Monday, August 31, 2009

August Brew Day

2 drunk babbles
August represented our 3rd successful brew day. A lot of great, rare beers were drank, a lot of interesting people conversed, a lot of good food was ate, and I don't remember the rest. The highlight being the Boulevard Seeyoulator that Jeremy from Boulevard so graciously brought along with a couple others. More on that in a moment. A mead, braggot and an Amber ale were made. My posts are usually not wordy, but there's a lot to talk about here.

The day started off right around noon with 3 Westvleteren beers. Westvletern 12 is the highest rated beer in the world. It is incredibly hard to get a hold of in Kansas City. I've heard different distributing stories, but the main one is that the only place you can purchase this beer is in limited quantities from the monastery in Belgium. The monks look down upon resale of the beer and with my compulsive ways, I had to break the monks wishes in order to taste the best beer for myself. I have been reading "Brew Like a Monk" and I find the 6 Belgian monasteries who brew very interesting and historical. My taste buds did not agree that their '12' was the best beer in the world unfortunately. It was a magnificent brew with a ton of sweetness. It is truly an original of its kind and I highly appreciated drinking it. Their '8' was quite delicious and I found it to be their best. Their 'Blond' was very good as well and is under-appreciated in the beer world making it that much more rare.

Tim will be our lovely hand model for the bottles:

I went to pour a Boulevard Tripel that had been opened only to find that everyone was itching to get the bottle of Seeyoulator poured. I think people overlook the fact that a drinker or eater's judgement on drink or food is altered by the place when and where consumed. The brew day was an amazing setting to try the finest beers in the world. The Seeyoulator Dopplebock was hyped and did live up to the expectation only to have unexpected flavors and color. The cedar that it was aged with gave a nice piney taste, but was surprised that it wasn't overpowering. This beer had a good amount of bittering hops which you know I will not complain about. The color was much lighter and orange that I expected. This brew crosses lines of different styles and categories but what progressive brewery actually follows standard guidelines on the best brews?

The day kept producing several incredible tasters. Dogfish Head Burton Baton was by far my favorite of the day. The Lost Abbey 10 Commandments was another incredible beer that I was excited to drink. I brought a Pliny the Elder that made one hophead very happy. Bourbon County Stout, Inferno, 75th Street's Dante's Dream, Augusta Saison and the list went on and on of incredible commercial brews. Several homebrews were handed out as well.
Some new bloggers came along. Of course Worthog, the other organizer, was there. Along with another hophead, Muddy Mo and a Missouri beer lover. I know a lot of people almost made it out but next brew day will be in another location so we should see another good showing.As the Chiefs game began and the gathering ending, what other way is there to complete a 12 hour drinking session than to go bar hopping in Waldo area? I think the long, long day was incredible. My only complaint was that some of the beers for savoring could have been more appreciated towards the beginning of the day when I could remember them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oatmeal 'Raisin' Stout

0 drunk babbles
Remember the purple brew? This is it. I bottled two different ways and evaluated both to see which I wanted to send to the KC Irishfest competition. I bottled five beers over a mixture of heated and blended raisins with some vanilla extract. I decided to send those to competition. As I was at the brew shop I noticed most of the field was oatmeal stouts. Damn.

The beer is 4.3% abv and packs a TON of taste for just that. The brew-in-a-bag process only yielded a 57% efficiency. In layman's terms, there could have been more alcohol, but the bag I used was not suited for the process and the grains were not crushed fine enough. That's okay though.

.5 lb flaked oats
.25 lb toasted rolled oats
.75 lb roasted barley
1.75 lb chocolate malt
9 lb American 2 row
1 oz of Fuggle @60 17.2 IBU
Whirlfloc @15
Here is how I would rate this beer.
A (appearance), S (smell), T (taste), M (mouthfeel), D (drinkability)

A - Pours very black with a dark tan head about 1-1/2 finger width that stays for about 5 minutes. Black, but in the brightest light you can see an orange on the edges. No lacing.
S - Smells thick, roasted malts coming out. A hint of coffee and chocolate.
T - Big bold roasted malts that finishes creamy with chocolate. The aftertaste is like chocolate coffee but in good way. The taste suffers slightly from the lack of alcohol for such a big flavor. I would expect this to be at least double the abv. The aftertaste is a bit more sharp and almost more bitter in the raisin/vanilla version.
M - More carbonation than I had originally planned but this is because it was going for competition and it works quite nicely to bring out all of those flavors.
D - While this is low in alcohol and quite tasty, I'd say a bomber (22 oz) is perfect for a chilly evening, but not much more.
Overall I'd give it about a B with the main drawback of the alcohol content.

