Trade, Oklahoma edition

March 25th, 2018 by Matt Schreiner

So today’s blog is about ALPHA HIVE, a double IPA from Coop Ale Works out of Oklahoma City, OK. It was acquired from a gentleman named Jason, and there are three things I want to mention about the trade I made with him that netted me this beer:
1) I found out about Jason being a willing trade participant because he traded with a certain beer dude in the recent past
2) I sent him a couple of local barrel aged beers, and that’s because
3) the “main event” of his part of the trade was the three Founders’ Canadian Breakfast Stouts he sent me

Alpha Hive is very reminiscent of a much more well known beer, one called Hopslam, as this is a double IPA with honey. It’s listed as 100+ IBU and 9.1%ABV.

The beer is a brownish gold with mild head and lacing. It’s got a haze that’s caused by the considerable particulate presence. Smell is dank and hoppy with a definite honey background. Taste? Delicious. Hoppiness is there in the bitter forefront, but the sweet honey asserts itself and it leads to a taste combination that works together, not against each other. Feel is dominated by the strong alcohol, kind of juicy, well balanced, easy to drink for a beer that’s strong in a couple different ways.

Overall, I’d say this one gives Hopslam pretty good competition as a quality double IPA with honey.

Tasted: Swim? Swammi? Slippy? Slappy? Swenson? Swanson? NEIPA

March 25th, 2018 by scot

The short brewing cycle of North-East India Pale Ales (NEIPAs) is aided more by kegging the final product to go from brew day to glass. Here I sit only 15 days after brewing Swim? Swammi? Slippy? Slappy? Swenson? Swanson? NEIPA and I am reviewing the tasty elixir.

I have to really enjoy this keg as it will be the last that I have in at least six months of my home brew. I am undergoing surgery that will not allow me to lift for some time. I am worried about all the stress reliever brew days that will pass without a brew day. Hopefully I will be back at it before the end of 2018.

Look: Pours golden yellow. Very hazy, even cloudy.. Nice white foam covers, about an inch thick. Retention is above average. Lacing is nice.

Aroma: Yes, the hops abound. Passion fruit, mango and pineapple are foremost. Light sweetness. Great hops on the nose!

Taste: More sweetness than I expected. Mango and pineapple carry throughout. Sweetness stays in the side of the cheeks and front of the tongue.

Body: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Dry. Minimal bitterness is giving it too much credit: it almost doens’t exist.

Overall: Citra and Mosaic definitely help a beer out. The citra does add a lot of sweetness to the beer. I assume there is a place in which it would be overwhelming.

This beer is my last home brew for quite some time and it did not disappoint my senses. Six months should more than enough to come up with some more great hop combinations. Long live Mosaic and Citra in hoppy beers. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Forest fires move faster uphill than downhill.

Brewed: Swim? Swammi? Slippy? Slappy? Swenson? Swanson? NEIPA

March 10th, 2018 by scot

Home brewing has the fun of experimentation. Recently I have been using old school hops and force combinations. They have been good but definitely not great, especially when brewing a north east india pale ale (NEIPA).

Citra and Mosaic seem to be in used in many professional versions of NEIPAs, either solo or in conjunction with one another. The hops lend that layer of tropical fruits that make the juicy style juicy. Swim? Swammi? Slippy? Slappy? Swenson? Swanson? started out with Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra. Mainly to get rid of the Amarillo and Simcoe while the Citra was there to add mango, pineapple and papaya. The mosaic was added in after some thought to try and produce a great representation of the NEIPA style.

The malt profile is similar to other NEIPAs that I made: base malt, oats and wheat. Nothing fancy but seems to fit the profile well. It may end being my base profile going forward, allowing me to play with and understand hop profiles better for the style.

As I have been doing, I used 50% reverse osmosis water with no treatment to the other 50% from the tap. Next time I am going to do a 75%/25% split of reverse osmosis to tap to see if this allows the hops to shine even more. Enjoy!

