The iLike Beer Theme Song:

The iLike Beer Theme Song: "Drink Beer." Yes, this is an original song, exhaustingly derived by this author.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Woaked 'Em Up Ale

Background:  This is the second beer which could (currently can) be found on tap at Casa-de-Tobias.  I brewed this potable using copious amounts of biscuit and chocolate malts.  It was then left to age with bourbon soaked toasted American Oak chips.  Many have attempted this combination however none have been successful in creating a good beer this way*  The name was spawned whilst browsing the Googles for information on clear coating paper.  I was directed to a site which is dedicated to this odd form of American car racing called NASCAR.  The people have a very interesting way of talking, and the name is dedicated to them and this "rocket fuel" which is apparently something used by people and not the vehicles.  The label was designed by this writer, and it is one I am proud of.

Color:  Deep dark brown.  Much like a piece of oak soaked in ebony dye.  I believe I can see the elegant grain of the beer mimicking the oak upon which it was aged.

Taste:  I have brewed 2 beers between this one and Hopeyedidntfuckitup Ale.  You will notice neither made it to review; neither were worthy of the time once the "pride effect" was removed from the tasting.  This beer however has been a pleasant surprise.  It has a dry flavor accentuated by the essence of toasted virgin oak.  While one might not get a splinter drinking it (quality control would make a 6 Sigma blackbelt spew sick allover), it certainly tastes like a possibility.  This dryness is beautifully balanced by the sweet brown sugar tones of bourbon.  Even though the libation has a calculated IBU of 51, the hops are nearly indistinguishable from the mouth, although they are present in the nose (of the beer and the drinker alike).  That should make any of the sponsored NASCAR beer drinkers happy.

*In my dwelling...

Monday, July 11, 2011

ABInBev Budweiser

Background:  With the American colony about to celebrate still having their independence I decided I should get into the festivities.  Since I did not k now what the saying “Bah mer-ah-can” meant (although it is forcibly shouted when heard) I decided I needed a different approach.  As such, I did some research as to what the most American Beer style was, and which Beer exemplified it.  It turns out that the words “clean, crisp, and cool”  are used as a style in place of the term “Lager.”   An interesting note; Americnos Lageros is Latin for “to blandly see through a medium more clearly than air.”  With a little research, it became clear that this was the best choice to celebrate what American is: The Budweiser is touted as being an American Beer, however it is owned by ABInBev which is a Belgian (not a state in the US) company.  Much like purchasing an American automobile, such as a Chrysler, who is owned by Fiat, which is an Italian (also not a state) company.

Color:  As is the typical with American Lagers, it is very light.  When I look at this in a glass I think one of two things:  by jove my water has jaundice, or yet again this poor establishment has refused to wash my glass prior to serving my San Pellegrino.  The closest descriptor I can muster would be similar to the color Icterine.

Taste:  I must admit that I have seen this Beer take some criticism from the educated Beer press for being bland and lackluster.  Many go as far as to say “similar to water.”  I feel as though this is an exaggeration for if given the choice between water and Budweiser, I would choose Budweiser.    I think a better description would be to imagine a 20g tea bag filled with biscuit malt, and a quarter hop flower steeped in carbonated water.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Glen Finch Scotch Ale

Glen Finch Deer Head Scotch Ale

Background:  I must admit I haves been drinkning while a little bit before writing this.  As is the norm, I try the beer, and then review it because going it the other way is ignorant because then I haven’t had the beer yet so how can I possibly review it?  I finished off the Hopeyedidntfuckitup ale earlier today and a friend gave me this beer to review.  

Color:very light like Miller light.  Very little carbonation, but man does it kick.  I think the abv is 9.6 percent; it’s hard to read. 

Taste:  it states a lot like scotch and not a lot like ale.  It is impressive that a beer can have this much alcohol flavors to it.  I started in on my second glass, and I,ll be buggered if I cant; remember how many I had before it.  This stuff relllllay hits you.  Like an American football player.  Or like a sack of pots.  I like marshmallows.    

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Name Tag Classic

Background: Classic. In one word, this is an exemplary description. I am reminded of my Grandpapy's memories, sitting on a rocking chair, drinking a Beer. No particular name, no particular taste, just a beer. When I saw this timelessly labeled beverage sitting upon the shelf at the nearly local store whose name escapes me, (it is similar to Traitor Bose) I was sent back to a time when the male was a Man, and Beer was Beer. Even though I did not live during this time, I remember it fondly.

