Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Crap. . . Woo-hoo!

On the first note, my Pilsner is not fermenting. What the fuck? I pitched a decent starter. The yeast was nowhere near the expiration date. What's the deal? It's been sitting since Sunday evening doing absolutely nothing. The idea was to start it fermenting at room temp and then run it down to the basement where it's about fifty in a drafty corner. It's in the kitchen and not a damn thing has happened. And I aerated it too. I'm distressed. If it hasn't done anything by tomorrow mid-day I think I'll run it down to the basement and give it 24 hours there. At some point I'm going to have to say "fuck it" and ferment it with either a packet of Saflager which requires a trip to Oneida, the leftover yeast from my Belgian strong, or a packet of Nottingham ale yeast. Not good options but I think I'll take the second.

On the second note, my Saison beer, La Chemise Enflamme, is just lovely. I really shouldn't be drinking it yet. It should mellow for a little longer and ideally have some cold storage, but it's hard to resist. It's a gorgeous orange-gold color. The head is massive, snow-white, and lasting. The nose is rife with lively, very Belgian-tasting esters: a little banana and bubble gum, some hoppiness from the dry-hop, some citrus and spice. The palate is clean and bright, with some tightly articulated malt, and a finish with potential. The only flaw, at this point, is a little rough bitterness in the finish that lingers too long. I suspect this is from the grapefruit zest, which I would tone down next time--but it may well drop down with a little more bottle age and some moderate lagering. Added to which, my Belgian strong tasted just beautiful when I racked it to secondary. How cool are Belgian ales? Fucking Germans. . . Oh, wait, make that Czechoslovakians. . . (It was a Pilsner-Uequell-ish beer) Note that I've already begun referring to it in the past tense. Soon it will be a crazy Belgian Pilsnerale if something miraculous doesn't happen.


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