Tag Archives: Stout

75th Street brewery review

Saturday was a birthday celebration and therefore had to have some part of it spent drinking delicious brew. This year it was decided to try out a local microbrew. The 75th street brewery doesn’t have an extensive history but has been around long enough to establish itself as one of the few great local brewpubs. Let me get this out of the way and say that there was no bad beer.

I elected to start with a sampler. No better way to quickly survey the landscape of their beers than to try as many as you can as cheaply as you can. At a $1.50 apiece, a sampler of six beers was ordered. The current seasonal, the wheat, the IPA, the stout, the Irish red, and the raspberry wheat.

The first to be tasted was current seasonal. It may well be the now cliched Pumpkin beer but it is not cliched in taste. Starting light on the pallet, the spices used fully compliment the pumpkin instead of masking it. It was nice, eminently drinkable, and a little filling.

I then dove into the raspberry wheat. This is a beer to write home about. Effervescent with a tart zip that clears away all other tastes it leaves the mouth wanting more. I could easily find myself losing an entire day to drinking this.

I began to mix it up, jumping between the wheat and red while leaving the IPA and the Stout to the very finish. The Irish red was good, drinkable beer but nothing spectacular jumped out at me while it was washing down the appetizers. The same can be said of the wheat. An excellent beer for those who like the style to the exclusion of all others, while the rest of us will find it simply good in terms of taste and refreshment.

My personal feelings are that stouts need to be drank slightly warmer than most other beer and to be paired with food. Which is why I didn’t touch it until my fish and chips came. I moved on to my favorite type of beer, IPA. And it was good, very good. It was so enjoyable that the next time our waitress came by I ordered a pint to help finish off the meal.

A quick aside: Making a good IPA can be harder than some think because of trying to find the right balance between the sweet and bitter. Too bitter and the sweet comes out as sour . Too sweet and the hops disappears into the beer. Too sweet can paradoxically also lead to the brew having a sour aftertaste as well, something you never forget the first time it happens. So when you find a good IPA that gets the balance right, getting the mix between the bitter hops and sweet malt, that is something to celebrate. This, in my opinion, is an IPA to celebrate.

Finally, the stout was the only beer left. There is much to like. The creamy texture. The dark roasted caramel tastes. But there was also one thing to dislike. The smokey bite. It seem to hit at the wrong point in the drink. Just as I am getting to the transition between the cream and the caramel, the smoke would bite down hard which was particularly jarring. Having a drink with food did somewhat blunt the sharp edge of the smoke it did not disappear completely and makes me think that there was more going on with the beer than at first sip. While not for me, I can see where a stout with this sort of bite would find an appreciative audience.

This trip and the wonderful beer will definitely get me to go back a second time. It’s simply a matter of finding the time to do so.

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Beer is Ready!

So, The other night, H3llDr0p came over, and we had a little beer tasting.

My Oatmeal Stout was ready, as was his small batch test.

H3llDr0p’s small batch was a very effervescent ale. Indeed, apparently it popped the cap off the bottle at one point.

It had a very fruity flavor, very appley with distinct citrus notes. The Citrus flavor became more pronounced as the beer warmed up. Very nice. It was interesting, because he’d been going for a very hoppy flavor, using five times the hops that would normally go into that much beer, but the hop flavor was no where near as strong as he expected.

My Oatmeal stout had a strong Coffee flavor. VERY strong coffee flavor. This was followed by a distinct almond cream after taste, and just a bit of hops at the tail end. It had no head, but upon review, that’s apparently normal for stouts. Guiness only has a head because of the force mixed nitrogen. I am thinking that next time I do a stout however, I will try one of the things that Guiness does, which is adding soured beer to the new batch before fermenting to add complexity to the flavor.

I tried to make a Black & Tan out of them, but they mixed instead of floating. Still very good.

47 Bottles of Beer on the Wall…

So, Beer update number 3 on the All Grain Oatmeal Stout.

Bottling.

We had a bit of a false start yesterday. See, I’ve got a capper, SOMEWHERE, that I can’t find. So I borrowed a capper from my father-in-law. Turns out that capper is for a different style of bottle, and it shattered the top of the bottle I tried it on.

Today, after a quick trip down to the brew store for a new capper, I bottled my beer.

First step, Priming sugar. Now, there may be special sugar for this purpose, but if there is, I don’t have any. So I boiled 3/4s of a cup of normal white sugar in a couple cups of the beer.
While that was heating up, I siphoned the beer into a clean fermentor to leave dead yeast and other sediment behind. It left over an eighth of an inch of sedement in the bottom of the first bucket.

Then, I stirred the priming sugar solution into the beer in the clean fermentor, and started filling bottles.

I got 47 and a half bottles of beer, not counting the one bottle I broke (already filled), the bottles worth I spilled, and the roughly half a bottle I drank tasting it at various points. Now they have to bottle condition for 3 week. Convieniently, they’ll be ready in time for the local Irish fest and the associated Stout brewing competition… Huzzah!

As a side note, based on my starting Specific Gravity and ending Specific gravity, Roughly 1.031 and 1.003 respectively, My calculations show the been has a 3.78% alcohol content. Though that number is a rough calculation.

EDIT: So, I finally found an important list, that tells me the relative Specific Gravity of pure water at different temperatures. Given what I found, I can now say with 99% certainty that the starting gravity (OG), was 1.41, and the Finishing gravity (FG) was 1.003, for an Alcohol content of 4.90% by volume, or 9.8 Proof. WOO!

