February 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap-Beer Party TONIGHT!

Tonight my wife and I will be our first beer and cheese paring party. It should be a good turnout with anywhere from 15 to 30 people showing up. The plan with this party was a "BYOC" where people supplied the cheese and we supplied the beer to pare with it.

This week I spent some time beer shopping to fill in some style gaps in my home inventory and had a pretty good time doing it. This is what the lineup looks like:

Commercial Beers
Barley Wine - Druid Fluid - Middle Ages Brewing Company
Bock - Saranac Black Diamond Bock - Matt Brewing Compnay
Doppelbock - EKU 28 - Kulmbacher Brauerei AG
Pilsner - Brooklyn Pilsner - Brooklyn Brewing Company
Fruit Beer - Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat - Boston Brewing Company/ Blueberry Wheat [MORE TO COME]
Marzen - Saranac Octoberfest - Matt Brewing Company/Lowenbrau AG

My beers
Belgian Tripel - Tripel Nipple
IPA - Lagunitas Clone
Bavarian Lager - Samuel L. Jackson
Asian Lager - Kaffir Lime Imperial Lager
Porter - Hairy Porter
Stout - Oak Aged Yetti Clone

Once I get home and get to look at what cheeses we matched up with what beers, I'll make some adjustments to this post to reflect the changes. The plan is to set up a tasting table with the cheese and the beers and break out the beers as people move through their tasting. Who knows how it will go, but it sounds like it could be a good time!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

And the winner is...

Brewing this weekend wound up getting canceled because it was Nick's brew-girlfriend's birthday. Keeping the brew-significant others appeased is ALWAYS a worthy reason to delay a brew weekend. God knows they put up with enough craziness.

With my new found extra time, I decided to take care of a few odds and ends.

$20 Gift Certificate

With the $20 gift certificate that I got for valentines day, there were a lot of opinions on how the money should be spent. It seemed that the funnel was prone to clogging so that was a "no-go", but the stainless steel spoon and the carboy carrier were both winners. So as you can see in the picture below, I got one of each and used the leftover money to get 1lb of extra light DME for my starters.

Racking Samuel Jackson

Even though Nick couldn't dedicate the necessary 5hrs to a brew day on Sunday, he was able to come over and give me a hand racking over my Samuel Jackson. I need a hand lifting things for the next few weeks since my surgery so Nick came over and did a little (much appreciated) heavy lifting for me. He also came baring the gift of home-made pasta that ended up being our delicious dinner.

The Samuel Jackson is going to be a heck of a beer. We dry hopped it in the secondary with a 1/2 oz of Amarillo leaf hops which really gave this a great finish. It tastes a lot like Samuel Adams, but I will wait to give a verdict after I do a little head-to-head. Nonetheless, it's going to be a great beer.

CO2 Stuff

So finally I had to make a run to Lowes to do some "home-owner" duties and on my way, I go right past Harbor Freight so I figured two birds with one stone. Since I made a trade with my brother in law (1 case of cream ale for his 5lb CO2 tank) I needed a regulator for my new tank in order to start using it with the jockey box. I had been eyeing up a dual gage gas regulator that they have there for $34 (such a good price), but wasn't sure if it was too good to be true. Well Saturday I broke down and got it.

As you can see from the picture below, once I figured out that it would work, I decided to put the new regulator on my 25lb CO2 tank instead of the new 5lb one because I use the 25lb tank all the time.

Now with the 5lb tank, since I use the air compressor release fittings, I picked up the necessary parts to have my small tank work with the other parts of my system. With my normal system I used these fittings and had an extra gas ball lock with a hose connected to a air compressor release fitting (male) and my large tank connects to the 4way manifold via a release fitting (female). The manifold has gas shutoffs so I can disconnect the CO2 and reconnect it to the single line.

With my new setup, there are 3 quick releases that will go to 3 gas ball locks and I will be able to power the two tap jockey box plus one other keg. I am officially king of the tailgate.

Even though we didn't brew, I still got a lot done. No complaints here.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Celebration Ale Weekend

Well the weekend is upon us and it's time to brew. We're currently looking for an extra set of hands because the doc says I can't lift anything greater than 20lbs. If you're in the area and want to come by to join us, shoot me an email so I can give you directions.

This weekend we're going to be brewing a clone of the Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale for one of my brother-in-laws friends. We worked out a deal with him where we supply some Celebration Ale and he gives us enough wine bottles and caps for us to do the batch of wine we have been talking about. This is a big batch because once we got a gander at the recipe, we knew we were each going to want some too.

