More news of the Spanish Robust Porter brewed at Mateo & Bernabé with the help of Sublime Imports. 1000 liters went into red wine barrels. 200 liters was packaged as is. Here's my notes on the beer from one of the test bottles that didn't go in the barrel.
Appearance: Slightly warm brown color. Light head.
Aromas: Pumpernickle bread, dried fruit, caramel. Palo Santo or cedar notes.
Flavors: Dark dried fruit (figs and plums), brown bread, caramel - well balanced with slight hop bitterness and tannins and roast from the cold extracted dark grains. Again, wood like notes similar to cedar or Palo Santo.
Mouthfeel: Hovering around medium, but the pepper and wood notes in the dark grain tannins create a restrained and balancing astringent/dry finish.
Overall Impression: It's wonderfully nuanced. Somewhere between a Belgian Dubbel and a Robust Porter. Yeast esters are British, fruity. Malts, bitterness, and tannins are all balanced well. I think it will marry to the characters from the Rioja red wine barrels perfectly.
Someone told me today that what was happening at Beancurdturtle Brewing wasn't really clear, because I hadn't made an announcement. So, here goes...
Thanks to the generous support of Sublime Imports, Beancurdturtle Brewing LLC is an actual Gypsy Brewer. As real as any other Gypsy Brewer like Mikkeller, Pretty Things, and such - just fewer batches. I traveled to Spain in late November and concept collaboration brewed with two craft breweries to produce two fine beers that will be imported into the US. The Beancurdturtle Brewing logo will be on the label of beers at your favorite bottle shop, and the beer will be on draft at some exclusive craft beer venues.
The first, named "Valencia Saison", is a Saison with Valencian orange peel, rose hips, and orange blossom honey. I tried this off the fermenter, and was really pleased with everything about it. It's already conditioning in bottles and kegs - and the feedback from people who have tried it is very good. It should be available in the US, in two to three months, in limited markets. This beer was brewed at Premium Beers from Spain, the makers of unique and delicious craft beers like La Socarrada and Er Boquerón.
The second, as yet un-named, is a hybrid Robust Porter targeted to complement the characters of the Rioja wine barrels that it is now aging in. It should be chocolaty caramel rich, and carry the berry (red wine) and wood characters from the barrels very well. When it will be imported is based on the whims of the barrel. When the character is right, it will be bottled and kegged, and imported into the US. I'm going to guess around June. This beer was brewed at Mateo & Bernabé, an excellent craft brewery in the Rioja wine region of Spain.
So there you have it. My "Super Hobby" has transitioned into Gypsy Brewing thanks to Sublime Imports. So how can you be sure to get your hands on one of Beancurdturtle Brewing's beers? When you are at your favorite bottle shop or craft beer venue, ask them when they will be getting some of the great beers from Sublime Imports. A push from the bottom up will create the incentive necessary to get the distributors to take notice.
I checked with Rafa Suñer, Head Brewer at Premium beers from Spain (the brewers of La Socarrada and Er Boquerón) to see what his impressions are of the Saison we brewed there. He replied in Spanish, and I translated as best as I could: “I have tested the Saison and it is very good. I noted citrus orange touches, and the freshness of hops is apparent. The color is pale golden with intensity. And it has a lovely cream colored head that is appealing and lasts in the glass.”
Sublime Imports is currently working on the labeling and import approvals for this Saison, and should be distributing it in selected states in the USA within a couple months.
Sublime already imports La Socarrada and will be importing Er Boquerón (brewed with Mediterranean sea water) soon. I enjoy both of these beers very much.
Alberto Pacheco, Head Brewer at Mateo & Bernabé and Friends provided an update regarding the Spanish Robust Porter brewed at Mateo & Bernabé: "I took some bottles of the Spanish Robust Porter to an event. People liked it very much and asked me when we were going to commercialize it. I told them that it was going to be sent to USA."
A very limited import will be first for this beer - the portion that will not be wine barrel aged. It will be followed in a few months by about 1,000 liters that is now resting in red wine barrels from the Rioja region of Spain.
Also look for some very fine beers from Mateo & Bernabé to be imported to the US soon by Sublime Imports.
I brew a Belgian Quadrupel style at the beginning of every year, then bulk and bottle condition the beer for months. It's not a pilot batch to scale up, but a personal brew for a special treat for me and friends at the end of the year. I choose a commercial Quad as inspiration, and brew a similar beer - learning from the experience. The inspiration Quad this year is from La Trappe. I chose the La Trappe Quad mostly due to influences on my trip to Spain with Sublime Imports to brew with two craft breweries.
One of the breweries I worked with was Mateo & Bernabé & Friends. They make a really nice Belgian Dark Strong Ale called Santiago brewed with the T-58 yeast strain from Fermentis. This surprised me as most beers made with T-58 accentuate the dry and pepper characters of the yeast - but this beer expresses delicious fruitiness and caramel richness.
I also had the opportunity to try La Trappe's Dubbel, Tripel, and Quadrupel side by side while in Spain. I picked up characters very similar to what I'm familiar with from the Fermentis T-58 yeast strain. Since I enjoy La Trappe, and I also like working with T-58, I decided this year's BCT Quad 2014 would be similar to La Trappe, and brewed with the T-58 yeast strain.
A hybrid strong ale, aged in a Jack Daniel's barrel, with Cacao Nibs for a week, and Toasted Flaked Coconut just before bottling. Wee Oatmeal Old Ale Batch #1 is a crazy, warming, caramel coconut candy of a beer.