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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Brewers Speak - Hallucinator and Decorator

Brewers, bless their alpha-saturated, bitter little hearts, are incredibly responsive. I sent out a bunch of emails yesterday about the Holiday Ale Fest beers that intrigued me, and my inbox this morning was stuffed, like a Christmas stocking, with oodles of goodies. Since they would make a hugely long single post, I'll break 'em up. This first one includes info about Widmer-related beers, Hallucinator and Decorator.

Hallucinator (Collaborator Project)
The Collaborator project teams up members of the Oregon Brew Crew and Widmer. The homebrewers come up with an obscure style of beer, hold a competition, and the winner becomes the Collaborator beer that Widmer then brews commercially. But you want to know about the beer. Fair enough; on to Gary Corbin, homebrew and co-author of the recipe:
"Hallucinator is one of the very earliest Collaborator beers. Michael Rasmussen and I were the homebrewers. It's an English Old Ale (Strong Ale), light amber in color, malty, with moderate to low hop bitterness. Despite its sweet flavor and smooth finish, it's deceptively strong: it weighs in at 7.7% ABV. It was People's Choice in the 2002 Winter Ale Fest. Credit Noel Blake for coming up with the intriguing name."
And here's Michael Rasmussen, the other co-author:
"We both liked the English Old Ale style. I like things that stand the oft stated complaint "it's so dark and heavy" on its head. (Whiners, how heavy can Guinness be when it floats on the ale in a Black and Tan? geez, they don't even know they're own taste buds. OK, rant off) Hallucinator ain't dark, but it is a hefty beer.

"We gathered in Gary's garage one misty fall day and worked out the now-revered Hallucinator recipe. Its inspriation came in large part from what we hoped to drink on another overcast, cool typical Portland fall day.

"As to the name, 'You think the BATF will approve it? I dunno they're pretty down on anything that can be construed as a drug reference. Great! We've gotta try it!'

"At its debut Holiday Ale Fest Hallucinator was a run away People's Choice. We're hopeful the public will once again honor Hallucinator with their votes. We're confident Ale Fest goers who sample Hallucinator will be have happy, happy, happy tastebuds."
Widmer Decorator
Widmer is famous for sending experimental brews to beer fests, and some of their past offerings to the OBF have become legendary. The main brain behind this year's offering to the fest is Alan Taylor who wrote to describe not just the beer, but the process.
"The story behind it is typical of what we do here for special events and the yearly W series. The 7 brewers sit down together and throw around ideas. Someone mentioned a Weizenbock, which we all thought would be fun to brew. I put together the general parameters for it—malts, hops, yeast strain, mash profile and fermentation schedule—since I have brewed these beers in Germany before. The fine tuning of the recipe and fermentation schedule was a collaborative effort within the brew team. As you will see from the product profile, we brewed with the malts, hops and yeasts commonly used to make a German-style Weizendoppelbock.

"On a side note: right before brewing the beer, we started to look for a name for it (oddly enough, that can take as long as any other part of the process). Once we came to naming the creation, we found one that works with the winter & holiday seasons: Decorator. So with the –ator suffix, we had to crank up the formulation a bit to get to Doppelbock strength. We brewed two batches of it down at the Rose Garden for the Holiday Ale Fest and the Gasthaus here on Russell."
He included the stats on the beer, too:
Malts: Light Wheat, Munich, Pilsner malt, Caramel (10L)
Hops: Hallertauer
Original Gravity: 18.4º Plato
ABV: 7.2%
IBU: 24
Getting excited yet? Next up: Hair of the Dog, Double Mountain, Pelican, Caldera, and the Raccoon Lodge.

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