A Beer Judge’s Diary: Amber

Different colors of actual amber

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 This comes from an argument I had quite a while ago with another BJCP judge about how we talk about colors: specifically amber. If you look at the picture at the top of the column you may note that actual amber is certainly not just one color, and definitely not always lighter than what we think of as copper, though copper is not a singular color. It does vary… somewhat.
 If you look into the colors of honey there are variations on amber honey too in mead judging. So why do we stick to one hue? One variation? Shouldn’t we have gradations to more accurately reflect the actual color? I might even consider dropping copper if considering light to dark, because copper is more a hue variation with the addition of a red tint to it. Copper, when it comes to light to dark, could be covered by amber.
 I do believe in standards, but standards that reflect the nature of the color, not one singular nature. I have read the argument that everyone is familiar with the standard color due to amber the substance that is commonly used in jewelry. My father made jewelry out with amber setting all the time, but that practice seems to have faded with better fake gems. That one version may have gotten a slight kick from Jurassic Park, but how long ago was that? Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Amber”

Profile: Southern Grist’s Blueberry Pancake Breakfast Brown

Profiled by Ken Carman

Deep tan head headed towards brown that doesn’t hold long. Quaff brown almost black, so dark clarity very hard to assess. SRM in 30s. Head clings to side of glass in ring. Tipped glass provides just a little clarity. No “floaties.”

The aroma is brown malt mixed with a whiff of blueberries behind that. Maple syrup-like sweetness way behind that: barely tingles the nose. What blueberry sense there is is more blueberry syrup-like. Slightly sweet in aroma: pancakes a definite sense to that. No alcohol in aroma, no hops.
Continue reading “Profile: Southern Grist’s Blueberry Pancake Breakfast Brown”

Westmalle Dubbel V. Chimay Dubbel

Written by Maria Devan

Cheers you all and welcome to the second half of my “dubbel feature.” Last time I had the Chimay dubbel. Today I am having the Westmalle dubbel.

The appearance is darker, 17 on the srm chart, a mahogany color that does not have as much golden fire around the edges. Another way to express the color is dark but not burned toast. The head of foam is darker in color. This one is khaki colored and long lasting with some bigger bubbles atop a dimpled rocky head that falls slowly, shimmering in sheets and falls away to spot as you drink. Nose is bready like brown bread and has slight hop grasses on the nose. Rose like qualities on the nose and slightly plummy. Raisins and dried dates in the background and a very light spicy clove. Drinks just like the nose and finishes drier yet malty with a slight bitterness from those grassy hops. Moderate carbonation. The bubbles are hard and plentiful. Slight warming from alcohol.

There are differences in every category from the Chimay Dubbel. In the Chimay beer the color and head were lighter. There was no hops on the nose or in the flavor. The breadiness was biscuit- not brown bread in the Chimay beer. There was no rose like scent and the clove was stronger. There also was no alcohol presence on the Chimay and nothing bitter in the finish. The carbonation was firmer than Chimay. And the Chimay finished sweeter than the Westmalle. Two world class dubbels that have plenty of differences between them.

Beer Profile: Ommegang’s Idyll Days

Profiled by Maria Devan

Maria Devan
Belgian style beer is defined by an approach to style that allows a healthy contribution from the yeast character as well as a traditional appearance concerning the head of foam. Is there such a thing as a Belgian style pilsner? If you are looking for one on the store shelf I daresay you will be challenged to find any or any Belgian style lagers in general. That is why I am happy to have discovered Ommegang’s Idyll Days. Ommegang is a regional Belgian style brewery here in NY and a personal favorite of mine. They have done a wonderful thing with their interpretation on the pilsner. The pilsner is a contemporary style and it’s guidelines speak to it’s hoppy originality with deference to the lager tradition.

Let’s taste Ommegang’s Idyll Days and pair it with chicken wings I will make with a chickpea salad and the leftover thai peanut dressing. Continue reading “Beer Profile: Ommegang’s Idyll Days”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Zoom!!!!!! to Great Meetings

Picture courtesy Russell Scott

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 Yeah, ya’ll have to know: best to meet via the internet these days due to COVID. I downloaded Zoom on my laptop and the home computer just before the first one we attended with Music City Brewers: a version of what we used to call Thirsty Thursday.Thirsty Thursday tends to be a little chaotic anyway, so that wasn’t a surpise. The net made it a little worse, but not much.
 It’s still a good idea even if it’s the more social gatherings people used to have way, way, WAY back in time. You know a month, more or less?
 I’ve already found a microphone, now I have to find a camera for the home PC. I swore it had one. These days it’s no humongous surprise that stores are sold out. Onward to the net.
  I felt Zoom shined the next day during this month’s regular meeting for Clarksville Carboys, Clarksville, TN. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Zoom!!!!!! to Great Meetings”

Maria Devan: Ithaca Beer Everyday Haze

Sweet haze on a yellow body with a creamy head of white foam that lasts a long time and falls clinging in streaks. Orange with orange pith, twiggy pine and grapefruit. Tropical highlights come to the nose slowly and some sweet green herbal. This beer smells like orange juice! The taste is exactly like orange juice and freshly squeezed to boot! This could be one of Ithaca’s most sensual and exotic beers. There is just a touch of bitterness in the swallow and the body of the beer is pillow-y soft and light for it’s 6.6 abv. It’s a piney sharpness that punctuates the bitterness. This is a quintessential IPA with traditional IPA flavors in the style of the NEIPA. If you have ever wanted to define the style NEIPA you have to do it by the mouthfeel and by the appearance. This beer shows you exactly why this variation on the style has it’s own name. It’s just different enough from the original IPA style to merit it’s own category . This beer is a 4.25 out of 5.

