Monday, March 22, 2010

Poll Results

I did a poll on Beer Evaluation education for bloggers. The results are weird at best. My assumption was that if bloggers are going to talk, evaluate and recommend beers they should have some form of practical experience, but also some educational background. Any fool can say, "I like this or I hate this," but are they making an educated decision or just a personal gut reaction?

5 people answered the poll and were able to choose multiple categories. Here where the results:

For Bloggers. Have you read these books?

The Essentials of Beer Style - Fred Eckhardt - 2 (40%)
Tasting Beer - Randy Mosher - 1 (20%)
Any of Michael Jackson Books - 2 (40%)
Brew Chem 101: The Basics of Homebrewing Chemistry - Lee W. Janson - 0 (0%)
Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles - Ray Daniels - 2 (40%)
Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew - John Palmer/Jamil Z. - 0 (0%)
A Textbook of Brewing - Jean De Clerk - 1 (20%)
Standards of Brewing - Dr. Charles Bamforth- 1 (20%)
A pub napkin or place mate - 3 (60%)
I don't know how to read - 2 (40%)

We have two smart asses who say they can't read, so lets ignore those numbers.

One person has read De Clerk and Bamford. They must be a brewer? A serious brewer, but they have not read Daniels or Janson. This could mean they were Educated in brewing, but may not have ever home brewed?

Three people have at least read a pub napkin. I would hope everyone has read a pub napkin at least for the laugh!

Basically, no more than two people have read any books on beer evaluation and/or tasting. Leaving a possibility that only 40% of the bloggers have ever read anything on beer evaluation and/or style profiling.

Hmmm? Wonder who the two competent ones are? I can honestly say, I'm one of them. The other could be the professional brewer. Very telling......?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quick Reviews

Oakshire O'Dark:30

It's.....uh....interesting? Reminds me of sampling home brews about 15 years ago. I remember a guy who said, "Try my Stout. It's not quite right. What do you think?"

That thought leads me to this review.

Big Roasted Malt up front in Aroma with charred Black Patent notes. A big muddled hop bitterness overrides (or rides) along the dark roasted malts. First sip bring two things to the palate; Huge muddled unidentifiable hop bitterness and roasted malts. Big charred malt flavors like burnt coffee laying in the pot too long. Through the palate and overpowering through the finish and into eternity are those muddled muddy bitter hops. Hops are SO bitter and over done they are unidentifiable. The body is medium-full with some stout-like qualities. The bittering hops are so overdone the bitterness is painfully blatant and obnoxious. There could be some finishing hops, but I can't identify them. The malt is probably on key for a decent stout but the immense bitterness ruins the experience.

Where other Black IPA's (CDA's) can have a well balance of bitterness that blends with Flavor and aroma hops additions, this beer is way off kilter when it comes to hops ad very heavy handed at the bittering addition.

Not a real pleasurable experience. I'm reminded of that home brew I had 15 years ago. My answer was the same then and is it is now for this beer. Learn how to hops use in your beer.

Rating: C-

Lagunitas WTF

Called an Imperial Brown. Not sure if I can go there with this beer, but it is a nicely made beer with a nice balance of caramel malts along with bittering and aroma hops.

The aroma is identifiably floral and cascade piney with hints of moderate caramel malts. The hops had a nice perfume aroma that sings along side the caramel maltiness but does not over step it's bounds.

While the cascade hops predominates through the palate, the caramel malts seamlessly blend and add a sophisticated complex malt and hop landscape. Some alcohol heat penetrates the nose and back of the tongue. You can sense there is an experienced hand at work brewing this beer. Nothing is in excess, yet everything is in there and marries together is harmony.

The finish has a short but pleasant pine hop notes and then dries out with the caramel malts fading away.

Overall it reminds me of Sierra Nevada Celebration ale with a little more malt and alcohol. Nicely done American Strong ale.

Rating: B+

BTW, for those who are concerned about cost and volume of your beer. I didn't notice the price, nor if it was a honest pint. As I have for my entire life, I purchased the beers I wanted to drink and didn't concern myself with price or volume. If I was concerned about price and volume, I'd be drinking a 40 oz. St Ides and pissing on a dumpster.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I guess I was wrong?

