South African Juice 8.1.18


Pale gold, hazy, not super thick. Good amount of head and foam around the top. The carbonation dissipates quickly, but laces nicely. 



Nose is hard to pick out. I get hoppiness, but not nearly what I was expected at 4oz per gallon. It smells like a hoppy beer, but that’s about it… I don’t pick up a lot of sweet aromas as per this hop’s description. In fact the more I smell it, the more I’m picking up a noble spicy type aroma.  


Whoa, not fruit forward at all. They are quite lackluster in terms of the fruit flavors that were advertised. I do get a lot of spicy black pepper character on these. More wood and pine flavors, chewy wooden flavors coming through. I do get a bit of fruit lingering in the background. Some of that tart grapefruit type citrus is definitely there. 

I poured this beer for my boss, and I described what the hops are supposed to be before he tried it. He told me he wished I hadn’t told him koolaid, because he that’s all he can think of when tasting it. I didn’t get any of the koolaid flavor. If I did get any fruit flavors coming through it’s that of fermented citrus. Oh well.

Hyper Critical:

Would I brew this again? No chance. This pack of hops wasn’t good, I didn’t like it. I had very high hopes for South African hops, and I’m still slightly interested in the other varieties. But I can’t see myself spending the extra dollar for those any time soon. I’ve got other projects in mind. 

Auspicious 7.17.18

This past Tuesday night I brought this beer to the bar to share with the bartender, getting my first taste at it also.



Pale gold in front of light, more orange gold in ambient lighting. Pours with a solid white head that dissipates quickly. 



Nose is quite nice. I get sweet fruits and the juicy hop aromas I expected. There is a small undertone of homebrew yeasty smell coming off of it too. But otherwise this beer is appealing up front.


Flavor is weird to me. Seems off in some way. It has some hoppy flavors on it, hard to pick out though. It leaves a hop bite on the end, in a bitter sort of way. I am tasting the beer at very cold temperatures though. As it warms up it changes in a better way. I get more more of the fruit flavors that I can detect from the aroma that come through, and still leaves a bitter hop bite on the end. 

Hyper Critical:

Would I brew this again? Probably. I’m beginning to get suspicious of two things with this beer. I think that the Summer hops I had could have been just old, and their flavor has become lackluster. I’d consider trying out this beer again if I could get my hands on a fresh crop of Summer, because it sounds like a nice hop. I’m also suspicious that I might be leaking oxygen into my bottling process, something that I haven’t dealt with in the past, so perhaps I should reexamine my bottling methods. Overall this was a decent beer, despite me being my biggest critic.

Celebrator Emulator 7.4.18

Celebrator Bottle

Celebrator Emulator, an Ayinger clone I brewed a little while ago, turned out fairly nice for my first ever doppelbock.


Nearly completely black. It has hints of deep red brown colors, but is opaque and lacking saturation.



Distinctive dark lager. It combines all the aromas of German lagers with chocolate or black malts. Very pleasant roasted aroma coming through.


I guess I’ll describe the carbonation here, but it’s definitely way under carbonated. And that’s probably due to the lack of yeast going into the bottle, or dead yeast going into the bottle.

Other than that, the flavor is almost where I wanted it to be. It has a roasted flavor to it that balances the heavy Munich malt flavor. It finishes on the palate very smooth and very pleasant. There is no harshness coming through anywhere on this beer.

Hyper Critical:

Of course this beer could be better, but it’s my first doppelbock ever. I do get some slight sweetness taste coming through similar to that of the Hallertau SMaSH lager I made. I’m thinking that is the yeast flavor leaving behind some sort of residual sweetness. The beer has a homebrew flavor on it too. The beer could probably use some age, which might clear up those off flavors. Overall, a decent beer, good drinker for this rainy season.

Hallertau SMaSH (Mittelfrüh) 5.7.18

Hallertau SMaSH bottle.jpg

7% ABV, 32 IBUs, Hoppy German Pils.