On a side note, thanks to a tip from a good friend, I was able to track down a pound of cascade hops for $28. It was locally grown by a guy whose family has roots in the old NY hops growing and has done it his whole life. I'm not going to lie, I was giddy as a school girl when he told me he had a pound of Cascade. That stuff has been impossible to track down.

Anyway, on to the beer:

BeerSmith Recipe Printout -
Recipe: Celebration Ale
Brewer: Travis & Nick
Asst Brewer:
Style: American IPA
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 13.00 gal
Boil Size: 15.98 gal
Estimated OG: 1.065 SG
Estimated Color: 14.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 88.4 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
32.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 82.05 %
2.60 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 6.67 %
2.60 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 6.67 %
0.90 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 2.31 %
0.90 lb Munich Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 2.31 %
4.00 oz Target [8.00 %] (60 min) Hops 40.0 IBU
2.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (Dry Hop 6 days) Hops -
4.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (30 min) Hops 32.6 IBU
2.00 oz Target [8.50 %] (15 min) Hops 10.5 IBU
2.50 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (5 min) Hops 5.3 IBU

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 39.00 lb
Single Infusion, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
75 min Mash In Add 12.19 gal of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 7.80 gal of water at 200.2 F 168.0 F

Now here is where things get a little wacky. This recipe is on the assumption that we are not going to get the Cascade in time. If we are, replace all the Amarillo with the Cascade my father is going to bring us. If he doesn't make it, I think we will be fine with what we have.

Finally a little humor brought to you by comedian Rich Williams of Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

$20 in brew bucks burning a hole in my pocket

So for Valentines Day, my brew wife got me an AWESOME gift certificate for my LHBS! This is $20 that HAS to be spent on brew supplies. While it's tempting to put it towards a brew session, I decided that I am going to spend it on a few odds and ends items I have been eying there at Ed's.

Since it's $20, I am looking for a little feedback on things that I am considering getting. Here are the contenders:

First up is this 12" funnel with a screen for my buckets (yea I am not rolling in a pre-civil war cotton fortune like the guys at MNB and I still use the modest bucket) - My thought on this is that I have not been crazy about the method that we use for our hops which is steeping them in the brew. With this I would like to filter the wort as it comes out to catch as much of the hops as possible and we could just dump the hops directly into the kettle.

Yea, I know, everyone has carboy handles. Well not me. Since I now have three 5 gallon glass carboys and one 3 gallon glass carboy, I was thinking about not tempting fate anymore and getting some decent handles for them.

The ever important brew spoon. My current brew spoon is plastic and I have been using is for a good 4 years and I think it may be time to retire it. Now on his website Ed only has plastic spoons, but I know he has stainless steal ones at the shop so I was thinking about a 18" stainless steal spoon as another option.

In the end, I am probably going to get all this stuff and just using the gift certificate towards it, why? Why not? I am still interested in hearing some arguments for or against any of the items listed.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Late Valentines Day Entry

Well this weekend was not a brewing weekend for me because of some medical stuff that I had to deal with. It's all good though, I should be back up and brewing next weekend.

For Valentines Day, my wife got me a six pack of beer and a gift certificate to my local homebrew shop. There is not much else I could ask for (yet another tribute to the brew wife).

The brew that she got me was from her trip to Philadelphia while I was in Colorado. It was a brewery called Yards Brewing Company. There is a restaurant there that has a long history and all the waiting staff dress in traditional garb. While the restaurant was built on the location of a famous political hangout for our founding fathers, the recipes they brew claim to be authentic to the era.

The six pack that my wife got me was a porter. It was a pretty sweet porter that poured a dark mahogany to almost red color. The head was cream color and hung out for a long time. The brew had the taste that really reminded me more of a sweet brown ale and finished with the porter bite that you expect. It was a pretty drinkable beer because of it's sweetness, not like a lot of the bigger beers that the porter is often associated with.

Over all I would say this is a pretty good beer. I can't wait for the website to launch so I can learn a little more about the recipes, but I have to say I am a fan of mixing politics and beer.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What a trip!

Contrary to popular belief, I was not in Georgia lacing beer bottles with the bird flu. I was in Colorado on a ski/beer trip visiting my long time friend Poopie.

