Archive for November, 2011

pairing.profiles: Light Lagers


As many of you know I am studying to become a certified Cicerone and BJCP judge, and to study correctly I to taste a lot of different beer styles.  That can be a lot of fun but it is also a lot of work because I really do have to pick the beers apart and describe them in detail.  Don’t get me wrong, it is way more fun than any studying I have ever done except when I have to pick apart American Lite Lagers as I did for this week.

Below you will find MY descriptions and general pairing suggestions.  Not to worry, these won’t replace my more detailed versions. These are meant to be quick start reference guides to styles I haven’t detailed.

 1A.  Lite American Lager
Examples: Bud Light, Miller Light, Sam Adams Light
Serving Temp: 35°- 40°
Glassware: Pilsner
 
Evaluation Notes: Keystone Light
Aroma: Grainy, husky with just a hint malt; cweet corn aroma covers up any hops that are present.  
Appearance: Pale golden and crystal clear.  Short lived white head with tight small to medium bubbles.
Flavor: Crisp and dry with slight cornlike sweetness.  Little hop flavor, bitterness and aftertaste.  Even balanced and no faults for the style.
Mouthfeel: Refreshing carbonation, very much like carbonated water with a slight carbonic bite and light body.  

Food Pairings: Anything.  These beers are so bland that you would be better off drinking seltzer water and save yourself the calories.  They are good for washing the savory flavors off the palate.
 
 
1B.  Standard American Lager
Examples: Budweiser, Miller High Life, Pabst Blue Ribbon
Serving Temp: 35°- 40°
Glassware: Pilsner
 
Evaluation Notes:
Aroma: Light to no malt aroma with little to light spicy or floral hops.   A slight grainy, sweet or corn-like aroma present. A green apple, DMS, or fruitiness may be present but absolutely no diacetyl.
Appearance: Pale Straw to medium yellow color with a  white frothy head but very little retention. Crystal Clear.
Flavor: Crisp and dry with a  light grainy or corn-like sweetness. No to low hop flavor or bitterness, No diacetyl or fruitiness should be present.
Mouthfeel: Light body, high carbonation.

 
Food Pairings: Anything.  There is very little taste to these beers but their medium bodies and crisp refreshing nature make them a good substitute for water …. if you just finished some yard work and you are worried your water quality.
 
 
1C.  Premium American Lager
Examples: Full Sail Session, Red Stripe, Stella Artois
Serving Temp: 35°- 40°
Glassware: Pilsner
 
Evaluation Notes: 
Aroma: Low malt and low hops. A slight grainy, sweet or corn-like aroma may be present.  Green apple, DMS or fruitiness optional may also be present.  Diacetyl should not be present.
Appearance: Pale straw to gold. Low head retention. Very Clear.
Flavor: Low hop flavor and bitterness. Even balance. No diacetyl or fruitiness.
Mouthfeel: Light-med body. High carbonation.


 
1D.  Munich Helles – helles means “light”
Examples: Hacker- Pschorr Münchner Gold, Paulaner Premium Lager, Spaten Premium Lager.
Serving Temp: 40°- 45°
Glassware: Flute or Pilsner
 
Evaluation Notes:
Aroma: Grainy sweet, clean with a low to medium nobel hop aroma.  No fruity esters or diacetyl should be present.
Appearance: Medium yellow to pale gold with a  creamy white head. Clear.
Flavor: Slightly sweet and malty with a low to medium-low hop bitterness and  flavor.  There should be a clean, malty finish with no fruity esters or diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation.

 
Food Pairings: Cuisine: German or other hearty and/or spicy foods  Cheese: soft and mild (ex. Gouda, Havarti). Meat: Pork, Poultry, or Seafood.

 
1E.  Dortmunder Export
Examples: Ayinger Jahrhunder, Gordon Biersch Golden Export,
Serving Temp: 40°- 45°
Glassware: Flute or Pilsner
 
Evaluation Notes:
Aroma: Low to medium noble hops with a pronounced malt sweetness.  May have low DMS but no diacetyl.
Appearance: Light gold to deep gold and  clear with persistent white head.
Flavor: Balanced between maltiness and  hops. Some minerals and hop bitterness may be present  in the finish but it should be clean tasting with fruity no esters or diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation.  Smooth.

 
Food Pairings: Cuisine: German or other hearty and/or spicy foods  Cheese: soft and mild (ex. Gouda, Havarti). Meat: Pork, Poultry, or Seafood.