Recipe for Swim? Swammi? Slippy? Slappy? Swenson? Swanson? NEIPA

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Day: 35*F, sunny
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.059
Finishing Gravity: 1.010
IBU: 44.2
Color: 3.8 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71.59%
Alcohol by Volume: 6.43%
Calories per ounce: 16.1
Primary Fermentation: 7 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
10.00 pounds American 2-Row
2.00 pounds Oats
1.00 pounds Red Wheat

Mash:
Saccharification @152.2*F

Hop Bill:
2.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @10 minutes
3.00 ounces 2015 Simcoe @5 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Citra whirlpool, 20 minutes
3.00 ounces 2016 Mosaic whirlpool, 20 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Citra dry hop, 3 days
2.00 ounces 2015 Simcoe dry hop, 3 days
2.00 ounces 2016 Mosaic dry hop, 3 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo dry hop, 3 days

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

Updates:

  • 2018-03-10 (morning): @60.2*F, slow fermentation. Put on heat at 68.0*F.
  • 2018-03-10 (evening): @66.3*F, medium/high fermentation. Took off heat.
  • 2018-03-11 (morning): @65.6*F, great fermentation/aroma.
  • 2018-03-11 (evening): @67.3*F, great fermentation/aroma.
  • 2018-03-13: @68.0*F, added dry hops. Put on heat at 70.0*F.
  • 2018-03-15: put in freezer at 39*F.
  • 2017-03-17: Kegged.
  • 2017-03-15: Tasted.

Useless Fact: The famous painter Pablo Picasso burned many of his paintings to stay warm when having financial troubles.

American Craft Beer Prices – Again!

February 10th, 2018 by scot

American craft beer prices continue to climb. There seems to be no stop in site. It drives me to home brew more often in spite of a crazy busy day-to-day schedule.

This most recent rant on American craft beer prices was brought out by the purchases I recently made at the local box beer store. Severn different American craft beers were purchased with an overall cost of $96.93 (excluding tax). Side note: this was the first American craft beer purchase in several months. Below is a list of the purchases:

Only one beer under $10.00. And, that beer, when I originally had it was only $6.99. That is a $2.00 price hike or, more meaningful, a 28.6% price hike. Other beers, on the list above, that I have reviewed on Two Beer Dudes, have had similar price hikes (why logging this crap is so important).

According to the graphic (huffingtonpost.com) some 52% of the cost of American craft beer comes from the distributor and retail markups. Never thought it was that much. Wait. Why does beer still cost so much when purchased directly from the brewery?

This isn’t my first rodeo discussing (complaining) about American craft beer prices…

Past articles on American craft cost:

Some of the articles above were speculative. Surprisingly, possibly not, but some of those have come true. Especially the post on American craft beer limited lease price increases.

What is next?

The only way that change will occur: people have to stop paying the rising prices for American craft beer. But, the fever is on, it is the in thing. This is scary similar to the wine industry some 15 – 20 years ago.

Prediction: I think that the American craft beer bubble is going to burst in the next three to five years.

In the meantime, make mine a home brew. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: There are 318,979,564,000 possible combinations of the first four moves in Chess.

Brewed: Why So Serious?

February 9th, 2018 by scot

Snowy day while brewing why so serious?

Why So Serious? American double India pale ale (DIPA) was brewed the morning that 12 inches of snow was finishing up. It made for a great outdoor photo, similar to the morning that I brewed with the Afro Six-Nine.

The evening of brew day, into the next morning, accounted for another six inches of snow. Nothing makes for a better day of brewing than the stealthy measures the snow uses to fall.

The name of the home brew is actually my feelings about the American craft beer industry; I recently wrote about American craft beer prices. The industry has warped into this ridiculously serious market as the number of breweries increase and competition for shelf space as well as customer dollars has increased pressure for the ever increasing cost of equipment.

I get it, but what ever happened to some of those fun American DIPA beers from the west coast that dominated up until a few years ago. I can’t find them. If I do, they typically aren’t fresh, therefore, if they don’t have date, I don’t touch them. This beer pays homage to those fun days of American craft beer gone forever.

Another movie quote name. Expect to see a few more. This one is from The Dark Knight, one of my favorite movies of all time.

