I make mention once again of our glorious time in England and Wales in 2015 – the 40th anniversary of our wedding. Early in the first week we visited Oxford as part of our Road Scholar tour. Kevin Heymann, our awesome guide for the entire 2 weeks, introduced us to Oliver Cox, a professor at Oxford who spent 3 days with us. One of those days was invested absorbing all we could of two of the Oxford colleges. Ollie intoned eloquently, yet quite humorously, of the unlikely juxtaposition of the diverse architectural styles. He also wanted to ensure we ingrained one particular rooftop protrusion to our memories, perhaps to put forth at a cocktail party as a grand assurance of our illustrious education. This architectural adornment is known as a crocketed pinnacle. To be sure, that word pairing has not escaped my memory since. In fact it sprang to mind when I was deciding on a name for this delicious, true-to-style English barleywine. Here’s to you Ollie and Kevin!
It’s always nice to have a go-to sipping ale on tap. This one is a very simple American Pale Ale with some respectable hop bitterness, aroma, and flavor at 5.9% ABV.
Below is my assessment of this brew.
UPDATE – May 27, 2017: This morning I put 2 ounces of Citra hop pellets in a stainless steel mesh tube and suspended it in the keg. Oh my – the intense flavor and aroma from this hop addition takes this already tasty pale ale to a new level. I will be doing this to many future brews!
Brewing beer is a journey, not a destination. I will likely never arrive at the destination. (What IS the destination anyway?) Along the way I apply what I have learned, learn new things to apply, and anxiously await the outcome despite whatever failures may have occurred in the process.
This American Brown Ale (which started as an American Amber Ale) is no exception. This time a human error (and a likely equipment glitch) coupled to steer this brew off course. Not in a negative way, but with a serendipitous result. Watch (if you have the time and interest) the lengthy (11 minutes or so) review of this brew below.
I have liked all of my brews thus far – and certainly there is an element of bias, but who cares? As a friend once replied when told all those vitamins he took only made him THINK he felt better, “What’s the difference?” I do, however, get positive feedback from many who have tasted them and that is the second best thing about brewing beer. The best thing is the very first statement: I have liked all my brews thus far.
To be specific, my favorite beer I have brewed so far and possibly my favorite beer of all time is Brew 009, Take-A-Bongo Red IPA. I knew I had to have another keg of it ready to go on tap by the time the first one kicked, so I brewed this batch.
The reason it is version 2.0 is that I made a few tweaks to the recipe. I reduced the darker malts and bumped up the Munich malts in addition to a couple other adjustments. The goal was to make it a bit lighter in color, a bit lower in ABV, and a bit maltier. That was a noble intent, but I did have an equipment malfunction. My brewing controller was supposed to maintain 152 degrees for the duration of the mash, but it apparently decided to jump to 100% power and I didn’t catch it till it had reached 170 degrees. This can have a detrimental effect on the outcome, but I proceeded nonetheless.
In spite of the debacle, this brew is very tasty. It turned out darker, browner, and hazier than the original, yet it is very citrusy in aroma and flavor. I still like version 1.0 much better, but I will seriously enjoy this one.
Here is my review of Brew 013 – Take-A-Bongo Red IPA version 2.0.
May 11,2017 UPDATE: OK, the very hazy example in the review above was premature. Here we are a few days later and look at what pulls from the tap now 🙂 Clear as a bell and still quite tasty!
June 11, 2017 – UPDATE: I have created the third iteration of this brew (Brew 017) and tagged it version 1.1 since I went back closer to the original recipe. I went a little lighter on the Crystal malts and it did make a difference – the color was less brown and more dark amber. The aroma and flavor is quite nice…closer to he original.