BTT Brewing

I have many interests and opinions but when it comes to this blog I do my best to stick by my mission of making it the primary place on the internet for UMass hockey fans to go for all the up to date news and information on their team.  Still, once in a while other aspects of me as the author will come through.  And while I’ve done my best to keep focus on FTT’s primary purpose, I’ve actually gotten some good feedback on the other subject that has crept its way onto these pages; my love of beer.  It started with brewpub and beer bar suggestions on the Road Trip page I put together to help UMass fans plan when attending road games.  That developed into the Beer The Triangle feature that accompanies every game preview where I suggest a local watering hole and beer to go along with the games of the weekend.

So in that tradition, I thought I’d share how I now spend my offseasons (and a few in-season batches).  Brewing!  Yes, I’ve made the transition from beer snob to beer snob/brewer.  My equipment currently consists of a couple buckets, a capper, and some other various junk.  Beers are fermented and conditioned in my brewhouse which is really my 10 square foot laundry room.  Since the Beer The Triangle Brewing name derives from my other hobby, this blog covering UMass Minuteman hockey, I’ve decided the names of my beers will have to have something to do with UMass, hockey, or the American Revolution. Without futher ado, here are my beers, starting with the most recent:

Beer The Triangle Section U Summer 2012
Style:  Amber
Brewed:  7/1/2012
This beer an amber made with grains and malt but also includes two pounds of Orange Blossom honey.  I think this is a hit or miss beer for most people.  While I thought the honey would give it sweet, aromatic qualities instead it made it very tart.  And that made it excellent.  Why have a lemonade when you can have this beer?  I’ll put this up with some of the best beer I’ve made so far during my newly found hobby.

My Rating:   ▲▲▲▲ out of five triangles.

Beer The Triangle Conn Smythe
Style:  India Pale Ale
Brewed:  5/27/2012
This beer fermented throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs so I had to name it in tribute to UMass’ own Jon Quick and his playoff dominance.  This is a complex IPA with six different kinds of hops and has a unique flavor thanks to putting in some humidor wood from Cigar City Brewing when it was in secondary.  It’s potent, coming in about 7.5% ABV.  Overall it’s a solid IPA, very complex due to the multitude of hops.  The humidor wood instead of giving it a smoke flavor actually gives it a spicy kick.

My Rating: ▲▲▲1/2   out of five triangles.

Beer The Triangle Wolverine
Style:  Dunkelweizen
Brewed:  4/7/2012
I bought the ingredients for this dunkelweizen back around Christmas, planning for it to be a nice late winter/early spring beer to drink but with the the business of the hockey season that never happened.  Instead it’s turned out to be a pleasant surprise of the late spring/early summer.  Overall just a solid wheat beer with some sweetness to it.  It got the name as a tribute to Michigan hockey since I brewed it the day of the NCAA National Championship and the Wolverines not only won the first championship, but have won the most.

My Rating:   ▲▲▲1/2 out of five triangles.

Beer The Triangle St Patrick Keenan Stout
Style:  Irish Stout
Brewed:  12/17/11
I decided to make my own St Patrick’s Day stout this year and overall I was really happy with the results.  This was a dry stout using an Irish stout yeast.  Overall it had a great malt flavor and I thought was really well balanced in terms of hoppiness.  The only drawback was within a few weeks the bottles become very overcarbonated, which takes away from the taste a bit.  Nothing that opening a bottle and letting it air for a half an hour doesn’t cure.  I named this beer in honor of Patrick Keenan, UMass hockey’s all-time leading scorer.

My Rating:   ▲▲▲1/2 out of five triangles.

Beer The Triangle Unnamed
Style:  American Brown
Brewed:  10/2/11
This one was a blackberry brown, something I thought was a great idea at the time.  But good beer isn’t made with good ideas, it’s made with proper execution.  The first bottle of this was fantastic.  Within a week the bottles I opened were disappointing.  This one ended up just plain sour.  I’m not sure why but it may be a while before I try to make a fruity beer.  This one never got named because I never really enjoyed it.

