Displaced Geek

Just a city geek and father coming to terms with being replanted in farm country

And Knowing is Half the Battle.

HEADS UP: Since it REALLY BUGGED Emma, I reordered the list to match the image.

[…]the initial setup is only like $50-$80. But of course, then you have to build a kegerator, and buy a $300 stockpot, and buy kegs, and have your drunk friends over to drink your beer.

Then you have to buy more expensive beer to compare your end product too, and take your wife to breweries and homebrew shops on every vacation.

Then you decide you want to mortage your house to start a microbrewery with some friends, the wife leaves you and takes half your brewing stuff, and you have to start over again.

Might be safer to stick with stamps or coins.

reddit user heavysteve, on the cost (real and imagined) of homebrewing

As I finished reading that comment, and laughing appropriately, I realized something. Up to this point, my beer preferences have been influenced almost 100% by others. For years when given the choice I’d choose “real booze” over beer, or perhaps wine, or even water. Not because I expressly disliked beer, but because buying various styles seemed an expensive way to discover my tastes, when I knew that I could avoid throwing away money on something I wouldn’t enjoy drinking, just by buying wine or whiskey.

Unfortunately that’s no longer an option. If we’re going to brew beer, I’m going to have to find a whole selection of beers that I enjoy, if only to give Emma some variety. Now here in the not quite as ridiculous as Utah state of Pennsylvania, our beer sales (among other things) are regulated by the PLCB an archaic institution existing solely to frustrate and annoy the citizens of the state in which it has its totalitarian grip.

If you don’t want to pay PA’s roughly 15%-30% higher than everyone else in driving distance 6pack prices – you can buy a case. The end, thank you for playing. Needless to say, when I discovered Wegman’s has a craft-your-own 6pack I gassed up the car almost immediately. (the nearest Wegmans is just shy of 30 miles away, back towards civilization)

For the six of you that haven’t put two and two together yet, I’m broadening/discovering my beer palate one custom craft beer 6pack at a time. Yesterday, Emma and I selected 6 brews specifically to determine our mutual palate, by being as distinctly different in style as possible.

We picked:

  • a tripel
  • a porter*
  • an American pale wheat ale
  • a hefeweizen
  • a black lager
  • an American brown ale*

*Full Disclosure: the brown ale and porter were flavored with maple syrup and coffee respectively

And here they are:

Our starting lineup.

Last night we tried the Maple Nut Brown by Tommyknocker Brewery. While we didn’t have it up last night, I’m going to be using the How To Taste Beer page over at beerappreciation.com from now on, because after skimming the net, I’ve decided I like theirs the best. I’ll also be assigning scores to the Maple Nut Brown retroactively, just for future comparison.

My first impression was that of flat rootbeer. There was no head to speak of, a massive amount of bubbles that clung to the sidewalls of the glass, only to pop without foam at the surface, and it made a high-carbonation “fizzing” sound. As for the diamond-qualities, the clarity could be quantified as “sparkling”, with little to no haze, and the color was a dark drown/black with a hint of purple.
Appearance (7/20)

Things didn’t exactly pick up with the smell, because there just wasn’t much there. Intensity was low, and the character could best be described as “sweet”. I guess it’s a positive note that it didn’t smell BAD?
Aroma (6/20)

Have you ever ordered a fountain soda, and they forgot to refill the syrup? That’s really the best way I can describe the taste. It was missing. I guess for the purposes of science, I’ll say the bitterness/sweetness balance was slightly off in favor of sweet, with a slightly malty character with a very low intensity level. As for mouthfeel, that’s the one place where this beer had an opinion of itself, it yelled I AM A CARBONATED BEVERAGE!!11 (read: high intensity carbonation) Even Emma commented on the fact that it had an exceptionally thin body, to the point of feeling watered down. The aftertaste was the first time it tasted like beer, and it was shortlived.
Taste (10/40)

The final two qualities measured are supposed to be ‘match to style’ and ‘pleasure you have derived’.
I honestly don’t think I can award more than two points in this category
Overall (2/20)

7+6+10+2 = 25/100

Okay, so even I realize this is a pretty harsh review. You know what? I’m not unreasonable – I’m perfectly willing to accept that the bottle we bought was somehow “corrupt”. I certainly can’t believe that all ales with the designation “Nut Brown” are that disappointing. If you happen to LOVE this brew and think I’m being ridiculous, send me a bottle – I’ll give it another shot. I’m just certainly never buying it again.

And then there were five.

Written by Peter

March 17, 2012 at 1614

Posted in Homebrewing

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Yo Bro, Stick with Iron City and you can not go wrong. That is if you really want to drink a beer.

    Guess Who


    March 18, 2012 at 1524

    • You must be a mindreader – that was our plan! We’re definitely going to develop an all grain clone recipe so we can make our own Iron City! It’s why we started homebrewing in the first place!


      March 18, 2012 at 2337

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