Friday, August 30, 2013

Columbus Pale Ale

Football season is upon us (well, those of us in the South) and I need a quaff-able, tasty beer to tailgate with.  I also have about 6 oz of 2011 crop CTZ hops, so when I was putting together a recipe, I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone.  

Since it will still be hot here for the next 3 months, I didn't want anything that I couldn't put back easily, and I also wanted to keep the ABV down.  I read a little on hoppy, low ABV pale ales (Session IPAs if you will, but please don't) and used a few techniques to keep the beer simple and drinkable without being bland or too hop forward.  I've combined flavorful malts with a high mash temp and oats to get some more body and flavor.  I've also backloaded my hopping schedule to keep it flavorful and hoppy without too much lingering bitterness.

Batch size 2.5 gallon

OG 1.055
FG 1.202
ABV 4.7%
IBU 39.9

3 lb Maris Otter
2.5 lb Vienna
4 oz Flaked oats

0.5 oz Columbus (15 min)
0.5 oz Columbus (5 min)
1 oz Columbus (Flamout)
2 oz Columbus (Dry hop)

Mash at 156F for 60 min (7.19 qt) sparge with 2.25 gal water at 168F.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Hoppy Red Ale

The itch to brew is really getting to me right now.  I've got the Sour Brown quietly doing its thing in my closet, my Saison is just getting going and now I already want to brew again.  Since both the brown and saison are in better bottles at room temp (or in the case of the saison, getting hit with heat to get that WLP 565 to attenuate), I have room in my temperature controlled fridge.  I just got back from Modern Times in San Diego and their hoppy beers blew me away.  There is such a huge, pungent fruity nose in their beers, especially Blazing World, that I want to clone them.  Since they're awesome they've posted all of their recipes and tweaks online at The Mad Fermentationist's website and this makes my job easy.

Hoppy Red (Blazing World clone)

2.5 gallon batch

5.50  lb 2 row (82.7%)
1 lb Munich (15%)
1.6 oz Roasted Barley (1.5%)
0.8 oz Carafa III (0.8%)

0.75 oz Columbus (90 min, 93.1 IBU)
0.50 oz Simcoe (25 min, 37.5 IBU)
1 oz Nelson Sauvin (Hop Stand)
1 oz Mosaic (Hop Stand)
1.5 oz Nelson Sauvin (Dry Hop)
0.5 oz Mosaic (Dry Hop)
0.5 oz Simcoe (Dry Hop)

WLP 001

Mash at 149F (2.07 gallons).  Mashout at 168F with (2.82 gallons)
OG 1.066
FG 1.011
IBU 130.6
ABV 7.2%

8/25/13: Brewday.  Ran into hop problems.  Replaced 0.5 oz of mosaic with Nelson in hop stand.  Replaced 0.5 oz Nelson in dry hop with Galaxy.  Preboil OG 1.045.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

San Diego Trip

I just got back from a whirlwind San Diego brewery tour the likes of which I won't recover from for a few weeks.  I had just about 4 days in the city visiting my family with SWMBO and made full use of it all.  I tried to take pictures and have Untappd to thank for a complete review of what I drank.

First stop was Pizza Port Solana beach for some pizza and one of the best salads I've eaten.  Unfortunately Jules Winnfield was not on tap, which I fell in love last time I was here but I still had a delicious Saison de Mule with lime along with my food.  I had heard about a new brewery opening nearby so we walked about 2 blocks to Culture Brewing Co. and I had my first surprise of the trip.  The space was a small store front with cinder block walls, but it had an awesome vibe and their beer was spot-on.  I had an IPA, Black IPA and Black Lager and they were all very clean and delicious.  This place might be one to look out for in the future.

Next stop was the obligatory trip to Stone Bistro and Gardens in Escondido.  The entire place is exactly what a beer garden/big brewery should look like and I could literally spend days here.  I ordered the new collaboration with Rip Current and a couple of homebrewers, the Coconut IPA, but was quite underwhelmed.  Little to no coconut, which was quite disappointing.  The place wasn't too busy so we got to go on the tour ($3 for a tasting glass and 4 tasters!) which was the most impressive I've been on due to the sheer enormity of their operation
The tour finished with tasters of Levitation, Stone IPA, Arrogant Bastard and their new collab w00tstout, which was a bit boozy at 13%, but I'm happy I can now say I've tried it.

The real reason for coming this far north was to visit Rip Current brewing which opened at 4 PM.  We made our way over there and I got a flight of beers, mostly to try Lupulin Lust which I've heard rave reviews about.
My flight had Rail Grab Roggenbier (my first Roggenbier, it was OK, I'm not sure what I was expecting), Barrier Reef Nut Brown Ale, Lupulin Lust IPA, Raked Over Red, Rescue Buoy and sURGEing Current Session IPA.  Lupulin Lust was delicious, but a little of a letdown due to the hype I heard, but sURGEing Current was good and the others were solid.  Rescue Buoy could use a little work though, it's kind of a bland RIS.

