...The scene was set. It was over 2 months since I made it, personal tastings had been a roaring success and I too had the highest of hopes for people's enjoyment of my stout endeavors. But alas, the best laid schemes or mice and men go oft awry. I did tastings of the Cherry Stout along with the Sour IPA (batch #10) and that itself was something of a chaotic experience. Much like its predecessor, the IPA had clearly suffered from infection, though in place of excessive carbonation this one had soured like so many new age sours one might procure from several cutting edge micro/nano breweries these days. I personally am not a fan so this one has been hard to have tastings for. I seem to provide it from a position of apology, which sours (pun intended) the experience in some ways. Some loved it, some hated it and still others were indifferent and yet appreciative of the development and the sampling of new things.
And then the tasting of the stout.
I've been romanticizing this for some time it must be said. Meandering treatises on the pros and cons of aging and fanciful yarns of harsh winter nights being warmed by a feisty fruity stout holding the night at bay notwithstanding, it has been something of a disappointment.
The party in full swing, I announced the tasting of the stout and friends and family gathered around in eager anticipation of the fruit of my labor. The textbook bottle-opener hiss... and then more. Much more. A fully bonafide gusher. This wasn't meant to be. The stout was supposed to be different. It was the Scottish that was the aberration. But alas it seems it wasn't to be, the Scottish was a victim of the Stout's intransigence.
When cooled sufficiently they are palatable, pretty darn good to be honest, and some are more explosive than others. A perfect example of this was coming home from work last night to the smell of dried stale beer from an unknown location. After a bit of investigation it turned out it was coming from everything in the brewing closet!
|What goes up...
|...must come down.
|An oddly cool looking configuration.
For some reason the peripheral bottles were untouched
This was the real deal Holyfield ladies and gentlemen. None of this subtle cracking and leaking and sitting straight up belying its shattered nature. If not for the box it was in we would have been digging shards of glass out of pretty much every surface in the closet.
This experience leaves me feeling rather sanguine nonetheless. I kind of enjoy the clean up as it is a task a brewer would undertake and by doing it I feel like more of a brewer. We can chalk batch #8, #9, #10 up as mistakes (in part, it must be said, truly beautiful mistakes) but the scare of #9 gave birth to a much more thorough cleaning and sanitization routine. Batch #11 (Winter's Discontent Spiced Ale) is looking pretty clean and tasting good. It'll be going into the bottle sometime this week and the ginger is starting to ease off allowing for a more complex flavor profile.
Looking to the future, I think its time to dust off the old favorite, the genesis of endeavors. I think next on the docket is to be the good ol' Pistachio Porter. And lets not forget that just on the horizon is an all grain paradise...
|The Bayou Classics are in and testing well!