Loads of stouts piled up at my house. Here's the skinny on what's in town..

Eel River Raven's Eye Imperial Stout - See below. Available at Ironwood.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout
- Deep mahogany. Rich and syrupy. Strong espresso and molasses flavors. Fun to drink, but very young and hot, with a strong bitter aftertaste. Of course, it needs some time in the cellar. Available at Uncle Sudsies.

Bell's Cherry Stout - Black as night with a dark brown head. At first his beer rubbed me wrong, but just recently I've been able to admit that I love it. The tart cherries remind of a distant lambic. They are balanced wonderfully by the sweet, roasty, and coffee malt flavors. Here's what I dig about this brew, and it took me a while to realize - it's aged. The base stout is obviously mellowed, and dark fruit/caramel flavors are developing. Add to that the tart cherries, and you have yourself a damn tasty brew. Available at Uncle Sudsies.

Weyerbacher Old Heathen
- Amazingly dark with a huge, frothy chocolate head. While this is not an over the top imperial stout, I like it because it's incredibly beefy. Rich, full, creamy, oily, slick, and velvety in the mouth. The flavors and aromas are straightforward stout, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. And damn is it tasty. I'm glad it's only 8.2% ABV. You can have a few without becoming an absolute fucking retard. Woo! Available at Uncle Sudsies.

Weyerbacher Heresy - One of my personal favorite oak aged stouts. Beautiful looking beer, with dark bourbon, alcohol, chocolate, and espresso aroma. As I mentioned in my review on ratebeer, what I really like about this is the way the oak is used. It's not overpowering at all. It blends and melds perfectly with the dark fruit and vinous flavors of the aged stout. A great brew, for sure.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Now this is a beefy stout. Incredibly heavy smell with strong espresso, chocolate, and, unfortunately, rubbing alcohol notes. The taste is surprisingly sweet. Chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and anise with a great vinous background. It's very hot, and definitely could use some cellaring time. As a matter of fact, I have a bottle of every vintage back through 2005. I'm thinking 2010 is gonna be the year to try them all.

And, no, I didn't drink those all in one night. Peace.

Eel River

2 high grav brews from Eel River just recently became available in town, so I figured I'd post my thoughts.

Raven's Eye Imperial Stout
- This one was really interesting to try. The focus was strongly on the roasted malts, which made it very different. No crazy American hopping. No dark fruit or oxidized flavors. All malts - roasted, toasted, burnt and blackened. Balanced for what it is, and very unoffensive. It tasted like some coffee from the clover. Wouldn't want more than one in a sitting, and not one to age.

Triple Exultation
- Old Ale! Old Ale! The words themselves make my heart leap with joy. Just utter those two, simple, three letter words and you'll see a giant smile on my face. This one does not disappoint. Oftentimes you'll run into beers labeled as Old Ales that are really just Barelywines. Not this bad boy. This one is pure beef, malt and balls. Balance! Just the right amount of hops! Strong spicy sweet flavors with a full, creamy body. The alcohol warms your chest long after the beer is gone, and makes you want to curl up and sleep for hours. Age it - I'm going to.

Both are available at Ironwood and worth a try!


Fermentation Updates

I checked the gravity and tasted my 3 homebrews currently fermenting. Here's a breakdown.

St. Defibaugh Tripel

O.G. 1.096. Now it's at 1.017. Not bad. It's been sitting on oak chips for a little over a month now. Super spicy orange taste, with the oak only coming through in the mouthfeel. Fruity as all get out, with big caramel and bready notes.

St. Defibaugh Special Ale
O.G. 1.078. Now it's at 1.018. Again, not bad. Super sweet honey and clove taste, with strong ginger and spice notes. Creamy mouthfeel, with a long sweet and spicy finish. Crazy.

Orion Saison

O.G. 1.065. Now 1.044. One of my best friends Dan, who lives in Portland right now, had a kid the night this was brewed. His name, Robert Orion - hence Orion Saison. How about that color? The taste is very heavy on the tea/floral aspect. The yeast hasn't had time work it's magic yet, although the smell is definitely getting funky. I moved it to a warmer area in hopes of speeding up fermentation.


Summer Saison

Fuck it. I'm brewing a saison. Why not? It's the perfect beer for summer, and a style I love. I kinda came up with this crazy recipe on the fly..

