Mars: The Bringer of War 12.25.18

Appearance:

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Not red. It just isn’t the same vibrant red from the pictures I saw, or even the red description from the malster. It really gives off a mahogany color, very rusty colored. Deep brown with hints of red in it, but really reminds me of a nice varnished wood.

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Aroma: 

Nice hoppy bitterness hits the nose when first poured. Fruit aromas jump out as the beer warms up. 

Flavor:

Flavors has a great balance of bitter hops and sweet fruits. I honestly think it might be a tad bit under hopped, but that’s not a huge issue in this beer. I get a surprisingly clean malt flavor on this, almost as if it was 2-Row and some amber Candi Sugar. I don’t get a lot of malty sweetness at all. And my suspicious is that maybe the water profile combined with a significant amount of hops gave this beer a very good balance, or even slightly tipped in the direction of hoppy. 

Hyper Critical:

Would I brew this beer again? Not with these malts. My Targaryen beer turned out very red, perfectly red in my eyes, and that beer was Pilsner, CaraRed, and CaraMunich. If I ever do another Red IPA, I’m going to use that grain bill, paired with a healthy amount of hops.

House Lannister 11.13.18

House Lannister

Final stats on this beer:

Expected OG Expected FG Expected ABV SRM
19.6º P 3.0º P 9.7% ABV 5.75
Actual OG Actual FG Actual ABV SRM
19.8º P  1.012 SG 9.8% ABV 5.75

This beer has been changing in the keg quite a bit. Fermentation kicked off a lot of banana notes, and it was something that stuck around for a while. This beer has now settled to its final profile I believe. 

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Appearance:

VERY transparent beer, deep golden color. I’m surprised that this beer is as transparent as it is, and I’m also surprised that this beer appears a little more deep gold than bright gold. Not bad things, but not exactly what I was expecting. 

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Aroma: 

A big combination of the dried fruit, classic Chimay Belgian aromas, and banana. The banana is probably because the beer was fermented too warm, but I don’t find it unappealing at all. 

Flavor:

Snappy carbonation with medium to light body/mouthfeel. Right off the bat the beer hides its alcohol well to my palate. I wouldn’t be able to tell it’s encroaching 10% ABV without knowing. The flavor has a lot of banana on it. It isn’t as much banana as it was about a few weeks ago, but it’s a prominent flavor. I do get a bubblegum kind of thing going on also. The overarching flavor though is that of Belgian dried fruit and Chimay yeast, which is what I was going for. The more I drink this beer the more I can start picking out what I think is a Munich malt flavor. Although Munich Type 1 (5L) makes up only about 7% of the grain bill, it still leaves behind a big malty backbone. 

Hyper Critical:

The thing I point to the most in this beer is the banana flavor. While I think it happens to be a decent flavor and compliments the beer a little bit, I don’t think the flavor of banana belongs, or at least wasn’t my intention. But I think that’s about it. I really enjoyed this beer, I think it drinks well, and I find it more pleasing with each sip. If there was really really anything else, I might challenge myself to find a good adjunct to add to characterize the beer’s namesake. 

Pale Wheat Doppelbock 10.23.18

Final stats on this beer:

Expected OG Expected FG Expected ABV SRM
17.6º P 2.7º P 8.5% ABV 6
Actual OG Actual FG Actual ABV SRM
17.6º P  1.012 SG 8.3% ABV 6

I’ve been slacking on a review of this beer. Initially I had it and it was OK, so I let it age a bit, and then it got better. So I’ve aged it again. 

Appearance:

Deep golden, not very transparent. Bright white minimal head of foam.

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Aroma: 

Sweet aroma coming through. Can’t tell if it’s Munich malts, Hallertau Blanc hops, Acetaldehyde, or some sort of combination of those. 

Flavor:

Snappy carbonation. Medium body mouthfeel. The flavor is kind of cloying on this bottle. In past bottles I’ve had a mix of flavors. Some bottles really gave off an acetaldehyde flavor of green apples coming through, other bottles have been exceptionally balanced. I think this bottle is more on the green apple side. Not great, but not awful. There is a healthy flavor of booze coming through on this one too. 

