Monday, December 24, 2012

Cycle Brewing's End of the World Barrel Aged Beer Party

Cycle Brewing's Rare D.O.S.
by douglas reeser on December 24, 2012
Back from Belize
and missing the stout,
December 21st
is taking us out.
What better way
than to enjoy the day
with a barrel-aged brew
from the Cycle Brewing Crew!

A year and a half working on research in Belize has left me pretty broke, so I haven't been able to truly enjoy the crazy variety of beers available here in the Tampa Bay area. I've had a few good ones to be sure (like Cigar City's Moat Water), but drinking craft beer on a budget has meant lots of Sierra Nevada beers. I've been trying to keep my eyes open for can't miss events since I've been back, and have really only missed out on a few at Cigar City. One I circled on the calendar though, was the Rare DOS event scheduled for the End of the World. I decided I couldn't miss it.

The Rare D.O.S. beers are building a small legend around themselves, and for good reason it would appear. It has a score of 100 on both Rate Beer and Beer Advocate. Impressive. And with the recent announcement that the brew works will be expanding from the small bungalow restaurant, Peg's Cantina, to a new brewery location under the name of Cycle Brewing, this would probably be the last chance to get this beer in such a small-event atmosphere. It's a drive, and I was alone, so I didn't get to try everything, but here's what made it into my belly:

The 12-21-12 Beer Menu
Rare D.O.S. ~ a deep, dark, and thick stout, reminiscent of some of the best big stouts I've had from Cigar City. Bourbon was very present in the aroma and the taste, along with some chocolate, and even a hint of anise. Sweet, but not sugary. The perfect belly-warming way to start off a beer event. This beer is outstanding and delicious!

Waste Not Want Not Sour Brown Ale ~ I love me a sour, and I couldn't wait to try this one. Doug, the head brewer, has brewed an excellent Berliner Weiss in the past, so I had some expectations with this one. To my surprise, this was a real sour, and a really good one. A nice puckering brown, low carbonation, but very nice and drinkable. A surprisingly good sour.

Sun Exploder Tart Cherry ~ I tried this one next since I was already on the sour-kick. I was expecting a light fruity beer, but it came at me dark as night. It turned out to be a sour cherry stout! Thick and chocolatey at the beginning, but as I drank it down, the cherry really started to pop. By the end it was something like a sour cherry dipped in chocolate. Yummy.

The RareR DOS growler.
Funky D.O.S. ~ I couldn't pass up one last D.O.S. (Doug's Original Stout), and this one had my attention all evening. I wasn't disappointed. The funk really stood out, and I was wondering if I was getting lactose in there - lactose soured? The Funky was another big beer, but the light souring made it a very easy drinker. Another excellent beer.

Sadly, I only had these four beers. As you can see from the menu, prices were pretty steep, and these were all big beers at somewhere between 8-11%. I also wanted to pick up a growler of a Rare(r) D.O.S., a special, older version of the Rare D.O.S. that I had on draft. The keg of Rare(r)was kicked before I got there, so my only choice was to bring one home. At $20 for a 500ml bottle though, I wasn't able to get as many as I wanted. Since the world didn't end, I'll be able to drink that one on Christmas.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


A few of us meet up a every week or every other week at Appalachian Brewing Co. in Collegeville, PA. Appalachian is one of those brewpubs that has 15 on tap, 8 are various lagers, an IPA, a stout, and a few others that never change. Even a Barleywine is always on. This isn't a complaint and the IPA never sits too long and is pretty fresh, always. They don't brew on this Appalachian and it is the furthest away from their other pubs in the Gettysburg area. What am I getting at? Get to the point. A few months ago I was pleasantly surprised to see a trio of of different adjunct IPAs on. I saw Three Grain IPA and was happy enough, but I was then served three 10oz tulips of a Rye IPA, Wheat IPA, and an Oat IPA. The Oat stole the show. Granted all three were 7.5% ABV and the Oat was the last one that I finished. I did sip on each throughout though.

So I set out to brew an Oat IPA. I wanted a very hop forward, and slightly grainy brew. I kept the grain bill as simple as possible. 2 Row, Crystal 40, Carapils, and Oats. I went with Golden Naked Oats. They were nice and biscuity, similar to a Vienna Malt. On the hop side I thought long and hard about  it. I bittered with a bit of Nugget, but with 15 mins to go I used generous amounts of Columbus, Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra. It was dry hopped with Amarillo, and, for a first time, keg hopped with Citra.

I was spot on with OG (1.066) and slightly shocked that it dropped to (1.008). Dryness is what I was going for. I mashed at 149 and boiled for 75 mins. I've been boiling for 75 mins lately so that 90 min boils don't seem as long and to drive off DMS. I've never had a problem with DMS, but I might as well stop thinking about it.

It is currently carbonating now. I did lose a bit with dry hopping and I am sure that the Citra are soaking it up nicely in the keg. The picture above is 5 days in the keg. It is super cloudy, but I have stopped using Irish Moss. I expect it to clear up a bit though. And this is the first full glass poured. A full review will come soon.

Wild Oats by Philip Larkin
About twenty years ago
Two girls came in where I worked -
A bosomy English rose
And her friend in specs I could talk to.
Faces in those days sparked
The whole shooting-match off, and I doubt
If ever one had like hers:
But it was the friend I took out,

And in seven years after that
Wrote over four hundred letters,
Gave a ten-guinea ring
I got back in the end, and met
At numerous cathedral cities
Unknown to the clergy. I believe
I met beautiful twice. She was trying
Both times (so I thought) not to laugh.

Parting, after about five
Rehearsals, was an agreement
That I was too selfish, withdrawn
And easily bored to love.
Well, useful to get that learnt,
In my wallet are still two snaps,
Of bosomy rose with fur gloves on.
Unlucky charms, perhaps.

Great Western 2 Row, Crystal 40L, Carapils, Golden Naked Oats
Nugget, Columbus, Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra (dry hopped with Amarillo, keg hopped with Citra)
WLP Cali Ale (1L starter on plate)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sour Raspberry: Tasting

I brewed this beer in the spring. It was a first in playing with both fruit and brett. My family picked an abundance of raspberries and I was looking to get my hands on a few pounds of them. I got seven of those pounds. I've learned more about brett since brewing this. I still have only used it in the secondary either pitching directly from vile or smack or growing up from bottle dreggs. I only left this one on the brett for 6 months and I am sure that patience would have made some real difference.

It is a nice ruby red color. The brett cleaned up the haze from the raspberry and continued to drop the gravity. The head lasts and is a brilliant bright white.

The aroma on this is straight up funk and fruit. If you don't even sort-of like raspberries then you would hate it. Again, not knowing too much about brett at the time I probably would have either pitched a cleaner yeast in the primary and a lacto and pedio along with the brett in the secondary. I could have held back a bit on the  amount of raspberries also.

I carbonated the hell out of it. The mouthfeel is quite bubbly, tart and desert-like. The alcohol stays hidden until half way through the glass. I sip pretty slowly, but often, trying to pick up the nuances. This was set out to be a giant Belgian Fruit Beer, but I thought that it was a bit overwhelming and wanted the berries more musty and earthy. The brett if anything was an experiment to make something that I would maybe like out of something that I knew that I wouldn't. If I say Sour Raspberry some think Lambic. It lacks complexity, is a bit young and at this point, it is what it is....a nice jolt of funk.