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Archive for the ‘Beer Tastings’ Category

Top 5 Pale Ales

Posted by Jeff on February 12, 2011

People sometimes ask me what my favorite beer is.  That’s impossible to answer.  But here’s a list of my top 5 American Pale Ales (I’m drinking one now and it got me to thinking…):

5) Pale Horse Ale, No Label Brewing Co. – This beer makes the top 5 for 2 reasons.  First, it’s a fine pale ale and very enjoyable.  Secondly, and perhaps most influentially, it’s made here in my hometown of Katy, Texas.  Support local beer!

4) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – This was my go-to beer in my younger days (at bars with limited tap selections) and I still love grabbing a pint every now and then when I am out.  Can’t beat the signature taste of Cascade hops!

3) Full Moon Pale Rye Ale, Real Ale Brewing Co. – One of my favorite local breweries (out of Blanco, Texas) and this pale is awesome!  The addition of rye gives it a nice malty spiciness that blends well with the hops.

2) Pine Belt Pale Ale, Southern Star Brewing Co. – My favorite part about this beer is it’s round, almost creamy mouthfeel.  It’s texture really brings out the flavors and makes the beer fantastic, definitely setting it apart from the rest.

1) Piranha Pale Ale, BJ’s Restaurants – This, to me, is the quintessential APA.  It’s crisp, hoppy and refreshing with a blast of Cascade and Chinook hops.  I’ve got a homebrew recipe for this one and I love having it on tap!


Now, keep in mind I’m not saying these are the 5 best APA’s EVAR!  No, I’m saying these are my top 5.  I’m sure if I lived somewhere where I could get more West Coast APA’s, I’d have to make room on this list to move a few in…


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Migration Update

Posted by Jeff on August 18, 2010

My last post was about how my Migration Wit got all screwed up due to my careless use of flavorings.  Well, after some retrospect and some Papazian mantra therapy (“Relax. Don’t worry.  Have a homebrew.”) I’ve decided… it’s not all that bad.

Sure, this beer is a far cry from what I had originally had in mind.  I had hoped for a flavorful, yet refreshing wit with some interesting back flavor from the lavender and Belgian yeast.  What I got was something more tart and acidic.

It’s almost like a sour beer, but not really.  Just enough of a bite to make you feel it, but not the type that leaves you puckering and wincing.

I like it.  I’ve actually been having a glass almost every night!  The only negative is that the acidity doesn’t really get along with my chronic acid reflux… hence why I can only usually have one glass.

I do have some lactic acid that can tart it up a bit.  I’m thinking of entering it as a sour beer in an upcoming competition, just to see how it does.

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Tasty’s Amber Update

Posted by Jeff on June 11, 2010

Ok… just cleaned the lines and tapped this beer to give it a try…

Sweet.  Mother.

This is an AWESOME amber!  I am STOKED!

I was concerned that the low IBUs in the recipe would make for a lackluster American Amber (there were no 60 minute hops… calculated IBUs were 24).  Somehow, however, this beer has a great hop flavor that doesn’t coat the tongue or bite too hard.  It’s just enough to blast you with hop flavor… and go away.

The beer finished dry which really just makes you want another sip!

This may become the new house amber! (Although I may make some adjustments on the late & dry hops)

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Jeff’s Pale Ale – Update

Posted by Jeff on March 22, 2010

I’ve decided to dub my pale ale just that… mine.  Jeff’s Pale Ale!  It’s not super catchy, but this pale ale is exactly what I want out of a pale, so it makes sense.

Ok, so I transferred off the carboy and into a keg today and poured a little sample for me…

Sweet baby Jesus this beer is good! 

First thing I get is the strong Cascade hops in the aroma.  I added an ounce to secondary and it REALLY came through nicely! 

Secondly, the tasting.  This beer is fan-freaking-tastic!  This is my idea of the perfect pale ale!  A very balanced and easy to drink beer with just the right amount of hop bitterness (not too much like some over-hopped commercial pale ales) from the Chinook hops (my favorite hop).  Coming in at a nice 5%ABV, this is one of the better beers I have right now.

Now… since my Fiesta amber came out so blah, I was thinking of bring this pale as a lifeline.  But after sampling it… I don’t know if I WANT to share with the masses!  Oh decisions… pride or greed…

In any case, I’ve brewed a damn good beer!  I definitely think I may bottle a few for competition.

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Frontier Fiesta Amber – Update

Posted by Jeff on March 22, 2010

Just kegged it tonight.  Going to try to carbonate it in 6 days.

Final gravity came out well… but this beer tastes really thin.  I’m not impressed at all.  Then again, 2 lbs of corn in the grain bill, a low mash temp and having to add water before fermentation to bring down the gravity all probably played a part in it.

Looks like it rings it at 6% ABV.

I’m debating whether or not to take it to Fiesta.  On the one hand, it’s fairly bland, so it may go over well with the masses.  On the other hand… it’s a piss poor representation of my brewing.  (So maybe I just bust it out around 1AM…)

I’ll carbonate it and check on it on Friday. 

On the plus side, this is the first beer I’ve made in my conical since replacing the gaskets (I had a bad off flavor coming from all of my conical fermented beers which I hypothesised was probably the 3 year old gaskets).  The beer came out withOUT the specific off-flavor I’ve been getting in my beers… so that’s good.

Here’s hoping… check back in a week and see how it went.

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Holiday Spiced Ale Update

Posted by Jeff on January 7, 2010

As I mentioned in my previous post… something is wrong with my beers.  I’ve changed alot of variables and I think I’ve found the culprit… but in the tangle… I lost some good beers.

The Holiday Spiced Ale has fallen in those ranks.

Last year this beer was a delight!  It was smooth and delicious and tasted like drinking a pumpkin pie beer!  This year… well… this year it tastes like a spiced hot mess.

On the plus side, it’s the same off flavor I’ve had in most of my recent beers, so I know there is a consistent problem… I just have to find it.

In the meantime, I’m letting the Holiday Spiced Ale age for a while in hopes that it will become drinkable… but I’ve got low hopes.  Looks like a batch I’ll be giving to the dead homies.

Bah humbug!

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Dubbel Duck – Update

Posted by Jeff on October 5, 2009

Saturday I transferred Dubble Duck from a secondary to keg.  While transferring I gave it a little taste…

The overly spicy, yeasty flavors are gone now, which is good.  It was quite overpowering to start.  Unfortunately, the yeast I used seems to be the type that has a real earthy, dirt like flavor.  Not a flaw, just a particular flavor that you get in some Belgians.

I don’t like it.

Right now it tastes like drinking moss.

I”m hoping the carbonation helps and that some more time will help meld in some other flavors.  It’s a good beer, for a Belgian, just not to my tastes.  We’ll see how it turns out.  Should be ready to drink in November.

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RDWHAH Prevails Again!

Posted by Jeff on September 18, 2009

So I have a beer I made a while ago that, originally, didn’t turn out so well.  It was basically 100% Two Row with 1 oz. Glacier hops for bittering and 1 oz Glacier for aroma.  It seemed simple, so I thought it would come out alright.

I was wrong.  It came out tasting very very off-flavored.  Aside from DMS, I could taste some sour apple characteristics that made the beer quite unpleasant.  So I decided it was a lost cause.

Luckily for me… I didn’t dump the beer.  Out of curiosity, I pulled a pint tonight.  Suprisingly, the beer wasn’t that bad!  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the best beer I’ve ever made, but MUCH better than a mere 4-5 months ago! 

Good… glad I didn’t dump it and I have  drinkable beer on tap!

RDWHAH!  (Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew!)

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