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.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


I continue to lack brewing energy. I've got two beers ready to go in kegs but I've actually only got about two glasses of porter on draft. Better get it together.

A few notes before I forget:

Last week Randy and I shared the last bottle of 533 P.R., the private reserve stock of my first Belgian pale ale. This was really old for that kind of beer--would have to check on how old exactly, but it somehow developed this lovely perfumey nose. Quite a fascinating beer, and one that encourages me to buy some Ardennes yeast and do some more with it. The other beer I made with that yeast sucked, but the 533 is enough of an endorsement to suggest that I would do well to employ that yeast for something or other soon, building up to a yeast cake for an "Houblon" triple-IPA type project.

Right now I'm sipping a Smuttynose barley wine which is a strong reminder that I should get off my ass and brew another barley wine. This is lovely, subtle, balanced stuff--an elegant dance of malt and hops. The beer I brewed with this grain bill is similarly subtle--as barley wines go--and worth recapitulating with one or another creative hop bills. Dave Yarrington shared the grain bill with me, which I really appreciated. I've done this a couple of times: steal a pro grain bill and then wing the hops. It works.

On another note, I enjoyed a beer so much the other night that I called myself, lacking a note pad... Here's a transcript of the messages.

Message 1: "Oh, Christ. Dude. Notes on 1992 Courage Russian Imperial Stout: (Other drunk people in background throughout) The nose is a huge huge belt that combines burnt, burnt dried fruit, and some almond extract, and other nut liquers. And a kind of, bourbon whiskey, burnt-wood-like quality. In the mouth it's ab-sol-ute silk and velvet. There's not an edge anywhere in the beer. It reminds me of the 1856 Imperial stout that you/I brewed. The finish keeps going for, like, a couple minutes. Mmmm. So this is 15 years old. Oh my god! Put that in your blog That's gorgeous. How do I shut this off?"

Message 2: "Add extraordinarily sherry-ish. Lisa said that and it's incredibly correct. It's like an oxidized old wine."

Message 3: "Dude, you gotta brew the old Courage recipe in Old British Beers. It may in fact reflect the beer you just called yourself about."

And it really was that good.


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