With all the CDA discussion I keep reading on the local blogs, I thought for sure I'd have SOME discussion about the CDA vs Black IPA? I guess not! Guess no one really cares or there's no real fight or campaign?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cascadian Dark Ale vs. Black IPA

I'm going to keep my personal choice out of the discussion. Yes! The Doc will keep his opinion to himself! I'd like to open the discussion or debate up to the readers. Lets hear the arguments for or against the naming of this beer style.

The NW wants to call this style their own, while the name Black IPA opens the style as an American style. This is the basic concept I would guess?

Let me start with some simple facts:

  • A. The name BLACK IPA is/has already being used in Northwest by the majority of the breweries.
  • B. In searching Black IPA's on Beer Advocates web site one comes up with 10 Cascadian regionally Brewed Black IPA (or Cascadian Darks) and 26 Black IPA's across the rest of the country.
  • C. The origin of the "New" style can be argued and undefined.

Got those debate and arguments ready? OK.... Ready set go!

Kumodo Dragon Fly Black IPA - Chicago's Upland Brewery

One of a couple Black IPA's from Stone.
They didn't even put a style name on this Black IPA/CDA.

A Cascadian Brewed.....uh, Black IPA.

A Cascadian Dark Ale from Eugene.... It still says Black IPA on label.

Capt'n Krunkles Black IPA from Terrapin Brewing in Athen, GA.
Maybe they'll want to call it a CRACKER IPA or Appalachian IPA???

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Poll on Beer Evaluation

Just put a up a new poll for fellow bloggers. Curious to see how educated bloggers are on beer, brewing and beer evaluation. Mostly curious on blogger evaluation knowledge.

Drinking beer is one thing, but knowing what you're talking about is another. I read a lot of pontificating mumbo-jumbo about beer. Some is intelligent, some is pure sheep mentality and some is just convoluted crap.

A anon poster sent the following quote:

"Everybody knows how to drink beer, but few know how to really taste it. Tasting Beer is a lively exploration of the culture, chemistry, and creativity that make craft beers so wonderfully complex. Heighten your enjoyment of every glass with an understanding of the finer points of brewing, serving, tasting, and food pairing."

- Randy Mosher, Back cover of Tasting Beer

I think Randy just said a mouthful!

BTW, for those who completed my last Poll.... DUVEL is a Golden Belgian Beer. DUVAL is the last name of an actor. Only 20% got the answer correct!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Tale of Three Porters?

Porters can be quite diverse in flavor; Brown Porters, Robust Porters and Baltic Porters. Some a little hoppy, some very malty, a little Roasty; Some thin, some dense..... and so on. What I can never understand is why someone can't identify a Porter before slapping a label on a beer? Is it a marketing ploy or stupidity. It's either one of the other.

Below I have 3 examples of beers that are Porters. They may not be fermented with Ale yeast, but they're taste is 100% Porter.

Lets start with a little definition of styles. I know some people get on my ass when I use the BJCP style guidelines, but they give a nice quick reference guide for all basic styles. Before someone starts talking about brewing out of style and that being a good thing, let me say, "I agree!" Brewing out on style is a great thing, but it you're going to call a Scotch ale a Porter, you're just screwing with the public's head or making yourself look stupid. If a beer is brewed OUT of STyle, don't give it a style name, period.

Maybe beer bone-heads don't care, but those of us in the know are chuckling.

Brown Porter:

Flavor: Malt flavor includes a mild to moderate roastiness (frequently with a chocolate character) and often a significant caramel, nutty, and/or toffee character. May have other secondary flavors such as coffee, licorice, biscuits or toast in support. Should not have a significant black malt character (acrid, burnt, or harsh roasted flavors), although small amounts may contribute a bitter chocolate complexity. English hop flavor moderate to none. Medium-low to medium hop bitterness will vary the balance from slightly malty to slightly bitter. Usually fairly well attenuated, although somewhat sweet versions exist. Diacetyl should be moderately low to none. Moderate to low fruity esters.

