I already know what my next brew will be, I even have all the ingredients. I'm researching the one after that. I was thinking I'd like something not too pale, not too dark. Aha, whatever it ends up being will likely be called "Goldilocks" Ha! So, I went and bought everything I could find that called it'self "Amber" or "Brown". I'm looking for a winter drinking beer I suppose. Besides I have a pale and a dark in the fermenters right now and the next will also be pale.

I came home with 10 brews, which I've drunk over the last few weeks, pictured below in rough drinking order. Yes I know Squires does an Amber but I'm well familiar with that and I already knew that wasn't quite what I am after. Yeh, I'm familiar with Little Creatures "Roger" too but I felt like drinking one. The two winners were......
Sierra Navada "Tumbler" Autumn Brown Ale. Golly this is nice. Smooth, mouthfilling, not too sweet or bitter, lots of interesting flavour.
Hix beer "Brown Ale". A bit lighter than the Tumbler, but wonderfully balanced I thought. I could drink a great deal of this.
So apparently I want to brew a brown. Now to find and choose a recipe. Not sweet or too bitter.

The others:
Murray's "Punch and Judy" Amber Ale: I enjoyed this too, ticks lots of boxes, but it was on the light side of what I'm looking for this time.
Two Birds "Sunset Ale": Really interesting, lovely beer. Red (as the name implies), somewhat floral. Brewed locally by a two woman team! First of their's that I've found.
Newkie brown: I've drunk this before but so many years ago I had no idea what it tasted like. It's great (of course) but the first sip comes across more bitter than I want.
Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale: This is the second beer I've had from this brewery, it also is too sweet for my palate.
Russell American Amber Ale: I wasn't fond of this. Slightly too sweet I think, possibly a hop that doesn't work for me?
Dos Equis Amber Lager: A slightly darker version of what hits my palate as "horrid lager flavour"
Endeavour Reserve Amber Ale: Nice enough but boring. Probably nicer in warm weather. I drank this with lunch today at aroung 15deg room temp.

. .

On labels:
I do wonder about craft breweries using labelling that one can't easily remove. I would think the home brewing community would tend to buy craft/ microbrewery produce when they are not drinking their own. I certainly do. I recycle all crown cap bottles, unless it takes too much fuss to get the labels off. So when buying beer to drink, I'm more like to choose one with a civilised labelling policy. Little Creatures, James Squire, Montieths, White Rabbit, Sierra Navada all have good removable labels and I like their brews. On the other hand, I suppose that home brewers don't buy a huge amount of commercial bottled beer, and many of them use kegs rather than bottles. Still, if I were ever to go commercial, I'd be taking this into consideration when choosing the labels. As if :-)

montjoye: (Default)
( Oct. 20th, 2013 09:23 pm)

Two more tastings, possibly the last for a while. At least until I buy more to try anyway! Lots of beer in the house but it's all of my making. These two are all from memory. The bottles are already washed and stashed.

Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout.
Ruddy delicious I reckon. Very much a treat, not your average beer. Rich, slightly sweet, high alcohol (10%). Tastes like a beery version of very high quality dark chocolate.

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout
I liked this one too. It's described as semi sweet. Yes it's sweeter than I would usually go for but there is enough bitterness and flavour to balance that. I'm interested that one can get this much flavour into a beer without it being high alcohol. This is ~5%. I'd certainly drink this again. Might even try to brew one but I reckon I'll have a go at the porter first.


Pale Face II (my latest American Pale Ale)
was bottled two weeks ago, is at least mostly carbonated and very tasty. It's quite fruity while still being bitter. I like the change of hops. I used less Willamette and introduced some Amarillo. I also tweaked the specialty grains but might have gone too far on the wheat, the beer has ended up a bit cloudy.

I'm planning to mash again next Saturday, which amusingly is two days before the anniversary of my first ever full grain mash. It will be mash #8, and possibly #9 too if I get keen and efficient.

The current two ferments are still happily glooping away. I'm feeling impatient for them to finish but they have only be going 10 or 11 days. Patience grasshopper.
 


Heretic Gramarye -Rye Pale Ale
A pretty classic APA. Fully bodied and hoppy. I like it. I read that rye gives a spicy flavour. I *think* I could taste that? but it could have been something in the hop character? hard to tell. IF I like the American Wheat when it is done, I might later try a version with rye in it.

Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter
as I've written several times, this is supposed to the most classic of the brown porter style. It had some nice flavours but it's too something for my preference, sweet?


I'm concluding that I like nice clean, dry yeasts best, at least at the moment. No surprise given my general aversion to too much sweet. Which, simplistically, means more American ales and less English ones for me. Irish and Scottish ales are on the dry side too, so there is plenty of choice.

So the revised plan for my next couple of brews, is that I will do an Irish red ale rather than an English bitter, and an American robust porter instead of an English brown. Both of the revised choices are done with a clean yeast. I'll plan to do an English ale next autumn.
montjoye: (Default)
( Oct. 12th, 2013 03:54 am)
Such a mixture. Some marvellous, some disappointing. I’m teaching myself about beer styles and finding things I do and don’t want to make. The better known the beer, the more likely there is to be cheaty notes online for how to make it, or something like.

