Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Light March

was what i was hoping for and a light March is what i got.

The  estimation site Estimated March at 6.8 units a day or 211 units for the month. All told i averaged 7.97 units a day or 247 units for the Month. Which works out at £118 for March about £18 above what was estimated. In other good news, it looks like the feed in tariffs are due for there yearly inflation increase and if i have understood correctly the Tarrifs will rise by 4.8% from next month from 41p to 43p a unit generated.

As we move into the summer months once again i set a new maximum for a day at 17.7units on the 24th of March. The Lowest day ever was also recorded in March at only 0.4 Units on the 12 of March, however we had about half an inch of snow the previous night, and the day remained overcast. So the fact the enough snow melted to generate even 0.4 units was a surprise to me.

All told the performance of the system has been slightly better than the estimation site and considerably better than the figures that i used for my cost analysis. So we have one happy green bunny. Let hope the Sun continues to shine.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Its a Bitch

When you have to drink good beer.

Well last night Brewdog Bar Edinburgh had a "Soft" open, this turns out to be opening before its really open, if that makes any sence. Or more simply opening before the official Launch night. In fact so soft was the opening that i only knew it was actually open 15 minutes before it opened. Ok i had heard rumour but no real news. Until 5:45 when it was tweeted that the bar was opening in 15 minutes. Now this turned out to not be quite true i think it might have been 16 or 17 minutes. All told the Brewdog bar opened about a minute after the work being done was complete.

Now ive been lucky to have been to both brewdog bars, and they are quite interesting, Brewdog have said that theyve gone for a common feel without an identical look and you know what i think they have got that right

The outside of Brewdog Aberdeen

The outside of Brewdog Edinburgh

The inside of Brewdog Aberdeen
 The Inside of Brewdog Edinburgh

The Aberdeen Bar

The Edinburgh Bar(will try get a landscape shot)

And a Stoatally Ridiculous  Photo

Now onto my thoughts.
So lets start with my gripe, even if lots of you tune out now.
This is a GREAT bar, its a Fantastic addition to Edinburgh, but it fails to be a world class bar for me, and that for one simple reason. No Cask beer. Now im a cask beer fan , and ive long nailed my colours to the mast. But im no Keg hater, I love brewers like Mikkeller, De Molen and De Struise, and there not known for cask beer. But ive seen my perfect Bar , its  Brasserie 4:20 in Rome, and the brewdog bar could have so easily have beer this. The perfect mix of the best of Cask, Keg and bottles.

Brewdog do some great Cask beer, the Edge is a Stunning beer and is in the top 1% of all beers ive tried. I love the Hardcore on cask, though i appreciate others prefer keg. But many of the brewdog beers are great on Cask. Then there are other Small Craft Cask Brewers who are producing beer that doesnt get to shine in main stream outlets. A great Example of this is Kernel who have bottles at the Brewdog bar and do occasionaly Cask beer, would it not be WONDERFUL to find cask Kernel, the likes of Hardknott or Marble.

I can appreciate that Brewdog think the Cask market is covered and they want to do there own thing, But im sure they could have sold Cask beer that would not normally be seen. How often do we see 7%+ in Edinburgh Pubs, Im also sure Brewdog could have afforded to charge the Real price of these beers, which is not 3.50 a pint. I would Orgasm if i walked in and found  Old Chimney Good King Henry on Cask (my favourite UK Bottle and in my top 10 beers)

But gripe over lets get back to just how Fantastic the Brewdog bar is, and it is Fantastic. It offers 12 taps, (they were not all connected) and from what i can gather 6 will given over to the Brewdog core range, and the other 6 to Brewdog Specials and guest beers from the likes of Mikkeller, De Struise, Left Hand and Great Divide.
Now these are beers we have not seen in Edinburgh up to now, and as far as im concerned having been a fan of many of the brewers that are likely to be on the Guest tap, The Brewdog Bar is a MUST establishment.
(Id rather drink the brewdog core range else where on cask ;-} )

On the Soft opening they had Left Hand Imperial Stout, Flying Dog Raging Bitch and the one that everyone i knew started with  Mikkeller Vesterbro Kaffestout , not a bad start for 'soft' opening night

And then theres the Bottle list
heres a link to the fullsize version

Now here is where i Stand Up for brewdog. It was sugested by some people that the bottle list is too dear, and there are a few that seem oddly priced but I trade a lot, i buy a lot of these types of beer when i travel, and yeah they are a little dearer than i normally pay, but these are Bar prices not Shop prices and as such fairly reasonably priced. Now dont get me wrong if you go out and drink a few of these bottles you may find yourself laying out 30 or 40 Quid. (many 750 are about £12 quid and i paid £12 quid for a Nogne Red Horizon 250ml bottle, but you know what it was worth it)

Dont get distracted, if you want to pay £3.50 a pint then the brewdogs core range is there and will keep you in good stead, if your happy paying a little more then the guest tap list will see you right, but if your looking for something special then the bottle list is second to none of any bar in Scotland, and if things goto plan will rival many of the best bars south of the border. I could easily pick 10 or 15 beers of that list and tell you why i think this beer is special. Many of the beers on this list aren't just good beers but are Great Beer, the Struise Pannepot is on the list of beers i regularly force upon people as an example of a WORLD class beer.

