Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

Tasted: She Doesn’t Sweat Much For A Fat Girl

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Looking “fat” in the glass.

She Doesn’t Sweat Much For A Fat Girl is the latest stab at a North East India Pale Ale (NEIPA). Since I missed the original gravity but such a large amount, I was worried how the bitterness would be perceived. I was also worried about the potential for booziness. That one is a bit more difficult to explain; how would missing gravity on the low side create alcoholic flavors/aromas. I have used the hops in this beer in the past, even when they had different names, but never in this quantity or together. Therefore the aroma and flavor will be a new and, hopefully, welcomed experience.

Look: Typical NEIPA that I have been brewing over the past year: brilliant, light gold color. Slight haze, less than normal since I took the beer down to 37*F for 24+ hours. An inch of white foam. Slightly rocky as it begins to recede. Great retention and sticky lace.

Aroma: Huge banana. It jumps out before the glass comes to the nose. Mango, apricot, orange, and papaya. Hints of resin, floral and lime. Completely hop forward, minimal malt sweetness.

Taste: Banana is once again the star. Lots of mango, orange and papaya. As it has aged a taste of berries has began. Light malt for balance. Minimal to no bitterness.

Body: Light body. Medium carbonation. Dry and crisp.

Overall: Probably the best nose of any beer I have ever brewed. The banana mixed with other tropical fruits are over the top, making for an enticing aroma. In spite of the huge hop aroma and taste, bitterness is subdued. Easy to drink. Aroma is the star.

My worries were split: one came true, one could be ignored. The bitterness wasn’t an issue at all. The beer was hop forward without a hint of bitterness, still the beer was balanced. I did feel that there was a late bite of alcohol in the taste. Hypersensitivity, real perception or I wanted to find alcohol. Something to continue to think about. The banana hop aroma and flavor was quite surprising based on the profiles of the individual hops. The surprise was appreciated. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Astronauts aboard the ISS change clothes near a filter that sucks up the skin particles that would otherwise float around.

Tasted: Black Doug

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

This is the first beer I have ever dedicated to a movie. I might have to come up with one for each of the main characters in the Hangover series. It gives me more reason to have to watch one, two or all three of the movies again. Nothing for me to balk at.

Look: Pitch black. Opaque. Heaped helping of thick, tan foam covers. Froths as it recedes gently, leaving traces of past glory.

Aroma: A pleasant balance of maltiness and hops. Sweet caramel with traces of chocolate and rye. Orange, grapefruit, and pineapple aromas from the hops. Not overly hopped but pleasant and easy on the nose.

Taste: Like the nose, there is a good balance to the malt and hops. Generic base malt sweetness, chocolate and rye coexist. Orange and pineapple hops start in the middle, adding great balance and fullness to the beer. Minimal to no bitterness, possibly some from the touch of chocolate rye.

Body: Medium body. Tending towards the high end of carbonation. Clean but not crisp. Dries.

Overall: The most well balanced beer I brewed in a while, especially with the amount of hops used. Would brew this again without any changes. Solid beer.

Cascadian dark ale or black ale, which ever you prefer to call it, seems to have been a fad. I brewed one, since I hadn’t had one in a long time to see if I could revive the dying breed. As I mentioned, I would brew it again, but when? Friends don’t want to take it so having to hit up five gallons on my own in a timely manner is almost impossible. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The poorest 5% of people in the U.S. are still richer than 68% of the world’s inhabitants.

Tasted: MaMoo

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

MaMoo India pale ale was brewed with Vic Secret to not only try out the hop but because it is supposedly a replacement for Galaxy, which is hard to get and ridiculously expensive when it is available. I don’t want to lead you down the wrong path as Vic Secret is not cheap either. Damn southern hemisphere hops are ridiculously good but at a cost.

I have noticed that I am buying at least a pound of hops per month. At first I thought it was crazy to pick up that much hops but looking at recipes like MaMoo, I am tearing through a pound of hops, give or take, per brew day. Eventually I will have to buy multiple pounds as I will run out.

Look:Gold. Hazy, dirty cloudy. Beautiful inch of white foam covers. Above average retention while lacing is minimal.

