Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Bold and the Booty-Full

Well, here it is, punters, the long-promised brew of proven ingredients all brewed into one, to assault the senses and smack the wise, safety-first rule of brewing fair in the face.

Yes, folks, having endured the pitfalls of banana and capsicum beers, I have identified sufficient successful ingredients to be able to put them all into one, ignoring yet again my golden rule of emphasising only one aspect of beer.

Yep, this is the Cosentino of beer brews, the dunno-if-I-can-crack-the lock-underwater leap of faith with a range of ingredients that I can confidently proclaim have never been in the same beer together in all of human history.  So do not sweat over whether the beer will kill you, but savour history in the making and partake for history's sake, for this could be a beer for the ages, to be celebrated for, or in spite of as the case may be, the wonderful history of beer.

So what are the magical ingredients, you ask?  Well, for starters I will use a version of the tried and true coriander and curacao orange peel used in Hoegaarden - powdered coriander seed and ruby red grapefruit zest.  Any other type of orange imparts a pure orange taste, which, while not a bad flavour per se, does not really do beer any favours.  Curacao orange is actually bitter, and is not even orange in colour, so including navel oranges in beer is as productive as, well, navel-gazing.

As once suggested, and subsequently demonstrated successfully, grapefruit does a fine job of replicating the bitterness of caracao orange.  After doing a Troy Buswell (look it up if you must) to the locally sold grapefruit produce at Stupidbarn (or whatever they call it), I chose the ruby red grapefruit for its more savoury taste than the typical yellow variety.  Grapefruit does impart its own bitterness, with only a vaguely fruity difference to what hops provides to beer.  After all, what could possibly go wrong?

As I said, I have the ground coriander seeds ready to go, having found them by accident after having given up on finding them after a fruitless search taking an entire week.  So that's two ingredients, you ask, what about the rest?

Well,  I previously road tested the lemon myrtle, a native ingredient, and found it to impart a sweet-agnostic but pleasant flavour to beer, although I slightly overdid it the first time around.  No one died, however, so I call that a success.  There is no chance of overdoing it this time due to limited supply, so i'm pretty much guaranteed to produce a slight flavour without being at all obvious.

Fourthly, resurrected Oktoberfest yeast gets a cameo after being retrieved from an earlier brew, being reused under the advice of my not-so-local home brew shop, that liquid yeasts can not only be reused, but actually improve with subsequent use, up to a point.  If you don't like the result, it's their fault, so there.  I recently used it in my Dutch Lager, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it added significant body and flavour.

And lastly, dry hopping.  I am a convert and an aficianado of dry hopping, having found that it gives the great hoppy flavour that earlier attempts had clearly failed to reproduce.  I will be using the awesome Crystal hops, which imparts a strong, herbal, fruity flavour to beer which has my next-door neighbour supplying my boy with a regular supply of cheese and bacon pies, so I guess it must be alright.  It should be noted at this point that this particular hops is the reason for adding the grapefruit, as balance is important, especially for those of the late-night-prove-to-the-local-cop-that-your-behaviour-is-one-of-general-happiness-not-one-of-impairment variety.  Otherwise it would risk rendering the beer too fruity,  but the grapefruit should also add its own flavour to proceedings, so all-in-all I am supremely confident of a wonderous result, or at the very least a beer that won't kill you.

Either way, partaking in the result will render one to be part of history, living or dead.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Beer Whisperer Beer Review - Sail & Anchor The Bloke Red Ale

In my rounds the other day, I came across an unfamiliar beer which piqued my interest.  It certainly wasn't the name, which was to me a lame attempt at appealing to men in desperate need of reaffirming their masculinity.  That it wasn't a ubiquitous, here-we-go-again pale ale was certainly appealing, as was the 640ml bottle size. Puny 330ml bottles not only appear to make false claims of exclusiveness and rarity, but also deprive the beer drinker of a sufficient quantity to make a properly considered judgement of the quality of the beer.  Well, that's my excuse and i'm sticking to it.  Of course, the 6% alcohol by volume does not appeal to my inner drunkard, or my outward one for that matter, but I could be lying.

To be honest, I couldn't figure out whether this is a Sail & Anchor Brewery beer from Fremantle in Western Australia, or a Karl Strauss Brewing Company beer from San Diego, just that they waffle on about the latter being inspired by the former, and that it was brewed in Freo, but all in all it sounds like a poor man's James Squire with their dodgy tales of colonial days in Port Jackson, and equally unfascinating.

Anyway, to the fun part!  Tasting notes on the bottle say that it is of "medium body with well balanced malt and hop characteristics and a slightly roasted malt finish.  Pours a bright red hue in the glass, with lingering hoppy, grapefruit and tangerine aromas".  Sorry, but unless the aromas are assaulting the senses, then it's just another wanky claim.  After all, if there is no grapefruit in the ingredients, and no obvious grapefruit in the smell or taste, then it's the proverbial falling tree in the forest.  Only when you open a bottle of Franziskaner or the like and feel like you've been smacked in the face by a bunch of bananas can they claim to have an aroma of something that is otherwise not there.

Fortunately,  the beer is bold and malty, with the high alcohol content well masked by its full-body maltiness.  Pouring a solid white head, it is the sort of beer than used to be told would put hairs on your chest, before metrosexuality dictated that hair should only be on your scalp and face.  Maybe they should have claimed that instead, with an appropriately bearded target audience member on the label.

I don't support the notion of a lingering hoppiness as claimed, however it is consistent with the malty style, and does contain the coppery red it claims to possess.  All in all, this is a good, honest, and bold beer, dubious labels and claims notwithstanding.  Definitely a beer I would drink (over and over) again, as it doesn't shirk it's responsibilities as a beer, and is worthy of a good session with fellow appreciators of fine beer.  Aussie to the trackie-daks, it is yet another strong showing from one of the world's great craft brewing locales.