Header Image

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Halvtreds - Soured Red Lager

Halvtreds aka Batch 50
The day after Thanksgiving I set up my system early in the morning (6:30) and set to working brewing my 50th beer.  It was coded named Batch 50 for so long that when it came time to write this post I knew it by nothing else so in a last ditch effort to not call it Batch 50 I translated fifty into Danish and got the name Halvtreds.  I think Halvtreds is a pretty suiting name for a red colored beer. 

When I set out to craft a recipe for my 50th batch of beer I had a few critria for myself: 
  1. It should have the ability to be aged
  2. It could be an ale or a lager but should be brewed with the house yeast (WLP007 for Ales and WLP840 for Lagers)
  3. The hops used should be northwest hops
  4. It should include ingredients that are indicative to me

I made a 3 pint starter with
some amber DME
I decided along the way that Halvtreds should be a mile stone in another way and decided to make it my first full on sour beer. I've been playing with funk in BeanyTink Farmstead Ale, SNB can be CynicAle and DG' Peach Farm but had yet to venture into anything over the top sour.

Venturing back to my list of criterion here's how Halvtreds fits the bill.
  1. A 6.8 sour will not only take over a year to develop but should last well beyond
  2. I decided to make it a lager and pitched a lager starter made with second pitch of WLP840
  3. Cascade for the bittering plus some Citra and Cascade for flavor with an ounce of  Columbus at knockout. 
  4. It's a partial mash that incorporated some of my favorite malts (Victory and Carared) and a lb of Rice extract a la Scott's BIG IPL.  The grain bill itself is almost identical by percentages to StarRaptor

A few things I learned while researching sours that I figure I would pass on;  1) IBUs are keep light for a reason, too much above 20 IBUs will hamper the bugs as hops are a preservative.  2) Some styles of sours are initially brewed clean then soured with bugs after primary while others are given an overnight souring mash at 120 degrees.  For Halvtreds I kept the IBUs minimal (20.5) and scheduled a clean lager fermentation.

Transferring to the fermentor
For the bugs I'm going to try to get my hands one of the sour strains from East Coast Yeast.  I missed the last round while out shopping over the weekend but with a month or more of clean fermentation I have time to try again.  Worst case I'll pitch a White Labs sour blend with some bottle dregs.

Brewday itself was pretty smooth, I had to go into work at 4:00 AM then hit up some Black Friday sales so I was able to get an early start.  

I mashed high at 156 because I wanted to give the bugs some extra food to chew on.  I initially missed my mash temperature so I drained some of the liquid and heated it up in a small pot allowing me to nail the 156 temp I was looking for.  I'd been trying to shorten my mash time to 20-30 minutes but for this round I set it initially at 40 so I could keg up Scott's BIG IPL w/ Citra.  It took me a little longer and by the time I heated my sparge water the mash ended up being around 55 minutes.  Oh well next time.



Thursday, November 24, 2011

ISO: 2011 BT x2 FT: A ton for this

It's been a while since I posted a trade and I do have several I could do but which one.  Given that the date for this post is Thanksgiving I'm going to talk about the trade I am most thankful for... well maybe thankful is the wrong term but I will say this trade involves probably the most awesome box I've ever received.  A huge thanks goes out to Carleton (SpdKil) for his over the top generosity.

Our tale begins back in August; I was crusin BA late one night while Bonnie was watching TV when I came across the following post

Photo of SpdKilz
email SpdKilz | Illinois | BA: Jan 08, 2009

ISO: 2011 BT x2 FT: A ton for this

For (2) 2011 BT I am offering:

330ml JP Bambic (batch 1 or two, your choice)
Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter
Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout
Parabola (2011)
NG Raspberry Tart
NG Belgian Red
NG Cranbic
NG Apple Ale
375ml Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic
375ml Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus
Founders Blushing Monk
Madame Rose

Obviously way over $4$. Let me know. Willing to change some beers, etc.

Can also get any midwest stuff. Any locals you may be interested in I'll throw in for sure. If you are on the fence just BM me!


