Why All Beer Once Tasted Like Smoke


Today’s brewers can add any number of flavors to their beers. Some are newfangled, such as chili pepper or pumpkin; others are deeply traditional. Smoke is one of the latter, with a long and widespread pedigree. All across Europe, a hint of barbecue was once pervasive—until the Industrial Revolution, the flavor was the inevitable result of the brewing process. Malt is one of beer’s primary ingredients, and a change in how it’s made brought beer out of its smoky past.

Grains, unlike wine grapes and cider apples, don’t contain sugars. They have starches, which can’t be fermented until they are accessed and converted into sugars. Malting is the process of accessing those starches by steeping the grains in water.

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Reflections and Resolutions, 2017 Edition

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

So here we are again. One more turn around this mortal coil, drinking to forget the follies of an old year and toasting the auspiciousness of the new. For me 2017 has been extremely enjoyable, uncanny parallels between the 1930s and the present notwithstanding. I hope it has been the same for you.

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A Beer Judge’s Diary: Balance?

By Ken Carman

 Oh, God: if I answer this wrong David Houseman might excommunicate me from the church of the holy beer judges: the BJCP. Would Mike Dixon prematurely desecrate my grave? Gordon Strong stop taking my obscene phone calls? (And he enjoyed them SO much.)
 But I must ask, “Is balance over rated?” Like when the winter slumber-er who hibernates is rudely awaken, don’t bite my digital head off yet… bear… with me.

Courtesy Wide Open Spaces
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Beer Profile: 2017 Anchor Christmas Ale

Profiled by Ken Carman

I am so disappointed,and not just with this.Last Anchor I got was Foghorn and each and every bottle’s contents were phenol-laced: rubber hose. This quaff might be called phenolic too, but I actually think the balance may be off: ginger and/or clove in a fairly light old ale base that’snot all that “old.”

Not sure aging would help.

I believe it to be ginger and reminds me of ginger ale with a dark color. it could almost be food coloring as much as it contributes to taste. High side medium carbonation with a definite carbonic bite.

Deep tan pillow head, black as hell with some deep red highlights peeking through, this has alight aroma of spices.

We bought a magnum for Christmas and had so much it became somewhat annoying. We usedhalf of it for cooking. We have better quaffs we have brewed ourselves. A simplistic quaff for a season that cries out for fireplace sipping complexity.

3.84 on BA,

3.2

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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Deschutes “The Abyss”: Santa Intervenes…I Hope

I know I haven’t written to you in a few years…well, okay, quite a few years. Oh, alright, the last time was during the Eisenhower administration. Whatever. The point is, I apologize.

It wasn’t because I forgot you or that I ever doubted. When I was lying in bed, my daughter’s head resting on my arm, trying to get her to go to sleep because, “Hey, Santa won’t come if you’re awake!”, I wasn’t thinking that it was going to be me drinking up that God-awful Kroger store-brand egg nog. I was telling her what was in my heart. And, besides, I knew my wife would suck it up and drink the egg nog, if I bitched long enough. And cut it 50/50 with brandy.

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Beer Profile: Cigar City Cafe Con Leche

Profiled by Ken Carman for PGA

Black as hell amber head/lite brown pillow with a few big bubbles. The nose has a hint of coffee, some lactose sense and darker malts. The flavor is caramel mixed with dark chocolate. Hops not noticed except a slight bitter in the background. Coffee also dominants, but not out of balance. Medium body. Tad dry but some residual sweet too! Quite the dance, a well performed brew-based ballet. Low carbonation in the mouthfeel, but firm. This was rates very high everywhere I looked. Rate Beer had it at 100 twice!

4.4

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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_________________________________Beer HERE

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