So one of the best turnouts we’ve had so far, full table groaning with lots of cracking homebrews! Nice to welcome a load of new faces and new brewers too, hope everyone got to exchange tips and suggestions and we look forward to seeing you all again in April with your attempts at the next brew challenge which is Black IPA.
The first time I heard [Bitches Brew] I thought it was the most nauseating chaos. I felt sick listening to it. Then gradually I recognized something incredibly brutal about it, and something incredibly beautiful…You’re never quite sure where you are in it. It seems to be swimming around you. It has that sound of a huge empty space, like a cathedral. It wasn’t jazz and it didn’t sound like rock'n'roll. It was building something up and watching it fall apart, that’s the beauty of it.
This Saison should be available year-round in 22 oz. bombers. Aromas are predominantly fruity with a resemblance to pear, apricot, orange, and white wine. Yeast give hints of spice, such as clove and coriander, along with just the right amount of Belgian funk. The sweetness comes across as a confectioners sugar wafer.
The palate starts out a tad sour with a flavor akin to lemonade, then shifts more toward orange as sweetness descends. A vast body of fruit bursts through with evident suggestions of pear, peach, and banana. The yeast promotes a particular character of spice that accumulates on the back-end, which like the nose, centers around clove and coriander. Hops give an impression of earth and grass, then a final flavor similar to white grape juice emerges for the aftertaste. Alcohol provides some inviting esters, which actually contribute to some of the fruity flavors, but also bring along an edge of warmth that muddles up the crispness I expect from this style. The mouthfeel is generally quite creamy with lively carbonation over a medium-full body that dries slightly as the finish approaches.
In terms of style, the malt weight is above-average, and the alcohol comes through with clarity despite being a lowly 7.4%. I’m not necessarily bothered by either, but both qualities make this stylistically uncharacteristic. In terms of flavor, the sour element balances perfectly to the sweetness, and frail bitterness upholds support from below. I feel this has just the right amount of fruit to complement a proportional degree of spice. All in all, it’s been a unique, enjoyable drink, but this doesn’t embody the style in its most classical distinction. Instead, I find a complex rendition with a surprising amount of depth. Thanks for the trade, Kirby! I recommend it to those who prefer Belgians.
So another cracking selection of far too strong homebrew was consumed at our last meeting, a few less people this time leant to quite a large proportion of wobbling later on, especially after Lee topped us all up with his 11% Sellout Juice. A great selection of wheat beers of all kinds, this was certainly an interesting variety and good to see what can be achieved with quite a simple beer style.
So our next challenge is for a New England IPA as this is the beer of the moment, so we’ll look forward to that one at our next meeting on Sat 19th August.
But before then if anyone fancies joining us on a day out round York we will be partaking in The Four Towers Challenge, a pub crawl by Within the Walls which goes to 10 pubs and Brew York (of course) while following the City Walls. It’s on Sat 1st July starting at 2pm at the Postern Gate. For more info click here.
Evil Twin “Christmas Eve At A New York City Hotel Room”
Christmas Eve At A New York City Hotel Room is an Imperial Stout released as fall seasonal. This is most certainly the longest beer name I’ve ever seen (it’s a little ridiculous). Aromas are heavy on the roasted malts, giving rise to notes of coffee, fudge brownies, toasted bread, roasted walnuts, and smoke. Faint spice can also be detected. Sweetness is reminiscent of molasses and vanilla wafers.
The palate starts in a weak display of caramel sweetness acting on the tip of the tongue. Flavors of coffee flow into a more textured body of chocolate. As the malt roast develops, grainy characters emerge as oatmeal and roasted hazelnuts. More decadent layers of dark chocolate settle onto the underbelly, where the barley tastes as if reduced to ash. A spicy touch of piperine (black pepper) precedes the arrival of mild bitterness. Light vinous qualities evoke cherry and licorice, then alcohol leaves a medicinal tinge of cherry cough syrup. Mouthfeel starts smooth, carbonation rises, and it finishes a little dry.
This is by all means a malt-forward, ultra-roasted Impy Stout. It really digs deep into the darkness and smoke, which I love. The spicy and sour features stand out as oddities. Sweetness keeps fairly consistent to properly balance the bitterness (which tastes somewhere around 75 IBU’s). One big downside is the thin mouthfeel. Evil Twin has loads of Double Stouts, and this just might be the darkest. I’ll have to re-evaluate it next year to form a more concise opinion. It tastes very much like other ET Double Stouts. If you have a passion for this style, and you like em’ real dark, then check it out.
In honour of #ProjectRomanoff (Spreading the Natasha Romanoff love, one day at a time) I thought I’d bring back my Widow’s Tale series, in which we follow the trials and tribulations of one Natasha Romanoff after the events of the first Avengers movie. It’s a crossover with Stargate (you don’t need to know Stargate; this is primarily an Avengers story), but the story is Natasha’s adventure, with flashbacks looking at how she was pulled into SHIELD and how she sees her place on the Avengers team.
This series, started after the first Avengers movie, is now off-canon, and pulls a lot from comic history wrt Natasha and Bucky Barnes especially.
So anyway: have 340K+ words of Natasha Romanoff taking on the world:
(Series posted in order to be read - if you want the action story move right to Widow Maker)
Widow’s Weeds: Their secrets have secrets. Steve’s starting to figure this out.
Widow’s Flight: Because after ten hours in an Arizona state lockup, the last person Bruce Banner wanted to see was Natasha Romanoff.
Widow’s Son: Agent Coulson needed to make a call on the Black Widow, and the only man to help him was stationed in a sandstorm in Afghanistan.
Widow’s Letters: Natasha Romanoff tries to reconnect with her son. This is understandably easier said than done.
Widow’s Captive: Waking up in a warehouse in Poland, handcuffed to a chair by operatives unknown, and Captain Jack O'Neill’s day is getting worse by the minute.
Widow’s Walk: Four months after New York, the Avengers are asked to take part in a military briefing at Cheyenne Mountain. It’s perfectly understandable if Natasha has a bad feeling about this…
Widow Maker : A storm is brewing over New York, and the fate of the Avengers, Stargate Command, and the entire galaxy lies in the balance. Now Natasha Romanoff must face her oldest friend and deadliest enemy – the Winter Soldier.
Baba Yaga’s Children: Before the Black Widow, before the Red Room, there was a little girl who lived alone in the woods, and that girl’s name was Natalia Alianovna Romanova. (Every fairy tale is an origin story.)
(There is one more story in the series, Old Soldiers (WIP), which is a change of direction to Bucky’s story in the aftermath of Widow Maker, but Natasha continues to play a lead role).
Bengali is an American IPA, which is available throughout the year. Sixpoint has really strong identity design, and the tall, slender cans add further originality. Aromas release a fruity blend of peach, apricot, and grapefruit. Herbal notes consist of grass, herb, and evergreen. Malt notes come across as toasted bread with sweet hints of caramel.
The palate closely resembles the nose, starting with malty flavors of biscuits, honey, and caramel to establish a light, yet supportive frame. Citrus-flavored hops give a heavy impression of sweet grapefruit pith, blending with an additional hint of dried apricot. Bitterness falls to the back in a citrus character that closely resembles both grapefruit and orange zest. Herbal tendencies follow in a heavy underbelly of grass, earth, and pine oil. The climax is signaled by a touch of spice, then faint tropical notes embellish the aftertaste. Mouthfeel delivers a medium-weight body over uncharacteristically weak carbonation, which despite it’s subtlety, manages to reach a crisp edge with a dry departure.
The combination of proper balance and well-managed bitterness make this fairly drinkable for an IPA. Hops deliver a rather short spectrum where citrus takes the lead, but the combination of flavors is quite refreshing. It’s a bit rough on the edges. Some English character comes through to make this slightly more unique, but I’m not impressed overall. When it comes to this most prevalent of styles, there are simply better options out there. It’s a fine beer, but I don’t necessarily recommend it.