Beer Update 1

So, the beer is boiling. Lets go quickly over what has been done up to now.

First, I put the Light Malted Barley and the Flaked Oats into the Mash Tun. Then I poured a little under three gallons of hot water in over them and mixed it together. I adjusted the temperature to 152 Degrees Fahrenheit, and let it sit for a little over an hour. Then I added the Chocolate Malt (Dark malted) Barley, and the Roasted Barley. I added about a gallon of boiling water to bring the temperature back up, and let it sit for another 20 minutes.

Next, I drained the liquid out and did what’s called “Sparging”. In this process, you add more hot water (175 F) to the mash as you drain it. I ended up adding around 5-6 gallons of water to the mash during sparging. Also, following some advice I got online, I poured the first half gallon I got out of the tun back in on top as part of the sparge.

It’s important when sparging to put the water in gently so as not to create channels in the mash. If you do it wrong, the water runs through the channels and doesn’t pick up as much flavor, sugar, or enzymes from the mash. I achieved this by simply floating a plastic potato salad container lid on top of the mash, and pouring the water onto it.

When all is said and done, you should end up with 7 gallons of liquid out of the Mash.

I put this in my big pot (it just BARELY fit), and set it to boil. From 160+ degrees, it still took nearly 45 minutes to come up to a boil again.

While it’s heating, and first boiling, nasty foam forms on top. Skim this off with a ladle or something, as it will make the beer really cloudy otherwise.

So, I let it BOIL for 15 minutes, then add the first set of Hops.

And that’s where I am now. It has to boil for ANOTHER 40 minutes before I add the finishing hops. So, a little more time to kill.

At first it smelled like cooking oatmeal cookies mixed with hot cereal, like cream of wheat. But within seconds of adding the hops, it smells like beer.

Anyway, when the 40 minutes is up, I’ll add the second set of hops, and a little Irish Moss, which is supposed to help clarify the beer. Then it will boil for 20 more minutes, then sit for half an hour to cool and settle, THEN once it’s cool enough (80 F) I’ll add the yeast and seal it up.

More as it happens.

My first Post




Hello, and welcome to MY first post on Brew N Games. I suppose I should have done this sooner, but I’m a bit lazy. Ah well.

So, the two main topics of this site are Beer and Gaming, and I’d like to talk to you today about both of them. Sort of.

Or, to be more specific, I’d like to talk about a Beer I haven’t started brewing yet, and a new board game that isn’t out yet that I haven’t actually played. No! Wait! Come back! It will make sense, I promise. Maybe.

So, let’s start with the Game. On Thursday Nights at the local (if you count 50 miles away as local) game store, they have open board gaming night, and I and my wife like to go to this fairly regularly.
Last Thursday, the second, there was a guy from Steve Jackson Games on his way back from Origins who had stopped at the store to demo a couple new games, Revolution! and The Stars are Right.

The Stars are Right is a Cthulhu Mythos themed card game, which the guy demoing described as a “competitive puzzle game”, but it never actually hit the table, so I don’t really know anything else about it.

Revolution! however came out for a demo play. I, however, didn’t actually get to play. I did watch the game however, and it was very interesting. I look forward to it coming out so I can play. The boards were very nice, with high production values. Each player got a bidding board listing a dozen important townsfolk to influence, a screen to hide there bidding board until the reveal phase, and a number of little cubes to use a markers on the large town board to represent who had the most influence in different areas.
At the start of the round, each player gained an amount of Gold, Force, and Blackmail tokens based on their previous turns actions, which they spend to try to influence different people. Everyone can be influenced by gold, but some cannot be blackmailed, such as the spy, or intimidated by force, such as the general.
After the bidding, players compare bids to determine who won the support of each of the twelve townsfolk, and then they gain bonuses based on the individual. For example, if you got the spy, you could replace an opponents cube on the town board with your own, stealing points. If you have the support of the aristocrat, you gain 5 support(points), three gold to use next turn, and put an influence cube on the Plantation on the town board. And so on.
All in all, a fun and interesting looking game.

Now on to beer. I am in the process of making a nice homebrew oatmeal stout. Very early in the process. As in, still working on the equipment. Because, you see, I am going to make this beer from all grain, not a kit. No extracts, no malt powder. Whole malted barley and flaked oatmeal. So, I’ve had to construct a mash tun. A mash tun is a large tub used to steep the grain in order to extract the color, flavor, sugars, and enzymes that you need to make beer. There are two ways to go with a mash tun, because you have to keep the mash warm for over an hour to fully extract the sugars and enzymes.
1> You can make one that you can heat, i.e. a large metal pot with a spigot in the bottom that sits on the stove and heats while it sits.
2> What I did, you can make a Mash tun in a Cooler or other insulated vessel, so it holds the starting heat in.

So, I took a big 15 gallon cooler, and I pulled the spigot out, replaced it with a copper tube and valve, and made a filter out of copper water pipe. More detail on that later.
The filter isn’t what I’d call 100% finished, but it’s done enough to be functional, and I’m tired of waiting, so I’m going to do the first batch with the filter as it is. At the moment, it’s running through the dish washer, while a little water sealant is setting up in the mash tun itself.

More details as work progresses.