Archive for June, 2010

house IPA revisited; homebrew developments

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

last saturday I decided to brew an all-grain version of my partial mash IPA, which is currently in the process of being tweaked to become my house IPA.

  • I loved the partial mash recipe above since it produced a strong citrusy/floral hop aroma and remained well-balanced even after the hop nose faded a bit over time.
  • ideally, however, this beer should be consumed early.  I plan on a week for primary fermentation, a week of dry hopping, and a week for secondary fermentation in the keg before lagering and serving.
  • the malt bill was very similar to my partial mash recipe, and the hop additions were identical:
    • 5.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 44.05 %
      4.75 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 41.85 %
      0.50 lb Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 4.41 %
      0.50 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 4.41 %
      0.30 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 2.64 %
      0.30 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 2.64 %
      1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (75 min) Hops 49.5 IBU
      1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (55 min) Hops 46.3 IBU
      1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (20 min) Hops 28.7 IBU
      1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (10 min) Hops 10.4 IBU
      1.50 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (0 min) Hops -
      1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale
  • I struggled a little with my mash temps (I still have to iron out some kinks), but I ended up with an OG of 1.067, which was in line with my beersmith profile.
  • I mimicked the impromptu 75 minute boil I ended up with last time, which will hopefully give me similar results.  the profile suggests 135 IBUs, which sounds a little fishy to me, but this brew will definitely pack a punch.
  • luckily, my starter was ready to kick some ass when I pitched it with a shot of O2, and fermentation got off to a vigorous start.
  • in other brew news, most of the hops are doing well, but my cascades are going nuts. the vine has bolted up past the second story of the house, and cones are popping up everywhere.  I am looking forward to some great fresh hop beers in the near future…
  • I also got lucky and scored some 15 gal. plastic barrels from a guy on ebay for $12.50 a pop.  these guys just squeeze into my old kegerator-turned-fermentation fridge, and will be perfect for 10-12 gal. batches (soon to come – stay tuned).

AP’s birthday beer tour: santa monica

Monday, June 21st, 2010

a little over a week ago AP’s birthday rolled around, so we headed off to santa monica, one of our old stomping grounds, to celebrate.

  • our first stop was library alehouse (not to be confused with library bar), a great little beer bar on main st.
  • I remember stopping by library alehouse many years ago and excitedly grabbing a downtown brown before I really caught on to the craft beer scene.
  • that tap handle is still pouring after all these years, but I have come to appreciate the finer offerings that this beer bar has to offer.
  • AP and I spotted the tap for eric’s ale and immediately ordered up a round.  we were bummed to discover that eric salazar from new belgium was going to be stopping by the next day to pay a visit.  that would have been sweet…
  • the beer was great, the scene was mellow, and the food was tasty, but AP and I packed up and moved on to our next destination.
  • our next pit stop was at wine expo on santa monica blvd.  the selection was varied, and we grabbed a reissdorf kolsch, a berliner weiss, and a geuze for later in the evening.
  • if you’re ever in the area and looking for a brew, wine expo is a good place to check out.  they have a bunch of interesting imports, but stock a pretty ordinary domestic selection.
  • we continued the bottle hunt at whole foods on wilshire, which I remembered as having a pretty decent beer selection.
  • “pretty decent” was an understatement – they had a great selection of hard to fund find beers.  after staring at the lineup for a good while, I could tell AP was done with bottle shopping, so I grabbed a bottle of port’s older viscosity, allagash’s confluence, and dogfish’s burton baton and hit the road.  this whole foods is definitely the place to go with paycheck in hand to grab some rarities for a special occasion.
  • AP and I then cruised down 3rd street promenade, ending with a stop by the fifth amendment alehaus.  I didn’t know what to expect when we stepped in, but the bar was cozy and the bartender/owner was friendly and knowledgeable.
  • my only gripe was the price of a pint – I can see $8 for a pour of eric’s ale or delirium tremens, but for port’s hot rocks lager? gimme a break.  I think the price will keep me from coming back on a regular basis, but if you’re stranded on third street shopping with your lady this place is the ticket.
  • I also tried a taster of the bruery’s coton, and let me tell you, it was one of the first old ales/barleywines that I actually disliked.  it was super hot with an overwhelmingly boozy finish.  all I could taste was alcohol.  come on guys, just stuff it in barrels for a year or two and push it for your usual $30 pricetag!
  • afterwards we grabbed some great italian at a BYOB joint where we shared some beers and then headed home.  our samo excursion was a great success – happy birthday AP!

completing the keezer and going pro for a day: WIR 06/04-06/07

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

last weekend was full of brew related accomplishments and surprises.