Pale yellow with some haze. I thought the haze could be because it was too cold, but it stuck as the beer warmed up. The first picture shown below doesn’t really show how pale the beer is.



Not a ton of aroma coming through, I get some mild soft fruit coming through.


Very crisp, very drinkable. The flavor does show some fruit, or some floral, or something. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but the aroma of soft mild fruit comes through on this beer, even when very cold. I’m not totally sure if these flavors are German pilsner malty sweet, hoppy fruit notes, or yeasty esters. I am remembering that there were no boil hop additions, and all whirlpool additions, which could lend to not enough bitterness and increased sweet hop flavors. 

Hyper Critical:

I really enjoy this beer, I would probably brew it again, but not before I played with a few things.

  1. Next time I would absolutely add some boil hop additions. The more I drink it, the more I think that instead of adding all 4oz of hops in the whirlpool, that I should have spread them out evenly at 60, 15, 5, and flameout. 
  2. I would like to try this beer again with a different German hop, mainly Hallertau Blanc. But I think this beer could be good with any German hop variety. 
  3. I might try a different yeast in the future. I like the attenuation of S-23, but I might consider 34/70 or some White Labs yeasts in the future.


Opened the last bottle of this experimental NEIPA tonight 2 months after bottling and much to my surprise, the hops were still right there with great flavors. The aroma had subsided, but stone fruit hop flavors were prevalent that worked along with lactose and yeast flavors. Still a very good drinking beer.



Also much to my surprise… it was blue! It wasn’t nearly as purple as the other bottles, but instead a much deeper blue like I had originally envisioned. Unexplainable.

Photos are a little tough to tell how blue it is, but in comparison to the other bottles, this didn’t have nearly as much purple tint.


So of course I had to shine a light through the beer again, and again, the light refracts the beer as a bright pink as it did before.



…what color is this beer? not sure.

Bloom Clone 3.12.18

5.4% ABV, 180 IBU, NEIPA.

Recipe and Brew Day:

Well, this beer was a stinker. Not in terms of aroma, but in terms of flavor. When I bottled this beer the sample tasted super bitter. I was not a fan of it then. Turns out I’m still not a fan of it. I went over to a friend’s to try it out, and he gave me a lot of good flavor notes on it.



Bright golden yellow with lots of carbonation. The beer really does look nice. It’s cloudy, attractive yellow color with no signs of oxidation, and has a great lingering white head on it.


I get a lot of Simcoe style aroma on it. Sweet pine is how I describe it, but there’s layers of the tropical fruit and pine aroma too. It smells nice. I do also pick up a nail polish rubbing alcohol aroma in the background a little bit.


Here’s where it gets bad. It’s really bitter, like really really bitter. It was described to be as black pepper, which I agree with. “It’s like chewing on a pencil” is the term I mostly agreed with. It had gross bitter woody flavor on it. I don’t know what went wrong with this beer.

Hyper Critical:

As I already talked about in the brew day post, I have two suspicions as to why this beer is bad.

Nugget hops, which are listed as bittering hops, but I’ve used hops in this style of beer with higher Alpha Acids, so I’m not totally convinced that’s the issue.

I still believe that this could be an issue. It’s just too many bittering hops for this style, and it turned astringent and gross.

My second suspicion is the water profile. This was the first time that I went with the 150:150 Chloride:Sulfate ratio. It certainly could be the elevated sulfate levels contributing to the bitterness, especially considering my aggressive hop schedule with equal boil and equal whirlpool additions.

The elevated sulfate levels could be an issue, or it certainly could be a combination of both elevated sulfate levels and an aggressive bittering hop together. I need more advice on what’s causing this beer to be bad…

Looking at Parish’s website one more time, they say:

A juicy, soft, hazy IPA absolutely loaded with Simcoe and Nugget hops.

I imagine there’s other hops in Bloom, not just Simcoe and Nugget. In what capacity is simcoe and nugget used? Boil? Whirlpool? Dry hop? I don’t know.