Aroma: Hops jump from the bottle on opening, prior to the pour. Once poured, papaya, lime, orange, berry, traces of pine, and earthy. Minimal malt backbone.

Taste: Light malts up front: sweetness. Earthiness is probably the backbone of the hops, while tastes of orange, lime and pine mingle to create a pleasant flavor.

Body: Light-end of medium body. Light/Medium carbonation. Late bitterness but not sharp. Dries.

Overall: Another good beer, just not great. I need a bit more maltiness to my hoppy beers. Might have to up it a notch in the next few batches. Too bland.

Beer is really easy to drink. I was just expecting more from Vic Secret. After rereading the specs for Vic Secret seems like I would have been better off with earlier hop additions. Still the aroma, especially a couple weeks ago, was phenomenal. Beginning to think that north eastern ipas need a bit more malt to make them sexier. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: A single cigarette contains about 4,000 chemicals.

Brewed: She Doesn’t Sweat Much For A Fat Girl

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

I have a get together with friends most Thursday nights (I have mentioned this before – I even brewed TNBC One for the group). We call it the Thursday Night Beer Club (TNBC). During TNBC, especially when there is a full group and after a few beers, our conversations may cover a wide range of topics. What do you expect from a bunch of buzzed guys winding down the week. Somehow, someway the conversation went to the dark side. Rich was on a roll with part of a sentence ending in “she doesn’t sweat much for a fat girl.”

Of course we all laughed. I immediately stated that I had to make a beer with that name: She Doesn’t Sweat Much For A Fat Girl. I even created a place holder in beersmith so I wouldn’t lose the name.

Coming up with a home brew recipe for a beer with that name seemed easy: make a big, juicy north east IPA. The recipe below was inspired by the vision of a bunch of morons.

Home Brewing For She Doesn’t Sweat Much For A Fat Girl

There was a major mistake while brewing this beer: missing my gravity by 20 points. I figure this will come out in bitterness. When I start tasting, I will find out for sure.

While writing this blog entry, thinking through my process and rereading my notes, I realized there was another issue: raising fermentation temperatures from ~61*F t ~66*F in less than 12 hours. I think that puts a lot of stress on the yeast. I use a heat blanket made for heating plant roots. The lowest temperature is 68*F on the blanket. It might be time to look into and invest in heating options that starts in the high 50s/low 60s. allowing me to bump up it up a degree at a time. Enjoy!

Recipe for For She Doesn’t Sweat Much For A Fat Girl

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.070
Finishing Gravity: 1.008
IBU: 87.0
Color: 5.2 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 8.14%
Primary Fermentation: 10 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
7.00 pounds Pilsner
7.00 pounds Maris Otter
1.00 pounds Oats
1.00 pounds Red Wheat

Mash:
Saccharification @150.4*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @ first wort
1.00 ounces 2016 Mandarina Bavaria @ first wort
1.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @20 minutes
1.00 ounces 2016 Mandarina Bavaria @15 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @10 minutes
1.00 ounces 2016 Mandarina Bavaria @5 minutes
3.00 ounces 2016 Rakau @whirlpool for 25 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @whirlpool for 25 minutes
4.00 ounces 2016 Wakatu @4 day dry hop
1.00 ounces 2016 Rakau @4 day dry hop
1.00 ounces 2016 Mandarina Bavaria @4 day dry hop

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
1.0 pounds table sugar @15 minutes
3.0 quarts of rice hulls
~6.0 gallons of reverse osmosis water used

Updates:

  • 2017-04-16 (morning): @62.3*F, added S-04 yeast.
  • 2017-04-16 (evening): @62.3*F, fermentation slowly starting.
  • 2017-04-17 (morning): @61.1*F, slow fermentation, added heat blanket @68*F.
  • 2017-04-17 (evening): @66.6*F, great fermentation.
  • 2017-04-18: @66.0*F, great fermentation continues.
  • 2017-04-19: slowing fermentation, added dry hops.
  • 2017-04-22: added to freezer set @37.0*F.
  • 2017-04-23: Bottled with 3.50 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 25, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: FAT.
  • 2017-05-11: Tasted.

