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Beer-lord

Diablo and Winter Dark-my take

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First taste with both of these today with me and my buds. Diablo wasn't bad but definitely didn't finish well. Needed more hops even for non hop heads. not sure I could classify this as a true IPA in my opinion. If I were to do it again, I'd add aroma hops and dry hops.
Winter Dark was something I had high hopes on. Though its 3 weeks and a few days, I'm going to give this another shot in a few weeks but, for a dark beer, it lacked some serious flavor. Very bland. And, it had a some what extract twang to it. I was expecting some roastiness and some umphhhh but didn't have that.
If anyone does these, they definitely need some additional help. Not awful by any means but lacking.

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Thanks for the info. I have Diablo to be keg'd tomarrow or next day, I hope it taste good. I have the winter dark but have not done it up yet, maybe this week. What DME/LME and hops do you think it would go good with? I like to try them first as is, but if it is seriously lacking, I will tinker right off the bat.

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I agree on the Diablo. I have had several bottles and it taste like an thin amber ale with a bitter finish. Certainly drinkable but not an IPA.

More Malt and several hop additions would probably be a big improvement.

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"FrozenInTime" post=293089 said:

Thanks for the info. I have Diablo to be keg'd tomarrow or next day, I hope it taste good. I have the winter dark but have not done it up yet, maybe this week. What DME/LME and hops do you think it would go good with? I like to try them first as is, but if it is seriously lacking, I will tinker right off the bat.


I'm not exactly sure what I would suggest for the Winter Dark. I do know what I would do to Diablo next time. At least 1 lb of DME and some flavor/aroma hops with 1/2 of dry hops.
I think the hops for the Winter Dark were ok, it was the lack of a roast flavor I was missing.

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OK, it's been more than a week since my first taste of each of these and last night I tried a set again. This time, the Diablo was much worse. All who tried it agreed that the 'middle' taste was perfumy. However, I still think this would make a decent beer with more malt and lots more hops. But, I'm not spending $21 only to have to spend more money for only 2 gallons.....that's just me.

The Winter Dark was better, not by much more than first take but it was a decent tasting beer. Not what I personally want in my dark beers but I still am not sure what I would do to doctor this up but again, my comment stands. I understand that this is a time saving brew that I'm paying a bit more for but to add $$$$ to this isn't what I am looking for.
Both are better beers straight up than anything I've made by the 'old' company.

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Thank God u said that about the diablo ipa. I split the HME in two mr beer kegs. I did one brew with steeped grains and one without. I added 1/2lb dme to both and half bag of the new pale lme to both. Finally i dry hopped cascade and amarillo on the steeped brew. Hopefully i get a better ipa version than what you tasted thanks for the review

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I'm drinking the Diablo currently (not as I type this, because it's 6:00 in the morning, but it's in my drinking rotation).

I have to say, I'm a little disappointed, too. It's drinkable, yes, but there's just something about it that's both lacking (maybe the hops, as you suggest) and an unwelcome extra (perhaps what's referred to as "extract twang"). I'm not a big fan of real hoppy beers, and the only other beer in my rotation at the moment is an AG lager, which is very smooth and balanced, so maybe my taste buds are over-reacting. I don't know.

I bottled the Winter Dark recently, so I won't be trying that for a few weeks. I also just got two Advanced Recipes. I'm hoping they're not a disappointment. Before the Cooper's buy-out, I regularly brewed from the Advanced Recipes section, and was very happy to have those beers in my rotation. It would be a shame if that turned out not to be the case now.

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I recently placed an order for the craft series 4 pack that comes with

Diablo IPA
Northwest Pale Ale
Winter Dark Ale
Bewitched Amber Ale

After reading this post I will not make the Diablo or the Winter Dark until I find a post that will improve on them, instead I will make one of the others.

Bewitched or Northwest? I am going to add a booster to whichever one I choose.... Anything else I should do or add so I am not disappointed or can these refills standalone and still taste great?

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I think the Diablo can be easily fixed but I'm still not sure what to do about the Winter Dark. I think it might be ok hopwise but it's think body style needs work. I'm open for suggestions on that myself.

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"Beer-lord" post=296596 said:

I think the Diablo can be easily fixed but I'm still not sure what to do about the Winter Dark. I think it might be ok hopwise but it's think body style needs work. I'm open for suggestions on that myself.

I dry hopped the Diablo which gave a great aroma, but I do find the beer to be thin on mouthfeel. The taste is fine and decently hoppy (at least with dry hopping the aroma helps enhance the flavor). I think adding 1 lb LME/DME or 2 LME softpacks would fix the thin mouthfeel and I will try that eventually.