Color: The shimmer of this beer would have rivaled a polished piece of nearly clear Baltic amber. Lighter than some things which I can't cleverly think of off the top of my head, but I assure you are really light. If a color can be described as muddy, this would be it's antithesis. Possibly the best analogy I can think of would be what one might observe in the WC at a point of near perfect hydration.

Taste: It has the classically classic taste of a classic lager. To be perfectly transparent (not too unlike the Beer itself) the flavor is not what sold me with this particular beverage, it was the sales sign. It read similar to this message; “Name Tag: @ $2.99 for 6, it works.” At close to a metric 5% ABV it packs a classic whallop, and served ridiculously cold, your papillae will be classically impressed. Quite classic indeed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shorts Mystery Stout

Shorts Mystery Stout
Background:  It is a mystery that this bottle made it to my abode (not to be confused with commode, although they do rhyme quite nicely I do say).   I purchased what I thought to be a complete half dozen bottles of another brew, however when I pulled out the first one it turned out to be this beer.  True to its name, I am unsure how it appeared here whether it be osmosis, evanescence, or by any other vaporiously mediocre band named process.  It was there, and of course I had to drink it.

Color:  Dark.  Much like the famed Black-Brown wood coloring found at a famous Swedish furniture store.  The beer was dense looking, and I swear I saw something looking back at me.  This beer is rather unnerving.

Taste:  Unnerving, that is until I took a sip.  A familiarity swept over me which can be likened to having a freshly sun dried fleece blanket wrapped around my head.  This is no ordinary familiarity, nonsense.  This was the familiarity of meeting someone who you believe you have known all of your life.  It is not just a flavor phenomenon that I am trying to describe, but the whole experience around the tasting.  I felt as if I had had these flavors throughout my life, yet not at one instant.  Isolated, the different flavors are dare I say, drab?  Together, they share the acquaintance that only siblings from the U.S. State of West Virginia can have.  This is the least special, special Beer that I have had.  I think it is a mystery that although it is completely unremarkable, I have desired on more than one occasion, to purchase it again (knowingly this time).

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hopeeyedidntfuckitup Ale Investigation Into How I Effed it Up

Hopeeyedidntfuckitup Ale Investigation Into How I Effed it Up

The title explains it all; I was expecting the brew to come out around 7.9% ABV, at which point I would be getting close to the ball park of being able to bottle age this batch.  However, with a measured output of 5.1% I came up quite short.  I figured the best way to go about this was to assume complete fermentation, and look at my specialty grain conversion.  I never knew what my conversion efficiency was, so I figured I would investigate this.  As it turns out, I was about as efficient as a class A amplifier.

Using Palmer’s book I was able to reference what an ideal, and 85% efficiency conversion would have outputted for the grains I steeped.  I used these numbers to compare my measured output to, learning how good my conversion was.  Keep in mind, I used liquid malt extract as part of the recipe, and this should be considered 100% efficient.  I then worked backwards, using my measured original gravity, I subtracted the portion which the LME contributed, and then got how much my steeped specialty grains contributed.  From here I was able to divide this by the theoretical maximum and get a pretty good estimation of my efficiency.  I threw this into Excel to make it easier for the future batches.

Conclusions:  My conversion was about as good as Miller Lite is when compared to Burton Baton.  I will leave it to your imagination to guess what that means.  The next step is to figure out what I did poorly.  The first look brings me to this:  pH.  As a general rule of thumb, one wants a ratio greater than 1.0 of lbs of grain per gallons of extraction water.  I was under this, which could cause bad conversion.  Additionally, to avoid excess tannins I only steeped the grains for 30 minutes.  So on the next go round I will add 40% more grain, and I will steep it for about 60 minutes.  This should bring the efficiency up to better than tube amp status, and provide more grains to make my goal of around 9-11%.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hopeeyedidntfuckitup Ale

Hopeeyedidntfuckitup Ale

Background:  I found this interesting drink in…my estate!  Yes, Hopeeyedidntfuckitup Ale was produced and is on tap at Casa de Tobias.  I must admit the name is not creative, nor is the idea for the brew.  There are multiple Vanilla Bourbon Stouts available but what sets this apart is its invention.  I traversed great distances to the nearest supply depot, with a well created recipe in hand.  However to my dismay, the depot had nearly none of the supplies which I had meticalisly planned for.  Thus, said name was mumbled under my breath as I grabbed things that seemed to match.  “What, I need roasted oat?  Roasted barley;  close enough, they both have ‘oaste’ in the names…”  I included bourbon, and the delicate flavor of real vanilla beans in this amalgam of guesstimation. 

