Beer Review: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

Take a look at that head...

5.2% ABV
SRM: ~32

The first thing I noticed is the very nice head this beer poured…almost three fingers of creamy tan. I let it sit for a bit and the head hung around like a loser at a party…awhile without much change or movement. As I drank the beer, the head left very good lacing throughout the glass.

Looking at the beer, it looked dark brown but appeared to be fully opaque, giving me the impression that it’s actually black.

The aroma was somewhat disappointing. I noticed a bit of dark chocolate aroma mixed with a bit of coffee/nutty scents. I could definitely sense some of the roasted qualities of the malt but overall, the chocolate aroma is much less than what I expected it to be.

As for mouth feel, I would say full bodied, thick mouth feel. Many consider stouts to be naturally thick, full bodied beers. As a category, that’s not the case which tempered my expectations a bit here. However, with the chocolate additions, and most likely some lactose for sweetness, the mouth feel here was right on with what I expected, solid overall.

The flavor had some bitterness but it is actually similar to the bitterness of a 70-80% cocoa bar rather than any hop flavor..which was obviously good considering the name. Though it had some bitterness, this is definitely a sweet stout. I noticed the roasted malts (primarily chocolate malt which tastes more roasted than actual chocolate). I did get some dark chocolate flavor, but less than anticipated, similar to the aroma. This a solid beer that leaned on the sweet side of the scale. Though I’d consider it a sweet stout, the aftertaste had some nice bitterness but not at all harsh or disappointing. I was pleased to notice very little stout like coffee flavors which I’m not yet into quite yet.. The carbonation was right on for the style. One thing I could tell is that as the beer goes down, the chocolate aroma increases quite a bit which is definitely a plus.

It has great balance, solid flavor, a thick (but nice) mouthfeel, and an acceptable aroma. Even with all of that, I couldn’t imagine drinking more than a couple of these on any given night…though not a bad thing.

Overall: 8/10 (B+)
Solid beer…though less chocolate aroma and flavor than I expected from the raves of my sister and friends. There’s a chance that the high expectations may have hindered my overall grade somewhat.

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Beer Review: My American Wheat

My American Wheat
~5.1%
srm: hazy 4

Head poured about 1 finger of white
Little retention

Aroma is a little grapefruit with a citrus base that is reminiscent of lemon

Rather light mouthfeel

Low on carbonation but not low enough to hinder drinkability

A good mix of balance for a light wheat beer.

Overall, I got what I was hoping for…a light wheat beer with a nice light appearance to convert BMC drinkers at my upcoming ribfest. For my tastes, it’s too light, but should be a hit with light beer drinkers.

6.5/10 for my tastes as an American wheat due to the lightness and lack of strong flavors. 10/10 for what i was trying to accomplish with this brew. Considering I am rating a beer that has been bottle fermenting for 4 days, this beer should only get better as it picks up more carbonation. I’m pleased with the results.

Big Sky Brewing IPA

This is how I take notes on my iPhone when reviewing a beer…

Mediocre, which I guess I is better than a usual M.Night Shyamalan movie...

Big Sky Brewing Co IPA

6.2% ABV
Srm: 8.5-9?

Poured a nice 2 finger head with good retention…a light cream color

There’s a nice hop aroma, definitely not overpowering but has the hop smell I enjoy. I enjoy an even more robust aroma, but this will do. The aroma smells a mix of grapefruit and maybe pine.

This brew has a nice hop flavor with the malt backbone to support the amount of bitterness. The aftertaste has a harsh bitterness.

Clarity is ok…with a light caramel look.

Lacing is solid

As I drink, the maltyness is accenuated in the aroma.

Overall: 6/10 (C-C+)

The review may read better than the overall rating but this beer screams average in every category. Nothing was an eye opener and it wasn’t something that I’d drink more than 1 or 2 of at any given point. Not a bad beer…there’s just many that are better.

A list of beer reviews to come…

Here are the beers I’ve had and taken detailed notes on…just need the time to write up the actual reviews and make the posts.

Big Sky Brewing Co IPA
Pyramid Brewery Spring Seasonal Fling Pale Ale
O’Dell’s Cutthroat Porter
O’Fallon’s 5 Day IPA
Tin Mill Skyscraper
Dale’s Pale Ale
Ybor Gold Amber Lager
Holy Mackeral Mack In Black Imperial Black Ale with Pomegranate Juice

In addition to those, I have about 7 different kinds to taste in my fridge currently along with my own beers that are now fully bottle conditioned (my A peTit IPA and Strawberry Blonde).

So it appears that I have my work cut out in posting close to 20 different beer reviews in the near future…not to mention any that I try from here on out.

Today’s a brew day

Update: The brew day went excellent. I was going for an original gravity of 1.047 and ended up a little over 6 gallons at 1.049…so more beer and a higher gravity, excellent. I hope to see the airlock going crazy by tomorrow morning but we’ll see.

So as I sit here I’m currently about 15 minutes in on my American Wheat mash. I’ve been doing 10 gallon batches for quite sometime but decided to go with a 6 gallon today. I was worried about my ability to safely carry around ~11 gallons of boiling wort. I was initially planning on doing two different 6 gallon batches today but figure I’ll wait and do 6 gallons of a blonde maybe as soon as Wednesday.

