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Pliny The Younger Is Back!

24 Feb

Got to have the ever so anticipated huge IPA @ 11% from Russian River last Sunday at Tornado on 30th. Pliny the Younger is def a big beer but still undeceivably smooth for its size. It numbs your taste buds with resiny goodness and finishes with a big bitter citrus bang almost like “grapefruit rind”  when tasted side by side with the elder it makes the elder go from a big IPA to almost a standard hoppy pale.

It was a good way to spend a sunday morning with friends and meeting Miguel and friends from Mexicali who drove up that morning from there (btw the chorizo potato burritos were bomb!). The line wrapped clear around the block and unfortunately the keg blew before the line ended, but that’s how it goes.

Would I wait in line for it again? Probably. Although if I could only have the elder or the younger ever again i would have to go with elder for it’s drinkability. However, the younger is a hell of an occasion beer!

Which Pliny are you?

Pliny the Younger





Bine & Vine Bottle Share

31 Jan

Back patio at Tornado. Too many for tasting notes, but one sweet picture!65255_3655854653575_5096623_n

Wildeman Farmhouse IPA by Flying Dog Brewery

14 Oct

I’d like to start this review by saying  I’ve always liked Flying Dog’s Hunter S. Thompson approach at beer! All the labels kick ass and in my opinion the beer is also exceptional.

This Farmhouse IPA comes in at 7.5% ABV and 75 IBUs. Poured in a fat tulip glass I could smell the lemon zest and crazy citrus notes from a distance, up close the farmyard funky horse blanket was present but very mild. The head was appetizing alone, pure white thick and frothy about 3 fingers thick and dissipated rather slowly. The lace left behind was also very nice and the color was a hazy dark gold. The beer drank very crisp with a huge hit of citrus along with some tropical fruit flavors. The farmyard funk was present but just like in the aroma it was definitely toned down. One thing I noticed while drinking this beer was the colder the better. Distracted by Prometheus last night, I took my time drinking this beer and the bottom of the glass was warm and less favorable.   For the farmhouse junkies this beer will definitely leave you wanting more funk, but for new or unsure belgian fans this could possibly be a perfect gateway beer!

Stay thirsty my friends…

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project Spotlight

26 Aug

Ever since I moved to Oakland I have been excited about this brewery and the beers they conjure up. Well technically there is no brewery, these folks contract brew out of Buzzards Bay Brewing in Westport, Massachusetts. Somehow they have a very strong market in the bay area and their beer can be found on tap and in bottles multiple places at any given time. I for one am a big fan of their beers, and everything about them just screams handcrafted deliciousness. I am also in love with their labels and the great way they market their beers. Pretty Things just has that artistic weirdness about them that someone with a beer blog named lurking goat can appreciate. Tonight I am having their flagship beer Jack D’or which is labeled as an American Saison. Its easy drinking with a decent malt backbone and a hoppy American punch. Apparently it has 57 Ibu which is astounding to me as it is very reserved and smooth on the pallet. The hops play with the yeast esters giving complexity to the beer and just making it down right delicious. I haven’t had all their beers though (I guess I have some homework to do) I have had their Barely Wine which is an equally fantastic beer. Grab one, you wont be disappointed.

If you would like anymore information on Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, you can visit their website here.

Kentucky Uncommon Tasting Review

17 Jul

I am back in the bay after a short visit down to San Diego and I brought some Kentucky Uncommon with me.  I boxed those little guys up and put them in my carry on with no problems.  The TSA apparently did have a problem with my new beard as I was “randomly selected” for additional screening, Doh..should of saw that one coming!

Willy’s Kentucky Uncommons will be tasted along side an original sour mash fruit beer that we created, and my recent dark sour mash. All these beers are variations of the same recipes so this should be interesting. From left to right it is Willy’s Kentucky with Safale US05 yeast, Kentucky with Nottingham yeast, Original Sour recipe and lastly the dark sour mash.

These beers all pour very similar, with the first two being light with almost a Pino Noir, light red grape color to them, with light white almost pink tinted foam. The original sour mash pours with the most intense red burgundy color that is just a pleasure to watch.  The head of the original is a very pronounced pink color that dissipates quickly. Last the dark sour mash pours a brown with a deep red backing to it, the head seems mostly tan but with a very slight red hue. The carbonation is high on all these beers with the original probably being the highest at about 3+ volumes.

The Kentuckys both smell great, with a light sharp raspberry aroma. The Nottingham smells sweeter with hints of darker fruits like plum and cherries, but they are overall pretty similar.  Unfortunately the Original Sour smells slightly of some sort of bad phenolic medicinal smoke aroma that is hard to get past.  It isn’t horrible, and I am not sure I would notice with just casual drinking, but with three other beers that are very similar it stands out quite a bit.  Its hard to pinpoint why these flavors occurred since it wasn’t something that I had originally perceived. Most likely I believe since we originally used whole frozen raspberries in the secondary that over time(6+months in bottle) some small amount of wild yeast was able to take hold in the beer, leading to the off flavors. Lastly the dark sour smells lightly fruity with a darker malty caramel backbone from the darker caramel grains and dark chocolate malt. It smells pretty darn good and a little more complex that the others with the malt competing with the fruit on the pallet.