I look forward to drinking in the bar on many occasions.  

Read a second take on the Brewdog bar from the beer cast crew with whom i spend the evening here

Oh and a photo of my and my mate at the Real Opening

Saturday, 12 March 2011

A Light tasting

Tonight ive got a few people round for a tasting.
This is my favourite way of drinking. A few good folks round with a few good beers to hasten the night on its way. I got into beer because ive always enjoyed a real ale or two. But discovering rate beer opened my eyes to a wider variety of beer, but better still it opened my world to a whole selection of beer lovers.

Beer lovers are great, on the whole theyre amazingly generous as any one who seen the number of free beer competitions going on in Rate beer over the last month. But the best thing about a tasting is that  a great beer shared is doubled in value as you get everyone else's enjoyment as well as your own, and if the beer is bad then you all share in the pain and suffering, and finally there's a beer that i just dont like but other do.  In that case the beers not wasted the way it would have been had i to suffer it on my own or dump it down the sink.

So as always we start with a basic selection pulled out of the cupboard of love
and we will mostly drink from this, but as the night goes on and we chat, a beer may come up or maybe just a style or brewery and then its off i go to dig out something or other. Now theres only about 4 of us this evening so i dont expect to drink more than half of whats out, but what ever remains will just go back into the cupboard for the next tasting.

Tonight its Me, the Wife, Blair, and BeercastRich  and we opened the evening with a Firestone walker Parabola as a few people had been raving about that one recently. Including @ who said "arguably the best beer I've ever had!" when he saw it in the Photo.

Well when i said we, i actually meant me, as the others started with a little of the Marble beers i kept that i opened last night. They were both to good, not to allow the others to try. But the first Fresh bottle of the evening was the Parabola and it poured deep black with a lovely tan head ... wonderfull molasis roast (see Ratebeer for my full badly worded ill considered verdict in every beer :-})

Then onto Beer 2. Pliney the Elder. A total contrast but a wonderfully balanced double IPA. Too well balanced hides its 8% very well
Next up is a coffee IPA from Kernel... When i first heard of Mikkeller doing an Coffee IPA i though WOW i want that and so far have failed, but only a week or so later i heard of the Kernal Coffee IPA. I think there too close to be copying so must just be a freaky coincidence ... and man am i glad that ive got to try this ... It was really quite nice, This was followed by London Brewers Alliance porter which was pretty decent.

 Then we had the first fail of the evening. Kuhnhem Bourbon Barrel Barley wine ... this was full of a odd cheesy bourbon ... very odd and didnt work for me.
So we had to have another bourbon barley wine just to see , Central waters 2008 vintage much more balanced.

this is getting harder to keep up as i get a little more tipsy so im going to sign off after this one.
We moved onto  Rockyard Imperial Red... oddly this US beer isnt on Ratebeer... well it is now but its gonna be rated by three guys in Edinburgh and no Americans ... how very odd.still it was light spicy red ale.

well we went on to have a few more that evening including Weyerbacher fourteen and the Amager Olbutikken % of which there were only 120 bottles, but the star of the evening was the Nogne O Dark horizon 3.

Which was divine.
Black... light smoky roast chocolate malt nose (but not fishy or ashtray like) ... sweet chocolate ... light coffee roast ... very sweet chocolate sily rich front .. cold sugary coffee ... silky smooth .. light vanilla ... wonderful body ... very smooth .. easy drinking and just divine.... i love it.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

How many is too many

In an effort to get more comments in my blogs :-) Today im asking

How many beers is too many to have at home.
How many do you have, are they for drinking, ageing or trading.

I'll start off. Ive got way to many, and they fall into all four categories. About 33% of them are for drinking,
mostly single bottles of different beers, but 4 or 5 of my Favourite beer that i like to have a few for those days i just need a familiar beer.
About 5% of them are must share beers. This is probably only 3 or 4 different beer but ive usually got a dozen or so of them, to make sure that i can share them with people who have never tried them.
About 55% of them are trading beer, beer that i think people across the pond might want.
Then theres about 15% of them ( i know that dont add up to 100 but thats cause some fall into more than 1 category) that are ones that im trying to age.