Would I brew this beer again? No. I might consider using a touch of nugget and simcoe somewhere in a springtime IPA for the future, but I would move towards completely different hops to achieve a soft, sweet, and floral IPA.


UPDATE: APRIL 12, 2018

Bloom came out again. I had it both on draft and in bottles, and I honestly taste some of the same underlying flavors that were in my “clone” beer. However, I also got a lot of the classic Parish IPA sweet flavors; mainly Citra I’m guessing.

Redoing this recipe: first I’d cut down on the malts. I think I could use just 2-row and flaked wheat probably. Then I’d probably add mostly Citra to the hopping schedule, with a little bit of Simcoe and Nugget in the whirlpool, and a 2:1 ratio of Citra:Simcoe+Nugget in the dry hop. Something like that.


6% ABV, 187 IBU, Experimental NEIPA.

SWLABR recipe post

SWLABR brew day post

SWLABR Botltle Art.jpg


First pouring this beer, the pouring liquid seems a light pale blue, with a very pale gray blue head of foam.


However, as we shined every light we could through the glass, it really shows a more reddish purple hue, with a dense haze.


As we looked closer and closer, it turned into an experiment of light diffusion. Shining a light directly underneath or above the glass reveals of very bright pale blue color nearest the light, shifting to the bright pinkish purple away from the light. Unfortunately the camera eye isn’t the greatest at picking this up.


While the beer was sitting and getting some natural sunshine, there were noticeable shades of pale blue on the side of the glass with the sunlight.


So why did it end up this color? The short answer is: the pH dropped too much. I was hoping it would turn out a nice royal shade of blue, but it turned out a healthy mix of weird colors. Here’s some information I copy/pasted into my own recipe records that I found here.

From pH 8 to pH 4, the tea is a regal shade of blue.

It quickly shifts into deep purple terrain at pH 3,

and finally bursts into carnation pink territory at pH 2.

What was the pH exactly? Luckily the homebrew shop has a pH meter now. We did a quick calibration, and flushed in some samples of the beer: 4.42.


A 4.42 reading should have left the beer more blue according to the quoted information above, but who knows. Maybe a pH reading of just about 4.5 is why the beer had a lot of both blue and purple in it?

When I got home, I brewed up some blue pea blossom tea, and divided the tea between two glasses. I left one glass as is, poured lemon juice into the other glass to drop the acidity and change the color, and then compared the colors to my beer.

From right to left in the following photo: Regular blue tea, my weird colored beer, blue tea with lemon juice to change the acidity.



It smells pleasant, which is good. I get a lot of sweet fruit aromas on the nose initially, but there’s a light hop spiciness on the nose too. I can’t say the aroma was fantastic, but it did have a familiar pleasant NEIPA smell.


Before telling anyone what this beer was, I had them drink it and guess what it was. They all said it was definitely really hoppy. I was also told consistently that there was a mild to harsh hop bitterness, which I’m perceiving as a hop spiciness, but I do agree that it is more bitter than I wanted it to be.

It’s hard to tell, but I think I’m getting some of the Mosaic poking through the strong hop bitterness. That flavor could also be some of the sweet stone fruit flavors of the EXP hops. It’s honestly hard to tell because I have no familiarity with EXP Stone Fruit hops, but it could also be the residual sweetness of the lactose shining through. It’s hard to distinguish the flavors other than hoppiness at this point.

The beer definitely has a lot of carbonation, great head retention, and great lacing, all three of which I typically don’t achieve with my beers. Interesting.

Hyper Critical:

Would I brew this beer again? Probably not. Clarifying: I probably won’t ever use pea blossoms again, I just don’t see the point. The only point of this beer was to brew a NEIPA with a fun gimmick. And a fun gimmick was achieved. I don’t have a ton of great things to say about this beer on the first day the bottles were ready, but I think there’s potential for this in the coming week or two if the hop harshness mellows out a bit. If the hoppiness does mellow, I’m hoping it will lay way to sweet stone fruit flavors paired with the sweet berry flavors of mosaic.