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A look at some of last year's best new brews
Best New Beer Releases of 2014
Each new season brings new food and drink bounty, and part of that bounty is beer. Breweries across the country release new brews every year. Some celebrate new flavors, others nod to old techniques, and still others are just plain curious about what would happen if they mixed this with that.
New Glarus: Oud Bruin
New Glarus is dedicated to producing fruit-spiked beers created in the oud bruin Belgian style. Named in honor of the age-old method of making beer, Oud Bruin is a perfect marriage of sweet and tart thanks to brown sugar and cherries. Toasted malt and oaky richness add complexity and flavor, making this a great new beer that nods to tradition.
Samuel Adams: Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru
When the team at Sam Adams announced the release of their 2014 Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Crew, they said they felt like they were “releasing the Kraken.” Boston’s big boys took a trip around the world with this one. It’s a unique Belgian-style ale, brewed and fermented with multiple microorganisms found in the historic 150-year old Boston Brewery. Then it’s aged in Hungarian oak tuns for over a year. It’s a brew so good, they took it on tour. Seriously.
Anderson Valley: The Kimmie, The Yink and the Holy Gose
Gose-style beer was everywhere in 2014. Among one of the best salty, sour, tart brews was Anderson Valley’s canned entry, The Kimmie, The tart sourness comes from lemons with a follow-up of tart berry on the back. The briny finish lingers just long enough making it an easy-to-drink example of how good Gose can be.
Foothills: Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout
Fans line up outside the North Carolina brewery days in advance just to guarantee a taste of the Foothills’ newest release. Released just in time for Valentine’s Day 2014, this brew is heavy on chocolate coffee flavor rich with molasses and sweet toffee notes. Plus, the label is ‘70s cool at its best.
The Bruery: Black Tuesday Imperial Stout
RateBeer.com gave The Bruery Black Tuesday Imperial Stout a 100-point rating and suggested it as an ideal beer to share with friends. The name may imply differently, but there is nothing dark about the Bruery’s 2014 release. It’s rich in complex flavors of caramel, burnt sugar, prunes, toasted malt, and vanilla.
Summit: Southern Cape Sparkling Ale
Southern Cape Sparkling Ale was the third beer from Summit Brewing Company’s limited-release Union Series. This one introduced the rare Southern Passion hops from South Africa, which helped create gentle aroma of pineapple and mango, while malts from Chile and Australia provide a soft toasted note and rounded finish.
Center of the Universe Brewing: Shut Up Imperial Stout
You’ve got to love something that tastes so good, it shuts the whole room up. When brewers at Center of the Universe got together to taste this brew — which was aged in bourbon barrels that had also aged port before working their magic on the beer — they loved the depth of flavor so much, it silenced the room.
August Schell Brewing Company: Black Forest Cherry
August Shell is known for producing deliciously sour beers, which were a hit in 2014. Their Black Forest Cherry was a favorite of locals for the tart cherry favor that came from being aged in 1930s cypress tanks first and with 5,000 pounds of cherries second.
Koochenvagner Brewing Company: Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA
Gayot named the Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA one of the best releases of the spring. This is a craft dry-hopped brew with bright bursts of refreshing grapefruit zest and lasting flavor. Released on February 10, 2014, this over-the-top IPA from Koochenvagner is actually a project of Stone Brewery. The one-time offering came and went, but the lucky few who got it on draft or in 22-ounce bottles won’t soon forget it.
Seattle Cider: Gin Botanical
Cider also saw a big boom in 2014. Major producers all threw their apple seeds in the game, but Draft magazine called Seattle Cider’s Gin Botanical the best of the bunch. It’s got all you want in a cider beer, but it’s crafted with gin botanicals. It’s a gin & tonic / beer / cider hybrid that makes for a mouthful of apple, lemon, and cucumber deliciousness.
1. Steep Grains. Fill your 5-gallon brew kettle with 2.5 gallons of water. As you heat your water, steep your grains for 20 minutes, or until your water reaches 170 degrees. When you remove your grains, let the water drip out of the grain bag and into the kettle. Don't squeeze your grain bag as you don't want to extract tannins, which may give your beer unwanted flavors.
2. Bring kettle to a boil - Once your kettle comes to a rolling boil remove it from heat and add malt extracts. Once the extract is dissolved return to a boil. Hops will now be added at various intervals. (Note: Be careful not to boil over when hops are added.) Refer to your exact recipe as to when you need to add hops to your boil.
3. You now have wort - Otherwise known as sugar water. Cool your wort as quickly as possible. This can be done one of two ways:
- Ice Bath - Simply set your pot into a sink filled with ice water.
- Use a wort chiller - Insert chiller into your wort. Run cold water from your tap through the chiller and out to the sink. A wort chiller is the most effective way, but either will get you the desired results.
Carne Asada con Mojo with Double IPA
Beer Pairing: Double IPA
With this dish’s char, lime, and citrus, only a double IPA, amped up to a mouthwatering tang, will do. Properly made, not only do IPAs and Double IPAs have their own citrus-grove-like tang that works well with actual citrus flavors, their herbal components tend to bring out the fiery dimensions in other dishes. Meanwhile, most have some residual sweetness to balance it all out, which can echo the umami and sweetness of medium-rare beef. Our pick: Green Flash’s Road Warrior out of San Diego, CA.
This week I take a look at the fundamentals of modern mead making, including staggered mead nutrients, degassing and finishing a mead. Modern Mead Making I started making mead a few years back, and it has been an enjoyable addition to my beer brewing hobby. Most home brewers have the equipment for mead making with [&hellip]
Michael Tonsmeire from Sapwood Cellars joins me this week to discuss some of the less glamorous aspects of running a small craft brewery. Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or Spotify or Google Play Download the MP3 File– Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file. Your browser does not [&hellip]
15 Dishes that will make you homesick for Boston
New England cuisine is one that’s comforting, flavorful and unique to the region. Today, we’re taking you to Boston for a trip down recipe lane.