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pairing.profile: Belgian Golden Strong Ale


 

 

 

 

 

style.info: Golden Strong Ales are just that, STRONG.   Their high carbonation, moderate hopping and spicy phenols from the yeast create a light, crisp and refreshing beer.  However, these pale yellow beers can range from  7% to 12%  alcohol but don’t confuse these with pale yellow American beers low ABV and should be consumed in moderation.

 

 

pairing.suggestion: Golden Strong Ales are some of the most exciting and challenging beers to pair with food. The term “Belgian” is a loose style descriptor for beers that get a majority of their flavors from fermentation instead of malt or hops. There are hundreds if not thousands of different Belgian beers each with a unique spicy phenol derived from fermentation.  This makes them challenging to pair because one particular “Belgian Ale” can taste quite different from another so you will have to taste each to fully appreciate its flavor profile.  However, this variety is exactly what makes them so special because you are sure to find a Belgian ale to match any food pairing, especially veggies. Golden Strong Ales will also pair well with salads that are tossed with spicy greens like arugula or light meats such as fish or poultry.  Spice these meats sparingly as the spices in the beer can add another layer of complexity to any dish.

my.favorites: Duvel, Horny Devil from AleSmith, Delirium Tremens, Don de Dieu

geeky.info:  This style was developed by the Moorgat brewery, the brewers of Duvel (devil) and now owners of Ommegan (at least partially),  in the mid to late 40’s when the rise of Pilsner beers started to cut into their profits.

beer.gifts: Top 10 Homebrew Gifts


If you are having a hard time finding the perfect gift for the homebrewer in your life then your day just got a whole lot better. You will find gifts ranging from $0 to well over $5000 on this list to pick from so I am sure you will find something in your price range. Most of the items below are linked to Morebeer.com (one of my favorite online shops) but if you can get these at your local homebrew shop then do that instead.   So, without any further commentary from me  here is a list from least expensive to most expensive.

1.  Support $0:  This is the best gift you can give to your homebrewer and it is by far the most valuable gift on this list.

2. Brewing books $12.50:  I would suggest this book (Brewing Better Beer) for anyone but be sure to check out the “brewing library” first. We hombrewers love our books and you don’t want to get him/her a duplicate.

brewing better beer

3. Large capacity scale $14.95: This is for the all grain brewers and sure beats using the bathroom scale trying to read the weight that is covered by the bucket.  If yo can find scale that goes up to 15 or 20 pounds, even better!

scale

4. Temp controller $99.95: This is a multi-purpose unit that can be used to control a kegerator temp, fermentation temp or even mash temps.

temp controller

5. Refractometer $115: The easiest way to take gravity readings just got an upgrade.

refractometer

6. High temp pump  $149: This will keep your beloved homebrewer from lifting large amounts of scalding liquid above his/her head! This one is a must if you are brewing batches larger than 5 gallons.

pump

7. Kegerator setup $299: this is a great set up and you can bet that your homebrewer will be upgrading taps as soon as the first one comes in so you might as well start with two!

keg setup

8. Refrigerator or Chest Freezer $50 to $200: Depends on were and how the refrigeration unit is.  You can find these things on Craigslist and they are usually cheap.  These can be used as fermentation chambers by controlling fermenting temps or converted to kegerators.

 chest freezer

9. Conical Fermenter $1895: The baddest of the bad ass fermentors with temp control features to help keep your fermenting wort at just that right temp.

conical fermenter

10. Brewsculpture $5,610:  The Granddaddy of all homebrew systems and one that makes me drool.  There are other less expensive versions but if you can afford one of those, whats another $1000?

Brewsculpture


beer.review: Wassail


In this full bodied beer.

beer.review: Old Fezziwig


sam adams-old fezziwig

food.pairing: Old Fezziwig Ale


sam adams old fezziwig

sam adams-old fezziwig

General description and suggestion: Winter warmers are meant to dojust that, warm you up! These full-bodied beers will often have pronouncedcaramel or molasses-like aromas and flavors as well as a warming alcoholpresence.  These beers also have a widerange of alcohol presence so be sure to check out the ABV before you pouryourself big ole pint.

Often times Winter Warmers or Holiday Ales, as they are sometimes called,are brewed with special spices such as clove or cinnamon.  These spices can make them a perfect forpairing with holiday deserts such as pumpkin pie. If you don’t see adescription on the packaging look at the brewery website or BeerAdvocate.comfor ingredients or taste descriptions.

