Gorgeous Gargantuan Grapefruit: @BPbrewing – Grapefruit Sculpin IPA

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I know this might be a rather strong way to start a review, but:

GOD ALMIGHTY, THIS IS ONE HELL OF A BEER.

I know I’ve gone off of the deep end about certain beers before, but honest to goodness this is a truly great beer, and in this review I’m hoping to somehow, in however small-a-way, impress the greatness of it upon you…

In fact Ballast Point have made such a good job of brewing this, you needn’t bother reading the rest of my review; the time being far better spent trying to secure yourself a bottle or two…

So how did I come by this gem of a beer..?

A work trip to the AWS re:Invent conference just before Christmas meant that I found myself on a warmish Sunday afternoon shambling down the Las Vegas strip with my boss, you know, just taking in the sights after an hour or so of blazing away with large calibre machine guns and pistols (Battle Field Vegas. Go. Don’t ask. Just go.)

With the smell of cordite fresh in our nostrils we needed beer.

The liquor store beckoned (my boss always advises having a stock of beers in a hotel room…whether that’s for refreshment or just to stop his employees making too free with the company credit cards I’m not sure.  Either way it’s advice I never fail to heed)

Once inside the liquor store, I was staggered by the selection on offer.  So many beers, so many pretty bottles.  In the end, and having heard so much good stuff about it, I just had to have the Sculpin…this decision being helped in no small part by my boss sighing and leaning heavily on the counter while I ummed and ahhed.

Poured into a glass the upfront aroma is all fresh and zingy grapefruit rinds. There’s a lovely candyish marmalade note too. After that it’s hops, hops, hops! If I couldn’t have a bottle of Sculpin to drink, I’d happily settle for a whiff of the GLORIOUS aromatics instead.

Colour-wise, it’s old polished copper, with a perfect carbonation and a lovely frothy-foamy snow-white head.

When tasted, it’s full in body at 7 or so percent – which in my opinion is the sweet spot for this time of IPA.

Even at 7% ABV, Sculpin is as clean as a whistle…which is a good job because there’s an absolute ton of other flavour to come: a huge rush of zesty, pithy grapefruit and floral hops, LOVELY orangey maltiness , before the dank hops and laser-targeted 70IBU bitterness come to finish the whole thing off.

But wait! There’s a little grapefruit twang right at the end that makes your mouth run like a tap – which means you just can’t stop drinking.

I drank two bottles straight down – it really was that good.

But remember, you have to have this beer coolish – at least cellar temperature – there’s no point having it warm…it’s just not the same.

This is a GLORIOUS beer. You JUST have to try it. I doubt I’ll find equal or better for a very long while.

LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT.

Webpage here: http://www.ballastpoint.com/beer/grapefruit-sculpin/

(I will make a clone tribute to this remarkable beer, just you wait…)

No-name HefeWeizen III – Tasting Notes

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Here’s a review of another Hefeweizen, brewed as part of my eternal quest to brew the perfect representation.

You might remember the brewday from here:

https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/11/05/no-name-hefeweizen-iii/

Well, I’ve been drinking this steadily since a bit before Christmas and can’t make my mind up whether it’s smack on the money or whether I’m just a hopelessly picky bugger.

(My money is on the latter)

So, looks-wise: it’s not as luminous as I’d like it to be. Maybe luminous is a bad word. Hold on, *consults thesaurus* It’s not as effulgent as I’d like. I’m not sure whether that helps or not?

Let’s just say it’s not as prettily glowy, when back­lit, as I’d like it to be…

The colour isn’t as glowily orange as I’d like it to be, either. It’s nice enough ­ but I’d like it to be more pretty.

The head, however, is much better than the last effort, but still doesn’t hang around like it should. Mind you, it’s meringue-­white, so that’s something to be happy with.

In the nose I got a sweetly ­clean malt-breadiness with some spicy clove and banana notes. It’s not at all “banana bomb” like the last one…but it’s certainly fruit forward and I like that in a Weizen.

The carbonation is much better this time around and it stays sparkly-­prickly right to the end of the glass.

As with all my wheats so far; it’s mouth-­filling, immensely drinkable with enjoyable spice and clove/banana flavours.

This particular beer feels way more complex and in balance than the other Hefeweizens that I’ve made…there’s even some excellent creaminess that floods in at the end…

BUT! There’s a faintly annoying bitterness that creeps in at the end of the creaminess and ever so slightly mars the whole thing.

My trusty tasting panel are split 50/50: some love it because they usually drink bitters, so a twang on the end is what they want to keep the consumption going. The other half think any bitterness in a Hefeweizen is out of place and slightly jarring.

I quite like it, but in my heart of hearts I know that it’s not to style and not what I intended…and that annoys the piss out of me.  15 IBUs of bitterness does seem a touch too much…

Next time it’ll be the same recipe with 11 IBUs of bittering hops…and maybe swap some pils malt out to make it into a dunkleweizen.

Maybe the next one will get a name.?

The BEST Beer Kit: @coopersbrewery – Thomas Coopers Wheat Beer

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Seasons greetings, Happy New Year and assorted other sundry greetings to you…

If you hadn’t noticed I took Christmas off, you know: family stuff, crap weather and a general lack of motivation kept me away from the keyboard.

But I’m back now and I’ve got a nicely effusive start to the new year in the form of a review of the Coopers Wheat Beer kit.

Now, this is a canned kit and costs about twelve quid so I wasn’t expecting much…but you can be surprised sometimes…

(I’m not going to bore you with the details of how to make a canned kit (you can see my review of the Woodfordes Wherry kit for that: https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/01/19/on­test­woodfordesale-wherry­beer­kit­with­a­twist­or­two/ for a simple procedure)

Being a good boy and not wanting to piss off Father Christmas too much (NEVER “Santa”, I’m English for Chrissakes) I followed the kit instructions to the letter – ­including adding the 500g of DME and 1Kg of white sugar…in fact, I followed them diligently, right up until the bit where it said “sprinkle in the included yeast”.  At that point I dumped in a great load of WLP300 slurry from my just­-bottled all-grain Hefeweizen, straight out of the just emptied fermenter.

How d’ye like that Father Christmas? Huh?

Four hours after pitching and the WLP300 had erupted everywhere to spread it’s festive payload of merry sludge onto to the carpets and internal decor of the house. But it smelt good, damn good, just­ like warm freshly baked bread.

God I love WLP300, it’s just so crackers.

Two weeks later I transferred the lot to a Cornelius keg, not bottles. (Yeah, what’s that you say Father Christmas?  You should always bottle a wheat beer?  Yeah?  Deal with it, man…)

Two hours after kegging I was drinking and enjoying a criminally under­carbonated, but fresh and tasty, Coopers wheat beer.

After another week or so – and despite my best efforts – the beer had dropped crystal clear, I tried agitating the keg a bit to get the yeast back up in suspension, but didn’t have any joy.

But, as a clear wheat beer, it was really great, like a Kristallweizen with it’s pretty straw-yellow colour. As a bonus the head hung about for a bit too.

I will say that it took a bit of farting about to get the carbonation right in the corny keg, but that’s only because I have no kegerator and have to rely on the ambient temperature…but as the carbonation came right this beer became a complete joy.

In the nose it’s pure wheat with a lovely dusty-grain note. There’s hints of citrus there somewhere, but it’s mainly that lovely wheaty gorgeousness.

For a canned kit it’s a bloody taste revelation: mouth filling and wholesome­ despite the smallish ~4% ABV.

OK, it’s a tad thinner in body than my all-­grain wheats, but it’s bloody great all the same: a solid wheaty complexity with a welcome sourish zippy tang at the end.

There’s also a gorgeous creaminess that just goes on and on. It’s not quite a true German hefeweizen/weizen, which is fine because it’s not meant to be. What it is, is a cracking wheat beer.

I’ve drunk pints and pints of this beer over Christmas and every single one has been lovely, ­ yeast or no yeast.

When (that’s not “if”) I make this kit again I’ll be sure to bottle it just to see the difference.  I might even try the included yeast. If Coopers can put a kit together as good as this, then the included yeast is probably pretty good too…

Coopers, to use your local vernacular: “Good on Yer!” this kit is a ripper of a bargain and makes me well and truly believe that you can make excellent beer from a canned kit.

If you haven’t home-brewed before: do it with this kit. It’s simplicity itself and you’ll be delighted with the results (assuming you’re not some kind of cack-­handed idiot who can’t follow simple instructions…)

You can invest (and it is such a small, but worthwhile investment) in the Coopers wheat beer kit from Greg at BrewUK ­ who’ll also happily sell you all the starter brewing gear too if you need it.  You can even get a vial of WLP300 yeast too if you’re so inclined…

When you order Just tell Greg: “I want to make wheat beer and Jon from YIMB sent me.” it won’t count for anything, but at least he’ll know you have taste, are well-read, urbane, stylish and enormously well-endowed.

http://store.coopers.com.au/thomas-coopers-wheat-beer-1-7kg.html

http://www.brewuk.co.uk/coopers-brewmaster-wheat-beer-1-7kg.html