We started the trip out with a stop at New Belgium Brewing Company (I wrote about this on A Good Beer Blog) and had ourselves a great time. I picked up a teeshirt and a ton of respect for this brewery. They're doing all the right things over there and happen to be making beer in the process.

Friday night we headed over the mountains to Pug Ryan's Brewery where I had Thai Mahi-mahi and tried a few of their brews. I enjoyed the Doppelbock, the Scottish Ale and the Pale Ale while I was there. All great brews.

Saturday we headed up to Vail where we hit the mountain hard and took full advantage of the 12in of fresh snow. It was awesome. Below is a picture from on top of the 7th bowl at Vail. The glades there were CRAZY!!!

After a full day of cutting up the slopes, we stopped by Backcoutry Brewery to pickup a case of bombers help us relax. We grabbed their IPA, the pils, the porter, the amber and the wheat beer they had. My favorite was the IPA. Really hoppy all the way through, nose, taste and punch.

Sunday we got up early and headed up to Copper Mountain. Though we didn't have the fresh snow like we did on Saturday, we took a CAT ride and hiked up Tucker Mountain for some CRAZY fresh back country riding. It was AWESOME!!! I made a short video from on top of Tucker before we were about to drop down. (Beware of a little cursing)

We ended the trip into the mountains with a stop at Tommyknocker Brewery where we enjoyed a 5oz tasting of all the brews they had on tap. We also got a sampling of the anniversary brew they have which is an imperial version of their Maple Brown Ale. Good stuff.

I had a great trip. I got to ride more verticle feet in two days than in the past two years and I got to try a lot of amazing beer. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Poop for having me over, it's always a lot of fun.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The argument about Canadians is settled

There has been a lot of talk on the brew blogs about Canadian artists and I figured I would chime in. Now I'm personally a die-hard T-Hip fan and would agree that there is no question that there are a lot of great Canadian comedians and bands. With that said, the chatter about Canadians drummed up memories for me of The Kids In The Hall and they have always been a favorite of mine.

Allen from A Good Beer Blog has pointed out a lot of classic Canadians of note, I would offer that The Kids in the Hall need to be in any conversation about notable Canadians. Unlike MNB's unnatural love of Bryan Adams, this is completely respect for, as Don Cherry would say:

"A bunch of good Canadian boys have good clean Canadian fun"


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Brew Racking Weekend

Yea it's a pretty lame title, but I'm sick and not in the mood to be overly creative.

This weekend I did some of the necessary upkeep to my brews to keep things moving along. In order to do this, I had to stop off get two more 5 gallon carboys for secondary because everything I have now needs to sit for at least a month in a secondary container.

Here are the updates:

Samuel Jackson (pictured on the right)

This was brewed on 1/20/08 and was racked over last weekend so that we could use the yeast cake for the kaffir lime imperial lager (KLIL). This brew would up with quite a bit of traub and I had to top it off in the secondary with some water. It has been sitting in the fridge at 41f for the last week. This weekend I gave it a second racking because of all the traub that was built up and I dry hopped with with a half oz of Amarillo hops (8% AAU). I also added some of my gelatin to hopefully give it a nice clear finish.

Kaffir Lime Imperial Lager (pictured above on the left)

The KLIL was brewed last weekend and in spite of the high gravity, made quick business of the 1.072 OG. When I racked it over it was reading 1.009 for a FG making this a 8.2% ABV lager that is dangerously smooth.

For the kaffir lime part of this brew, per Nick's instructions, I took 10 fresh kaffir lime leaves that had been in the freezer for the past week and diced them into thin slices. The freezing was to allow the glands that hold the lime smell and flavor to burst and cutting them was to get off of the stuff in the glands exposed. From here, I boiled the thin slices in 4qts of water for an hour. I added a little gelatin into the mix at the end for clarity as well.

I added the liquid into the secondary with the pieces of kaffir lime leaf in the mix. This will sit in 41f for secondary for at least one month.

Tripel Nipple

Finally I have the tripel that I brewed. It's been sitting patiently for the past two weeks in secondary on my bench (a nice even 61f) and I am not going to move it until I bottle it. I am looking at waiting a month on that one as well, but I might consider bottling in another 2 weeks depending on what my brewing storage vessel needs are.

Finally, next weekend I am headed to Colorado for some snowboarding and sampling of great brews. I am a fan of New Belgium's Fat Tire which I had for the first time while I was at A-Basin last time I was out there a few years back.