Posts Tagged ‘altbier’

alpine village, great BBQ, and sweat equity

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

last thursday night, AP and I went over to alpine village for some legit german food and brews.

  • ever since I dropped by AV a little while back, I was eagerly anticipating our return.  I knew it was going to be a great night right when we walked in the door, and were seated immediately and given a healthy serving of liverwurst and rye.
  • thursday was swing night, and there was a full band in attendance along with an impressive singer.  we were definitely the youngest in the crowd by a few decades, but it didn’t keep us from cutting a rug in between courses and beers.
  • ah, the beers – AP got one of her staples, hangar 24’s altbier, and I had weihenstephaner’s kristall weissbier.  well, I ordered it, and ended up with an unfiltered wheat instead, so who knows what I put down.  later AP chatted up the bartender and tried the kristall weiss after the fact, which was definitely tasty and probably the variety of the style that I would pursue ifwhen I brew another wheat.
  • on sunday AP and I rang in the 4th with some heavy BBQ and great beers.  I’m talking a 10lb pork shoulder, 8lb brisket and two dozen brats in the smoker with all the fixins – it was definitely a good time.
  • unfortunately, I was out of homebrew for the occasion, but the food was very well complemented with some firestone walker variety packs and a sixer of stone’s IPA, which was better than I remembered.
  • I also snuck down to the basement for some bottles, including stone’s 14th anniversary empirial IPA (uncomfortably bitter with not enough aroma to balance it out, probably due to the hop selection), lagunitas’ hairy eyeball (killer as always, malty and delicious), and new belgium’s eric’s ale (definitely one of my favorites, the most drinkable sour I have come across).
  • on saturday and sunday JF helped me out with some “brewery expansion construction”: using an angle grinder and some bootleg jig I threw together based off a modification of this idea from homebrewtalk, we cut the tops off of a couple of kegs that will soon enjoy long lives as an HLT and mash tun.  we also installed some weldless ball valves, thermometers, and sightglasses.  once the third keg makes an appearance and all my quick disconnects and other fittings come in, the setup will be revealed, but until then the project will remain shrouded in mystery.

kegging, smoking, tasting, and some breweriana (WIR 05/21-05/23)

Monday, May 24th, 2010

this last weekend was packed with some brew-related activities.

  • on saturday I kegged the alt.  I took a sample and it tasted pretty damn good, but I forgot to get a final gravity reading.  will have to remember to grab it when the keg is tapped.
  • on saturday night AP and I unveiled a metric shitton of smoked 2-2-1 pork ribs (this time I took some pics).  to celebrate I cracked open a couple beers with a summer feel – the collaborative saison du buff and victory’s wild devil.
  • saison du buff was good, but I could have easily gone with a 2-3oz taster instead of a full pour.  it was definitely an interesting spin on a saison, and had some medicinal notes but had a cleaner finish than, say, a gruit.
  • victory’s wild devil was great – it was an awesome blend of bretty funk with a clean bitter pale ale finish, and went well with the smoky ribs.
  • on sunday AP and I ventured over to alpine village for their swap meet and beer hall.  I’ve been heading out here ever since I was a kid, but I never fully appreciated this place until recently.  suffice it to say that the spot is awesome and will be reviewed in greater depth soon.
  • AP and I shared a dunkel and an alt after an afternoon of flea digging, where I managed to scoop up a pretty neat piece of breweriana for some pocket change.
  • after cleaning it up and tightening the bulb, the sign didn’t look half bad, and it was a neat tribute to an SF beer of the past.
  • also, on the hop front – the cascade is topping 6 feet and is still climbing, and the mt hood is in close pursuit.  gotta get the second year plants going though…

first all-grain batch: altbier

Monday, May 17th, 2010

so, after 4 years of extract and partial mash brewing, I finally stepped up to the plate and pulled off my first all-grain batch.

  • I finally had the space to go all-grain after moving, and I had recently modified my partial mash tun with a new false bottom (courtesy of CB) for better efficiency.
  • after a bit of thought, I was inspired by this post over at beer and nosh and decided to go with an dusseldorf altbier.
  • the dusseldorf alt is a bit hoppier than alts from other regions.  I thought it would be a good contrast to my extract kolsch.
  • my recipe was a hybrid from a post on brewboard and one on home brew talk.  I recently downloaded beersmith and ironed out the details on their software (which is pretty amazing by the way).  the grain and hop bill is as follows:
    • 6.00 lb       Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)             Grain        54.55 %
      2.00 lb       Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM)              Grain        18.18 %
      1.00 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt – 80L (80.0 SRM)     Grain        9.09 %
      1.00 lb       Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)                     Grain        9.09 %
      1.00 lb       Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM)                 Grain        9.09 %
      1.50 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.80 %]  (60 min)Hops         19.9 IBU
      1.00 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.80 %]  (30 min)Hops         10.2 IBU
      1.00 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.80 %]  (10 min)Hops         4.8 IBU
  • if you want more recipe info shoot me an email and I’ll send it over.
  • after a thorough discussion with CB about mash and sparge temps, boil time, and other mash tips (the guy should seriously teach a class), I milled my grains, heated my strike water, and made the jump.
  • I batch sparged as per denny’s instructions and ended up with 5 gallons at an OG of 1.060 at 75F, which if I calculated correctly gives my system roughly 74% efficiency. not bad for the first shot!
  • after a rough start, my wyeast 1007 smack pack got going, and seemed to be pretty happy for the next few days after I pitched.  I’m planning on kegging the batch this weekend and lagering for a month or so before serving.
  • I will likely throw more all-grain brew tips out there once I get the process down pat, but for now I have a few recommendations for a successful switch from extract brewing:
    • get brew software. programs like beersmith take a lot of guesswork out of the process and are pretty cheap.  it was invaluable having my brew day laid out on paper before I got started.
    • talk to someone who brews all-grain first. I walked away with more information from my 30 minute convo with CB than from hours of online research.  a lot of the small stuff isn’t covered online (basic mash theory, etc.) and makes perfect sense once someone who has done it explains the obvious to you.
    • take gravity readings.  I never had to do this before – with extract it didn’t really matter since you knew you were getting fermentable sugars.  however, with all-grain, gravity readings are essential for troubleshooting your system and really add a lot to your knowledge of brewing.  I used my refractometer and it was a piece of cake.
  • overall, switching to all-grain brewing wasn’t too difficult (just a little more time-consuming) and was much more rewarding.  I am looking forward to cranking out many more brews while tweaking this process.