Posts Tagged ‘cascade’

AP’s amber ale, end of hop harvest

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

while my pint preference has varied over the years from hoppy, to strong, and lately to sour, AP’s (AKA SWMBO‘s) has taken a different course altogether.

  • although she thoroughly enjoys the occasional sour and fresh IPA, AP has always leaned towards more malt and yeast-forward selections.  when I hinted last week that I was planning on brewing over the weekend, AP put her foot down and demanded a malty american amber session ale.
  • since the only other amber I brewed as of late involved a healthy amount of hops and a high OG, I reformulated my recipe utilizing jmo88’s recipe on homebrewtalk as inspiration (12 gal batch):
  • 18.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 77.92 %
    2.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 8.66 %
    2.00 lb Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 8.66 %
    1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 4.33 %
    0.10 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 0.43 %
    3.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (60 min) Hops 23.4 IBU
    1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (Dry Hop 14 days) Hops
    1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (20 min) Hops 4.7 IBU
    1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (10 min) Hops 2.8 IBU
    1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (0 min) Hops
  • I mashed in at 156F for more malt body, and low AA cascades helped get the IBUs down to under 30.  I spaced out and forgot to take an initial gravity reading, but at my average 80% efficiency the OG should be around 1.055 and should finish around 1.014 for a sessionable 5.3% end result.  I will probably skip the dry hops for five gallons, but may add them and/or apricot puree or extract to the other five for a little something different.
  • as for yeast, I used a couple packets of safale S-04, which were a good alternative to liquid yeast during the hot west coast shipping months and which should add even more to the malt spectrum.
  • on another note, after kegging my patersbier, I ended up the hop harvest by picking 4.25 oz. of cascade cones off my  in-ground cascade plant  I swapped out of a planter this year.  the cones’ aroma seemed a little subdued, so I will likely end up using them for bittering in an upcoming “local” saison.  stay tuned…

SF vs. LA: a week in review

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

last week I managed to spend a good amount of time at popular beer spots in both SF and LA.

  • while up in SF for business, my first stop after work was (surprise!) giordano bros, where CB and I knocked down some coppa with egg and enjoyed some proving ground IPAs from magnolia.  afterwards, we headed to rogue, where curiosity got the better of me and I tried a pint of mead that they had on draft, which was clean and floral (and must have been on  the lighter side since I polished off the entire pint and could still stand up afterwards).
  • then it was back to CB’s where the ball really got rolling.  more specifically, CB popped a 750 of Oude Gueuze Tilquin à L’Ancienne, a bottle which I had sought unsuccessfully for quite some time.  the newest geuze blender to pop up in belgium in quite some time, tilquin piqued my curiosity, and their first release didn’t disappoint.  the aroma right after the pour was full of fresh citrus fruit, but evolved into a complex, earthy funk reminiscent of some of the finer geuzes I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying.  to top it off, CB served up some fresh wild-starter sourdough he’s been perfecting.  it was a great pairing, and made for a killer start to my trip.  now I just have to find some more tilquin bottles!
  • the next day CB, UD, JC, and I pulled the classic memphis minnie’s/toronado pairing, and finished the night up with a bottle of oud beersel’s Oude Kriek Vieille, which was tasty, but a little tamer than I had hoped.  the night ended back at CB’s with a bottle of cascade’s vlad the imp aler, which was more drinkable than I remembered, and had a great balance of smooth sourness and sweet vanilla malt/oak.  thanks again for the unbelievable hospitality CB!
  • a few days later I was in the LA valley, suited up for a good buddy’s wedding.  there was an interim between the wedding and reception, so AP and I took advantage of the situation and let the wedding crew over to tony’s darts away, a somewhat inconveniently-located spot I had been meaning to visit for a while.
  • we got there at a good time (around 4 – evidently, the place gets crowded later at night), and ordered up some specialty sausages, sweet potato fries, and some great beers, including bear republic’s mach 10 and lagunitas’ lucky 13.  specializing in CA IPAs, tony’s had great service and food, and everyone in our party left satisfied.  it’s a shame this place is in burbank…
  • after experiencing a taste of what both the north and south have to offer in CA, it’s hard to pick a favorite.  I’m just glad I have access to both!