  • on thursday night I finished up the keezer collar, and AP and I lugged the thing down to the basement, where I fitted the taps and ran the beer lines.
  • after wiring up the ranco temperature controller with some help online, I ran the temp probe and the gas lines and fired everything up.
  • the thing works like a charm, and it’s great to have so much fridge space for storing kegs and other bulky items.  I can even lager in my brew bucket if I want to, but I will probably lager in kegs the old kegerator.
  • on friday DH drove down and we skipped over to naja’s for an afternoon brew.  I got to try a taster of ‘dark side imperial stout’ or something like that from sierra nevada, but ended up with an ’08 alaskan barleywine, which was nice and malty but still relatively drinkable.  we finished up in style with a bottle of fantome saison, which had a great fruity aroma and finish.
  • I am always amazed at the number of homebrewers that roll by naja’s for a pour – they are always friendly and can talk beer all night long.  friday was no exception – we ran into bob, a member of pacific gravity with a sick all-grain gravity system and a vast brew knowledge.  hopefully we’ll meet up again bob, maybe at a pacific gravity meeting!
  • friday night the smoker was fired up, and by saturday afternoon 20 lbs of pulled pork was ready to rock, in addition to 3 beer can chickens and a couple dozen smoked brats.  that along with a the kegs of alt and kolsch kept friends and family busy for hours.
  • both kegs were a hit and got kicked before the sun went down.  they were very drinkable and great session beers, but my only complaint was the clarity (both had a little haze from only being lagered for a week or so).  unfortunately, no pictures were taken (again) due to entertaining duties.  next time, I swear…
  • just when I thought my beer weekend was coming to a close, I got a call sunday from james of san pedro brew co. he had tried my brews on saturday and wanted to know if I was interested in swinging by the brewery this week to check out a brew session.  I jumped at the chance and told him I would be by monday.
  • monday morning I met up with jason, the award-winning brewer at san pedro brew co.  he had already started mashing an experimental amber ale and patiently explained the entire process on their 5 bbl. system.  he let me help out with the mash, explained their lauter and sparge process, and let me participate with some hop additions.  I was flipping switches, pulling levers, and loving every minute of it.
  • when it came time to empty the mash tun, he must have though I was an idiot since I practically begged him to do it.  he let me stick around for the entirety of the boil all the way to racking the wort into their conical and let me help out with the crush and line sanitation for the next day’s brew.  it was an awesome experience, and I was like a kid in a candy store, ogling all the equipment and trying out jason’s killer brews.  thanks again jason, and good luck with your latest comp results!

good beers and ambitious projects (WIR 05/29-06/01)

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

this memorial day weekend I managed to sample a great variety of beers and start on some lofty projects that have been in the planning stage for quite some time.

  • on saturday I was lucky enough to find a local paintball store that filled CO2 tanks.  this made for a relatively simple fill-up, as opposed to my experience in SF.
  • I also dropped by bevmo to see if they had any eric’s ale bombers in stock.  I talked to one of their buyers and it seems they aren’t ever gonna get it in, which is unfortunate, since I was all set to pick up a case of the stuff.
  • I was treated to a tour of the bevmo coolers, however, and walked out with a bottle of parabola, a sixer of lagunitas undercover shutdown ’10, and a bottle of mikkeller’s it’s alright!
  • I cracked the it’s alright!, remembering that a tasting of it a few years ago left me a little disappointed.  I definitely liked it more the second time around – it had a ton of barnyard funk and was very refreshing.  add a little tartness to the mix and it could be a great summer beer.
  • on sunday I went with AP and the rest of the posse to naja’s for a quick beer.  the place was packed, but I managed to get a pour of dogfish’s burton baton, which was killer on a hot beach day.  it made me want to place an online order for a quick dogfish fix…
  • the rest of the weekend was spent BBQing and hacking away at one of my 2 consecutive projects, a basic 4-tap keezer.  I will post a more detailed writeup when the build is finished (hopefully by the end of the week), but for now a teaser pic will have to do.
  • as for the other project, let’s just say it has to do with doubling my brewing capacity and halving my brew time, and was inspired by CB’s sick setup.  more to come on that front as pieces to the puzzle fall into place.