Useless Fact: Dolphins and whales squeal to express delight.

Tasted: The Dude

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

The Dude is the first NEIPA (New England India Pale Ale) that I used some reverse osmosis water. It also marks the largest number of different hops, seven, and the first time I used all 2015 hops.

I don’t know if the combination of water profile and fresh(er) hops lead to a solid home brew or the combination of both. I will say, that going forward, I will be using 50% reverse osmosis water or more when making any IPA.

Fresher hops also makes sense. I still have seven pounds of 2015 hops to blow through before I even think about 2016 hops. At the rate of hop usage that will be another 6 – 8 IPAs. My taste buds are waters. Time to get another recipe ready.

Look:Pale gold in color. Covered by full inch of snow white foam; thin but somewhat frothy on top. Great retention, leaving behind immediate and coating lacing before even titling the glass for a sip. Good looking beer in the glass.

Aroma: A light, sweet malt backbone isn’t supposed to be the center of the aroma; it isn’t. Ripe fruits abound: mango, pineapple, apricot, citrus, and pine.

Taste: The taste follows the nose. Big hops and minimal sweet malt backbone. Citrus (orange) and tropical fruits foremost. Hints of grapefruit and pine. Nary much bitterness.

Body: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Dry body.

Overall: One-upped myself as I believe this is the another quality NEIPA. The mix of hops goes well together as well as providing depth of aroma and flavor. Still trending to the high end of the carbonation profile. Might need a bit more body as well,

Used a full breath of hops in this beer. It paid. Peeking at the three week in the bottle range. Need to drink quickly. Someone has to sacrifice. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Caodaism is a Vietnamese religion that worships Joan of Arc, Shakespeare, and Muhammad.

Brewed: Winter Wheat Ale

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Winter Wheat ale was a quick zigzag when trying to brew up another batch of Grass Cutter wheat ale. In case you haven’t been following along, Grass Cutter wheat ale is a beer that I home brew up for the wife once a year or less.

I haven’t had much time to brew lately. Telling the wife that I would make a beer she likes seemed to be the best way to carve out time from our busy schedule while doing good for others. 😀

I decided on Grass Cutter. Brewing it would have to do without the Saaz hops that I normally use as I was out and a trip to the home brew store wasn’t in the schedule. Not a big deal. Once brew day arrived, I collected up my supplies, including Azacca and Cascade hops. Yes, I know, no where near Saaz. It’s what I had.

Home Brewing Winter Wheat Ale

How did I come up with a new beer? First off, asking that rhetorical question loosely. Secondly, on brew day I was missing coriander as well. Coriander adds more pronounced orange while giving off some pepper notes as well. This is a big change to a beer that usually consider to be an Americanized Belgian Wit.

I had zigged around the hops, now it was time to zag around the missing coriander. Two major changes to a single recipe make for a new recipe, thus Winter Wheat Ale.

I also decided to add the zest at one orange, soaked in vodka, at bottling. I did this in the past with Grass Cutter and it adds a huge orange boost. Cheers to hoping this one turns out somewhat decent. Enjoy!

Recipe for Winter Wheat Ale

General Information:
Brew Date: Sunday, January 15, 2017
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.052
Finishing Gravity: 1.005
IBU: 20.8
Color: 4.0 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 6.17%
Primary Fermentation: 10 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
6.00 pounds 2-Row
3.00 pounds Red Wheat
1.00 pounds Munich

Mash:
Saccharification @150.3*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Cascade @20 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @5 minutes

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Orange peel, bitter @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Orange peel, sweet @15 minutes
1.0 fresh Orange zest (soaked in vodka), @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

Updates

  • 2017-01-29: Bottled with 3.8 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 28, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: GC.

Useless Fact: This year (2017), 30-second ads for the Super Bowl will cost around $5.5M.

Brewed: Carrot Top

Monday, December 26th, 2016

Life is full of memories, not always good, not always bad, with many somewhere in-between. One of my memories growing up was the color of my brother’s and my hair. It was bright red, almost orange in color. It was an easy target for kids of my generation to poke fun at; growing up in the 70s it seems like there wasn’t much needed in order to do so and it wasn’t looked down upon.

Red hair sticks out. When it is orange at the beginning of the school year, after a summer of natural summer sun bleaching, the red and blonde hues blend to a bright orange. It almost glowed.

It didn’t take long for a myriad of nicknames to fly our way. Since my brother was older, the nicknames were already in place and known before I showed up at school. “Carrot top” was the one that I remember most. It is the one that, at the time, I think I least liked. But in hindsight, who gives a shit. It is a memory that I will have forever.

As I have grown older, I don’t get the highlights in my hair I used to (tons of skin damage – yuck) and it is turning gray. No one will mistake me for a carrot top but I am one still at heart. This beer is for all those red heads that have found their way on the back side of nickname. Enjoy!

Home Brewing Carrot Top Amber Ale

I have been brewing North East India pale ales (NEIPA) for the past few months (The Dude, The Train Man, Baller, and Used to name a few.). I have been trying to become more intimate with style. I have tried many different hops and changes to the brewing process. It has been quite the tasty experience.

I decided to take some of the NEIPA brewing processes and apply them to an American amber ale. I wanted enough malt to hold up the amber ale while getting a hoppier, non-bitter, aromatic beer. The beer needed to have the mouthfeel to hold up the style but allow clean hop flavors to shine.

Mosiac and centennial seemed to be two well suited hops that should/would play nicely together. Layered crystal malts would lend enough maltiness, sweetness and light caramel notes to remind the drinker of the malt backbone the style was once built upon. A touch of chocolate malt to give color, while oats would add to the body with some creaminess. A mash temperature at 154*F should help the body as well. An American yeast, S-05, should round the beer out nicely.

Excited to have this one in the glass as it sounds like it should be darn tasty.

Recipe for Carrot Top Amber Ale

General Information:
Brew Date: Monday, December 26, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.051
Finishing Gravity: 1.008
IBU: 43.9
Color: 12.7 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 5.64%
Primary Fermentation: 10 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
9.00 pounds 2-Row
0.50 pounds Crystal 40L
0.50 pounds Oats
0.25 pounds Crystal 20L
3.00 ounces Chocolate Malt

Mash:
Saccharification @154.0*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Mosiac @1st wort
0.50 ounces 2015 Centennial @15 minutes
0.50 ounces 2015 Mosiac @15 minutes
2.50 ounces 2015 Centennial @0 minutes, 23 minute hop stand
2.50 ounces 2015 Mosiac @0 minutes, 23 minute hop stand
1.00 ounces 2015 Centennial @dry hop 4 days
2.00 ounces 2015 Mosiac @dry hop 4 days

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

Updates

  • 2016-12-27: (morning) Slow fermentation at 62.1*F. Not on heat blanket.
  • 2016-12-27: (evening) Slow fermentation at 62.3*F. Not on heat blanket.
  • 2016-12-28: (morning) Mild fermentation at 62.7*F. Placed on heat at 68*F.
  • 2016-12-28: (evening) Good fermentation at 67.7*F.
  • 2016-12-29: Slow fermentation at 67.5*F.
  • 2016-12-31: Dry hopped.
  • 2017-01-03: Put in freezer at 38*F.
  • 2017-01-04: Bottled with 3.5 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 27, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: CT.
  • 2017-01-24: Tasted The Dude.

Useless Fact: US consumers spend about $5 billion a year on Christmas gifts for their pets.

Brewed: The Dude

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Yes, I always seem to take pictures of the hops I use.

The Dude is a homage to my nine year old son. When he was born, I was on a huge Big Lebowski kick. I couldn’t get enough of the movie. Of course, it was only natural, to bypass his given name and refer to him as Lil’ Dude. I used the nickname so much that family and friends referred to him as Lil’ Dude as well. He was known more by his nickname than his real name.

Now that he is nine, he doesn’t seem so little. He has graduated to just “The Dude”. I enjoy watching him grow up (as I do both of my girls). This beer is named after a fun loving kid that enjoys video games, basketball and playing with friends.

