Strange-steve's Homebrew Reviews

Discussion in 'General Beer Discussion' started by strange-steve, Dec 28, 2016.

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  1. Oct 27, 2018 #201

    strange-steve

    strange-steve

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    Today's beer is from @JFB and it's called Snow Red, a Flanders red ale. This happens to be one of my favourite styles of beer so I have high hopes for this one. No pressure then :D

    Aroma
    Beautiful complex aromas of cranberries, almonds, balsamic vinegar, and a subtle brett funk.

    Appearance
    A hazy orange red colour with a thin white head. Very good lacing.

    Flavour
    A sharp but very smooth acidity, with flavours of berries and strawberry in vinegar, hints of orange zest and overripe fruit with a dry, leathery brett finish. A soft, wheaty malt flavour. A deliciously mouth-watering sweet and sour quality.

    Overall Impression
    Unfair as it might be for the brewer, I couldn't help but compare this beer to Rodenbach Grand Cru which for me is the quintessential Flanders red. This is perhaps a little softer, more easy-drinking, maybe more like the standard Rodenbach, but to be honest this is almost as good. There is a very slight hint of an off-flavour right at the end of the finish which might be a little oxidation creeping in due to the age of this, but it is very minor and I'm being really picky there because otherwise this is pretty damn flawless.

    You've managed to get the balance between sharp but clean acidity, complex fruitiness and just enough acetic acid to add complexity without being unpleasant. I haven't tasted many homebrewed sour beers, but this is almost certainly the best, and it beats my own efforts hands down. And this is honestly even better than some commercial examples of the style.

    This is an outstanding brew and huge respect for not only attempting but nailing perhaps one of the most difficult styles. I really appreciate the opportunity to taste this and when I have something worthy of sending in return I will, but don't hold your breath :hat:

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Oct 27, 2018 #202

    JFB

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    Thanks for the review Steve, this was the Greg Hughes recipe with white labs yeast. I just pitched the yeast and sat on my hands. The only problem I had was the oak chips I used. They gave the beer a cheap Chardonnay taste that has only just rounded off and come good.
    I visited Roselare this summer on the way back from a mountain bike race in the Alpes. The place really deepened my love of slow soured beers. And gave me a hint that my version was a good attempt.
    I've a American styled Lambic that should be ready in the new year and a oud brown(stylish) for the summer. Then the next project is another Flanders red with rum barrel chunks that I bought from the malt miler. Luckily my other half is very understanding and lets me keep various carboys around the housewink...
     
  3. Oct 28, 2018 #203

    strange-steve

    strange-steve

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    It was perhaps the oak that I was tasting that I thought was a hint of oxidation, but it was very subtle and didn't really detract from the beer.
    Did you ferment this in a glass carboy? Just wondering because I've found that all 3 of my lambics have had far too much acetic acid which I know is a risk when fermenting in plastic FVs (which I did). Yours had a perfect balance though.
     
  4. Oct 28, 2018 #204

    Zephyr259

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    How long did you have them in plastic FVs Steve? I'm going to be brewing some sours soon and I was going to start in plastic then rack to a glass carboy for extended ageing. I guess traditionally lambic isn't racked at all is it.
     
  5. Oct 28, 2018 #205

    strange-steve

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    Traditionally no, the wort is put straight from the coolship into oak barrels and left for a year or so. Oak has some oxygen permeability which is fine, it keeps the bacteria and wild yeast active, but plastic FVs allow too much oxygen through which encourages acetobacter growth. I had mine in the FVs for around 12 months. I think I'm going to get a glass carboy before my next batch.
     
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  6. Oct 29, 2018 #206

    dad_of_jon

    dad_of_jon

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    happy to send u a 'face off' steve - brewed using the dregs of a bottle of boon & asda greek yogurt lacto. sours aren't sessionable imo.... so by that token I have a few years of supplies. Enjoying a sour green apple experience as I type. I've sent a couple off to forumites, so perhaps they can pm you to let you know if it's worth giving it a try! wink...
     