Robust Porter:

Flavor: Moderately strong malt flavor usually features a lightly burnt, black malt character (and sometimes chocolate and/or coffee flavors) with a bit of roasty dryness in the finish. Overall flavor may finish from dry to medium-sweet, depending on grist composition, hop bittering level, and attenuation. May have a sharp character from dark roasted grains, although should not be overly acrid, burnt or harsh. Medium to high bitterness, which can be accentuated by the roasted malt. Hop flavor can vary from low to moderately high (US or UK varieties, typically), and balances the roasted malt flavors. Diacetyl low to none. Fruity esters moderate to none.

Baltic Porter:

Flavor: As with aroma, has a rich malty sweetness with a complex blend of deep malt, dried fruit esters, and alcohol. Has a prominent yet smooth schwarzbier-like roasted flavor that stops short of burnt. Mouth-filling and very smooth. Clean lager character; no diacetyl. Starts sweet but darker malt flavors quickly dominates and persists through finish. Just a touch dry with a hint of roast coffee or licorice in the finish. Malt can have a caramel, toffee, nutty, molasses and/or licorice complexity. Light hints of black currant and dark fruits. Medium-low to medium bitterness from malt and hops, just to provide balance. Hop flavor from slightly spicy hops (Lublin or Saaz types) ranges from none to medium-low.


Aroma: Low to moderate malt, with low aromatic sweetness and/or hints of roast malt often apparent. The malt can be clean and neutral or rich and Munich-like, and may have a hint of caramel. The roast can be coffee-like but should never be burnt. A low noble hop aroma is optional. Clean lager yeast character (light sulfur possible) with no fruity esters or diacetyl.

Appearance: Medium to very dark brown in color, often with deep ruby to garnet highlights, yet almost never truly black. Very clear. Large, persistent, tan-colored head.

Flavor: Light to moderate malt flavor, which can have a clean, neutral character to a rich, sweet, Munich-like intensity. Light to moderate roasted malt flavors can give a bitter-chocolate palate that lasts into the finish, but which are never burnt. Medium-low to medium bitterness, which can last into the finish. Light to moderate noble hop flavor. Clean lager character with no fruity esters or diacetyl. Aftertaste tends to dry out slowly and linger, featuring hop bitterness with a complementary but subtle roastiness in the background. Some residual sweetness is acceptable but not required.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to moderately high carbonation. Smooth. No harshness or astringency, despite the use of dark, roasted malts.

Overall Impression: A dark German lager that balances roasted yet smooth malt flavors with moderate hop bitterness.

History: A regional specialty from southern Thuringen and northern Franconia in Germany, and probably a variant of the Munich Dunkel style.

Comments: In comparison with a Munich Dunkel, usually darker in color, drier on the palate and with a noticeable (but not high) roasted malt edge to balance the malt base. While sometimes called a “black Pils,” the beer is rarely that dark; don’t expect strongly roasted, porter-like flavors.

Vital Statistics:

OG: 1.046 – 1.052

FG: 1.010 – 1.01

IBUs: 22 – 32

SRM: 17 – 30

ABV: 4.4 – 5.4%

Commercial Examples: Köstritzer Schwarzbier, Kulmbacher Mönchshof Premium Schwarzbier, Samuel Adams Black Lager, Krušovice Cerne, Original Badebier, Einbecker Schwarzbier, Gordon Biersch Schwarzbier, Weeping Radish Black Radish Dark Lager, Sprecher Black Bavarian


Heater Allen Schwarz

Previously, I reviewed this beer - quite over blow with roasted malt… The body was slightly heavy and taste a little disjointed. The beer could easy pass for a Porter, rather than a Schwarz. Maybe a British or American Roasted Malt was used (or Brown Malt) in lieu of a more appropriate German Dark Malt or Carafa malt. Munich malt? Are ya in there?? The beer was very drinkable, but just not quite hitting the style mark.

New review is slightly different - The review above fits, but now the beer has a more burnt Espresso flavor and some smoked notes. Once again, this beer is BIG, Rich and way to much malt density. While reviewing the Schwarz style profile, I can definitely note, "This is not a Schwarz, but clearly a Porter."

In following the style profile this beer fails as a Schwarz for the following style failures:

  • "Light to moderate malt flavor" - This beer just too big in the malt department.
  • "Rich Munich-like intensity." - This beer is big chocolate, big burnt espresso and the smoke is out of style. No dense Munich is noted or is masked by bigger Roast, Chocolate and Espresso notes. All more reminiscent of a Porter or even a Stout.
  • Finish is much to malty.

