The “Goldilocks IPA”

Our H4 is drinking AWESOME, and I do believe we’re getting close to a recipe we can settle on for our core IPA. Witness:

  • Bright shiny hops with all kinds of ricochets of floral piney minty flavors
  • Body enough to stand up straight, inching up to bitter but holding back from the edge,
  • Plenty of grain flavors, completely rounded and full
  • Colors like a commodity index–a ribbon of brass when poured, but luminescent copper in the glass, slightly foggy
  • Sparkly without being flat or fizzy: guzzlable.
  • Alcohol a perfect medium, I’m guessing 6%. Like the anchovies in a Caesar salad, you don’t always see it, but you’d miss it if it were less.

Some say the perfect IPA is one where the hops-meter hits 11. Bullshit. We at BMBC think not. We’ve never been fans of these sooper-hopped monsters where you have one drink and get bowled over. You can do it, but why? Sure we all love hops, but what makes a great beer is not imbalance but a tension between opposing flavors and factors held taut in balance like sheet held tight from 6 opposing places. It ends up being like those monster California Zinfandels that weigh in at 16.5% alcohol and taste like reduced fruit sauce with rum added. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, on ice cream.

Look at the head on this brew. Amazing and perfect, just as we hoped. Thick, puffy, white as fresh snow, like a beer advertisement (as shown, in a Perdiew Home Brew glass -thanks Corey & Esmina!).

This one was born on 9/25/2010 but was not bottled until 10/23, a couple weeks later than normal, so it did take its time in secondary fermentation. Some of our best beers have had this in common.

Efforts are currently in primary fermentation to create an H5, based on fusing the Guadalasca Gold Tri-Peaks Pale Ale grain bill with the H4 hopping schedule. More on that later.

As before! First comment gets mailed a free sample of this limited edition H4, anywhere in the world.

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Damn I could use a good beer

Italy is not a beer place.

So I wouldn’t say I did THE most exhaustive search for good beer during my 2 weeks in Italy, but the beer I encountered as i did go to beer bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, etc. was the sort of yellow pee (talking about you Peroni) in a bottle that I thought American breweries (now owned by foreign interests) were uniquely capable of creating and somehow conning people into drinking.

Apart from a VERY odd obsession with Duff Beer (yes, that one, from The Simpsons, apparently sold as a novelty all over in Italy), no, there’s no gd good beer in Italy.

I’m pining for a Pliny. I’m lusting for some good home-brewed Boney Mountain Brewing stuff. You know what I mean, hand-crafted, rich flavors, full-bodied, full alcohol malty hoppy bubbly BEER!

It’s no exaggeration to say BMBC is making better beer or beer at least as good as any commercially available Italian beers.

Let nobody claim the Italians have better taste, at least in beer. Now if you want to talk wine, I’m afraid they’ve got a leg up on us.

Damn I could use a good beer.

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Sierra Nevada Spotted On Tap in England

Just a quick note that my first stop in London was at a great old pub called The Eagle in the Hoxton neighborhood. On tap, in addition to the usual British mainstream beers, was Sierra Nevada.

“Sierra Nevada, really?” I asked the affable Irish bartender.

And he “Yup.”

And me “Does anyone ever…?”

And he “Pretty much the Americans” [grinning] “it’s the most expensive pint in the pub, and (pointing to a British IPA) this one is better.”

Nice. I have pics, but was using the Lumix, so pics will upload upon return.

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Bottling & Brewing in the September Sun

On September 25, Larry’s friend Dave Elder joined us for a brewing and bottling session.

We bottled Gary’s Tri-Peaks 2 Pale Ale, which we brewed with some honey again.  The beer darkened somewhat since the prior week, which I figure just happens the longer it’s in secondary phase before bottling.  While bottling, we did a good consistent job of stirring, and I believed we used the 1+1/8 c sugar, so we’ll see if Vesuvius stays at bay.  The Tri-Peaks 2 will be bottle conditioned and ready to sample on October 9th (+2 weeks from bottling).

BTW, as a side note, this bottle washer we have is over-the-moon cool.  It resembles a Christmas tree stand but has room for 40+ bottles to be air-dried on it.  With the rinser – sanitizer – injector on top, it’s a huge win.

