Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Next iteration of Bluefield Chocolate Ale

So, I am currently drinking a Bluefield Chocolate Ale.  I think more so than any beer I've ever created, this beer is Jekyll and Hyde to me.  There will be some nights when I think it is a wonderful treat, and there will be some nights when I question why I would ever brew such a thing.

Tonight is sort of Jeyde to me (somewhere between Jekyll and Hyde).  I'm not wild about it, but I don't think it is a complete waste of fridge space either. 

I do think its the hazelnut that most screws with me in this beer.  And usually, when I think about it, I keep thinking that peppermint would better compliment the chocolate than hazelnut.  I actually brewed a Peppermint Stout quite awhile ago (Leprechaun Stout) which I thought was a wonderful dessert beer every single time I drank a bottle.  I kept describing it in my mind and to other people as very much like girl scout thin mints (mostly virtual people, but I did actually describe it to a couple of real people like that as well).  And, it was actually a beer that I could enjoy for the beer as well.

Right now ... light-bulb ... Leprechaun Stouticus, but, that is not what this blog entry is about.

What should I do about the Bluefield Experiment?  Should I just give up?  I can't do that ... I've already got a blog label.  Should I continue to try to make a beer that my sister might possibly enjoy?  That seems like a waste, she's convinced herself that she hates beer, and so I'm doomed to failure there.  Should I start taking the experiment seriously and try to use chocolate like beer-lovers might enjoy (more of a subtle chocolate taste)?  Well, that seems like a cop-out since the whole point was trying to make a beer that Mrs. Bluefield might like.  I don't know.  Do you see my dilemma? 

Whatever I do, the next iteration of the beer has to take some things into consideration.
  1. Hazelnut is just too schizophrenic in this beer for me.  I am thinking peppermint may be a better complimentary flavor to the chocolate.
  2. The beer is over-carbonated, and therefore hard to pour with a reasonable amount of head.  I should carbonate to a lower level.
  3. With such a lot of unsweetened cocoa, there is too much sediment in the bottom of these bottles.  I think maybe I should try to cold-crash to keep more out.  Perhaps I should condition in a secondary fermenter.  I wonder if I should investigate filtering.
  4. I do not think both the lactose and the cocoa are a good idea (at least at their current levels).  The final gravity seems just too high.  (I could be wrong about this ... I don't know).
I guess the biggest question is, should I keep the cocoa at this high level (less beer-like) or should I reduce the cocoa and allow the chocolate malt to provide more of that flavor (more beer-like).

I don't know.  To be honest, it doesn't really matter at the moment, because there is no way I'm going to fit Bluefield Chocolate Ale into my brewing schedule for quite some time. At a minimum, I have to brew Gringo Cerveza, Phat and Tyred Ale, BlackHawk Black Ale, Stone Soup IDA, and Eric's Irish Red.  By the time I've done half of those, I'll have other beers I have to brew.

But, I was drinking the beer and thinking about it, so I put my thoughts down on the blog.

Go BlackHawks!!!  Red Wings Suck!!!

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