From the HBD Archive
From: Phillip Seitz <>
Subject: Sierra Nevada crib notes
Date: 1992-06-25 14:11:00 GMT

This past Tuesday and Wednesday the Brickskeller held its Sierra Nevada
beer tasting, and it was definitely the place to be if you're one of
those HBD mad-dog left-coast Death-by-IBUers. All the beers were on
tap (except the Celebration Ale), and all were frighteningly fresh.
How hoppy was it? Well, by the time we got to the Bigfoot all six of
the hearty beerdrinkers at my table were chewing on the tablecloth
and wiping their tongues on the carpet to try to cut through the
impenetrable hop-oil coating in our mouths. I heard that after the
open keg five people required first aid for bitterness burns and
three were hospitalized for IBU overdoses. Must have been left-
coasters. (And, no, I'm not from the Midwest.)

Anyway, Sierra Nevada's sales manager Steve Harrison was in
attendance, and shared the following information with us (please
accept my apologies for the gaps--perhaps someone who was there
on Wednesday can fill them in?):

1) All beers are made with 2-row klages malt. A single-temperature
mash is done at 156 degrees.

2) SN uses open primary fermenters so they can recover their yeasts
from the krausen. Harrison claimed they can usually reuse the yeast
for 30-40 batches before it goes bonkers, though they've found that
the yeast collected from Bigfoot and Celebration Ale is close to

3) The beers:

- --Summerfest (a lager). OG: 11.5 Balling, FG 2.7 Balling, using
only 2-row klages. Hallertauer for finishing.

- --SN Pale Ale. OG: 13 Balling, FG 3 Balling, using klages,
crystal, and dextrin malts. Perle hops for bitterness,
cascade for finishing.

- --Pale Bock. Sorry, folks, I blew it. Must have been in the

- --Celebration Ale. OG: 16 Balling. Hop schedule usually includes
Chinook in the boil, cascade for finishing, and centennial
as a dry hop. However, Harrison says they're willing to
change the recipe in accordance with availability of the hops
most likely to hit people squarely between the eyes.

- --SN Porter. OG: 14 Balling, FG: 4 Balling. Either Perle, centennial,
or Hallertauer in the boil, with Tetnanger and Willamette in
the finish.

- --SN Stout. OG: 16 Balling, FG: 4 Balling. Chinook in the boil, cascade
finish. Malts include black patent and chocolate, but NO roasted
barley. (Hmmm. . .)

- --Bigfoot. Must have been in the bathroom again (don't shoot!)

Also served was the Richter Scale Ale from the San Andreas Brewing Co.
in Hollister, CA. This is a cranberry ale, and our table agreed it had
the best fruit flavor of any American commercial beer (not that there are
a lot of choices).

On the recommendation of Scott Leno (HBD 907) I also tried the Traquair.
Good call, Scott. The beer is very richly malty, with a nearly silky
mouth feel. Taste rather reminscent of Belgian triples (Rochefort comes
to mind) but without the alchohol taste. VERY restrained carbonation
(I'd say there were about six bubbles in the entire bottle.) Definitely
an enormous, great beer. However, right-coasters not living near
Washington might take some comfort in the fact that a small-business
loan is required just to drink a bottle of this stuff: at $9.95 for
an 11.2 ounce bottle this is vastly the most expensive beer I've ever
consumed. At about $1.00 a sip you gotta wonder.
Anyway, those frothing-at-the-mouth hop-crazed left-coasters
wouldn't like it anyway. It's practically unhopped. So there.

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