75th St Homebrew Competition

4 drunk babbles
Wow, a good night at 75th st Brewery. I've been bad-mouthing this place here and there even though I keep hoping for a good change there. Last night was a good excuse to get out and try again. 75th st is celebrating their 16th anniversary all week and doing something different each night. Last night was the home brew competition that Dan from GoneMild won last year. I just read his blog and found out that he pretty much submitted most of the beer choices. I would've been in the compeition if I knew about it in time. It was only $5 to jump in, try the beers and give your vote. Pretty good deal considering how much they were pouring.There were 9 beers (Dark American Lager, ESB, Hefe, Schwarzbier, Porter, Rye, Milk Stout, APA). You were to drink all and write your top 5 in order. As you can see from my list (that I can't spell) that the Schwarz won hands down. This Black German Lager tasted very much like a chocolate porter, but with a solid amount of bittering hops. The ESB was a solid 2nd place and the rest kind of fell below. I think I offended a guy (probably the brewer) when I said the APA was terrible.

Afterwards, we had an assortment of new beers that 75th was offering that were quite delicious. My top 3 in order for those were: Whiskey Stout, Coconut Porter and Irish Red; not that it really matters. The whiskey stout was a little rough around the edges but reminded me of a thinner, stronger Old Rasputin. The appearance and smell was quite good and rated very highly with me. I hope that they keep this one going for the reputation's sake.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Brew Beer Professionally?

7 drunk babbles
I find it amusing when someone hears that I brew my own beer and their first response is, "Wow, you should open up a brewery!" I am sure the majority of home brewers have though extensively about what it would take to make money in the beer market whether it's a brewpub or working somewhere in the industry to find a niche. Knowing what I know now, it is pretty scary to walk into a beer store, see all the selections and think about your own little beer up there among the giant collection of brews. A brewpub can be fun and a way to get your foot into the door of producing beer for money. I think that is the way to go depending on what city/state you want to open.

Take a look at what the recent years have been like for breweries and brewpubs. What I find most interesting in the statistics found below is that even though the demand for breweries isn't growing at a very rapid pace, the supply (breweries) are growing at a significant pace. Kansas City may be a slight difference considering the closures of Power Plant Brewery and River Market Brewery, but the hope of a couple more to rejoin around the corner may bring us up to par.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The 3rd Brew Day is Upon Us

0 drunk babbles
Brew Day 3.0 is on August 29th. The last couple have been successful in brewing, drinking, learning, drinking and fun. Did I say drinking twice? Worthog and I have been organizing these events and hosting them around different areas of KC each month. They will most likely continue as the months come.
Come all beer drinkers, brewers, interested company, interesting company, beer geeks, non-beer geeks and bring your grandma. Just let me know if you're interested.

Picture from 1st Brew Day:
Picture from 2nd Brew Day:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Great Trip, Great Beer

0 drunk babbles
Just got back from Taylor Park area in Colorado. It is beautiful out there in the middle of CO. I'll try to make this as much about beer as possible. There were four guys, our dirt bikes and a tent. They left me in charge of beer gathering before the trip since we'd be in the middle of nowhere. I thought to myself, what is a good mountain camping beer? Ah yes, PBR! And of course I'll throw in some Coors so they'll let us into the state. Going with family and being out of breath all day I didn't think it was a time and place for beer snob brews although I did throw in a couple Smokestacks and a Caldera Pale Ale for fun.
On our way out there we stopped off in Gunnison to pick up a few more supplies and I ran over to this little liquor store to see what the small town had to offer. To my surprise they had a lot of individual bottles including Boulevard Smokestacks. I picked up a couple NB Lips of Faith bottles and a Dogfish Head Theobroma to bring back home and savor. On Saturday we headed on an 85 mile round trip to Aspen with 1.8 gallons of 91 octane. We went over Taylor Pass on some difficult terrain. If anyone has ever done this, you'll know how tough that is. We wound up at the top of the ski run in Aspen overlooking the entire town. We coasted down the ski runs to the bottom and walked our muddy selves up to a fancy restaurant outside. The waiter said that we should go inside to order a beer. So we stomped our nasty boots on their rich mahogany floor to order us a nice Aspen Brewing Company Hefe. It was quite delicious after a tough ride. On the way back I was swept off my bike by a tree branch! I have the whole thing on video from my helmet cam. Then I fell on some boulders. So when I got back to camp I was ready to have a few PBR's and hit the hay.On our way back from the trip we stopped off at Phantom Canyon Brewing Co in Colorado Springs. This was an eclectic spot with tattoo'ed up people playing pool upstairs and family eating downstairs. First thing I did was order an IPA (my usual). I was sadly disappointed in the non-carbonated brew. However, I sampled their Blonde and Amber then was happy to then order an Oatmeal Stout which was perfectly silky smooth. Then I ordered a Hefeweizen which was incredible, one of the best I've had. Overall the place was B- or so.