When you think of Boston, what foods come to mind? Whether it’s a good clam chowder or some traditional brown bread, we’ve got you covered. Cook and bake up some of these regional recipes in your home today. Packed with culture, Boston is home to the oldest restaurant in the U.S.: Union Oyster House. It’s also home to the North End, where you can find Italian bakeries and specialties. Travel to Boston with the following recipes.
1. New England clam chowder recipe
New England clam chowder is the classic chowder of New England, especially in Massachusetts. It’s rich and creamy, and every restaurant has its own version.
2. Sweet potato and corn clam chowder recipe
Another version is this sweet potato and corn clam chowder. Like we said, everyone has their own version of chowder.
3. Oyster stew recipe
Typically oyster stew is made to order so as to not overcook the fresh oysters. Rich with cream and fresh herbs, it’s normally served as a daily special at restaurants.
4. Best ever Boston baked beans recipe
Made with molasses and salt pork traditionally, these best ever Boston baked beans are the perfect side dish. This dish became so popular that Boston was nicknamed “Beantown.”
4. Lobster bisque recipe
Warm up during the cold Boston months with a bowl of this lobster bisque, made with sweet lobster off the coast of this state.
5. Old Bay oyster crackers recipe
Old Bay oyster crackers are the perfect accompaniment to clam chowders, lobster bisques and oyster stews.
6. Cod fish cakes recipe
Cod is a fish commonly used in all preparations in Boston, like in these cod fish cakes.
7. Cheesy baked stuffed cod recipe
Try this cheesy baked stuffed cod at your next dinner party. Your guests will be impressed, but you’ll know how easy it was to make.
8. Lobster mac and cheese recipe
An indulgent recipe, this lobster mac and cheese is served all over Boston, with fresh, sweet lobster making its appearance in as many recipes as possible.
9. Lobster roll recipe
Unlike the Connecticut lobster roll that’s drenched in warm butter, the New England roll has mayonnaise, lemon and sometimes herbs folded into it.
10. Beer-steamed clams recipe
What would make these beer-steamed clams even more Boston is if you steam them in Samuel Adams beer.
11. White clam pizza recipe
The Italian presence in Boston is strong, and this white clam pizza is a take on pizzas all over the North End.
12. Boston cream pie recipe
Boston cream pie, probably the most famous dessert Boston is known for.
13. Parker House rolls recipe
Parker House rolls were created at the Parker House Hotel and are served at its bar and restaurant to this day.
14. Creamy cranberry pie recipe
Try a recipe for creamy cranberry pie, since cranberries are a national crop in Massachusetts. Although there aren’t any cranberry bogs, just outside of Boston there are plenty.
15. Classic Irish coffee recipe
Irish coffee is the perfect way to end the night, paying homage to the Irish population in Boston.
10 Great Beers You Will Never Taste
While newly-minted bourbon "connoisseurs" line up at liquor stores, enter lotteries, or troll the black market hoping to get their hands on that sweet, sweet Pappy Van Winkle, beer geeks only wish they had it so easy. According to most reports, somewhere around 20,000-25,000 bottles of Pappy Van Winkle are released to stores and bars across the U.S. every single year. (And I'm not even counting those desperate folks who insist on labeling both the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year and the 12 Year Old Special Reserve as "Pappy." Sorry, they're not.) Go to the absolute best whiskey bar in whatever town you live in, and it's almost a certainty you can buy a finger or two of one of the Pappys for less than a day's pay. But for some of the best and most coveted beers in the world, there are miniscule bottle counts in the low hundreds that aren't even distributed to every state in the union. Some aren't even released every single year. Forget those uninformed writers that'll tell you about the uber-rarity of Heady Topper, KBS, or even most Cantillons&mdashyou'll get to try those one day, I guarantee it&mdashbut these on the other hand.
1. Toppling Goliath Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout
The absolute hottest beer of the moment may very well be a barrel-aged coffee stout from little Decorah, Iowa. Kentucky Brand Brunch Stout has so far been released about once a year, about 300 to 400 bottles each time, always straight from the brewery. Beer geeks have gone bonkers for this brew and by the end of the year it looks poised to become the No.1 rated beer in the entire world on BeerAdvocate.com. In fact, so coveted is it, that it inspired a counterfeiting scandal last year!
2. Side Project Fuzzy
Beer fans go nuts for sour ales and St. Louis's Side Project is currently making some of the most adventurous in the business. Their award-winning Fuzzy is aged in Chardonnay barrels with Missouri-grown white peaches eventually added. More importantly, it's only been released once, in tiny 375 mL bottles, and, of course, it sold out immediately. Shockingly, beer geeks even behaved themselves waiting for it&mdashthough many clearly didn't drink the one bottle they were allowed to purchase as it currently sells well on the secondary market.
3. Hill Farmstead Ann
Vermont's Hill Farmstead is probably the most acclaimed beermaker in the world at the moment and, indeed, if you live outside of The Green Mountain State it can be a little tricky to try many of their offerings. But travel to this beautiful state and a lot of Hill Farmstead beers flow fairly freely at the major beers bars in Burlington, Waterbury, and Montpelier. Not Ann, though, which so far has only been released twice in bottles. The recent 2015 release of this barrel-aged honey saison saw a Byzantine lottery system that made most Pappy releases look quaint in comparison.
4. Cantillon Blåbær Lambik
Though you might not believe it, as I said above, you will get to drink something from the ballyhooed Brasserie Cantillon one day. Yes, they are hard to get and you may never taste one in America, but fly to any major city in western Europe and you'll be able to find a good deal of Cantillon's flagship offerings in various bottle shops. Fly to Belgium at the right time, and you'll be able to find most all of their yearly offerings. One noted "Loon" will be a struggle, though, and that's their almost yearly (since 2005) release of their celebrated blueberry lambic. Made in partnership with the Ølbutikken bottle shop in Copenhagen, that's the only place where it's ever sold (though I did happen to luck into one at Brooklyn's Tørst in 2013). The 2014 vintage only saw 100 bottles sold for "takeaway." By my count, there's now 7.3 billion people on earth and, oh, about half of them currently self-identify as "beer snobs." Shit.