We also brewed what will become Larry’s H4 IPA, which starts out life as as simple Chico IPA (a la Sierra Nevada) but will be dry-hopped with Cascade and Centennial hops higher than the H3 (which only added Cascade).  Dry hopping is scheduled to happen this coming weekend along with racking.

Since we broke out some brand new bottles for the TP2, here’s the video of me labeling a bottle.  I took a lot of video, but some parts need, ahem, edited out, so stay tuned for more.

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Belgian Waffles can step aside. Belgian beer, yeah, better

The tasting cups are lined up for the Belgian Golden Strong Ale tasting

The tasting cups are lined up for the Belgian Golden Strong Ale tasting

The Belgian Golden Strong Ale also got a shot at glory on Saturday (9/25/10) as we tasted a bottle sample.

  • Appearance: Orange and luminescent.  The head is gauzy but clingy, allowing the beer’s color to peek through the foam.
  • Aroma: of orange creamsicle and spice islands
  • Flavors: Meaty malty body.  Smooth.  Coriander spice and orange zest drive a long long loooong finish with balanced bitterness despite having no real hops notes.
  • Carbonation: Low carbonation, resulting in that gauzy head.  It’s perfect though and wouldn’t want it higher.  It’s worth stating that we used the sugar pills to meter out the bubbles bottle by bottle on this batch.  This particular bottle was a 6-pill bottle (we tested different levels).
  • Potency: The alcohol is present, you can feel it, but it’s not overwhelming or outrageous.

Overall, again a big honking win for Boney Mountain Brewing.  There’s nothing afield or all that creative in this beer, but it does shine for typicity in a Belgian strong ale.  I can guess that it will only improve.

Oh shoot, did we fail to name this one?  Shirley, you have an idea!

Belgian Golden Strong Ale bottle

Belgian Golden Strong Ale bottle (6-pill test)

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The Dark Side Tastes Awesome, Come to the Dark Side

The Dark Side Hopped Stout by Boney Mountain Brewing Co.

Larry, my cup of The Dark Side, and Gary (click to leer at the color)

Yeah, more like ‘come to where the flavor is.’  Holy.

At the brew session on Saturday 9/25/10 we sampled a finally complete and ready bottle sample of The Dark Side (our hopped stout).  I recorded the following (group mash-up) notes:

  • Appearance: Thick head, like carpeting padding and persistent, brown duff colored like the crema on a real espresso.  The beer is black, black like dark dark chocolate.  Black like Darth Vader.  Black like espresso.
  • Aroma: Intense aroma of espresso, caramel
  • Flavors: A great full flavored beer, with strong coffee flavors, great hop-driven bitterness, with a long unfolding finish revealing black licorice, anise, and a tree-bark tannic quality, girded with an “earthy woodsy” quality.  Yeah.
  • Carbonation: This bottle Vesuvius’ed on us, but nothing like the Wheat.  It was alleged that at bottling, no stirring was practiced on the bottling bucket.  Possibly.  In the glass the head was solid, persistent, but not overwhelming at all.  A perfect level for drinking though.
  • Potency: Clearly not a low-alcohol beer.

In sum, Guinness should be embarrassed.  This is one of Boney Mountain Brewing Co’s best beers yet.  Stuck the landing for sure.  This is a great reminder of why we brew. First person to comment on this post, I’ll send one to, no foolin’.

Closer up view of The Dark Side (hopped stout)

Closer view of The Dark Side, look at that thick foamy head (click to leer)

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Brewlogue: Bottling Day for Wood Canyon Scottish Ale

All bottled up today.  Some observations:

  • Appearance: The beer looks perfect, like a big-ass batch of coffee.  Toffee-hued when we poured it like a ribbon of candy
  • Potency: You can feel that it’s going to be relatively high in alcohol.  Final gravity was 1.021, Original Gravity was 1.084.
  • Aroma: After a 3-day soak on toasty oak chips, the peaty smoked grains had integrated nicely with the oak aromas.  It’s got that punchy fumy high alcohol vibe to it.
  • Flavors: Enormous roasty malty peaty oaky flavors. It honestly tastes like Scotch.

Once the weather cools down, this will be a great cool evening sipping beer.

We bottled with 1 and 1/8c of brewing sugar dissolved in 1.5 c of water and we stirred it several times while filling bottles.

Also, note the light beer we brewed at the same time measured out and tasted… well, like Miller meets Corona.  I should give Gary a chance to comment.  Separate post, but the pictures snuck in below.

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