Four Brewers | Craft Beer and Homebrew Podcast
[S2/E8] The Blind Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Bout, Part 2

Season 2, Episode 8 This week on the show, part two of our epic blind bourbon barrel-aged stout tasting, with the final rankings and results.

The time has arrived! We’re drinking the final five beers of our blind tasting, adding up the scores, and announcing the big winners. Just to recap, here are the beers we’re tasting:

· Firestone Walker Brewing Co. – Parabola, 2014
· Goose Island Beer Co. – Bourbon County Brand Stout, 2014
· Hangar 24 Craft Brewery – Pugachev’s Cobra, 2014
· The Bruery – Black Tuesday, 2014
· Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Narwhal, 2014
· Dark Horse Brewing Company – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Plead The 5th, 2014
· Bell’s Brewery – Black Note Stout, 2014
· Bottle Logic Brewing – Darkstar November, 2014
· Avery Brewing Company – Uncle Jacob’s Stout, 2012

SPOILER ALERT: The results of the tasting are listed below, after the photo. All of our individual scores were pretty close to one another, and that could simply be coincidence, or the result of us discussing these beers as a group. Every beer in this tasting was great. They are all world class beers, and it was a real treat to have them all on the show.

The Blind Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Bout
The Blind Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Bout

Results of the 2015 Four Brewers Blind Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Bout:

1. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. – Parabola, 2014
2. Hangar 24 Craft Brewery – Pugachev’s Cobra, 2014
3. Dark Horse Brewing Company – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Plead The 5th, 2014
4. Bell’s Brewery – Black Note Stout, 2014
5. Bottle Logic Brewing – Darkstar November, 2014
6. Goose Island Beer Co. – Bourbon County Brand Stout, 2014
7. The Bruery – Black Tuesday, 2014
8. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Narwhal, 2014
9. Avery Brewing Company – Uncle Jacob’s Stout, 2012

So as you can see, Firestone Walker Parabola come out on top, followed by Pugachev’s Cobra from Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, with third place going to Dark Horse Brewing’s Plead the 5th. This was a fun exercise, and we encourage you to try this with your friends. The results may surprise you…

BREW THE SHIT OUT OF IT.

Special shoutouts go to “Cougar Steve” Saavedra for hookup on the Michigan beers, and Scott McElhone for inspiring the titles of episodes 7 and 8.

Four Brewers Patrons get 50% off Firkfest tickets! Send an email to Nagel (greg@fourbrewers.com *note: there is no dash anywhere in this email address) to get your discounted tickets. These are limited to two (2) per individual Patron.

Links to things from this week’s episode:
Firkfest 2015

Subscribe to the show:
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iTunes – While you’re there, leave a review of 4B!
Stitcher

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facebook.com/fourbrewers

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Direct download: S2_E8_The_Blind_Bourbon_Barrel-Aged_Stout_Bout_Part_2.mp3
Category:Beer -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT
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[S2/E7] The Blind Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Bout, Part 1

Season 2, Episode 7 The time has come. The moment has arrived. This week is part one of our epic blind tasting of bourbon barrel-aged stouts from across the United States.

We’ve been hyping these episodes for a few weeks now, and they have finally arrived. Here’s the premise of these shows: Episode 7 (part 1) is going to be the introduction of the blind tasting, and why the beers were selected. We’re going to drink four of the nine beers, and rate them according to aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, and then a final overall rating. Episode 8 (part 2) will feature the final five beers and the results of the blind tasting will be revealed. But, let’s take a step back and briefly discuss how this came about.

