Friday, August 22, 2008

Gearing up for the mystery trip with a homebrewed barleywine

So I'm taking R away for the weekend - and she has no idea where. Wednesday was her 30th birthday. It's overnight (one night only) and in driving distance of Jersey City. I apologized in advance for lodging that may not be the most glamorous, but did explain that at the very least it's connected to a brewpub. Other than that, I've offered no clues. Any guesses?

In the meantime, we continue to whittle away the Maine stash...

Shipyard Brewer's Choice Royal IPA - Brilliant amber beer with a thick off white head. Nose is balanced with citrusy, floral hops and toasty, sweet malt aromas. Diacetyl is in the house. The flavor is much more hop balanced with a strongly bitter finish. Full bodied, fairly high carbonation. It's a good beer, but there's a hop pungency there that would probably keep me from ordering another. According to this article, the hops are East Kent Goldings, Challenger, and Target. I don't usually associate EKG with this kind of pungency.

And in other happy news... my six month old homebrewed barleywine is finally carbonated. I brewed this beer about six months ago. It was a three gallon batch that came in over 10% ABV. I aged it on oak cubes for a few weeks before bottling, and when I finally popped one open - probably around May - it was almost completely flat. When we came back from the wedding and it was still flat, I decided that it was time to pop them all open and add some healthy yeast. So I rehydrated a packet of dry yeast and dropped some in each bottle and (R) recapped. Well, it seems to have paid off.

And if I subject the pros to it, I must do the same to myself...

Tom E's Oak Cube Aged Barleywine (or maybe since I'm so fond of naming my beers after streets in Jersey City, how about "Bowers Booze") - Clear mahogany with garnet highlights. Thin tan head. Nice looking beer, though probably a lot darker than "the brewer" intended. Rich, caramel malt aromas with some citrusy hop notes. There's also a pleasant smoky aroma in there reminiscent of bacon, though "the brewer" swears that he did not use any smoked malt. Alcohol hits right up front on the tongue and lasts through the finish. Sweet, caramel malt flavors dominate mid-palate. Moderate bitterness. Very full, oily mouthfeel. Carbonation medium to low. An enjoyable, strong beer, though a bit underattenuated.

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