I think my next Diablo experience will be with the "API IPA" recipe - http://www.mrbeer.com/product-exec/product_id/1239/nm/API_IPA1. I have all the ingredients already so I figure, what the heck.

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"Beer-lord" post=296596 said:

I think the Diablo can be easily fixed but I'm still not sure what to do about the Winter Dark. I think it might be ok hopwise but it's think body style needs work. I'm open for suggestions on that myself.

FWIW, the winter dark where I added a pack of the robust lme and a bunch of mulling spices with both sweet and bitter orange peel was absolutely delicious when I bottled it. Tasted like an extra bitter dark chocolate orange candy (the things you smack that come in your stocking). If I had a hand pumped cask, I could have put it right into the thing and started drinking it on the spot, it was fantastic. (used Wyeast American Ale FWIW)

(I haven't tasted the bottled carbed version yet, still conditioning).

I'm probably going to add some light LME and an ounce of finishing hops to my Diablo based on reviews. Basically treat it like ADIPA.

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I also found the Winter Dark lacking a little something. (Haven't tried the Diablo yet). Oddly enough, some of my family that still prefers the 'neutral' commercial brews and haven't yet developed an appreciation for more body and flavor actually said they liked the Winter dark better than most of my other malty amber brews. I just found it a bit thin and the dark roasted flavor overpowered any general maltiness and hops flavor. I agree with most above, next time I brew it I plan to add more malt and more hops to it. I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of dark roasted malt as the dominant flavor in my beer, and that could be nothing more than a personal taste issue.

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Cheers everybody. I bought all 4 when they were on sale with the coupon code thing so the price was OK. There was no way I was going to brew these straight up. On the Winter Dark added 1 Lb Light DME, steeped carapils, hopped with 1 oz Willamettes split into thirds. 10 min, 5 min, DH 10 Days - Safale 04
Tasted nice out of the keg.
On the NW Pale - Steeped Victory Malt & Carafoam, 12oz Golden Light DME, with an oz of Simcoe 10-5 & 10 Day DH. Danstar Notty. Also nice out of the keg.
Bewitched Red - Steeped Caracrystal Wheat, 1 lb golden Light DME, 1/2 pack booster, German Opal Hops 15-5 & 10 Day DH - Used From Under Yeast - Clear test bottle looks great - Kegged the rest for Christmas Party.
For the IPA - Steeped Carapils, 1 lb Golden Light DME, 7oz Belgian Light Amber Candi Sugar, Southern Cross Hops 10-5-10 Day DH, Simcoe 1/2oz 10 Day DH. BRY-97 West Coast Yeast. Tasted great out of the keg. :cheers:

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This thread makes me very sad. Of all the new products, these were the ones I was salivating to try. I loved the American Devil IPA and was going to buy another batch when it was discontinued. I remember it being very hoppy. I was hoping this Diablo would be a suitable replacement. :(

I had high hopes for the winter dark, hoping it was close to the Christmas ale from 2 years ago (Strong Dark Ale) which was my wife's favorite brew ever.

Thin and uninspiring was not what I was looking for.

How do the current stouts stand up to the old Sticky Wicket? I still have some of those left.

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bgthigfist,

Please don't be sad. I for one, didn't mean to be negative, just honest. I'm sure that's true for everyone.

All you have to do is add some malt(LME, DME or grains) and some hops and you're in business.

If you can catch the refill on sale, it will leave you some room to purchase the additional ingredients.

It's not a BAD beer, it's just not an EXCELLENT beer. And even that is a matter of personal taste. You may like it just the way it is. You've just heard from a few people who don't prefer it as is.

Do yourself a favor and see for yourself.

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"Joechianti" post=296676 said:

I also found the Winter Dark lacking a little something. (Haven't tried the Diablo yet). Oddly enough, some of my family that still prefers the 'neutral' commercial brews and haven't yet developed an appreciation for more body and flavor actually said they liked the Winter dark better than most of my other malty amber brews. I just found it a bit thin and the dark roasted flavor overpowered any general maltiness and hops flavor. I agree with most above, next time I brew it I plan to add more malt and more hops to it. I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of dark roasted malt as the dominant flavor in my beer, and that could be nothing more than a personal taste issue.


