Archive for August, 2012

monkish brewing tour, brett amber kegging, white tasting notes

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

last weekend AP and I headed over to torrance to check out monkish brewing co’s tasting room and facility.

  • after sampling a few beers we toured the facility with none other than henry nguyen, who runs the place with his wife adriana.  henry also sourced and assembled every piece of the fifteen barrel brewery himself, and indulged me with some some details about his regular brewing practices.  the beers were great, the tour was fantastic, and the hospitality was unmatched.  thanks again!

I also finally got around to kegging the secondary-brett and all-brett versions of my amber ale after a couple months of exposure.

  • I dry-hopped each of the 5 gallons of secondary-brett and the 2.5 gallons of all-brett with 1 oz. of fuggles for five days, then racked them into 5 and 2.5 gallon corny kegs, respectively.  both beers finished at 1.009, which was the same FG for the non-brett control beer I kegged a month earlier (which may mean the brett needs more time in secondary, or just that the WLP575 is unusually attenuative, since according to my notes I mashed at 156F!).  the fuggles added a great earthy spiciness to the beer’s aroma, and samples of both were promising.  I’m planning on serving the all-brett version soon and giving the secondary-brett version a little more time to work its magic.

additionally, I cracked a bottle of white (blanc) last night for review (and to test for carbonation):

  • appearance: dark brown with reddish hue when held to light, bubbly white head that quickly fades to lacing, great carbonation
  • aroma: fantastic assertive brett, slight fruit
  • taste: intense but satisfying acidity, light oak and stone fruit elements that increase as beer warms, good body with lingering sourness
  • overall: I’m very satisfied with this beer’s interplay between brett and acidity.  the light oak and fruit from racking onto cabrillo’s dregs and cake could be increased for greater effect, especially the cherries, which could really shine here.  I’m thinking about racking onto a bunch of sour cherries during the next batch or serve this batch through a randall stuffed with cherries…

              

              

 

a russian river weekend

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

last thursday AP and I packed our bags and made our annual pilgrimage north for the russian river beer revival.

  • CB picked us up at SFO with a cooler full of surprises that we dug into as soon as we got our campsite set up and a fire going.  he really pulled out all the stops with rarities like the latest batch of russian river’s beatification, some ’08 dissident from deschutes, and the bruery’s tart of darkness, and I managed to bring along a bottle of the conflux/collage collaboration between hair of the dog and deschutes (which I highly recommend snapping up if you get the chance).
  • the next day we headed out to russian river brewing for some eats and more spectacular beers, like the great toronado 25th anniversary and the equally impressive compunction.  after zoning out on their front patio for a few hours we took off for occidental to visit our old friends at barley and hops tavern.  after perusing a fantastic farmer’s market downtown, we crossed the street to the busy tavern, where I grabbed a pint of an old favorite, moonlight’s death and taxes, and cooled off on their front balcony.  a round of intense hot wings merited some of bear republic’s berliner weiss, tartare, before we headed back to camp for some excellent homebrew selections.
  • the next day we crawled out of our tents, mentally prepared for the intense afternoon to follow.  after braving the line in the midday sun and setting up a base camp at stumptown brewery, our group split up and started tearing our way through some hot ribs and cold beers.  highlights included a steady stream of supplication from the russian river tent and the always awesome working for tips from moonlight.  as usual, the guys from bear republic were in great form, and were serving up a ton of hoppy selections. the tenth iteration of this great event was over in a heartbeat, and before long were were back by the fire, full to the brim and completely satisfied.
  • the next day everyone dusted themselves off before heading back down to the city, but not before a quick stop off at lagunitas for a sampler or two and a chance to check out their ever-expanding facility.  by the time AP and I made it on the plane we were borderline catatonic, and I can’t recall sleeping as soundly as I did that night, but fatigue is a small price to pay to revel in the glory of some of the finest events and locations northern california has to offer!

              

              

              

              

              

              

              

three years of overcarbed.com

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

this week marks three years since the first blog post on overcarbed.com.

              

              

              

              

              

              

              

              

              

              

 

white II, new tap handle

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

after kegging and bottling the first run of white, I saved a few pints of slurry from the fermenter and put together the second version of this sour brown.

  • I only changed up a couple of recipe elements, subbing in my super-low alpha saaz hops for last year’s spalter (for 4 IBUs instead of 16) and mashing higher at 156F (12 gallon all-grain recipe):
    • 22 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 78.6 %
      3 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 2 10.7 %
      2 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 3 7.1 %
      1 lbs Carafa III (525.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.6 %
      3.00 oz Saaz [1.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 3.7 IBUs
  •  I ended up taking a long phone call during the mash, which extended my mash time to close to 2 hours.  I’m thinking this helped boost my efficiency, since I ended up with an OG of 17.3 brix (1.072), which was a little higher than I would have liked.  I pitched the saved slurry with a single vial of WLP530, and in less than a day I had a raging fermentation with krausen blasting the cover off of my half barrel fermenter and pouring out the top.  a bout of hot weather forced me to start fermentation at close to 75F, but I have read online that the abbey yeast strain is very temperature tolerant and even thrives at warmer temps, so I have high hopes here.

after waxing and storing my vizcaino bottles for the long haul, I also got around to fabricating my second custom tap handle for my kegerator.

  • after the resounding success of my first tap handle experiment, I made a point to keep an eye out for potential tap handle material during my travels.  while playing some incredible disc golf over at solitude a few weeks ago, I came across a pile of aspen branches and scored a perfectly cylindrical chunk from the bunch.  after a little sawing and drilling, a wood insert nut was tapped into the branch and a new tap handle was born.  now I have reminders of two great trips on display every time I go to grab a pour in the basement.

              

              

              

 

white bottling, wild beers article, brew something LA meeting

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

after a year and four months in various fermenters, white (aka blanc, aka cuvee de blanc) was due for bottling/kegging.

  • I followed the same yeast and sugar additions as with cabrillo and vizcaino for 10 gallons (5 in the keg and 2 cases of bombers), and bottled the remaining 2 gallons with individual sugar and yeast additions in the bottle.  it will be interesting to see if the bottles go through the diacetyl cycle I have been noticing in my other sours.
  • after letting the blend of different fermenters percolate for a few months, the finished product had inherited traits from each.  with a final gravity of a hair over 7 brix, the beer had a strong brett and fruit aroma as well as an intense sourness intermingling with a solid brett presence (more so than cabrillo).  I’m excited to see how this brew finishes once it is carbed up.
  • I also decided it was time to salvage the yeast slurry from cabrillo that white had been racked onto.  with AP’s help I managed to save a few liters of slurry for repitching, but not before splattering both of us with a mess of yeast, bugs, oak cubes, and disintegrated cherry remains.  AP was not enthused, to say the least.

on another note, a while back, BT from blackmanbrew requested an article on sours/wild beers for his local homebrew club’s newsletter.  after some thought I decided to put together a primer for those considering making the plunge into wild ales.  it includes an analysis of a variety of considerations beginning wild brewers may want to consider.  check it out HERE (PDF link).

last weekend I also decided to tag along for one of the first brew something LA meetups at umamicatessen.

  • the large turnout was indicative of the recent surge within the current LA beer scene – beer reporters, aspiring homebrewers, and commercial brewers all jockeyed for conversation space while taps from smog city and hangar 24 flowed freely.  although the acoustics of the meeting room left much to be desired, the killer sliders and side dishes more than made up for it.  I’m looking forward to seeing what develops in future meetings!