Sunday, September 30, 2007

Voodoo 4 Seasons

What better way to start the weekend than with a tasty beer...
I cracked open Voodoo's 4 Seasons IPA before my wife and I headed to dinner with some friends. Apparently, a different recipe will be used for each of the four seasons, but as this was just released (and considering the delays experienced by Voodoo) right near the beginning of Fall, I'm not sure to what season this belongs.

From bomber. A candy sweet nose, bursting with malty richness, caramel and biscuit. The hop presence is definite, but for me the exact identity slips through my grasp - I have no idea what varietals exist in this batch. There is more floral than fruity notes in this one, with a bit of spicyness and what I associate with ozone; nothing as offensive as burnt rubber or electrical discharge, but a mild tang that permeates through the sweet nose. The beer pours with little foam production, as if it were viscous beyond splashing. The body is a coppery-amber clear, with an off-white foamy, thin lacing head. As for mouthfeel, this is a heavy watery body, not quite viscous as a barley wine but darned close. The carbonation is fairly mild throughout. The %abv is not listed, but there is no alcohol warming or vaporous contribution here, so most likely it's around 6-7%, if not lower. If it's higher, you won't know it! At first sip, you get hit by some medium sweetness; notes of caramel, sugar, and mild raw malt. The sweet character is almost immediately tempered by a good wallop of hoppy bitterness; dry and a bit spicy. Apple esters, chalky bitter resin, and light grassy notes. The finish is bitter, but not harsh, with a lasting sweet biscuit component under the hoppy bitter coating on the tongue. Overall, a really nice IPA with good balance. I look forward to the other three seasons.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Beer Education on the Radio

I listened to the following last night:

Matt Simpson on "Conversations with the Voice of the Arts" out of Atlanta.

The host doesn't have a very good radio presence, but Matt (aka TheBeerCellar) did an amazing job of educating the audience about craft beer and food pairings.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mojo in a Bottle - Voodoo's In Town

As I write this, I'm just finishing up a bomber of Voodoo Love Child; the first of six varieties from Matt Allyn's Voodoo Brewery in Meadville. Well, I should say, the first of six in the variety case that I bought this evening from Duquesne Beer Distributor (who gets their stuff from Vecenie).

Dave, Jon, Eli, and I ordered up two of the sampler cases (12 22oz bombers) and split them so that we each got one. This included: Voodoo Love Child, Grand Met, White Magick of the Sun, 4 Seasons IPA, Pilzilla, and Wynona's Big Brown Ale. With cost & tax in our little hamlet, it works out to $6.25 per bottle; not outrageous, but not the cheapest in the region.

Regardless, we've been hearing about Voodoo for a while now; via Bryson's site and Pittsburgh papers. Well, after having the Voodoo Love Child, I'm happy with the wait. I think for most of these beers, I may have to split another sampler pack or simply buy a whole case of each over time and set them in a cellar for a while. Love Child is still hot, but might be able to survive several years like a lambic and settle down a bit.

I got a bit wordy in my review, but here goes:
From bomber. Fruity vaporous aroma, with mild alcohol. Kirschwasser, cherry skins and fruity esters. Light tripel aroma with mild yeasty notes. Fruity and sweet, rich in smell. Each sniff gets you a little something different. Golden orange-pink-amber cloudy body. Starts initially with a pillowy white head, that dissipates to a thin veneer with a bit of lacing. The carbonation is fairly robust starting out, then smooths a bit as it sits. The beer itself is rather light bodied despite the flavors, no doubt helped along by the 9.5% alcohol. There is prominent warming from the start, and this would make an excellent after dinner or dessert beer on crisp Fall evenings. It starts with a subtle hit of fruit, with a dry carbonic tang that tapers off to give resonant notes of over-ripe cherries, raspberry must, and what must be passion fruit (not really familiar with the fruit itself). Alcohol and a fruity dry tartness that’s reminiscent of a Riesling, actually. The hops are subtle in flavor, but provide a lifting bitterness in the finish which helps subdue the tart fruity character. This is not an overly sweet beer, despite candy sugar on the label. The after leaves you with a nice fruity profile, mild yeast-hop bitterness, and some dry chalky coating on the palate. Overall, it’s a bit thin until you get some of the dregs in there. A little extra body and yeasty character is added by that. Would be interesting to set this down for a year and see how it cools down.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Odds & Ends

A lot's been going on for the past few weeks; hardly time to read my favorite blogs, let alone post on mine. I'm now full swing into another Fall semester, and it's time to start working evenings and weekends in order to keep from being snowed under with work and research.

Depressing news on the agricultural front for the near future of crops which go into beer. Many sites have visited this issue, so I'll just post a link to an informative discourse by Mr. Hieronymous. Go here. The folks at had a discussion of same, and many of us who homebrew (even infrequently) don't like the sounds of paying a lot more for our ingredients. Just say no to corn subsidies!

I'm still sitting on my ingredients for a second batch of coffee porter, which is worrisome because I'm almost out of the first batch. I believe that my Hennepin clone is kicked, and the number of Chimay Bleu clones is dwindling, too. Luckily, I have a whole batch of Fantôme clones that will be ready in a few weeks.

A friend of mine (Tom) who jumped head first into brewing last fall (all-grain, no less), got his hands on some soda kegs. He graciously gave me five of them with some gaskets, so I'm going to have to start playing with kegging as my new storage method. We'll most likely get together with a few others and make a large batch of his Christmas beer, which was a huge hit of his last year.

Plans are underway to start an "official" homebrew club here in Indiana. There are at least ten homebrewers I know of right now (and I'm sure more who I don't), and some people who just need a push in the right direction.

The biggest excitement of the last few weeks was how I spent last weekend. I hope to make an actual standalone post on it, but to avoid the suspense .. I was fortunate enough to be able to go to a beer festival (nothing new there), but see it from "the other side of the tap", so to speak.

Friend and Marzoni's brewmaster, Bill Kroft, graciously allowed me to accompany him to Harrisburg to the 10th Annual Capitol City beer festival, which was held at Appalachian Brewing Co I had a blast, but don't know if I could do a whole lot of those - makes for a very long day when you set up, do three 3-hour sessions, then tear down. But it was quite an eye opener to see what goes on behind the scenes and find out what it's like to serve the gamut of beer drinking personalities. I hope to write up something more insightful soon, but probably not until the weekend. Oh, if you're in Harrisburg ... McGrath's Pub is not to be missed.

As I finish up, I'll say that I'm enjoying a bottle of Clipper City Heavy Seas Red Sky At Night, a saison from Clipper City Brewing out of Baltimore. Very nice little ale, and really has some characteristics that take me back to Europe.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Stick A Pin In Me! Voodoo Available Soon.

A good article on Voodoo and Matt Allyn. Can't wait to get my hands on some of this stuff!!!
Post-Gazette article.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fantôme Clone Bottled

Tonight, with a bit of assistance from my father-in-law, I bottled the Fantôme clone. Even after the addition of all that fruit puree and with more bubbling, the F.G. was 1.000!!! It started at 1.050, fermented down, then fruit was added. It was definitely thin in body, but you could taste a bit of alcohol in there, too. Mild fruity character.

We'll see how it carbonates. I used DME to prime, which I'd not done in quite some time (was priming with corn sugar). Hopefully, that will take away a bit of the off-sweetness in some of my other homebrews.

I have the ingredients for another batch of coffee porter sitting here, but now I have to find the time in the next couple of weeks to make it!