Brewed: LaLa Barleywine

September 4th, 2016 by scot
Preparing to add 60 seconds of oxygen to LaLa wort, post boil.

Preparing to add 60 seconds of oxygen to LaLa wort, post boil.

Requests for a new home brew don’t happen often. Heck, even my wife only requests for the same two beers over and over: Honey Pot Pale Ale and Grass Cutter. Maybe that should tell me something about how my home brews are perceived and/or my home brewing abilities.

Nonetheless, a request did come in the shape of my cousin Ron while chatting at this summers’ family reunion. He heard me say “La”. He asked me to say it again, mentioning that it had been a long time since he had heard someone call his Mother “La”. Of course she is my aunt and my Dad’s twin sister. Her real name is Catheline. “La” came about when my Dad was little and did not have the ability to say Catheline. Instead, he could say “La La”. Somehow it stuck. Ever since I am able to remember, we referred to Ron’s mom as Aunt La.

I not going to bore with more family details but let’s just say Aunt La, a damn hip and cool lady, has had a large helping of misfortune in her life. Ronny asked if I could make a beer for the 2nd annual New Year’s day get together, at my house, to honor his Mom. Of course I couldn’t say no, nor did I want to.

Now I had to determine the beer style and recipe that is fitting of Aunt La. A strong beer with the potential for multiple ways (bourbon soaked oak chips, large dry hop and possibly some with a combination of both) of changing the final product seemed to be the best route to go.

In order to brew up a large beer I had to get one more piece of brewing equipment that I have wanted for a long time and has held me back from brewing high gravity beers: pure oxygen. It has been at least a couple of years since I brewed a high gravity beer for the simple reason of my hyper-sensitivity to alcohol flavors in beer. The process of shaking the carboy only has lead me to believe that mine have that off-flavor. I was waiting for a time that I could get the necessary equipment and the wife wouldn’t bat an eye. Paying homage to my Aunt was an easy win.

Researching award winning barleywines and professional clone recipes, I ended up with what is below. The hope is there that everyone will taste and enjoy this beer that is truly created to represent Aunt La in liquid form. Enjoy!

LaLa Barleywine

General Information:
Brew Date: Sunday, September 04, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05 (2), not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.088
IBU: 31.5
Color: 6.4 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 180
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 6.2%
Primary Fermentation: 30 days @68*F, condition at ambient basement temperature for two months

Grain Bill:
10.50# 2 Row
9.50# Pilsner
0.50# Caramel 60L
0.50# Caramel 80L
0.50# Dextrapils

Mash:
Saccharification @150.8*F

Hop Bill:
3.00 ounce 2014 Magnum @90 minutes
1.00 ounce 2015 Cascade @5 minutes

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
1.0 minute of pure oxygen after racking to carboy

Update(s):

  • 2016-09-04: @1600 the temperature was @83.8*F, placed on concrete basement floor.
  • 2016-09-05: @0800 the temperature was @68*F, pitched yeast
  • 2016-09-05: @2100, fermentation showing good signs.
  • 2016-09-06: @71.3*F, strong fermentation.
  • 2016-09-06: @67.2*F, added heat @69*F.
  • 2016-09-14: Took of heat. Left at ambient basement temperature.

Useless Fact: The $99 Now watch, made by designer Micah Davis, doesn’t have a clock face that tells time, it literally just says “NOW.”

Brewed: Honey Pot Pale Ale – Cascade Wet Hop

September 2nd, 2016 by scot
2016 Cascade hop harvest.

2016 Cascade hop harvest.

I have brewed with home grown hops in the past. I didn’t really care for the finished product, so much so that I didn’t even make an entry into the blog. I recall heaps of vegetal taste that had been extracted into the beer. Unpleasant at best.

That first, and only attempt, I used the hops as late kettle additions: 20, 10 and 1 minute. I wanted to extract cascade flavor and aroma. Unfortunately, I only remember the greenness. That one brew has scared me away from using my home grown hops since.

In the meantime, I have dug up two of the plants (Mt. Hood and Centennial) leaving me with Cascade and Willamette. The two plants I dug up were do to low yield due to poor yard placement. The remaining two have produced okay crops but I have always come up with a reason or three, to the wife and quietly to myself, on why I didn’t have time and/or couldn’t use the hops in a particular season.

This season I noticed that I was getting a good crop of both Cascade and Willamette. I had to do something with those hops. I needed to gain merit with my wife for not wanting to dig up the last two plants. She would replace them with flowers in a heart beat.

