Donnerstag, 24. November 2016

Alcohol free IPA? WTF...

 über Normal Null
alcohol-free IPA
Kehrwieder, Germany

This was a dream coming true. To get an IPA and no alcohol. This could be my case. A beer every day possible without risks of alcohol consumption.


I have opened the bottle and smelled – malty I thought. Some hops aroma, but not a kick ass one. Then the beer went in the glass – carbonation? Almost zero, it was like pouring the tea. Aroma kept, maybe some citrus from hops coming out. And then I took the first sip.

Is this really a beer? Seriously? Malt and malt, almost sweet. Flavor of hops is there but relatively dimmed. Some low IBU coming out after some times. In fact, it was like drinking the wort of the beer. Not that it was bad, but surprising, and not really giving you a flavor of drinking a beer.
Now I went to a beer label. What I have found is another proof for unlimited creativity of the craft beer brewers. Even if in this case, the world creativity may not be a positive one.
OK, so the brewers have taken an interesting approach and sued yeast that cannot process the sugar. Therefore – no alcohol. As simple as that. Why bother about the technologies necessary to remove the alcohol if you can skip producing it. The idea may sound brilliant, but there may be a small thing forgotten – yeast based fermentation is the process that changes wort in beer (yes also an IPA). I don’t think that there are exceptions from this case.
As I am brewing myself, getting a bottle of wort is not interesting from my point of view. If you feel to try wort – go to a brewery tour, or buy a bottle of this invention. If you really look for an alcohol free IPA – you are wrong here.

Very interesting from the scientific-commercial point of view – if the yeasts put in this drink do not process sugar (or do this in a minimal form) what are they doing? What’s the idea behind putting them at all? Very interesting, indeed.

Montag, 21. November 2016

Sauer O'Kraut -



Sauer O´Kraut is an example of the creativity only craft brewery can have. Wild ale that was injected with sauerkraut? Can this be good? Before I will answer this question few comments.

First - I am jealous. Poland is the land of sauerkraut. It should have been Polish brewery that brew this one. On the other hand, German sauerkraut is also famous in the world, so it is fine that they get a credit


On top, I have never expected this type of innovation from German brewery. Normally, Germans are bound with the Beer Law and their beers are not supposed to contain anything except of water, barley, hops and yeast (with some exceptions made for top fermentation beers).

What if not? Well there are two possibilities – you can’t call it a beer. Seriously. I remember that German Beer Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot) prohibited most of Belgian beers to be sold in Germany. Until 1987 EU had to enforce the rules of free market (correct me if I am wrong) Alternatively - I remember that when Köstritzer wanted to sell their Masterwork Series (Pale Ale and Wittbeer) – they had applied for a special exception from the law. Both ways its stupidity. German beer law might have been great in the middle age, nowadays it’s just the dinosaur of the law, and stops the advance in beer development. Hough.
Do not believe me? Well, guys from Buddelship (Hamburg) had to brew Sauer O’Krauts as a collaboration brew with Norwegian Lervig Aktiebryggeri, so that it can be re-imported to Germany and sold as a beer. Again, my huge thanks for German authorities for complicating the

Still not clear – here is what Brewers write:

We are celebrating 500 years of Reinheitsgebot with this very unique sour ale. A collaboration with the good Germans from Buddelship, this "impure" beer is full of oats, wheat, rye and barley, and was soured with fresh sauerkraut infused with mango and pineapple. It may not adibe by the German Purity Laws, but remember, reines bier gefaehrdet die gesundheit.

Yes, Pure beer is dangerous to your health

Therefore – big respect to Buddelship for making the effort to keep their beer as un-pure as possible.

And the beer – it is awesome. Really. As a child, I loved to drink the sauerkraut juice. I remember the feeling that you cannot stop once your starter. A kind of an impulse, that tickles your taste buds and forces you to take another sip. More and more until the glass is empty.
With the Sauer O’Kraut I had the same. The smell of sauerkraut is clear and unforgettable. Taste is clearly sour, with notes of pineapple and mango and the aftertaste of sauerkraut. No hop bitterness, but I don’t cry for one in sour ale. On top medium carbonation that makes the whole thing lighter and more drinkable. Wow, a piece of good craft.

Freitag, 18. November 2016

Kasteel Barista Chocolate Quad - sweet killer

Kasteel Barista Chocolate Quad

Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck, Belgium

According to its makers - Barista Chocolate Quad is supposed to unite the worlds of coffee and beer. Therefore, unique combination of roasted and chocolate malts.
Well, I believe that the combination could be successful, if the brew master didn’t have an idea to add a cocoa powder in the process. Roasted coffee aroma? Not present, to very slight at best. Chocolate takes it all. To be honest this may be the most chocolate beer I have ever had (Or at the same level with Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout). Chocolate in the aroma and in flavor. It is great. It’s so much chocolate that one does not feel the 11% of alcohol this beer has. Lack of roasted aromas isn’t bad. This way, the beer is straight, you stop thinking about the rest, you just drink the funkiest chocolate of your life. One piece of complain (if any) – carbonation could be a bit lower. Still, great beer. And for exhausting Autumn days its priceless. Piece of chocolate art!

BTW: why sweet killer - well, get 2 and try to stand up...


Donnerstag, 17. November 2016

Piotrek z Bagien - Pumpkin Ale Halloween 2016

Pumpkin Ale Halloween 2016
Jan Olbracht Brewery, Poland

To prolong the spooky atmosphere of Halloween, I was waiting a bit longer with that describing that one. I was really looking forward to get finally get the sweet pumpkin ale I was hoping for. Well, again, I should have been reading the label first (OK, I don’t do it on purpose, I seriously do not like to be influenced by the components before trying). Last year edition was quite decent pumpkin ale, so I have expected this year to follow.

Well, correct me if I am wrong, but last year was made without the smoked chili, wasn’t it? 

We all know that pumpkin beer smells of the spices that are added. Pumpkin by itself is rather neutral, and could be completely omitted in the brewing process (I bet nobody would even notice). Therefore it is clear that by adding smoked chili, we will get smoked beer. It is not that heavy like some other beers of this type, but smoke is dominating aroma and one of the most intensive flavors. Some leftovers of ginger and maybe cardamom. Some of the smoke is compensated by a medium body of the beer and very decent hops aroma. But not enough for my taste. After a second/third sip I have started to detect chili part of the beer (and yes, this was a real chili, it burns twice). Overall – may be interesting to try, but don’t feel forced to do so.