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.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And by "more soon"

I apparently meant "by February."

The slump continued and I am only beginning to shake out of it. Fall saw something like two brew days while I rethought my career, panicked, fretted, sweated, etc. I do somehow have four beers on draft: A tasty Simcoe IPA that's new (an emergency brew from December); the last couple pints of the wet-hop ale (decent but never great); a lousy Raspberry Saison that was just a salvage attempt of a beer where my mixed culture ran amok; and a deee-lish brown ale, all malty and quite the winter comfort beer. So, basically they're fifty-fifty, but I have lots more of the good stuff, which is some consolation.

Another emergency, getting-my-crap-together batch was a smoked porter that is fermenting and ought to be on draft in early March. I took a classic Smuttynose-inspired Porter recipe, tweaked to the available specialty malts and spiked it with a pound of peat-smoked malt. That should be good. Considering the lapse in productivity my bottled stocks are pretty decent; the alarming thing is that I only have one beer ready to bottle (actually way over-due to bottle), a saison brewed with the so-called Biere de Garde yeast. I think that that batch had a dumb name and so maybe I will rename it "Mike Carlin Carried the Carboy Down the Stairs Cuz My Knee was Fucked Up" Saison. MCCCDWCMKFU Saison?

Anyway, between the porter and the pale ale I brewed Saturday, the draft situation is temporarily stabilized, since I've got things lined up to replace the crummy, almost-gone draft beers. The pale ale is based on a long-ago recipe. I often get in an IPA rut, where even my non-IPA pales wind up being pretty hop and pretty pale. This one derives from the same period as the porter recipe I was tweaking, when I was in occasional correspondence with Dave Yarrington at Smuttynose who is a cool guy and cheerfully shares recipes. I was inspired to attempt a clone of their Shoals Pale Ale, an off-beat English/American pale-ale-meets-ESB formulation that has an unusual darker crystal component. This time I didn't have most of the right malts so I took the basic proportions as a guide and then cleaned out some stray malts I had nothing planned for. Thus I brewed what should be a beautifully balanced pale ale, NOT IPA, kissed with a melange of Belgian specialty stuff: A little aromatic, a little Caravienne, a little Biscuit, a little "B." We'll see how it goes.

Of course, now I had better order some shit from Northern Brewer and get cracking on my next generation of bottled beers. The list of styles I meant to attack a few months ago is daunting and will be the next subject for discussion...

(Hi to Mike and Chris)