What to brew and how to use the hops were my biggest and only questions. Trying to coordinate an optimal time to pick and have time to brew was up there as well.

Countless of hours of thinking about brewing while on one of my two daily walks yielded:

  1. Brew a beer my wife likes: honey pot pale ale.
  2. Incorporate the hops as a whirlpool addition to the wife beer: whirlpool hops.
  3. Need time: Labor day weekend.

I had come up with the perfect plan. Now I only had to perform. Never an issue.

2016 Willamette hop harvest.

2016 Willamette hop harvest.

On brew day, I picked the Cascade and Willamette hops. The amount of Cascade filled a 6 gallon bucket half way. I have no idea how much it weighed but I know it was a shit-ton of hops. The Cascade was full of hop oils and huge on aroma: my hands were green but had the aroma of fresh cascade hops. Better than any crop previously. Knowing that wet hopping with that amount of hops would soak up huge amounts of wort, I decided to not use the Willamette. RIP Willamette. It was discarded. Next year I will plan Labor day weekend as a double brew weekend to use up all the home grown hops. The second beer I would brew: a saison, using the Willamette hops late in the boil and/or as a whirlpool hop.

If the beer tastes half as good as it smelled while brewing, this will be a winner, even with the wife. Enjoy!

Honey Pot Pale Ale

General Information:
Brew Date: Friday, September 02, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.050
IBU: 31.5
Color: 6.4 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 6.2%
Primary Fermentation: 14 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
6.50# 2 Row
0.50# Caramel 40L
0.50# Honey Malt
2.50# Virginia Orange Blossom Honey

Mash:
Saccharification @150.8*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounce 2014 Magnum @60 minutes
1.00 ounce 2015 Cascade @10 minutes

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes

Update(s):

  • 2016-09-03: @0700 the temperature was at 68*F, pitched yeast
  • 2016-09-04: @69*F, fermenting well.
  • 2016-09-06: Fermentation slowing, @67*F, add heat @ 68*F.
  • 2016-09-08: Took of heat. Left at ambient basement temperature.
  • 2016-09-17: Bottled with 3.5 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 24, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: HPW.

Useless Fact: Trees “talk” by exchanging chemicals. They communicate through underground fungi, and when they can recognize their relatives, they share nutrients. Basically, tree “families” help each other out.

Brewed: Smiles IPA

August 27th, 2016 by scot

smiles ipa grain bed

Home brewing brings a smile to my face. It is a great way to relax, taking my mind off my job and other normal life issues. I get consumed by the process. I need to make sure that everything is set before starting, while trying to clean and put away throughout to unsure a neat and clean working space.

Therefore, that should be enough to want to make an India Pale Ale (IPA) named Smiles IPA. I have another and much more important reason. Kaila.

Kaila is my 12 year old daughter that is full of smiles, 24/7. When she greets you, when she tying her shoe or while playing sports, she always has the most friendly and inviting smiles to share with one and all. Her smile is addicting, always helping me through a tough day or even leaving the source of the bad day behind.

She deserved a beer named after her. Smiles IPA was born.

In using Galaxy, Simcoe and Cascade hops, my goal was to capture the essence of how Kaila makes everyone feel; each of these hops has always struck me as a inviting and enjoyable.

I hope I do Kaila justice with this beer. If I do, I will be brewing it again and will have some ready for the day that that 12 turns into a 21. Crap, don’t rush life. Enjoy!

Smiles

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, August 27, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04
Yeast Starter: N/A
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.045
Final Gravity: ?
IBU: 43.2
Color: 4.2 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 4.7%
Primary Fermentation: start @66*F

Grain Bill:
9.00# Maris Otter
1.50# Oats

Mash:
Saccharification @152.6*F

Hop Bill:
0.75 ounce Magnum @60 minutes
1.00 ounce Galaxy @5 minutes
1.00 ounce Simcoe @5 minutes
1.00 ounce Cascade @5 minutes
1.00 ounce Galaxy @whirlpool 20 minutes @160*
1.00 ounce Simcoe @whirlpool 20 minutes @160*
1.00 ounce Cascade @whirlpool 20 minutes @160*
2.00 ounce Galaxy @dry hop 4 days
2.00 ounce Simcoe @dry hop 4 days
2.00 ounce Cascade @dry hop 4 days

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

Updates:

  • 2016-08-28: @62*F, slow start to fermentation.
  • 2016-08-29: @69.1*F, good fermentation.
  • 2016-08-30: @67.8*F, put on heat at 69*F to finish fermentation.
  • 2016-09-03: Took off heat.
  • 2016-09-10: Dry hopped, 3.0 ounces 2014 Galaxy, 2.0 ounces 2014 Simcoe.
  • 2016-09-14: Bottled with 4.0 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 26, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: K.

