Pictures first please! Then intro...
OK OK, This is my first installment of "A Year of Craft Beer" in an attempt to learn more about beer with you the reader. If you are new to beer drinking, this will be helpful to you probably... I don't know. Some terms that I used in the article might be -pretentious- but they serve a purpose in describing beverages of this nature and you can probably figure out what they mean anyway. I just hope that it is readable for you guys. I'm always looking for feedback. So let me know... Anyway, It's a beer blog on my regular blog. It just feels natural for me to stay here than to set up another blog solely for beer drinking as I really don't want to abandon my other hobbies. I need to keep this here for my reasons. As you may have read, I'm going to be doing interviews with professionals in several different fields relating to beer so I look forward to learning from them as well! So please stay tuned for tomorrow's beer. God knows what it is, I'm all over the place with this. Relax, enjoy a homebrew, or a craft beer!
So, as a homebrewer, the first thing that I wonder is if I can reuse the bottle or not, and well, I cut off the most important aspect of this pic which was the cork in which I would have indicated that it IS possible to do, Ben Potts told me how to do it with my crimper by removing the metal grab bars or something, but I haven't mastered that, which must be a mindblock because Im usually a pretty good problem solver. I think it looked like I would break my crimpers so I gave up on the effort. So, NO, I can't reuse this bottle. Bummer!
I go by what the bottle says about the beer and try and match that to my palate. This beer I am serving rather cold.
As soon as I popped the cork I was rushed with a sweet smell of bourbon and I wondered, "do I let this breathe?" So, does one let it breathe? It's cold so it needs to warm up a little. But anyway, I didn't, I poured a glass, the rest can breathe while I drink this one! LOL
It pours smooth. It's more viscous than most beer. As the beer rolled down the side of the glass there wasn't much of carbonation escaping, but more aromas did! And as I lowered the bottle and straightened the glass a creamy brown head with the tiniest of bubbles formed about 1/8 inch thick and still remains 15 minutes later. You know, from what I have read on the bottle (in the future I should google each beer and elaborate more) I was looking for a bourbon aroma and it's definitely there. There are other smells as well, less apparent, but no less important! In fact, they work so well together that it is difficult to distinguish the oak or the vanilla. I don't want you to think that the bourbon is way overpowering, of course it is, but compared to other bourbon barrel aged beers that I have had, this is more mild. This is my first or second bourbon barrel aged stout and I believe that this will be one of the best. It may be too sweet for some to be thought of a common stout. Or it may not be bitter enough as bittering hops are light as well as the aroma hops. In fact, most of the bitter taste in the end comes out as mostly coffee.
By time this article posts, I am going to be hammered I do believe! There is definitely alcohol in this beer and it's noticeable, but more as a warm feel on the tongue and throat and not much in taste. Generally the taste is a playfully bourbon sweet overriding what you would think of a nicely balanced stout with a terribly smooth mouthfeel and coffee finish. The beer is perfectly conditioned with champagne yeast and I think that lends a bit to the finish as well and matches fairly well with the coffee flavours.
The amount of differen't beers that I have tasted is probably about 100 give or take 20. Actually, probably more. But there are so many out there and it would be impossible for me to give this a rating as all I have to go on is what I have tried. My favourite stout is Young's double Choccy Stout to date with MANY close seconds. This beer is better than Youngs. To me. Everyone is different. But Youngs is more accessible and much cheaper as this bottle is 19 bucks.
OMG I have to drink this whole bottle myself AND get up for work in the AM! Wish me luck! And please, PLEASE, give me some feedback! I'm looking for reference books to learn how to judge beer. Anyone have a favourite?