Formulating the recipe for Why So Serious? American double IPA

Making an American DIPA was something that I really enjoyed: bitter, hoppy, and table sugar to dry. Forget about the malts…mostly. The malt was there to provide a malt backbone that was neutral, trying to balance, somewhat, without stepping anywhere near the path of the hops flavor, aroma, and bitterness. Oh, that beer needed some alcohol and needed to be have pristine clarity.

West coast hops: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus quickly come to mind. I didn’t have Chinook (really like that pine). I had to do my best with the other 3 Cs.

Vienna malt was added for a touch of malt character and complexity. Sublteness is the intent. It is also a malt I have been waiting/wanting to use from sometime.

The aroma on this beer while fermenting was enormous, it filled up the basement, greeting the senses half-way down the steps. Hopefully all of the goodness didn’t ferment out. Enjoy!

Recipe for Why So Serious? American double IPA

General Information:
Brew Date: Friday, February 09, 2018
Day: 25*F, cloudy, snowing (12″)
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04 (2), hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.081
Finishing Gravity: N/A
IBU: 127.5
Color: 5.0 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 66.93%
Alcohol by Volume: N/A
Calories per ounce: N/A
Primary Fermentation: 10 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
14.00 pounds American 2-Row
2.00 pounds Vienna
1.00 pound Table Sugar

Mash:
Saccharification @150.7*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounce 2015 Cascade @first wort
1.00 ounce 2015 Centennial @first wort
2.00 ounces 2015 Centennial @10 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Columbus @5 minutes
3.00 ounces 2015 Centennial whirlpool, 20 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Columbus whirlpool, 20 minutes
4.00 ounces 2015 Cascade whirlpool, 10 minutes
3.00 ounces 2015 Cascade dry hop, 3 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Centennial dry hop, 3 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Columbus dry hop, 3 days

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

Updates:

  • 2018-02-10 (morning): @62.7*F, no/slow fermentation.
  • 2018-02-10 (evening): @61.3*F, slow fermentation. Put on heat at 68.0*F.
  • 2018-02-11 (evening): @66.7*F, great fermentation/aroma.
  • 2018-02-13 (morning): @67.6*F, great fermentation/aroma. Set heat at 70.0*F.
  • 2018-02-13 (evening): @69.4*F, good fermentation. Slowing.
  • 2017-02-16: @68.0*F, no visual fermentation. Took off heat blanket.

Useless Fact: 53% of women in America would dump their boyfriend if they did not get them anything for Valentine’s Day.

Trade, Oregon edition

January 31st, 2018 by Matt Schreiner

So I never got around to Ohio, Fresh Hop part 2, but I had a new one to me last night from a friend named Phil who is a recent transplant to Oregon. He sent me a Pelican Brewing’s Mother of All Storms (which will be shared with a certain beer dude at some point), a bottle of Hair of the Dog’s Matt (for obvious reasons, a beer I’ve always wanted to try), and two cans of STICKY HANDS, an IPA from Block 15 out of Corvallis Oregon.

The first thing I can say about it is it was brewed December 19th, 2017, and I had the first one between January 10th and 14th, and it was amazing. The second thing I can say about it is it is not a beer to let age more than three to four weeks, as while it was amazing, it definitely wasn’t as good as it was when fresher. I guess that’s why the can reads “best before yesterday”.

Any way, it’s a fun looking beer. It’s a very cloudy gold orange with slight foam and lacing, plenty of particulates and carbonation. The smell is straight up danky hops, with a slight mild citrus presence. Taste starts with a dank bitterness than opens up into hoppiness and citrus and pine flavors. It’s not as crisp and booming as it was when fresher, but it still has plenty of hop presence and flavor. It’s a dry beer, but very mouth filling with a strong alcohol presence. It’s an easy sipper and a very good beer, and I’d look forward to trying it again, only this time finishing them all off right off the bat instead of letting any age too long.

Brewed: Loblolly

January 27th, 2018 by scot

loblolly coffee oatmeal stout boil

Loblolly coffee oatmeal stout came about as I am constantly bombarded by the great aromas of specialty coffees at work. I am not a coffee drinker though, I am an appreciative stalker of the fantastic aromas that I waft each and every day.