Hyper Critical:

It’s hard to describe this beer because each bottle has seemed a little different. I was never too excited about the results of any of them though. While I thought some of the bottles were decent, I think this beer fell short of what I wanted. I think if I ever tried this beer again, I might go more traditional on the hops, and give it a little more bittering charge to balance this beer out. As for the acetaldehyde, it was a problem in all my lagers I did this past summer. It was something to do with my fermentation and not the easiest problem to fix. I think this beer could have been good, but I don’t think it turned out great, and I don’t see myself brewing this beer again. 

Lemonaughty Milkshake Juicebier 10.18.18

Final stats on this beer:

Expected OG Expected FG Expected ABV SRM
16.3º P  1.023 SG 6% ABV 3.6
Actual OG Actual FG Actual ABV SRM
17.9º P  1.020 SG 7.5% ABV 3.6

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With my new keezer system, this beer got turned around very quickly. I had a nightmare of a time trying to do a closed transfer to the keg on this one because A) I didn’t cold crash, and B) I didn’t do anything to filter the dry hops. In the future, I will be cold crashing and inline filtering my beers as a stress reduction technique.

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I did get the beer into the keg after clogging the liquid connectors multiple times with hop matter, then did a burst carbonation and let it sit on the line for a few days, and then gave it a pour.

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Appearance:

Totally hazy, bright pale yellow, paler than orange juice. It meets all appearance expectations in those two senses. It looks slightly undercarbed, shouldn’t be a big issue.

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Aroma: 

The aroma is almost just plain hoppy to my nose. I mean it smells nice, it smells like a hoppy beer, but nothing too crazy lemon flavor coming off it. I get a general sense of hoppy citrus notes…  As the beer warms up, I do get that tart lemon peel aroma lingering on the backside. As I focus on that, it quickly becomes all I can smell, my nose wants to start picking it out. 

Flavor:

The flavor has a lot of notes of citrus and lemon upfront. It is indeed slightly undercarbonated, nothing I can’t fix with the keg. As the beer warms up, I get a subtle lemon zest character on it along with a lot of hoppiness. It’s a very pleasant flavor. There is a hoppy bitterness that lingers on this, which isn’t bad at all. The bitterness offers some balance. I don’t particularly get a lot of the lactose in this one surprisingly. I wouldn’t know that it had lactose if you made me guess. It has medium to full body and mouthfeel, but nothing milky crazy. I think the lactose addition just belongs in this beer and blends in perfectly, rather than being too thick and whatnot. 

Hyper Critical:

I like this beer a lot. I’ll probably find myself drinking this beer quite a bit. I think I nailed every aspect that I could have in brewing this beer. This malt bill is ideal for me and my hoppy Juicebiers, and I think the lactose addition was good. I like the amount of hoppiness I got from doing a 4oz whirlpool at lower temperatures and a 4oz dry hop. The London Fog yeast played really well, and chewed up a little more sugars than I expected. But were the Lemonaughty hops my favorite? Not necessarily. Overall, the flavor seems more hoppy than lemony, but there is a nice mix of them going on. These hops are good, I enjoy this beer. I definitely prefer these Lemonaughty to Lemon Drop as a single hop use. But I think I might prefer these hops paired with a light addition of something like Citra or Amarillo to really accentuate the citrus flavors. I think I could also toss in some fresh meyers lemon zest in the keg to give off an even bigger burst of lemon. 

Snooty Cooter 10.5.18

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Appearance: very clear and transparent when straight out of the bottle. Deep mahogany brownish red. Surprisingly transparent, very attractive looking beer initially. It keeps a good color when the yeast gets stirred up and poured in, but gets cloudy, loses some of it’s luster. It has a snappy looking carbonation on it, and a decent lace. It was hard to get the true color from the camera tonight. The picture above shows it OK… the pictures below show it a little bitter. 

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Aroma: strong Belgian candied fruit up front… caramel lingers behind but sticks around. There’s a booze aroma coming off of it. Very pleasant all around, smells like a nice Belgian ale. 

