Sucaba & Sriracha Hot Stout

It’s been awhile since I posted a beer review.  Here are a couple of brews  you might find worthy.

Sucaba: Firestone Walker Brewing, Paso Robles, CA.  13.3% ABV.

This is the annual Barley Wine style ale offering from Firestone Walker Brewing.  This year it’s 13.3% ABV, and was difficult to find.  Sucaba is not just another Barley Wine, it’s bourbon barrel aged, which gives it that extra special something that sets it apart from all the other Barley Wines.

Sucaba pours an opaque, cloudy brown color with a light beige head that fades rapidly.  The aroma is sweet, vanilla, and a little boozy.  The flavor is slightly bitter up front, then vanilla/coconut and slightly sweet.  There is a nice bourbon aftertaste

This beer has a heavy body with a full, silky mouthfeel.  Warm it up to about 60° F for drinking, and the chocolate, vanilla and coconut flavors will dominate.  On this occasion, I drank the 2015 version from a 22 oz. bomber.  This is an excellent Barley Wine style ale.  Good luck trying to find it, however.  It’s distributed in very limited quantities.  I purchased this bomber at Costco (that’s right, at Costco) in January 2015 for $11.69 and drank it on February 8, 2015.

Sriracha Hot Stout: Rogue Ales, Newport OR.  5.7% ABV.

Sriracha Hot Stout pours black with a 3/4″ cocoa colored head.  The aroma is coffee with some chocolate.  Coffee and dark chocolate is prevalent in the initial flavor, but that rapidly yields to the spicy hot Sriracha.  The hot Sriracha warms the back of the throat and lingers.  It is hotter than most jalapeño beers, but is not unpleasant or overwhelming.  You will not, however, notice anything else in the aftertaste.  There is just a slight chocolate lingering on the palate, but the heat quickly overwhelms it.

Overall, this is a good beer.  I think the underlying stout is ok, but it’s hard to tell because of the heat.  I prefer English style stouts (sweeter, heavier) and those that are high in alcohol/slightly boozy.  My lips were burning slightly while drinking this.  The bottle is a bit of a novelty – 750 ML, opaque red with the Sriracha rooster on the front.  It looks like a huge bottle of Sriracha hot sauce.  I consumed/reviewed this bottle on March 25, 2015.  I think I will get another bottle and age it for awhile to see how the heat holds up.

That’s it for now.  Sucaba is very hard to come by, but Sriracha Hot Stout is widely available at very reasonable prices.  Remember, please read responsibly.  Cheers!

Mac’s Brew News – May 7, 2015


Mac’s Brew News is published today in honor of my daughter, Rosie (aka “Warhead”) who is 21 years old today.  Happy Birthday, Rosie!  Have a fun day today, and have a blast at your party tomorrow evening.  I can say with confidence that there will be plenty of good beer at the event, including a hefeweizen brewed especially for this occasion (see Club 21 below).

The Princess was born on this day,
It was May ’94, by the way.
Though her beauty was torrid,
Andy dubbed her the Warhead.
But she’s Mac’s Pride and Joy, may I say

It’s been several months since I posted anything on this site.  I apologize for the delay – I had some technical issues and was unable to access Macs Brew for a couple of months.  I just recently regained access, so here’s the latest on what’s happening at Mac’s.

I’ve been quite busy brewing this winter and spring.  Right now I have 5 beers on tap plus two new beers in bottles and one additional brew in the fermenter.  That’s really more beer than I can handle here, so I guess it’s a problem.  Imagine that . . . having too much beer – now that’s a good problem to have.

In March I got a new stainless steel conical fermenter.  It’s heated and cooled, so I can precisely control my fermentation temperatures, which means my beers should taste better.  It also means I can brew lagers now, as I can keep the temperatures in the low 50’s.  I think my first attempt at a lager will be a schwarzbier (black lager).  I currently have an IPA in the conical; it’s the second batch in this fermenter.

So, here’s what’s been brewing . . .

Mac’s Black Forest Stout (update): Bottled 01-21-2015.  8.6% ABV.  It’s very good, with a pronounced cherry aroma and flavor.  It has a high finishing gravity, so it’s somewhat sweet with a full body and velvety smooth mouthfeel.  I think it’s better than the first time I brewed it (2012) and I am hopeful that it will place well in the fruit beer category at the OC Fair.

Red Headed Step-Child: Brewed 01-09-2015; kegged 02-23-2015.  7.4% ABV.  This is the second time I brewed this beer – this time in collaboration with the Gilberstadts (see previous newsletter for details).  Like the last time I brewed this beer, I oaked it again.  However, I used French oak this time, cubes instead of chips, and kept it on the wood for only 8 days.  The oak is very subtle, but gives it a very smooth, mellow character.  This is a very nice and easy drinking beer.  You gotta be careful, though.  At 7.4% ABV, it can hit you pretty hard.