I sent to him...
(sorry for the horrible picture)
Being in the Bruery Reserve society I had 7 bottles of 2011 Black Tuesday reserved for me so I decided why not and shot him and BM to start the process.

Seeing as how he had Oude Tart on his want list I mentioned that I would include it as an extra seeing as how we was going so over the top.

After a few additional BMs the deal was sealed and the wait was on.  Wait you say?  Well seeing as how the deal was sealed in August and Black Tuesday doesn't come out till the last Tuesday in October (this year that was the 25th).

In the meantime I was able to get my hands on a bottle of Barrel Aged Autumn Maple that was on his want list. That isn't exactly a cheap beer but I was still feeling bad that I'd be getting all this awesome beer and he'd be getting 3 beers and maybe some locals?

Shortly after the release I boxed up my four beers for trade and shipped them off around the same time..

About a week later I got my box from Carleton that contained the following amount of insane generosity;
Agreed to

... and got this in return!
330ml JP Bambic (batch 1 and batch 2)
Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter
Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout
Parabola (2011)
NG Raspberry Tart
NG Belgian Red
NG Cranbic
NG Apple Ale
375ml Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic
375ml Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus
Founders Blushing Monk
Madame Rose

The Stone version of Special Holiday Ale - Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co.x 2 completing the series
Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter from Arcadia
Heady-Topper from The Alchemist
Mokolo from Three Floyds
I do take somewhat solice in the fact that he BMd the following expressing his pleasure with his packages
Scott -

Just got the package. AWESOME! Very pumped you gave me a BA Autumn Maple!!!! Way too generous and completely unexpected.

Can't wait to open a couple of these during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Such good beer months coming up to enjoy this big bold beers!

Thanks again for a great trade and cheers!

- Carleton

In the end I was able to get him back and publicly thank him but posting this up on the forums

Photo of StarRaptor
email StarRaptor | California | BA: Jun 07, 2010 | online user online


Epic Trader Alert - SpdKilz

Carleton needs to be called out on this one.

A few month's back I see a post looking to setup a deal to obtain 2x Black Tuesdays in return for a pretty impressive list of beers. I decided to take him up on it and toss in some other beers from his wants to try to balance it out.

This is what I got in return
 http://farm7.static.flickr.com/610 ... 1c07_b.jpg

This is by far my most awesome box I've opened to date

Thanks I ton


I hope Carleton and I get a chance to trade again in the future.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hess Brewing

Hess Brewing is an awesome nano-brewery located in San Diego that I've been trying to check out for well over a year.  What's a nano-breweryy ou ask?  Think of the old term Microbrewery from the late 90s and vastly shrink it.  Well not exactly.  The definition that many are using for nano-brewery, including Hess, is a brewery which not only brews small batches (51 gallons in Hess' case) but is not the owner's full time job.  Hess was founded in 2010 by Mike Hess a homebrewer since ‘95.  The complete oddassy can be found on Hess' Blog (which I've linked to post 1).

I love this glass
There is a lot I personally love about Hess Brewing, but first and foremost is the hope it gives to someone like myself who honestly can see myself doing something similar one day.  The model just makes sense to me, I understand the added work involved but when it's something you love to do, is it really work?

Overall Hess is about the size of my garage at 800 ft2 and has a really great feel to it.  They are tremendously dialed in when it comes to overall image.  Their logo looks great and all fits extremely well into the overall look and feel of the place.  I love the posters they have throughout the place.  This is definiately the kind of place where it's cool to be a homebrewer as it fits nicely between the stuff you'll find at most homebrewers homes and a comeriacal brewery.

I only had one beer while I was there but did have it in an awesome take home glass.  It didn't hurt that it was one of my favorite styles of glasses.  

Reminds me of my workbench
In the end I'm left wondering, is this the more realistic future of SNB Brewing?  I honestly hope that I can make the answer to that question a yes.  The real issue currently is more time sensitive then anything. In the meantime I plan on getting down to Hess a couple more times for more excellent brews and inspiration.



Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Bruery Batch 50 GFAR aka Grand Funk Ale Road

The Bruery Batch 50 GFAR aka Grand Funk Ale Road started 2 years ago as the winning homebrew recipe from the Bruery's batch 50 homebrew contest.  Not only did the winning homebrewer Al Buck fly out twice to help them brew it (It's a blend of 1 & 2 yr barrels), but as the founder of East Coast Yeast, he also supplied them with all the bugs.  For those interested he used his ECY04 BRETT blend #1.
ECY04 BRETT blend #1: Three individual Brettanomyces isolates from lambic producers combined to give an aggressive brett presence in any beer. Vigorous, funky and acid-tolerant, the blend can be added at any stage of fermentation and is excellent for priming or re-yeasting.
750 bottle poured into brewery tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful golden yellow color. There is absoluly no head and a very low appearance of carbonation. It is very hazy and appears to be filled with small particles. Swirling the glass does nothing to rouse a head. 

Aroma: Smells of wet leather and cat piss.  It's somewhat horsey with lemons and acid. I get a lot of funk on this one. 

Mouthfeel: Very little carbonation detected. Definitely posses the sour slickness I've come to expect from the style. It's slightly prickly as I move it around my mouth.
Taste: Fantastic extraordinarily sour but not to the point of being overpowering.  Pairs really nicely with the aroma. Some citrus like quality to it probably the acid  very reminiscent of most gueuzes is that I've had 

Overall: A great beer make that a good beer as I feel the lack of carbonation is really holding this one back.   It needs that extra dimension as it's far too still.  I'll hold on to my remaining bottles and keep them warm hopefully that'll increase levels carbonation over time.  I also might try to harvest the yeast from the bottle dregs of this one.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oak Glen Cider Run Cider 2011

One of the things I like best about belonging to multiple homebrew clubs is that it has given me the opportunity to do things that I wouldn't have done on my own, such as fermenting fresh from the orchard cider.

Last year Shawn arranged for a group of us to travel to Oak Glen to collect fresh cider to turn into hard cider.  He even called ahead to have one of them, Law's, press from unfiltered or preserved cider just for us to use.  This is the best type of cider to use when making hard cider as it is free from anything, you can even leave it be and it will self ferment.

I had a great time last year and enjoyed the first cider I made so for the second year in a row Bonnie and I got in the car and took the girls up to Oak Glen to get more cider. Bonnie's anniversary party for work had prevented us from joining Shawn's group but he had picked me up a couple of gallons from Law's that I could let go wild.

We left mid Sunday morning for hour and a half drive up to Oak Glen.  We ended up having pretty bad luck weather wise and it was cold and rainy when we arrived, in fact it even snowed a couple of times.

Bonnie and Sydnie staying dry
Our first stop was at Law's where I picked up an additional 2 gallons of cider as Bonnie had read that one of the mills, Riley's at Los Rios Rancho was closed.  Law's cider is said to be some of the best on the mountain and they still had a couple of gallons left over from the week before.

Our next stop was at one of our favorite places on the mountain, Snowline... unfortunately we weren't able to really enjoy it as there was snow on the ground and in the air.  The first thing I did was grab a fresh dozen of thier awesome mini doughnuts and walk around the store. After grabbing a gallon of apple cider for myself and a gallon each of the fruit blends for Eric, Bonnie and I bundled up and took the girls for a little walk.  It didn't last long as we decided it was too cold and wet to stay out so we grabbed another dozen doughnuts and headed over to Riley's at Los Rios Rancho to see if it was really closed.

It wasn't.  Having already acquired 5 gallons of cider (2 Wild from Law's via Shawn, 2 unfiltered from Law's and a gallon from Snowline) I didn't need anymore so I just grabbed a tri-tip sandwich to split with Bonnie before heading back down the mountain. I believe the closed issue might have been Riley's Farm and not Riley's at Los Rios Rancho, oh well better luck next year.

Snow at Snow-Line
Upon returning I sanitized a carboy and combined in it the 3 tame gallons along with 3 campden tablets to kill off anything present in the cider. The cider sat overnight so that the campden could do it's work. The next day I feed it some nutrient and hit it with O2 before pitching WLP775 English Cider Yeast.

To date I've been feeding it and the wild gallons nutrient every few days.  I even built a special airlock system for the wild gallons that will come in handy later for mead.  It should be ready in a few months.