It made me think back to my coffee experiment a couple of years ago. I found in that experiment that I appreciated the 1.0 ounce per gallon of coffee version the best. I knew that I had to add approximately this amount of coffee to the beer post fermentation.

Formulating the recipe for with the Loblolly Coffee Oatmeal Stout

I had to figure the best way to get coffee in the beer. Two processes crossed my mind:

  • Rack the beer on top of coffee juice into secondary.
  • Using a funnel, pour the coffee juice directly into primary, post fermentation.

The first option requires an extra step, racking to secondary, that I didn’t want to do. Lazy. I have grown accustom to making NEIPAs, dry hopping directly in primary, therefore secondary is no longer an option I prefer. Still, I know that pouring the coffee juice into primary, post fermentation, could and would introduce oxygen into the beer.

The aforementioned coffee juice was created via a simple process:

  • I had the coffee ground “normal”. Not fine and not coarse.
  • Place a coffee filter (large) into a bowl that was plenty big.
  • Put the coffee inside the filter.
  • Fill the bowl with enough vodka to cover the coffee grounds. Note: take into account that the filter will soak up liquid until is is saturated.
  • Place a plastic bag on top of the cold steeped coffee juice.
  • Steep for a few days.

This is the basic process that I use for most steeping. The vodka doesn’t add flavor or aroma but kills any microbes that may be hiding in the ingredients that are used to make the juice additive.

I hope this beer comes out well. Enjoy!

Recipe for Loblolly Coffee Oatmeal Stout

General Information:
Brew Date: Sunday, December 31, 2017
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.061
Finishing Gravity: 1.010
IBU: 59.7
Color: 3.8 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 61.55%
Alcohol by Volume: 5.12%
Calories per ounce: ~16.5
Primary Fermentation: start @62*F, slow rise for 3 days @70*F

Grain Bill:
8.00 pounds Maris Otter
2.00 pounds Flaked Oats
1.00 pounds Roasted Barley
10.0 ounces Chocolate Malt
0.50 pounds Caramel 80L
0.50 pounds Cara Malt

Mash:
Saccharification @156.9*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Magnum @60 minutes

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

loblolly oatmeal stout used big shoulders uganda coffee

Updates:

  • 2018-01-27: @62.4*F, slow fermentation.
  • 2018-01-28 (morning): @60.9*F, faint fermentation.
  • 2018-01-28 (afternoon): @60.6*F, faint fermentation. Put on heat at 68.0*F.
  • 2018-01-29 (morning): @67.9*F, great fermentation.
  • 2018-01-29 (evening): @67.1*F, nary fermentation. Set heat at @70.0*F.
  • 2018-01-30 (evening): @70.1*F, fermentation finished.
  • 2018-02-04: took off heat.
  • 2018-02-07: @58.1*F, added juice from vodka and 4 ounces of coffee.
  • 2018-02-10: kegged.

Useless Fact: Standing anywhere in the state of Michigan a person is within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes.

Home Brewing Keg Beer Line Cleaner

January 22nd, 2018 by scot

Being new to kegging my home brewing endeavors, each and every process I partake is new. Since I am a logical person, processes are always met with a why and how may I do it easier and cheaper. Sometimes, I even wonder if the step is necessary.

Cleaning the tap lines after use seemed to be one of those perfect processes for questioning:

  • How often does this need to be done?
  • What is the process for cleaning?
  • Is there only one way to clean?
  • Why should it be done?
  • What supplies/equipment is/are needed to clean the lines.

Doing a search for tap lines cleaning quickly brought up the purchase our product and do it this way solution. In fact, the SEO for that process must be awesome as it was listed multiple times in the search engine results. I didn’t like the price tag. There had to be home made examples that would cost half as much or less.

Of course, finding them wasn’t hard. There were videos of the build and cleaning process. I liked the $20 for the solution. I decided to write about it to help get the word out, highlight the videos I used and give an actual part list.

Part list:

  1. Flo Master 56HD (~$6.99) – pick this up at home depot. It is in the lawn and garden section.
  2. 3/8″ brass flare tip connector (~$1.69) – pick this up at home depot as well.
  3. Firestone keg liquid post (~$14.99). There is a link in the first video to buy one on line but bring the brass flare time connector with you to the local home brew shop and you will have it immediately.
  4. Teflon tap. Come on, any DYI will have this laying around.

