Monday, January 23, 2012

The "Oakiest" Beer Out There

For the past month I have been savoring a stash of six brews from Old Dominion Brewing Company. First, I tried the Dominion Ale, which is an English style ale. I thought it was a very clean beer (pours a clear amber), with a hint of toastiness towards the back end. In terms of pairing, it is a versatile beer that could easily accompany a wide range of saltier foods. Although I would probably have enjoyed this beer more in the spring or summer, it is winter now and I want something dark, bold, and adventurous. 

I found exactly what I was looking for from the Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout. This pitch black brew oozed an oaky aroma and the first sip was euphoric. In the beginning, I thought it may be a little too oaky of a taste for my preference, but as the beer became warmer the real flavors started to emerge. There was a wonderful vanilla undertone to the beer that balanced out this fantastic stout. I do not know why this brew has not received more attention from the craft beer community. If they would have thrown the "Bourbon Barrel" label on it, the beer geeks would be all over it. But to be fair it is probably because of the limited distribution of Old Dominion. I was fortunate enough to receive this beer because of an endearing Christmas gift. 

I encourage beer geeks to get ahold of this brew if they can. After looking at what else this smaller brewery offers, it seems that Old Dominion puts out some pretty impressive beers. It may take a while to distribute to the Midwest, but I will sure as hell be waiting. 

Cheers! Prost! Salud!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Splurging On Beer, Why Not?

So today I found out some awesome news. I start my new job next week and it will be 800 feet under the Earth. I will be a red hat, or inexperienced miner. I figured an awesome way to celebrate was to buy a couple of beers that I haven't had yet. It was also by luck that they are both collaboration beers!

I purchased Dogfish Head's My Antonia and Sierra Nevada's Ovila Saison. My Antonia is a lager collaboration with Birra del Borgo, an Italian brewery. The Ovila Series is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux. I have had the Ovila Quad and it was one of the best Belgian's I've had the opportunity to taste. I highly suggest it if you can find a bottle of it.

I am currently drinking My Antonia and it is a refreshing imperial pilsner. When smelling I find a lot of fruitiness and grapefruit, but I get a slight boozy smell. The front of the beer is quite sweet, but the hops are very noticeable. The back of the beer is very bitter and a large presence of hops are noticeable to the point of tingling.

Overall, I find it is very refreshing and very similar to most characterized double IPAs.



P.S. I will be back to review the saison!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mash Tun DIY Build

I know a lot of people are building on a budget and with a little know-how you can build things for a margin of the cost it would cost you normally. This setup I have done will be good for most big beers in a 5 gallon batch, but over that I would recommend stepping up the size of the cooler. This cost me right about $50 with everything in the end.

I ordered this cooler from Amazon because I have a Prime membership and well why wouldn't you want to abuse that free shipping?

I used a general parts list from He gives a good guide on how to build a cheap mash tun and it is simple to follow with his picture guide. The only thing I changed was the washers. I prefer to have Stainless Steel washers on the inside and outside for security reasons. This doesn't mean it will apply to everyone. Now onto the build and pictures.

(1) 1/2" x 1'1/2" Brass Nipple (May change depending on how thick the walls of the cooler are)
(3) 3/4" Stainless Steel Washers (May change depending on how much space you need to fill on the nipple)
(1) Stainless Steel Hose Clamp
(1) Stainless Steel Braided Hose (Water Supply Line)
(1) Roll of Teflon Tape

First You will take the plug that is already off in the cooler:

These are the pieces you will have once it is disassembled. You need to keep the small washer because we will use it later on. The rest can be thrown away or kept as a memory of how you were bad ass enough to make your own brewing equipment:

Next, You will need to put the washer and the white rubber piece from the cooler on the brass nipple. You can add Teflon on both sides if you like. This just secures the threads so they don't have a chance of leaking or coming loose. After that you can screw in the female barb adapter to get this:

You can insert the female adapter into the hole of the cooler with the other side Teflon taped for the ball valve to be connected to like so:

From the outside:

Next you can put the washers on the brass nipple where the ball valve will go. At this point I had to put two because it was still a bit lose when completely tightened down.

After that you can screw on the ball valve and tighten the plumbing to your liking:

Next we will cut the ends off the braided wire and assemble the inside of the mash tun. The braid will act like a filter so no grain can get into the vorlauf (run off) and the wort. It is a cheap version of a false bottom.

The braid will have a plastic hose inside of it and you will have to gently pull at it with a needle nose pliers to get it out. Do not clamp down on the hose with your hand because it will just contract and not let you pull the hose out. You can throw away the plastic hose after it is removed.

I groomed up my braid because it looked like it had been through hell after pulling the ends off. I didn't have a saw or large pliers so I just used two pliers and yanked it apart. Next you will crimp one side down (or you could use some kind of Stainless Steel clamp) so it will have a closed end like so:

Next, attach the other end to the female adapter and put the hose clamp over it to secure it:

After this, test it out to make sure it is holding water and you have yourself a mash tun ready to go!


Introduction, The East Coast Addition

Hello all, my name is Alex and I was invited by Nick to write here and give my perspective on everything beer. I'm a craft beer enthusiast, wanna-be photographer, home brewer, and now I'll be sharing my journey into the rabbit hole that is home brewing with all of you.

I suppose I should give some background information on how all of this came about. Nick and I attended business school last year and found that we had a similar liking for beer, music, food, and all kinds of other stuff. One day we had a grand idea of brewing our own beer. We did our beer which ended up being very similar to a Fat Tire, but with a little more fruitiness. We learned quite a few things about the process of beer, what we could have done to improve the beer, and just a "holy shit, we made a good beer" feeling.

Skip forward to a couple of months ago. I moved from Kansas City to Washington, Pennsylvania for a new opportunity in the job market. Now that I am here I work a shit load and I don't know anyone so I figured why not build continue brewing? This blog gives me a way to both learn new things about home brewing and beer in general while sharing my opinion and findings with everyone that reads this.



Friday, January 13, 2012

A Brewtiful Addition

I just wanted to make an announcement for the limited, but diehard readers of this blog that I will be adding another blogger (Alex) to the mix. Alex and I began our craft beer journey together and he will add a great perspective to A Brewtiful World. Currently, Alex lives in Pennsylvania so he will be able to review many beers that I cannot get here in Kansas City. He is also in the beginning stages of building an all-grain homebrew kit, so hopefully he will post articles about his new adventure. Stay tuned for more updates and I believe there will be many more quality posts coming your way!

Cheers! Prost! Salud!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Top Eleven Brews of 2011

After a slow month of blogging in December, my New Year resolution will be to update this blog much more frequently. I have actually had the pleasure of trying many new brews towards the end of 2011. I believe 2011 was a great year for craft breweries. Fortunately, people are becoming much more aware of what they are drinking and choosing quality over quantity. As I wrote in my last post, 2011 was the year for IPAs and hopefully we will see breweries continue to put out more unique IPA styles in 2012. I am also looking forward to watching smaller breweries make a name for themselves and gain attention throughout this year, as well as seeing how established breweries will keep up with heavy demand. I think it is only fitting that for my first post of the year I list off my favorites from the past year, so here is my top eleven of 2011 (in no particular order):

1) Odell Myrcenary Double IPA
2) Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout
3) Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
4) New Belgium Snow Day Winter Ale
5) Russian River Damnation Golden Ale
6) Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA
7) Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale
8) Free State Octoberfest
9) McCoy's Public House Munich Lager
10) Founders Breakfast Stout
11) Trappistes Rochefort 8

Cheers! Prost! Salud!