Wednesday, 21 January 2009

New kitchen: the upside

Our house is still chaotic after the installation of a new kitchen. The chaos doesn't just affect the pots and pans. It's had an impact on my beer stuff, too.

I had to empty and move one of my bookcases. One of the ones dedicated to beer. To be honest, a couple of the shelves were a mess, piled with folders of old notes, labels, maps and god knows what else. I really should sort it all out before putting the bookcase back. But it's me we're talking about. I'll probably have some more pressing task - like watching "American Dad" with Lexie - that will distract me.

The kitchen cupboards, I had believed, were free of any beer-related items. Not quite true. The ones we couldn't really get at (long story as to why, so I won't bother trying to explain) held a surprise. Three bottles of beer that must have been there since we moved in twelve years ago. I say bottles, but they're really cork-stoppered earthenware flasks. I'd forgotten all about them.

The sell by dates are all 1991. So they weren't exactly fresh when put in the cupboard back in 1996. And the beers themselves? Hertog Jan Dubbel, Tripel and Grand Prestige. They've been in a cool, dark place. And at a steady temperature. Ideal conditions for ageing. I wonder what they taste like?

I would show you a photo of the new kitchen. But my camera is on the blink. Maybe tomorrow.


Pivní Filosof said...

I'm sorry to write here. I need to contact you. I'm preparing an article about the Bavarian Purity Law and have a couple of questions. my email is pivnifilosof (at) gmail com
Thanks a lot in advance.

Anonymous said...

Ron, in a late September, 2008 posting, you reproduce extracts from Tizard in which he stated that porter sometimes was "blinked". Tom Fryer in a comment asked about the meaning of that clearly obsolete term.

In reading your current post, I think the meaning becomes clearer. A camera on the blink is not that is not functioning properly. A beer that was blinked surely was one whose fermentation went awry, either stopped too soon so the beer was worty and vapid, or possibly become acetic.

Also, your comment a few postings ago about porter having generally had a taste of fresh oak is supported by that quotation from Tizard. He states that Thrale in particular liked the effect of fresh oak on porter.

I hesitate to differ from one of the renowned historical exponents and brewers of London Porter but I'll go ahead anyway. I think a beer with too much oak is, um, blinked. The tannins cut through the malt and hop taste and lend an odd, sappy note. Maybe Thrale had in mind that "free" tannin from the fresh wood would cut down on his hops bill? Or that it assisted preservation of the beer? Or maybe he just liked the taste. De gustibus non est...


Anonymous said...

'Blinked' Gary, I like the idea. I have a bottle in front of me as we speak and it is very oaky/woody/tanniny(?). 'Blinked' as you say. I'm pretty sure I'll like it; it's the fourth one this month that I'll have drunk.

Blinked. Blinked. Love it.

Ron Pattinson said...

I'm sure I saw "blinked" explained somewhere recently. What did it mean again? I recall it was something quite specific.

You'll have to excuse my failing memory. I'm usually quite good with these things. Especially terms over whose meaning I'd fretted.

The Woolpack Inn said...

I'm looking forward to hearing about the aged beers when you try them...

Anonymous said...

Your memory is, shall we say, on the fret, Ron?


Anonymous said...

Ron, you have already referred in an earlier posting to the 1855 An Encyclopaedia of Domestic Economy (in regard to Scotch Ale). This is by Thomas Webster and published at New York although seemingly rather British in orientation.

He has a fairly extensive discussion of malt preparation, beer types, hops and other aspects of beer and brewing. He includes a table of technical terms. One of these is blinked and it is defined as acetification. Elsewhere in the book he explains that blinking sometimes arose when a mash was being held in storage pending use of the copper to prepare another mash (i.e., before they were combined). He said if you have as many coppers as mashes you want to make, blinking is not a problem. Very interesting comments in general on beer, explaining e.g., that porter must taste dry and not be acid but be on the verge of acidity; that India pale ale is similar to ale but with more hops added to preserve the beer better in hot climates - he says some brewers just add an "infusion" of hops to their regular ales to make India pale ale; and much else of interest.

This book is available full-text free online, an easy search brings it up pronto.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, I'm sure I'd looked at the online version. A wonderful resource, Google Books.

It's starting to ring a bell about blinking. Can't it happen if beer is left too long in the coolers, too? No, that's foxing.

From what I've seen in brewing records, they'd collect the first wort and boil that while they sparged. The first wort was out of the copper before the end of the sparge, so the second wort wasn't left hanging around in the underback.

Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, do you have a link to An Encyclopaedia of Domestic Economy? I can't find it. Well I had a quick look and couldn't. And if you have it to hand, well . . .

Anonymous said...

Ron: Below is the link that led me to it indeed in Google Books. The blinking discussion is partly in this paragraph 3207 (to which the link should lead).

The definition of the term blinked in the table of brewing terms is elsewhere in the book but easy to find with a text search. His definitions are admirably clear and useful too (e.g., of party-gyle and entire gyle).

You are right in your recollection that the term has two meanings.