Personally I find Irish drinking music (basically anything from Flogging Molly or Drop Kick Murpheys) to be the best stuff to have playing while I am brewing. Probably doesn’t help that I am a few beers into the brew day while I am listening to them. Basically they keep me revved up and going.
Aside from brewing the American wheat tonight (still in the process of that) I also sampled a cider and an amber lager. The cider came from (Fox Barrel )out of Colfax California. The cider I tasted from them was their pear cider. Flavor wise it was quite good, strong pear with a cider finish. I was slightly disappointed to find that instead of a perry like I imagined it was simply a cider flavored with pear extract. Mind you, it is very sessionable at only 4.5% alcohol.
I also had a Red Vixen from Horny Goat Brewing out of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. As ambers go, it was actually pretty good. I would not trade it for my preferred Irish Red ales. But it I wouldn’t complain if someone handed me one at a party. As far as red lagers go, it was much better than a Killian’s.
Okies… Just sampled the dry irish stout. I am quite pleased. I am anxious to see how this one ends up fully carbed. Currently, warm and flat I am very happy with it. Its almost like I remember Guiness used to be. I am so getting ready to do some Irish Car Bombs soon. It should finish out around 5.5% alcohol, very respectable for a simple stout. I only wish I had a nitro tap now for the kegerator.
The wheat is getting closer to hitting the yeast. At this point I am only about 40 minutes away from cool down time. The worst part about the starting brew time being later than normal is finish time is way later than normal. Its almost 2 in the morning and I have at least another 2 hours left in the brew day. I guess its time for more beer.
Find a pint cause I know I am about to.
With the realization that my supply of dunkelweizen is almost gone (now down to 2 left), I find it is high time to bring forth a summery wheat beer. Considering wheats are Joanna’s favorites, I can’t go on without at least one kind in the aging room.
I am delving a little into the American wheat style for this one. Some nice citrussy/grapefruit American hops for flavor, as well as some sweet and bitter orange peel. This should end up as a nice refreshing summer beer when its done.
Its interesting to note that I am now finding myself following at least somewhat of a seasonal schedule for the beers I brew. I am subject to seasonal conditions in the aging room anyway, so it makes sense. Even with the airconditioner running my basement runs up to about 68 degrees. Mind you this is great for ales but it also means I can’t make my cheater lagers at all during the summer. Even with California Common yeast, I would end up with far too many fruity esters for any lager styles. This is also why I have a nice amount of the dopplebock set aside in bottles. I will have these bottles for the winter months when I am brewing/fermenting the next batch.
Looking ahead, I should probably plan out a barleywine soon. Something that will age for a good long time, so I will have winter warmers to work with. There really is nothing better than a nice beer that warms your toes while the snow falls. Its also time to start planning out this years mead as well. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to make this year. I am also considering doing two different batches. One batch will be the blending batch (cyzor and a pear melomel). The other will be an oak aged mead. Joanna fell in love with the oak aged wild flower mead from B.Nektar Meadery that we sampled at the W.E.B. Like a good husband I do what I’m told (mind you I am getting good booze out of the deal).
Projects coming up…
Just thinking of all the stuff I have in mind, I am thinking it is coming time to add in a second kegerator. I have been mulling over the plans of this one for some time now (at least as long as the first one has existed). The new one will be in a chest freezer with a four tap tower. The fun part… not everyone has a 6 tap draught system in their basement. Can we say spoiled… nah … I just love to have some variety. The new system (when it is finally built) will also house my bottling system and lagering system. I will have much better possibilities for more varieties of beer.
Such dreams beers are drunk too… let’s grab a pint or two…
In the current issue of Brew Your Own magazine, there is an article about the birth of a new beer style; Black IPA. To some of us this isn’t necessarily a new style. We have seen previously pale beers cropping up with darker versions for some time now. Although it is not uncommon for US brewers to play around within the style guidelines while brewing, rarely do these experiments gain so much attention that they create a whole new style category. If I recall correctly the last real addition to the style categories was the addition of California Common beer (Steam Beer!!! Yes I am a bit bitter that Maytag and the Anchor brewing company trademarked that name).
