Archive for April, 2011

spring cleaning/greek easter

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

this weekend I managed to get in a little housekeeping down at overcarbed headquarters.

  • proper cleaning/sanitation is the oft-overlooked bear of the brewing art, and extends past the brew day into both storage and presentation.
  • in my opinion, it’s pointless to spend hours carefully crafting a beer, only to have it served from a dirty, funky tap.  also, I’m not sure whether others have the same dilemma, but I have found that any wort residue on the outside surface of kegs, fermentation containers, or other equipment quickly becomes food for local airborne bugs that set up shop and necessitate a thorough cleaning.
  • therefore, saturday saw me emptying and cleaning the keezer, cleaning and sanitizing the kegs and beer lines, recharging the keezer dehumidifier, and swapping in a fresh CO2 tank.
  • I also blended the kolsches into one keg and kegged my house IPA, which currently has an unreal aroma.  the latter is hitting the keezer this weekend for some long overdue hop love.

on sunday AP, ML, HL, and I snuck kegs of my patersbier and cider blend past tight security into the greek easter picnic.

  • the patersbier was a hit, with over four gallons getting knocked out within a matter of hours.  it had a spicy, floral aroma with good body and a killer whipped head.  I can see it nudging out the kolsch as a house staple…
  • the cider maintained a low profile in its 2.5 gallon corny, but had a tart bite with a dry finish, and was actually my favorite of the two.  both were perfect on a cool, sunny socal day with some keftedes, pastitsio, and spanakopitaΧριστός ἀνέστη!

new fermenters, racking, hops, and BBQ

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

after having some difficulties procuring additional half-barrel stainless kegs for fermenting, I finally pulled the trigger on some 15 gallon barrels from US plastics.

  • I had initially dismissed these plastic barrels for long-term aging, but after more research I decided to give them a shot.  not only are they significantly cheaper than kegs, an airlock easily fits into their screw-off cap after five seconds of drilling.
  • after cleaning and sanitizing one of the new barrels, I purged it with a little CO2 and racked my golden strong (both the 10 straight gallons and 1 sour mix gallon) into it on top of 2.5 lbs of PV wildflower honey and 1.5 oz of french oak soaked in zinfandel for a couple of hours.  the golden strong had dropped to 11 brix, for a pre-honey ABV of around 7.25%.
  • I also tossed some ’09 cuvee de tomme dregs into my similarly-styled cuvee de cabrillo.  the CdT had great carbonation and was intensely sour, much more so than I remember when having it on draft.  I’m thinking this was due to the couple of years spent in the bottle.  hopefully the alleged superbugs in CdT will help add some sourness to my batch over the long haul.
  • also, after racking the golden strong, I tossed 4 oz of fresh amarillo and 2 oz of fresh columbus hops into my house IPA.  I’m planning on kegging this weekend and consuming soon thereafter for maximum hoppiness.
  • speaking of hops, my earlier transplant seems to be successful, as the cascade crown is aggressively pushing out shoots.  I trimmed back all but four runners and have my fingers crossed for some serious growth.
  • I also managed to enjoy the long-overdue socal sun over at PR and HB’s BBQ, where my kolsch poured alongside some great grilled veggies and marinated chicken.  summer can’t come fast enough…

cuvee de blanc, house IPA, blue palms

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

on saturday night AP and I headed out to blue palms brewhouse in hollywood as part of our ongoing mission to experience up-and-coming LA beer spots.

  • after ordering a whole spread from their menu, AP grabbed sudwerk’s marzen, while I picked up a pour of honesty ale, a kriek-style beer from one of my favorite local breweries, craftsman.  the beer had just enough tartness to grab my attention after knocking back some intense sours earlier that day (more on that below).
  • the food and service at blue palms was great, and the only regret I had was ordering up a pour of pliny the elder only to see poor man’s double IPA on cask a few minutes later.  damn!

with AP stuck working the entire weekend, I was left with no choice but to conduct an aggressive two-day brew session.  first up was cuvee de blanc, a dark sour/wild ale inspired by russian river’s supplication.

