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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Ommegang Gnomegang. The name pretty much had to have come up with itself. Courtesy of a kind soul at the brewery, a bottle found its way to me: Thanks Scott! This is a collaborative beer between Ommegang and, naturally, La Chouffe. I might've imagined that they'd go after the IPA Tripel style, with that particular collaboration, but the label calls it a blond ale. It's a big one, at 9.5%. Apparently it's made with both house yeasts. I'd love to think that I have the palate to determine how they interact or cooperate, but I'm thinking that's a stretch. Here's what I get: Pretty golden color. Full head, but not quite as voluminous as some of their others; I think the carbonation is a trifle subtler, which happens to go with the fuller palate, which we'll get to. The key note in the aroma is something I never find quite the right descriptor for. Several stronger, pale Belgians have a version of it, the quintessential example for me being Piraat. It's a rich, alcoholically hot, creamy, whiskey-ish aroma. It normally signals a big, voluptuous sort of beer, like Piraat, and this follows through in that vein. There's some spiciness going on too, aromatically and on the palate. Like I said, the carbonation seems just a bit softer, perhaps less than Hennepin? That goes nicely with the rich, velvety body here. Sometimes when people say a beer is "hot" they don't mean it as a good thing, but I do here. Belgians over 9% almost always have a pleasant little mini-burn to them and this is no exception. The palate comes across as mildly sweet, though not cloying. I know enough about beer to know that it might be bone dry statistically. You can never tell with Belgian yeasts. But it feels full on the palate--rich, creamy, and so on, but also balanced by a subtle, earthy hoppiness, and some brighter, fruitier acids. I think this is a pretty delicious beer... Tomorrow, assuming I can get out of school at an approrpriate hour, it's Pilsner-brewin' time. All Hallertau. Wyeast Bo-Pils. Simple grist. Bring it on.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Drastically less grumpy

Worked a hard, focused half day. Came home, kegged Petit Houblon Edition Trois, a.k.a. (Belgian) Plague Pale. Tasted good. Dry hopped with Sterling. Stashed three corked botttles out of what wouldn't fit in the keg. Confirming a previous good ferment and having a happy looking yeast cake (Leuven), I threw together a Belgian Amber Ale, loosely inspired by one I made some years ago. Loosely inspired by M.C. I went for a brisk (in temperature not pace) run to the Utica Zoo and back. Beer is now aerated and getting ready to do its thing. Drinking, courtesy of Katrina and Kier, a Russian River Consecration. Thanks guys! A hauntingly beautiful beer by the way.

Next up, a pizza inspired by Russian River's sometimes wacky line-up. Maybe Pesto-Artichoke-Bacon for starters.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Grumpy as hell

Just me venting. I don't like brewing. It's not fun anymore.

Just kegged a beer and bottled a beer. They both look good and are interesting high gravity experiments: a 1080 oaky-bretty saison and a 1090 faux scotch whiskey barrel DIPA. They'll certainly pack a punch...

But it's not fun. Packaging two beers equals a whole fucking afternoon down the drain. Why the hell do I do this shit? My beer is good, but seriously, I'm not sure it's worth it. Grumble, grumble, grumble, fucking goddamn grumble.

I have four more interesting beers in carboys (Steam, Belgian pale, Old British Bitter, and a Roeslare) and I anticipate procrastinating packaging them as long as possible. as it my m.o. these days. Filling those carboys again will be slightly less annoying, since I dislike the brew day a lot less, but it's not fun either. Just another household chore.

There, I said it. When this fridge dies I may shrink the kegerator. This is bullshit.

Thanks for listening to me bitch. anyone who reads this... I'm going to go stomp around and mop the motherfucking kitchen.