Anyone else have the problem that your beer world has infiltrated your non beer world? We were doing some yard work recently and I was struck with an epiphany (for lack of a better word to tie it together).
I had just cut some dead limbs from one of our trees. While cutting them apart to make it easier for them to burn in our fire pit I suddenly remembered an example from one of my brewing books. This book compared chopping up a branch to chopping up starch by enzymes in the mashing process.
Was just one of those things that made me think “ya, its time for a beer.”
I recently did a sampling of Lilja’s Hop Nest Monster from Pangaea Beers. As always one of those beers I love to find, something new to my area. The fun part… Pangaea hails to us from Wisconsin of all places. Wisconsin has such a rich brewing history, its great to see new stuff coming out of there.
First off, I really like the brewery’s website. The personality of their site really reflects the personality of the beer. They describe the beer as a primordial extra pale IPA. The first thing you notice in the flavor is the pungent resiny hops. Shortly after your taste buds become accustomed to this assault a bit more of the floral hops come through.
Overall, it isn’t a bad beer. But at the same time, to me, it wasn’t really a spectacular beer either. The hops are decent if that is all you seek in a beer. For my tastes though there wasn’t quite enough complexity for me to keep interest for more than one beer.
We spent the day today moving the “Brewery” from one part of the basement into a different part. Essentially, I have now doubled the amount of space I originally had. The best part, I now have the beginnings of my own pub.
Although it still seems overly crowded, it really is much bigger than this pic shows off. The part I really like, I now have a table (debating on if I want to put in an actual bar counter or not). The advantages of the table are, now I have a work surface for when I bottle and I also have a spot for entertaining. I plan to eventually add in a TV with an Xbox (gotta love some games and netflix). I am shooting for a true pub feel. The table allows for board games or the occasional air hockey when I bring out the air hockey table. Of course, when I add in the rest of the taps it will be next to perfect.
Lets find us a pint and reflect on the day …
The day has come. I will be brewing the Belgian Style Tripel in just a short bit. I am currently doing some prep work before I start heating brewing liquor.
I will again be doing a multi rest infusion for this beer (I think this will be my main mash style for a while yet). My current plan is a acid rest around 110 then step up to roughly 144 for roughly 30 minutes and then 158 for another 30 minutes. Mash out will be roughly 168. In order to get as much wort as possible I will be going back into my original sparge method and washing the grain (not sure if that’s the proper term).
Something new for this beer, I made my own “candi sugar.” I used a French method for making caramel (also outlined in the book “Radical Brewing” by Randy Mosher). It is a light caramel color with a much better flavor than normal sugar. In the process I took it to 300 degrees before I transferred it to a foil lined pan to cool. It has now set up nicely and is easily breakable for adding to the boil kettle. As easy as this method is, I will be using it from this point on for any of my beers that I would normally add candi sugar to.
And now the recipe…
8lb Vienna Malt
4lb Pilsner Malt
1oz Mt Hood 5.5aa 60m
1oz Styrian Goldings 3.4aa 20m
1oz Styrian Goldings 3.4aa 5m
White Labs WLP 500 Trappist ale yeast (1.5 quart starter)
This weekend I will be playing around with some stuff again. I am set for a Belgian style trippel. The fun part of this beer right now, I don’t have a recipe even written yet. I have the idea of what I want it to be floating around in my head but nothing yet set in stone.
I picked up the Trappist yeast and hops I intend to use and I will be making caramel at some point in the next few days … what’s this you ask? Making caramel? Yep, I will be caramelizing some sugar instead of using the candi rocks you can pick up at most home brew shops. I am not sure how dark I will be making this caramel but I intend it to be the main color source for this beer.
I also intend to use mostly pilsner and Vienna malt for the main portion of this beer. I am not sure yet if I will use any other malts for color on this one. Probably in the next couple days when I finally set up the recipe I will post it here for others to peruse.
But for now, its time for a pint…
I thought today I might actually talk about a couple different beers but then in my normal preparation, I encountered something that sent me in a slightly different direction. Let me begin by saying how I go about my beer reviews. First and foremost, I don’t really follow a numbers system. I also don’t usually follow the formulaic method used by most other sites. What I do when sampling is while tasting a beer I make notes on what does and doesn’t stand out about the beer. Also as part of my sampling I try to find brewery tasting notes for the beer or hopefully a good story on the back of the bottle. I generally want to know the beer from the brewers perspective as well as my own.
