Lot’s A-Brewing

I have not had a lot of time to post. Not just because life is busy, but also because I’ve been too busy brewing my ass off. Tampa Bay Beer Week is about a month away and I’m putting on my second annual Open House party. Which means I need beer ready to quench the thirst of the masses. But here’s a quick list of what I’ve been up to.

1. I brewed a spontaneously fermented ale in December and I’m a few weeks from bottling it. Jury is still out on if this will be drinkable or not. I hedged my bets by putting it into secondary with raspberry puree and a witbier yeast to temper the wildness. I’m planning a full grain-to-glass write-up once it’s ready to drink. It will definitely be educational.

2. Tripel came out pretty nice.

3. Peanut butter chocolate stout came out really nice. I used PB2 in the boil and it gave a good PB flavor.

4. Milk stout and coffee stout. This was a milk stout batch. I bottled half and then added cold pressed espresso to the rest before bottling to make a coffee stout. Surprisingly good.

5. My first Northeast IPA is in primary right now. I’ve never had a proper one. I’ve just read about them. But with all the buzz with this style, I expect nothing less than deliciousness.

6. Bottled and waxed my second batch ever of kriek. Waiting on bottle conditioning before cracking one open. But taste test at bottling was very promising.

7. Made a blonde ale with 20% rye. Very refreshing and clean. By the way, all the new better brewing practices I’ve implemented continue to pay off with very solid beers.

Here’s a picture sampling of the goings-on in my brewery.

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Dirty Sex

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I cracked open another Bloed Koning Kriek the other night in order to do a comparison between it and Boon Kriek (a commercial example) and it’s been about a month since we tasted the Bloed last. If you recall, Erika enjoyed it as did I. Well, what a difference a month makes. It has become more sour and more funky (a little barnyard). But in my opinion, it isn’t out of hand and I still enjoyed it. But what did Erika think? We’ll get to that in a bit.

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Appearance: Bloed Koning was a lighter red and mostly clear while the Boon was deeper, darker red and almost opaque. Both heads after the pour were fleeting (see pics).

Aroma: Bloed Koning had light cherries on the nose along with some barnyard funk. But both were restrained. Definitely didn’t come to the level of being pungent. The Boon had no funkiness in the aroma, but was all cherries all the time. And not just cherry, but a deep sweet, almost cherry cough syrup type of smell.

Taste: Bloed Koning’s taste followed the aroma: funky, slight cherry, tart/sour, but somewhat restrained. The sour and funk had increased in the last month since we tasted it last. Boon was more on the sweeter side. No sour, no funk. Clean and fruity.  Now there is a big ABV difference here.  The Boon is only 4%.  And while I couldn’t get a final ABV calculation do to the secondary refermentation on cherries, I’d guess the Bloed is in the 9-10% range.  But the alcohol is well hidden, with no burn at all.  However, you definitely could feel it in the head after sipping on it a bit.

Mouthfeel: Bloed was thinner compared to Boon but both had that effervescent carbonation. A nice prickle on the tongue.

Overall: Ok, these are two totally different animals. I’ve never had a commercial kriek before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. From what I’ve read, some krieks are very sweet, some tend to be drier and more tart. The Boon was more on the sweet side. But what I couldn’t believe was that there was no evidence of funk anywhere in the aroma or taste for a 100% spontaneously fermented lambic. My beer tends to have more in common with  Rodenbach Grand Cru, which is a Flanders Red ale that I’ve previously had. The notes in both mine and the Rodenbach are tart, funky, a touch of vinegar, a little wine like character, some earthiness. Bottom line is, Boon, for all I know, may be a fine kriek, but it wasn’t that complex. My kriek had a few more layers going on which I’m kind of happy about.

Now back to my tasting partner. I gave her samples of both. I didn’t even tell her what beers they were and just told her to taste and give me her thoughts. She thought the Boon was pretty good and that she can drink that. My beer….well…..she used the words “dirty sex throw up”. I’ll take it!!