So, I’m writing this against my better judgement, but here we go.
Chad, of Chad’z video beer reviews, gave me a couple of his homebrews. First off, full disclosure. Generally I’m not a fan of home-brewed beer, period. There is very little of it that I have enjoyed over the years, and most of what I have had in the past has frankly been pretty average (at best), and often much worse than that.
He gave me the opportunity to try two of his beers, ‘Chad’z Accidental Session Beer’ and his, ‘Dave & Chad’z, Meth Lab in a Bottle’.
Chad says that ‘Accidental’ was originally supposed to be a chocolate stout, but the yeast stalled in the primary so he stopped the brew at that point, and bottled it at an ABV of 3.94%. The ‘Meth Lab’ is modeled on a ‘West Coast Imperial IPA’ with an oak barrel influence – what ever that is! It comes in at around 8.53%.
Both of the beers looked REALLY good – I mean REALLY good. The colors were deep and rich, and the head, retention and lace were all excellent. I was suitably impressed.
‘Accidental’ essentially tasted a little like a slightly chocolate infused English Mild. I didn’t get much of the vanilla that Chad mentioned. The ‘Meth Lab’ certainly had some of the citrus orange notes that Chad mentioned, but for me suffered a bit from some solvent alcohol tastes. Both beers felt a little acidic to me.
To be honest, I would be absolutely delighted if I could home brew beer that looked as good as these both did, but I’m afraid the whole homebrew thing leaves me cold. Don’t get me wrong, if I could brew beer as competent as either of these I’d be pleased, but at the same time I would be surprised if someone else thought that my efforts would be any good.
To me, homebrew is a pretty straightforward thing. I can see the attraction of drinking and taking pride in my own, but when it comes to other peoples’ beer I’m not really interested – it usually disappoints.
Many thanks to Chad for taking the time, but I’m a really poor judge of such things and it’s probably wasted on me. Sorry.
I was a little surprised when you accepted my offer to send you the beer – have you ever reviewed a homebrew before? You don’t talk about homebrewing much as far as I can tell.
Were you drinking these out of plastic beer pong-style cups? O_o
The “oak barrel” influence in the “Meth Lab” DIPA was the oak spiral that came with the kit. I boiled it in water and then added it to the fermenter. If you drink it really warm it brings out a bit of a vanilla flavor. I probably did it wrong. Whatever, I still think that beer came out great. Reminds me of Stone Ruination. Not sure how you got solvent alcohol in it.
As for the session beer, I’m really surprised you didn’t get a lot of vanilla out of it. I used real Madagascar vanilla beans in the fermenter. Did you drink it too cold? I drink it a room temperature now and the vanilla flavor is quite strong on the back end. You might be mistaking the vanilla for chocolate anyway, since no actual chocolate was used in the brew – just crushed cocoa beans which impart a bit of spice and bitterness (all chocolate is made with vanilla anyway).
not sure what you meant by “…I would be surprised if someone else thought they were good.” Are you saying you think no one would like these beers, or just hypothetically if you homebrewed you don’t think anyone else would like them?
I have to say I’m really surprised and disappointed that you seem to have such a problem with homebrews. For someone who reveres beer as much as you do and seems to know so much I find it odd that you don’t homebrew yourself. You learn a lot of about beer by doing so. By turning your nose up at homebrew, homebrewing and homebrewers you risk alienating a lot of people and coming off as elitist (but what else is new?).
Well I’m glad you accepted the beers and drank and review them. I probably would have preferred an even more detailed critique but this was still interesting to read. Thanks and cheers.
Never reviewed any homebrew, ever, and as you noted, this is not a formal review, either. When I said, ‘I would be surprised….’, I was referring to any beer that I might brew, not yours (I’ve edited the post to make it clearer – apologies).
I don’t have a ‘problem’ with homebrew, it’s just that in 30 odd years of running into it, I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I thought, “Wow, I’d rather drink that than x, y, z commercial brews’. Having said that, I have been toying with the idea of getting back into it for a couple of years now (I last brewed about 25 years ago), but IF I did, I wouldn’t expect a single person on the planet to like it – as I say, I would see the attraction PURELY in terms of my own enjoyment/satisfaction.
As for ‘turning my nose up’, I don’t think I’m doing that, I’m simply calling it precisely as I see it. If people are ‘alienated’ or think me ‘elitist’, then that’s their problem. I can live with that!
Not a fan of “homebrew?” You, my friend, need to come to an Albany Brew Crafters meeting. We have some excellent brewers making beers that will change your mind. I guarantee it!
‘Guarantee’s’ are risky things!