9/7: Brouwers' Hopfest 2007. Beautiful evening, a table on the patio and 56 IPAs on draft. We managed to get through like 30 or so. Quite a broad range of flavors on all accounts; malt, hop bitterness, aroma and flavor, mineral/sulfate, alcohol and yeast flavors. I liked the Dryhopped Pike IPA the best; medium-light body, very fine hop character, great balance of flavor and very drinkable. Way drinkable. Enjoyed the Big Time Scarlet Fire dryhopped with fresh hops out of Bills' yard. Nice herbal/vegetal flavors, like celery tops and lemon thyme. Hair of the Dog Blue Dot like an English IPA on steroids. Flyers Mach II; big Bongwater-Style NW IPA. Very much to my taste with a sweet nose-in-the-hop-bag aroma. Skagit Bourbon Barrel Scullers on cask; firm bitterness, nice oak notes, rich flavors reminiscent of dry cocoa powder and vanilla milkshake. Two vintages of Maharaja Double IPA from Avery. The 2/20 was the best; everything you'd want and expect. Firm body, nice light-toasty caramel malt, firm citrus/resin bitterness/hop flavor all the way through the palate with a slight warmth in the finish. Just enough alcohol rising through the sinus to carry some sweet hop notes, very nice flavor effect. The 5/14 promised all that up front but seemed to be a bit rough with some solventy alcohol. Maybe that extra 3 months in cold storage really did the job for the 2/20. Kitty-corner from Brouwers is the old Redhook keg yard where there are still hops growing up over the walls. I went and pulled some hops off, brought them back to the table and we used them to doctor our own "Fresh Hopped" beers. Not sure of the variety, I think something like Willamette, but really oomphed up some of the "Not So Much" beers. We managed to work in a few rounds of other beers; Rochfort 10, the Lindemans Cuvee Renee, Schlenkerla Mårzen and Einbecker Maibock. Whew. Don't quite recall the walk home. And Saturday was a little rough. Hoo boy, was Saturday rough.
9/2: Hunkered down and got a couple batches of beer put away. Barley Wine into 2 cases of 12 oz'ers and a short case of 22's. Imperial Stout into 2 cases of 22's. Saison into 2 cases of 22's and a corny keg. Transfered the Biere de Garde from under it's pellicle into a clean carboy. I've had a couple ounces of the Stavin American Oak cubes soaking in some George DIckel for a awhile. I dosed some of the Barley Wine and Imperial Stout with these. Wasn't sure of how far to go with the addition of oak cubes so I did 2 pairs of bottles with 4 cubes and 2 pairs of bottles with 6 apiece. The Imperial Stout got a similar treatment but starting with more cubes, like 8 to 10. I figure I can up the dose as needed. Very excited to see how these turn out. The bottles smelled amazing before the caps went on. The Imperial Stout turned up spot on; bitter black, slightly oily with a lightly ashy finish. The Saison should condition up nice; earthy, toasty malt, lightly drying and spicy. The BdG has got some interesting stuff going on; firm and dry "cellared" character with a touch of tangy pineapple. Something wild going on, perhaps a touch of the Brett. I'll bottle this up shortly and we'll see how we do.