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Thanksgiving is family homebrew tasting fun day

November 25, 2010 By: mike Category: Homebrew

Rebel Brewer tasters

Four 5-ounce tasters from Rebel Brewer in Nashville.

It’s Thanksgiving, which means turkey, football and beer. And at my house today, the beer is homemade.

And we’re going to all be judges.

I’ve been waiting for this day to dip into my stash of FuzzyBrew homebrews, and I’ve brought a cooler full, as well as tasters for the four of us  — mom, dad, brother and myself.

I’m going to get some instant feedback about each beer, and I’ll give my thoughts, too. And then everyone will pick their favorite.

In the cooler is an Oatmeal Stout, a Nut Brown Ale, a clone of Magic Hat’s #9, and the Nookie IPA (It’s Nookie because Grant tweaked the recipe of his earlier IPA and added a healthy dose of Chinook hops.)

OK, here we go!

•••

Oatmeal Stout

Mom: “The smell is delish. (The taste) is kind of mild. It goes down, but there’s no coating on the tongue, no aftertaste.”

Dad: “Initially, I taste water, then a chocolate stout flavor, (but) it’s mild. It’s very drinkable. It’s good.”

Brother: “When you take a small sip, it’s super sweet. It’s pretty heavily carbonated. I sampled one last night in a smaller bottle and I felt like I got a lot more flavor to it.”

My take: “It’s definitely a mild-tasting stout. But the flavor has improved since I first tried one a week ago, and I think it will continue to improve with age.”

•••

Nut Brown Ale

Mom: “I like a robust taste, and this one doesn’t have it. I wouldn’t buy it. It’s drinkable, but this is like background music. It’s something that would be good with a meal, but it doesn’t stand on its own.”

Dad: “It’s very good. It has a very hoppy aftertaste. It’s like a Boscos beer.”

Brother: “It’s taking a little time to settle. It’s getting better the more I drink it. But I really think the big bottles are more greatly carbonated than the little bottles. It tastes like a Fat Tire.”

My take: “I’m a big fan of brown ales, but this is pretty mild. I’d like a little more malt flavor, and a little bit more sweetness.”

•••

Magic Hat #9 clone

Mom: “Again, this is not my type of beer, but it’s tasty after a good Vermont cheddar. I like it better than the majority of beers I taste at Boscos.”

Dad: “I taste apricot — a little ashy tasting and astringent. This is a summer beer.”

Brother: “It’s very apricot-y, much more apricot-y than the #9. And it doesn’t have the pale ale taste like the #9. It’s very drinkable. I don’t think it’s a #9 clone anymore. I think it’s become its own beer. There’s a slight metallic aftertaste. I definitely think think this is the best so far.”

My take: “A great fruit beer that doesn’t overpower you with fruit flavor. It’s a very strong effort on cloning the #9, but I think it’s more smooth and drinkable.”

•••

Nookie IPA

Mom: “This is my favorite of the four. It still has a fruity overtone. I just like a dark beer, a hearty Guiness-type beer.”

Dad: “Very, very hoppy. Grapefruit-y.”

Brother: “This is a good beer. It’s really bitter though. All in all, it’s really solid. This reminds me of Anchor. I don’t have a lot to say because it’s a really solid IPA.”

My take: “This is a variation on the Modus Hoperandi clone we brewed a while back. More Chinook hops, so it’s more bitter. It’s a complex beer, and I really, really like it.”

•••

So how would you rank the beers, from your favorite to your least favorite?

Mom: Nookie IPA, Magic Hat #9 clone, Nut Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout

Dad: Nookie IPA, Nut Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Magic Hat #9 clone

Brother: Nookie IPA, Magic Hat #9 clone, Nut Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout

My take: Nookie IPA, Magic Hat #9 clone, Nut Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout

•••

So there you have it. We tried some good beer today, but the Nookie IPA is the overwhelming favorite in my house.  We love the Nookie. We must brew more.

Happy Thanksgiving from those of us at FuzzyBrew!

Happy homebrew bottling fun time

October 25, 2010 By: grant Category: Homebrew, Memphis

Jeff bottles homebrew

Jeff brings the hammer down

FuzzyBrew and friends gathered in my kitchen last week to bottle two of the three batches we brewed a couple weeks ago. Jeff bottled his oatmeal stout last weekend, so we had left to bottle the brown ale and the Magic Hat #9 clone. Early in the day Mike bought another bottling bucket — this was necessary so each brew would have ample time to settle after being racked from the carboy.

This was especially important for the #9 clone — three pounds of apricot puree went into the beer for secondary fermentation and we wanted as little of it as possible ending up in the bottles. Excess apricot can go bad and continue to change the flavor of the beer over time.

We rack our beers from carboys with an autosiphon, an inexpensive little gadget that makes life so much easier. It takes one pump to get started and then will transfer the beer sans-hands. We use a sold-separately clip to hold the siphon in the mouth of the carboy.

We decided to rack the #9 twice — once to another carboy and then again to the bottling bucket. For the first racking, I started the siphon about halfway down the carboy, and as the level of the beer approached the end of the siphon, I would lower it an inch or two.

Essentially, I did this to better control at what level the siphon was pulling beer from. The carboy had a few inches of apricot on the bottom, and I wanted to make damn sure I transferred as little as possible to the second carboy. This worked better than expected. I saw no sediment transfer through the siphon — it’s the most-clear and light beer we’ve brewed yet. After close to three hours we transferred the beer from that carboy to the bottling bucket. We used a hop bag to filter any remaining apricot, but it was completely unnecessary. It tastes like it’s going to be pretty good.

While the #9 sat, we bottled Mike’s brown ale. It’s going to be fantastic. Can’t wait.

We also sampled the first bottle of Jeff’s Sublimely Self-Righteous ale clone, which we bottled a day shy of three weeks ago. Man o man, it’s going to be tasty. It hasn’t really carbonated much yet, but the malt and hops already present are magical.

FuzzyBrew Review: Sierra Nevada Tumbler

September 06, 2010 By: mike Category: FuzzyBrew Review

Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Location: Chico, Ca.

Style: Autumn Brown Ale

ABV: 5.5%

IBU: 37

Fuzzy Rating: 3 of 5

This seasonal release from Sierra Nevada, brewed with chocolate, crystal, pale and smoked malts, is smooth and flavorful, with notes of coffee and molasses.

A good beer for the cooler temps of fall, the Tumbler is rich and roasty and balanced with mild bitterness and aromas from Challenger and Yakima Goldings hops.

It’s a full-flavored brown, and a medium-bodied beer that’s not as sweet as Newcastle. It won’t slay you, but it’s a decent beer, especially if you want a break from the super-hopped IPAs out there.

The Tumbler replaces Sierra’s Anniversary Ale, an American IPA, which was introduced three years ago.