Color:  darkish

Taste:  Surprisingly good.  It is often I make good beer, it is not often that part of the flavor that makes it good [to me] is not my own pride.  Actually, I might hypothesize that in fact, no beer that I have made thus far went unflavored by said placebo.  This brew truly is the first beer I have made in a few years of home brewing.  This is certainly not a pour of Bourbon County Rare by any fathom, but alas it is good.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sierra Nevada Ovila Dubbel

Background:  This Beer was presented to me in lieu of the libation of my quest; KBS.  It’s greatness was expounded to me by the shop attendant.  As his first recommendation to me was that of Fullers Ale 2007 about a year ago, I decided his opinion deserved consideration.  I quickly retraced the path I had taken to get there and arrived safely at home, bottle in brown bag under arm.

Color:  The beer was a bubbly translucent deep terracotta, like a fresh semi-dried brick hand made from the best of clay in Spain.  If I squinted, held my breath, spun in a circle three hundred and fourteen and a half times, and then looked at the glass with my eyes one fifth of the way open, I could actually see the Monks of the Abbey of New Clairvoix.  

Taste:  With all of the back story, the stones, and prayers I must admit I expected great things.  Alas, I must write that the tasting was less than this.  To use the word mediocre would be harsh, but only slightly.  I have had myriad other time (and inebriation) forgotten named ales with similar responses from my tongue’s flavor catchers.  What can be said is that part of the sale of each bottle goes towards the restoration of a twelfth century monastery, which although is not a flavor, it is nice.  I do look forward to this ale’s siblings, Saison and Quad which will be released in June and November respectively.    

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Founders: Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Background:  I must break rank for a minute and say, without a doubt, this is one of the top 5 beers I have had in my life.  </taking off serious pants>  I can remember the first time I sipped Kentucky Breakfast Stout; ‘twas back when they called it by its given name, not the more common abridged moniker.  It was several years ago, and I can say I still remember reading the description: imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels.  It sounded interesting enough, I like a good stout or a neat low ball full of Wathen’s Single Barrel.  This was indeed an awakening for me; Beer served in a snifter?  But alas, pretentions aside, this drink was fantastic.  In the words of one William Smith, “My life got flipped-turned upside down.”  I very recently traveled out to Grand Rapids Michigan with the knowledge that the beer had released just one week prior.  I was greeted with utter disappointment when I learned they were already dry of the beverage.  But there was a thin trickle of good news:  The Black Party.

Color:  Dark.  This Beer was dark.  If thick were an adjective referring to shades of light, it would be suitably used in this case.  As I deliberately swilled the deep liquid in my glass I watched it velvetly coat the sides, retuning elegantly delayed, with grudging disdain for gravity.  Yes, all of this in just its color.

Like a stout Beer aged in reissued bourbon barrels should: amazing.  I was surprised to learn that it was only aged for 1 year because its smooth yet bold bourbon flavor was so well matured.  This was not a beginning brewer dumping some liquor into their homebrew and pronouncing it “Bourbon Stout.”  No, this was something much greater, as if the corn was distilled in the beer during fermentation.  The smooth application of flavors was stunning, and unforgettable.  I should add that this photo is only one of the two bottles I was able to procure this year, and they are two of 64 delivered to my county.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Great Lakes Brewing Company: Jabberwocky

I was recently on a tour of the Great Lakes Brewing Company with some dear friends of mine (yes, the same kind soul which shared the aforementioned Scotch ale).  We were delighted to have been shown around by none other than their brewmaster Luke.  He is quite the gentleman,  especially considering the cheeky shananigans of some of the more inebriated in the group. 
At the heart of this particular adventure's story however is a certain Beer.  After my drinking campanion asked Luke about any interesting non commercially available treats we were informed of the existance of a libation named Jabberwocky.