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  7. Oct 29, 2018 #207

    strange-steve

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    I'll never say no to a swap, especially to something like that :hat:
    I have a Belgian blonde ale or an export stout if either of those interest you?
     
  8. Oct 29, 2018 #208

    JFB

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    My Flanders red was brewed in a glass carboy, the rubber bung was taken out a few times for testing as I cant just look at the thing for 12 months!
    My next sour that i'm going to bottle after Christmas was brewed in plastic. The type you get from wilko with the screw on lid. (I believe Michael Tonsmeire the mad fermentationist use's similar). I know from sampling it it's very sour. I used less hops than in the flanders so I guess that was the plan.
    Then I've the sour brown in glass that should be ready by summer. There's so many variables and I'm not clever enough to work out why things happen. So i'll just keep brewing enjoy what comes along. So far out of my sour/brett beers ive only one that is questionable about drinking..
     
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  9. Oct 30, 2018 #209

    dad_of_jon

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    Hi Steve, Either would be fine, the stronger the better athumb..

    I'll get one on its way to you before Friday.
     
  10. Oct 30, 2018 #210

    strange-steve

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    Cool, I'll wait for yours to arrive and send something back in the same packaging then :thumbsup:
     
  11. Oct 30, 2018 #211

    BeerCat

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    I can vouch for that. A most unusual beer and by far the sourest sour i have tried so far. Thanks again DOJ.
     
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  12. Nov 4, 2018 #212

    strange-steve

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    Tonight I'm drinking a beer from @divrack, which was described simply as a Funky Brett Lambic-ish Brown Thing which sounds pretty damn good to me.

    Aroma
    Exactly as the name suggested, very funky brett aromas, fruity, dry and leathery. Smells very nice indeed.

    Appearance
    A very pretty deep red colour, brilliantly clear with a nice white head. Looks great.

    Flavour
    Not as brett forward as expected from the aroma, the brett flavours are surprisingly subtle, or at least very well balanced, only fully presenting themselves in the finish. There is a gentle tartness initially with plenty of fruity esters of plums and raisins, which mellows into interesting toasty and bready malt flavours. Some clean bitterness in the finish along with the dryness of the brett. A lot going on here.

    Overall Impression
    This is an unusual and interesting beer. If I were to try to classify this I suppose it would be an oud bruin, though I don't know if that's what you were going for? There's perhaps more bitterness than is usual for a beer of this type which adds a bit of an edge to it, but it's not overdone too much and doesn't really detract from the drinkability. There are a lot of components to this but I think everything works really well and the balance of flavours is very well judged. The sourness is subtle but adds an interesting texture, the malt flavours come through nicely and the brett makes for a deliciously complex beer. I think this is another absolute belter of a brew, and I could happily spend an evening with a few of these. I really appreciate you sending such a special beer, I'm sorry you had to make do with one of my past-its-best eisbocks :oops:

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Nov 9, 2018 #213

    strange-steve

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    Received this the other day and the inclusion of the Boon geuze was incredibly generous of you mate :hat:
    I wish I had something special to send back to you, but in the meantime I've wrapped up a foreign stout and an Oktoberfest for you and when my spiced quad has matured a little there'll definitely be one with your name on it. Thanks again mate.
     
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  14. Nov 9, 2018 #214

    dad_of_jon

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    No worries steve, you did mention you'd not tried the boon oude gueze. Thought it would be a nice surprise. Plus you can harvest the stuff at the bottom of the bottle for ur project.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  15. Dec 7, 2018 #215

    strange-steve

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    This evening I'm drinking the second of the two beers that @rats_eyes sent me, and after the delicious Pannepot clone I'm looking forward to this. It's a 2 year old lambic in a rather beautiful corked bottle...

    Aroma
    Very prominent "barnyard" aroma from the brett, with fruity white wine notes.

    Appearance
    A beautiful straw colour with a thin white head which stuck around vey well with nice lacing.

    Flavour
    Extremely sour initially but softens to a lovely bready, wheaty graininess. There's an interesting sweet and sour character to this with a lingering and complex bretty finish.

