Apparently, Australia has water availability issues, something many us in different parts of the world can relate to given the paucity of rain over the last couple years. As we all know, homebrewing isn’t the most friendly hobby when it comes to water conservation. Even utilizing more efficient techniques and equipment, the process of cooling the wort is quite wasteful, motivating many a homebrewer to come up with ways to repurpose their chiller discharge to assuage the guilt. My own chilling process requires between 20-30 gallons of water depending on groundwater temps and batch size, I always collect the first 5 gallons of hot runoff to use for post brewing cleanup, while the rest usually ends up running down the drain. It’s a sad reality that nowadays ends up costing me more than the judgment of my neighbors, but actual money since my city recently transitioned to metered water. Leave it to them innovative Aussie’s to come up with a method to deal with this problem that wouldn’t hamper their ability to make beer.
CLEVELAND, Ohio – What would you hope for after tasting more than 140 beers over three days? Rick Seibt of Willoughby Brewing Co. wanted one thing: A full beer.
“The only thing I was looking forward to was having one full pint of something,” he said about his first experience judging scores of beers at the annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
For several years, Seibt had been hoping to receive an invitation to judge at the event, which sells out minutes after tickets go on sale. More than 60,000 people attended this year, including a record 750 brewers and 3,500 beers available to taste. Judges award medals on the final day of the fest.
The oatmeal stout is like the plane jane of stouts. A lower abv and not ususally put into barrels or has anything flashy added to it.
The color is a dark brown and if you will note the range in color on the srm chart for this style can go from 22 all the way to 40. I would say this one is a 36/37. Thick creamy khaki head that persisits and refreshes itself with each tip. Clarity is good.
Nose is roasted grains and rich little bit of coffee and cream. A faint light sweetness on the nose. They used lactose in this so that is cheating but it smells authentic. A little more than a low noble hop on the nose that I think is fresh and so light as to be seductive in this beer but that too deviates from style just a tad. Oats show a bit of soft breadiness and at first there is no fruitiness from malts. Then I think it’s their house yeast giving a grapey fruitiness rather than the dried dark frutiness you usually find in a very low background note in this style. Because it does not seem to make the beer “Belgian” I think it smells and tastes a bit strange. Sweet chocolate.
Smooth flaovor. Roasty and rich with nothing burnt. The hops in this beer are delightful and take their place in the beer without trouncing the other flavors. They are a bright little bit of freshness. A pleasant floral from the bravo and a lightly stem-y herbal from the Styrian Golding. Cocoa powder that is less sweet on the palate as it is on the nose adds a bit of complexity. Slickness on the tongue and in the finish from the oats and even though they used lactose I think the sweetness is in check. A subtle bitterness from the hops and a touch of dryness from the roast finish this one creamy, full bodied, balanced and it does not linger long in the aftertaste. They used midnight wheat in this beer and that adds a bitterless, dark color to beer with hints of roast depending on how much you use. It also is said to finish exceptionally clean and I think they used it to smooth any astringency from the oats that would gather in the finish. There was none. As it warms the dark fruit starts to emerge. it is not well defined so you cant say raisin or this or that and it remains in the background. Becomes more nutty from the oats as it warms.
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.”
Maria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is a great beer writer. She has regular beer Sundays where she profiles brews, reviews brews online with homebrewers and other beer community connected bloggers. She’s judged beer at a homebrew competition and been a steward. And she’s kind of short. But that’s OK.
It was winter 2010 and Vinnie Cilurzo noticed a line had formed outside of his Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, California.
“My life changed that day,” Cilurzo recalls. “I went out and asked them what they were all waiting for.
“They were like ‘We are waiting for your beer, dummy.’ ”
It was the release party for the triple India pale ale called Pliny The Younger, an extremely hoppy beer that would sell out in one day. Now when Russian River releases the beer over a two-week period every February, people camp out in line for several hours.
20. Ipswich Ale Brewery Oatmeal Stout
City: Ipswich, MA
The verdict: This brew from the underrated Ipswich struck us as a bit unusual for an oatmeal stout, and not quite as one might expect for the substyle. It’s not so creamy as you often get from the oat addition, but it does have the full body. Notably bitter, it’s unexpectedly hop-forward on the nose, which couples with the bitterness to create something closer to “black IPA lite” than expected. The dark side of the flavor palette comes through strongly, however, with lots of coffee and burnt, ashy roast. Dry and bitter, with big flavor and an assertive presence, it reminds us more of “American stout” than classic, British-inspired oatmeal stout, but it’s a very tasty and characterful beer.
For the bulk of brewing history, from, let’s say, Mesopotamia all the way up to about a decade ago, defining farmhouse brewing was easy. A farmhouse brewery was a farm where beer was brewed using local ingredients, usually in the countrysides of northern France and southern Belgium. While farmhouse ales were always refreshing, unintentionally funky pale ales, the term “farmhouse ale” often acted as an alias for saisons or the occasional bière de garde.
I chose my column: A Beery Good Story, to publish this because that column is more about a “story,” and this is about more than judging, or even running a competition. It’s about helping brewers and a community. And I think next year the potential is even greater if we have a popular, yet one with local impact, cause we can support with a modest entry fee once we combine it with local arts group at The View and their beerfest.
Written by Ken Carman
I think I started planning this competition 10 years ago. Knowing the Central Adirondacks had little contact with homebrew related events, no craft brewery and little craft beer: in comparison, I first imagined hordes of homebrewers floating down Stillwater Reservoir on the tour boat run by the Thompson family and staying in a rented cabin, a motel room or the hotel.
It would have been like a weekend bonanza for homebrewers, stewards and judges.
Gee, think I might be prone to making things difficult for myself? Try to fly over too high a bar?
It took a few years, but I moved away from that concept because getting brewers up there just to have free beer, for a brew weekend, no matter how much I offered, just didn’t work. I did come close. One club was lined up but, unbeknownst to me, they had a change in management mid discussions and somehow the info got lost. So I was stuck with lots of burgers and beer. Continue reading “A Beer-y Good Story: Postscript… Old Forge BIG Beer and Odd Ale”