Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yak’s RIS (Russian Imperial Stout)

image If you can drink Yak’s RIS, you can drink just about anything!  The Ginger Beer was supposed to last a month and only lasted 7 days….so we are releasing the next beer in the Haunted Beer Series early on Friday Dec 30th: a Russian Imperial Stout.  This style is thought by some to be the biggest, darkest, hoppiest, most alcoholic style of beer out there.  Two famous beers that even have their own celebratory day, Darkness from Surley and Dark Lord from Three Floyds were both based upon this style. 

The short history of the style is that it was produced in London England for an export to Russia (apparently Catherine the Great enjoyed this beer) and had to be bigger for two reasons (1) to handle the traveling the distance and (2) those Russians wanted something that would keep the hair on their chests (it gets cold during the winter).

Stylistically, this beer can be between 8-12% and Yak’s RIS lands around the halfway point at 9.8% ABV.  Black as night, very roasty, bitter chocolate with dark fruit notes from the malt and yeast esters.  This beer can have some harshness if served too young, so I’ve aged it 3 extra months for a smoother finish.

Stop by this weekend for a glass if you think the hair on your chest is thinning…


Monday, December 26, 2011

Cherry Porter

image After the success of the peppermint porter, we are hedging on and releasing the cherry porter this Wednesday at 4PM.  Sweet and tart simultaneously for that great cherry flavor (not a cough syrup or artificial flavor, but real Michigan cherries!)  The chocolate from the porter and the cherries give you the illusion of a chocolate-covered cherry, but I have to stretch my imagination to think it is a close match, but after having about 10 of these, I could tell you anything and you’d probably believe me.

Cherries belong to a special class of fruit called stone fruit and since I have already posted about cherries during my Wheat Wednesday blog this summer, I will just attach a link to the history and trivial facts about cherries here.

One quick note about cherries and Michigan: 75% of the nations production of tart cherries come from Traverse City, MI and it is known as the Cherry Capital of the World! 

Lastly, cherries are quite good for you as they are high in potassium, vitamin B and C, antioxidants, melatonin, and flavonoids.   Flavonoids?!  are they like IceBreakers “flavor-crystals”?  I’m not sure, but if they contain flavonoids, then dang, this beer is going to be good!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Haunted Series: Ginger Beer

image The next beer is already released for our Haunted Series: Ginger Beer, no relation to Ginger Fred (ask a regular next time you are at the bar if you want to hear the story).  This beer is designed after a colonial ale, which were usually dark, contained molasses and spices, like ginger, to cover up the poor quality of beer that was actually being produced.  This beer is poor quality or a mistake, I just love ginger and hope some of you will come to appreciate this spice if you don’t already.

This was a take on a homebrew recipe I did years ago and it was a smash hit.  We even managed to use some of this to make Moscow Mules, where Ginger Ale (Beer) is a key ingredient.  Low amounts of English hops, higher alcohol (just over 7%) and nearly a pound of fresh shredded ginger root make this a real treat in the glass.  If you want to learn more about the spicy ginger root, read on:

  • the root is technically a rhizome not related but similar to hops and peppermint
  • part of the genus/family Zingiberaceae which also contains: turmeric, cardamom and ganagal (no wonder it found it’s way into Indian cuisine)
  • white and pink buds bloom into yellow flowers on the plant
  • flavors come from volatile oils including: gingerols, zingerone, shogaols
  • in Nepal it is called “aduwa”
  • India produces more ginger than any other country in the world
  • Cholesterol-free and repels vampires…wait, no that’s garlic.
  • her best friend is Mary-Ann

Uses besides putting in beer:

  • drinks: tea, coffee, soda (ginger ale), wine, and schnapps!
  • pickled ginger with sushi or seafood
  • spice for soup, salad, cheese and icecream
  • candied ginger or other desserts like ginger cake
  • works well in barbeque sauce, marmalade, dressings and dips
  • gingerbread cookies and ginger snaps!
  • medicinally for seasickness, nausea and chemotherapy also diarrhea and blood thinnerimage
  • pumpkin pie spice

I personally really like pickled ginger and usually request extra when eating Japanese or sushi.  I tried to eat a bag of  candied ginger once, but it was a bit TOO spicy and instead used it for baking.   I also remember decorating our annual gingerbread house with mom when growing up. (we always tried to eat it 2 months later, but it was too tough and stale) What else do you use ginger for? 

I hope you enjoy this beer as much as I do.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Peppermint Porter, just in time for Christmas

image This Wednesday at 4PM we’ll release the next beer in our Wednesday Porter Series….a Peppermint Porter.  Wow, I snuck a taste and am elated on how great it tastes.  No candy or artificial flavorings in this beer…I took organic peppermint tea (leaf cut) and sanitized it in a little water (making a strong tea) and added to the Porter.   Definitely a beer that Kris Kringle would like!  For those that want to learn some trivial facts about Peppermint…read on.

