Archive for June, 2011

twin cities, minnesota

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

last weekend AP and I caught a flight to minnesota for some family time and an introduction into uncharted brew territory.

weissbier, apricots, and a funk/sour tasting lineup

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

last week JF and I got around to kegging my trappist weiss.

  • due to an unfortunate slip-up (literally) during the brew, I was unable to grab the starting gravity of the brew, but the end result has the characteristic cloudiness and fruity/banana aroma of a classic weissbier.  it will be interesting to see what dimensions the trappist yeast strain adds to the mix.

additionally, after expressing interest in DP and PP’s apricot tree, they agreed to let me harvest some of this year’s crop for brewing purposes.

  • fifteen minutes and a six-foot ladder netted my a few pounds of ripe apricots that I vacuum-sealed froze for future use.  hopefully I can work them into one of my sours (maybe by brewing a few extra gallons of a low-gravity blonde and racking it on top of them in a three-gallon better bottle?)

also, CB took a trip down from SF this weekend, and brought some goodies along to share.

  • we tried his 100% brett brew, along with his saison bottled with white labs sour mix I and his two-year old flanders.  the brett ale was slightly tart, remarkably clean, and sessionable, while the saison was spicy with some earthy funk and some fruit on the nose (it was interesting to compare it to my version, which had pretty much the same malt bill but had bugs added much earlier).
  • the flanders was truly wild – our guess was wild yeast included with a homegrown cherry addition took over and dominated secondary fermentation.  the beer tasted and smelled strongly of roses/blossoming flowers, and completely dominated a jar of starter wort that we had been pitching dregs into (including heavy hitters like framboise de amorosa, upright’s six, and cigar city’s sea bass (which was my favorite of the night)).  thanks again for the tasty brews CB!

bottle waxing, etc.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

last friday I stopped by san pedro brew co. to swap some beers and check out JW’s latest lineup.

  • I dropped off my house IPA and wild patersbier and sampled a red and brown ale, as well as a killer german pils.  JW was busy cranking out a black IPA, and I watched as he weighed out pounds of hops for the boil additions.  can’t wait to try that one.

over the weekend I also sampled a bottle of my saison, and was pleased to discover that the beer was sufficiently carbonated (not to mention complex and delicious).

  • to celebrate, I decided to wax dip the bottles.  I had done some research on inexpensive bottle wax and came to the conclusion that polymer “wax” was the way to go.  I picked up a few pounds of polymer wax on clearance and also grabbed a bag of wax from the local homebrew store.
  • in the spirit of summer, I went with green wax for the saison.  I heated up the wax over the stove in a recycled can and held the bottles in the wax for five seconds apiece for a lighter dip that wouldn’t have to be cut off before using an opener.  you can double dip for results similar to bottles from deschutes, etc.
  • a few tips: use a disposable stick to stir the wax as it heats, and place the waxed bottles on newspaper to avoid drips sticking to the counter top.  I also noticed that the wax retained heat for a while after cutting the range off (such that I could dip quite a few bottles before applying more heat).
  • I used less than a quarter of the one-pound bag and dipped 24 bottles, with plenty of wax left over (the green wax cost me $11-12/lb).  for me, dipping bottles is a great way to produce a more upscale product without having to resort to more costly methods such as corking in belgian bottles.

OC fair beer comp, old hops, wild patersbier update

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

this past saturday AP and I headed down to stein fillers to enter some of my beers into the orange county fair homemade beer competition.

  • I had not previously entered a homebrew competition, and had never even considered it until talking it over with JW during the past year.
  • I eventually figured it was worth the time and effort to compete in order to get some educated opinions and feedback about my brews (and hopefully set myself up for a future GABF pro-am entry…).  it also didn’t hurt that a single entry to this particular comp ($3 and three beers) gets you a ticket to the OC fair and access to a special brewer’s banquet/session.
  • I’m not a big fan of bottling, but with the competition in mind, I made a point to cap three bottles of each of my american amber, hybrid stout (X2 – entered in 2 categories), patersbier, golden strong, house IPA, and saison during kegging.  the day of the submission deadline, I labeled each bottle appropriately (with a rubberbanded tag), boxed up my stash, and dropped off close to a case of beer (!).
  • the non-trivial amount of time spent preparing and entering this competition had me doubting future participation, but I will likely wait to see the quality of feedback I receive (and level of success, of course), before making any decisions about other comps.

In other news, I managed to score a significant amount of organic aged hops for my future lambic/sour endeavors.

  • after following a link from homebrewtalk to seven bridges, santa cruz’s organic homebrew oasis, I checked out their closeout hops section and managed to score two pounds of aged organic belgian saaz with an AA% close to zero.  with only a few months to go until my annual lambic brew session, I was happy to nab the perfect hops for the occasion.
  • speaking of wild beers, room finally opened up in the keezer for the wild patersbier.  the beer has a sticky, fluffy head, slight fruit in the aroma, and an earthy, slightly phenolic taste with a little fruit in the finish.  I am very excited with the results and am looking forward to tossing my local strain into something else (a session saison/table beer, perhaps?).

trappist weisse

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

as I sat in the lineup at el porto last week, I came to the realization that the impending summer months meant BBQ season was rapidly approaching.

  • a quick mental tally of my kegged beverage stockpile (IPA, stout, funky saison, wild patersbier, cider, mead) led me to realize that I was sorely lacking in approachable session beers.
  • since (unfortunately?) many guests of overcarbed’s HQ prefer something more “standard” (read: not funky, sour, hoppy, or dark) with their pulled pork, I had to come up with a quick solution.
  • after considering my prerequisites (kegged and ready to drink within a month, simple recipe, ingredients already on hand, light and sessionable), I kept coming back to EdWort’s elegantly simple bavarian hef recipe.  I stepped up the recipe to 11 gallons, adjusted for my efficiency, subbed in american wheat for german, and swapped out the wyeast 3068 for my patersbier slurry of WLP500:
    • 1.00 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 4.76 %
      13.00 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 61.90 %
      7.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 33.33 %
      1.50 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (45 min) Hops 9.5 IBU
      0.50 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (15 min) Hops 1.7 IBU
      1 Pkgs Trappist Ale (White Labs #WLP500) Yeast-Ale
  • I dubbed this beer a “trappist weisse,” as a belgian strain was used, but no gruit-based spices were added, and the hops/malt are in line with a bavarian weisse.
  • a sprained knee during cleanup sidelined my brewday, so oxygenation and gravity calculations took a backseat to elevation and icing and AP helped clean up, move the fermenter, and pitch the slurry.  in two weeks the beer will be racked to kegs, and in two more this summer session wheat will be ready to go!