Smilin' Joe - Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma
I have the pleasure of many beer friends who are also experimental home brewers, and among the most nerdy of them is Joe Postma. Joe is Über passionate about beer and even carries around spectrophotometer with which to gauge the color of the beer he drinks. It is adorable and heartening to see someone who cares so much about quality beer.
Joe was kind enough to pass along to me three of his recent homebrew creations: “Ababa”, originally brewed to mimic the Black IPA style; “Hot Chocolate”, a spicy chili stout; and “Tripel”, a Belgian Tripel.
Brewer Joe - Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma
“Ababa” was the first try of the night, and sadly, my least favorite of the bunch. It featured a super dark, opaque pour and a yummy chalky dark chocolate aroma. Throughout an evolving recipe, Joe grew this beer into something that was super hopped with Sorachi Ace hops. The result was that of very bitter dirty earth. Joe let me know that he was having some problems with carbonation on this brew, and it shows. I think carbonation would make the brew much better by cutting some of the deep bitterness. Overall, however, this brew is a commendable step on the right path toward Joe’s Black IPA goal, although the funky aftertaste leaves something to be desired.
Next, I dove into “Hot Chocolate”, a Russian Imperial Stout made with ancho chilis and chocolate, inspired by Cigar City Brewing’s Hunahpu Stout. This is my kind of beer, so I was SUPER excited to try it. And, let me tell you, Joe does not dissapoint. With a deep fudge and chocolate ganache icing aroma, like that of Entenmann’s Brownie Cake, this brew boasts a Mole-ish chocolate spice. It reminds me of the Taza Aztec Guajillo Chili Chocolate that I once had from Whole Foods. The brew has a nice semi-thickness to it that eases the sip, which burns nicely, not overwhelmingly- surprising for a 10.2% Chili stout! “Hot Chocolate” was my favorite of the three and took the cake for the night. Honestly, this beer could pass for professional grade and be sold on store shelves tomorrow. Joe has taken obvious care with this brew and certainly reaped the rewards! Warning: This beer is not for the faint of spice…
Pour - Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma
Last, but definitely not least, came the “Tripel”. For this brew, Joe went with the “less is more” mentality, and kept the beer to a few simple ingredients- Pilsner Malt, Belgian Candy Sugar, Hallertau Hops and Belgian Abbey yeast. It is clearly a Belgian through and through, what with the smelling of florals, coriander, clove, Spring rain and bananas. Oddly enough, Joe described this beer as very dry, while I received it as a super wet brew. The Tripel was very refreshing and soft tasting. Joe made good use of his tiny bubbles on this one. Bananas are super prevalent on the taste of this brew as well- making it a good strong Belgian ale.
Whew! All this homebrew tasting and writing is making me thirsty! What do you think Joe?….. Joe?…………
Nothing gets between a man and his beer! Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma