Joe's Rants and Raves

  • Sep 03 - 08:01 PM: McBane's Tall Dark and Naked : Joe McBane

    I am really excited about a brewing project that I have been working on since the early spring. Back when there was still morning frosts I met with Rick Pedersen of Pedersen Farms to discuss getting some Nugget hops from his crop. Dave Schlosser, owner of Naked Dove Brewery wanted to to collaborate on the beer so we lined up a brew for the harvest season. We both liked the idea of a wet hop beer. I love the fact that you can only do that type of beer once a year on the day that the hops are picked. For my tastes a good wet hop beer should have lots of juicy hop aroma and wet grassy quality throughout. I thought that doing something with a black IPA inspired malt base would work very well and be something that most people wouldn't have tried before.

    On the day of the brew we went to the farm to pick up our sacks of hops. We picked up 157lb for a 10 barrel batch. This is a staggeringly large quantity but it is worth remembering that there is a huge amount of water weight so the amounts need to be scaled up to achieve the desired results. 157lb of hops by the way made for a very aromatic ride back to the brewery. The wort had been boiled when we got back and there had been no hop additions to this point. It tasted great. Obviously sweet with nice roasty notes. I then filled the mash tun with the hops and I mean filled. The wort was then pumped over from the kettle. Being English really helped out at this stage as I have made a few cups of tea in my time. That is essentially what we were doing on a fairly large scale. Instead of a teaspoon I used a hoe. The smells were simply wonderful. After about half an hour the liquid was sent over to the fermentation tank to begin the magical process of becoming beer.

    I am very optimistic that this beer will be outstanding although we really aren't sure exactly how it will turn out. That is always the way with these experimental one off beers. I can't wait to try it though. The beer releases on September 22nd at 7.30. Come down to see how we did. You can also look at pictures of the day on the photo section of this site.

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  • Jun 21 - 04:52 PM: The line up of beer for the Rochester Real Beer Expo. : Joe McBane

    The line up of beers for the Rochester Real Beer Expo is confirmed. It is ridiculous.

    Blue Point Brewing. No Apologies IPA AND Toxic Sludge Black IPA AND Hoptikal Illusion (Cask)

    Brooklyn Brewery. Concoction AND Black Chocolate Stout AND Pennant Pale Ale (Cask)

    Clown Shoes. Clementine Wit AND Tramp Stamp

    Custom Brewcrafters. Mabel on Jack AND Expo Pils (Cask) AND Caged Monkey Cask (Cask) AND Expo Pils

    Dogfish Head. Sahti AND Shelter Pale Ale AND Black and Blue

    Dundee. 2 Dundee Casks

    Duvel. Duvel Single

    Elysian Brewing. Mens Room AND Immortal IPA

    Goose Island. Fleur AND Dominque

    Great Lakes. Engine 20 AND Rye of the Tiger IPA AND Lake Erie Monster

    Harpoon. Rye IPA AND Barley Wine AND Uber Bock

    Ithaca Beer Co. Flower Power (Cask) AND Excelsior 13 AND Dark Humor AND Le Bleu (Bottles) AND Excelsior 12 AND Rough Draft

    La Chouffe. McChouffe

    Lake Placid. KB's Wee Heavy AND Hefe Weisse

    Long Trail. Coffee Porter AND Triple Bag

    Maredsous. Maredsous Blonde

    McNeill's Brewery. Warlord IPA AND ESB

    Mort Subite. Kriek AND Blanche

    Naked Dove. Bock AND IPA (Randalized)

    North Coast. Red Seal AND Scrimshaw

    Ommegang. Gnommegang

    Paulaner. Hefe Weisse

    Roc Brewing. Golden Pale AND Golden Pale (Cask)

    Rohrbach. Indian Brown AND Export Stout

    Sam Adams. Oak Aged Porter AND Revolutionary Rye

    Saranac. Black Forest AND Summer Ale

    Shipyard Brewing. Imperial Porter

    Sierra Nevada. Juniper Black AND Californian Common Ale

    Sly Fox. Standard Pils AND Saison Vos AND RTE 113 IPA (Cask)

    Smuttynose. Summer Weisse AND Big A Double IPA

    Southern Tier. Crème Brulee AND Choklat AND 2xIPA

    Stevens Point. Nude Beach

    Stoudts Brewing. Gold Lager AND Heifer in Wheat

    Three Heads. Kind AND Skunk AND Ontario Beach (Cask)

    Troegs. Pale Ale (Cask) AND Sunshine Pils

    Victory Brewing. Scarlett Fire AND Summer Love

    Weihenstephan. Dark AND Vitus

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  • May 27 - 12:23 AM: Desert Island Five - What are yours? : Joe McBane

    People often ask me what my favorite beer is. There certainly isn't just one, but if pushed I could select a 'desert island 5'. My 5 would be (in no particular order)

    A wheat beer. Certainly a style that I love and often drink. Given that there is only five choices it is between German hefe and Belgian wit. I pick wit for its complexity of flavor and slightly more tart citrusy edge. Of the wit biers, I am particularly fond of regular old Hoegaarden. It has a wonderful full taste and soft yet full mouthfeel that you don't always find. It is also the first 'good' beer that I ever bought. I think I was 15!

    Duvel. It shouldn't need any explanation. If it does I urge you to try one. It will explain itself.

    American IPA. A style that has grown on me, and everyone else it seems during my years in this country. Stone IPA is a personal favorite of mine. It has a remarkable balance given the use of hops. The hops themselves fit a flavor profile that I look for. Crisp, pine and citrus.

    British bitter. On my desert island it would have to be served out of a perfectly conditioned cask or it just doesn't make the list. A style that is close to my heart an epitomizes session drinking. Low to moderate alcohol, light carbonation, not too cold, layers of subtle flavor and impeccable balance. My pick of the mix is Timothy Taylor's Landlord. Unfortunately not one that is ever available on this side of the pond but be sure to check it out if you ever find yourself in my old country.

    That brings us to number 5. Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout is what I consider a standard for its style. It also gives a darker balance that my previous selections lacked.
    The first thing that is worth noting is that it finally comes in a dark amber bottle. This is a good thing as for years it always came in a clear bottle. It looks pretty in clear glass but the beer really suffers as a result of exposure to sunlight. The beer pours out to an almost black with a light, off white head. The aroma is of dark chocolate, raisins and weak black coffee. Carbonation is present but not too sharp to affect the taste. It should be soft in my opinion for this kind of beer. The flavor is roasty of course, but there exists a touch of fruitiness that may also be perceived as a slightly sweet note. There is a subtlety of flavor that I can't quite put my finger on and that you only seem to find in some British beers. A character that only comes through from centuries of brewing tradition. So there you have it. Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout along with the rest of the desert island 5.

    What are your 5? Leave your responses in the comments section.


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