  • after reviewing some great threads on homebrewtalk concerning the style, I decided on the following for a 12-gallon batch:
    • 22.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 78.57 %
      3.00 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 10.71 %
      2.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 7.14 %
      1.00 lb Carafa III (525.0 SRM) Grain 3.57 %
      4.00 oz Spalter [3.00 %] (60 min) Hops 15.9 IBU
  • my mash temp was 155F, and after an hour boil I ended up with an OG of 16.5 brix.  I pitched my sour mix/cascade apricot slurry from my earlier cuvee into which I had pitched dregs from supplication (very vinous, smooth sourness, excellent finish) as well as lost abbey’s framboise de amorosa (intensely sour with a deep raspberry aroma and aftertaste).  drinking those two was tough work, but ML and I were up to the challenge.
  • the slurry was going strong within 24 hours.  sour cherries may be added in the future, unless other plans solidify (dark sour solera?).

the next day my house IPA was in the lineup.

  • JW stopped by with his intrepid brewhand to check things out and brought some vintage homemade american schnapps (thanks again!).
  • this was the first time I knocked out 10 gallons of my IPA, using the following recipe:
    • 19.50 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 85.90 %
      1.00 lb Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 4.41 %
      1.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 4.41 %
      0.60 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 2.64 %
      0.60 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 2.64 %
      2.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (75 min) Hops 47.7 IBU
      2.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (55 min) Hops 44.6 IBU
      2.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (20 min) Hops 27.6 IBU
      2.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (10 min) Hops 10.0 IBU
      3.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (0 min) Hops
      1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale
  • some inattention on my part resulted in a 45 min sparge and close to 11 gallons of wort, which yielded an OG of 15 brix, a few points south of the beer smith estimate (but still within style).  the 130 estimated IBUs will definitely turn some heads when this goes on tap in a few weeks.
  • I made close to a liter starter with an expired white labs WLP001 vial close to a week prior, which definitely got the yeast going but may have been too long before pitching, since there was a noticeable lag before the yeast took off (close to 48 hrs).

overall, I would say that knocking out close to 23 gallons makes for a successful brew weekend.  it’s a shame the two batches are likely going to be consumed a year apart…

palate vs. palette

Friday, April 8th, 2011

as a personal fan of such gems as “funner”/”funnest” and “I’m doing good,” I hate to go all grammar nazi on everyone, but beer advocates and bloggers alike should take note, as this is abused all too often:


Your “palate” is the roof of your mouth, and by extension, your sense of taste. A “palette” is the flat board an artist mixes paint on (or by extension, a range of colors). A “pallet” is either a bed (now rare) or a flat platform onto which goods are loaded. (

stuffed sandwich

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

last weekend AP and I found ourselves in san gabriel to meet up with EH and CH for our first stuffed sandwich experience.

  • in the same vein as toronado, stuffed sandwich has been around for decades and has achieved an almost legendary status.  like bars such as toronado and zeitgeist, stuffed sandwich is not for wimps, but those that stick to their guns, do their research, and follow the prescribed routine are greatly rewarded.
  • as we walked in the door, I got a text from EH reminding me of rule #1: order food first.  there are two lines (one for beer, one for food); if you get in the beer line first you are in for a rude awakening.
  • AP and I handled rule #1 without breaking a sweat, but got stuck at rule #2: bring your own glass.  luckily, EH brought enough glassware for the whole group, so I was only paper cupping it for a minute or two.  alternatively, we could have bought a glass from the wall of glassware inside.
  • aside from a minute or two of staring dumbfounded at the diverse and deep cooler selection, everything else went smoothly, and soon I was digging in to a tasty italian sub on the back patio and chasing it with an exceptionally killer bottle of fantome saison.
  • an hour or so later I was talking homebrew with marlene, one of the proprietors, and nabbing a bottle of cantillon geuze to finish up the afternoon.  I could have spent all day there grabbing unique bottles and knocking down sandwiches.
  • with the best bottle selection in the area, great deli selections, and very reasonable beer and food prices, stuffed sandwich is near the top of my list of go-to spots in socal.  did  I mention any of their beers can be purchased to go? now I just need another excuse to get up to san gabriel…