Mac’s PAPA (Paper Ass Pale Ale): Brewed 01-27-2015; kegged 03-03-2015.  6.0% ABV.  So, what’s with the name of this beer (Paper Ass Pale Ale)?  I’m glad you asked.  There’s an old expression, “you talk like a man with a paper asshole.”  My dad used this expression, but I didn’t know what it meant until recently when I looked it up in the urban dictionary.  It refers to someone who talks a lot, but without substance.  He can’t back up his talk; he speaks nonsense, foolishness.  In other words, he’s full of B.S.  This is a perfect description of Mac, who is constantly talking about beer, but is really full of crap in regards to the subject.  Yes, that’s me, and now I have a brew to prove it (my Paper Ass Pale Ale).

This is the first time I’ve ever made a pale ale recipe.  I was aiming for a slightly hoppy pale ale, but not so hoppy as to remind one of an India Pale Ale.  This is a very simple recipe and it turned out quite nice, although I think a little dry hopping would help (next time).  It’s slightly hoppy, very drinkable and enjoyable.

Aeronautical Amber Ale: Brewed 02-16-2015; kegged 03-21-2015.  7.0% ABV.  My old stand-by amber ale recipe.  It’s quite good – well balanced, malty, yet hoppy for an amber.

Janitor In A Drum: Brewed 03-09-2015; kegged 04-27-2015.  6.1% ABV.  This is an English style brown porter, a la Fuller’s London Porter.  I used small amounts of cacao nibs toward the end of the boil and in the secondary fermenter.  It has a nice, but subtle, chocolate flavor, and the nutty flavor from the brown malt is noticeable.

This is my first porter recipe and I’m not sure what to think about it.  It tastes good, but the chocolate is not as pronounced as I wanted it to be.  I entered this into the OC Fair to get the judges comments (I don’t expect it to score high or win an award).  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Oh yeah, about the name of this beer, “Janitor In A Drum”.  A porter is a janitor, and this beer lives in a stainless steel keg.  I think “Janitor In A Drum” is appropriate.  If you’re old enough, you will remember the cleaning product in the 1970’s, Janitor In A Drum.  If you’re not that old, then the name of the beer might sound silly (oh well, your loss).

Club 21 – Warhead Weissbier: Brewed 03-23-2015; kegged 04-14-2015 (5 gallons), bottled 04-25-2015 (5 gallons).  5.7% ABV.  This was brewed to drink for Rosie’s 21st birthday party.  It’s my standard Bavarian hefeweizen recipe, but Rosie helped me brew it, and because it is for her birthday, it’s called “Club 21 – Warhead Weissbier”  If you know Rosie, you may be aware that “Warhead” is one of her nicknames.  It’s a long story; I’ll have to tell you about it over a beer.

We brewed a 10 gallon batch.  The 5 gallons in the keg is for Rosie’s B-day party.  One of the two cases I bottled is being donated to Eddies Barber Shop in Placentia.  My nephew, Russ, created and painted the Mac’s Brew Pub logo prominently displayed in the pub, and he works at Eddies.  They serve beer to the customers waiting to get their hair cuts.  Club 21 will be available to the public while supplies last at Eddies Barber Shop, so here’s your opportunity to get a great haircut (make an appointment with Russ) and have a great beer while you’re there.

Mac’s Citra Smack Down: Brewed 04-16-2015; 7.8% ABV.  Currently dry hopping.  This was a collaboration with Mike Matulich.  It should be in the keg within the next two weeks. It’s a brand new recipe (featuring Citra and Amarillo hops),so I will have to wait to see how it turns out.  I tasted the sample I collected for a hydrometer reading – it’s very good, but dry hopping should vastly improve it and give it more flavor and hoppy aroma.

Club 57 (update): Brewed 03-27-2014; kegged 03-28-2015,  14% ABV.  No, that’s not a typo.  It was a year between brewing and kegging.  I conditioned it for an extended period of time  on oak and bourbon because the alcohol content is so high.  This really helped smooth out the alcohol taste, although it’s still noticeable.  The bourbon flavor had faded over the year, so I added a little more when I kegged Club 57.  I think that might have been a mistake, as the harshness and the booziness form the bourbon is noticeable again.  Oh well, It should be perfect in a few more months.  Unfortunately, it may be a little harsh when judged at the OC Fair in a little over a week.

Orange County Fair Homebrew Competition entries:

  • Club 57
  • Black Forest Stout
  • Red Headed Step Child
  • Aeronautical Amber Ale
  • Mac’s PAPA
  • Janitor In A Drum

I think the only ones with a realistic chance of winning any awards are Club 57 and Black Forest Stout.  The others I entered just to get judges comments and suggestions (especially for new recipes, Mac’s PAPA and Janitor In A Drum) to help me improve my beer.

Well, this newsletter is longer than I intended, so I’ll sign off for now.  Stay tuned, though, as I have a number of beer reviews to be posted soon.  Cheers!