Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

My Photo
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.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lisa keeps posting on my blog

Lisa has decided she can post on my blog. I say no. What's the ettiquette here?

Anyway, rumors are flying.

Yes, I had a nasty brewing accident.

Brewers, and for that matter cooks in general, BEWARE!!

As part of my sparging set-up, I lost my grip on an 8-qt stockpot of boiling water. This resulted in a great deal of screaming (real screaming) and the throwing of myself into a frigid shower and the frantic application of ice to sensitive areas. Oh, and the abandoment of a batch of steam beer. The mash was adopted later that day by my next door neighbor/

After a trip to the emergency room, a follow-up at a burn center, morphine and other powerful drugs, and the application of various ointments and unguents by a lovely Ukrainian woman, the ultimate picture is that I'm leaving for London in one piece. I have first-degree burns all over my chest (like an unusually nasty sunburn) and nasty second-degree burns (think yellow pussy blisters and some skinless patches) on both legs. Fortunately, the burns to truly delicate areas are minor.

All in all it was a truly horrifying experience, but I'm seeing the first stages of some healing already. It will be an inconvenience and will involve some pain for a couple weeks. The burn dude said there'd be no scarring so all things considered I feel very fortunate. It could've been worse.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Getting ready for the UK

I am stressed out at the prospect of leaving for the U.K. Really, it should be fun, but I'm sweating it. In an attempt to make use of the house in my absence I threw together two beers and am planning a third for Monday. The idea was to have three beers ready to go when I return, slam all three into kegs and then use all the carboy space to make some Belgians, some experimental crazy shit, and so on. This tactic has given me precious little to prep and pack, but I don't know what I'm doing anyway and don't know where to start so maybe it's just as well if I wing it.

Sipping a Sunset Singel to take me down a notch. This has always been a class beer. Very clean and elegant. Anyway, Thursday I knocked out a basic summer pale ale, dubbed Passport Pale in tribute to the arrival of my all-important new document. I took an old recipe I concocted based on Smuttynose's Shoals Pale Ale, lowered the gravity and cut down the crystal malts a little bit. It should be pleasant and relatively light, but with some complexity from a little hit of Crystal 120, the not-so-secret ingredient of Shoals.

Friday saw the kegging of Reoganization Black IPA and the brewing of Sigmund O'Malley's Vienna Stout. My stout brewing career has focused almost exclusively on Russian Imperials and chunky, kitchen-sink, homebrew-type odd-balls. I'd never done the classic Irish Dry, Guinness-esque sort of thing. Well, I guess I still haven't. I took the basic parameters of your average Guinness clone, kept the flaked barley, restrained myself from using crystal malts, kept the roast barley at a relatively normal level, but then cut the pale malt and replaced it with Vienna. My theory is that I'll get something not entirely unlike Guinness, hence drinkable in the summer, relatively light-bodied, and refreshing, but also much more complex and nutty and rounded thanks to the delicious under-used base malt. Plus I just liked the name.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Spontaneous Grisette Tasting

9 months ago, I made a Grisette. It was mostly an excuse to get some Forbidden Fruit yeast going to start a darker, bigger beer (also a success). So the grist was simple--almost equal parts, pils, wheat, and vienna. Lightly hopped with Mt. Hood. The corked version, which I am tasting right now, is a real charmer:

Luminous yellow-gold with a nice, sparkling white head; indescribable nose (delicate citrus, evanescent hint of hop, wildly floral {lilies?}, kiwi {?}, hint of bread baking around the block); slender, but satisfying, body with delicate, thirst-quenching tartness.

This is a nice reminder of how good (and refreshing) a Belgian style beer can be without the brewer getting carried away or mucking stuff up. Also without getting all high gravity, as if that were somehow a requirement. This started at only 1045 and I would have it no other way.