and go with a classic American Wheat.

Here’s what was supposed to happen:

American Wheat Recipe (Jamil Z. Recipe):
6 lbs. US 2 Row (50%)
6 lbs. White Wheat (50%)
1 oz. Williamette at 60 mins
.3 oz. Williamette at 0 mins
.3 oz. Centennial at 0 mins
White Labs WLP 320 – American Hefe
Single Infusion Mash at 150 F for 60 mins

According to BeerSmith (for my equipment profile):
OG: 1.066
FG: 1.017
ABV: 6.43%
17.6 IBUs

Here’s what really happened:

Brew Day 16 May 2015

Brew Day 16 May 2015

I stuck to the recipe intended, with the exception of the yeast used. I procrastinated and didn’t think that WLP320 would be as uncommon as it was. I made the last minute decision to use what was on hand – US-05. Dry yeast (when hydrated properly) is actually a lot better than people give it credit for!

And now for the downer of the day… My 60-minute mash then sparge turned into a 60-minute STUCK mash and another 60 minutes of “kind of sparge.” Turns out the mill made the grains a little too fine/pulverized, and the wheat decided to make my day twice as long. How was it solved you ask? With morning tasters of home-brewed IIPA, Pliny the Elder, and Monk’s Blood (21st Amendment Brewing). Yes it was 0900am, but we limited ourselves to tasters. I mean C’mon, we’re not lushes… Next time I will definitely use a 1/2 pound of rice hulls.

On a separate note, you can now find me as a contributor on SommBeer.com. Check out my posts along with a variety of others written by an awesome SommBeer.com team!

Beers: Great Divide Brewing Co Yeti Imperial Stout vs. Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout

Yes, another stout vs stout tasting. The main reason is that my “variable” beer this year is currently the stout, and I am still trying to figure out if I want to stick with that or to try to brew a different darker style. I acknowledge the beers are different; yet, this will allow to point out similarities and differences in the two beers. This is my first second with written notes. Specs of each beer below:

Great Divide Brewing Co. Yeti Imperial Stout
Pkgd: 10/29/2014
ABV: 9.5%
75 IBUs
Temp: Unknown – Warmer than typical refrigerator temps.

Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout
Pkgd: Unknown
ABV: 8.3%
60 IBUs
Temp: Unknown – Slightly warmer than typical refrigerator temps.

Great Divide:
Sweet aroma (Maybe this is the roast/toffee character?). Tan-to-brown head with high SRM (Dark brown to black) body. Medium body and carbonation. Almost low carbonation, very fine bubbles. Sweet caramel toffee, with the roast and bitterness creeping up in the back.

Founders:
Much more chocolate and coffee to the nose. Light tan head with dark, opaque body. Medium to low carbonation. Light mouthfeel. Less chocolate and more coffee as the tasting progresses. Perceived bitterness is much lower.

Comparison:

The Breakfast Stout seems much lighter bodied and much less bitter than the Yeti – though, this was expected given the different styles. Still, it was unexpected for these two to be 15 IBUs and a little over 1% ABV in difference, but to taste quite different.  The Breakfast Stout (Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout) is the style that personally comes to mind when I think of the “stout” style. The Yeti surprisingly drinks like a lower ABV/IBU stout – very smooth, and on the right night I might have 2 to 3 in a session. I would like to see how this compares with the likes of a Old Rasputin’s RIS.

 

As always, feel free to reach out to discuss the tastings, or if you have tips on tasting please let me know! Cheers!

Yes, it IS April already… but we still have 8 months left of this year! Why do I bring this up? As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have been traveling for work since December. I am definitely ready to get back home and start on the year’s first batches.

So far, I have about 10 batches planned for this year, but only about 5 different recipes – I am hoping to alter them and make the batches as consistent as possible. The base recipes are from the book Brewing Classic Styles, but as I progress I will be swapping various hops and yeasts to tailor to my own tastes. The recipes will be posted on my recipe page here. Here’s the plan for 2015 (all 5.5 gallon batches or less):

May – American Wheat Batch 1, American IPA Batch 1
June – American Wheat Batch 2
July – American IPA Batch 2
August – Belgian Tripel Batch 1, American Brown Batch 1
September – American IPA Batch 3
October – American Brown Batch 2
November – American Stout (Style TBD) Batch 1
December – American IPA Batch 4

Totals:
Wheat – 2
IPA – 4
Brown – 2
Tripel – 1
Stout – 1

In other good beer news, I finally convinced the Mrs. to allow me to move forward with transitioning from bottling to kegging. The plan is to convert a chest freezer into a 4-tap keezer. I will definitely keep this blog updated with photos and my process once I get home. In the meantime, if you are looking for some info on converting your own, Northern Brewer created a great video on YouTube here. Here’s to a great 2015! Cheers!

I acknowledge the beers are different; yet, this will allow to point out similarities and differences in the two beers. This is my first tasting with written notes. Specs of each beer below:

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout
Pkgd: 06/13/2014
ABV: 6%
Temp: Unknown – Warmer than typical refrigerator temps.
Left Hand Brewing Co Milk Stout
Pkgd: Unknown
ABV: 6%
Temp: See Bell’s.

Bells:
Sweet, almost soy sauce aroma. Tan head with high SRM body. Chocolate with deeper notes of roast. Medium body and carbonation. Almost low carbonation. Chocolate in the back, but more roast than chocolate. After taste imparts fruity raisin like qualities.
Left Hand:
Much more chocolate to the nose. Hints of roasted coffee. Light tan head with dark, opaque body. Nice lace. Medium to low carbonation. Lighter mouthfeel. Less chocolate as the tasting progresses. More roast.

Comparison:

The Milk Stout seems much sweeter and lighter bodied than the K Stout. There’s a slight perceived astringency to the Milk Stout when compared to the K Stout. The K Stout appears to be less transparent, but has less roast to it. The K Stout is flavored in this pair as the lactose added a certain quality outside of my preference
*Note: Pretzels are apparently not a good snack with the stouts.*