Beer: Odds and Ends

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Independence Day. I am sure that everyone is going to be busy out socializing, and enjoying their holiday weekend, so I am going to make this week’s installment short. In part because I am also busy spending a lot of time with my family on this holiday weekend too.

This week I thought I would tell you about some interesting random items that have shown up on my doorstep in the past few weeks.

IMG_1045First up OnTap Beer’s Liquid Beer Enhancer. I am guessing their definition of enhance is a loose one. If you define enhance as ‘to intensify’ versus ‘make better’ their description is accurate. There is definitely more flavor after putting just a few drops of their flavor enhancer in.

I tried both of their flavors, the American Ale and the Pale Ale variety. It was apparent the Pale Ale attempted to create more hop flavor, while the American Ale focused on Maltiness. Unfortunately both missed the mark.

The flavors of each is quite indescribable. Not because it can’t be described, but because I had it in my glass for such a short period of time I couldn’t work up a good description.

IMG_1046Next is Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. This is one that my expectations were very low. I tend to have a negative bias to anything that comes out of one of the country’s mega breweries. Although I have to say that if you don’t include AB InBev’s Goose Island, MillerCoors has a better success record in the crafty game.

So while I had my doubts about the product from Leinenkugel’s I have to admit that Shandys and Radlers are kind of a guily pleasure for me. I really enjoy the refreshing aspect of the Lemonade Beer mix. My benchmark in this categary is Stiegl Radler Zitrone. It may not be the best either, but it is one that I found really enjoyable and accessible.

The one thing that strikes me the most about the Stiegl product is that it only has 2.50% ABV. The Summer Shandy come in at a typical mega-brewery ABV of 4.2% ABV. I felt this was actually a little too high, as it added a touch of heaviness that the Stiegl never has. The flavor was primarily lemon, but for of a Lemonade mix versus a fresh squeezed taste. The malt was a little biscuity as well, and detracted from the crispness I was hoping for. But over all I did like it, and would give it a solid B-/C+.

IMG_1554Lastly I wanted to provide an update on my Flying Dog Stover Topper brew. So after getting some more yeast from my friends at Maryland Homebrew, I was able to jump start the fermentation. I gave it an additional 9 days to work before deciding it was time to move them off of the dead yeast cells and into a secondary fermentation.

It hadn’t reached the Final Gravity that was desired yet, but it was a lot closer. At the time of the transfer it was about 8.5% ABV, still
shy of the expected 10% but significantly better than the 5% it was after the Flying Dog supplied yeast gave up.

I am hoping that I might be able to get a little close to the desired ABV before kegging, but I am not expecting miracles.