Useless Fact: If Micheal Phelps were a country, he’d rank no. 35 on the all-time Olympic gold medal list, ahead of 97 other nations.

Tasted: Leaner Saison (c)

August 26th, 2016 by scot

leaner saison c pour

Look: Pours clear. Pale straw to pale gold in color. Half a glass of pristine, white foam. Retention is average; bubbles become quite large. Lacing exists but all falls back to liquid level.

Aroma: A good mix of scents meet the nose. Ripe tropical fruits, light spice with pear and gentle banana, seemingly from the yeast. Light grainy sweetness.

Taste: Spice, sweet grain and yeast characteristics up front. The middle to the end builds the tropical fruit element, lingering into the finish. No real bitterness but lingering pepper.

Drinkability: Medium body. Big carbonation. Crisp. Clean. Dry.

Overall: I don’t why I have gone so long without brewing a saison. Reminds me that it is one of my favorite styles. I have been blinded by the hop. Easy to drink. Will make again.

I might step this one up with a bit more hops: dry hop? I will have to brew saisons on a more regular basis. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: An average person’s yearly fast food intake will contain 12 pubic hairs.

A Barrel Odyssey

August 24th, 2016 by Matt Schreiner

So I decided a few weeks ago to try to drink as many barrel aged beers that I had in my collection as I could. I think I got about nine days in a row drinking at least one before I punked out, but I had another two a few days after that, and the last one was drank today.

I enjoy quite a number of barrel aged beers for many of the same reasons most of us do: the barrel imparts interesting flavors to some of our favorite base beers, they have higher ABVs than a lot of other beers, and there’s the feeling that you’re drinking something special, especially if it’s a beer that only comes out once a year and thus has more of a collector’s appeal.

However, I worry that a lot of these barrel aged beers are just a gimmick, and they’re really not contributing anything to the beer world. But that’s a topic that can be debated at another time.

Anyways, here’s my thoughts on the ones I have drunk recently, in order of consumption, with the brewer’s description in quotes.

1) VLAD THE CONQUISTADOR (Hailstorm Brewing) – “bourbon barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout brewed with chiles, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, and agave”. I drank the 2015 version because I heard the 2016 version was coming out. I still have a tequila barrel aged version that I’m going to let sit another month or so. I found this one really well balanced – all the flavors came out, but nothing overpowered anything else, and the barrel presence helped add yet another layer to it. My fear with beers with peppers of any kind is that they’re going to be too spicy, but letting this one sit for almost nine months helped calm any heat down. It wasn’t oily like some stouts, and it was a very easier drinker with a cigar by the fire pit. I look forward to this year’s version.
OVERALL RATING (out of 5): 4.5

2) BLUEGRASS BILLIONARE (Clown Shoes) – “English Style Barleywine Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels”. Another one by the fire pit with a cigar (it was one of those weekends). It had the malty characteristics I’ve come to expect from a good barleywine, but the barrel asserted itself quite well. It was extremely smooth but there was a subtle alcohol burn that hid itself on the back end. I’ll probably grab another one next year, unless I happen to come across one more this year, which I would age just to see what happens. OVERALL RATING: 4.37

3) STICKEE MONKEE (Firestone Walker Brewing) – “Barrel Aged Central Coast Quad”. I shared the 2016 vintage with my sister in law’s boyfriend as a house warming drink for our first visit to their new apartment (glad I did – he shared his bottle of Last Snow from Funky Buddha with me in return). I liked this one a LOT. I’m lucky enough that my favorite beer store owner gets Firestone’s barrel aged stuff, and he always puts one of each on the side for me. I enjoy quads, and in fact one of the first beers that really excited me about craft was Boulevard’s Barrel Aged Quad, so I was looking forward to this one. It was dark brown with some sediment, strong barrel and molasses scents and flavor, accompanied by some mild boozy tanginess.  This was the first time I had this one, and I look forward to trying this again next year.                                                   OVERALL RATING: 4.59