Here’s the recipe I went with on the American Wheat that I have yet to name:

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S05
Yeast Starter: no
Batch Size (Gallons): 6
Original Gravity: 1.047
Final Gravity: ~1.010
IBU: 16
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 4.1 SRM
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 14 @ 68F

Ingredients
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00%

4lbs Pale Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 34%
4lbs Base 2 Row (1.5 SRM) Grain 34%
2.75lbs Malted Wheat (2 SRM) 23.2%
.75lbs Flaked Wheat (2 SRM) 6.4%
.30lbs Honey Malt (20 SRM) 2.3%

.3 oz Magnum [13.00 %] (60 min) Hops 12 IBU
.3 oz Magnum [13.00%] (5 min) Hops 2 IBU
.3 oz Cascade [6.4%] (5 min) Hops 1 IBU
.4 oz Cascade [6.4%] (0 min) Hops 0 IBU

1 TSP Irish Moss (15 min)
2 TBSP PH water corrected into mash and sparge water

1 Pkg Safale US-05 Ale Yeast

Mash Profile

Single Infusion
60 min Mash In Add 4 gallons of water at 165 F 152.0 F
collected ____ gallons on mash out
Add 5.5 gallons of water at 175 F 171.0 F for sparge
collected ____ gallons of sparge runoff

In the upcoming week I plan to rack my Chocolate Stout to secondary fermenters and add some various things that I’ll post about later. I also will be writing up a couple of beer reviews as well..I have about 20 pending write ups. I’ll probably post a list of upcoming reviews at the end of the end of my next post.

Beer Review: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Old Rasputin put a spell on me...lame, I know


ABV: 9%
SRM: ~35

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I’m really beginning my exploration into stouts and porters. As a guy who has never liked coffee, stouts haven’t been of much interest due to the majority having what I relate to a coffee aroma and a strong coffee flavor. With that being said, I can say that the stout flavor is really growing on me and I plan to review significantly more in the future.

This beer was bought at a no name bar…which pleasantly surprised me with a decent list of bottled beers. This beer poured a decent tannish colored head, nothing outstanding but respectable from what I’ve seen come from other stouts. Initially it appeared as though this beer was as black as night…completely opaque but after holding it up to a bright light it looked as though there was some brown. As I drank, the beer actually had solid lacing throughout the glass.

The aroma wasn’t as strong as I had anticipated considering the color and the alcohol content. I did notice some caramel, a bit of roasted coffee scent, some alcohol, and maybe some chocolate. The beer had a nice smelling aroma, but was rather lackluster when it comes to the amount of overall aroma.

The taste was somewhat sweet with a definite light coffee flavor. There was a strong dark chocolate flavor that was nicely intertwined with some strong, but pleasant, caramel maltyness. I didn’t notice an real hop presence. The beer had some obvious hop bitterness, but no real hop flavor or aroma. I really enjoyed the flavor profile overall. I don’t like coffee as I stated earlier, but this stout wasn’t focused on coffee flavor rather a dark chocolate, malty caramel flavor. The flavor may have been aided by the excellent mouthfeel, which was thick but not too much. The carbonation was more than most stouts I’ve had but it felt like a nice touch as the beer maintained smoothness.

Overall, this beer was pretty complex with a variety of flavors and aromas. The alcohol, sitting at 9%, makes this a tough beer to drink continuously, but I think I could easily drink 2-3 in a sitting without getting burnt out or feeling like Old Rasputin is getting to rich.

Grade: 9.5/10 (A-)

An excellent stout overall. I’m definitely looking forward to my next one, which I hope is soon. If you’re trying to expand your stout palate, try and Old Rasputin and hope you’re at a bar that’s doing 2 for 1’s as you’ll want another.

Just a quick FYI, here’s a LINK that gives a brief explanation of who Rasputin was, what he did, and some of his historical significance.

Sorry for the picture quality, the bar wasn’t well lit and my IPhone doesn’t have a flash.

Double Chocolate Update

I just pulled my first Double Chocolate Stout sample after 4 days of fermentation. The airlocks stopped some point yesterday, so I figure I’d check it out and see where I’m at. I figured I’d have trouble getting this thing below the 1.020 mark because of the lactose, chocolate additions, etc but I’m happy to report it has come in quite a bit lower than that. The Nottingham yeast I used went to town on the sugars, knocking my gravity from 1.056 to 1.015 in about 4 complete days. Those two readings give me a rough alcohol ABV of 5.4%…not bad. The aroma of the sample has a bit of roasted coffee scent but not near as much as most of the stouts I’ve had. The color looks to be right where I wanted it…a very dark brown. Most stouts will be close to black by the book but because I was going for a dark chocolate flavor, I wanted the beer to resemble that same color. The flavor has a dark chocolately bitterness to it, but has the light coffee taste I was trying to avoid if at all possible. The coffee taste is on the front but the flavor moves into a nice chocolate with a very nice dark chocolate after taste (it actually tastes the same as though I just had a piece of 70% dark chocolate). Overall, the beer has a nice flavor but needs a bit more chocolate flavor on the front which I think would come with some nice chocolate aroma. The bitterness seems to be balanced okay with the sweetness. I’d say this should end up being a very solid beer. I plan on giving it a couple of weeks in the fermenters to clean everything up and then racking to secondaries where I plan to put in some ‘Creme de Cacoa’ for some aroma. Ideally I’d like to use some chocolate extract but I can’t really find it anywhere locally. I guess we shall see…

In addition, I dry hopped my A peTit APA on Monday. I have two fermenters and I did two different dry hops.

Fermenter #1: 1oz of Cascade and 1oz of Willamette
Fermenter #2: 1oz of Cascade and 1oz of Citra

This should give me a nice idea on the differences of the two completely different hops (Willamette and Citra) and how they do when used to dry hop. My favorite hop, Cascade, was added because well, it’s my favorite pale ale aroma hop.