Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Review

My buddy grabbed a case of this, we’ve been tasting it extensively. He’s a chocolate-stout-head like some people are hop-heads. His opinion on the stuff is that it’s the nectar of the gods. My take was that it lacked depth, but it was fantastic for the style.

Appearance – We never got a good head out of a single bottle of the stuff. His glassware, my glassware, whatever, it never took a head nor left any lace. What head it did take was thick, full bubbles of brown. My suggestion for improvement would have been smaller bubbles.

Smell – Like chocolate. This is where the “lack of depth” becomes a problem. Something called ‘double chocolate stout’, you expect it to smell like chocolate. But once you get saturated with the chocolate, what’s left? Stout. Except the stout isn’t there. Not even a hit of hops. It’s like some kind of malty chocolate drink, but not in a bad way.

Taste – Like chocolate. See above. Not a ton of depth but certainly not a bad, if singleminded effort.

Mouthfeel – This is where it really pisses away points. The Standard I use is Rogue Stout, or Guinness. The style should have a silky mouthfeel either from nitrobubbles or oats. The lack of complexity (and oats wouldn’t have hurt this beer flavor-wise) leads to a lack of refinement in the mouthfeel. They would be really, really onto something if they did better with “silky”, but it’s not. It’s not bad, and certainly they avoided “oily”, but it’s not fantastic either. Not impressed.

Drinkability – good for a session beer if only because it’s not complex enough to savor and base enough most people will like it.

Not bad, but not the best I’ve had either. If they had simply said “double chocolate ale” it would be easier to forgive the faults.

Serving type: bottle

Orval Trappist Review

Wow wow wow, what a treat.

The pour into a tulip resulted in a generous, everlasting head. Bubbles from the bottom of the glass, seemingly from the glass itself kept rising.

Appearance – Crystal clear straw. Brilliant, fine foam head. But the aroma quickly distracts me. A bit of chill haze in mine, and strangely almost no sediment in the bottle, which appears like a smoke.

Smell – Banana and clove, gives way to something sweeter like a subtle honey or subtle bubblegum. Warming the glass brings more subtle smells to the front. Dry hay, and even beyond that a lighter malt smell like a pils, almost like a lily or a floral smell. A bit of must stands between you and the flowers.

Taste – Really not what I expected out of a Belgian, there’s no WHAM, ALCOHOL like the American take on the style. It’s a subtle, malty taste. Darker, roastier than what I expected. Sort of like orange peel, with a long, well balanced finish. Where’s the hops? They’re in there somewhere and I suspect lend the floral note to it but it’s so subtle and so well blended. Spices on the sides of the tongue and just a light, sweet note on the front (honey). There’s oak way in the back of the taste when liberally swished.

Mouthfeel – like silk, but I can’t find a single note of oats in here, so it must all be carbonation. However this isn’t a nitro bottle, so I have no idea. Really, really smooth, and leaves just a bit on the tongue.

The more you drink, the sweeter it gets. By the second glass there’s definitely honey notes coming out of this. Whatever they used in hops is a really light dose. Bittering is done with an extremely small dose of something of moderate bitterness, and the nose is a delicious, subtle work.

Chimay White

I’m going to say this is my least favorite Chimay. It’s not that the style itself is hardup, but rather if Chimay did an IPA, it would be this. Somehow it doesn’t quite work.

Nose – Great nose. Hints of vanilla and almond once you get past the hops. Good Belgian nose, you know what you’re getting into. A good amount of funk to get past, expect the other scents to come along after some warming and after you smell it a bit to get past the funk.

Foam – Good head on the first pour, not so much on the second. Considering I was splitting the bottle, that was a bit of a disappointment. The head stuck around forever.

Taste – You can occasionally get major vanilla out of it when it warms up if it’s still foaming. But, and there’s always a but, the first glass comes off in typical Chimay style with no surprises. The second glass has a surprising amount of hop harshness.

Mouthfeel – A bit rockier than what I expected. Not quite as smooth. It feels like if I had cellared it for a few months it would have been better. As it stands, there’s a disconnect in the style.

Serving type: bottle

Liveblogging Saison Dupont

Wow. Really wow.

Saison Dupont puts itself firmly in the funky category. The nose is like cut grass, and definitely has that funk. Good amount of aroma hops, clean snappy finish. Lingering bitterness and a bit of the musty funk I’ve come to know at Brett. Lots of lemons here, but like lemon-grass and not the fruit itself. My initial impression uncorking the bottle was exactly like a freshly cut lawn in the rain, but in a good way. Wet and dark despite the color. Pulling air through the sip definitely shows off the funk though, the mustiness but not in the “this is skunked” fashion. A quick pull has a sweetness on the front of the tongue. There is a hay note somewhere in the middle as people have noted, it’s a dry straw smell and not unpleasant. Leaning way back from it I believe those are hallertau hops. On the tongue, it’s velvet velvet velvet. The head is thin and clings to the sides of the glass but my god, the velvet on the pallet is surely the result of those bubbles. Taking in the nose one more while holding some on the tongue shows a subtle, date flavor.