4) FARMER’S RESERVE CITRUS (Almanac Beer Co.) – “Ale brewed with citrons and oranges and aged in wine barrels”. I had this for the first time last year and reviewed it then. As a wild ale, it had the right amount of funk, and it more than lived up to the “citrus” in the title. It was tangy and fruity with a strong zesty aftertaste. I’m not quite sure what the wine barrels added, but the overall feeling I have about this beer was summed up in one word: FUN. I’ll probably buy a bottle of this every time I see it, especially if it’s summer, as it’s a great sipper on a warm day.  Note: I actually drank it this time from a champagne flute, and I think that helped bring out a lot of the scents and flavors.   OVERALL RATING: 4.31

5) JACKIE O’S BOURBON BARREL DARK APPARITION (Jackie O’s) – “Stout brewed with brown sugar & aged in bourbon barrels”. This was the second time I tried it, and two notes regarding that –  a) Mr Webmaster Scot shared one with me the first time I had it, and as much as I loved it then, I loved it even more this time, and      b) the aforementioned sister in law’s boyfriend got this one in a trade and just gave me the bottle straight up when I mentioned how much I loved it. This is why I always try to share good stuff with him when he comes over here.                                                                 Anyway, the only thing I changed on my first rating with the second bottle was bumping up rating on the smell. It’s one of the best looking stouts I’ve ever had-mild lacing is always present, there’s healthy activity on each drink, and you can see particulates hanging out even with the extreme darkness. It’s sweet and malty smelling, but the barrel is hiding just below that. It’s a perfectly tasting beer – all the qualities of a great stout are there, and then that barrel comes in and punches it up just a notch to the point that it fills the mouth with vibrancy. The only complaint I have about it is the slight oily feel. I’ll drink this thing any chance I get, especially since Jackie O’s isn’t distributed in our area.                                                                         OVERALL RATING: 4.71

6) JAMES BEAN (Allagash Brewing Company) – “ale aged in bourbon barrels with cold brewed coffee”. I shared this one with the sister in law’s boyfriend when he came over (told you), and I’m glad I did, as I don’t think I could have handled the entire 750 ml bottle myself. It was what you’d want from a tripel (which is what it actually is categorized as), but there was too much coffee presence on it for me to think it was really good.                                                     OVERALL RATING: 4.24

7) BLACK BUTTE XVII (Deschutes Brewery) – “27th Birthday Reserve Ale brewed with rose water with 50% aged in bourbon barrels blended with apricot puree, cocoa nibs, and pomegranate molasses”. That’s a mouthful, and so is this beer. I had it when it came out last year, and I gave it a 4.3 rating. It came across as thin then, but aging one a year helped give it more body. It smelled a lot better this year – more sweetness and barrel were present. It had a roasty and sweet taste with a boozy buzz from the barrel on the back end. I get the cocoa and molasses, but I couldn’t tell you how much of the fruitiness I tasted was from apricot or pomegranate, since I really don’t know either of them. Only complaint I had was the slightly oily feel.                                                                     OVERALL RATING: 4.46

8) RODENBACH GRAND CRU (Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.) – “Ale aged in oak foeders – approx. 1/3rd young ale and 2/3rd two year old matured ale”. I wanted to try something from Rodenbach because of their reputation, and I’m glad this was my introduction to them. It had a cloudy tannish red look with good carb and slight lacing. It smelled fruity and floral with a barrel presence. The first word that came to mind when tasting it was sharp, followed by bubbly and tangy. It was tart with mild booziness, and it kept my mouth watering between drinks. While it was very good, I’m not sure I’ll buy another one of it due to the price point, however I’ll still pick up anything this brewery makes that I haven’t tried yet.   OVERALL RATING: 4.42

9) PUMP[KY]N (Avery Brewing Company) – “Bourbon barrel aged pumpkin porter, spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, and aged in fresh Bourbon barrels for 6 months”. I bought a couple bottles of this one last year, had one then and aged the rest. My wife loves pumpkin beers, and she REALLY loves this one. I have to agree with her – it almost drinks like a brandy or a port more than a beer. It’s super sweet with big pumpkin flavor and a heavy alcohol flavor. If anything, that’s my one complaint about Avery’s barrel aged beers – the ABV is too much. Sometimes I wonder if their stuff would taste even better if they lowered the alcohol content. I mentioned when reviewing it last year that I hoped aging some would bring that booze buzz down, and it definitely did. I will buy more of this one for sure, even if the price point is, like most Avery barrel aged 12 oz bottles, way too high.                                                     OVERALL RATING: 4.5

10) BOURBON BARREL AGED CHOCOLATE BARLEYWINE (Moody Tongue) – pretty much self explanatory by the title. Simple review: too much chocolate, not enough barrel or barley wine. I’m glad I bought a second, as I’m going to let it age and see if the chocolate mellows out a bit. For that reason, I have not yet rated it.

