Wednesday, May 20

Homebrew X: Belgian Stout

At long last, another post: This spring I brewed Northern Brewer's limited edition Mustache Envy Belgian Stout, concocted for Men's Health Month (Mo-vember). I brewed the week before hernia surgery, so the wort spent a little extra time in the primary fermenter and a lot of extra time in the secondary. About halfway through the time in the secondary, I realized I had forgotten the oak cube, so I threw them in and gave it a little more.

This past Sunday I transferred it to the keg. I had planned to bottle this batch and keg a summery brew, but since I'm hosting a brew session this weekend and wanted something to sample, I changed my mind. Worse comes to worse, I'll use the homemade counter-pressure bottle filler Dad and I built to bottle off the keg.

After three days in the keg I dropped the pressure and pulled the pint pictured here. It pours a murky chocolate brown, with about a half inch of creamy head. The aroma is dark malt and oak. The taste is dark fruits, oak, Guinness and sweet red wine -- balanced, but with little discernible hop aroma or flavor. It is murky brown from top to bottom, like the Tahquamenon when it's running high with spring runoff, and it strikes me that it will get better with age. That's a happy thought, since it's pretty solid to start with!

If you're reading this and in the greater St. Michael-Albertville area, a couple of us will be brewing on Sunday from noon to 4 or so at the Thorp garage. Next up for me is Northern's California Common kit -- a hybrid brew (a lager brewed at ale temps) based on the authentic American beer style known as steam. (Anchor Steam is a long time favorite of mine, though whether it taste anything like historic steam beer I do not know.) Feel free to stop by and sample some Mustache Envy -- and if you'd like to brew, you're welcome to do so. Cheers!

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