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, April 29, 2007

Getting back in the swing of things

The brewing career, with the luminous expanse of summer on the horizon, is beginning to look quite pleasant. I have just packaged the first generation of post-infection-fiasco beers and am getting ready to plan a barley wine and a whole bunch of summer Belgians.

I am currently sipping a "Spring Saison" that is pushing two years old. It is truly elegant. Everything extraneous has aged away: What remains is a huge head atop a burnished gold beer; a subtle twinge of sour-dough bread in the nose, melding with floral notes that used to be fruity; a bone-dry, but rounded, minerally palate. To quote the lamest advertising slogan ever, I'm lovin' it.

Yesterday was a bottling marathon. "Sticky Right Foot" Mead found itself two homes: Most of it is primed and in various clear and glass bottles (good way to get them out of circulation for a while) where it will become sparkling. Some of it is also in corked wine bottles where it should remain relatively still. 1856 Imperial Stout version 2 appears promising; I decided to do two special edition corked bottles for consumption in 5-10 years. The third instantiation of my smoked lager, "Log Jammin' 3," is resting in the basement. The real excitement of the day involved sampling my 18-month-old Flanders Red. It had some cute name back when I brewed it, but it is way too gorgeous for any such moniker now. It developed beautiful, elegant, winey, delicately tannic/oaky flavors and a Roeslare nose to kill for. I put most of it in corked 750's with a stock in 22's and 12's for younger consumption. The hydrometer sample was just stunning so I have high hopes. Please, please, for the love of all things holy, let it not overcarbonate, or undercarbonate, or do anything weird!!!