11) TART NOIRE (Paradox Beer Company) – “Dark Farmhouse Ale brewed with grape must aged in oak wine barrels”. I’ll admit I maybe messed up the bottle because I stored it in my fridge sideways instead of straight up as instructed on the label. There was a ton of sediment stuck to the bottom which I got off by pouring some back in and giving it a good swirl. It was almost like a shake at that point. It wasn’t a bad beer, but I wasn’t quite sure what they were going for. I wasn’t impressed with the smell or feel of it. Looked and tasted okay, but I’m probably not going to pick up anything else from the brewery in the future.                                                             OVERALL RATING: 3.93

12) GOOD FIEND (Pipeworks Brewing Co. with Parce Rum) – “Imperial Stout brewed with cocao nibs, vanilla beans and raspberries aged in Parce rum barrels”. First thing I have to say is Pipeworks is my favorite brewery, bar none, so maybe I’m a bit biased. But other than the Dark Apparition, this was the best of the bunch. It’s aged in rum barrels, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a rum barrel aged beer before, so it’s different. There’s a definite boozy sense to it imparted by the barrel, very present on the smell, but not as much on the taste-for a thirteen percent, it’s hidden rather well. The beer is very nice looking – dark brown with tannish edges, and a pretty healthy and constant lacing. Like I said, the barrel nature is the first thing that pops up on the smell, but there’s also chocolate and raspberry there. Upon drinking it, you’re hit with a combination of things: the roastiness you expect from a stout, the sweet chocolate flavor, the tartness of the raspberry, and the spicy booziness of the rum barrel. It’s a little oily, but with the great balance this has, I’m willing to overlook it. I like that Pipeworks rarely barrel ages stuff, so when they do, I look forward to it a lot. And this one did NOT disappoint.                                                 OVERALL RATING: 4.67

So that’s that. Thank you for reading, and may you not drink shitty beers!

writer’s note: no barrels were harmed in the making of these beers. I hope.

Brewed: Used IPA

August 14th, 2016 by scot
Year old, 2014, Amarillo hops for the boil and whirlpool.

Year old, 2014, Amarillo hops for the boil and whirlpool.

Sometimes the hardest thing about brew day is coming up with a recipe. This time around I was focused on brewing up a second batch of Three Tooth Joe. The first batch had a fermentation issue: blew the air lock from a crazy ass hard fermentation. After bottling, Three Tooth Joe quickly reared it’s ugly contaminated head. I needed to see if the beer would turn out as good as I expected.

After printing out the recipe, I headed to the basement to check that I had the necessary supplies: malt, hops and yeast. The hop freezer had a cornucopia of 2014 Amarillo hops (sound of turn table needle racing across the record). I love Amarillo. Quick recipe switch to use up the hop residuals.

Three Tooth Joe had a solid base malt IPA recipe. But I wanted to tweak it, it was not needed. I had passed up Vienna malt many times. Vienna to replace Munich. Enough. K.I.S.S.

Now onto the name of the beer: Used. Growing up, I had a next door neighbor that was the same age that I was, school wise. We went to two different schools, making different friends outside of neighborly meetups as supposed friends. Once our worlds expanded, allowing us to go longer distances on our bikes, his friendship to me was that of opportunity. If he had nothing better to do, I was a friend. My parents knew it, they told me, but I didn’t want to hear it. This went on for a year or two before I woke up and moved on to much better friends that I still have today. Looking back to those days I realize that I had been used.

The third day of fermentation found me wandering into the basement to check progress. Floral Amarillo bouquet met the nose, making me thirst for a taste. Enjoy!