You could say that this shows the innovation of those of us over in the US. Sure we may have been inundated with watered down versions of a classic beer style (and yet even making style categories in the process with those), but it is our need to create that has expanded and birthed whole new categories for the world to enjoy. Here comes my annoyance with the whole thing though… Here I am in middle America/east side of the country, why is it all the new innovations are coming from the West Coast. Ya, this style was birthed over in the Seattle/Portland area. Because of this, the style had the possibility to be named Cascadian Dark Ale. Mind you, I find that to be a really cool name. Too bad the people in charge of setting the standards felt that this seemed an unfair name.
Based on what I have seen in the brewing style notes, the beer is very similar to an American IPA, but it uses dark malts to murk it up a bit. I think this beer may actually be a bit more difficult to brew than a true pilsner. The key is to make the brew deep brown to black but without adding roasted flavors (otherwise it ends up becoming a very hoppy stout or porter).
As always this just means I have more and more styles I need to play around with. Too much beer too little time… but thats not a bad thing I think.
Next week I will be brewing a wheat of some sort. I am considering an American style wheat (maybe similar to Oberon) but its all a matter of how I feel on brew day. I am also considering brewing a “Froach” (pronounced frew ahk) soon. This is a Scottish style of gruit (unhopped beer) that uses heather instead of hops. Froach is Gaelic for heather. Its a fantastic style and falls into my love of Scottish and Irish style ales. Of course, I have also been meaning to brew an ESB again soon, but it seems to keep getting pushed aside for others.
I believe that somewhere in the next couple months I may actually brew one of the Cascadian dark ales, just for kicks anyway. I think that may turn into an interesting challenge.
Grab a pint … its time to go.
(Stepping on a soap box) I have run across some rants put out by other bloggers lately. These rants are following a buzz that I am also getting from people in the beer community. And I honestly find it a little troubling.
I fear that the term “craft beer” may be soon taking on the same connotations as the term “foodie” or “vinophile”. There seems to be a certain snobbery associated with craft beer now. Its actually kinda sad. We should be embracing all manner of suds in our quests to find the ultimate pint. Think about it, its a rarity to find someone who hasn’t at one time or another sampled the fizzy yellow water put out by the big three (well more like two, two and a half, depending on the merger of the week). Often these beers do have a place, they are light and refreshing, great beers for quaffing when you are doing yard work. Sure there are others in the “craft” segment that work out equally as well, but not everyone is at that place yet.
The thought here is; there is no such thing as a bad beer. There are simply beers that you personally may not enjoy. Beer, like wine, is one of those things that we all grow in to. I remember a time in my life when I could enjoy Boon’s Farm. Am I ashamed of that, no. Am I afraid that someone will think less of me because of it, not at all. I say don’t judge lest ye be judged as well.
I would like to direct our angst at the those who truely deserve it. Don’t hate the beer (Its been makin white guys dance for thousands of years), hate the companies that have turned it into a commodity. We all know who these companies are. When you have multi million dollar add campaigns that literally tell you nothing of the product itself, we all must know that there is something wrong. Ya, beer may be helping me dance but it sure as heck isn’t making me more attractive to the hotty sitting across the bar (but oddly she sure is getting hotter the more I drink).
Something I remember reading that I found pretty good advice though; learn who it is that really owns that brand you are so smitten with. If you so choose not to support one of the biggies, learn what beers they actually produce and don’t consume them. When you start talking about the big one (Budbev or any combo there of) realize that their empire is huge. What you might think is some quaint little micro brew, might actually be a one off from one of the super groups.
(steps off the soap box)
Oh ya, and don’t take any wooden nickles. And don’t eat spinach with a stranger…
Time for a pint…