Home Brewing The Dude IPA

Another IPA (seems like a hybrid: APA (American Pale Ale) an IPA (India Pale Ale)).

There were two changes I was going to make to this beer: water and a complex hop profile. I was finally going to use the reverse osmosis system that I received for my birthday in October. My plan was simple: cut the brew day water in half, 50% tap, 50% reverse osmosis. This wasn’t a complex plan or overly thought out. It was somewhat easy. I have tried to read books and forums on water but it seems to bounce of the thick skull instead of soaking in. Therefore KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

The second change, complex hop profile, was going to take a bit more thought. Looking up the hop profiles (again and again) helped me to understand the profiles of each hop. Past brewing days and notes also aided in choosing the hops. On hand hops played a role as well.

Eureka and Equinox were definitely going to add quality subtle complexities. Galaxy, Amarillo, Columbus and Mosiac each have big characteristics that add distinct aroma and flavor. Layered the complex nature of the helps should meld well together. Enjoy!

Recipe for The Dude IPA

General Information:
Brew Date: Wednesday, December 22, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50 (boil finished with 6.0 gallons)
Original Gravity: 1.068
Finishing Gravity: 1.010
IBU: 61.3
Color: 4.3 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 7.61%
Primary Fermentation: 10 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
6.50 pounds 2-Row
6.50 pounds Pilsner
2.00 pound Oats

Mash:
Saccharification @153.1*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Columbus @1st wort
1.00 ounces 2015 Cascade @10 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Columbus @10 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @0 minutes, 25 minute hop stand
1.00 ounces 2015 Cascade @0 minutes, 25 minute hop stand
1.00 ounces 2015 Columbus @0 minutes, 25 minute hop stand
1.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @0 minutes, 25 minute hop stand
2.00 ounces 2015 Eureka @dry hop 4 days
2.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @dry hop 4 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @dry hop 4 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Equinox @dry hop 4 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Mosiac @dry hop 4 days

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

Updates

  • 2016-12-22: Strong fermentation at 69.8*F. Not on heat blanket.
  • 2016-12-24: Blew off bung. Added new bung and dry hops.
  • 2016-12-27: Put in freezer at 38*F.
  • 2016-12-29: Bottled with 3.6 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 25, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: D.
  • 2017-01-22: Tasted The Dude.

Useless Fact: US consumers spend about $5 billion a year on Christmas gifts for their pets.

Tasted: The Train Man

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

the train main

Azacca is the focal point of this IPA: a new hop profile for me. I could only predict what I thought might happen rather than have confidence in a known outcome. Probably not the smartest to pair it a beer with three pounds of rye: what is the actual profile of the hop? felt the rye should play nicely with the supposed tropical fruit and, especially, the citrus profile of Azacca.

I have brewed other rye centered beers: Rye IPA, Texas Wedge Rye Saison (multiple times), and tasted some commercial beers along the way. It seems that my palate has yearned for more rye. This the reasoning behind the three pounds of rye.

The Train Man Review

Look: Pours a cloudy gold orange. Inch of whit foam. Retention is what is expected of the styles: loiters for bit before receding almost completely. Sticky lacing that coats the sides of the glass throughout.

Aroma: Tropical, orange with back-end rye. Mango, pineapple and grapefruit are distinguishable. Light pepper.

Taste: Rye throughout. Juicy mango, pineapple and orange citrus are boldest. Rye pushes through late, lingering almost like a bitterness. More pepper as it warms, especially in the finish: rye and columbus.

Drinkability: Medium body. Spritzy carbonation. Dry. Low bitterness.

Overall: Smooth beer. Great hop profile. Rye adds nice complexity. Azacca is an all-star. Low bitterness is stepped up by the rye. Really nice beer.

Hands down, azacca is a solid hop. I am glad that I paired this hop with rye. An amazing combo with the columbus syncing with the rye. I will have to brew this beer up again, shortly. After re-reading the review I gave rye ipa earlier this year, I really need to ramp up my rye beer production. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Movie theater popcorn costs more per ounce than Fillet Mignon, the price of Popcorn is more than 1200% higher than its production cossts.

