Happy New Year to all you beer lovers (and those of you who aren’t beer lovers, but have the good sense to read this blog)! I hope you had a good holiday season and are ready to face the new year. I have a little news to pass along, so relax and enjoy these insights, along with a glass of beer. Please read responsibly!
As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I had surgery in mid October, so I was unable to brew in September and October. I resumed in mid-November, but because of the brewing gap, I ran out of Mac’s Brew right after Thanksgiving. That’s right, there was no beer on tap for a short time, but the problem has since resolved, with two ales currently on draught.
Fat Ass in a Glass: Brewed 08-13-2016. 10.5% ABV
Fat Ass is HUGE. It’s a very malty English style Barley Wine, with a high alcohol content. I kegged this beer on 12-21-16, after a 3 month conditioning period that really helped to smooth it out and mitigate the alcohol taste. This is very good – quite malty and a little sweet, with just enough hops to give it some balance and keep it from being syrupy. The alcohol is noticeable in the flavor, but is not harsh or unpleasant – it provides a nice warming sensation (and of course, it will easily get you where you want to go).
Now, this is not an everyday beer. In fact, it’s a sipping beer, perfect for consuming on cold evenings, or lazy Sunday afternoons. It’s on tap now, so stop by Mac’s Brew Pub for a glass. After all, who can resist a beer called “Fat Ass in a Glass”?
Wide Awake Drunk: Brewed 11-15-2016. 5.0% ABV
This is the second time I have made Wide Awake Drunk, a coffee stout. I brewed it in collaboration with Sam Simpson, a talented brewer I met through our mutual friend Dennis Bauer (Dennis is not a brewer, but he is a beer connoisseur, and likes Mac’s Brew, which makes him an all around fine fellow).
I experimented with this one a bit. Sheila had some very aromatic herbal tea, “Caramel Almond Amaretti”, that had a wonderful coconut, almond aroma. The flavor followed the aroma, but was more subdued. I decided to include 6 oz. of this tea in the cold brewed coffee concentrate before adding the mixture to the finished beer. I added a portion of the resulting coffee/tea brew to the beer, but it didn’t turn out as expected, or to my liking. I ended up cold brewing a little more “Black House” coffee and adding that to the mix to bring up the coffee aroma and flavor. The caramel and almond aroma is pleasant, with mild notes in the flavor, but the almond flavor is a little “imitation” tasting, which is disappointing. After a couple of weeks, the tea flavors have mellowed and the coffee is now more prevalent along with the cocoa flavor. I think it’s very good, if not a little unusual, but I prefer this one without the tea.
Mac’s PAPA: Brewed 12-17-2016. Estimated ABV – 6%
Ah yes, the old stand by, Paper Ass Pale Ale. I collaborated with Martin and Marty Gilberstadt on this brew (we previously collaborated on Red Headed Step-Child; see Mac’s Brew News – January 10, 2015). This recipe is dialed in, so no changes from the last time I brewed it (about a year ago). It’s dry hopping right now, and should be on tap in about 10 days.
Smack Down (Generation III): To be brewed 01-21-2017.
I will be collaborating with Dave Hollandbeck on this Imperial IPA. I am going to drastically revise the recipe from the last time I brewed this (August 2016). The grain bill will remain the same, but I will change the hops to give this a very different flavor profile. It seems like I change this every time I brew it. Eventually I’m going to get it just right.
In my last news letter, I mentioned the QuickCarb keg carbonator I had recently purchased. I used it for “Fat Ass in a Glass” and “Wide Awake Drunk” a couple of weeks ago. What a great device! In one afternoon, I kegged and carbonated both beers, and was serving them that evening. What will they think of next?
My friend and neighbor, Barry Pulis, has a kind hearted brother, Randy, who is a beer connoisseur, and therefor a friend of mine. Randy gave me a bottle of “Black Tuesday”, from The Bruery, for Christmas. This gift is way beyond generous – it’s very expensive; it’s very hard to come by; and it’s the best beer in the world (my opinion). I will be drinking this with Bob Waddell and Mike Matulich in a few days to celebrate USC’s Rose Bowl victory over a very good Penn State team on January 2, 2017 (the three of us attended the game and are just now catching our breath). Thank you, Randy and Barry. I REALLY appreciate your thoughtfulness. You’re always welcome at Mac’s Brew Pub, where the beer is (usually) plentiful and the conversation always engaging!
Well, that’s it for now. I have several Beer Reviews I need to publish, so check back soon. Oh, and come by Mac’s Brew Pub for a pint or two.