Hobbit Beer

There’s been a rush of craft beer this holiday season. And with craft beer, variety and obscurity seem to be the thing to draw you in. So I want surprised when these started to pop up in stores for $15 a bottle. 


No, I didn’t give in and buy them as soon as I saw them. I did laugh though. Now here it is, a few months later and lo and behold, they are still in stores. Only now I did buy 5 bottles. But that is for two reasons. 

1. They need to be moved and are marked down to $2 a bottle. 

2. If they turn out to be horrible beers, they were only $2 a bottle. 

3. If they turn out to be horrible beers, it’s ok, cause at least they are 8 and 9.5% abv respectively.

Smaug Stout with chili peppers
(brewed by Fish Tale Ales brewery)

At 8.5 % abv, you can taste the alcohol. Probably the first thing I noticed. It has a pleasantly  smooth aroma that is welcoming to my nose. It smells almost chocolately. Quite lovely. The mouthfeel is lighter than I expected. Kind of pleasant. Especially since they are 1 pint 6fl oz. bottles. At 65 IBU, it leans more towards the bitter side, which I don’t prefer in a stout. That said, I don’t know what hops were used, but they do blend nicely with the roastiness of the barley. The beer claims to have chills in it, but if it did, I didn’t notice. The roasted flavor was a little overwhelming and probably washed out the pepper. 

Overall, a fairly tasty beer, though a bit too bitter. One is all you really need with this one though. Which is too bad for me cause I still have to try the Belgian style tripel. 

look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.69/5


Belgian Style Tripel:
(brewed by Fish Tale Ales brewery)

I admit, I don’t have too much experience with tripels and I’m writing this with my BJCP style guides open. I hope that helps in my rating beer.

Because I have no experience with Tripels, I feel like I’m not giving this beer a proper chance. I don’t feel like this accurately represents a tripel. It’s color is about all I see in similarity. And maybe it’s effervescence. But there is not much clarity. It poured hazy with a 1.5 inch white head.

 I was expecting some spicy and peppery, but I catch very little of that. It’s moderate fruity esters are more than moderate. The guidelines clearly state “Marriage of spicy, fruity and alcohol flavors supported by a soft malt character”.  I taste no marriage here. The alcohol, though high at 9.5% abv, is low and sneaks in at the end, but not as low as the spiciness. By far the fruity esters wear the pants in this “marriage” with hints of coriander peel and banana. There is also a sense of wheat as well which I int think is characteristic of tripels. 

I’m sorry, but I’m just not a fan. No, I don’t have experience with Tripels, and after drinking this, I think I can still say the same. 

look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.18/5


Donating Beer

Well, I can’t sell my beer. That’s ok though. I can still donate it.

I decided to donate a mixed 12 pack of beer to WCC’s Hoolaulea last month. Seeing as how I didn’t want to have Gordon Biersch labels all over my beer publicly, I whipped up some names and descriptions, threw them on some labels, and taped them all to bottles and a box. What I donated was 6 bottles of my toasty dark stout and a honey Oktoberfest style beer. They were both delicious beers and were very well received. I’m very excited to have been able to donate these.

Short and Stout
Short & Stout exceeds expectations. At 8% Roast Barley and 8% Chocolate Malt, there is a distinct roastiness that is beautifully balanced by a chocolatey smoothness.

Fallen Nectar
Only beer conforming to the Reinheitsgebot, and brewed within the city limits of Munich, can be served at the Munich Oktoberfest. Fortunately or unfortunately for you, you are not there. You are here. And that means you are enjoying this amazing Fallen Nectar which does not conform to Reinheitsgebot, nor was brewed within the city limits of Munich, yet is delicious all the same. Fallen Nectar is made with 5 lbs of clover honey, 7 lbs of malted barley, and 2 ounces of the finest hops. What this gives you is a flavor so full and rich, it must be good for you.* Enjoy.


German Pretzel

German Pretzels

With all my beer making, I’ve learned that I am generally a fan of German-style beers. I’m particularly a fan of the Dunkelweizen and Märzen variety. Now that Oktoberfest is over, and I’ve come out of my jealousy coma, I decided I want to make pretzels. This will go good with my beer, no? So I did. I remembered that I had found a pretzel recipe a while back that I had bookmarked. So with great efforts of patients, as I was assisted by the sugared up Leif, I made pretzels.

German Pretzel


2 1/4 cup flour
3/4  cup Milk (lukewarm)
1/2 tsp salt
1 package dry bread yeast
1 tbsp butter (at room temperature)
sea salt (for the top)

For the Soda Water
4 1/4 cup water
3 tbsp baking soda



  1. Mix yeast with some drops of milk and sugar; let it raise for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Mix this dough with salt, flour, milk and butter; knead it until you get a smooth dough. Let it raise again for 1/2 – 1 hr at a warm place. The dough should double.
  3. Sprinkle flour on a baking board and knead thoroughly with your hands, then form a roll and cut it into 6 parts of the same size (or 3 parts if you want to make large pretzels).
  4. Of each dough piece make a 12″ or longer roll; ends should be thinner than the middle.
  5. Form pretzel and let them raise for another 15 minutes.
  6. Place it in the fridge and let it rest for 1 hour.
    1. Before the hour is over bring 1 liter water to a boil and dissolve 3 tbsp baking soda (not at once, slowly because the soda will cause the water to become quite bubbly).
  7. Place each pretzel into the boiling soda water for about 30 seconds; with a slotted spoon take them out, let them drip and sprinkle coarse salt on top.
  8. Place them on a greased baking tray (don’t use baking paper), and bake them for 15 minutes (or 18 minutes for larger size pretzels) at  425? F in oven. They are done when they show a golden brown color.

1000 Bottles of Beer

I’ve been on a mission this year. My goal for 2014 was to brew 100 gallons of beer. That is the legal limit for home brewing in Hawaii. After that, I’m supposed to pay taxes, get a permit, acquire a license, or something or other. It is now November of 2014 and I have only 10 more gallons to brew. You can check out all the beers I’ve brewed so far, including recipes, photos, and blurbs about what I’ve been doing.


Rainy Brew Day

When you’ve been waiting three weeks to brew a batch of beer, you don’t care if it’s raining out or not. When beer needs to be brewed, it needs to be brewed. And so I did. Take a little crystal 10, peaked malt, flaked corn, and maris otter, add it to some pale LME, throw in some amarillo and irish moss, mix the results with some safale, and what do you get? I’m not sure. It’s not done fermenting yet. But when it does, I’ll be sure to let you know. I’m as curious as you are. Actually, I’d be willing to bet I’m way more curious than you are. 20131111-203704.jpg 20131111-203721.jpg 20131111-203821.jpg 20131111-203907.jpg