19 Feb 2010 @ 4:00 PM 

Tonight! Tonight’s the night!

Back in December, I hooked up with five other beer bloggers to have a brew off. The idea? Everybody makes the same recipe, but we each get to change one thing.

We made a stout, and sent it out, and all that’s left to do is drink. We’ll be having a 5-way conference call this evening over the internets, which will be recorded and shared as a podcast for anyone who’s interested in listening in later. At the same time, keep an eye on this post – any tweets made with the hashtag #brewoff will show up here. Stay tuned to find out if my beer got everywhere and still retained carbonation! [ducks]

Finally, watch this space for a bit of live-blogging as we go.

7:56 PM: Just blew my eardrums out testing my headset with Skype. Now, for the entire call I’m going to be saying, “WHAT? WHAT?!”

8:18 PM: Just set up a video chat room at http://tinychat.com/brewoff. Not sure how many of the bloggers will join me on it, but it’s there. If you’re not one of us 5, I’ll restrict you from broadcasting your own audio/video in the room, but you can watch and type.

8:45 PM: Possible monkey wrench. Just got a DM from @HopfenTreader: “I don’t have your beer yet ???” Uh-oh.

8:59 PM: Just connected via Skype to le conference call of champions. Being recorded; using my podcasting voice.

9:06 PM: And we’re rolling!

9:09 PM: Here’s the tally of what was added/changed to the beers.

Joseph: Toasted Oats in place of Flaked Wheat
Aaron: Lactose (1/2 lb added, last 5 mins of boil)
Derek: Molasses (~12oz added, last 5 mins of boil)
Erik: Abbey Ale Yeast in place of Wyeast 1056
Nate: Maple Syrup (~16oz added, last 5 mins of boil)
Peter: Bourbon Barrel (half of the batch aged in an oak barrel that had been soaked with whiskey, then half batch blended back into whole batch)

9:18 PM: Just tried Jospeh’s – probably closest to the base style out of all of us. Nice sweet slightly roasty flavors. Really, nice and drinkable. Going to be hard to comment on differences until we get into some of the others.

9:22 PM: Aaron’s beer is a lactose beer. I am lactose intolerant. I’m not drinking much of this so that I can.. y’know.. digest it. It is absolutely amazing how much different this is from the beer prior to this. Good. Maybe a little sour. I’m not a huge man of milk stouts in general, so I’m not going to comment on quality, but I can comment on the fact that it’s a BIG ol’ lactose beer.

9:29 PM: Just popped mine open. Low carbonation, which is a shame. I was running out of CO2 when I put everything together. Good, just low carbonated. The abbey ale yeast makes an incredible difference in the flavor. It’s a VERY different beer from Joseph’s. Peppery notes abound, not as many of the esters as I would have expected. I wonder how much is getting lost on the roast.

9:37 PM: Nate’s maple syrup beer. You can really smell it on the nose – doesn’t really come through as much on the flavor. Solid beer. The base style is there, and picks up a lot of nice fruit flavors, some from the yeast that Nate ended up using, but I imagine you’re picking up some fruitiness from the maple syrup post-fermentation.

9:44 PM: Derek’s molasses stout – big.. just.. huge wonderful sweet nose. Nice caramelly flavor on the beer. The molasses really comes through. Just a fantastic beer, and really well-balanced.

9:49 PM: Peter’s Bourbon Barrel Stout – wow – just a ton of oak. Peter put half the batch in an oak barrel with bourbon in there. The oak is really prominent to me – bourbon notes are very subtle. Over all, great beer, would probably be brilliant with aging.

9:55 PM: We just decided on Derek’s molasses stout as the “brew-off winner” – fantastic beer. 12oz of molasses, said he, at the end of the boil. Do it. Great freakin’ beer.

11:15 PM: I just made it back around to Joseph’s Toasted Oats stout. I don’t if it’s the fact that it’s warmed a little or that my palate has gone out the other side of “shot” and back again, but it’s a totally different beer this time around, and with the experience of having drunk all of these other beers all night, I have to say that I quite like it. I think now that it’s warming I’m picking up a little more diacetyl from the oats. There’s a nice butterscotchy undertone that’s really pleasant in the same way that the caramelly sweetness of the molasses beer was. I’ll make a recommendation for the toasted oats as well. Nice addition well done.

As a wrap-up, I’ll be serving my version at tomorrow’s homebrew fest and picking up people’s opinion’s there.

Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 19 Feb 2010 @ 11:25 PM

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