Archive for August, 2011

eagle rock brettanomyces event, project updates

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

yesterday AP and I finally made it up to eagle rock brewery to attend their latest beer education lecture on brettanomyces.

additionally, I made some headway on a couple of side projects this weekend.

  • since my last update, my hops have been growing aggressively, and when it came time to harvest my chinook variety I ended up with 2.5 oz of dry, dank cones that I vacuum sealed and tossed in the freezer for an upcoming batch.  there look to be around three times as many cones on my cascade plant, so I am looking forward to another picking session in a week or two once they mature a little more.
  • I also had an hour or two to kill on saturday and, thinking back to a thread on homebrewtalk, I ran over to home depot and picked up a hand pump sprayer and adapter which I turned into a pump line cleaner in about five minutes flat.  this $15 investment should pay for itself a million times over now that I don’t have to use CO2 to clean my draft lines or beer out dip tubes in my kegs…



russian river beer revival 2011

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

it’s hard to believe two years have come and gone here at overcarbed, and what better way to celebrate than by covering the same topic as my first post – the epic russian river beer revival.

  • after missing last year’s festivities, AP and I were ready to rally, and met up with a couple dozen beer connoisseurs after camping out on the riverfront nearby.
  • arriving a little before noon, we endured a half hour line before finally being handed our tasting glass and plate.  the crowd seemed a little more dense than in years past, and after talking to a significant amount of socal visitors it seemed as though word had definitely gotten out about this once-local event.
  • despite the crowds, lines were short, and I never had to wait more than thirty seconds to grab a refill or a rib fresh out of the smoker.  speaking of smokers, many teams held nothing back this year – there were tents packed with big green eggs and webers, and even a massive fifth wheel smoker the size of a short bus.
  • the beer selection was nothing to sneeze at, either – russian river was pouring sanctification all day, moonlight had their killer gruit working for tips and twist of fate on cask, and bear republic killed the competition with offerings of hop bombs on draft every half-hour, including apex, mach 10, racer X, cafe racer 15, and ryevalry, as well as their super tasty cuvee de bubba, poured by none other than bubba himself.  granted, my palate was a little destroyed by the end of the day, but my favorite pour was the cuvee, so I recommend ignoring the mediocre ratings online for this one and grabbing it whenever possible.
  • the best part about the revival (aside from the mindblowing scenery, good friends, and riverfront location) was definitely the crowd – everyone was upbeat, kind, and conversational, and reflected the great local hospitality.  it’s gonna be a long wait until next year!

cuvee de banning

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

last weekend I finished up the last of my four “house” sours – cuvee de banning.

  • after finishing my first “american-style” sour (cuvee de cabrillo), I decided to toss four “house” sours into my brewing pipeline, such that after a year’s time, a new year-aged sour would be available for bottling every three months.  the pipeline is filled as follows:
  • as noted above, banning is a sour blond ale inspired by various recipes for russian river’s temptation.  the recipe is as follows (for 13 gals @ 80% efficiency):
    • 26.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.0 SRM) Grain 94.55 %
      1.50 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 5.45 %
      3.00 oz Saaz [2.00 %] (60 min) Hops 7.6 IBU
      0.50 oz Saaz [2.00 %] (30 min) Hops 1.0 IBU
      0.50 oz Saaz [2.00 %] (5 min) Hops 0.3 IBU
  • I used some of my stash of aged hops from seven bridges for a sub-10 IBU count and pitched a starter made from a vial of white labs WLP655 and dregs from bottles of RR’s consecration, two brothers’ askew, and drie fonteinen oude geuze.  after 4-5 days, the starter had developed a healthy pellicle and was smelling pretty funky when I pitched it at 72F.
  • I also had MV over and whipped up a batch of belgian blonde for his upcoming wedding, and he took home a bag of spent grains to make some dog treats.  congrats MV, and enjoy the brew!

san diego beer tour (ballast point, hess, alesmith)

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

with family in carlsbad, my trips to san diego are usually limited to stops at north county heavy hitters including pizza port, lost abbey/port, and stone (not that there’s anything wrong with that lineup).  however, last weekend AP and I decided to venture a little further south to check out a few more of san diego’s numerous brew locales.

