Lunch for Dinner

At the most recent beer nerd gathering I attended, I came into the possession of a variety of beers that are simply unavailable in the Pacific Northwest. A friend, let’s call him Cleatus, had promised them to me many moons ago and was now making good. Cleatus made it very clear that this subset of beers was for my consumption only and intimated that a terrible curse shall befall anyone who did not heed his words. Considering there were nearly thirty other top-shelf beers in attendance, not much attention was paid to these particular beers save for one.

Bottle + glass

Each attendee in turn rummaged through Cleatus’ box of goodies and expressed delight over coming across Lunch from the Maine Beer Company. Cleatus was vigilant in supporting my claim for the coveted bottle and for that, I am in his debt. So you can imagine my excitement when I finally got around to tasting it. And by the looks of it, not a moment too soon.

Bottle label
Another innovation brought to you by Anheuser-Busch.

The impression I get from this beer is that everything about it is done with great care and purpose. It’s a beautiful orange-yellow color (which my phone does not do justice) with lots and lots of head. It smells like freshly peeled mandarins and it tastes crisp and clean. Though I typically prefer a little more body to my beers (thank God for my sweet Lucille), this is an excellent IPA and one I’d love to have around more often.

My Beer Could Beat Up Your Beer

A Google video search returns over fifteen million results for the search term “beer” coupled with “review”. Including the thousands of beer review websites committed to the written word and ratings aggregation sites like Ratebeer and Beer Advocate, it’s probably safe to say the world does not need yet another beer drinker espousing the virtues of Pliny the Elder while wearing a goofy hat and sitting in their kitchen. Or do we?

There’s a lot to like about this video. Of particular note is the theme song (complete with fancy CGI intro), the Ron Paul endorsement both via t-shirt and bottlecap magnets on the fridge, and the bathroom hand towel pulling in double duty as a dish rag. Needless to say it’s filled with insightful commentary.

Kind of like a pumpkin ale, but without the pumpkin.

And my personal favorite (in reference to the label),

Gold medal, that’s pretty good.

I had no idea that Buster Bluth was such a connoisseur.


Yeast, Ye Fickle Beast

This past summer I attempted my first brew session using an old-timey brewing method known as parti-gyle. Prior to the late eighteenth century, most brewers had the ability to fabricate enormous wooden casks for mashing but were unable to create a similarly sized fireproof vessel to boil the entire volume of wort. Therefore, it was very common to draw two, three, and sometimes even four volumes of wort from the same mash in order to create multiple beers of varying strengths. The total volume of wort was historically called a gyle, hence, several beers from one gyle = parti-gyle.

This worked out great. I used a recipe for an Old Chub clone, slightly modified to compensate for ingredients on hand. I collected about a gallon and a half of first runnings for my Scotch-style ale and then collected about three gallons after adding more water and conducting a mini-infusion mash. The small beer turned out as expected (low alcohol, mild flavors, etc.) however the Old Chub clone (“Wee Too Heavy”) came out a bit heavier than I wanted with an OG of 1.120!

I let the Wee Too Heavy batch sit around for quite a while in secondary in order to mellow out. It was probably not in the most ideal conditions since I just left it unmonitored in the basement. When it came time to bottle, I did not re-pitch any yeast. This has turned out to be a fatal mistake as I now have a dozen or so bottles of dead-still malty goodness.

At the latest local homebrew meeting I brought up this issue with the group to solicit opinions. The suggestion was to crack open a couple of bottles and drop in a pinch of dry yeast. Then place the bottles in a safe place and pray nothing blows up. Duly noted and enacted.

Amount of yeast added to each bottle.
Trying to avoid bottle bombs.

I’ll let you know how it goes.