Worst Day of Home Brewing

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

home brewing sour beers

I have been home brewing up tasty (or not) beers for the past eight years. During a period from 2011 through early 2014, I spent a big part of my time researching, formulating, and brewing wild ales. I had the sour itch and I had it bad.

After buying duplicate plastic home brewing items to keep them form contamination, I decided it was time to take a chance on a Brett beer.

Throughout those early attempts, I used the usual suspects that could be obtained from Wyeast and/or White Labs: bruxellensis, claussenii, lambicus (my least favorite), trois (when it was considered Brett and not Sacch). As well as the different flemish blends.

Most of the Brett beers were takes on Belgian saison and pale ales and mashed in the high 140s. I tried using Sacch first, then adding Brett in secondary. I tried building up a Brett starter, pitching 100% Brett in primary. I even did a straight pitch of Brett without a starter, trying to stress the yeast in order to get more character out of the yeast. Most of my experiences were positive.

I was the first one in the home brew club that was even looking at Brett. I was the only customer at the home brew shop asking about the wild stuff. I was radical. I was cool. I didn’t know shit!

What was beyond Brett?

Shortly thereafter, I wanted more. I wanted more microbes. I wanted more sour. I needed more complexity. How to get it. After reading his blog, among other sources, and emailing many times with The Mad Fermentationist, I sought out some East Coast Yeast.

After many attempts to get the Bug Farm, one fine day I landed a vial. I was ready for my first lambic. It was actually the start of multiple purchases of East Coast Yeast, allowing me to try different styles and different techniques. Being on their mailing list had some advantages; for a while. I had now graduated to craft yeast and turbid mashes.

On Top of American Wild Ales?

I was proud of the fact that I had 10 or so carboys in one state or another of aging wild beer. I would go down and look at those carboys. I would boast to people that I had all these carboys making magic elixirs in the basement.

I imagined what these beers would taste like. They would be perfectly balanced. Blended well. Almost perfect.

I had added blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries to a blend of two years of lambic. I had two different Flanders browns, one Flanders red, plus other Brett combinations. It was a small piece of Belgium in my basement.

What Went Wrong with my Home Brewed Sours?

Life. My kids are growing up and all active in one level or another with basketball. We are a basketball family. My wife and I love the sport. We have tried to pass our passion down to our kids while relating basketball (and any sport) to real life. Connecting sport to life is important to me. Having the kids understand hard work, motivation, determination, and pushing through when the chips are down are lessons they will carry throughout life, giving them the tools to succeed.

The basketball affliction has taken it’s toll on the amount of time I have to devote to home brewing. Long weekends at AAU basketball tournaments only allow me to try new craft beers but not brew and not maintain, like I should, the beers faded away.

Via neglect, the sanitized water evaporated, allowing oxygen to permeate into the beers. I knew it was happening. I had lost interest. My focus was on family. The disillusion of Belgium in the basement eroded to the hope that maybe one beer would be okay, maybe.

Pouring out 3+ years of work in the form of 30+ gallons of colored vinegar wasn’t what I set out to do. Unfortunately, it is what I accomplished.

There are so many mixed emotions about the experience. I could ramble on but I will pull back here. Time to move on.

What’s Next?

I have been a fan of hops since I started home brewing. I have stocked up some eight pounds of hops (that is a lot of five gallon batches, even when using 12 – 16 ounces at a time). I will stay the course, for now, with my hoppy beers. The last few have been successful: Baller IPA and The Train Man. The success of these recent home brews is welcomed in order to keep my imagination from roaming to a new past time.

I never cultured yeast from store bought examples of sour beers. I really don’t know why. Probably because thoughts of sanitation never crossed my mind while drinking a Russian River 375. If and when I go back into home brewing sour beers, I would like to try doing some culturing.

Now there are many new, small yeast companies producing yeast and bacteria blends (The Yeast Bay, Imperial Yeast, and Omega to name a few). Setting sail in the direction of sour beers shouldn’t be as difficult as it once was. Staying the course might be. Enjoy!

Useless Fact In eighteenth-century English gambling dens, there was an employee whose only job was to swallow the dice if there was a police raid.

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