5. 3 Floyds Bourbon Vanilla Dark Lord
Just like your average Cantillon&mdashwhatever "average" means&mdashDark Lord is not that hard to land. Released every year at "Dark Lord Day" to the tune of 25,000 bottles or so, if you know a guy with a beard, a belly, and an arcane brewery shirt, he probably knows a guy who can find you a bottle or two. (The dirty secret is, the snootiest of beer geeks flat out mock the beer nowadays.) What they refuse to mock, however, and hypocritically go bananas for, are any of the Dark Lord variants, released in significantly smaller numbers via a scratch-off "Golden Ticket" lottery system. Bourbon Vanilla Dark Lord&mdashor BVDL as the code-talking geeks call it&mdashcomes out most years at the festival, usually at a bottle count of around 500 to 700.
6. Sante Adairius West Ashley
Sante Adairius Rustic Ales is perhaps California's brewery of the moment, rocking some serious saisons out of a small industrial park in Capitola, right near Highway 1. SARA&mdashas they are popularly known&mdashbeers can barely be found in most of central coast California, much less anywhere close to where you might live. That's one reason their most famed beer, the Pinot Noir-barreled apricot sour saison West Ashley, is so damn tough to get your hands on. Released sporadically&mdashthey're now on Batch 8 by my count&mdashthey are also snatched up immediately.
7. FiftyFifty Imperial Eclipse Stout - Masterpiece
If you think Pappy is hard to get as a mere bourbon, try getting your hands on a Pappy Van Winkle beer. Late last year, California's FiftyFifty Brewing released a mere 400 bottles of their noted Eclipse imperial stout that had been aged for eighteen months in former Pappy barrels. The brewery inexplicably didn't have any sort of per person bottle limit, so many opportunists loaded up and the beer sold out in under an hour. The next day, FiftyFifty's owner offered an apology.
8. TAPS Remy's Pappy
Besides FiftyFifty's, there's actually several other Pappy Van Winkle barrel-aged beers that have come out over the past few years. All of them make finding a real Pappy (the bourbon) seem as easy as going to your corner store for a Coke Zero. Pennsylvania's Voodoo Brewing released the Pappy Van Winkle-aged THE K13, a barleywine, in 2013 to the tune of 258 bottles. California's Port Brewing Pappy-fied their Board Meeting, a brown ale, late last year and released around 250 wax-sealed bottles. Remy's Pappy is perhaps the most acclaimed of the few Pappy beers, first released by California's TAPS Fish House & Brewery (try the tuna!) in 2013. Earlier this week, TAPS opened another Fish House in Irvine and to celebrate, offered a new batch of Remy's Pappy. A mere 60 bottles at $60 per bottle. Ouch.
9. BrewDog The End of History
It's actually more difficult than you'd think to figure out what is literally the rarest beer ever made. Even your local brewery has probably brewed a single sixtel keg's worth of a beer, never to make it again. But no one cares about that beer. Perhaps the rarest beer ever bottled is the publicity stunting The End of History. Only eleven total bottles of this 55% ABV beer were ever released&mdashand when I say bottles I'm being a little inaccurate. The beer came in an effing taxidermied squirrel. For a mere $750 you could nab this Scottish beaut, the world's most alcoholic beer at the time. I have no idea if any bottles still exist on planet earth, though someone reviewed in on Untappd as recently as last week. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that, just because something is rare, doesn't mean it's good. Although, the few people to have tried this beer do actually give it a fairly great rating.
10. The Bruery Barrel-Aged Partridge in a Pear Tree
Finally, and perhaps most navel-gazingly, I wanted to list a beer that I'm starting to wonder if I will ever taste. In 2009, The Bruery began a program to release a special beer each year for Christmas for twelve years. Twelve years later, you would, in theory, drink all twelve beers in a grandiose celebration of patient alcoholism. These beers aren't particularly rare, though I do find them fun to collect. I bought Partridge in a Pear tree that first year and I've managed to keep up each subsequent year (we're now up to 7 Swans a Swimming). In many years, The Bruery has released more limited barrel-aged versions as well, but the one I've never been able to sniff is this first one, Partridge in a Pear tree. A mere 290 bottles were released seven years ago, but who knows how many still remained un-drunk. I'm lucky to have actually tasted most of the beers in this listicle&mdashhey yo media "samples"&mdashbut I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever land this sucker. I've got five more years left to try.
Kegging Beer at Home
Tired of endlessly scrubbing the gunk from old bottles? Sick of the two hour priming, filling and capping exercise? Do you want to avoid priming altogether? Have an extra refrigerator laying around that you could mount a tap on? Want to be the envy of ALL of your friends?
There are many reasons for kegging, but the most often cited is simplicity. Kegging is easier, faster and simpler than bottling your beer. It offers the convenience of being able to draw any amount of your own draft beer anytime you want by just squeezing the handle on your tap.
There are a few downsides, however. A keg is not as portable as a bottle of beer. Its hard to take a six pack sampler of different kegs over to your friends house for dinner. Most competitions require bottled beer for registered entries. Still, it is possible to bottle from the keg using a special device called a counter pressure filler, and you can also draw a growler (glass container with a cork in it for temporary transport) if you want to take some over to a friend for dinner. Most brewers find the gain is larger than the pain of kegging.
What do I need?
The initial investment may seem high – perhaps $160-200 US for an initial setup. In addition, the kegging system works best if you have a suitable refrigerator, usually a second one to store the keg in.
Almost all home brewers use the Cornelius kegging system, which uses 2.5 to 5 gallon Cornelius kegs to store the beer in. Cornelius kegs are the same kegs used for many years for dispensing soda, so they are also frequently called soda kegs. Since most soda distributors have converted to a bag-in-box system there are literally millions of used Cornelius kegs available on the market at very reasonable prices of around $20-30 per keg. The most popular size is the
Here are the basic components:
- CO2 Tank – CO2 is used to dispense beer rather than air because CO2 will not interact with and spoil your beer. CO2 is stored at very high pressure in a tank that looks something like an oxygen or scuba tank. Liquid CO2 is measured by weight. Tanks are sold in 5 lb, 10lb and 20lb sizes and can be refilled at many locations. It costs about the same amount to fill the tank regardless of size, so a larger tank can be better if you have the space since it will last much longer.
- Regulator – CO2 is stored at 800-1000 psi, but you want to dispense your beer at 8-15 psi. The regulator does the conversion for you. A small screw on the regulator lets you adjust the output pressure, and many have a valve to cut off the flow of gas as well. Most brewers prefer a dual gauge system. On gauge shows the pressure of the tank, and the second shows the output pressure.
- Cornelius Keg – As described above these “soda kegs” are made of stainless steel, very easy to clean, maintain pressure well and are suitable for storing beer for a year or much longer if maintained properly. The most popular size is the 5 gallon keg, which is a tall cylinder that looks very much like a scuba tank with a flat top. Smaller 2.5 and 3 gallon kegs are nice if you have limited refrigerator space or want some beer on the go.
- Gas Hose – A clear plastic hose that runs from the regulator on your CO2 tank to the “gas” input on your Cornelius keg. It supplies the pressure to dispense your beer. The best gas hose is thick walled to minimize leakage.
- Dispensing Hose – Another plastic hose that runs from the “output” of your Cornelius keg to your tap! The length and diameter of this hose is actually critical to proper dispensing of your beer. The recommended diameter is 3/16″ inner diameter tubing about 4-5 feet in length if you are storing your keg in the refrigerator.
- Quick Disconnects – Plastic or stainless fittings that join the plastic keg hose to the keg itself. There are two types – pin and ball connectors corresponding to pin type and ball type Cornelius kegs. The ball type kegs seem to be more common, but it does not really matter which you use as long as the quick disconnect matches your keg type (either ball or pin). For the ball style connectors there is also a difference between the gas side connector and the beer side connector since the two have slightly different sizes on the keg to avoid misconnecting them.
- Tap – Ahhh…the end of the line for the keg system. Taps can vary from a simple plastic cobra picnic tap to a complex specialty stout tap for dispensing stouts with nitrogen. Most of us start with a simple plastic picnic tap.
- Refrigerator – Though technically not required, it is easiest to store your kegs in a refrigerator. First, most people like their beer cold, and second if you want to carbonate your beer at room temperature you will need to store it at much higher pressure (and put a long dispensing line on it to compensate!). While beer will carbonate quite nicely at 10-12 psi at 42 F, you will need 27-30 psi to accomplish the same at room temperature. Dispensing at that pressure requires a very long dispensing line to bleed off the extra pressure. Most people use an extra used refrigerator or converted freezer to store and dispense their beer.
Checking out the system
The first step when your new kegging system arrives is to take the CO2 tank over to your local beverage supply, fire extinguisher supply, gas supply or other store and get the tank filled with CO2. You might want to weigh your CO2 tank both empty and full since this is the only way you will know how much CO2 you have left as you use it.
When you first fill the tank it will be cold. Allow the tank to sit overnight to settle down to room temperature before attaching the regulator. Next make sure the valves are all off and then carefully attach the regulator to your tank and gently tighten the fitting with a wrench. Hook up the hoses to your empty Cornelius keg and give it a test run by releasing the valves and gently turning the pressure up to 10 psi.
Next it is important to check for leaks — use some soapy water to check all of the fittings for leaks. Leaky fittings will bubble when soapy water is applied.
If all has gone well you should be able to turn the gas off and release the pressure in the keg using the pressure relief valve on the keg (usually a small key ring on the top of the keg that you pull to release pressure. You can also let the built up pressure out your tap.
Cleaning the Equipment
As always, your keg must first be cleaned, and then sanitized. Normal detergent can be used for normal cleaning, but you cannot use bleach and some other cleaning solutions on them because they are made of stainless steel (which reacts with bleach). I personally prefer Iodophor – which is an iodine based no-rinse sanitizing fluid – Fill the keg up with water and add the recommended amount of Iodophor. Let it sit for a while, then secure the top and flip it over to sanitize the top.
To make it easy, I disassemble the beer hoses, racking hoses, and fittings and drop them into the keg with the sanitizing solution so they will be sanitized as well. Since Iodophor is no-rinse you can empty it out and let it drip dry for a few minutes before filling.
Filling the Keg
This is the step that makes kegging simplicity itself — just siphon your beer from your fermenter into the keg. If you are paranoid you can give the keg a shot of CO2 before filling it (leaving it open – CO2 is heavier than air so it will sit in the bottom of the keg and push the air out). Wet the O ring on the top with water so it will provide a good seal and then pop the top on your keg. Apply 10-12 lbs of pressure, and then release the pressure from the release valve to purge the air from the top of the keg. Repeat 3 times until you are confident all of the air is out.
I also recommend giving the keg at least one shot at a higher pressure – perhaps 20 lbs – to properly seat the seals and rings in the keg.
You can naturally carbonate the beer using corn sugar if you like. The recommended amount to use for priming is about 1/2 what you would normally use when bottling — approximately 1/3 cup for a 5 gallon batch. The only disadvantage of natural carbonation is that it takes some time to reach full carbonation and it can leave additional sediment in the bottom of the keg.
A slightly cleaner and faster approach is to force carbonate your beer using the pressure provided by the CO2 tank. The pressure needed varies with the temperature of the beer and desired style. CO2 dissolves much more easily in cold beer than warm beer. It also dissolves more completely, which is why many of us use a separate refrigerator to carbonate and store the beer.
You can use a tool like BeerSmith to calculate the carbonation pressure needed for a given desired CO2 level and temperature.
In practice, most of us run our refrigerators at around 42-45 F and pressurize the keg at about 10-12 PSI. The simplest way to carbonate is to simply to put the beer in the fridge, set the pressure to 10-12 PSI and leave it there for a few days. After a day or so you will see hints of carbonation but within 3-4 days the CO2 will fully dissolve leaving nice tiny bubbles. If you find it a little overcarbonated, turn your CO2 pressure down a bit and release some pressure from the keg. If undercarbonated, just turn the CO2 pressure up a bit.
Once you have perfected use of a single keg, you can add additional kegs to your same system by just purchasing another keg , second tap, and some extra hose and fittings to split your gas line into a second keg. After the second it is easy to then add a third, and of course a few backups for beer that is ageing but has not made it into the refrigerator, etc…
Similarly it is possible to add beautiful long handled stainless steel taps to the front of your refrigerator to replace the crude picnic taps. I recommend spending the extra money for stainless steel because the cheaper taps are harder to clean and do not last as well.
Kegging is in many ways much simpler than bottling, and after you get over the initial sticker shock you will quickly wonder how you ever got along without a keg. There is something beautiful about coming home and drawing a pint of your favorite homebrew off your own kegging system.
Xocoveza Stone Brewing
Protips: Explain why you're giving this rating. Your review must discuss the beer's attributes (look, smell, taste, feel) and your overall impression in order to indicate that you have legitimately tried the beer. Nonconstructive reviews may be removed without notice and action may be taken on your account.
Help Us Be Awesome
4.25 /5 rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
On tap at Cardinal Pub Bar, Stavanger: black colour, tan head. Aroma and flavour of roast malts, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, lactose, chili peppers. Very good and unusual beer.
4.33 /5 rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
smell: light chocolate coffee
taste: roasted malt, the chocolate flavor is actually not that strong, and I can barely taste the pepper or cinnamon
feel: creamy and smooth, maybe a little too bitter tho
overall: this is far away from treehouse milk stouts, it's overrated in my opinion
4.25 /5 rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Robust, Dark, and Bold with fine lacing. Distinct hints of cinnamon, peppers, spices, and chocolate, in both the nose and palate. It all finishes strongly and slowly.
4.27 /5 rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Appearance: Black, huge head.
Smell: Gingerbread/cinnamon, sweetness.
Taste: Mild sweetness, cinnamon, slight hot pepper hit, reminds me of a gingerbread cookie with a spicy chaser.
Overall: Nice holiday beer, ginger cookie flavor with some warming alcohol. I'll have to pick up some more for the coming cold months.
4.05 /5 rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
I’m a big fan of winter stouts. Picked up a six pack at the local beer distributor. Pour very dark, nice aroma. Taste was different from other stouts I have had. Was skeptical at first. By the end of the six pack, I was a believer. Went back to pick up another six pack a week and a half later, gone.
4.77 /5 rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Pouring this nearly black can of awesomeness into a pint glass produced a 1" tan head that had excellent retention and lacing. This beer looks just wonderful.
Aroma was complex. At cellar temperature: Mexican chocolate, peppers, vanilla, faint cinnamon. It was like smelling an aromatic puzzle where all the pieces fit together perfectly.
Taste: Just wow. Taste follows the nose. This is just the right level of sweetness for a holiday stout. The peppers and cinnamon provide just a touch of lingering heat, and the chocolate gives you a bit of unsweetened bitterness. This is really a wonderful beer - strong competition for Prairie's Christmas Bomb.
Mouthfeel toes the line between medium and full bodied, which is a perfect compliment to the flavor profile. This is just thick enough for the big, bold flavors, but also incredibly smooth.
Overall: I am filled with regret that I only bought a single. This will be a six pack next year. Just. wow.
4.49 /5 rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
12oz can purchased from the fridge as a single for $2.99. Canned on 9/16/20, so this exactly 3 months old. I only cooled this in the fridge for a short time, and I gave it some time to come closer to room temperature for a while before opening. Seems to be the right temperature - just cool but not cold. Could even probably drink this at cellar temperature and it would be good.
Look: Pours almost pitch black with light brown highlights. Has a very nice looking fluffy brown head. The head dissipated slowly a very thin head is lingering. Tiny bubbles are slowly rising to the surface.
Smell: This has a very nice, complex aroma. The first things that I get are coffee, cocoa powder, fruity chili pepper, and roasty toasty malts. The back end has cinnamon and nutmeg. Hard to pick up the vanilla on the nose, but it could easily be blending in with the chocolate and other aromas. After drinking, I can pick up on a vanilla cream note in the nose on the front end that is reminiscent of cream soda, very nice. Gives some nutty roasted almond notes too that are quite nice. A mild earthy hop aroma and acidity on the finish as well. This smells like Mexican hot chocolate and it smells delicious!
Taste: Wow, this is a lot sweeter than I expected. It at least has a perceived sweetness initially. It's very smooth and drinkable. This is a dangerous beer at 8.1% ABV. The flavors in this beer meld together very nicely to me they are more discernible on the nose than in the mouth. Up front, you get spiced coffee/hot chocolate notes and sweetness that quickly transition to a roasty, slightly bitter finish with a lingering spicy chili pepper. The finish has really nice unsweetened chocolate notes, along with some fruitiness from the chocolate and pasilla pepper. The finish has a lot of sweetness also you can tell your brain what you want to focus on - bitter or sweet. I get a lot of spiced nut notes on the finish as well.
Feel: Mouthfeel is really nice - on the thicker side of medium body. Slightly chewy and pefectly carbonated for this type of beer.
Overall: A really delicious adjunct stout. Is this a pastry stout? I have heard so much about pastry stouts, but I don't actually know how to characterize one and whether this is in or out. Regardless, it's a very delicious beer. With all the specialty ingredients that they put in, you sure hope that it would come out delicious but they could have easily messed up such a complicated recipe. Kudos to Stone for finding the right balance to express all of these flavors without overpowering the beer.
4.22 /5 rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
From a can. This pours a dark coffee cola color with heaping layers of creamy foam. Nice dusting of cinnamon on the nose, and what I think of an ancho chile note. Dry finish, with some cacao in the back, and more cinnamon.
4.68 /5 rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Not a whole lot to say that hasn't been said already. This beer looks, smells, and tastes fantastic. Make sure you let it warm up a bit so you can fully appreciate everything it brings to the table.
4.08 /5 rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours very dark with a big foamy head that slowly fades. Big chocolate aroma mixes with pepper, smokey. Flavor is chocolate, coffee, some smoky pepper, vanilla, faint cinnamon. Light to medium bodied, has a bitter espresso finish. Overall a good stout, I would expect it to be thicker, richer, and creamier.
12 oz can dated 9/9/20
4.21 /5 rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
I purchased a March 2018 bottle and consumed it 8 months past the best by date. Despite being supposedly old it was creamy, mellow and smooth. Not much pepper or heat.
Fast forward to 2020: I finally found this fresh, canned 5 weeks ago. Red chile pepper meets nutmeg, tobacco, dark chocolate, cinnamon, lactose, cocoa and char. It's not especially thick but there's enough creaminess to cut the heat and it never gets too sweet.
This is a really nice stout.
4.36 /5 rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Dark mahogany-brown, with 2.5-finger , long-lasting tan head, that leaves waves of lacing, and a 2-3bubble-thick covering of foam, across the whole surface.
Smell is moderate pepper skin, dark, semi-sweet chocolate with a slight tang (reminds me of the chocolate cake batter, that my mom used to make, that had a little sour cream in it) , a bit of peaty char, some cocoa powder, and the barest hint of nutmeg.
Taste is dark chocolate, roasted walnut & almond, (pasilla) pepper, black coffee, cola, burnt cinnamon, allspice, and a touch of creamy vanilla at finish. Light bitterness lingering after finish. No noticeable alcohol, despite being 8.1%, and only a month old.
Feel is lightly creamy, with slight carbonation tingle on the latter half. Surprisingly light , given the abv, and the genberal nature of the brew.
Overall, just a pxleasure, as always. Dangerously easy-dxrinking. Except for the rx*ichness of fxlavor, it seems like a sub-5% brew, rather than 8.1%. I've had this many times before, but never so fresh. The individual components are more apparent now, while older specimens that I've had previously were smoother. Which is bxetter? Hmmmm. Ask me on any given day, & it cxould go either way. :) I'd rxecommend getting some for now, & some for later, so you can decide what to do in subsequent years. (Cause if you txry this, you'll probably want mxore.)
* ) :P
3.75 /5 rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Bought a 6-pack cans $19.99 Youngs Convenience Store
26 days old
Smell of cinnamon-sugar, chocolate
Dark black color
Taste of burnt black coffee, cinnamon, dark chocolate
Overall nice to try, but I would not buy again. Maybe this beer was overhyped. The burnt black coffee taste overwhelms all else, but does become smoother as the beer warms and the cinnamon taste comes out more. I'm going to age this to see if it improves.
4.64 /5 rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
looks like quite a few other dark beers.
Taste wonderful mixture of peppery heat and cinnamon and dark malt.
Feel is medium yet crushable.
What makes this beer world class is the enjoyable flavor.
2.59 /5 rDev -40.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2
Very disappointed with the 2020 Stone Xocoveza. The taste we have known and loved in the past is not there this year. Happy we still have some 2019 held in reserve. The cinnamon taste and the pepper finish are missing with this year's release. It's basically an okay chocolate stout.
4.55 /5 rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
Upside down labeled 12 oz. can turned upside down over a clear pint glass results in a black coffee colored liquid and bubbly tan head almost filling the vessel. Some sort of spiced up malty and coffee aroma fills the vicinity of the action. Although the head doesn't last long, abundant glass lacing bears witness to the ample body. The taste is remarkable, with the sort of good sweetness a good dark chocolate brings. This is one rich brew and it slides down so smoothly. With eight or nine ingredients contributing to the overall taste, this is amazingly balanced. Savoring the swallows, so many different tastes can be had, except the appreciable alcohol.
4.35 /5 rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
When drinking it out of the can, definitely drink it cold. By smelling the beer, it’s easy to tell that it wouldn’t taste good warm, as there are many spices. The head develops nicely. Thick at first and then leaves a nice foamy film after a couple minutes sitting in the glass. Notes of peppers on some sips, notes of chocolate on others, and a light malty finish that leaves a hint of that yummy spicy stout in the back of your mouth.
4.35 /5 rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Pours a black color with a minimal tan head that lasts quite a while. Aroma is dark chocolate and roasted malts. Tastes of cinnamon first, then dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. Creamy and smooth. Good mouth feel.
3.8 /5 rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Jun 2020 Review
12oz can poured into a tulip glass. Didn’t check date but likely 6 months old based on description.
Pour: jet black, one finger dark tan head. Nice ring and clouds, not much lacing. 4.0
Nose: coffee, chili pepper, vanilla 4.0
Taste: charted dark chocolate, deep roast coffee, vanilla, chili pepper, lactose. Char then sweet then a bitter finish that lingers. Pretty well balanced but something just ok about it. Not great but ok. 3.75
Feel: mod to low carbonation. A little thin feeling but smooth and easy to drink. 3.50
Overall: maybe just not my thing. Lots going on but didn’t really hit home for me. Lactose could be part of the issue never seem to like it a lot. But, worth trying and I can see why some may like it a lot. 3.75
3.87 /5 rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
A: opaque very dark brown - virtually black in color 2+ finger medium brown head that receded to a wispy cap OK lacing
S: there's a lot going one what comes through the most are the pasilla peppers, cinnamon, and nutmeg
T: cinnamon and nutmeg up front, with nutmeg being dominant by the finish some warmth on the tongue and in the throat from the pasilla peppers not really getting the chocolate, coffee, and vanilla mild bitterness at the end
M: medium to full bodied moderate carbonation moderately dry finish
O: interesting, but I expected more than I got
4.97 /5 rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Total darkness bordered by a dim haze of Dunkel brown. Has a slick, reflective shine that lends it an air of mystique. Its beige head puffs up big, then vanishes into the black depths.
Roasted coffee laced with molasses, brilliant vanilla, subtle cinnamon, and a sort of fluffed sweetness I’ve come identify as chocolate marshmallow.
A medium body that espouses a superfluous symphony of sensations: creamy stout, spice-induced warmth, and a carbonation that dashes across the tongue in tiny, contained jet streams. No lashings of jalapeno heat, no unwanted acid tang just cozy and soft as your favorite armchair.
A grand orchestra of harmonious flavors work in flawless concert, none overlapping the other, each arriving at precisely the right moment. It begins a with classy tempo of dark chocolate and Brazilian black coffee, which are then accompanied by a percussion of black chile peppers. The hot pepper is made mild by a fluting filigree of sweet vanilla and dark malts. A velvet curtain of cinnamon and nutmeg are draped just behind it all.
4.04 /5 rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
can into glass
Very ample and long lasting tan head. Technically not black, but it looks black. I have been drinking Mexican hot chocolate in between chais at a local café, The Ugly Mug, and this smells just like it. A sharpness that lingers, with the bitter chocolate being the main flavor, with a touch of the non-spicy, pasilla peppers and a trace of cinnamon on the palate.
4.49 /5 rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
A classic stout. Black color with tan head that falls to a ring with some webbing in the middle. Sits pretty still in the glass. Smell is cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, spice. Taste is a mix of so much flavor. Cocoa, and roast malt up front. Cinnamon and pepper combine with cocoa producing a coconut type flavor. Finishes with coffee and pepper. A nice bitterness kicks in to finish it out. It's a medium bodied beer with a light carbonation. Ends pretty clean on the tongue. Overall, what a mix of flavor! This beer is perfect for winter months. Flavor profile changes as it warms which keeps it from getting boring. It's excellent.
Buckeye55 from North Carolina
3.77 /5 rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
A very good stout, just not a great one. Right about halfway between above average and outstanding. Pours black with moderate head. Scent is of coffee, chocolate and spice. Taste follows the scent. Full mouthfeel an aftertaste that ends with coffee bitterness
4.68 /5 rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
I love me a good stout. This one looks amazing, pure black with a dark tan head. Looks just like a stout should imo. Nice roasted coffee+chocolate smell. Coffee, chocolate, peppers/spice, cinnamon on the taste. Awesome stout.
You’re Doing It Wrong: Bagels
When I was young and innocent, this was the setup to my favorite joke. (The punchline: “A stick.”) Now that I make my living as a cooking curmudgeon, the first answer that comes to mind is barley malt syrup, the ingredient that makes bagels bagels.
Barley malt syrup is the stickiest substance I have ever personally encountered. When you pull a spoon out of a jar of it, that dangling thread of syrup remains unbroken for far longer than you think it will. It’s like Donna Summer singing that sustained, seemingly unending “up” in “Dim All the Lights.” In other words, when you buy barley malt syrup (which you will likely find at your local health food store), expect to get it all over your fingers, countertops, and possibly your floor.
But buy it you must if you want to make bagels at home—and if you live outside the New York metropolitan area, you should. There are a wealth of good bagelries within a mile of my apartment building in Brooklyn, but non-New Yorkers are stuck with pallid imitations from suburban bakeries or, worse, frostbitten Lender’s. A so-called bagel made outside of New York is in all likelihood “a roll with a hole, not a bagel,” in the words of my colleague Brian Palmer. (Don’t even get me started on overly sweet Montreal bagels, which eminent food writer Mimi Sheraton once accurately said “could not even be called bagels.”)
So what makes a bagel a bagel? As previously mentioned, it has to contain barley malt syrup. Sugar, honey, and molasses are simply no substitutes for this complex, not-particularly-sweet, tar-like substance.
A bagel also has to be boiled before it is baked. Boiling is what gives bagels their characteristic hard, chewy exteriors. Brushing the unbaked dough rings with water before baking them will not accomplish the same thing, and neither will steaming. You must actually submerge the bagels in simmering water for at least a minute they will darken slightly, and their outsides will become far less pliable, close to the texture of undercooked pasta.
Purists say that bagel dough needs to rest for a day before you shape and bake it, and they’re right. But if you simply must have bagels today, you can get away with giving the dough a quick rise, even though the crumb will leave something to be desired.
Purists also say that the proper way to shape bagels is to roll a piece of dough into a long rope and then to connect the ends of the rope to form a ring. You are free to do this, but I always find that the ends of my ropes don’t adhere to each other very well and sometimes disconnect during the boiling process. It’s quicker and easier to just punch a hole in a ball of dough with your thumb. The resulting bagels look a little ragged—excuse me, rustic—but I’m eating these bagels, not entering them in beauty pageants.
If you want to sprinkle sesame seeds or everything bagel topping on your bagels before baking, brush the boiled bagels with a little beaten egg white beforehand—the albumen will help the topping stick.
Yield: 10 to 12 bagels
Time: 4 to 16 hours, mostly unattended
4 cups all-purpose flour
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast or one ¼-ounce packet active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup barley malt syrup
Oil for greasing the bowl and pan
1. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add 1½ cups warm water—about the same temperature as the inside of your wrist—and 2 tablespoons of the barley malt syrup. Stir with the dough-hook attachment of a stand mixer or by hand until combined.
2. Knead the dough with the dough-hook attachment of a stand mixer or by hand until it feels smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Grease a large bowl (it’s fine to use the same one you mixed the dough in), add the dough, and turn it over to coat it lightly with oil or butter. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, put it in a warm place, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.
3. Grease a baking sheet with oil. Punch down the dough, then scoop about ⅓ cup of it into your hand, shape it into a 4-inch ring, and put it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap, put it in a warm place, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
4. Heat the oven to 425°F, and put 6 cups of water in a large pot over high heat. When it boils, add the remaining 2 tablespoons barley malt syrup and adjust the heat so it simmers steadily. Add three or four of the bagels to the boiling water and cook, turning once, until they are firm and golden, 1½ to 2 minutes. Remove the bagels from the pot with a slotted spoon and return them to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining uncooked bagels.