According to the Heater Allen Web site:

I recently changed this recipe to include 12% smoked malt, and I like it a lot. I don't know if it really still qualifies as a Schwarzbier, but it won't be mistaken for a Porter, and it's really good. The beer's aroma is smoky and malty, with some espresso notes. On the palate, the intial smoke is quickly replaced by malt, chocolate and espresso flavors, with the smoke reappearing in the finish. The sweet smokiness just offsets the more bitter/roasty notes, producing a smooth, rich brew. The hops provide balance, but virtually nothing to the aroma.

Nope, sorry, it's a Porter. It's tasty, but not a Schwarz.

Buckbean Brewings - Black Noddy Schwarz

Big porterish chocolate malt with some fruity notes. Perfumey hop spice is prominent and out of style for a Schwarz. Flavors are well Rounded and mouth feel is that of a Brown Porter. Chocolate dominates! Maybe a little Munich malt comes through. Big! To big for a Schwartz which should be a little more subtle on the chocolate and girth of malts.

Once again drinkable, but not a Schwarz.

Maui Brewing Coconut Porter

This beer is a twist on a traditional Robust Porter. It's exactly what it states to be!

Rich dark malt smell. Big chocolate with a blended in Roast. Maybe a hint of toasted coconut in aroma. Flavor is dense, malty with Munich, chocolate and some roast. The toasted coconut brings a nutty flavor and nice toast to the favor. No real coconut flavor, but essence of the coconut meat that's toasted. Thick and sweet. Might be a little over sweet, but it is a Porter with a nice little twist. The beer is well rounded and balanced. Nicely made beer.

I'm just happy I don't need to fly to Hawaii to enjoy this beer.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Customer Dis-service

What happened to American Pride and the sense of quality service? We used to be proud of our products and service excellence. It's all going away or swept under the rug.

Management? They used to be the rock. The person who demanded excellence from their workers. Don't see that anymore. What is the purpose of management these days? They were supposed to be ones to hold the reigns of business and fly everybody on a straight course, not a bunch of bumbling fat heads and yes-men.

At my current place of employment we frequently are asked how to solve a problem. Sounds great! They want input from others! No! They want workers to solve the problems they get paid the big bucks for! I'll hear, "Oh, we're having budget problems.... What should we do?" People ideas and none are put into motion. Management has "NO IDEA?" Scary! After awhile, one starts to think... 'Well... they don't want my ideas and they can't come up with they're own, I wonder how they got that position?" Oh well, they're held responsible, maybe someone upstairs will realize they're useless and can their ass? Nope! They keep rolling on.

What's up with this scenario?

A friend told me this story. A couple times a week they go to a local market, let call it Slaveway or Jed Fryer, they go to get a quick lunch at the Deli counter. For weeks and weeks he goes and the food isn't ready for sale. Others like himself, come, wait and leave. Sandwich? No. Chinese? No. Other deli prepared foods? No. He goes to lunch at 11 AM, nothing ready. Then he goes at 11:30 AM... Nope! Finally, he figures he'll go at Noon! Hell, that's lunch time! NOPE! Not ready!

In total frustration he goes to the store manager. "You have a serious problem with the Deli Department. Every time I could in on my lunch hour the food isn't ready." Store manager first answer, "Really? I had no idea!" Come on! This bozo really has no idea that the Deli can't get their shit together for 4 months? No one has come to complain after all this time? Others have complained, my buddy knows. Buddy says, "You must know. Everybody complains." Manager, "Well, must be the economy." The economy??? That's the best answer this jack ass can come up with? the economy is in the shitter, so people can't get their shit together and do their job?

It's just an example.

Ever do to a restaurant lately? Did ya get fast and friendly service? More than likely you have at least 10 stories to the contrary. What is wrong with these people? If I go to a nice restaurant, I expect at least friendly service by a properly attired server. Not some stupid dweeb with his/her hair in shambles like they just got out of bed; Smelling like they changed their clothes last week; No sense of the word deodorant; Beer Bottle caps wedged into disgusting hole in their lobes with a enough tattoos that would make a Sailor blush. The pins, loops and other metallic face decorations are distracting enough. I keep wanting to put some bait on one of them and throw in the river! I bet a fish wouldn't even bite on anything that scary!