Inspection- COVID and Beer Yeast


By Ken Carman
 The analogy is by all means imperfect. I will point out some of the ways it is imperfect. But I do believe it will help folks who might not understand yet some thing about the nature of COVID.
 We keep talking about flattening the curve and how once it starts going back down things can open back up. I think when it comes to basic biology that’s a mistake. And I am open to you, dear readers, pointing out
Inspection
any errors here. Hey, I was the Education/English major who ended up in Communications/Mass Media for my BA, then to Music Business and Recording. Science was NOT my strongest field in school. (However I have always had a vast interest in it, if only it they didn’t insist on turning it into a foreign language. But that’s another topic.)
 I am also a homebrewer who has written about beer for many years. But I admit I am a generalist in almost all fields, including brewing. I think that’s why some analogies I use can work well helping others understand. Not all. Ask my wife.
 How is beer yeast like COVID? Continue reading “Inspection- COVID and Beer Yeast”

BEER AND PANDEMICS 101: SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BREWERY

Here at PGA we have had regular links to A Tempest in a Tankard, a website we highly recommend. Because of the crisis we have permission to post the whole article. Please visit A Tempest in a Tankard, where Franz will have more articles during this crisis.

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Never in recent memory has the phrase “support your local brewery” meant more than it does now.

I published an article in the local newspaper a week ago about the inaugural Oklahoma Craft Beer Awards. It began like this:

“Oklahoma may have been a craft beer desert a decade ago, but the beer scene has exploded in the past seven years. The Sooner State is now home to over sixty breweries, and just about every city has a brewpub or three.”

In retrospect, it seems I had begun to take craft beer for granted. I can find literally dozens more brands and styles now than when we moved to Oklahoma. Our town, Stillwater, has a brewery. When we go to OKC or Tulsa, we can easily spend an afternoon visiting new breweries and old favourites. And I’m set whenever I visit family and friends in Vancouver.

What a difference a week makes.

Continue reading “BEER AND PANDEMICS 101: SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BREWERY”

A Beer-y Good Story: How Studebaker Might Help Craft Beer in the Days of COVID-19

“Really, Ken, a failed company?” Actually Studebaker survived, now part of Worthington Industries. They simply don’t make cars anymore, which hooks right back into my main point here…

 Yes, Brew-ginia, there IS Studebaker Beer! And it’s in Tippecanoe Mansion, former home to the Studebaker family!

 I know Studebaker no longer makes cars, a fact I have never been happy with. However, I may never have met my first love on 4 wheels: a 61 Studebaker car I bought for $25 and took me 100,000 miles before rust and burning oil issues took Harvey away, if they had stayed in the car business. A 7 year old car for $25? Eventually Harvey went to automotive heaven where oil changes happen every day and no rust dare enter those chrome hubcap gates.
 I didn’t name the car. My ex-girlfriend’s friend did.
 Studebaker as a car and truck builder survived, often barely, though tough times, like craft brewing will be going through now. Yes, there are Studebaker-related lessons for tough times, like during Corona, for the small professional brewer to heed. I will bring it back around to just beer.

Studebaker Mansion and Studebaker beer.
Continue reading “A Beer-y Good Story: How Studebaker Might Help Craft Beer in the Days of COVID-19”

Beer Profile: DS9 Wild Things, Superstitious Pigeons

Profiled by Ken Carman

Hazy golden yellow with almost no head. This head fades quickly probably due to sour, peanut butter, raspberries. Very tiny bubbles. Yellow in color. Clarity low due to haze.
Aroma:lactobacillus dominant, no peanut, hint of raspberries at best. Slightest sour. No malt or hop aroma. No hops.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, slightly carbonic. Medium body. Tingles and tangles up the tongue with the sour combined with carbonic carbonation.
Flavor: lacto first, lacto dominant. Almost no peanut butter, almost no raspberries, lacto aftertaste. Everything takes the most backseat in the theater to the lacto. As it warms I got a hint of peanut: like it sltightly touches the tongue then goes away.
The mouthfeel is solid with a medium body, but any sense of that body otherwise vanished with lacto. Carbonation a very light tingle and quite low.
The balance here is off. If one seeks a solid lacto dominant beer this might be it, but the rest is lost. Please back off on lacto, find the fruit, find the peanut butter. The malt is there, but even that is severely subservient to the lacto. No hops.

3.9 BA
3.74 Untappd
3.83 Rate Beer

3.5

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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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