But the problem is not so much how many i have, but that i seem to buy them faster than i drink them. With an ever growing number of ones laying down to age or storing for trading.

Has beer taken over your house. Along with the huge pile of trading boxes it has mine.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Session #49 -Regular beer

Well i haven't been invited but im guessing it ok to Gate Crash a session so here goes. As i fairly active member of ratebeer and an individual that has always liked variety, I very rarely drink more than a half of anything in an Evening and i very rarely drink the the same beer twice in a month.

The beer world is massive, and while i nip to the pubs a few lunch time and drink in at home most evenings, usually if the choice is there it will be something new. There are beers i will drink again when i see them but id not go so far as to call them regular, and sticking to my preference there almost all stouts or porters. These would be beers like Mauldons Black Adder , or Deeside Talorcan , even Cairngorm Black Gold all of which are great pub pints. Then there are beers id love to see again such as Stewart Chilli Reekie  or Highland Old Norway but again These beers are only ever going to be drunk on a as they appear bases. 

So when i think of a regular beer i tend to think of a beer i would always have in at home and buy regularly. An for me in the end this comes down to an easy decision. It not a beer i drink every week but its a beer i would hate not to have in the house, its a beer that i love to share with other people, and its one of my Favourite beers and its Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve  .
Well i may be a little odd in choosing  a 9% beer. But it is probably the beer i drink most often in any given year. Ok its not a regular every week beer but i dont have a single beer i would want to drink every week. As i started by saying, i like variety. Variety is the spice of life. Im glad that i see new beers ever week, but im also glad that my local pubs get the great cask beers that im always happy to see again. But if i had to choose one beer to drink for the rest of my life it would be the Good King Henry Special Reserve.

So there you have it. I put forward as my Regular beer a 9% oak aged Stout. Im happy with my choice and i look forward to the next time i fancy a bottle. I'll toast you all, and toast regular beer whatever that means to you.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Stewart Coconut Porter Launch

ok im gonna try blogging as i go with randon updates, and lots of spelling mistakes.

so do check back for more info later .

just arrived. sitting down a ,n hour early with Blair whos also here early. incidently he 1 of my 3 did you get that 3 follower. man im famous.

ive got the hopped up IPA from stewarts in front of me.
nice crasp glear golden amber ... thin white lacing ... huge lemon zeztyness ... little sulpherus sugesting its maybe still a little green ... sweet resiny rich lemon zezty hop ... rich fruits ... lots of hop ... really liking this one rate score 7 3 8 4 16 = 3.8

So off to a good start

next up is Stewarts 80 . This was originally brewed for one pub in edinburgh to replace Mcewans 80 when the cask version was pulled, but has now spread far and wide .

deep copper red ... thin bubbly off white head ... dark rich sweet plum and cherrry toffee roast nose ... dark rich woody ... dark cherry fruits ... light sweeet roast .... this is just my kind of beer 4.0

bring on the coconut porter

ok again i think this is again a little too young and will get better with a little more time to breath
dark red black ... thin tan head ... little sulpherous nose ... light chocolate .... light coconut nose ... dark choolate ... light roast ... definite coconut linger ... light earth husky coconut ... finish ... well i think this is ok... not stunning but think it may well be uch better after 1 or 2 more days conditioning... and personallly an extra percent or to o ABV might have helped 7 3 8 4 15 = 3.7

but boy the events a sucess. places is mobbed .. and there a great crowd of the beer geeks out.

Post event round up.
While it wasnt clear when i first arrived just how many people were there for the Launch event, this soon became clear when the announcement that the porter was commencing.
Suddenly the bar was 4 deep and about a dozen wide. 1 memmber of staff was just pouring pint after pint while the others served punters from those she had poured. Unfortunatly for @beerCastRich when he got to the front he was right in front of the handpull and this turned out to be the worst location as he was never being served what with the staff member in front of him busy pulling the pints. But eventually he got the round in (thank man) and we all got sunk in.

All told they sold 18G in just over 1hour. Which is some going in anyones book.

 But the best bit is seeing Steve continue to inovate in ther beers. Its great to see the dried hop version of his IPA, the winter spiced #3 at bow festival and the Amazing Chilli reekie that MUST appear in mini cask its good not to. But better yet hes clearly keen to keep the new beers coming on top of whats a great Core range. His #3 is a great malty  bitter and one of favourite beers.

Lets hope we see many more beer