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…

hop crown transplant, naja’s, beer delivery

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

on friday AP and I spearheaded a thirsty mission to naja’s in redondo.

during the weekend I managed to transplant some of my hop crowns from their pots to the side yard.

  • I chose my cascade and zeus plants to transplant since I use derivations of those varieties (columbus and amarillo) most often in my hoppier beers.  they were also the best performers given my growing conditions.
  • the cascade crown was huge after only a year’s growth, and had a root ball the size of a basketball, which should help with any transplant shock.
  • the zeus crown was two years old and was even bigger.  I found a good separation point in the crown and split it into two pieces, each of which I planted individually.
  • I got all three in the ground right before a heavy downpour hit for days, so hopefully the crowns are set and ready to take off.

I also got a surprise in the mail from EW and JW out of florida, who enjoyed many a brew with AP, myself, and the rest of the crew in new orleans.

  • the package was basically a cigar city gift basket, including a snifter, their IPA, and a bunch of their funky, sour saisons.  I can’t wait to pop some of these bottles and add their dregs to my own saison.  thanks again you two!

portland, OR

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

last week AP and I headed north to portland to celebrate the old 3-0.

  • we had checked out the city a couple of years earlier with great results, including fantastic breweries, beer bars, coffee roasters, and restaurants.  this time we really hit the books before hopping on the plane, and went to some killer beer spots that blew me away.

in no particular order, we checked out:

  • henry’s 12th st. tavern – like the yard house on steroids.  triple digit taps, great pub food and happy hour.  this was the first place I got to experience tricerahops.
  • belmont station – world-class beer store.  great staff that made insightful recommendations about both bottles and beer spots.  picked up a ton of lambics and other rarities, such as fort and pannepot reserva.
  • horse brass puba bittersweet visit.  staff was very friendly and their fresh-cut fries went perfectly with a draught blue dot.
  • hair of the dog – KILLER gastropub/bar setup.  friendly staff, great food, awesome beers.  tried their experimental small beer lineup and other draft tasters before moving on to bottles of michael and ’07 fred from the wood.
  • higgins – one of my favorite restaurants, and my #1 in portland.  thoughtful tap selection in the adjacent bar, and thorough beer list to accompany some truly gourmet plates.
  • cascade barrel house – words can’t describe this place.  we walked in and got a taster lineup of the eleven sours they had on tap, including wild concoctions like a mulled kriek and a couple goses.  great food, service, and atmosphere.  grabbed a bottle of vlad the imp aler for the road.
  • green dragon – gives toronado a run for the money.  great beer lineup, service, and food (notice a trend here?).
  • kennedy school – a mcmenamins masterpiece.  the beer is OK, but the campus is unreal.  a must-see for everyone when visiting.  also check out bagdad theater.
  • hopworks – solid tap lineup and friendly staff.  only stopped in here for a taster, but it was worth the trip.
  • upright brewing – my favorite of the trip.  recommended by the staff at belmont station based on my beer selections, this unassuming “tasting room” is just a cold room and keezer within the brewery itself, so you just grab a handful of dirt-cheap brews and make yourself comfy next to the mill room, conditioning tanks, barrels, or open fermentation room.  sublime barrel-aged saisons and sours with great complexity.
  • laurelwood – yet another “good food, friendly service, good beers” spot.  their workhorse IPA is great.
  • migration – relaxed spot with a good brew lineup.  just grabbed a taster and threw some darts here.
  • deschutes – a classic bar/restaurant that appeals to everyone.  very family-friendly and the first place I would take a person getting turned on to beer.

after our hundredth taster and charcuterie plate, AP and I were ready to head back and sleep it off, but we were already discussing our next trip up.  with dozens more beer and food spots to discover, portland has turned into our adult playground.

DIY stirplate, hop drying, american amber ale brew

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

last week was chock full of brewing endeavors.