Three notes about the build:

  1. I had to use a wrench to fully get the flare tip connector into the Flo Master. Be careful as to not over tighten.
  2. The picture is a close up of how the pieces go together on the Flo Master. Somewhat hard to see in the videos.
  3. This should not leak!

Watch the videos on how to put it together: much easier than trying to explain. The two videos, that together combine to give the parts list, as well as how to assemble and use the beer line cleaner, are both included below.

Useless Fact: A giraffe can run faster then a horse, and can live without water longer than a camel.

Tasted: with the Afro Six-Nine

January 14th, 2018 by scot

It is snowing outside, the temperatures are in the teens, no better time than the present for a home brew. with the Afro Six-Nine seems to be the prefect beer for the present moment. Of course this fits the bill of a North East India Pale Ale (NEIPA).

Look: Pours golden yellow. Somewhat hazy, could possibly call it cloudy. Nice white foam covers, about an inch thick. Retention is above average. Lacing is thick, coating and throughout.

Aroma: The nose is big on the hops. Passion fruit, peach and some berry mingles. Ripe! Gentle sweetness. The aroma is huge!

Taste: Light sweetness balances a huge hop flavor. Ripe passion fruit and peach are prevalent. The hops linger into finish along with a sidecar of sweetness.

Body: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Crisp and dry. Bitterness is minimal.

Overall: There is huge aroma on this beer. Definitely the star. Taste is solid. Overall a good example of the style. The hops work well together.

My first kegged NEIPA. Being able to get a small snort is so much more enjoyable than having to finish a 22 ounce bomber all the time. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Most lipstick contains fish scales.

Brewed: Leaner Saison (d)

January 6th, 2018 by scot

Leaner saison has been a go home brew of mine for quite some time. Unfortunately I only blogged about in 2016, when I made a version of leaner saison with mosiac hops.

Blogging on version d of leaner saison is more of an exercise than it is to log the beer. Four iterations of the beer with minimal changes (yeast and hop), leave little to document.

Formulating the recipe for Leaner Saison (d)

The reason I decided to brew leaner saison: I had another satchel of Lallemand Belle Saison yeast that needed using before expiration. It had been sitting for at least four months, from the late summer, with thoughts that it would have been used rather quickly.

I could have decided on other saison recipe I have on hand or formulated a new one. I chose leaner saison as it’s versatility lends itself to small tweaks:

  1. rye, as I enjoy the profile in a beer.
  2. left over Azacca hops needed to be used.
  3. been wanting a home brewed saison since the summer.

Let’s hope the first beer of 2018 will be fantastic. Enjoy!

Recipe for with the Leaner Saison (d)

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, January 06, 2018
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Lallemand Belle Saison, hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.062
Finishing Gravity: N/A
IBU: 40.6
Color: 4.8 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.41%
Alcohol by Volume: N/A
Calories per ounce: N/A
Primary Fermentation: 1/2 day @66*F, slow rise for 2 days to 78*F

Grain Bill:
10.00 pounds Pilsner
3.00 pounds Rye Malt
0.25 pounds Oats

Mash:
Saccharification @149.2*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @20 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @10 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Azacca whirlpool, 20 minutes, started at flameout

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

Updates:

  • 2018-01-06 @6:00pm: @65.6*F, little fermentation. Added heat at 68.0*F.
  • 2018-01-07 @7:30am: @66.5*F. Moved heat up to 71.0*F.
  • 2018-01-07 @1:00pm: @70.2*F. Moved heat up to 73.0*F.
  • 2018-01-07 @6:00pm: @71.9*F. Moved heat up to 75.0*F.
  • 2018-01-08 @6:30am: @73.4*F. Moved heat up to 78.0*F.
  • 2018-01-08 @7:30pm: @77.8*F. Great fermentation.
  • 2018-01-10 @7:15pm: turned off heat.
  • 2018-01-20: kegged.

Useless Fact: In the movie “Ocean’s 11,” Brad Pitt’s character is eating something at the beginning of each scene.

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