Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tasting: Mr. T's 30 lb. Necklace, and Brooklyn Local 2

I'm proud to announce that I went with the crowd favorite for naming my Golden Strong Ale (well, Tripel really). Mr. T's 30 lb. Necklace was bottled and brought to realization with the help of my friend and photoshop dilletante Matt Huard. This beer was bottled for Christmas and embellished with a golden wax cap, which is a bitch to get off, but quite fancy to look at, and it went so perfectly with the gold theme. I was so proud of how these bottles turned out, I was tempted to send a bottle to the man himself, but I didn't want to get my cracker ass sued or beat to a pulp.

This is what the left text says:
Sit down and shut up Fool! I ain't got no time fo' the Jibba-Jabba! What you is drinkin' here is a Belgian ale that's strong, like me, It's gonna hit yo ass hard! Sucka! So you betta run back to yo' mommy right now, and not even drink this! - Mr. T

I entered this beer as a Belgian Tripel in 2 competitions with incredibly bi-polar results. At the Bruery Batch 50 competition in California, it score a 36 average and took 1st place in Belgian Strong ale. At Homebrew Alley 3 in NYC, it scored a 21 average. On one of the judge sheets you could see it had been marked up from a 19 to a 20! 19 is a very bad score, if you don't know.

Well, it's easy to theorize about a wild scoring swing like this (I think bottle inconsistency was not a factor), but the fact is they were different competitions, with different judges of different experience levels, and even in different areas of the country. Really, I think this was a low 30's beer, maybe 29 at least. The recipe and brewing could certainly be improved on.

Here's a quick overview of the finished product:

Aroma: Sharp, floral, lemony with soft malts, light caramel, esters leaning toward banana, low alcohol aroma.

Appearance: Hazy gold with initially a nice head, but fades quickly. medium-high carbonation, some "sea monkey" floaties towards the end of the pour.

Flavor: Light sweetness, neutral malt, banana esters, some clove, and spicy hops. Light tartness, light alcohol sweetness, slightly hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, med-high carbonation, with some expansion in mouth. medium dry finish, some alcohol warming.

Overall: Needs better head-stand, more complexity from a different yeast choice. There was a slightly harsh, sharp edge to the beer which I think was from the addition of lactic acid to the mash. I don't think I needed this lactic acid to achieve the proper pH so next time I will probably leave it out, go with the WLP 530, and leave everything else the same.

On another note, I found a grocery store in Park Slope with an impressive bottle selection, fresh bottles, and good prices. So if you are near 5th ave. and Sterling, check out the Key Foods. You won't be disappointed.

I picked up a bottle of Brooklyn's Local 2, a recently released companion beer to the Local 1. Both are Belgian inspired ales brewed to 9% ABV and bottle conditioned in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The 1 is lighter, in the tripel/golden strong range for flavor. The 2 is dark, brewed with dark candi sugar and citrus peel. Clarissa and I served it with a grilled ribeye, roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes, and sauteed shitakes and spinach. The Local 2 was a great compliment to this meal.

My overall impression of this beer is that it is fantastically crafted, but maybe a bit understated in flavor. I appreciate subtlety, but I had to get the beer up to about 60 degrees before getting any real malt complexity or yeasty esters. I think it could use some more yeast fruitiness/spiciness, and maybe a touch more malt depth. Still, it was very enjoyable and I am glad to see Brooklyn really delving in to the Belgian beer tradition and bottle conditioning some unique ales. I would like to try it again some time to see if my opinion remains the same.

On that note, I'm sad to have missed tonight's NYC Homebrewers Guild meeting, where Brooklyn brewmaster (and former NYCHG Prez) Garret Oliver spoke. I just couldn't make it. I have a pretty bad cold. Bummer...


thatguy314 said...

What do you print out those awesome labels on?

Anonymous said...

Looks great Sean! Don't think I didn't see you slip Al one of these at the BT! - Erik

Seanywonton said...

I printed the labels on standard Avery label paper, it's the kind that has 6 labels on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet.

And yes, I did give one to Al, and it got his approval. Erik, I think I had a beer of yours...the Lucky Cat? Nice beer and great label.

Hunington Sachs said...

Awesome label design. Like the stained-glass technique.

jason said...

I know this is an old post, but I remembered it because the labels were so awesome. Did you print these at home or take them to a store to be printed? Also, do they hold up to a little moisture?

jason said...

Also, just curious what software you use to design the images for the labels? Thanks a ton.