  • based on some threads over at homebrewtalk and a little elbow grease, I threw together a homemade stirplate using a computer fan, hard drive magnet, potentiometer, and power supply I had lying around.  I used a plastic dish as the housing and hard wired everything up with a soldering iron, and it works like a charm.
  • according to the latest northern brewer catalog (p. 36 to be exact), the constant oxygenation stir plates provide enables 4 times normal yeast growth in starters.  after using it last week on an american ale yeast starter, I was impressed – the starter took off fast and was chugging along much sooner than my old starters.
  • I also dried out my cascade harvest, and packed up 4.5oz of cones in the freezer.  I will probably use these as finishing hops in an IPA, or may wait until all my other hops are ready for a homegrown pale.
  • I also managed to squeeze in a brew day last weekend, and whipped up an american-style amber ale based on my house IPA hop schedule and a recipe for lagunitas’ kronik/censored ale:
    • 24.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 74.67 %
      3.00 lb Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 9.33 %
      3.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 9.33 %
      2.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 6.22 %
      0.14 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 0.44 %
      2.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (60 min) Hops 34.0 IBU
      2.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (30 min) Hops 26.1 IBU
      2.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (10 min) Hops 7.5 IBU
      3.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (0 min) Hops –
  • after doing some reading about heat sticks, I picked one up on amazon and stuck it in my HLT for mashing/sparging and hitting a boil in my boil kettle.  it worked amazingly, and cut my brew time down by at least an hour.
  • however, with both the heat stick and the jet burner going at it, much more water ended up evaporating from my wort (2 gals/hr), leaving me with a 10 gallon batch (instead of an 11 gallon batch) and an OG of 1.08!  I think my higher mash temps and somewhat aggressive hopping will balance out the alcohol in this beer nicely.

beginning the 2010 hop harvest

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

aside from sampling a few draft homebrews (and discovering that the local elks lodge has quite a few beers on tap, including SN pale ale), the weekend went by without incident. on monday, however, the hop harvest began.

  • after doing some research regarding optimal hop picking indicators, I determined the following: wait until the cones are light and papery, and you can smell significant hop aroma, then wait a week or more for the cones to fully develop before picking.
  • last year, I picked my cones when they felt papery (and when I saw significant lupulin in the cones), but I didn’t really get any significant aroma from them, so I think I picked too early.
  • this time around, my cascade cones were light, papery, and smelled great, and my I ended up with tacky fingers after handling the cones.  I cut down the cascade vine and picked approximately a little less than a pound of wet hops, which will likely result in 4oz. of dried cones.  not bad for first year growth!
  • I spread the hops out in the basement on some mesh and put a fan on them to dry them out.  I plan on stuffing them in a ziploc in a day or two, when they fully dry out.
  • in the future, I plan on planting my rhizomes in the ground to increase output, as the time and effort put in for a 4oz. harvest could get a little frustrating over time.  I will definitely plant the cascade, which showed the best growth potential by far, but other varieties are still up in the air (columbus? amarillo?)

weekend in review 04/09 – 04/11

Monday, April 12th, 2010

after a long week of desk jockeying, the weekend couldn’t come up fast enough.

  • after getting a little more settled in our new spot, AP and I rolled over to naja’s to meet up with AP, PP, and DP.
  • I can’t overemphasize the great atmosphere at naja’s – no pretention and a laid back attitude, right on the water!
  • not to mention great selection – I grabbed  a pour of goose island’s matilda, which was very earthy and refreshing.  AP grabbed her staple – eric’s ale.
  • once everyone showed up, the really good stuff got cracked.  first, we pulled a great bottle of fantome saison for everyone to try.
  • I also ordered up a fantastic saison that (if I remember correctly) was from brasserie d’achouffe (the tap handle was complicated and it was listed as “saison” on the board – I’ll have to get back with the name since it was pretty great).
  • there was also a north/south tasting debate going on (if only in my head) as both carlsbad’s green flash west coast IPA and healdsburg’s bear republic racer 5 were poured.  such a tough call between those two…
  • later during the weekend I tended to my fresh hop plants – in addition to last years’ vojvodina and zeus, I picked up some chinook, cascade, mt hood, and sterling varieties.
  • I got the rhizomes from freshops, and couldn’t be happier – they came fast, had noticeable buds on arrival and sprouted within a week.  however, CB had different results, however, as state agricultural problems and questionable customer service almost ruined his (sizable) order.
  • also, it will be interesting to see the yield of my second-year established plants.  I kept all my hops potted due to limited time, but if the yield is low I might reconsider next year.  fingers crossed…