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, December 11, 2006

Valediction X: The Star Chamber

I love this beer. It's the last fucking bottle. DAMNIT.

Star Chamber is a double IPA: Lovely, retentive head. Soft carbonation. Beautiful, crystal-clear, pale amber color. The nose is not as hoppy as it was when the beer was young, but it still sings. The palate is full, soft, teasingly bitter. No trace of harshness at 12-13 months old. The alcohol is hardly noticable.

It seems to me that there are two kinds of double IPA's. On one end is Dogfish Head's 90-Minute (relatively soft, winey/brandyish); on the other is Smuttynose or Pliny the Elder (brash, more emphatically hoppy). This leans toward the former and I would reproduce this exact recipe without alteration. All I did is scale up my normal IPA. Gotta make more.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Crowbar, revisited

Have I made a better beer than Old Crowbar? Certainly nothing with a better name...

Wow. This was originally designed as kind of a riff on the great "Bigfoot." Like the Sierra Nevada model, this is hit hard with Chinook, Centennial, and Cascade. It has most of the same malts. In this case, 15 lbs of pale, 2 lbs of Carastan, 8 oz each Crystal 75 and Carapils.

That's a lot of specialty malts for a barley wine and I could try it again a little leaner and see what happens. Somehow or other this has come out great though.

Young, it was hoppy and vibrant, and not-un-bigfoot-like. After a brief awkward period where the hop had gone down but the malt hadn't smoothed out fully, it has developed into something really lovely.

At 20 months, it has a lingering veil of hoppiness up front, but the malt has taken over, projecting a vivid combination of aromas I just described in an email to a friend as a "plum/raisin/lapsang-souchong/earthy" thing. It's an overwhelmingly creamy, enveloping beer. The palate is full and just balanced by what's left of those pungent Chinooks--which also help to dry out and balance the finish. That's my one beer for the day and I'm happy.