This Week in Beer
I'm back after a slightly short week to get 100% back on track. It's been a quiet week for me as far as beer goes, and what was supposed to be my one day of adventure ended up a big disappointment. I was all set to drive out to Ithaca Saturday morning with my cousin for the Lebleu release. It's a blueberry sour ale, and a beer that holds some sentimental value for me as it was both the first beer I ever reviewed, and the beer I drank during my first homebrew brew day. Previous releases lasted for days and days, so we felt fine leaving on a pace to put us at the brewery right when they opened. A nearly four hour drive later we discovered that the combination of a smaller batch than usual, the growth of craft beer, and the better than normal weather for the release (usually this beer comes out in December) meant that we were going to get shut out. Furthermore, the fact that we waited for almost two hours on line before we received this news meant that there wouldn't be time for a stop at the Peekskill Brewery on the way home. It was a bit of a letdown, and while I was a bit disappointed in some aspects of how Ithaca ran the event, I won't go on a rant about that (though it may lead to a Very Special Episode of Bill's Brew Thoughts on allocations of limited release beers). We made the best of the day though with a stop at a local bottle shop on the way home and some good beers over dinner at the Cloverleaf Tavern. The good news is there's plenty of good beer lined up for this week, none of which is in danger of running out before it's my turn. I also did finally get a chance to bottle the Galaxy-hopped tripel I brewed earlier this year, and I look forward to trying the first bottle in the next couple days.
This week is the first week Cellar Monday is taking on a homebrew flavor. Specifically, I opened a bottle of imperial stout that was brewed/bottled in the fall/winter of 2010. The main flaw of this beer is still present, as a mishap with an online calculator led to me overcarbonating the beer by a fair amount. A few minutes in the glass and some swirling at least tempered the harshly bubbly mouthfeel though. Looking beyond that though, the malt profile is shining through a bit more than it did when the beer was more fresh. There's lots of milk chocolate and anise (though a bit more of the former and a bit less of the latter would be nice). The oxidation induced sherry notes that come in on the back end of each sip are fairly mild. I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised that one of my early beers, an extract brew, is holding up OK almost a year and a half later, and I'm looking forward to tackling the style again with a little more experience and having moved on to all grain brewing.