Archive for May, 2011

winter saison; tap handles

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

after more than a month of weekend trips and get-togethers, I was itching to head out to the garage and get a boil going.

  • my timing couldn’t have been better – it was closing in on six months since I brewed my saison, so my plan was to bottle and keg it and pitch its successor onto the yeast cake.
  • I decided on a slight variation of the last saison recipe, and included some carafa II to add a slight roastiness that was a big hit in my black lager:
    • 0.50 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 2.04 %
      18.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.0 SRM) Grain 73.47 %
      1.50 lb Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 6.12 %
      1.50 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 6.12 %
      1.25 lb Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 5.10 %
      0.25 lb Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 1.02 %
      3.00 oz Spalter [3.00 %] (70 min) Hops 13.0 IBU
      1.50 oz Spalter [3.00 %] (0 min) Hops -
      1.50 lb Honey (1.0 SRM) Sugar 6.12 %
  • as shown above, I also subbed in local PV wildflower honey for the candi sugar (added at flameout for a final OG of 1.063.), used lower AA hops for a total of 13 IBUs, mashed higher at 151F, and didn’t oxygenate before racking onto the cake.  the last three tweaks were made in the hopes of giving my bugs a little extra help over the long run.
  • speaking of bugs, the WLP566, WLP655, and the series of fantome dregs I added (noel at 2 days and saison at 5 months into fermentation) did some great work on my summer saison – the end result had a tropical fruity aroma with some assertive funk and slight sourness in the sample I took while bottling.  I couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief when I popped the carboy cap and was welcomed by a funky pellicle and fruity, sour aroma.
  • additionally, I collected four gallons of additional runoff from my mash tun and added 1.5 lbs of honey to make what I’ll call a “small braggot.”  I boiled it down to 3 gallons (at an OG of 1.033), hopped it proportionately to the winter saison, and pitched a small slurry of my saison blend into the results.
  • after a day or so of anxiety, both the winter saison and the braggot took off vigorously.  at least I’ll have 10 gallons of summer saison to keep me company while I wait six more months for this one!

In addition to my brew session, I also got around to putting together a custom tap handle for my keezer.

  • after sourcing a wood insert nut at lowe’s, I drilled a hole into a smooth piece of driftwood I picked up from wright’s beach and threaded the nut in.  this handle will signify the “wild” tap of my keezer, which will soon be pouring my wild patersbier and saison.

fred fest 2011

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

after missing fred fest for the last few years, AP and I finally made it up to portland for this long-anticipated event.

  • first, however, we had to stop by the cascade barrel house to taste their lineup, including their kriek, sang noir, sang royal, sang rouge, the vine, spring gose, sweetartz, and three saisons – aaahhhh!  with inexpensive samplers, great staff, and a relaxed environment, cascade has become a must-stop every time we are in town.
  • the next day we dusted ourselves off, did some light stretching, and caught a cab over to hair of the dog to get in on some great food and beers.
  • we got there five minutes before the opening hour, and were greeted by what turned out to be a 45-minute line.  with cloudy skies looming, the wait was a little nerve-wracking, but everyone was still in high spirits as we slowly inched toward our destination.
  • once AP and I crossed the threshold into the tasting room, we knew the wait was worth it.  within a minute or two of receiving our tasting glasses, we were tearing into a couple of gigantic roast beef sandwiches, fred-marinated chicken wings, and a ton of fixings.
  • killer beer pours were also coming at us from all angles, including insane rarities such as full sail’s 1998 old boilermaker, deschutes’ sour saison, HOTD peach fred, cascade’s fredtastic, midnight sun’s arctic devil, and hopworks’ kronan the bourbarian.
  • to top it off, AP and I got to chat with fred as well as alan and eliana, in addition to brewers and beer geeks from all over.  the beer raffle and birthday cupcakes were just gravy.  I think this might end up being an annual tradition…

coastal bachelor beer tour

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

in celebration of AH’s remaining single days, over a dozen intrepid explorers ventured north of the bridge on a beer adventure of epic proportions.

  • our first stop was at lagunitas, where great live music accompanied a killer beer selection in their beer sanctuary.
  • I was excited to try their interestingly-titled farmhouse geuze (funky and sour, very drinkable, maybe my favorite of the trip) as well as their fusion VI (hoppy but sessionable), waldo’s 420 (huge hop aroma and flavor), and cask WTF (intensely malty and hoppy).
  • we headed north from petaluma to healdsburg, where bear republic greeted us with plenty of food and some great beers.
  • there’s nothing quite like racer 5 from the source, especially while washing down some crispy smothered wings.  the staff was friendly and accommodating, not an easy feat considering the state our posse was in as we walked through the door.
  • the next day we headed from our russian river campsite to boonville, where the staff at anderson valley treated us to an experience like no other.
  • after grabbing fistfuls of dirt-cheap samplers and pints of great beers like wee geech, winter solstice, gatlin damnosis, and V.S.O.B., we snagged some bombers and headed to the on-site 18-hole disc golf course, where high winds and water hazards kept our attention.
  • after hours of disc, we ended our stay with a killer brewery tour, where our guide showed off AVBC’s brewhouse, massive fermenters, bottling, canning, and kegging lines, barrels, and coldroom.  I couldn’t get over the brewery’s impressive pricing – for $3-3.50 you could get an 8-ounce pour of any of their beers and keep the glass for a buck more – not bad in an era of $8 10 oz. specialty pours…
  • after anderson valley we cranked out the longest leg of the trip to fort bragg and north coast brewing, where standards such as la merle and pranqster complemented a perfectly prepped bleu cheese burger.
  • we finished the night at van damme state park, knocking back pints of NP’s tasty homebrewed belgian IPA as well as indica, a brazilian IPA JC brought back from cervejaria colorado, on a picturesque beach.
  • the next morning, we heeded russian river brew co’s happy hour call and enjoyed pours of consecration, erudition, sanctification, and segal select while knocking down some pizza (which has vastly improved since my last visit) and playing dominoes.
  • we then staggered over to stumptown in guerneville, just in time to enjoy some rat bastard and death and taxes while watching elvis cover some modern day bieber hits.
  • the long weekend ended with some unreal views at wright’s beach on the sonoma coast, where a night under the stars revitalized the crew and got them ready for the impending work week.  congrats again heady!

lucky baldwins

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

last weekend AP and I got stuck in old town pasadena, with temps that felt close to triple digit.  luckily, we were only blocks from lucky baldwins.

  • with a shaded patio and old pub vibe, lucky baldwins allowed a welcome respite from the elements.  AP and I snagged a patio table and were served without delay by friendly staff.
  • our visit coincided with the bluntly named “high alcohol beer festival,” which sounded a little frat boy-esque, but yielded a great selection of rare beers.
  • I couldn’t pass up a draft pour of 2002 HOTD fred (which held up very well with a caramel, deep, warming sweetness), and had a sampler of bear republic’s ryevalry, which had a flavorful balance of rye spiciness and heavy hops.
  • I was looking forward to trying more hard-to-find gems as well as some of their food, but weekend errands took priority and AP and I were off in less than an hour.  next time!
  • here is a little trivia about lucky baldwin.  now if I could only figure out the connection with the cantillon logo