Monday, February 23, 2009

Different.

As I sat drinking a pint of Fuller's ESB last night, I couldn't help but notice the difference between it and what I might consider an American version of the same. What came to mind was Anderson Valley's ESB (although it stands for extra special beer, if I remember correctly). But it's not just ESB, it happens with everything else too. There's just a different taste. This doesn't surprise me at all, it just makes me curious. Why are they different? Is it the malt? Is it the hops? The yeast? What is it that makes beers with similar names and classifications such different animals?

If anyone could shed light on this, it would be amazing.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Poo!

That's all I could think of when cleaning the carboy the other day. I had just finished racking the coffee porter into secondary, and was trying to get the yeast cake out of the bottom to harvest (or attempt to harvest) some of the yeast. But the damn thing was stuck. Really stuck. I had to shake it for a good couple of minutes to get the cake to slide slothily down the wall and towards the mouth. Then it hit me, that overwhelming smell of coffee found only in a young coffee infused beer. It made me kinda nautious. After the immediate coffee shock, I smelled a very nutty aroma, which inevitably led my thoughts down the path of poo, sliding down the walls and out the bung hole of the carboy. Sliding, glopping, plopping, reeking of nuts and looking like something that might come out of a 70 year-old man (don't ask me how I know). I actually laughed a bit, after being grossed out. In the end, I dumped (haha, dumped) it all down the drain. Why would I want to harvest yeast that have been tainted by coffee? And possibly developed a caffeine dependency? "If you don't give us coffee by twelve, we won't be able to finish the workday!" Lazy drugged up bastards. Chip off the old block, I see.

On a less anal and much more delicious note, I also racked the California UNcommon into second/third-ary. It tasted like God sent it down from heaven, so I'm guessing the conditioning time in the cold garage helped a lot. If you're curious as to what I mean by "second/third-ary", check out the miniscule problem I had. Since I repitched some yeast, I decided to rack a third time to ensure clarity and tastiness.

Cheers, Brothers, and happy brewing!

P.S. Since I plan on going to school to learn all about professional brewing, I have come to the realization that every beer I drink can be written off as "research". Take that, society. I don't have a drinking problem, I have a research problem.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Waiting...

I don't like waiting. That's all I seem to be doing right now. Waiting for conditioning time to be adequate. Waiting for primary fermentation to be complete. Waiting for free time to actually do anything beer related. I barely have any time to be wrtiting this right now. I should be sleeping. Oh well. I'll sleep when I'm dead. Or in about 10 minutes, either way.

A quick thought:
I had Chimay Blue for the second time the other night, and for the first time as my first beer of the night. No tainted taste buds or dulled senses here. In a word: complex. Also, elegant, subtle, slightly spicy, and a little too mellow for me. I like the way it looks, smells, and feels. The taste, however, is something I'm a bit undecided on. It's definately something to appreciate, to take your time with. But the flavors are so subtle that you really have to search for them. I'm sure a huge difference would have been made if it had been paired with food. Hovever, it was a simply a taster of the new beers at the restaurant, Chimay Blue and Red.

A quick update:
California UNcommon is coming along quite nicely, albeit slowly. I want to do this one right, so I'm letting it cold condition for a while. After the small problem I had, I siphoned off some yeast, made a "re-starter" and pitched it back in. Fermentation seems to have finished out, and the problem is now non-existent.

Coffee Porter, as brewed by request, is also doing well. Fermentation went hella quick, so I'm letting it sit for at least a week in primary just to be sure. I don't want to repeat my mistake with the above mentioned beer.

Oh, and I'm buying up bottles of belgian and belgian-style stuff like crazy. Don't ask me why, but I've had a sudden craving for bottle conditioned, spicy beers, and big, strong, brewed-by-monks-who-know-their-beer kinds of beers. Maybe I'm just attracted by big fancy bottles with champagne corks. Who knows?