While doing some searching for a couple beers I sampled last night I ran across a few popular ratings sites. What I found served to reinforce the way I do my own beer reviews. More often than not, many of the people that do reviews on certain sites are doing 1 of two things. They are either playing tag along on previous reviews or they are rating beers based on what they think the beer should be instead of by what the style of the beer claims to be.
I am not saying that this is either good or bad (I can’t make that decision for you). But I do pose the question, can you honestly say that Joe Hophead’s view on blah blah amber not having enough hops in it, is a true characteristic of the style? (Do I sound a bit pretentious right now?)
Honestly, drink what you love, sample everything, cause life is too short to be stuck with just one crappy beer…
Both Lavender Mash and Dirty Rotten Scoundrel (Vienna Lager) were transferred into secondary today. In the Lavender Mash the herb came out amazing. In fact, it is almost overpowering. It would seem that I gave it enough at the end of the boil to shine through even through the primary. This one finished out at roughly 3.5%. So an incredibly herbal/ flowery session beer.
One thing I noticed was the clarity of the beer. It may be the yeast but up until this beer my beers have been somewhat cloudy still going into secondary. I am pretty sure that this is the result of the multi-step mash. I am anxious to brew again and see how the next one turns out.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrel has come out nicely so far. The black pepper has blended almost like I had used rye in the mash. It’s peppery without being over powering. This one finished out at 5.75%. Of course, this is the beer that made me realize I needed to change my mashing procedure (it should have finished out at 7%). Based on the flavor profile, I will be brewing this again when I get the multi-rest procedure down a little better.
With that said… lets go find a pint…
In honor of Hatter Day at New Holland Brewing, Central City Tap House put 4 of the iterations of Mad Hatter on tap. I managed to score a small sample of the Farmhouse Hatter. Mind you, this was a small sample so this won’t be a huge review of it.
The main thing I want to say is, wow! The nose carried barnyard and hay. The flavor notes though, pure Belgian yeast intermingling with American hops. So often we find that breweries that brew up something Belgian they mostly stay close to the roots of the beers, without really changing something as simple as a hop profile. The citrusy, resiny hop profile adds a new dimension to the flavor profile of this style. I found it quite refreshing.
My view, if you can find it, get some. Its well worth your taste buds.
I am in that fun place I like to think of as the calm before the storm. I don’t have any recent samplings to talk about right now. And in the brewery everything is doing the fermentation thing.
But its all a ruse. Once the weekend hits I have transfers to do. Both the Dirty Rotten Scoundrel and the Lavender Mash will be going into secondary. The anticipation is rough. Both are beers I am anxious to see how they turned out.
I am also looking ahead at what the next brew day will be. I am thinking along the lines of a Belgian Trippel. This could be fun considering the lower gravity stuff I have been working on lately. Maybe I could even do a refermentation in the bottle with this one. It has been a very long time since I have bottle conditioned a beer.
But for now… its time for a pint.
In the aftermath of Saturday’s brew session, I managed to get everything cleaned up yesterday afternoon. I managed to realize a couple things during this time. First and foremost I did end up with an efficiency I wasn’t all together happy with (60%, I was expecting closer to 75 or so).
I was thinking that maybe I really do need to jump to decoctions soon. And then I realized that I did have quite a bit extra sparge water. So, during the cleaning on my mash tun I drained out the excess. I ended up with close to a gallon of free wort (stuff that I would have gotten still if I had continued draining the mash tun during the sparge). When I checked the gravity of this stuff, I found it to have an OG of 1.030 (I could have made a mini beer).
The biggest lesson I learned from this, when learning a new technique don’t try to do too much at once. The sparge method I used was not my normal method and it cost me the precious sugars needed to hit my marks.
My next brew day I will be doing this again. I am thinking that I will use the same grain bill but change around the yeast and the hops. I will most likely use the same infusion schedule. Once I get the technique down I will start tweaking it more to see the changes that come about from different schedules.