Additional Pictures
Snow-Line's line up
Ingredients for this years blend
All combined
Tucked away with the wild cider
Airlock system for the wild gallons

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Random Wednesday Tasting

The evening's line up
The busier I get on the weekend the more I seem to appropriate the random midweek tastings I manage to be a part of, either as a host or as a guest.  They are not completely stress free or without their challenges.  Generally I prefer to help my wife out with our daughter before I leave which can make for a late start.  I also generally have work the next day so staying alter and well hydrated during the tasting is an absolute priority.   The last and most important challenge to a mid-week tasting specifically if it's remote is monitoring my alcohol intake so that I can safety drive home.  With my daughter asleep my regular pick up system is disabled which would leave me with walking or taking a cab if I was unable to drive.

Woodcut No 3
One week's midweek tasting started via a text from my buddy Scott.  He had just received a growler of Masala Mama from KeefD, a guy I’d traded with before, as part of a Darkness/Black Tuesday trade.  Having enjoyed this beer before I knew I needed to get over there and by there I mean the insanely awesome showroom.   Also at the tasting were Ryan, Steve and Kerry another guy from their office.  I looked at this as a great opportunity to open one of my bottles of CBS.  Being fellow BAs I knew they would appreciate the awesomeness that is Canadian Breakfast Stout, but more on that later.    

Woodcut No 4
After a quick dinner we headed to the showroom for some awesome beers.  Kerry had just picked up a Woodcut No 5 from Odell’s so Ryan decided to bring out his Woodcut No 3 and 4 to have a mini vertical.  Scott brought the Masala Mama, Steve shared an awesome Firestone 13 and I bought the CBS as well as a Hop Harvest II from Postsmouth.

Deciding to start with the Woodcuts first we cracked open the Woodcut No 3 an 11% Oak Aged American Strong Ale.   This was probably my favorite of the three.  The oak really came through and was not overpowering.  You can tell on all the Woodcut series that they are using regular virgin barrels with a medium toast to age it and not spirit barrels.  With all the big bourbon/whiskey/rum aged beers out there it’s nice to see a regular oaked version. It’s really held up nicely over the last couple of years.

Portsmouth Brewery Hop Harvest II
Next came the Woodcut No 4 which is described as an Oak Aged Double Märzen – Style Lager at 11%.  I have to say I am not a fan of the tread of “doubling” certain styles of beers, like märzens, and then aging them in barrels.  I personally didn’t think that the treatment worked.  The malt and the oak came through as somewhat combative in both the aroma and the taste.

We ended the Woodcut run with the most recent offering in the series Woodcut No 5.  The base beer for No 5 is an 11.3% Belgian style Quad (Quadrupel). This beer/bottle might have been infected.  It was near still on the carbonation front and gave off an off aroma similar to buttered popcorn (DMS). There is nothing more frustrating that paying big money for a beer (above $20) and having it be off.  We recommended that Kerry keep additional bottles at room temperature to see if that could help increase the level of carbonation.

Firestone 13!
Next it was on to IPAs.  I’d brought the Hop Harvest II to break up what I was sure going to mostly be big stouts and malt bombs.  I’d recently split an Octoberfest from Portsmouth that was such a DMS bomb we ended up drain pouring it so going in my expectations were high.  It ended up being a pretty good beer. It wasn’t overly/harshly bitter and it ended up refreshing my palate.

After that we cracked the lid on the growler of Masala Mama.  While a very solid beer it wasn’t and pleasing as the last time I had it.  I’d ended up reviewing it last time and noted “Yup this is a solid IPA, not overly bitter and well balanced. Bonnie says that is "ooh smooth" and for the most part I agree. It reminds me a lot of Furious in taste and appearance which is not a bad thing.” I don’t know if I would quite agree with that for this round but it was still a very solid IPA that I was glad to get another glass of. 