This brew was an ale of Belgium decent which had been aged in old sherry casks for no less than 6 years.  It had a deep amber color with hints of rose.  I must admit however, that lighting was low at best (perfect for a pub) which prevented accurate viewing and subsequent photography.
It had a very tangy flavor.  The sherry influence was instantly noted with an ever so light flavor of Californian oak (more than likely from the Napa Valley region).  The rest of the Belgium flavor followed, although subtly,  much unlike a vehicle from Spyker

Overall, in a day long tour of multiple breweries filled with mediocrity, Great Lakes (and another with review to follow) were standout leaders, making said trip quite well worth it.  Thank you to Luke for the hidden beast.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Smithwicks and my Trusty Pipe

I will break format here for a different combination which I found quite complimentary.  Smithwicks is a decent red in a bottle, and one of my favorite Beers of all time when fresh on draught.  By fresh I refer to the experience I had several years ago whilst visiting Wexford, Ireland:  I was in a small establishment sipping on the ubiquitous pint of Guinness when a fellow patron recommended this amber draught.  I tried it, and great scott was it fantastic.  Eveytime I crack open a bottle here I am always reminded of a great pint surfing an Irish spring.
That's neither here nor there, what I am getting to is the above combination.  My freeform pipe (an Andrew Michael original) found it's way to my mouth filled with a bowl of Independence by CAO.  This is a great smoke which I never tire of.  Its a nice blend of Virginia tobacco that is slightly smokey yet smooth and sweet.  I feel as if it was made to be paired with this Beer.  Together they create a dark yet mildly sweet flavor that ever so slightly burns the tongue.  Bravo! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Harviestoun-Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16

Background:  A dear friend approached me one day and we dove head first into a discussion of the finer things in life; scotch, questionable websites, beer, and pipe tobaccos.  Two of these points led him to going into his cellar.  Upon his return he produced a bottle of this fine brew.  The best of discussions always lead to great things.

Color: I am reminded of planks of kiln dried deep, rich, dark, American walnut, glistening with a light coat of hand rubbed urethane. 

Taste: What does one expect from a drink when they understand that a complex ale has been aged in fine scotch barrels?  Exactly what was presented to me, that is my answer.  To paraphrase using a quote from noted award winning author David Chappelle, in reference to dog food:  “It tastes just like it smealls….delicious.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thirsty Dog: Cerberus Belgian Tripel

Background: This ale appeared to me in a dream.  I was walking down a beautiful cobblestone path with dry green foliage abound, when I came upon a small peasant shanty.  Within it was a scholar sitting at a table, who offered me this delight.  I awoke, and promptly ventured out to procure some.

Color:  Ah yes.  One does often query the difference between ochre and fulvous, and this predicament is certainly applied to this ale.  The answer may only be known to the peasant scholar.

Taste:   The initial splash of brew brings a flavor as strong as Société Générale de Belgique: alcohol be thy name.  The single malt flavor pours on closely after.  Does one need to know what a great single malt liquor such as Glenlivet Nadurra tastes like to understand the complex and beautiful flavor of this liquid?  No, this is a beer, not single malt scotch.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Dogfish Head: Burton Baton

Background: This bottled potable peered out to look at me from its surroundings of cornucopian (4+) carbonated friends.  We made eye contact and the rest is fastidious history.

Color: An amber color best likened to frost covering the fur of a beautiful European Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) on a glistening Baltic winter’s morning.

Taste: If the Queen had met with one Joeseph Dirt, this might be the outcome.  Refined, yet gritty, beautiful, yet  mullet clad.  The flavor of North Carolinian fine oak furniture is nearly kept secret, until the final moments when it pushes the hops’ finale aside and gracefully states its purpose.  This find has me looking forward to future tasting of this tiny, off the beaten path brewery.  

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thomas Hardy's Ale (2008)

Background:  A random Beer found at a local market (liquor store) whilst inquiring about the possible availability of properly cellared libations.  The following is the result:

Color:  Brilliant golden amber, akin to waves of grain gently viewed just before the sun has lovingly kissed the western horizon.

Taste: Decadent caramel boldly massages the tongue while the ever so balanced dances of malts and hops pull one into a warm leather high-backed chair, front row, watching a graceful ballet of ingredients hard(y) at work.