Starz

General Information:
Brew Date: Sunday, August 14, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Lallemand BRY-97
Yeast Starter: N/A
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.014
IBU: 42.3
Color: 4.5 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 5.51%
Primary Fermentation: start @66*F

Grain Bill:
11.00# Pilsner
1.00# Vienna
8.0oz Oats
4.0oz Crystal 20L

Mash:
Saccharification @151.4*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounce Amarillo @20 minutes
1.00 ounce Amarillo @15 minutes
1.00 ounce Amarillo @10 minutes
1.00 ounce Amarillo @5 minutes
4.00 ounce Amarillo @whirlpool 20 minutes @145*
6.00 ounce Amarillo @dry hop 4 days

Extras:
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes

Updates:

  • 2016-08-15: @66*F, slow fermentation.
  • 2016-08-16: @68*F, fermentation taking off.
  • 2016-08-17: @70*F, strong fermentation.
  • 2016-08-18: @71*F, strong fermentation.
  • 2016-08-19: @67*F, raised to 69*F.
  • 2016-08-20: Took off heat.
  • 2016-08-27: Dry hopped, 7.0 ounces 2014 Amarillo.
  • 2016-08-30: Bottled with 4.0 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 25, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: USED.

Useless Fact: If you eat a teaspoon of sugar after eating something spicy, it will completely neutralize the heat.

2016 Family Vacation – Beercation

August 4th, 2016 by scot

It’s that time of year again: family vacation. Destination Florida. As always my wife allows me to plan many American craft beer stops. This year I stacked up, hitting all the two heavy hitters that I had planned: Cigar City and Funky Buddha.

Since the last time I was in Florida, many new American craft breweries have opened. I had 12 or so on the list. I hit 7: St. Pete Brewing, Green Bench Brewing, Cycle Brewing, Bury Me Brewing, Point Ybel Brewing, 26 Degree Brewing and Riptide Brewing. We also stopped at Chattahoochee Brewing Company in Phenix City, Alabama.

Instead of telling a long story intermixed with pictures, I have decided to tell the story with pictures with a few words attached to each image.

The time off from work was well needed. Rest, stress release and, most importantly, time to regroup with the family was most appreciated. Enjoy.

Useless Fact: All numbers from one through nine hundred ninety-nine does not have the letter “a” in it.

Brewed: Leaner Saison (c)

July 2nd, 2016 by scot
mosiac hops

Mosiac hops awaiting additions into the boiling wort.

Lately, I have been brewing American Ales, more precisely, India Pale Ales IPA). I have strayed off the IPA beaten path but only to come back as the tractor beam of hop affection pulls undeniably.

At my last visit to the home brew store I was easily persuaded into Lallemand Belle Saison yeast. Prior to that, I had purchased a 10 pound sack of rye. I had used it in Rye IPA earlier this month. I still had a lot left. The combination of the rye on hand, two versions of a rye Saison never brewed, and the slippery tongue of the beer salesmen, I was destined to pick up the saison yeast. The beer store also doubles as a brewery. Salesperson said that they use that yeast in their sasisons. I like there saisons. I don’t have to create a starter if I manage the “size” of the alcohol content. The yeast may sit in the fridge for a week or few months, it is dry yeast. Once again, easy decision.

The only thing left to do: decide on the version of Leaner Saison to brew. Notice that I am using version “c”. I made a third recipe after looking at the first two. Those recipes were made a few years back when I was a bit more subtle in my approach of using rye in a home brewed saisons. It needed more rye: 3 pounds. It needed some new world hops: 3 ounces of Mosaic.

Rye and tropical fruit saison, hopefully, here I come.

Leaner Saison (c)

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, July 02, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Lallemand Belle Saison
Yeast Starter: N/A
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.060
Final Gravity: 1.002
IBU: 24.6
Color: 4.8 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 6.7%
Primary Fermentation: 2 days @69*F, 2 days @72*F, 3 days @ 74*F

Grain Bill:
10.00# 2-row
3.00# Rye
4.0oz Oats

Mash:
Saccharification @150.1*F

Hop Bill:
1.50 ounce Mosiac @20 minutes
1.50 ounce Mosiac @5 minutes

Extras:
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes

Updates:

  • 2016-07-04: @69*F, on heat to raise to 72*F.
  • 2016-07-04: @72*F, raised to 74*F.
  • 2016-07-04: @64*F, took off heat.
  • 2016-07-17: bottled with 3.2 ounces of priming sugar and 1.6 cups of water. 19, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: Rye.
  • 2016-07-17: 1 gallon placed on 23 ounces of services berries.