  • Peppermint is actually a hybrid of the watermint and spearmint plants
  • it is a perennial that is easily propagated with rhizomes, beer lovers should be familiar with rhizomes.
  • the flowers are purple (funny because not many peppermint candies are colored purple…)
  • one word: menth (plant contains: menthol, menthone, menthyl esters (acetate), menthofuran)
  • also contains eucalptol and pinene (which is present in some hop varieties)
  • medicinally was used for indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, cancer treatment, memory loss, IBS and other abdominal pains
  • medicinally is also used to treat halitosis…LOL!
  • Peanut’s character Peppermint Patty’s real name is Patricia Reichardt

Uses for Peppermint besides putting in beer:

  • Candy, cookies, ice cream and other confections
  • GUM! remember Beech-nut or Freedent?
  • toothpaste flavoring
  • candles, air fresheners and other smelly things
  • there are 344 recipes posted on for peppermint recipes
  • schnapps!  Those Germans love their Rumplemintz
  • what other uses do you know of?

Who doesn’t love Peppermint!  come down and get some York Sherpa Porter Patty, or something like that.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Barrel-aging at the Yak and Yeti

Leopold BBL1Yup, first time for the Yak. I have become acquaintances with the Leopold brothers since moving to the Denver area and am impressed by their processes, products and personalities. Here are some photos of my new barrel stand holding Barrel #5 of the Rye Whiskey from Leopold Bros. Todd tells me that I’m the first brewer to put any beer in one of his Rye Whiskey barrels (New Belgian and Avery do not have a shortage of his other flavored barrels).

You typically need something that is strong flavored to hold enough backbone in order to combat the first-time-use flavors from a keg. So the Sherpa Porter is going to be our first candidate. I’m pretty excited because I’ve read a lot about barrel beers and have drank my fair share, but this will be my first attempt to barrel-age something. All my experiences have been toasted oak cubes, chips, spirals and the chips soaked in different types of liquors to simulate being from a liquor barrel.

Since the beer that sits with time develops more flavors, I will probably release a keg every so often and each keg will be slightly different from the last since they all had different exposure times to the wood.

Stay tuned for when we “roll out the barrel”…


Monday, December 12, 2011

Vanilla Porter Release Wed Dec 14th

image The next beer for our Wednesday release is a Vanilla Porter.  Fortunately, since I already did research and blogged about my Vanilla Wheat before, I don’t need to spend much time on this post.  For those that want to know interesting factoids about vanilla, like it is a vine, a flower and a fruit, you can visit my previous post. 

My first vanilla porter was made about 6 years ago and was a response to Empyrean’s Dark Side Vanilla Porter.  Since moving to Colorado, I find it hard not to acknowledge two other famous vanilla porters in the area: Breckenridge Brewery and Dry Dock Brewing Co who got a silver at the 2011 Colorado State Fair for theirs.

For everybody else who doesn’t care and just wants the details so they can drink it: Wed Dec 14th at 4PM at the Olde Town Yak.


Monday, December 5, 2011

11-11-11 Pumpkin Ale release Friday Dec 9

image This was a collaboration beer brewed on 11-11-11 (the mash was vorlauf’d at 11:11AM as well) between Adam at the Yak and Yeti, Dana Johnson and Phil Rohrs, who are both homebrewers from the KROC club.  I gave a heads up that this beer was coming in a previous blog.

The beer release party will be on Friday afternoon starting around 3PM at the brewpub in Arvada.  Happy hour until 6PM assures that the beers will be $1.50 off regular prices.  Both Dana and Phil will be around to take the blame for anything that doesn’t taste right.

Speaking of taste, the beer is fairly big, finishing at 6.6% ABV and isn’t your typical golden to orange pumpkin beer.  This is a darker version that has real pumpkin, pumpkin spices (nutmeg, clove, cinnamon) as well as vanilla added directly to the keg. 

Lastly, I realize this is released later than most pumpkin beers, but December and Christmas is usually when “spiced-beers” are typically released, so we’re right on schedule.  You can always try our Chai Milk Stout and get two spiced beers in the same evening.  Hope to see you Friday for the release!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tamarind Chutney Porter

image “Interesting” you say?  So do I.  I never heard of tamarind until recently, which I’ve learn is a tropical fruit indigenous to tropical Africa.   This beer will be available after 4PM this Wednesday (Dec 7th).  We put the tamarind chutney (which is also spiced with I don’t know what, but I think cayenne pepper is involved) as a mainstay on our salad bar.  The reason I chose to flavor the porter with this was (a) it was accessible, (b) I really was digging the dark fruit flavors which are complimentary in dark ales like porter.   I get flavors of tart cherry and raisin with hints of spiciness when I taste the tamarind chutney alone, and these flavors come through in the porter as well.  For those that want to learn more trivial facts about this fruit:

  • Technically the fruit is an indehiscent legume, but usually referred to as a “pod”
  • The arabic term “tamar hind” means “Indian Date.”
  • used for medicinal treatments including: colds, constipation and chronic diarrhea
  • fruit pulp was used to polish brass in temples
  • tree can be used for ornamental or for cash crops
  • a mature tree can produce upto 350lbs of fruit
  • ring-tailed lemurs consider it a favorite, their diet can consist 50% of the tamarind
  • leaves of the tree can be eaten as a vegetable
  • popular in Mexico to flavor agua frescas
  • used in western culture to flavor Worcestershire sauce and HP sauce
  • there are a set of restaurants in New York that use the name
  • there is an art institute in New Mexico that uses the name

Homebrewers are crazy and have probably already tried this unique combination at some point, but I may be the first brewery to commercially offer a tamarind porter, you might want to stop by and give it a try.