June 11th, 2008

This evening was hosted by C.V. Howe, and brewers Andy Parker and Fred Rizzo.

Avery brewing company uses 6 different yeast strains and cover a broad spectrum of beer styles and flavors.  The tasting emphasized the flavor profiles and characteristics of each strain.  We were also given samples of filtered and unfiltered beer to allow us to taste the yeast cells themselves.  Deviation was not available.  Also, Avery’s lager, Kaiser, was not available as it had just been brewed.

Flight 1: Milder European Ales and Lager

1. 14er ESB – filtered. (Avery house English ale yeast.)  Clear in color.  More hop aroma.

Beer Style: Extra Special Bitter
Hop Variety: Bullion, Fuggle
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, caramel 120L
OG: 1.048 Alcohol By Volume: 5.0% IBU’s: 37
Color: Copper

2. 14er ESB – unfiltered. (Avery house English ale yeast.) Cloudy.  Muted aromas.

3. Trumer Pils – Berkeley CA.  (Unknown lager strain.) Mystery beer! Brewed in Berkeley. Packaged in green bottles. It’s hard to make a good pils because they are delicate – it’s easy to hose them up.  Tasting notes: solid white head, very clear. Sweet up front, dry finish.  Sulfur/mineral nose.

Flight 2: Milder Belgian Ales

1. Karma Ale – Filtered. (Rochefort Belgian Strain.)  Light, crisp, filtered. Copper in color. Low phenolic bite hinting at medicinal spiciness.  Fermented warm at 75°F.  Karma is lightly malted, lightly hopped and very yeast forward.

Beer Style: Belgian Ale
Hop Variety: Sterling
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Belgian special B, cara 45, aromatic
OG: 1.048 Alcohol By Volume: 5.2% IBU’s: 10
Color: Amber

2. Karma Ale – Unfiltered. (Rochefort Belgian Strain.) Cloudy.  Sharp flavors. Almost orange in color.

3. White Rascal Belgian Wheat Ale (Belgian Wit Strain) – yellow in color.  Very fine white bubbles.  Fruit esters. Banannas, coriander and bitter orange peel and citrusy hops.  The yeast is the same strain as is used in Hoegaarden.

Beer Style: Belgian White Ale
Hop Variety: Czech Saaz
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Belgian wheat
OG: 1.050   Alcohol By Volume: 5.6%   IBU’s: 10
Color: White

Flight 3: English vs Belgian

1. Old Jubilation – (Avery house English Ale yeast.)  Roasted malt.  Aromatics include toffee and mocha.  Dark mahogany in color.

Beer Style: English Strong Ale
Hop Variety: Bullion
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, special roast, black, chocolate, victory
OG: 1.074   Alcohol By Volume: 8.0%   IBU’s: 30
Color: Mahogany

2. Oude Deux (Rochefort Belgian) – SAME WORT, different yeast!  Oude = Old, Deux = Second.  Medicinal alcohol bite.  Finished higher (1.016) so the ABV is lower then the Old Jubilation, but it seemed “hot”.

Flight 4: Bigger Belgian Ales

1. Salvation Belgian Golden Ale (Avery house Belgian Abbey yeast) Amber, phenolic, spicy, peppery.

Beer Style: Belgian Strong Golden Ale
Hop Variety: Styrian Goldings
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, cara 8, cara 20
OG: 1.080   Alcohol By Volume: 9.0%   IBU’s: 25
Color: Golden

2. Collaboration, Not Litigation Ale (Abbey yeasts from Avery and Russian River) Copper, hazy, fruity.  Large amount of yeast in finished product.

Beer Style: Blended Belgian-style Strong Ale
OG: 1.079   Alcohol By Volume: 8.72%
Color: Cloudy Dark Amber

Flight 5: Yeast on the edge

1. Fifteen Anniversary Ale (unclassified brettanomyces strain) Pale with shades of pink.  Light in color.  Very dry.  This beer is a pure brett beer, which is very rare.

Beer Style: Brewed beyond any known category
Hop Variety: Sterling
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Belgian wheat
OG: 1.064   Alcohol By Volume: 7.68   IBU’s: 19.2
Color: Hazy Sunset
2. Samael’s Oak Aged Ale (Avery house English ale yeast) Same yeast as the 14’er, which is a mild ale. Samael’s is a huge intense beer.  No information on whether they had to do anything special to the beer, although they did share that it was a MASSIVE pitch.

Beer Style: Oak Aged English Strong Ale
Hop Variety: Columbus, Fuggels
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, caramel 150L
OG: 1.140   Alcohol By Volume: 14.5   IBU’s: 41
Color: Copper

3. De Vogelbekdieren (Rochefort, Belgian Abbey, brettanomyces, unidentified bugs) Dutch for Platypus.  Dark bronze in color, dry, “horse blanket” with strong acetic acid character.

Our treat for the day was a chance to go into the back room and look at the Barrels that Avery has beer aging in.  The beer is 15 + oude deux + some other stuff.  The barrels are giving the beer an oak vanilla character with a sweet after taste.  This is probably going to be released as Brubant if I remember correctly… my notes are unclear at this point – guess that happens after 5 flights of beer!