Archive for August, 2010

stone brewer’s reception; inaugural sculpture brew

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

unfortunately for myself and AP, we couldn’t make it up to guerneville for the russian river beer revival for the first time in three years.  however, some beer events last weekend definitely made up for it.

  • on friday JF and I headed out to cal state san marcos for stone brewing’s 14th anniversary VIP/brewer’s reception.  basically, stone has their open anniversary event on saturday, but holds a smaller ticketed reception the night before.  the event had a small crowd and great beers, which was right up our alley.
  • there was definitely an all-star crowd at the event – right off the bat I ran into greg koch and spotted patrick rue in line for a pour behind me.  the beer geek in me would have preferred a more traditional booth/name tag setup where guests could more easily interact with brewery representatives as they got a beer, but the single tap lineup and high school reunion social setup made sense here, since it was a brewer’s reception…
  • oh yeah, they had great beers too – standouts included a double dry-hopped version of stone’s 14th anniversary empirial IPA (outstanding aroma balanced out the high abv, much better than the bottle release), lost abbey’s red poppy (a very well balanced oud bruin), an great divide’s chocolate oak aged yeti.

on sunday I managed to crank out my first batch, a kolsch, using the new brew setup.

  • my recipe was based off of edwort’s bee cave brewery kolsch recipe off of homebrewtalk (although I mashed a little higher at 155F):
    • 0.50 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 2.56 %
      14.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 71.79 %
      5.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 25.64 %
      2.00 oz Pearle [8.00 %] (60 min) Hops 25.8 IBU
      1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] (15 min) Hops 3.6 IBU
      1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] (5 min) Hops 1.4 IBU
  • the brew went smoothly, although I lost a little wort during cooling when I switched quick disconnects on my plate chiller so the outflow lined up with my in-line thermometer…
  • also, it turns out that natural gas, although much more convenient for me, doesn’t have the oomph propane does – I found myself looking at my watch more than a couple times while waiting for the wort to boil.  therefore, I invested in a heat stick to hopefully help things along more quickly.
  • I managed an OG of 1.05, and calculated my efficiency at 78% – not bad for a first run!
  • the best part of the new brew process was using the plate chiller – after recirculating for a minute or two, I got my wort down to pitchable temps and transferred 10 gals. to my fermentation barrel in a matter of minutes!  I’m definitely not missing my immersion chiller.
  • I tossed the fermentation barrel in my fermentation chamber at around 80F and set the chamber for 65F to cool it down a little, and after a day or so I ramped it up to 68F.  hopefully all goes well…

the new brew setup, yearly reflections

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

tomorrow marks the year anniversary of overcarbed.  to mark the occasion, I wanted to divulge the newly renovated home brewery at overcarbed HQ.

  • as veteran readers remember, a year ago, space constraints limited production means to a 4 gallon stove-top pot that had trouble getting a 3.5 gallon batch of extract/partial mash rolling.  gravity readings were nonexistent, and cooling took place in the bathroom tub using an immersion chiller.  recipes came and went, and friends lamented lost recipes resulting in tasty batches.
  • fast forward a few months, where a 6 gallon aluminum turkey fryer and propane banjo burner replaced the stove and pot, and a 5 gallon cooler conversion provided mash duties for the all-grain evolution.  a refractometer provided easy gravity readings, and beersmith enabled not only recipe formulation but storage as well.
  • and now, on the eve of overcarbed’s first birthday, the new brew setup is finally complete after months of planning and fabrication.  its components include a 2-tier brewstand from pinup brewery, three keggles converted using components from bobby_m and bargainfittings, and a custom sparge head compliments of yours truly.  it is fired with natural gas jet burners (no more tanks!), and a custom pump/cooling rig takes care of the manual fly sparge and instantaneous plate chilling.

in addition to tying up some loose ends with the new brew setup these last few weeks, I also managed to get some beer-related events in, including:

  • two trips to naja’s with the MLs, HL, DP, and of course AP to sample some great brews from craftsman brewing, including favorites like their cabernale (vinous and complex, but infinitely drinkable) and an apparent one-off infected braggot that was tart, smooth, dry, and the best beer naja’s had on tap (which really got my gears turning).  oh yeah, some fantome and consecration got popped too, amongst others.  craftsman’s mark jilg reminds me of moonlight’s brian hunt – they both whip up some amazing one-off beers from a nondescript location and deliver in their own truck.
  • a stroll by hudson house for a couple pours of craftsman 1903 and some quick eats (good food, quick service, OK beer selection – a decent place that humors the beer geek, but their “house ale” is really budweiser?  you’re really gonna pull that shit?)
  • a pilgrimage to stein fillers in long beach for some sacks of grain and vials of yeast (awesome store, better selection than anything in the immediate bay area with great service to match)
  • a trip to the backyard to view the (relative) bounty of hops that is almost ready for harvest.

the past year flew by but saw many great beer events, brew sessions, and beer trips.  I can only hope that another year will bring more of the same!

homebrew projects and burger bar revisited

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

last week I managed to put some finishing touches on some home brewing components.

  • remember this old post about the chill wizard?  you know, the one for $830?  well, with some helpful tips from the folks over at homebrewtalk (my new must-read forum), I scored a march pump from a forum member and got a plate chiller for a steal via germany (email me for more info), then picked up a bunch of stainless hardware from bargainfittings (fast shipping!) and made my own pump/cooling setup for less than half the cost.
  • basically, I picked up a small toolbox off of amazon for cheap, installed the pump into a base end of the box, and strapped the plate chiller to the other end.  I tossed on extras like a air purge valve on the pump out and an in-line thermometer at the wort out of the plate chiller, as well as a pump switch on the top of the box.  the whole thing is plugged into a GFCI outlet so I don’t shock the shit out of myself.
  • after tightening everything with some plumbing tape, I ran my portable pump setup through my (almost finished) brew setup to test it, and after a few leak fixes everything worked like a charm.  this thing might not be the prettiest setup out there, but it gets the job done just as well as the high-end options and is simpler/significantly less expensive.
  • I also kegged up my bohemian pilsner and tapped the second keg of my belgian date barleywine, which recently celebrated its first birthday.

in other beer news, AP and I were in vegas at the end of last week, and after very little persuading we headed over to burger bar for another visit.

  • as usual, the selection was outstanding, especially for a burger joint in a casino.  I started off with a st feuillen saison on draft, while AP went local and had a pint of sin city’s amber ale (which she thoroughly enjoyed).
  • after my initial pour, I couldn’t resist any longer, and went straight for one of my hard-to-find favorites: dogfish head’s 120 minute IPA.  I pulled the same stunt as last time and ended up cruising the strip with a cup of this liquid gold (which might not have been the best idea, as outside temps were in triple digits).
  • AP and I managed to return twice more during our stay, and partook in specialties such as new belgium’s la folie ’10 (significantly more sour than last year’s, according to my palate), kiuchi’s commemorative ale (spice ain’t my thing, but these guys have the belgian complexity down pat), and bitch creek ESB from grand teton.
  • I was even debating ordering up the firestone 11-13 bomber flight, but lousy luck at the craps table prevented any celebratory splurging.
  • again, the service and burgers were great and the beer selection made me feel right at home.  if you’re a beer fan in vegas this is without question the place to be.