Specialty Grains:
1/2 # Acid Malt
3/4 # Caravienne Malt
1/4# Crystal 10 Malt

5 # Extra Light DME
1 # Wheat DME
1 # Crystal Candi Sugar
1 oz. Spalt Pellets

@ 45 mins:
1/2 oz. Spalt pellets
1/2 oz. Challenger pellets

@ 50 mins:
1/4 tsp Grains of Paradise
1/2 tsp crushed Rosemary
Heather tips (undetermined amout)
1/8 tsp fresh Lemon Zest

@ 55 mins:
1/2 oz Spalt pellets
1 1/2 oz. Challenger pellets

WYeast #3724

Whatcha think? Any suggestions on using rosemary or heather?

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

I'll keep this one short and simple. Not bad, not great, but definitely worth a read. His depiction of office life is flawless, and the relationships the characters have with one another are very believable. But, it's just a bit too comic to be poignant. The chapter with Lynn is no doubt the best part of the book. Why is the rest of it not more like that? It does end very well, and leaves you on an upbeat, hilarious note.


Green Gables; Jolly Pumpkin Fuego del Otono; What to Brew?; Celebes Stout

Green Gables
What an awesome place. It's in Jennerstown, which is not too terribly far from Indiana, and well worth the drive. Walking up to the place, it kinda looks like a dilapidated old house - until you step inside. The atmosphere alone makes it worth the trip. You have to see it to believe it - very low lit and romantic, with a great old world feel. The menu is fantastic (we were there for brunch) and reasonably priced. I had the Grilled Pork Tenderloin topped with Maple Fingerlings and some kinda greens. It was slathered in a creamy blue cheese sauce, and accented with what they called a balsamic raisin puree. I could've eaten that puree all day. And the presentation was absolutely world class. Well done!

Afterwards we roamed the grounds, which is set on a man made lake. On the grounds there is also a play house, as well as cottages you can rent out. The landscape is breathtaking. You have to check this place out.. One of the best meals I've had in quite some time.

Jolly Pumpkin Fuego del Otono
Special thanks to Justin for picking this up for me. As you all know I love this brewery, and I need to go on yet another rant about why they are so awesome - inconsistency. Each bottle is different than the next, just like some particularly well respected Belgian brewers (Cantillon, Orval, etc..). This one tastes worlds apart from the last one I had. The smell is powerfully acidic with strong pear, apple, and even tangerine notes, but also quite spicy, with cloves and pepper. There is a ton of funk - stale bread, moldy cheese, spoiled juice, and a hint of wet dog - YUM. Beautifully bright and shiny in the mouth. Light, delicate flavors bounce across your tongue - apple, lemon, caramel, ginger, pepper, slight sulfur, iron, and nutty notes. Layers upon layers of vast, bold tastes, and (as I discovered last time) it's better with the dregs in it. Really brings out the complexity. Here he goes again - BEST BREWERY IN AMERICA.

What to Brew?
I need some suggestions or some help picking what to brew next. My brain has officially crapped out. No more thinking for me - it's your turn. I want it to be something sessionable for the warmer months. Pick one:

1. Saison
2. Altbier
3. Mild
4. Belgian Blonde or Pale Ale
5. Old Ale
6. Kolsch
7. Other? (You're call)

Let me know what you would be in the mood to drink at 9:30 AM on a summer Sunday, when it's 96 degrees outside, you haven't slept a wink, and you've just simply got nothing else to do except pound a sixer and hope that chases the boredom away for a few hours.

Celebes Stout
So this seemed to go over well at the last homebrew club meeting. I really appreciate the kind words that everyone said about it. Again, a huge thanks to TJ at Commonplace for supplying the coffee.
I love our little homebrew club. It's so nice to see people of all ages (I'm pretty sure I'm the youngest one - the black sheep, if you will) coming together over a shared passion - everyone there just simply loves beer, and the atmosphere is great. It meant a lot to me for people who have been brewing longer than I've been alive (well, that may be an exaggeration, but not a large one) to say that they enjoyed my beer. I was touched.

There was something else I wanted to rant and rave about, but of course I forgot. I bet I'll remember tomorrow. As for now, I'm finishing off this Jolly Pumpkin, then curling up in bed with a good book.


The Ruins

I saw this movie over the weekend, for some reason.. Why? To be honest, I don't know. But let me tell you - FUCK THIS MOVIE. For real. I can't believe I spent money to see this piece of trash. They should have paid me to watch it, not vice versa. I love a good cheesy horror flick, but this was just mindless droll. Never, ever, ever see this movie, not even if your life depends on it. The acting was just horrible and the plot was completely and utterly pointless. The movie had potential for about 2 minutes, but then it immediately started to suck balls. Big, sweaty, stinky, hairy, gross old man balls. This represents everything I hate about modern horror movies.
I can't stress this point enough...