Posts Tagged ‘san pedro brew co.’

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.

hybrid stout: disaster strikes!

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

last friday I dropped by san pedro brew co. to sample some brews with JW and watch him rack his wit (or was it a hef?) to one of the bright tanks.

  • we tasted the black lager and ale next to the version JW brewed for the brew co. as well as some commercial examples.  I was really happy with how the brew turned out – the lager was clean and dry with a subtle roast back that made for a very sessionable holiday beer, while the ale ended up as a smooth roasty mild.
  • we also tried JW’s bohemian pils and his wit, which were both on their way to becoming solid draft options at the brew co.
  • the tasting got me excited for the hybrid stout brew day that JF and I had planned for the weekend.  little did I know that my brew day luck was about to run out.
  • the grain bill for the brew was based on a dry irish stout, with some added flaked oats and a little black patent:
    • 11.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 60.27 %
      4.25 lb Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain 23.29 %
      1.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 9.59 %
      1.00 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 5.48 %
      0.25 lb Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 1.37 %
      3.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 28.0 IBU
      1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (30 min) Hops 7.2 IBU
      1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale
  • I hit my mash temp of 154, held it for an hour, and then started the sparge.  this is where some brewday lessons were learned:
  • don’t crush flaked grains, and use tons of rice hulls to balance them out. the sparge turned out to be a no-go, as the mash was seriously stuck.  I had added a few (3-4) handfuls of hulls when I mashed in, but I immediately regretted not adding a pound or more to the mash.  also, I had carelessly tossed the flaked barley and oats into the crusher with the rest of the specialty grains, turning them into dust that plugged the keggle’s false bottom like cement.
  • if the false bottom clogs, replace with braided hose and batch sparge. after removing the entirety of the mash and clearing the false bottom tube, I added a pound of rice hulls and a couple gallons of hot water and dumped the mash right back in.  wort flowed freely for about a minute, then slowed to a trickle as the pulverized barley and oats again plugged up the false bottom tube.  I ended up removing the entire mash a second time, replacing the false bottom with my old cooler mash tun braided hose, and massaging out 10.5 gallons of wort through an impromptu batch sparge.
  • watch your back and take it slow.  I’m not gonna lie, the sparge sucked.  in my haste to get the boil going, I deadlifted a partially full keggle and bent over a thousand times to empty and refill the mash tun.  by the time the wort was cool and ready to rack, my back was seriously tweaked and I was hunched over like an old monk, which effectively killed the rest of my weekend.
  • despite the above mishaps (in addition to a broken thief, one overflowed keg, and a painful cleanup), JF and I actually hit our numbers spot on, with an O.G. of 1.047.  I added a healthy starter of 1056 and in less than 12 hours vigorous fermentation was observed.  after all the work that went into it, this brew will likely taste spectacular to me, even if there is a slight aftertaste of sweat and tears…

strong beer session #2

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

last weekend, the sequel to the first strong beer session went off without a hitch.

  • the plan was to sample brewery to brewery across california, then across the country, and then the rest of the globe.  however, so many breweries were represented that we didn’t even make it out of the state!
  • session brews included (with notes/* indicates a crowd favorite):
  • we also tried to pull off some food pairings as well, so in addition to the stilton and sharp cheddar we had mixed charcuterie including liverwurst, head cheese, and prosciutto, as well as smoked bacon-wrapped brats mopped with brown shugga and some spicy roasted chicken and potatoes.
  • the meal was topped off with desserts including AP’s cheesecake with a belgian date barleywine cream cheese topping and ML’s killer bourbon barrel-aged old rasputin imperial stout pecan pie with bourbon crust and malted whipping cream(!).  both were awesome and complemented the rest of the meal perfectly.
  • despite wrecked palates and tons of food, everyone persevered, and by the end of the night I’m pretty sure barleywines were a little better understood (albeit not on the top of anyone’s drinking list for the near future).

lambic prep and some housekeeping

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

last friday I finally took some time to develop a lambic mash schedule.