The Blind Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Bout
The Blind Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Bout

Back when Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS henceforth in this post) was released in 2014, beer geeks on the internet went apeshit trying to find this beer. Our friends on social media posted pictures of this beer being purchased by the case, and Black Friday officially became known as BCBS day for all of us (beer geeks). The ironic part about all of this is that Goose Island Beer Co. is owned by AB-InBev (ABI henceforth in this post), who to many beer geeks, is the “enemy” of the craft beer movement. They are owned by a macro brewery, to put it in simple terms. BCBS is a macro beer. Sure, it’s still made by the hard working and passionate folks at the Fulton Street Brewery (Goose Island Beer Co.) in Chicago, Illinois, but that brewery is exactly what ABI purchased back in 2011, along with the Goose Island brand. Now, before you write us a nasty email telling us that “ABI didn’t buy the Goose Island brewpubs, and that’s where the beer is made, so technically it’s not a macro beer”, go ahead and pump your brakes, homeboy. This beer is brewed at Fulton Street, and it’s a macro brew. As long as you’re willing to concede to the fact that by purchasing BCBS that you’re purchasing an ABI product, then we’re all good.

Just because Goose Island Beer Co. is now owned by ABI doesn’t mean that BCBS is now a “quality compromised” beer. ABI actually bought Goose Island Beer Co. to help expand the brewery and essentially, get more BCBS to the masses. BCBS is still a great beer. Hell, Goose Island was the first brewery to put stout in bourbon barrels, and they’ve pretty much perfected it at this point. ABI bought this company to get a leg in the craft beer door as it were, and screwing with this beer would be, well, idiotic. That being said, this beer brings a lot of hype along with it, and that’s precisely why we decided to do this blind tasting. Does this beer live up to the hype? Let’s find out!

We picked nine bourbon barrel-aged stouts. We tried to keep this tasting as pure as possible by eliminated any beers that have known adjuncts in them, such as vanilla, coffee, and cacao nibs. We wanted stout aged in bourbon barrels. That’s what BCBS is, and you can’t compare this beer fairly to others made with adjuncts. We also wanted fresh examples of each beer. As fresh as possible, anyway…

In no particular order, here are the beers we chose and were able to acquire:

· Firestone Walker Brewing Co. – Parabola, 2014
· Goose Island Beer Co. – Bourbon County Brand Stout, 2014
· Hangar 24 Craft Brewery – Pugachev’s Cobra, 2014
· The Bruery – Black Tuesday, 2014
· Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Narwhal, 2014
· Dark Horse Brewing Company – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Plead The 5th, 2014
· Bell’s Brewery – Black Note Stout, 2014
· Bottle Logic Brewing – Darkstar November, 2014
· Avery Brewing Company – Uncle Jacob’s Stout, 2012

We have a special guest pouress for the next couple of shows, who is also a 4B Patron on Patreon, Ms. Dana Parker (@MissTurkeyBowl). Dana is the only one at this point who knows which beers are which. The beers were kept outside of our studio, and she brought them to us randomly.

We’re not going to list the tasting notes on the blog post, but you can view them on this week’s show outline. Next week in episode 8, we’ll drink the final five beers and announce the results of the blind tasting. So, until then…

BREW THE SHIT OUT OF IT.

Special shoutouts go to “Cougar” Steve Saavedra for hookup on the Michigan beers, and Scott McElhone for inspiring the titles of episodes 7 and 8.

Four Brewers Patrons get 50% off Firkfest tickets! Send an email to Nagel (greg@fourbrewers.com *note: there is no dash anywhere in this email address) to get your discounted tickets. These are limited to two (2) per individual Patron.

Links to things from this week’s episode:
S2/E7 Show Outline
Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle
Firkfest 2015

Subscribe to the show:
RSS
iTunes – While you’re there, leave a review of 4B!
Stitcher

Thumb us up on Facebook:
facebook.com/fourbrewers

Follow us on Twitter:
twitter.com/fourbrewersshow

Got a question? Feedback? Email us:
feedback at fourbrewers dot com.

Help support Four Brewers!
Support the show on Patreon!
Donate via PayPal

Direct download: S2_E7_The_Blind_Bourbon_Barrel-Aged_Stout_Bout_Part_1.mp3
Category:Beer -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT
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[S2/E6] Pre-Gaming with Session Beers

Season 2, Episode 6 We’re starting early for this show, eleven in the morning to be exact, and were taking it easy and ramping up to the bourbon barrel-aged blind tasting with session beers from around the world.

It’s all about pacing yourself and easing in. That’s what we’re doing this week. Our blind tasting, bourbon barrel-aged stout series is happening next week, so we decided to do a little beer tour and sample some session-able beers from around the world. We had a really early start for this recording session, so it seemed appropriate. 

First up is a classic English bitter from Fuller's called London Pride. This beer is a really great starter due to it’s caramel, malty flavor that’s balanced with just the right amount of bitterness. It isn’t too harsh, and really wakes up the palate.

Next up is a beer on the other side of the spectrum, Lost Coast Brewery’s Sharkinator white IPA. Described simply as a dry hopped version of Lost Coast’s Great White witbier, the hop aroma of this beer is very much in-your-face, and has a nice, burst of citrus flavor with a malty, wheat finish. We get into a discussion about dry hopping techniques, as well as the effect a bottle label can have on a consumer looking for new beers.

Session-able Beers
Session-able Beers

The bottle label discussion brings us to a beer from Green Flash Brewing Co. called Mosaic Session IPA. Green Flash, like many other breweries, jumped on the session IPA bandwagon with this beer, and while the beer has a nice hoppy aroma, the mouthfeel and flavor leave you wanting something more. Session IPAs in general seem to suffer from this as a whole. This is definitely an evolving style that will either find it’s groove, or fall by the wayside like other beer style trends. 

The next beer is a great example of why green bottles are so bad for beer. Brasserie Dupont’s Avril is a 3.5% ABV table beer that is normally an outstanding example of a low alcohol, easy drinking, Belgian saison. However, upon pouring this particular bottle of beer, that skunky, stinky smell associated with light struck beers presents itself. Green bottles are just as bad as clear bottles when it comes to blocking ultraviolet light, while brown bottles perform quite well at this task. From a purely aesthetic point of view, this is a very sexy, well designed bottle, but when it comes to beer, the form of the packaging should always follow its function. Consuming this beer fresh is ideal, so be careful when purchasing any beer in a green or clear bottle as it will only accelerate the beer’s deterioration. 

We’ll save you the trouble of reading about the next beer. Fürst Wallerstein’s Zwickel is normally a pretty tasty brew, but this bottle has seen better days, and the beer inside simply just fell apart. We found out on the show that this style of beer doesn’t travel very well, and has poor shelf life. It was a bummer for sure, but it happens.

Finally, we end the show on a high note with a favorite of Jason’sKöstritzer Schwarzbier. This 4.8% ABV black lager is delicious. It was a “craft conversion” beer for Jason, and rightly so. Described by Matt as a “helles with cocoa”, the beer is super-dry, and the style can range from 14-28 IBU. It’s very accessible, so pick up some cans if you see it.

This week’s show was sponsored by the Beachwood BBQ & Brewing Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle, and Firkfest. We’ll be broadcasting the raffle drawing live from Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach on February 23rd. Firkfest is March 21st at Farmers Park in Anaheim, California. Tickets are going fast, so get ‘em while you can. Links for both events are below.

BREW THE SHIT OUT OF IT.

Links to things from this week’s episode:
S2/E6 Show Outline
Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle
Firkfest 2015

Subscribe to the show:
RSS
iTunes – While you’re there, leave a review of 4B!
Stitcher

Thumb us up on Facebook:
facebook.com/fourbrewers

Follow us on Twitter:
twitter.com/fourbrewersshow

Got a question? Feedback? Email us:
feedback at fourbrewers dot com.

Help support Four Brewers!
Support the show on Patreon!
Donate via PayPal

Direct download: S2_E6_Pre-Gaming_with_Session_Beers.mp3
Category:Beer -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT
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[S2/E5]  On Location at El Segundo Brewing Co.

Season 2, Episode 5 We’re back in the South Bay at our final stop of our on-location recording session, El Segundo Brewing Co., with special guest and Certified Cicerone, Thomas Kelley.

El Segundo Brewing Co. (@ESBCbrews), located in the city of its namesake, has quickly gained recognition as one Southern California’s best IPA breweries in the last few years. After opening its doors in May of 2011, brewer Rob Croxall and self-titled “Rain Maker” Thomas Kelly, set their sights on making great beers, one style at a time. This logic was partially due to their limited access to some of the more popular hops, such as Citra and Mosaic, as well as Rob’s limited experience as a professional brewer. Rob had some solid recipes from his days of homebrewing, and eventually, they secured the ingredients and the experience they needed to make the beers that would eventually make them stand out in a heavily competitive Southern California craft beer market. 

El Segundo Brewing Co.
El Segundo Brewing Co.

We kick the show off with a delicious pale ale made with Citra hops, named Blue House Citra Pale. It’s a fairly simply grain bill, consisting of 2 row and Vienna malts. The Citra hops provide flavors similar to tangerine juice and lemonade. It’s ESBC’s biggest selling beer, and rightly so. At 5.5% ABV, one could down a few pints without regretting it the following day, while still experiencing a beer with the hop punch of an IPA. 

Next up is a very popular ESBC IPA that’s in limited rotation, Mayberry IPA. It was first brewed last year, and it flew off the shelves. The beer is brewed with mostly Mosaic hops, with Chinook used early in the boil for bittering and Cascade added later in the boil. One interesting thing about the way Rob dry hops his beers is that he doesn’t recirculate the hops in secondary. A common practice is to recirculate the beer with the dry hops with the use of a pump to maximize the exposure of the beer to the hops. Rob chooses to simply let the hops sit in the beer for a week or so, and occasionally inject carbon dioxide into the bottom of the tank to get the hops back into suspension. For home brewers, this is the equivalent of gently rousing the carboy to get the hops back into solution. Mayberry IPA has huge hop character, which goes to show that just because something is common practice doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best practice for everyone. 

El Segundo Brewing Co. - NO BEARDS WITHOUT GUARD
El Segundo Brewing Co. – NO BEARDS WITHOUT GUARD

The final beer is a departure from the others on the show thus far, a malty, fall seasonal beer conjured up by Thomas and other Certified Cicerones local to ESBC, a beer named Horn of Plenty. Part of ESBC’s “Cicerone Series” of beers, Horn of Plenty has the grain bill of a dunkel weisenbock, but is fermented with Westmalle Abbey Ale yeast. Lemon peel, thyme, and coriander were added in the brite tank, giving the beer a slight lemon edge on the nose. Special B malt was added to give it a rich, bread crust character, and Munich malt was used to help give the beer it’s ruby red hue. This beer was made to be paired with food and span different courses of a meal. The conversation on the show tangents for a bit into discussions about beer pairing, dinners, restaurants, and craft beer adoption in fine dining establishments. 

Thanks to the folks at El Segundo Brewing Co. for having us at their brewery. They’ve got fairly wide distribution in Southern California, so be sure to pick up a few bottles of ESBC brew when you see them. You won’t regret it.

BREW THE SHIT OUT OF IT.

Links to things from this week’s episode:
S2/E5 Show Outline
El Segundo Brewing Co.

Subscribe to the show:
RSS
iTunes – While you’re there, leave a review of 4B!
Stitcher

Thumb us up on Facebook:
facebook.com/fourbrewers

Follow us on Twitter:
twitter.com/fourbrewersshow

Got a question? Feedback? Email us:
feedback at fourbrewers dot com.

Help support Four Brewers!
Support the show on Patreon!
Donate via PayPal

Direct download: S2_E5_On_Location_at_El_Segundo_Brewing_Co..mp3
Category:Beer -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT
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