Useless Fact: 93% of the Great Barrier Reef is now damaged by coral bleaching.

a tale of three beers

June 22nd, 2016 by Matt Schreiner

Hey all. Had three fantastic beers recently (and a lot of good or average ones as well). Two of them were East Coast newbies for me and the third was the return of a Midwest beer, under a new name, and also one of my top five favorite beers.

  1. I got three different beers from Trillium from a new trading partner out of Connecticut. Haven’t drank the FREE RISE saison yet, and SCALED didn’t do much for me, but VICINITY was freaking insane. Cloudiest IPA I have ever had. It had very healthy foam and lacing, but it was so cloudy I couldn’t tell if there was any carbonation. Of course, I didn’t give a rat’s hindquarters, because I so rarely get to try beers like this. It presents with a big bitter hop nose which follows through on the taste. There was a slight citrus flavor and malt notes underneath everything, but the overall feel was light for a DIPA. The alcohol was very well disguised, and that helps make it feel very well balanced. Midwest beer folks, I have to tell you you should find a friend out East who could help you this one.
  2. But if you can get your butt to BJ’s in Oswego, keep an eye out for the next time Maine Beer Company LUNCH comes back around and you won’t have to pay for postage. Had a two week old bottle of it about two hours after picking it up on Monday. I couldn’t wait, as I’ve been wanting to try this one for almost as long as I’ve been into craft beer. I like the idea of an East Coast brewery doing a West Coast style. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and at first taste, I thought “Is THAT all there is?” But once I started getting used to it and met it on its own terms, it really impressed me. It was a very good looking beer, golden orange with healthy foam/lacing and an amazing amount or particulates for an IPA (at least in my limited experience). It had a strong and well balanced hop and malt smell with a mild funk behind it. The malt was more forward on the taste than the hops, which presented as a bitter background. It was very refreshing and tasty, and if I can get more of it, I will. I am dying to try DINNER even more now, if it’s anywhere near as good as this.
  3. We’re now at the returning local favorite: EMERALD GROUPER, aka SQUARE GROUPER renamed. I’ve had this on the previous two releases. The second time, it seemed to disappoint me. The first time, I gave it a five star review. This time was more like the first. It was the cloudiest Midwestern DIPA I’ve ever had, almost like an East Coast style. There wasn’t strong foam to it, and like the VICINITY, I couldn’t tell if there was carbonation due to the cloudiness, but the lacing was pretty healthy. The nose is super strongly bitter-it’s one of those beers that I don’t have to ask my wife to drink to know she wouldn’t like-she smelled it, made a completely disgusted face, and handed the glass back to me. When that happens, I figure there’s a 75 percent chance or more that I’m going to love the beer. The bitter hop scent is accompanied by sweetness from the honey, and both the hops and sweetness present themselves strongly on the taste, backed up by slight bitterness. Absolutely one of the best tasting beers I’ve ever had. For a DIPA with honey, I’d say it’s as good as HOPSLAM.

Anyways, just some thoughts that I wanted to share. Thanks all. Going to get back to my FOUNDERS DEVIL DANCER before turning in.

Cheers!

Friday beers, Wednesday edition

May 18th, 2016 by Matt Schreiner

Sorry, sometimes will take me a bit to write what I intend to if things are busy, but I wanted to say something about my beer experience last Friday.

It started with me trying to prove my pet Beeradvocate.com hypothesis, which is this: if you go on the What Beer Are You Drinking Now thread early enough (in my case, opened the thread) and post a picture of Founders Breakfast Stout and a good heavy metal tune (in my case, Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills), then you will “win” the most likes for the day, which I did, and by a pretty good margin. I find it interesting how that’s probably the most popular beer on that thread.

Later that afternoon, I was able to grab the last six pack of Three Floyd’s ZombieDust at my favorite beer store. Because I hadn’t had it in a long time, and I seem to forget how balanced and juicy it is in between times having it, it became the only beer I drank the rest of that day. It really is truly a great beer, despite how I sometimes bitch about the brewery being overrated.

Couple notes on the coffee beer post the other day:

-the Fouders Sumatra Mountain opens up nicely when you pour it into a coffee cup. Going to have to try it in a snifter at some point.

-Peace by Mikkeller was pretty good. It was a Belgian abbey ale with coffee and aged in Bourbon Barrels. Not big on the coffee flavor, but a very mellow and tasty beer. I usually find myself disappointed in their beers, so this was a pleasant surprise.

Well, off to do yard work and figuring out what to drink after the work is done.

Have a good one….

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