Bearded Brewer - Brewer Spotlight and Beer Tasting!

Two years ago I started brewing beer, and once I started All-Grain brewing I decided that I wanted to journal all of my beers for my own personal knowledge.  This was mainly because my memory is extremely bad. Also, this way I'd be able to look back,  evaluate what I'd done in an effort to learn what different ingredients, processes, and factors contributed the different flavors to my beers.   That desire to document my brewing sessions led me to start the Dank Brewing blog.  I really had no idea what I was getting into and soon realized that I had catapulted myself into a crazy universe of beer bloggers!  Once I got going on the blog I started finding other homebrew blogs, and bloggers, etc and reached out to some of them.  Eric at Bearded Brewing was the first blog I came across that I was extremely impressed with and in fact inspired me to make my blog mo betta.   I based my original template off of what Eric was doing at his own blog Bearded Brewing!   I liked that he mainly just dealt with his own brewing and didn't muttle it up with all other things craft beer related.  I really wanted my blog to mainly be my recipe's, my beers, and not much else.  

The Bearded Brewer, and his blog are exceptional in many ways.  First off I was drawn towards him and his blog because of his use of primarily if not exclusively organic ingredients.  This is very unique in the brewing world, and I'd imagine when he started, not an easy task to do.  It's extremely hard to create a recipe using ONLY organic ingredients.  It really lends to the more artistic side of recipe formulation!  Second off he makes all of his own Bearded Brewing beer labels which are really well done.  He's developed his own brand!

I had the pleasure of meeting Eric Vernon aka Bearded Brewer about a month ago at Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis and we talked for a while and exchanged some homebrews.  We've already talked about exchanging more beers, and I'm extremely excited to sample El Muerto, The Gringo and The Funky Monk!  Hook me up man!

Here are the beers that I got to sample of Eric's and my tasting notes and thoughts!

Stout Chocula - Bourbon Barrel Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout.

Aroma- great aroma of bourbon, oak, and chocolate.  I was expecting to get more coffee in the nose, but the chocolate and bourdon is really working for me!
Appearance-Nice dark appearance with a beige head that sticks at about a finger and then a slowly dissipates.
Flavor- Bourbon, Oak, chocolate, and a tiny bit of roast coffee. 
Mouthfeel- Smooth mouthfeel, and a perfect amount of carbonation.  A little bit thin but that actually makes this a more sessionable beer.
Overall- This is a super well balanced Stout.  For all of the complex ingredients el beardo does an amazing job of balancing all of these flavors.   The oak and bourbon are fantastic in this one.  Typically oak and bourbon completely overpower beers and this is a true example of blending complex flavors to achieve a cohesive product!

Burning Beard-Belgian Pale Ale

Aroma- spicy yeast in the aroma, peppery, with a citrus and slight banana coming through as well.  The yeast dominate this beer
Appearance-Nice orange appearance.  Not a ton of head and doesn't stick around too long.  Maybe a little under-carbonated for the style. 
Flavor- Flavor is almost like a dreamsicle, smooth orangy citrus, creamy,a little bit of spice.  Very complex and extremely well balanced. 
Mouthfeel- Light bodied with low level of carbonation.  Would be nice with a little more carbonation to intensify some flavors.
Overall-This is a beer that I could drink every single day.  It's so drinkable!  It's soo well balanced.  If you like a spicy belgian ale, with citrus, maybe some pepper, orange then you got to get your hands on some Burning Beard!    Finely crafted ale! 
Frozen Beard- Winter Ale

Aroma- Loads of anise in the nose, a little bit like fennel.  It's really the only aroma I get.
Appearance - Dark chocolate appearance with an off white head that dissipates quickly.
Flavor- Flavor is primarily caramel malts.  The hops balance it out nice, as it warms the sweetness and caramel come out much more into the forfront.  The anise and the sweetness work really good together.  The back of the throat finishes with a bit of roast.   I think a little chocolate malt would really complement this beer.
Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with low level of carbonation. 
Overall-  I really enjoyed this unique Stout.   I've only had star anise in a Saison in the past and I think it works really well in a Stout so kuddos to el beardo for piecing that part of the flavor puzzle together.  There is a lot going on in this beer and it's really tasty.  The anise in the aroma is pretty overwhelming and I wish the flavor had a little more roasted malt complexity. A little less star anise, and a little more roast and this would be amazing!

Embrace the Darkside - American Black Ale/ Black IPA

Aroma- great aroma citrus, pine and some earthiness.
Appearance-Nice dark appearance with a beige head that sticks at about an finger and then a slowly dissipates.Nice dark color with a two finger head.
Flavor- Flavor is a little bit off for some reason.  Very earthy, a bit astringent, and just kinda a bit off.  Not sure if the black malt was steeped a little high, or the warrior hops are too earthy.  Possibly the extract was not so fresh?
Mouthfeel- This was a little bit thin and would benefit from a little bigger mouthfeel.
Overall- This one probably didn't turn out how el beardo wanted it too.   I can't put my finger on it exactly but something was a bit off in this bad boy.  The aroma was great but things went a little weird after that.

I'm really happy that Eric and I finally met up!   I can't wait to exchange more beers in the future.

 ***My favorite beer of this swap was by far the Burning Beard - Belgian Pale!  Damn that is one fine ale!  Another example of this style is New Glarus - Stone Soup and I'd take Burning Beard over Stone Soup any day...and that's saying somethin!  Nice Work Eric!  Keep up the good work, and keep spreading the word of Organic Brewing!
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