My New Personal Hero

Joe Horn.

Wikipaedoa has an article on it called the Joe Horn Shooting. Wasting a bunch of fucking illegal immigrants doesn’t bother me, it’s made even funnier since they burglarized a legal immigrants home. More from the Jawa Report.’s take praises his shooting ability and has firsthand information.

Bushing Finds Way to Run Nonauthorized Discs on Wii

Community responds with pile of spam.

In case you didn’t know, he probably attacked the bootloader, but without the Magic Number to know the jump into memory for booting from the discs, it’s well above and beyond the casual person to do. However, my guess is that people like Pro Action Replay who had their discs shut out by Nintendo will come up with something in short order.

Read more at Bushing’s Blog.


With apologies to this guy and The Mad Fermentationist.

I decided to make sourdough.

Sourdough is the easiest of breads to make because it capitalizes on the already existing yeast present on the flour. All the grinding, bleaching, and shipping couldn’t possibly kill it. The only thing that kills yeast is boiling or baking. Obviously your flour you buy at the store isn’t boiled, so it has some of the proper yeast on it already.

I got the idea when reading about growing your own cereal. Someone mentioned they had accidentally made beer when they failed to sterilize their grains (baking) and saccharomyces took it over. The lightbulb went off – brettanomyces also grow on grain, which is how lambics spontaneously ferment.

* One cup flour (unbleached)
* One cup water
* One teaspoon plain white sugar (I don’t know if this is required, but I do know it will help the saccharomyces get a jump on the mold)

Mix it up thoroughly to get as homogeneous a mix as you possibly can and leave it out in an open container overnight in a dark warm place. The result will be a layer of sediment on the bottom (flour that has fallen out of suspension) and a layer of bubbles on top. It should smell like disgusting, but especially sour. One day will make mildly sour sourdough, three days would be better and make some really sharp stuff.

From there it’s a pretty typical bread recipe.

Add to this…
* Two cups water
* Three cups flour
* Keep adding flour and mix until it’s not wet and sticky.
* Two tablespoons good olive oil
* Four teaspoons sugar
* Two teaspoons salt

Let this new mess sit in a covered bowl 24 hours. Cover the bowl in a paper towel dampened in hot water. The dough should rise. The longer it sits, the more sour it gets as the sugar is converted to alcohol and makes CO2, forcing the bread to rise. You may want to start out with a wetter dough here for the sake of letting it sit longer without drying out.

Take your doughball and lightly pat it down. Don’t do like I did and smash the hell out of it. This results in pretzels. Just try to “deflate” it as much as possible. Let it rise again over 24 hours or until it doubles in bulk.

Now, either put the risen dough in balls on a pan or get some appropriately breadloaf shaped cookware. Toss that sucker in the oven, set for 350F, and bake for 45 minutes.

When you’re done, take it out of the oven and let it sit for a half hour or an hour before enjoying.

Apple 1 Ressurection

A slashdot article caught my eye. If anyone remembers the old cassettes with data on them, apparently no-one ever had a decent copy of Apple 1 BASIC. This guy did, and got the first decent copy for posterity.

Typical slashdot warning: There’s a lot of poo-pahing about reinventing the wheel and “he should have done it this way” and “we already knew how to do it”. Apparently the Sinclair crowd has been reading tapes into memory and dumping them out the serial port for ages. However, there’s always another way to skin a cat, and I think this guys method has some serious perks including using audacity to clean up the audio. The sinclair guys happen to be lucky enough to have very clean tapes. The whole reason the Apple 1 BASIC hadn’t been dumped before was because all the tapes anyone had laying around had succumbed to age.

Buckwheat Honey

I stopped by the local farm here to buy produce. One of the highlights for me is fresh cilantro. If you don’t use the whole stock, they pick it so the tubers are still attached. Giant, offwhite hairless almost-potato bulbs hang down under each stalk. Good thing it’s not sold by weight anyway. The dirt still clings to the produce and the loamy earth grits your teeth. Homemade salsa is good stuff, minus the sand.

My wife is not nearly as in love with the flavor as I am. She turns her nose up at onions, too. What is salsa without onions or cilantro? Well, I’ve had better – squeezed from a Heinz bottle.

On the shelf, sitting at me quietly below the “on sale” tag is a bottle of honey. Not just any honey, but buckwheat honey.

I felt the bee guy whispering in my ear and a stirring in my loins. That stirring was me going for my wallet.

I bought a small jar of it, taking Hexabeesial’s advice that not everyone likes the flavor. The honey itself is, well, honey consistency but it’s really dark. Not quite like molasses, it still passes light, but definitely a noticeable shade darker than your typical bee puke.

The flavor is complex. It’s not even obvious that the flavor is so many layered until you start eating the honey with other foods. Peanut butter reveals mint notes. Molasses imparts a grainy flavor. Eating it with pancakes has a kind of rummy taste, like extremely dark maple syrup but with more spice. However, tasting the honey after trying a coke results in a flavor exactly like dark malt extract used in brewing. It is absolutely uncanny.

Buckwheat honey is now a staple in my pantry.