Well, here we are over a year later. For those that need caught up, I brewed a 12% Imperial Stout a little over a year ago, with a plan to age it on charred oak cubes for 12 months. The goal obviously being to see how well I could replicate the flavor of bourbon-barrel aged beers. I took pretty good notes during the process, since there was no way I could remember how things progressed over the twelve months. I typed everything in a Captain’s Log of sorts, so it’s easy to follow along.
It’s party time! Kristen turns 30 this year, and we decided to have a bunch of family and friends over to celebrate. That also means that I need three full kegs of beer that will please a crowd. I tend to save the hoppier beers for last, so that means something dark or malty is first. I flipped through my past recipes until I found a Chocolate Coffee Stout that I brewed three years ago. I remembered this beer being very well received at the time, so it seemed like a great recipe for the party.
Living in Phoenix, especially the East Valley, there has always been one staple in the local craft beer scene: Four Peaks Brewery. Just about every ASU student can look back fondly at time spent on the Four Peaks patio, enjoying some awesome food, drinking great beer, and people watching. They make a really nice Special Bitter called 8th Street Ale. It’s on tap all over town, and it’s really responsible for introducing me to traditional British styles. It’s a beer I’ve brewed in the past, but I’ve never been exactly happy with how it turned out. Approaching the holidays a few months ago, needing a drinkable beer, I figured it was time to give this Special bitter another shot.
Every now and then I decide to brew a clone recipe of a beer not to see how well I can replicate it, but rather just to be able to try it. The Zombie Dust Recipe I brewed a couple years ago was a good example. I couldn’t actually get my hands on Zombie Dust, so there wasn’t a point in comparing how close I got to the real thing. But given the massive hype it was nice to be able to taste roughly what Zombie Dust was like. Well, after hearing rave reviews of Kern River’s Citra Double IPA over the past few years, I decided to brew up a batch so I could see what it was all about.
Here we are, it’s finally time to put my 12% Imperial Stout down for a nice long twelve month nap. To quickly recap, I’m brewing a huge imperial stout, and trying my best to mimic the barrel aging process for the beer. I’ve been wanting to brew a beer like this for a quite a long time, so it feels really good to finally get moving with it. I’ll skip over most of the barrel aging process, as I covered that in my last post.
Over the past couple years here at Bertus Brewery there have been countless requests to brew a Fresh Squeezed clone; about 98% of which happen to come from Mrs. Bert. Since I also really love that beer, and I’m currently woefully lacking an IPA on tap, it seemed that the day has finally arrived! Fresh Squeezed is a really interesting IPA. It’s not very bitter, nor is it in-your-face-hoppy. It has a pretty big caramel malt character, but it makes up for all of that with really juicy, citrusy, fruity aroma. It’s smooth, approachable, and really well brewed.
What if I told you that most of what we knew about Pliny clones was wrong? Well, about six months ago, I received an email from a fan of the blog who happened to stumble across some info about the Pliny recipe that looked pretty different than what we’ve heard from Vinny in the past. I’m intentionally leaving out some details, out of respect for Russian River, but I have every reason to believe the info to be accurate. The same recipe info was later posted to a popular homebrew forum, although it surprisingly didn’t garner much attention. With that said, please don’t ask me for specifics, as I’m already pushing my moral boundaries here. I really debated whether or not I was going to post this recipe at all. After some deliberation, and considering just a cursory search will turn up the same details now, I decided that I’m not exactly divulging any secrets. So here’s my experience brewing this newer (more accurate) Pliny recipe.
Well, it’s been long enough. While this brew wasn’t exactly a recent beer, it is still on tap at the house, and worthy of writing about. Today we’re talking about German Kolsch. This is one of those beer styles that isn’t exactly sexy, but I still really enjoy. We have a local brewery here in Tempe (Four Peaks) that makes a really fantastic, true-to-style, Kolsch. It’s a really nice beer to drink during the hot summer months here, and it’s been one of their staples for years. Aside from that, last year while in Europe we spent a couples days in Cologne, and I can’t explain how awesome it was to drink Kolsch in some the venerable beer halls there.
Things have slowed down in the realm of brewing for me lately. The Wife and I purchased a house, which while awesome, hasn’t left much time for beer. Between the house-buying process, packing, moving, and unpacking, it’s been a busy couple months.
I think this is like the 4th or 5th time I’ve brewed this beer, so sorry if it’s getting a little repetitive. With the holidays fast approaching, and 1lb of last year’s Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy in the freezer I needed to use up, this recipe was kind of a no-brainer. I also find it interesting, as Stone has started to release this beer with wider distribution, I think a little of the novelty has worn off. It’s still one of the best DIPAs available these days, and one of my all-time favs. I have a theory regarding the availability of a beer and how good it’s perceived as a result, but we’ll save that topic for a later date.