Overall taste and impressions of these beers are good with the Kentuckys being light and sessionable with the tartness of the sour mash and fruit combo lending itself nicely to the refreshing qualities of this beer. The differences between the two are minimal with the Us05 being slightly cleaner and more tart and the Nottingham having a slightly fruitier balanced aspect to it. The Original beer before infection had a bright very pronounced fruit flavor with a fairly clean sour. It was pretty darn good in its hay-day almost like an awesome beer fruit soda since it had about twice the amount of fruit that our new versions have. The dark tastes mellow compared to the other two with the darker malts subduing the acidity.  The darker fruit comes through quite nicely though playing off of the coffee like darker malts. Its funny, I originally though this beer came out a little too light from what I had envisioned, but it seems to be really dark when compared to the others and the differences in the recipe are very apparent.

Overall I seem to like the Us05 version of the Kentucky a lot since is a little more sour and brighter tasting that the other. It is very refreshing and fun to drink since the fruit adds all the flavor. The dark comes in at a close second though and I believe that with some additional tweaking of the recipe it will be really good. Right now the dark seems to have more coffee and bitter malt flavor instead of the darker sweet fruit caramel that I wanted.

These beers are fun to drink and I hope those who haven’t tried a sour mash before will get the courage to do so. Let us know how it goes.

Brew On my Friends!

Lagunitas Maximus IPA Review

26 Jun

I saw this little beauty in a local liquor store being sold as a single and decided to give it a try. I like most Lagunitas beers although I can’t say I am all that familiar with them. They are located 40 miles north of San Francisco so their beer is real easy to find in the bay area and hopefully I can go on a trip up there soon. Anyway, here is the beer; Maximus clocks in at 8.2% alcohol with 59 I.B.U. which should make for a good night. This beer pours a medium amber color with a nose of floral and fruity hops that jumps out at you. This drinks fairly easily and is well balanced with its modest 59 IBU. It tastes more malty and bready than you would expect, but it works well to balance the higher alcohol.  Flavors of honey and fruit are very apparent in the taste as well, moving to a slightly bitter finish. Overall very modest for a big IPA and a little on the sweet side with the honey flavor starting to be slightly cloying. Its clearly a well done beer with a large malt profile. I am not sure I would order more than one but with the 8.2% alcohol one may be all you need.

Overall 3.8 out of 5

Happy drinking

Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire Review

5 Jun

Recently I have been searching for some farmhouse ales for inspiration in my beer brewing. I have always wanted to make something along the lines of a Fantome, which is not a very easy task. For those of you not familiar with the Farmhouse style of beers they are traditional Belgian and French ales that were brewed for the farmhands who worked the fields. These beers were the predecessors to modern Saison and Belgian ales. They usually have a light refreshing quality to them and feature multiple yeast strains and brettanomyces which gives the beer a very rustic and flavorful pallet.

In my search to obtain a bottle of Fantome like inspiration in the Oakland area,    I found this.

Its a Bam Noire dark farmhouse ale by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales from Michigan. I looked delicious so I had to have it.

Opened and poured into a tulip glass this beer pours a smooth medium brown with a hint of red. The head is generous from the higher carbonation but light and dissipates quickly. It leaves very minimal lacing and keeps a very thin head as you drink. This beer smells great, just how a farmhouse ale should smell; bright with hints of citrus, raspberries, a little dark fruit from the malt and lots of Brett funk. It smells almost like a mild Flanders, which is one of my all time favorites. This beer has a huge and complex nose to it and it is definitely the highlight of the beer. When compared the flavor profile seems a little one dimensional which is not quite fair because its still very good. The taste is tart and bright from the carbonation and acid with possibly a hint of sour cherries and chocolate from the malt. Overall very restrained in flavor but very easy drinking with the thinner body and low alcohol(4.3%). In the mouth it seems very bright and hitting some mineral flavors like a sharp white wine with a little bitterness or astringency possibly from the darker malt. It ends on a hint of bitter chocolate with that classic Belgian bone dry attenuation.

I  really enjoyed this beer, it is very easy drinking(I drank the whole bottle) and opens up more and more as you drink it. I do wish it had a little more flavor profile or maybe some more dark fruit but its nothing to complain about. This beer is definitely very unique and has that elusive farmhouse ale quality that I love so much. I am a big fan of what is being produced at Jolly Pumpkin, and If you have never had any of their beers I highly recommend them.

Overall the Bam Noire is a 4.5 out of 5 for me.

As Willy would say, stay thirsty my friends!