Tag Archives: biscuit

Fargo Brewing Stone’s Throw

The Fargo Brewing Co. started in the wave of openings at the turn of the decade and characterise their rise as home brewers to pro brewers, with a distinct inspiration stemming from the pacific northwest. They started contract brewing in Wisconsin, opening their own brewery in Fargo in 2014.

Their Scottish Ale, aptly named from I assume the highlander games, has a nice moderate ABV of 4.5%, a welcome relief after so many in the range of five-plus. When I brew at home I aim for around the 3.8% – 4.3% range for most beers (imperial IPAs etc. obviously exceptions) as I find this best suits my palate and desires. Being in the United States is a constant experience of higher ABVs; you do get used to it.

This beer is copper-acorn colour with a plastic-y white head. It smells of apple and pine, a little pancake batter, a little sweetness. The mouthfeel is chewy and sticky like a wad of sap. Major flavours march in unison: honey, biscuit, butter, raisins, a touch of bitterness and no hop flavour. It’s all malt, all the way. Not a bad beer at all, it put me in the perfect mood to see a film at the historic Fargo Theatre.

And what a place that is! Independently owned, heritage architecture, cheap tickets and zero advertisements before the film screenings. OK, I’m getting distracted.

I bought a pint of this beer at The Boiler Room, Fargo, North Dakota. It’s a pretty straight-forward, subterranean bar with little to distinguish it, although it seems to put a bit more effort into its tap selection than its competition in downtown Fargo.

Indeed Brewing Co. Dandy Pale Lager

Indeed Brewing Co. has been going since 2012 and brews out of Minneapolis. They pride themselves on being community-orientated, donating all profits from their taproom’s Wednesday trade to a different nonprofit each week. Let’s hope they survive The Dreaded Correction.

I would estimate this beer has an EBC of around 10, the colour of those palest of yellow fall leaves. Its head is slight but hangs around. After olfactory exploration sweet biscuit, butter and waffle malt character predominate; no yeast, no hops. On sampling the beer a dry, medium mouthfeel smoothly highlights a very pure, clean bread malt flavour. It’s very well done. Bitterness is an afterthought.

I bought this 5.4% ABV canned beer at Happy Harry’s Bottleshop and drank it at a house in West Fargo, North Dakota.

Not So Clean Ale

This is the last beer I brewed before moving to Myanmar, which involved selling the larger part of my brewing gear. Therefore it was kind of a big deal. This beer was also an attempt to use up left over ingredients, mainly my last couple of kilograms of grain. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fermentables for a 20l batch, so I bought a beer kit for $10 and added that in. This is the first kit brew I’ve done in a while – thankfully it tastes OK. Not great, but good enough. Kinda.

The recipe was an attempt at a basic dry pale ale full of malt and little else.

Not So Clean Ale
1044 OG, 1005 FG. 5.4% bottle ABV. US-05. Canberra water, from tap.

Fermented at 17°C from:

58% :: Coopers Draught Beer Kit
42% :: Ale Malt

40m single infusion mash at 65°C.
20m boil, no hop additions (kit is pre-hopped) but yeast nutrient added at ten minutes.

The beer looks lovely, a rich, beautiful bronze colour with perfect clarity. In fact, I mistook the first bottle for a golden apple cider batch I did previously – it’s that kind of bold bronze. The aroma wafts biscuit, apple and cloves in equal measures; the clove-phenolic presence perniciously detracting from the overall bouquet. The beer’s carbonation is low to medium, with little retention. Typical of a Canberra winter fermentation.

On tasting a clean, full, malty hit disappears quickly with a thin dry finish. Very low bitterness. Malt is pancakes and biscuits, but like the aroma it is beleaguered – this time by fusels. The hot burn brackets the rest of the profile so as to not entirely ruin the beer, rather to simply restrict it from greatness.

So, an eminently drinkable beer held back by some clove and fusels. As it is, a pint at a time I think. Alas!

The fusels and phenols could be coming from anywhere – and given I am in mourning of much of my brewing gear, I don’t want to diagnose. Alas.

The AGM Ale

I recently brewed a fairly unusual beer for me. It is broadly based on the profile of the Coopers Pale Ale, and is thus what brewers refer to as a “clone” – which means brewing a beer aimed at replicating a well-known commercial example. I did this as I brewed on a street corner by a dive bar and thought that brewing a clone of a recognisable beer would help conversations with punters and pedestrians. It was a good brew, social and smooth with nary a hitch to be found. I didn’t take any photos from the brew day, but I brewed under the left tree in this photo, which looks to me like a Google Street View snap that has been watermarked.

The recipe was simple and could best be described in BJCP terms as an Australian Pale Ale or Sparkling Ale.

AGM Ale
1042 OG, 1008 FG. 4.8% bottle ABV. M44. Melbourne water, dechlorinated.

Fermented at 18°C from:

93% :: Australian Ale Malt
02% :: Dark Crystal
05% :: Wheat Malt

60m single infusion mash at 65°C.
60m boil with 22 IBU of Pride of Ringwood hops added at 60m and 8 IBU added at 10m.

This beer looked a golden bronze and poured a sparkling, effervescent mess of bubbles. As the picture makes clear, the beer was chilled too cold – I have had previous bottles with capacious heads, but this one was minimal and delicate. A strong ring of bubbles did retain around the edges, with an island in the centre, giving the head the appearance of a donut.

The aroma was a dense brown sugar biscuit-dough with soft hints of apple and toffee. The dough note smelled very robust for a sub ~5% ABV beer, with only minimal grass cuttings from the seemingly useless late hop. Letting the beer warm up there was more hop flavour in the mouth, covering a fairly roasty backbone that surprised me given the malt bill. Mouthfeel was quite effervescent and spicy.

This is a fairly straightforward pale ale that would appeal to most beer drinkers. It’s not very exciting but presents enough punch in the nose and pinch in the mouth to give the drinker something to think about. I served the beer at a local community group’s annual meeting and the ten or so tasters (only two of which were brewers) all reported favourably. It’s roastier than a Coopers Pale Ale and maltier on the nose with less banana.