Flavor: A lot of flavors are there, but they’re surprisingly balanced. I predominantly get what I can only describe as Chimay flavor on these beer. It has a lot of caramel and dried fruit notes that I expected. The specialty malts and Candi Syrup did its job well in this one. I get some lingering balance of bittering hops in there too. The carbonation is snappy and lightly effervescent. This is a great drinking beer. I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about this one. 

Hyper Critical: While I think this beer turned out fantastic, I think if there is a next time for this beer, I could get better efficiencies on the brew day. The grains for this one weren’t crushed enough for BIAB, and I came up well short of my goal of 8.6% ABV. While the beer was supposed to go something like 17.8ºP down to 2.7ºP, the actual stats were 15.8ºP to 2.8ºP, making this beer 7.3% ABV. Not bad, but not what I was exactly shooting for. Would I brew this beer again? Hell yeah, this was a fantastic tasting Belgian ale. 

Australian Hopped Juicebier 9.2.18

Stats

Actual OG Actual FG Actual ABV SRM
17.1º P  1.020 SG 7% ABV 4.68

I’ve been lazy, this is the second time I’m drinking this beer since it’s been ready to drink. However, the first time I drank this one it just was slappingly bitter hops lingering on the end of the tongue. Figured it needed a little time to mellow. I was right. 

Appearance:

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Looks like a big pour of juice, but not quite like orange juice. Very dense and hazy looking.

Frothy white head of foam that lingers around.

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and has wonderful lacing. 

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Aroma:

The hops come through the moment the bottle pops open. The fruits, the tropical, the intense hoppy aromas are there. More specifically? It’s hard to tell, there’s a combination of sweet tropical fruits, maybe a mango and pineapple, and some citrus bleeding through which is expected. They almost form an apple aroma? Whatever this combination of hops is giving off, it is very pleasant. 

Flavor:

The beer drinks with a snap of carbonation, and a medium to thick body on it. It’s not too thick and dense, but the beer lingers around the mouth afterwards. It isn’t a crisp drinking beer. It feels slightly heavy. It drinks with a large combination of booze, tropical fruit, and hoppy bitterness. I mostly sweet fruits on the tongue, it lingers with a sense of booziness, and finishes with a dry bitterness on the sides of the tongue. I mentioned before, this beer was REALLY bitter a week ago. It had the flavors I’m mentioning, but finished really bitter. Luckily that has calmed down to lay way for some pleasing flavors. 

Hyper Critical:

Would I brew this beer again? Absolutely. I think this is one of my better brews. I would change the schedule of hops, especially if the Vic Secret is going to be up at 21% again. I think the only flaw with the beer is that it has slightly too much bitter bite to it. Either using less hops or pushing them back to the whirlpool and dry hop would really help this beer stand out. 

Lemonade Juicebier 8.17.18

Stats

Actual OG Actual FG Actual ABV SRM
12.4º P  1.012 SG 5.12% ABV 3.6

Appearance:

Bright yellow haze but not super thick looking. 

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Aroma:

Combination of alcohol, citrus, and pine all coming through. Not exactly smelling lemons, doesn’t remind me of a bright lemon aroma. Smells like a citrusy hopped beer. 

Flavor:

Body is thinner than I’d imagine. Carbonation is good. Flavor is exceptionally light. The beer goes down really easy. It feels much much lighter than a typical juicebier. I do get hints of citrus and lemon on this one, almost some grapefruit flavors too. Pleasant flavors are there. I can’t detect anything “off” about this beer. 

Hyper Critical:

Overall I think this is a great drinking juicebier. I would have liked more lemon flavors coming through. Perhaps I could have pushed most of the hops back to the whirlpool and doubled up on the dry hop. And even dry hopped some lemon zest into this. Would I brew this again? Probably. If I did it again, next time i’d brew it either down at a true session strength of between 4 – 4.5%, or at something around 8%. I think I’d also pair this hop up with something juicy like Citra or Simcoe.