JoeC: When we had our tasting a few Sundays ago, we both agreed that the WDA lacked a pop of malt...kinda thin and blase. I think this would work well by adding a dark amber LME or DME to it but for the cost, like BL says, puts it over $20-$22 a LBK. The ease of brewing really sets MB apart but the cost of the batch has to play a big part to it also. Waiting and looking for the next big sale to hit the presses before I can afford to purchase anymore ingredients. It is a drinkable brew though, nonetheless but I sure expected more from this.

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"bgthigfist" post=296696 said:

I loved the American Devil IPA and was going to buy another batch when it was discontinued. I remember it being very hoppy. I was hoping this Diablo would be a suitable replacement. :(

bgthigfist: My impression from reading folks reviews is that its actually a lot like ADIPA, in that it's lacking in finishing hops (late hop additions for flavor and aroma). But it has the IBUs to support adding malt and late hops, just like ADIPA.

So, if what you mean by "hoppy" is bitter and you liked ADIPA straight up, you might like this straight up as well. Because ADIPA was lacking in this department too.

But it made a good "base" to add things to. My impression is that this will as well.

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Been awhile since my last post, though I have been lurking around. I was planning to brew Diablo straight up, but after reading this thread I changed my plans. I brewed it last weekend on a whim with what I had laying around. I boiled a pound of light DME. Looked in my freezer as to what left over hops I had. Most of my leftovers were better for stouts than IPA's. I found .5 ounces of Liberty, so I decided to use it. No hop sack, no problem, threw .25 ounces in the boil commando for 20 minutes. Will dry hop the other.25 commando after a week. I will report back if its improved - or not!!!

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Whenever I read about this and adding hops to other recipes, I always go back to wishing the Mr. Beer folks would share with us, the hops that are used in each of the styles. It would make it a bit easier for some of us to tweak the recipes to our liking.
Not necessary but helpful.

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"Beer-lord" post=296852 said:

Whenever I read about this and adding hops to other recipes, I always go back to wishing the Mr. Beer folks would share with us, the hops that are used in each of the styles. It would make it a bit easier for some of us to tweak the recipes to our liking.
Not necessary but helpful.

+1 Agreed. It wouldn't be too hard just to list an ingredient section right on the can, just like other canned food. Would make it easier.

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"Scottbrew" post=296855 said:


+1 Agreed. It wouldn't be too hard just to list an ingredient section right on the can, just like other canned food.

+1 Agree on the Agree. Additionally, several breweries are listing this level of detail on their beers as well.

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I'm drinking another Diablo now and it's been 5 weeks. Great color, clarity and carb but no taste. Just very bitter. No aroma.
This definitely needs a late hop addition of something low alpha and some dry hopping.
It's a shame, it's got everything else going for it and there is no doubt that it is severely missing flavor and aroma.

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I knew it wouldn't be enough for me straight up. I'm happy I made the additions. I just racked it last Sunday so I'm going to wait awhile.
I'm calling it "Afghan Goo IPA" :laugh:

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"Beer-lord" post=297436 said:

I'm drinking another Diablo now and it's been 5 weeks. Great color, clarity and carb but no taste. Just very bitter. No aroma.
This definitely needs a late hop addition of something low alpha and some dry hopping.
It's a shame, it's got everything else going for it and there is no doubt that it is severely missing flavor and aroma.

Although this does make it a good (albeit expensive) base to build on to make a quick IPA that is customizable with your flavor/aroma hops of choice. IE, just like ADIPA a few late hop or dry hop additions in a little bit of DME or a pack of the extract can turn it into many different flavored IPAs.

That's actually why I liked ADIPA so much, I could mod it into many different yummy IPAs. So I will actually probably like this too - at least when it's on sale.

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I tried one of my Winter Dark bottles last night. It has been almost 7 weeks in the bottle, and so far it's kinda 'meh'. I bet even just a 1/2# of dark DME would have done wonders to balance it out. All I get is 'bitter'. When it warms up a bit, it's better, but it still seems far to bitter to be something I'd sip on a cold winter's eve....

Based on what I've read about Diablo and experienced with Winter Dark:

Diablo: Needs Flavor and Aroma Hops
Winter Dark: Needs DME.

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Brewsus Yeast" post=297595
Based on what I've read about Diablo and experienced with Winter Dark:

Diablo: Needs Flavor and Aroma Hops
Winter Dark: Needs DME.


You go that right!

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Brewed the Diablo IPA and Winter Dark Ale today. Steeped 4 oz. Carapils and added 4 oz. Bavarian Wheat DME to each. Just wanted to add some proteins for better head retention. Pitched the yeast at 64 degrees and used an LBK for the Diablo. Based on Winter Dark feedback (overflows), I elected to use my 3.5 gal fermenting bucket and pitched at 67 degrees. Fermenting fridge is set at 66 degrees. Hoping for no overflows.