OK... If I go to some local Pub, Dive, Greasy Spoon or Granola head cafe, I would expect this, but not is a nice restaurant. What is the screening process and who is doing the screening? Marilyn Manson? Does it sound like this: "You! Yea, you, the one with all the pins and hooks... Dude come over hear? Of sorry honey, yea you. Show me your best customer greeting." The girl shrugs as if she care about nothing and on Quaaludes. Opens her lips and says, "yeaaaa... what do you want?"

"Perfect! You're hired! BTW, try to cover those needle marks on your arm and shave your pits."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beer Snowflakes? A Beer Journal.

The "33 Bottles of Beer Journal"

The Doc hasn't done a book review, probably because most Beer books are repetitively the same thing or picture books or travel books. Reviews would be like...

"Here again we can find this author talking about the basics process of brewing beer, along with some basic info grains and hops."

"Nice photos of breweries and beer."

"Great tour book of Belgium.... Wish I was there!"

But! This is a beer journal! Could be a great tool for the avid to serious Beer advocate.

Finally got around to looking at "33 Beer Journal." I received it as a White Elephant gift for Christmas. Since I have nothing else to write about, I figured what the hell. Dave was upset that his blog didn't get a Dr Wort entree named after him, so I figured, this article would make up for leaving him out. Thanks for the inspiration Dave!

For most serious beer enthusiasts I know, a Beer Journal consists of a pad of lined paper and a pen. At the very least, maybe just a keen memory. I figured, maybe a pre-printed Beer journal would be a nice tool for writing down beer evaluations.

In evaluating or judging beer there is a basic process. Here you can find one a many descriptions for the evaluating process. I picked it at random! It even has a rendition of the well used evaluators Flavor wheel. They print these on T-shirts too!

The general process for evaluating a beer goes as follows: Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish. This is pretty much the excepted practice and process around the world. Each step is evaluated and your thoughts are written down for future reference and/or judging.

Along with the evaluation you would obviously have to Title your notes with the name of the beer and maybe some general beer info.

That's it! Pretty simple with the exception that you have to know and understand what you are smelling and tasting. ;-}

33 Beer Journal is pretty much Title and Snowflakes. You have a place to write down the beer name and some basic label facts. IBU, SG and the like. You could also rip the label off and tape it to the page I guess? That would be for quick identification. Other than Title info, it has a place for notes and the Snowflake Flavor wheel. Apparently, if you can't articulate in writing the beers aroma, taste, body, finish and appearance; You are given a flavor wheel that you can mark the intensity on this limited descriptor wheel. When done, you end up with the Basic Label info and a funky Beer evaluation Snowflake. Hmmmm.

There is nothing printed for a basic written evaluation of Color, appearance, aroma or the like, just a small area for "Notes." 33's web site example has the following written into the notes section, "Pours thick black with minimal brownish head. very dry." Well... I guess that area is for Appearance and mouth feel?

The flavor wheel? In evaluating beer, the flavor wheel is used as an assistant to help you collect your thoughts with some typical beer descriptors and to keep your written notes informative. The normal flavor wheel looks something like this:

33 Beer Journal cuts this wheel to about 1/20 the norm and is actually supposed to "BE" the description of the beer. The tradition Evaluation wheel is a descriptive aid for writing a description, but this wheel IS the description. By connecting the dots you get a snowflake pattern! Yay!

From the 33 Bottles of Beer web site.

Well.... uh...Interesting. Anybody want to guess what beer the above Snowflake is describing? :-) I would have absolutely no clue what this beer tastes like or what it could be. There is a complementary blog.

While this journal is pretty useless for a serious beer enthusiast, I'm sure it can be used for the average frat boy who want to keep his/her badges of drinking honor organized in one little journal. The notes section can be used for girls phone numbers, directions to the next kegger or to impress other guys who can't get beyond the Mickey's Big Mouth, Keystone or PBR beers.