My Rating:   ▲ out of five triangles.

Beer The Triangle Farewell McGuirk
Style:  Scottish Wee Heavy
Brewed:  9/3/11
Continuing with the strong beers I brewed this Scottish Wee Heavy for the winter months.  It came in at about 7.7% ABV.  Overall it was pretty good, but came out a little too sticky sweet for my taste.  It’s almost more of a dessert beer.  I debuted it at the final FCS football game played at McGuirk Stadium before UMass moved to the FBS and Foxboro, thus the name.

My Rating:   ▲▲▲ out of five triangles.

Beer The Triangle Norty
Style:  Strong Ale
Brewed:  8/21/11
What happens when you take a clone recipe for Stone’s Arrogant Bastard and switch the harsh chinook hops with sweet nugget hops?  I thought it turned out excellent.  A nice malty flavor without being overpowered by any kind of bitterness.  The nugget hops gives it a great aroma and a little sweetness.  I’ll make this one again.  Named after UMass enforcer Brad Norton because this 10.2% ABV beer will punch you right in the face.

My Rating:  ▲▲▲▲ out of five triangles.

Beer The Triangle Bye Week Rye
Style:  Porter
Brewed:  8/6/11
I was looking for a nice dark, but lightish beer for those September saturdays at McGuirk.  I thought, how about a dark rye beer.  But when I went looking for a good dark rye homebrew recipe, I couldn’t find one.  So I made my own.  It has a nice rye flavor but overall came out kind of thin.  Back to the drawing board.

My Rating:  ▲▲ out of five triangles.

Beer The Triangle Section U Summer
Style:  California Common
Brewed:  7/9/11
A california common is usually better known as a “steam beer” with Anchor Steam being perhaps the best well-known.  I brewed this one because I was looking for a lighter beer for those sweltering late summer days, but still something with substantial taste.  This style also appealled to me because while it uses a lager yeast, I could still ferment it in relatively high temperatures.  This was the first beer I brewed solo using just a recipe I found on my brewing iPhone app.  It debuted at the Section U Summer Cookout so I named it for the event.

My Rating:  ▲▲▲ out of five triangles.  Good rich taste.  I’m pretty happy with this one.

Beer The Triangle Declaration
Style:  India Pale Ale
Brewed:  6/12/11
I brewed this IPA, which used mostly Warrior hops, with a group of homebrewers I’ve become friends with over the years.  In fact our homebrewing club was recently featured by the American Homebrewers Association.  It was tough not to screw this up as my portion was just 5 gallons out of 40 total that was brewed under the direction of guys with decades of homebrewing experience.  We each did something different with our allotted potions. For mine I dry-hopped with citra hops.  Since the beer got bottled on Indpendence Day, it got the name Declaration.

My Rating:  ▲▲▲1/2 out of five triangles.  Yep, I’d pay good money for this beer.  Just a damn solid IPA.  The Warrior hops aren’t as overpowering as some of the others from the west coast, more of an earthy taste.  The citra hop addition adds some excellent fruity and even sweet notes.

Beer The Triangle Beren
Style:  Belgian Ale
Brewed:  5/15/11
My wife (known as Mrs. Triangle to some of you) bought me this Belgian Ale kit to go along with the brewing equipment for my birthday.  Of course I had to beer snobify it by adding some crushed corriander and orange peel spice.  Since this beer fermented and conditioned during the Bruins Stanley Cup run I named this belgian “Beren”, which is dutch for “bear”.

My Rating:  ▲▲ out of five triangles.  Pretty good for a first effort.  Unfortunately the orange peel spice I used gave it this bitter uderlying taste that lasts throughout the sip and then some (damn you beer snob!).  This taste has mellowed some as the beer has aged however and maybe someday I’ll re-rate this up.  It has been received well by my friend who got me into homebrewing.

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  1. Miscellaneousness « Fear The Triangle – UMass Hockey Blog
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  3. Beer The Triangle: NorCal Edition « Fear The Triangle – UMass Hockey Blog
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