If the Diablo turns out more like a pale ale, I won't be too disappointed, as I love pale ales. The smell of the Winter Dark Ale was reminiscent of MB's Dark Strong Ale winter seasonal, me thinks. Anyway, I'm anxious to taste the final results.

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Pretty disappointing reviews of the Winter Dark. I had high hopes for that one. With 2.9 lb of malt in a can a guy shouldn't have to add to it. Mine overflowed on day 2 also. What's up with that?

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I'm going to give the Winter Dark another taste test tomorrow night. It'll have been 2 more weeks for a total of almost 6 weeks. That's more than enough time to get to where it should be.
But, I'm still expecting a weak tasting beer.

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I'm serious when I say that the Winter Dark I made with a pack of the robust and the strongly orange flavored mulling spices was fantastic out of the fermenter. So although it must not be great straight up based on your guys experiences, it seems that just a bit of dark dme and some kind of flavor/aroma supplement might make it pretty good. (I did use Wyeast American Ale, not the DownUnda yeast, but I wouldn't think that would have made that big of a difference on it's own).

I don't see how conditioning will make a beer that I could have drank out of the tap worse, so I expect it to be pretty nice.

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"mashani" post=298212 said:

I'm serious when I say that the Winter Dark I made with a pack of the robust and the strongly orange flavored mulling spices was fantastic out of the fermenter. So although it must not be great straight up based on your guys experiences, it seems that just a bit of dark dme and some kind of flavor/aroma supplement might make it pretty good. (I did use Wyeast American Ale, not the DownUnda yeast, but I wouldn't think that would have made that big of a difference on it's own).

I don't see how conditioning will make a beer that I could have drank out of the tap worse, so I expect it to be pretty nice.

Based of your original "chocolate orange" comments, Mashani, I brewed up a batch this weekend of winter dark, two robust LME packs, 1 cup brown sugar, and mulling spices. I wanted to try a new yeast so popped in the white labs san diego super yeast.

Brewed on Sunday, LBK overflowing on Tuesday morning, smells wonderful. I may add another bit of spices post primary. I have high hopes for this one.

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"willsr" post=298331 said:


Based of your original "chocolate orange" comments, Mashani, I brewed up a batch this weekend of winter dark, two robust LME packs, 1 cup brown sugar, and mulling spices. I wanted to try a new yeast so popped in the white labs san diego super yeast.

Brewed on Sunday, LBK overflowing on Tuesday morning, smells wonderful. I may add another bit of spices post primary. I have high hopes for this one.

Now that's how you kick it up a notch.

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I just bottled my WDA deluxe (uses 1 pouch robust LME rather than booster) 2 days ago. Tasted decent but seemed maybe a little watery to me, maybe that's the "light" feel that some have mentioned. My taste buds need to hit the brewers dictionary or something, so as to report proper terminology to me.

It'll be family dinner on 12/25 when it'll be tried after carb/conditioning so hopefully that helped it as I was prepared to be patient with it to some extent.

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Standard Winter Dark, you just use the HME, no booster included. If you are adding an additional LME using the Deluxed version, and still think its watery then it's most likely because it is just not carbed. Carbonation adds to the mouthfeel and perception of flavors.

Why do you think the BMCs are so fizzy. And reccomended temp, is excessively cold!

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"willsr" post=298331 said:


Based of your original "chocolate orange" comments, Mashani, I brewed up a batch this weekend of winter dark, two robust LME packs, 1 cup brown sugar, and mulling spices. I wanted to try a new yeast so popped in the white labs san diego super yeast.

Brewed on Sunday, LBK overflowing on Tuesday morning, smells wonderful. I may add another bit of spices post primary. I have high hopes for this one.

I did not end up adding any further spices. This was bottled last weekend and the hydrometer sample tasted really good. Not so much a chocolate orange because the allspice/clove from my mulling spices were more pronounced. I am very excited to try this post carbonation.

This excitement was amplified yesterday when I had the 12.12.12 vertical epic from stone which tasted just like my uncarbed winter dark ale. I have a bottle and want to do a blind taste test to see how close they really are.

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I bottled both the Diablo IPA and Winter Dark Ale today. I was extremely pleased with the taste of these brews, and I very much look forward to the final product. Fermenting for 3 weeks makes for some crusty krausen residue. Had to do some soaking.

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