5. Bake the bagels until they are evenly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Finger-sucking roasted beer duck
TODAY, I’m here to answer the question that has long infected the everyday-home-kitchens, with unending fatigue and boredom. The underlining puzzle that, as a result, has put the other undeserved, pale and bland poultry, onto the seat of power in the dinner-menu arena for far too long. The question that we, if we say we love foods at all, should all ask ourselves…
Why are we so scared of ducks?
I mean yes, they are physically slightly larger than the other poultry – chickens – which has enjoyed unchallenged dominance in the everyday kitchen-politics, for reasons that are insufficient at best. For one, the only difference made by the small increase in size, is an increase in cooking-time that requires no additional effort from you. Second, that effort-that-you-didn’t-really-have-to-make, will buy you incomparable rewards in flavours, succulency, and rest assured, rock-star-level wow-factors. So despite the many… almost universal disagreement I hold with this happiness-forsaken country, I got to admit that they do, do one thing right. They know how to do their ducks.
To the surprise of many, I’m not talking about the widely published, sometimes overrated national dish, Peking duck, focusing on achieving slices of dehydrated crispy skins at the expense of often dry and woodsy flesh (most leftover meats and bones are later used in stir-fries and stocks). As you can see if not clearly enough, I have only disdain for authoritarian rule over the majority. Instead, I’m here to talk about a new discovery I recently made on humble street-establishments, from hole-in-a-wall-like vendors, selling what they call, the aromatic beer ducks.
What differentiates “people’s” beer duck from “Peking” (old spelling of “Beijing”) duck, is the celebration of equal rights and voices for all parts of this under-appreciated animal. No meat, leg or wing, has to subject to the dictation of achieving a dehydrated crispy skin. The entire roast duck is eaten as a balanced festival of juicy, luscious and flavourful off-the-bone meats, under salty, succulent, non-obsessively crispy and gelatinous skins. If you have only tried a taste of this beer duck, you wouldn’t give a shit about Peking anymore.
To my and perhaps your surprise, the recipe for something so gastronomically rewarding and visually impressive, is surprisingly simple.
If you are physically and mentally capable of pouring yourself a hot salt bath, then moving into a sauna to sit still, you’re physically and mentally capable of roasting this duck. Because that, is really all there is to it. First, make a salt-spice brine, difficulty of which is equal to boiling water. Then, with lack of better elaboration, you put the duck… in the brine. What comes after will sound really boring but, you then leave it alone for 18 hours. Go to work. Join a protest. Whatever. After which of course, the climax finally comes, as you skewer the cavity-opening together with toothpicks, then roast the duck in a preheated oven, with very little attention needed, for 3 hours.
Then this, shall come out of the oven, for you.
Seriously, if you think this beer duck, is not worth just that. I sincerely wish you and chicken breasts, a happily-ever-after.
If you want to just do a simple salt-brine, or salt-brine with herbs of your choices, the duck will roast and come out fabulously anyway. Speaking of salt-brine, please, weigh the salt. Don’t measure by volume. Different salts vary largely in density, and there’s just no way for accuracy if you measure by volume.
Ducks… all poultries for that matter, purchased in Asia, come with neck and head attached. I mean why shouldn’t they? There are perfectly succulent meats and skins attached to this part of the body that were well exercised and too good to waste. But if your duck, sadly, comes with nothing from the shoulder up, then before roasting, use toothpicks to sew/seal the skins around the neck-openings together, to keep the breasts moist.
- 4 cups (1000 ml) water
- 1 cup (26 grams) whole Asian dried chili
- 130 grams (roughly scant 1/2 cup of table salt) salt, or kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (60 grams) dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp of chicken bouillon
- 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2″ (30 grams) ginger, sliced
- the spices:
- 2 tbsp of sichuan peppercorn
- 1 tbsp of white peppercorn
- 1 (12 grams) cinnamon stick
- 5 (8 grams) star anise
- 6 large (3 grams) dried bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tbsp (9 grams) cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp (6 grams) fennel seeds
- 1 black cardamon, or 6 green cardamon
- 1/2 tsp (3 grams) whole cloves
To brine the duck : Use a mortar or spice-grinder, pulse “the spices” until they are coarsely ground. Combine the ground spices, water, whole dried chili, salt, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, smashed garlic and ginger slices in a large pot. Simmer the mixture on medium-low heat, with the lid on (to prevent moisture loss), for 30 min to release the fragrance from the aromatics. Turn off the heat and add the cold beer. Once the brine has cooled, submerge the duck in it and keep inside the fridge for at least 18 hours, up to 48 hours, turning the duck once if necessary.
To roast the duck : Preheat the oven on 300ºF/150ºC.
Clean off any spices sticking on the skin or inside the cavity of the duck (rinse with a bit of water if you need to), then pat the duck as dry as you can with a clean towel. Use 2
3 toothpicks to sew/seal the skins around the cavity-opening tightly together (as pictured), to keep the inside moist during roasting. If your duck comes without neck and head, sew/seal the neck-opening, too. Brush the duck evenly with shaoxing wine (or Italian grappa).
If your oven is tall enough to hang the duck, you can insert a hook (any kitchen hooks will do) at where the breast and neck meets, and hang the duck hooked onto a baking-rack that’s set on the highest level in the oven, with a baking-sheet on the bottom to catch dripping. But if your oven is too small to hang the duck (like mine), then simply lay the duck breast-side-up first, on top of a baking-rack with an aluminium-lined baking-sheet underneath.
Roast the duck for 3 hours until golden browned and glorious, turning it once or twice accordingly for evenness. If at the last 20 min, it looks like it needs a boost, turn the heat up to 375ºF/190ºC.
To cut the duck : The best tool for this is a shark kitchen-scissor. Remove all the toothpicks, then cut the breasts starting from the cavity-opening, right through the center, until you reach the neck. Then turn the duck over, and cut the thin strip of back bone (sacrificing as little meat as you can) starting from the butt, right through the center, until you reach the neck as well. Then separate the legs and wings from the breasts, and cut everything into smaller pieces. Serve immediately.
Watch the video: The Master of Hoppets Top 10 Worst Beers of 2014 (June 2022).