Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Various brew ramblings

Went to the Carlsbad Pizza Port Real Ale festival the other weekend. Beer engine heaven, but I did learn two things:

  • Sparklers are important for that hand pulled mouthfeel. There were no sparklers used as the festival
  • I really only like IPAs from the beer engine. There were a bunch of belgians and the low carbonation did not taste appropriate for them, imho.

A little more on the carbonation. I learned this last year, when I tried putting my Hefeweizen on nitrogen. Tasted horrible. Then I switched it to CO2 (but only about 7 psi, because i had an IPA on the same regulator) and it got better but still not right. Since then I learned that Hefeweizen, like Belgians do better at fizzy carbonation levels. I've now bought a dual regulator for the kegerator, allowing me to run most ale's around 5psi, while my belgians and hefeweizen come out at 13psi. I just put a Belgian Triple on tap and it's perfect at 13psi.

At the same time, I moved my Simcoe IPA to nitrogen. Interesting experiment. Really brings out the hop aroma and has that hand pulled mouthfeel. It basically starts as a pint of head. After about 5 minutes, you have about half a pint of ale, the rest is a head that won't go away. So it's a stand-in for a beer engine, but no replacement.

Ready for summer, I've got yet another Paulaner clone sitting in secondary, waiting for an open slot in my kegerator. This one I did with wheat syrup instead of DME. It's very dark. I guess syrup just makes your ales a lot darker. We'll have to say if that's affected the taste once i finally keg it.

Finally, Alpine finally made Duet again and a friend of mine brought me a growler. It wasn't like I remembered at all. Not sure what was different and I don't know if it's my memory is wrong or if it just came out different this year. The aroma was right, but the taste was more like the Nelson. Strange. At the Real Ale festival I had Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA and I guess, at this point, Sculpin's moved ahead of Duet as my favorite IPA.

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