Overall I think a $1.50 spiral note book works pretty good. I can write down the Beer info from a chalk board or can or just rip a label off a beer bottle and tape into note book. That way I can have a picture and info. It has many big pages, so I can do 2 evaluation per page...probably get about 100 evaluations per notebook. Since the 33 Journal has no room to write any real evaluation descriptions of the sample beer, using this for a beer profile/taste/evaluation reference is pretty limited.

I know, I know..... The Doc is always so negative! Well, I did find this journal to be useful. All is not lost! If you can connect the dots on your limited flavor wheel, you can create a rather unique snowflake shape! Save up a journals worth and you can have your kids cut out the snowflakes for the family Christmas tree. For $4 you can get 33 unique and interesting Christmas ornaments! Ornaments aren't cheap you know!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Inspired by a recent Blog posting by Portland Blogger Bill @ It's Pub Night. I had to post this introspective insight.

Ready to be inspired with my keen beer knowledge and observation?

All these beers say "Red" on the label, but they're not the same! Feel free to share this vast new knowledge with your friends.

Thanks for having a sense of humor, Bill!

Hipster Beer Brats: Go play in a different Generational Backyard!

Here's one of em'! Drinking a PBR as he should be.

After receiving numerous reports from my CA beer friends complaining about increased cost of craft and Belgian beers, they've come to the conclusion that the Hipster Beer Brats need to go!

I was asked to check out some recent CA Tap menu's to check out the prices. I nearly crapped myself!

These are actual prices found on Pub menu:

Hitachino Nest White Ale (10 oz). - $12.25 Draft
Fuller’s Vintage Ale ‘09 (500 ml) - $19.75
Pinkus Pils (Germany) - #11.25
Celebrator Doppelbock (12 oz) - $9.75
Anchor Small Beer - $9.25
Paulaner Hefe - $11.25
Alesmith IPA - $17.00
Belhaven Scotch ale - $12.25
Hair of the Dog Fred - $12.75
Deschutes Mirror Mirror - $27.00!!!
Duval (33 cc) - $11.25
Fantome Saison - $32.25
La Roja Jolly Pumpkin - $30.00

You've got to be kidding! Paulaner Hefe, $11.25!!! I used to see these in the bargain bin for $1.25. Belhaven Scotch, not even the better quality McEwans....$12.25! Duval... $11.25? Maybe $4, but $11??? I want to go out and have a beer, not have to spend my paycheck on a couple beers!

Why? According to outside sources these ridiculous bloated prices are being boosted by these "Trust Fund" Hipster beer brats. You know, the ones with giant cock rings in they're ears, the hooks and wires sticking out they're face. The ones that look like a well paid freak side show attraction! Dressed in classic Goodwill dumpster diving apparel. ;-}

Look at this mess. What's in the next tent, JoJo the Monkey Boy?
Old "B" Horror Movies could get this nasty or moronic.

It makes no sense. Why would a generation of wandering, directionless Hipsters be interested in Quality beer? Doesn't that go against they're grain of wanting to look and portray total non-caring losers?

Apparently, PBR didn't give the hipsters enough instant drunken satisfaction, so now they've decided to move into the quality beer arena. Being that this is America, the land of free commerce and the endless search for riches, I can't really blame the pub owners for trying to squeeze every last cent out of these mindless hipster twits. Maybe they're hoping they'll run out of money and just go home? Either way, take their daddies well earned money to pay $30 for a bottle of beer.

These pencil necked geeks with their wallets loaded with daddies trust fund cash are just ruining a decent pint by jacking up the price of beer! They need to go play in someone else's backyard. Leave my Beer appreciating generation alone! Go find a new trend to follow.... maybe Heroin and Quaaludes?! Slumped into a corner, whacked out and drooling witll at least help bring the cost down on our precious quality beer. What the hell happened to your beloved PBR?? It's yours! You can have it! We won't pick on you anymore! We all thought you were stretching those earlobes for PBR can holders, what other aesthetic reason could you have other than wanting to look a tribe member is some lost society in Zimbabwe! Just take it and leave our beer alone!

This Metrosexual guy (?) wins the prize! If you were driving down the highway and saw this running through the woods you'd feel compelled to make a call to the local zoo and see what escaped. Remember the old saying, "Your mommy dresses you funny?"

All joking aside.....I personally don't care what these guys and gals look like, dress like or even do. They can be whatever they want to be.... Just leave my beer alone!