CBS Bitches!
Up next was Firestone Walkers 13th Anniversary Ale. Having never had the opportunity to try it myself I was pretty jazzed that Steve had decided to open his Firestone 13.  Not only is it hard to come by these days but it happened to be one of his favorite beers. The beer pour a nice ink black color with a nice level of carbonation and head for a 2 year old beer.  Too many breweries are jumping on the barrel aging bandwagon and have no idea how to truly put together a wonderous barrel aged beer. Blending is truly an art that Firestone has mastered.  Nice, rich and complex just a beautiful barrel aged beer.  I’ve already picked out the prefect beer to share with him the next time we get together.  

For the final beer of the night I opened up a bottle of Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout or CBS.  I’d wanted to try this beer since falling in love with Founders Breakfast Stout on a business trip.  The main obstacle at the time had been it was draft only and only once a year, that all changed this year when they decided to release it for the first time in bottles as part of their Backstage Series.  Thanks to my regular trading partner Meagan and a couple of other quick trades I was able to secure a couple bottles.  It too pours a nice black color with a tan head.  The aroma is a wonderful mixture of maple, coffee and whiskey.  The taste is also an incredible mix of maple, vanilla, bourbon, oak and roast.  It is perfectly balanced.  I was a little concerned that Steve and Scott might not dig it due to the coffee component but they also loved it.  It was a great finish to another great night of midweek tasting.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Imperial Rhino Stout 2011 - Tasting Notes

mmmm so thick
Seeing as how I've been slowly drinking this for a while and have BeerGunned the a few bottles to give out to friends I decided it was about time to set aside a glass and take some tasting notes..

Appearance: Poured from the Crate it forms a nice thick light-tan meringue like head.  The color is very dark but also very clean and clear on the edges.  Laces the edge of the glass extremely well hand on them.

Aroma:  Most pronounced right now is the coffee notes which are plesently earthy.  Some light roastiness is present and a very sutle hop character especailly when swirled. Some minor pine notes from the Simcoe are present as it warms.

Very thick and viscous, full bodied with everything I love in a stout.  It is not overly thick or sweet like I've found Dark Lord to be but nowhere near the all encompassing thickness that is Cigar City's Marshal Zhukov. 

Taste: Coffee is pronounced with a nice balanced level of bitterness. I love the subtle roast notes that I pick up.  The flavor profiles from the two varieties of coffee are present and in balance. I'm really enjoy the level of sweatness and roast.

Overall: I am as pleasantly surprised with this years version as I was last years.  It's been nice to slowly sample the beer as it's progressed.  My plan is to BeerGun and wax the remaining in 12 oz bottles similar to what I did with the Wookiee from the BrewCommune Barrel Brew.

Some examples of the bottles I've done so far

Friday, November 4, 2011

Surly WET

16 ounce cans poured into into Lucifer goblet.  I picked up 2 four packs while I was in Minnesota.  I have really enjoyed this years version. Todd slightly changes the recipe from last year which was a blend of fresh/wet citra and I believe chinook hops. This year it was all citra web hops. Picked on day one and used in a hopback on day four.

Appearance:  Pours a golden orange with a fluffy white head about an inch high which leaves behind great lacing.  Crystal clarity provides great reflective light on my hand. it reflects as a very warm orange. 

Aroma:  Citrus is the most prominent.  The smells really really good  I just want to bathe in it.  This should be a candle smell.  The citra hops are very prominent some pine but not overpowering the citrus very well balanced

Mouthfeel:  Really nice tight bubbles, medium to light bodied, semi-dry and very clean. Tt tingles my tongue as I let it linger in my mouth

Taste: Absolutely incredible, the citrus is really nice and prominent.  I get nice passion fruit on it.  the bitterness is there but it's not overpowering very soft.  This is one of my favorite wet hop beers. The clean bitterness allows you have multiple times without stripping your palate  I get some tangerine notes.

Overall:  When I was in Minnesota I had this every chance I got, that included 3 pints at Cafe Twenty Eight over my 2 visits and multiple cans that I enjoy fresh while at Ryan's house. This beer is an absolute treat.  I've only got a few cans left but I doubt it will last till the weekend.  I might try to collect 1 more 4 pack of the most recent run and then I will wish it well until next year.  I've had a chance to have for wet hop beers this season and only Town Hall's wet came anywhere close to Surly Wet. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...