Monday, August 10, 2009


0 drunk babbles
Over the weekend I got invited out for a mountain bike ride and brewing beer combo. Two hobbies I like, sure lets go. See ya at 8. 8 pm right? No, 8 am. The night before I was at the "K" drinking and then to home to cap off the night with an Old Rasputin and a glass of water (Old Rasputin Light). As I rolled out of bed I knew I was in store for some hurtin. I made it though about 3/4 of the rocky, hilly trails before I realized I was dehydrated to the point of dizziness. So let's go brew some beer. The guys all stopped for some biscuits and gravy. I couldn't stomach that. We got back to the brew spot and I was feeling back to 100%. We all pitched in and got a 10 gallon batch of extra IPA going using tons of homegrown hops. Check out those bad boys on the 2nd year of production.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I'm Having a Lupulin Threshold Shift!

3 drunk babbles
I love me some hops! If you've been following my hop growing then you might know they're about to be plucked. I thought about boiling up some extract with them and seeing how it turns out. I'd just ferment a pint with some left over yeast. I'll keep you up to date on that mess. So I went to the garden this morning and cut open a hop to see how they are doing. Voila, lupulin. Not as much as I'd like to see, but it was there. Lupulin is what you smell and taste in your beer. The actually hop flower basically holds the lupulin like a typical flower would hold pollen (just upside down).

Odell, one of my top breweries, just shed light to the non-home brewer to the idea of lupluin with St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale. This is a bit lighter than their IPA but with more hops (me likey). Everything they make is delicious. I have still yet to try the Woodcut but I have a No. 1 and 3 No. 2 in the fridge... mmmm.

I'm going to go ahead and give props to the liquid diet because this post sounds a lot like his but not intentionally and not with great use of the English language. My hops are just ready to go.

Check out this link...
Speaking of Russian River, I had some Blind Pig earlier this week. This brew is historic in the fact that it was likely to be the first ever Double IPA. It was very delicious, but not quite as good as their Pliny the Elder.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What'll Ya Have?

0 drunk babbles
Apparently you'll have a pint of Pale Ale. The favorite beer style poll expired and I thought I'd share the results before I remove it. This is sort of a biased poll considering the location and the choices I put on there, but I am a bit surprised at the results. Being that Boulevard Wheat is sort of the flagship beer for most Kansas Citians, I wasn't surprised at so many votes for Wheat. I didn't put up IPA and I think that might be why Pale Ale got so many votes. I'm glad to see Stout making an appearance as 3rd, but I am curious to see what "Other" categories people liked. I think Belgian came in a close second because of all the beer snobs that read my blog.

Speaking of which, my new poll consists of rankings that I would like you to vote on. What do you want to read here? I notice that blogs tend to lean more to educational or entertainment. Educational being reviews, latest news, terms and tricks of the trade whereas entertainment might be funny stories, pictures, video or controversy. What do you tend to like?

I've been a recluse on the beer scene lately and rightfully so. If you opened my beer fridge, you'd loosen your pants and get to drinking. Although I've already drank a lot of good stuff out of it here's what I've got currently:
AleSmith - Horny Devil, Old Numbskull, Speedway Stout,
Odell - Woodcut #1, Woodcut #2 (3),
Homebrew - Porter (3), Milk Stout (20ish),
Mikkeller Single Hop, Delerium Tremens,
Boulevard - RIS, Saison-Brett, Two Jokers (2),
Deschutes Black Butte XXI, New Glarus Imperial Saison,
Russian River Pliny the Elder (2) and Damnation,
Goose Island Peres - Jacques, Matilda,
O'Fallon Wheat, Old Rasputin (4), Geenflash Barleywine,
Moylans Kilt Lifter, Avery Maharaja,
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, Sam Adams Triple Bock (2),
Clipper City Heavy Sees Loose Cannon,
Schlafly APA, Weston Drop Kick Ale,
Dog Fish Head 90 min IPA, Stone Oaked DB,
Soutern Tier Cuvee Series Two,
Mikeller Beer Geek Breakfast,
Mix pack of Chimay, and New Belgium Lips of Faith

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hopdate - The H is silent...

2 drunk babbles
Three months ago I planted my very first Hop Rhizomes and I am so proud of my nine fluffy, yet thin hops that have just blossomed. The Cascade is growing at a crazy pace. It is now as tall as my deck which is about ten feet and then goes a little bit further as I extended the rope. The birds keep eating the ends so it won't go further unless I figure a way around the birds. The other two (Northern Brewer and Centennial) finally got going after the birds terrorized them. I think the birds like noble hops more.Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The cascade towers above the other two.

Centennial, they don't have spell check when writing with a Sharpie.

Damn it, once again how I rely on spell check to make this blog work!! Tomorrow morning I'm going out there and fixing these!!