    Overall Impression
    The first sip of this is a bit of a shock to the taste buds, but afterwards it became really rather pleasant. The acidity isn't quite as smooth as some geuze I've had, there's perhaps a little hint of acetic acid there, but not enough to make it unpleasant. It actually adds a refreshing, mouthwatering quality to it. From the aroma I was expecting this to be really brett forward and bone dry, but it's quite unusual in that while it is dry, there's also a little bit of sweetness to it which I reckon compliments the sourness very nicely. The lively carbonation lifts and lightens the body making this very drinkable indeed. I think this is a lovely beer and I am very grateful for the opportunity to try this :hat:

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Dec 21, 2018 #216

    strange-steve

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    This evening I'm drinking a rather interesting brew from @dad_of_jon called Face Off, a beer soured with Boon cultures...

    Aroma
    Really fruity, hints of citrus, apple, strawberry and interestingly rhubarb, with a touch of alcohol at the end. Surprisingly no obvious brett aroma.

    Appearance
    Was quite lively which stirred up the sediment, so a rather cloudy, golden colour with a nice white head and good retention.

    Flavour
    Very sour which blends well with the fruitiness to give an impression of grapefruit and oranges. A dry finish which hints at brett flavours but very subtle. A little spicy alcohol comes through in the finish, but not harsh.

    Overall Impression
    This is rather aptly named "face off", it's probably the sourest beer I've ever tasted! It's a bit of a shock to the taste buds initially, but after a few sips it becomes very drinkable. Although being very sour, the acid is smooth without any harshness or noticeable acetic flavour. This is an interesting one, because the lack of brett flavours make this drink more like a Berliner weisse (although a very strong one, though I'd expect nothing else from Dad of Jon) than a lambic, though maybe the brett from the Boon dregs will become more prominent with extended aging. Thanks for sending this, it was different and interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Look forward to the next swap :hat:

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Dec 22, 2018 #217

    BeerCat

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    I was lucky enough to try one of these. Going to try and make a starter from the dregs. I was not prepared for the acidity at first but i really enjoyed it. I should of known from the label.
     
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  18. Dec 27, 2018 #218

    dad_of_jon

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    Thanks for the detailed review Steve.... athumb.. After the first sip I knew what to call it! - you describe beer far better that I ever can. I had green apples with my first face off hence the green face. Hope your face has since returned to normal. o_O Again steve, I think you are spot on with the brett coming through later if aged. Maybe that's why Boon blend 1-2-&3 yr old together. Hope you enjoy the real Boon from where this came.
     
  19. Dec 27, 2018 #219

    rats_eyes

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    Thanks for your detailed feedback Steve, you're a gent. I'm also glad you enjoyed the beer!
     
  20. Dec 31, 2018 #220

    strange-steve

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    Being the end if the year and all, I had a look back over my notes from the 21 beers I was very kindly sent this year. I have to say the quality of the beers was outstanding overall, but I've chosen my highlight of the year, but first a few honourable mentions:

    We got off to a cracking start with @stigman's NEIPA which is probably the most intensely hoppy homebrewed beer I've ever tasted, it was wonderful.

    Next up was a blackberry brett beer from @JFB which was complex, elegant and delicious.

    Then @clarkeuk sent a chocolate coconut stout. This was an extremely well made beer, perfectly balanced and the fact that I love coconut meant this was right up my street.

    @divrack then sent me a funky oud bruin typ thing which was really delicious. A very complex, interesting beer with a lot going on in every mouthful. I was really torn between this and the beer which got top spot, it was extremely close.

    So those are the honourable mentions, and now my top beer of 2018 was...

    Snow Red by @JFB. This Flanders red ale was truly outstanding. It was a pretty much flawless example of the style, better than some commercial ones I've tried and it's a beer I would gladly have paid for. Excellent work and something I'm going to attempt to copy someday clapa

    As a small thank you I have 225g Citra hop pellets with your name on them courtesy of CML. Are you still at the same address, Upper Bucklebury?
     
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