  • our trip started with a brewery tour of ballast point’s old grove facility and distillery.  their distillery was especially impressive in that it was technically separate from the brewery (it was fenced off from the rest of the brewery and had its own entrance and exit to the street).  word got out that in addition to their gin and rum, a young (3-year) bourbon-style whiskey was in the works…
  • after our tour, we enjoyed tasters of fresh sculpin, even keel, piper down, and sextant.  the tasting room was packed at one in the afternoon, with tour buses full of visitors and locals filling growlers.
  • we managed to avoid the crowds at out next stop – hess brewing (although I did spy a beer tour van leaving the parking lot as we arrived).  hess had a very relaxed vibe and a great bartender to match.
  • with AP tagged as the designated driver, I ran through a flight of tasters, including grazias, jucundus, intrepidus, trinitas, brunus induresco, brunus robustus, and ex umbris, while chatting up some locals.  all of their offerings were very well made, and a high level of attention was evident in their 1.5 barrel “nanobrewery” batches.  hess was definitely my favorite stop of the trip, and I’m bummed to be missing out on their first anniversary celebration this upcoming weekend.
  • our third stop of the day was alesmith, which was a quick five-minute drive from hess (ballast point is only a few minutes away as well).  a spartan tasting room with a lineup including classics such as speedway stout, grand cru, horny devil, X, and wee heavy had me ready for an afternoon nap in no time.
  • other trip highlights included newport pizza and olive tree marketplace in ocean beach, and the super jr. market downtown, which had an absolutely amazing temp-controlled beer selection.
  • despite running through a half dozen beer spots in SD, only a fraction of my list was checked off.  it will take at least a few more trips south to cover all my bases down there…

basque cider attempt, beachwood long beach, library sourfest

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011


lately I have been on a little cider kick.  not just any cider, mind you, but the funky, lambic-esque basque cider found in spanish sagardotegis.

  • after reading about the isastegi sagardo naturala over at lambic and wild ale, I picked up a few bottles to try, along with sarasola’s sagardoa.  I was greatly impressed with both ciders’ complex funk and smooth tartness, and grew interested in emulating them.
  • unfortunately, there is little information available online regarding techniques for producing basque cider, so I either had to pick up a book on cider and hope for more info on specific apples and yeast/bugs or just ad-lib and hope for the best.  the homebrewer in me immediately chose the latter, and I ended up pitching the dregs of two bottles of basque cider into a gallon of pasteurized, unfiltered organic juice.
  • after a few days with no visible activity, I combined the gallon and dregs with three more gallons, added a packet of red star montrachet yeast, and placed my fermenter into the fridge at 67F.  with significantly different juice from the basque region and questionable bottle dregs, I’m a little pessimistic about the results, but I’ll be happy with even a small amount of earthy complexity in my resulting cider.

last weekend AP and I also met up with OA and friends in downtown long beach to try out beachwood’s new brewery.

  • after hitting up a happy hour ommegang hennepin and turkey burger at congregation, AP and I made the 30 second walk over to beachwood.  the long beach venue was less crowded than their seal beach counterpart usually is, and we got a table as soon as we got in.
  • the guest taps were pretty killer, and highlights included selections from jolly pumpkin (which I have gratefully been seeing more of in socal), lost abbey, ballast point, and alesmith.  I grabbed a pour of bam noir and watched julian shrago pour candi sugar into a steaming boil kettle behind the bar.  pizza port’s boneyard barleywine took precedence over any beechwood brews as my last pour, but word on the street is they’re pretty tasty.
  • I anticipate many more trips over to downtown LB now that two great beer spots are on the same block.  now beachwood just has to finish up their bottle shop and I’ll be set…

in other news: