Day 128 and Beer Club

Two classes on Thursday; packaging and sensory.

The first packaging class was all about the history of liquid containers, then looking at the pros and cons of glass and aluminum bottles, cans, kegs, casks and PET. Lots of information, 98 PowerPoint slides worth. We didn’t get through it all, as Rob shared a lot of anecdotal information that he has gained from experience over the years.

I feel that the most important slide was #7, that this is one that knowingly or unconsciously I’ll be coming back to the most:

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.59.02 AM


Sensory class was next, with a new professor. Victor is a BJCP judge who I met briefly while stewarding the OBA’s last year, and is teaching us all about beer styles based on the BJCP style guidelines (2008). This class was mostly an introduction to the BJCP, and ended with me emailing a few people within a decent driving radius who were hosting entrance exams in 2015 to see if anyone has a seat (Yes, got one in Buffalo in August).

Beer Club

The first one of the year was a wild card. It looks like there is a class in the culinary theatre now until 7:30, so we are in the smaller theatre style classroom in the basement. There were 8 home brew submissions, including my own chocolate oatmeal stout, which decided to gush. Really looking forward to understanding more about yeast and carbonation so I can figure out what’s going awry. Luke mentioned that it might just be the scale that I am working in – 1/4 tsp extra priming sugar makes much more of a difference in 1 gallon batches than it would in 3 or 5 gallons.

The commercial craft portion was all American beers gleaned from Premium Gourmet in Buffalo:

First beer club, 2015

Like a dope, I forgot to write any notes, but I do remember that my tastebuds quite liked the Firestone Opal and the Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale.


Beer Club – barrel aged beers

Beer club was a bit of flail. There was miscommunication and misunderstandings which meant we missed the deadline to get food arranged. Luke and Nate were picking up beer at the last minute. We were all set to get things arranged in the theatre classroom, only to find there was still a class going on in it.

But thankfully, it all worked out in the end. Well, all but the food portion. Lesson learned for next time.

My friend Robert brought a group of wine students, and it was great to talk to them about beer vs wine. I hope we see more of them. Suggestions were made to have a co-wine-and-beer club night, which I think would be pretty cool.

The theme of the night was barrel-aged beers, with a view to get different types of barrels to see what tastes each imparts to a final beer. We started with the Innis and Gunn gift pack which has just hit the LCBO (it’s not on the website yet or I would link to it). It contains

  • Toasted Oak IPA – uses oak unseasoned by any other spirits, nice mellow oak nose and taste that only slightly impacts the hop finish
  • Innis and Gunn Original – oak aged ‘Scottish’ beer, lots of toffee and vanilla as well as oak
  • Rum Finish – lots of rum, so much that aroma, taste and finish were more about rum than beer.
  • Bourbon Stout – I liked this one the best. The bourbon really complements darker beers so nicely.

We also had a selection of Ontario beer:

  • Nickel Brook Winey Bastard – this is what you get when you age Bolshevik Bastard Russian imperial stout in pinot noir barrels. I liked it, but now that I’ve done the comparison, I have to say that I like the wine barrel notes the least.
  • Cameron’s Deviator Doppelbock – I can’t report on this bourbon barrel edition as I was distracted during the pouring and missed it.
  • Nickel Brook & Sawdust City 11.05 – this barley wine was brewed in 2012 then barrel aged. Made me wish I had a snifter to do it justice. Lots of dark fruit and toffee. A little goes a long way, especially at 11.05% ABV.
  • Radical Road Wayward Son, Belgian strong ale in wine barrel. All dark fruit, spice and caramels on the nose, but surprisingly dry.