Specific description and suggestion: First, let me start by sayingthat this recipe tastes sooo good but it is sooo bad for you, as many holidaydesserts are. Also, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort with thisrecipe if you use the canned pumpkin mush but please don’t short changeyourself.  Mashing the fresh baked pumpkinwith a fork then whisking it until it is smooth gives this dessert a muchbetter texture (the best in my opinion) than canned pumpkin.  You won’t regret the time or the effort.

I love it when a single beer pairs so well with a recipe but I getdown right giddy when two beers fit the bill so well.  You will be able to find the Sam Adams mixed winter12 pack just about anywhere unfortunately but Trader Joes has a great price onthe Wassail this season. These two beers pair so well with desserts becausetheir residual sweetness and spicing makes them a dessert to begin with!   Theirspices resonate with the Pumpkin Crisp spices and their full-bodies enhance thecreamy goodness.  The cayenne pepperspiced pecans add fun little kick that will only linger until your next bite orsip.

Pumpkin Crisp

1 Sugar Baby Pumpkin or 32oz of can of pumpkin

4 eggs slightly beaten

3 cups evaporated milk

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp salt

1 (2-layer) yellow cake mix

½ cup butter melted

1 cup chopped and spiced pecans

Cut and clean pumpkin into thin slices and roast them in the oven at350° to develop an intense pumpkin taste and tender.  Poke with a fork to test. This could take aslong as an hour.  If you need to speed upthe process put slices in the microwave for a couple of minutes untiltender.

Put baked pumpkin flesh in a bowl (stand-up mixer is best) with whiskand beat on high until the pumpkin texture is smooth without any lumps.

Combine all but the last three ingredients.  Pour into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture.Sprinkle pecans on top of cake mixture. Drizzle melted butter over the top.

Bake for 350° for 1 hour

food.pairing: Wassail


full sail wassail
In this full bodied beer.

 

General description and suggestion:  Winter warmers are meant to dojust that, warm you up! These full-bodied beers will often have pronouncedcaramel or molasses-like aromas and flavors as well as a warming alcoholpresence.  These beers also have a widerange of alcohol presence so be sure to check out the ABV before you pouryourself big ole pint.

Often times Winter Warmers or Holiday Ales, as they are sometimes called,are brewed with special spices such as clove or cinnamon.  These spices can make them a perfect forpairing with holiday deserts such as pumpkin pie. If you don’t see adescription on the packaging look at the brewery website or BeerAdvocate.comfor ingredients or taste descriptions.

Specific description and suggestion:  First, let me start by sayingthat this recipe tastes sooo good but it is sooo bad for you, as many holidaydesserts are. Also, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort with thisrecipe if you use the canned pumpkin mush but please don’t short changeyourself.  Mashing the fresh baked pumpkinwith a fork then whisking it until it is smooth gives this dessert a muchbetter texture (the best in my opinion) than canned pumpkin.  You won’t regret the time or the effort.

I love it when a single beer pairs so well with a recipe but I getdown right giddy when two beers fit the bill so well.  You will be able to find the Sam Adams mixed winter12 pack just about anywhere unfortunately but Trader Joes has a great price onthe Wassail this season. These two beers pair so well with desserts becausetheir residual sweetness and spicing makes them a dessert to begin with!   Theirspices resonate with the Pumpkin Crisp spices and their full-bodies enhance thecreamy goodness.  The cayenne pepperspiced pecans add fun little kick that will only linger until your next bite orsip.

Pumpkin Crisp

1 Sugar Baby Pumpkin or 32oz of can of pumpkin

4 eggs slightly beaten

3 cups evaporated milk

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp salt

1 (2-layer) yellow cake mix

½ cup butter melted

1 cup chopped and spiced pecans

Cut and clean pumpkin into thin slices and roast them in the oven at350° to develop an intense pumpkin taste and tender.  Poke with a fork to test. This could take aslong as an hour.  If you need to speed upthe process put slices in the microwave for a couple of minutes untiltender.

Put baked pumpkin flesh in a bowl (stand-up mixer is best) with whiskand beat on high until the pumpkin texture is smooth without any lumps.

Combine all but the last three ingredients.  Pour into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture.Sprinkle pecans on top of cake mixture. Drizzle melted butter over the top.

Bake for 350° for 1 hour