The next (and drunken final stop) was Latitude 33.  I hadn't heard especially good things about the place but while we were up here it was worth a trip.  The beer was forgettable, but I got a cool taster out of it.  
The next day was a rough one but we got up and moving early.  A hike over to Point Loma and a slow start to the drinking helped immensely.  We made our way to Stone's new amazing space at Liberty Station for some food and drinks.  I opened up with a Bite the Bullet IPA, which was a surprise favorite of the weekend and helped with the hair of the dog.  I also got a Crimson Gate Keeper, an oaked cherry porter, which was nice, but a bit much for my queasy stomach.  Stone Liberty Station is a gorgeous place and would be my number one recommendation to anyone traveling to San Diego.  Greg Koch knows what he is doing.

After Stone was my most anticipated brewery stop of the trip.  Modern Times was founded by a former Stone marketing employee, hired brewers from Ballast Point and Monkey Paw and employed maybe the most famous homebrewer on the web The Mad Fermentationist to do R&D on recipes and start their sour project.  I've been following them for a year or so and their owner Jacob has done a great job on social media, informative blog posts and the like such that my interest was definitely piqued.   I got tasters of their flagships Lomaland (saison), Fortunate Islands (pale wheat), Black House (coffee stout) and Blazing World (hoppy red/amber).  Their beers are great, especially Blazing World, it has this really juicy and fruity nose and taste.  Really great.  I also got to try their 100% Brett IPA Neverwhere which was really great and didn't taste a thing like the brett we know, it was clean like an ale yeast.  Oh and the tasting room was really cool, decorated with books, bookshelves and of course a post-it note mural of Michael Jackson and Bubbles.  You know, totally normal.

The next day we went to AleSmith to pick up bottles of Vietnamese Speedway Stout and Barrel Aged Speedway Stout I had bought online.  I got to try Vietnamese on tap and it was fantastic.  I'm a huge fan of regular Speedway, and this was better.  Also got to try their Lil Devil dosed with Lactic acid which was tart and refreshing.  

After AleSmith it was on to Societe Brewing.  They make some of the cleanest, most flavorful hoppy beers I've had and their tasting room is awesome.  The Pupil and The Apprentice are my favorite IPAs, but The Publican pale ale might be my favorite beer because of how easy it was to drink.  

One last stop at Coronado Brewing for dinner and their Hibiscus IPA (ehhh, so-so) and a quick stop in Bottlecraft and my trip was done.  
Yet another awesome trip to San Diego in the books.  Every time I go I think I've hit every brewery but when I go back there's always some new world-class place opening up.  Such a tough life, huh?  Cheers!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Hard Root Beer

I was wasting time on HBT today and stumbled across a recipe discussion for hard root beer.  After reading the thread, I have to admit, I'm intrigued.  Abita root beer is possibly my favorite soda and sometimes I order it before a beer (ok, not really, but I order it any time I see it on the menu).  With that being said, what could better then craft root beer?  Root beer with alcohol of course.  Next time I go to the homebrew store I think I'm going to pick up the ingredients for this.  It's cheap, easy and if it's good, might be a go-to recipe I brew (especially for those not into my regular beers).

1 Gallon recipe
OG: 1.045
FG: 1.015

1 lb DME
4 oz Lactose
4 oz Brown sugar
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Nottingham yeast

Combine ingredients above with 4 c water, bring to a boil, top off, cool,  pitch yeast.  Ferment ~70F for 7 days using a blow-off tube.

Bottling day:
1 c sugar boiled in 1 c water
5.5 oz honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp root beer extract

Add above to bottling bucket, bottle.  Once carbonated (check beginning at 4 days or using a plastic bottle) put in fridge or pasteurize.

8/18/13: Brewday.  12 hours later there is a full krausen and vigorous fermentation.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sour Brown Ale Update 1

The ingredients are bought for my Sour Brown that I'm going to be making without the help of a commercial yeast product.  

Yesterday I made up a lacto starter to begin the souring and build up some lacto.  I boiled 1.5 L water with 75 g DME to make a starter of around 1.020.  Once that cooled to ~110F, I pitched a handful of milled grain in and put an airlock on the 1 gallon growler.  I'm going to try to keep this as close to 110F as possible but that will be hard because I have no heating source (stupid me, should have gotten a heating pad).  I got to thinking and I have decided to keep the growler in my car in the Florida sun during the day.  This way, I think I can expect temperatures to get to 110F at some point, helping the lacto grow and sour quicker.

I also picked up Monks Cafe Flemish Sour Ale and Petrus Oud Bruin to drink in the next few days and I will dump the dregs into the starter to get them active also.  When I brew on Sunday I'm going to pitch the whole mix into the wort and throw it in my closet, not to be touched for 6 months (hopefully!).