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Posts Tagged ‘stout’

Psychology & the Taste Buds: Abyss 2009

7th Feb 11 (Mon) Leave a comment

SO, in late 2009, I jumped on the “damn, I like this tasty beer” bandwagon and bought a case of Deschutes Brewery‘s The Abyss 2009.  I had it in 2008 and liked it; so why not!?  The price wasn’t something to sneeze at, but it essentially became the start of my now bustling beer cellar.  The Abyss is an Imperial Stout, clocking in at 11% abv – brewed with licorice and molasses with 1/3 of the beer aged in oak barrels.  It’s quite a treat, and it comes out once a year in black wax dipped 22oz bombers.

It’s also in limited quantity, hence my impulse purchase of an entire case being not all that irrational.  A beer barrel (BBL) is 31 gallons (roughly 2 full kegs)…

Vintages (production numbers from Deschutes):
2006 – Released December 2006 (approx 90 BBL)
2007 – Released January 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2008 – Released November 2008 (approx 350 BBL)
2009 – Released November 2009 (approx 600 BBL)
2010 – Released December 2010 (approx 600 BBL)

Well, fast forward to Thanksgiving 2010, I cracked a 2009 Abyss open, and wow… I did not like it.  I shared it amongst friends; so we managed to kill the bottle.  We had plenty of beer on hand that day (various homebrews as well as growlers of Block 15’s La Ferme de Demons & Gilgamesh’s Mamba); so I didn’t make a big deal of it.

Then I had another Abyss 2009 around Christmas.  I drank about 8-12 ounces of it and hated it… I did the unthinkable.  I poured about half a bottle down the drain.  When you’re expecting a creamy & dense licorice & molasses bold stout on your lips, the taste that was coming from the glass was simply unpalatable.

The 2007, 2008 & 2010 Abyss vintages were / are phenomenal and hit the mark based on what you’d expect from a partially oak-aged imperial licorice & molasses stout.  What went wrong with 2009’s vintage?

Jan 31, 2011… the brewery announced that they found the culprit… a wild yeast called Brettanomyces (aka “Brett”) was found in some of their oak barrels (this also affected the 2009 Mirror Mirror release).  Brettanomyces varieties (Bruxellensis, Lambicus & Anomolus), as well as other wild yeasts like Pediococcus or Lactobacillus are sometimes used on purpose in beer.  In fact, I have a double red ale going now that just finished a fermentation with Wyeast’s Roeselare #3763 – which is a souring yeast blend with a Belgian style ale strain, a sherry strain, two Brett strains, a Lacto culture, and a Pedio culture.

As with many things beer, I’m blaming my friend Aaron for my introduction and head-over-heels love of sour beers.  Last summer he was on a sour kick that baffled me, then he introduced me to some sours, and then Cascade Brewing in Portland opened up a pub.  Now… every time I go up there, I have to hit up their Barrel House in SE Portland.  I went to a brewer’s dinner last fall (menu) that was out of this world amazing.  They are the “House of Sour Beer,” but even Cascade trys to stay away from Brett, as it has a way of taking over everything.  They had some beer get infected, rolled it out to the barrel house and then destroyed the barrel(s) involved afterwards.

Brett is a wily devil, and its impact on the 2009 Abyss is likely bad news for many people.  Well, now that I know what is giving off the “bad flavor”… here is where I’m going to see if psychology and perception are gonna make this more than half a case left of “infected” 2009 Abyss turn into a treasure.

February 6, 2011… I decided to crack open another bottle.

First taste? Oh, yeah, it’s definitely infected.

But… now I like it.

Explain that! Not even five weeks ago, I had some of the very same infected beer, and I dumped more than half the bottle.  Now, I have it… tastes probably identical, but since I was expecting a soured Brett-y beer, I am totally digging it.

Oh, Brain, you have pwned me again.

Happy psychology experiment on Deschutes’ accident.  Well, at least I have some more left to enjoy over the coming years.  For future releases, they will be flash pasteurizing their oak-aged beers – to kill any wild yeast strains prior to blending.  2009 Abyss & Mirror Mirror may be bad for some, but they also may be a special treat for others.  I’d suggest not sending them back to the brewery for a refund.  Find someone out there who will trade you for it.  Rather than seeing it get dumped, put it to use… in a sour fiend’s mouth. :)

~Dan – np: MogwaiSpecial Moves

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

26th Oct 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

So, this can’t be passed up… I first heard about it via Samurai Artist‘s tweets, and now the photo walk-through of the brewing of the monsterous Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout at Coalition Brewing.  Check out the rest of the pictures and narrative over at the New School blog:

Go HERE for the full walk-through.

The plan is for it to be ready for Portland’s Night of the Living Ales – 1st Annual SE 28th Street pubcrawl on Halloween (Oct 31st, 2010).  I won’t be able to make it; so I may have to try to brew this PB beer myself… eventually.  Maybe for next year’s Cascade Brewer’s Society “weird ingredient” club competition.  It also gave me the idea for a peanut-infused vodka (or possibly peanut butter-infused vodka) for a chocolate cocktail.

~Dan – np: Sufjan StevensThe Age of Adz

Miles Davis & Dogfish Head – Bitches Brew

21st Aug 10 (Sat) Leave a comment

Well, Lagunitas is officially done doing their Frank Zappa beers (Rueben & the Jets was their final one)… but I just got my hands on a couple of bottles of Delaware-based Dogfish Head‘s tribute to Miles Davis‘ album Bitches Brew.

It’s a 9% (ABV) dark beer that is a fusion of three threads imperial stout and one thread honey beer with gesho root (traditionally used in Ethiopian honey wine, tej).  Read more about the brew commemorating the 40th anniversary of Mile Davis’ album over at the Dogfish Head website.  I haven’t had time to taste the brew yet, but hopefully soon while spinning the record. :)

~Dan – np: Sufjan StevensAll the Delighted People EP

Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout Float

31st Jul 09 (Fri) 7 comments

With the new bottling capabilities of Eugene’s Oakshire Brewery, coupled with Wednesday’s blistering 105° heat in Eugene Oregon, I opted for a tasty treat… a Double Espresso Stout Float.

Three scoops Ciao Bello espresso gelato, about 4-6 ounces of Oakshire Overcast espresso stout, and enjoy! Tasting notes: The espresso gelato was a bit over the top with the already coffee’d up stout.  I’d also recommend trying it with good ol’ vanilla ice cream or even another local Eugene company… Coconut Bliss!!

Also, try a Blue Moon & Orange sherbet float (flippin’ amazing)!!

~Dan – np: dóusidʒEmpties (aka Dóusid 3 or Dosage)

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