Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DRANK: Chad'z Unsupervised IPA-Homebrew, Chad of Chad'z Beer, Albany, NY, USA - BOTTLE

I'm officially in uncharted waters. I've written and reviewed a good number of beers and I've drank a whole lot of home brew, but this is the first time I've been asked to review a home brew—and it's a home brew made by someone I know, to complicate matters. However, in the interest of journalistic integrity (That's a bit a stretch isn't it Craig?) I will endeavour to unbiasedly examine this beer to the standards that my reader has come to expect. In all seriousness, Chad of Chad'z Beer Reviews asked me to try the result of his first attempt at home brewing, an American IPA, inspired by those made on the West Coast. An Albany homage to Stone or Bear Republic, if you will. As a rule, I never turn down free beer, so I agreed to give it a try—and passed some of my swill on to him.

Waiter, is there a fly in my beer?
Well, that joke flopped—
this is Chad, not me.
He named his little experiment Chad'z Unsupervised IPA, an intentionally ironic title, due to the fact that he had the tutelage of an experience home brewer—his buddy Shaun—some bottling guidance from Jay of Jay's Beer Reviews and last and most importantly, he filmed the whole thing for the entire world to watch and comment on! Needless to say he received some unsupervised, let alone unsolicited, home brewing advice. You can check-out Chad's first foray into home brewing here, here,  here and here.

So how did he do? Pretty damn good—first time or otherwise. The cap popped of with a hiss—the first sign of success. The beer poured a hazy reddish-orange, the color of antique brick with a dense, creamy fop of a head. Extract brews have a tendency to darken during the boil and Chad mentioned that he had hoped it would have been lighter, but the color didn't bother me, I actually like it on the ruddy side. It was a bit hazy, and I'm not sure if that was due to a little yeast kick-up, (this one was bottle-conditioned) or if that was a result of chill haze. Chill haze happens when proteins in the beer precipitate as the beer is chilled for drinking. This is usually caused by not cooling your wort fast enough (note to Chad—get a wort chiller, you'll thank me.) The beer was carbed up pretty good, as well, and slightly on the fizzy side, but I can't blame Chad for that, kits tend to suggest to much priming sugar, in my opinion. As soon as the beer swirled into the pint on the pour, I got a whiff of it's hoppy nose. I hadn't even got my snoot into it and I got a nice hit of citrus and pine—classically American IPA, right there. Taking a good sized gulp, I got hit with really nice sweetness up front—caramel, then drifting into a grapefruity-orange, leaning more citrus than pine. There was a interesting fruitiness to it, an almost strawberry tartness that complimented it's lightly roasted malt. Its bitterness is assertive but not aggressive, and I like that. It's definitely an IPA and it hit all the right note, it just didn't smash me over the skull in doing so.

Here's the winning point with this beer—body. Like I said earlier, I've drank a ton of home brew, and some can be a bit anemic. An ingredient miscalculation or a bit to much make-up water is usually the culprit. If your brewing a Light Mild or a lawnmower beer you might be able to justify it, but a thin Porter—not so much. Chad, on the other hand, nailed this one. Unsupervised IPA has that great viscous mouthfeel you want in an IPA—not to heavy, but not watery, either. Body can really make or break a beer, and combined with Unsupervised's aroma and citrus notes, Chad's first shot was right on target. This beer, being his first, was came out pretty good, and the best part about home brewing is you get to drink all your trials until you get exactly like you want it. This was a very drinkable beer that I'd happily quaff while sitting on a bar stool at the Lionheart.  

So, a big Right On Brother to Chad—you keep making them, I'll keep drinking them. As for anybody else interested in what I think (not likely) about your home brew, drop me a line—here, in the comment section, or on drinkdrank's Facebook page. Like I said, I never turn down free beer! 


  1. Nice suit. Always wear a suit when beer blogging.

  2. Very nice descriptive review Craig, it has me running out to the keg now. But I have to know do you wear a suit while you blog?

  3. Jeez Craig I think you liked my homebrew more than I did! I think you got a little more flavors out of it than I did, too. I wish it had been a little more hoppy instead of pure dry bitterness, but it turned out pretty well I think.

    Thanks for the tip about "chill haze." I've heard the best wort cooler is to just put ice directly into the wort itself.

    not sure when I'm going to do another homebrew.

  4. As a point of clarification: I do not wear a suit when I blog—or anything else.

    Yeah, I went there.

    @ Chad – Pick up wort chiller, totally worth the investment.