Redback Wheat beer (Mathilda Bay)
I thought I liked this. Either I was wrong or it has changed. I found it both boring and with far too much nasty flavour. I’m now presuming that particular nasty flavour is PoR hops (Pride of Ringwood)

Fat Yak pale ale (Mathilda Bay)
I do like this. Nice citrusy hops but subdued. Now I can identify PoR underneath though and that pleases me less

Alpha pale ale (Mathilda Bay)
Better still. I’d happily drink a lot more of this. I was concerned this would be too bitter. It IS bitter but doesn’t taste over the top. It does have great late hop flavour. Hops are Cascade and Amarillo, hurrah. In the APA style but less body than the actual American versions I’ve tried, including the recipe in my “Classic Styles” book.


And, changing gear

Wicked Elf Porter
Not a fan. Quite big malty flavour, but not smooth. There is a nasty bite of burnt in there

Murray’s Dark Knight Porter
Strange! It might have even been off? Smoother than the one above but had an unpleasant ( to me) flavour I couldn’t identify. Farmyardish? Blergh anyway and I didn’t finish it

Sierra Nevada Porter
Now this is the business. Lovely dark malt flavours, no horrid burnt notes, smooth but interesting. Rich, dark, smooth, balanced and lovely. Yummo.


I mean to seek out some examples of Brown porter and American wheat on the weekend. For that I shall need a specialty shop. In the past I have looked at the enormous range in such shops and been so confused I bought nothing. Thankfully I have looked up a list of appropriate commercial brands so I shouldn’t get too bamboozled this time.
Tags:
Again I have bought a sampling range of beers to help me decide the next brew, mostly golden and pale ales. I meant to mash on the weekend, but that requires a style decision, a recipe chosen or developed, and grain ordered by Friday bedtime. I’m thinking I want something pale and pleasant to drink in summer. Possibly a paler and lesser bodied version of an APA? But I don’t want it so pale and clean as to be boring. I do want some aromatic late hop character. A difficult balance to find? The closest description I can find in the “Australian Amateur Brewing Championship Style Guidelines” (that I have just thought to look up, aha!) is “American Wheat Beer”. Hurrah. I have a target to pursue! and there is a recipe in my trusty book, hurrah. 

I had thought I was looking for perhaps an “Australian Pale Ale” but no, Coopers Pale seems to be a classic example of that style and although I’ll drink it, especially when it’s the only ale on tap, I find it a bit bland and sort of soapy. Neither do I seem to want a Golden Ale, as evidenced by tonight's tastings:

http://www.aabc.org.au/docs/AABC2013StyleGuidelines_OnePagePerStyle.pdf

Beez Neez- Mathilda Bay
I’ve tried this before with a memory of not liking it. I like the sound of it though so I tried again (yesterday, I’m not a total drunkard). Nope, still don’t like it. Darker colour than I expected- quite amber. Thin body, sort of dilutely malty. Can taste the honey which is welcome at first but becomes a heavy unpleasant sort of twang by half way through the glass. Not trying to make a clone of this one.

Golden Ace- Feral
I loved the sorachi ace lager from these guys but it was only available on tap at the brewery so I only tasted it once. This one has been released in bottles. Golden colour as one would expect from the name. Very clean, light mouthfeel. Taste is crisp, vaguely lemony and rather boring sadly.

Golden Ale- Bridge Road Brewers
I like this a bit better than Feral’s version. Very slightly more body and more complex hops but still quite low bitterness. Later additions and different hops I would say.

Winter Ale (dopplebock)- Monteiths
Couldn’t face another golden ale- I have two to go but I’m starting to think I just don’t much like the style. So I’ve opened by far the darkest thing in my current tasting collection. I read that dopplebock is a dark lager, perhaps this one is brewed with a clean ale yeast? Very malty, bit chocolatey, but still clean flavour. Low bitterness. I likey.

Lark’s Foot Golden Ale- Sail and Anchor
(Bar Barra turned up so I fed this to him and just tasted a bit). Again, for my palate there isn’t enough flavour to compensate for the low bitterness.

The Chancer Golden Ale- James Squire.
Quite by accident, this is Bar Barra’s declared favourite Aussie beer. It’s my pick of the golden ales I/we have tried tonight. More bitter and more noticeable hop character. Amarillo hops apparently. Still not quite what I have in mind though.

later:

Hawthorn Premium Pale Ale
nice but a bit too bitter for me. It says "fruity hops" and they were. I liked that part

Mornington Pale
an APA. Really lovely. Passionfruit flavours! Golden. Fairly bitter but just manages not to be too much.  lighter bodied than "classic styles". I'd be proud and pleased  to make one like this.
from the label: Cloudy golden yellow. American hops. Citrus and Passionfruit. Moderate bitterness, generous addition of  wheat malts.
.

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