  • lambics/lambic-based beers rate as some of my all-time favorites.  ever since AP and I visited jean van roy over at cantillon, I have been fascinated by these traditional beers and their methods of production.
  • creating these beers at home seemed daunting however, and I put the idea on the back burner until I was better equipped to handle such a task.  with the advent of my new brew setup and the completion of some successful brew sessions, I feel that I am ready to tackle my first (p)lambic.
  • after reviewing wild brews and some great lambic resources, and checking the mad fermentationist’s site to double-check some figures, I came up with this schedule based on a scaled-down version of mike sharp’s description of cantillon’s turbid mash:
    • 15lb belgian pils (60%)
    • 10lb unmalted white wheat (40%)
    • 1. 12lb/gal = (25lb total grist)/(2.1 gal. @143F) = 113F mash
    • 2. hold 113F mash for 10 min
    • 3. add boiling water to get to 136.4F
    • 4. remove 0.57 gal. to kettle 2, heat to 176F at most
    • 5. add boiling water to get to 149F, hold for 15 min
    • 6. remove 2.27 gal. to kettle 2, keep at 176F at most
    • 7. add boiling water to get to 161.6F, hold for 20 min
    • 8. first runnings (2.83 gal) to boil kettle
    • 9. kettle 2 back into mash tun @ 176F = mash @~167F
    • 10. hold mash @167F for 20 min
    • 11. vorlauf and sparge with 185F water
    • 12. ~end up with 18.5 gal wort~
    • 13. divide wort into keggle (13.5 gal) and turkey fryer (5 gal)
    • 14. add 5.17 oz old/low AA hops to keggle @ start of boil
    • 15. boil down to ~12-13 gals*
    • 16. blend keggle and fryer and cool overnight
    • *take reading @ ~15 gals, see if near desired 1.05 OG (shouldn’t be), then boil down to 12-13 (should be around 1.05).  originally had 12,8lbs of grain, but would have to boil off 8 gallons to get near desired OG (not factoring in lower efficiency here either).
  • I plan on aging the beer for a year, then kegging 5 gallons and bottling the rest.  if all goes well, after doing this for 3 years I will have a 3 year flight of bottles and enough 1, 2, and 3 year lambic in kegs to blend up a tasty geuze.

I also managed to tie up some loose ends around the home brewery.

brewing a pilsner and kegging the IPA

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

on sunday I managed to squeeze in some time for a last-minute brewday.

  • this wasn’t any ordinary brew, though – it was my first pilsner!  I was inspired by my recent keezer build to brew a beer that needed some colder fermentation temps and long-term lagering, and a pilsner fit the bill perfectly.
  • I was also inspired by my trip with AP to the czech republic, and I therefore decided on a bohemian style pilsner, or “bo pils.”
  • after a little internet scan I came across jamil zainasheff’s bo pils recipe, which I then slightly modified as follows:
    • 10.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 93.02 %
      11 oz. Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 6.98 %
      1.50 oz Saaz [3.50 %] (60 min) Hops 18.5 IBU
      1.80 oz Saaz [3.50 %] (30 min) Hops 17.0 IBU
      1.00 oz Saaz [3.50 %] (10 min) Hops 4.5 IBU
      1.00 oz Saaz [3.50 %] (0 min) Hops –
      1 Pkgs Budvar Lager (Wyeast Labs #2000) Yeast-Lager
  • I also made a pretty hefty (for me) 1L starter a couple days before and gave it a shot of O2 to get it going.  I pitched at 70F and let it sit for about an hour before tossing my fermentation bucket into the keezer at 55 +/- 5F.
  • the next morning, I knocked the keezer temp down to 50 +/- 2F, which seemed to be right for the yeast.  last I checked, the airlock was bubbling away, so everything seems to be on the up and up.  keep your fingers crossed…
  • I also managed to keg the IPA during the brew.  as usual, I forgot to grab a gravity reading, but the aroma was pretty awesome, so I’m hoping for the best.
  • on monday I also cruised over to san pedro brew co. to meet up with JW to try out his new lineup.  he has a belgian wit, amber, and brown on tap, all of which were tasty.  I especially liked the brown, which was clean and very sessionable, a perfect summer beer for the brown ale lover.
  • JW also showed me his fermenter cleaning procedure and, as usual, fielded a barrage of questions with patience and enthusiasm.  thanks again JW!
  • also, on the hop front all the plants are doing well, but the cascade vines are definitely larger than any first year growth I have ever seen.  there are tons of developing cones and which will hopefully result in a significant harvest.