I have been impatiently dreaming of this day for over a year. I have been eagerly waiting for it for 2 months. I have been loving this day for the past 20 minutes. The following review of MadTree Galaxy High is highly biased. I love this beer. I love that it’s canned. I love that I’m drinking Galaxy High from a can at home.
There is a growing trend among craft brewers to move their IPAs away from the traditional 3-C hops (Cascade, Centennial, and Columbus) and on to new and exciting hop varieties that have only been developed in the past 10 – 20 years. I mentioned this last week in my review of Clown Shoes Galactica which predominantly features the galaxy hop. Green Flash has decided to feature the Green Bullet hop in the aptly named Green Bullet beer. I’ll let Green Flash’s blurb about this beer take it from here.
Named after a super-robust New Zealand hop, Green Bullet™ is a well-balanced Triple IPA being bottled today for the 1st time ever. Brewmaster, Chuck Silva initially released this Pacific Gem to celebrate the Green Flash 9th Anniversary in 2011, and it was an immediate hit! Now, this cult favorite will be available from coast-to-coast as a seasonal release from September through December 2013. Be on the lookout for this high-caliber addition to our arsenal in 4-packs, 22oz bottles and on draft, because you do not want to miss the release.
I’m coupling these two reviews into one post because Doom is just Double Trouble… after spending 4 months in bourbon barrels. Double Trouble is Founders standard double IPA that is released in mass during May and June while Doom is only available now… if you can still find it. I was lucky enough to score a bottle before everywhere in town sold out thanks to the assistance of my sister-in-law. Sadly I don’t think you’ll be able to find anymore Doom around town but you can
look this up again next year and find Double Trouble wherever better brews whenever the weather is cold.
Beer: Double Trouble
Style: Double IPA
Absolutely beautiful rich golden color with a snow white head topping.
Pungent aromas packing citrus into every nose hair.
Woah, super bitter kick in the palate. After that initial wave of bitterness comes grapefruit hops and a slight malty body that doesn’t come close to balancing things out.
Medium body with loads of carbonation, a slight bit of alcohol, and a lingering slickness.
This definitely lives up to the name Double Trouble and the style double IPA. With all the IPAs, and various sub-categories of IPA, out there this doesn’t come close to being one of my favorites. But it is an enjoyable brew, just not one I’d be in any kind of rush to have again. If you go crazy for citrus hop bitterness then you’ll go crazy for this. Love the label on this brew but it kinda blows that there’s no back story to it on the bottle. It just has the name, style, IBU, and ABV, oh and of course the gov’t warning.
Style: Barrel Aged Double IPA
Comes out a slightly deeper golden hue then Double Trouble did with a LOT more of that same fizzy pure-white head.
Very slight bitter aroma mixes with bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and some citrus hops.
Surprisingly hoppy taste, I expected the citrus and bitterness to be much more subdued after 4 months in a barrel. All that mixes delicately with sweet caramel and vanilla backed by a solid amount of bourbon. Resulting in a very balanced flavor.
Medium body and mild carbonation come together for a mediocre mouth feel experience.
I have a feeling that many people will find this to be a great beer I, however, do not. It’s a good beer, and an interesting beer, but we don’t need to bourbon barrel age EVERYTHING just as we don’t need to hop the crap out of everything. Also $15 for a 750 ml is $5 more then I’m really interesting in paying for something less then spectacular. Call me cheap if you want but the value is rarely there at that price. All that said I’d still encourage folks to try this once, just get a bottle to split with 2 or 3 friends
next year or this year if you get lucky!
Edit: Turns out I misunderstood the rarity of Doom. As part of Founder’s Backstage Series we may never see this beer again. Sorry if I got people excited. I know O’Bryan’s in Loveland had some as of Saturday (4/27) and folks are trading them online, so if you’re really interested don’t give up hope!
Last year was the first year for Rivertown’s Brewmaster Reserve series and focused on the muched hyped but ultimately disappointing Mayan apocalypse by way of the 4 horseman Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death. This year the Brewmaster Reserve is being kicked off with the Infinite Shilling wee heavy Scotch ale. I stopped by the tap room last night to try this out and was able to talk to Tom Hull, Rivertown’s general manager, about this beer. He provided lots of excellent information on brewing a Scotch ale for any ambitious home brewers.
The Brewmasters reserve series this year is gonna be the Big Ass Beer series, everything is going to be over 10%. Starting with a Scotch Ale, the second will be a Belgian quad, after that will be an Imperial American pre-prohibition pilsner, then the fourth one will be an imperial oatmeal stout. If I do my job right it will basically be a just under 12% oatmeal raisin cookie.
For the first one we did the Scotch ale mostly because at home I brew low alcohol content beers. When I brew something strong it’s a wee heavy scotch ale, that’s because my sister lived in Glasgow so I’m very influenced by Scottish brewing. With this beer I wanted to take a different track then most American brewers do. Scotch ale is more an american term then a Scottish one, the Scottish call it a wee heavy that’s why we say we heavy on our tap handle.
The American approach is to mimic the flavors of a traditional scotch ale by using a variety of specialty grains, but 9 times out of 10 will give it a residual sugary sweetness. The Scots don’t use specialty grains in their beer, they’re primarily single malt beers. They don’t use a lot of smoked malt because their maltsters fuel their kilns partially with peat because it’s a cheap fuel source. So the tiny bit of smokiness in a Scottish beer is because peat was a fuel source. A big problem I have with American scotch ales it they’re frequently overly peaty, so we used a combination of peat smoked malt and cherry wood and only a small amount of peat smoked malt. Beyond that it’s nothing but base malt, there’s no specialty grain except for those two very small additions.
The flavor is achieved by taking your first runnings, with the most concentrated sugar, then you start boiling the hell out of it. So on our setup I had to do two mashes for 1 batch to get that nice concentrated wort to start the boil. Then we remashed and sparged after we’d been boiling for about 2 1/2 – 3 hours on those first runnings. Boiling that wort creates melanoids, similar to the Mylar reaction in cooking almost like caramelization but not quite, even if you beer finishes out with a dry gravity it’ll still have a nice significant body to it without being sweet. It’ll be incredibly malty, full bodied, but not cloying sweet at the same time. Another misconception is a lot of [American] Scotch ales turn out extremely dark, because the use of specialty grains, a real wee heavy should be in similar color to a red. So I gave it another 2 hour boil once the full batch was in the kettle to make sure we got that color and really developed the flavor. There is only 1 hop addition, just the bare minimum amount of hops needed to balance this beer out. After that we fermented at a color temperature, I did that because Scotland is a cold place and Scottish ale yeast likes to ferment at a colder temperature I did that to keep it smooth avoid getting too much alcohol heat. Not really a way to avoid getting any, so far but I’m gonna work on that by the end of this series I swear I’ll manage to do it. But we barely got any on this, at 10.8% is really nice. These are meant to be really smooth beers.
For the name of the beer I went with Infinite Shilling because, even for a wee heavy, this is a really big beer. So I thought it’d be fun to follow the naming scheme [see further down] all the way up because it is such a big beer. The goal I’m trying to convey with this is that as far as brewing a wee heavy, at least in the state of Ohio because the alcohol limit laws, you’re not gonna go further then this. My goal was to make the best wee heavy I could, and if I’m making the best one I can then that’s the name I’m going with.
This year the brew masters reserve is entirely draft, we had a lot of people complaining that they couldn’t get kegs of it and with each one we ended up with cases [of bottles] left over [the tap room has 6-packs of War for $9.99]. I just want to make sure people get it and get to enjoy it. We want you to go to the bar and enjoy this with people.
The name of this beer refers to the shilling system used in 19th century Scotland. Shillings were a form of currency in Scotland and beers would be categorized based on their gravity or alcohol by volume (which is kinda the same thing and will be my next Learning About Beer post). So a light beer (under 3.5%) would be 60 shillings, heavy at 4% would be 70 shillings, export was 5.5% and 80 shillings, finally Wee Heavies were over 6% and came in at 90 shillings. Per Tom Hull the wee heavies were so “heavy” they were sold in wee little bottles Note that these classifications don’t apply just to Scottish style ales but all beer in Scotland at the time. Also pretty much any “Scottish Ale” from an American brewery is apt to be a Wee Heavy.
The Midwest is not historically known for it’s IPAs but that is changing quickly. The west coast has been knocking out bitter IPAs for more than a decade, recently Heady Topper has started to put the (north) east coast on the map. As for the midwest we’ve got a few serious contenders leading the way in Fat Head’s Head Hunter and Bell’s Hopslam among others. I prefer the Hopslam because it’s much more flavorful to Fat Head’s bitterness. Hopslam is a seasonal release with a somewhat small foot print, luckily Ohio and northern Kentucky are well within that footprint!
Here’s what Bell’s has to say about it
Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.
Getting back on track with The Winter of my dark-content I built my own 6-pack of stouts & porters at Belmont Party Supply in Dayton. I had Left Hand’s Nitro Milk Stout last night and the mouth feel was insanely awesome, but otherwise not to amazing. It left me a little disappointed with stouts in general. Tonight however that all changes as I compare Sierra Nevada’s Stout to their Narwhal Imperial Stout.
The day has finally arrived. 12/12/12. I’ve talked about the hype behind this beer before but I’ll very quickly say that this has been rated as the best beer in the world and has been one of the hardest to get. Starting today, and likely only today as it will sell out, the monks have changed their rules so instead of only buying it at the abbey you can buy it across America.
I was lucky enough to win a lottery drawing to be able to pay $85 for the 6-pack + 2 glasses. Some are going to the basement for aging, some are being saved for a tasting with friends, but 1… 1 is going down tonight!