Header Image

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BaseCamp Breakfast aka Maple-Bacon-Coffee

The bacon
I'll be kegging my SCHF Split Batch Porter this weekend so I thought I would present some updates.  If you recall from my original post I set out to brew 10 gallons of beer to split and create two different beers.  The next two posts will cover moving the beer to secondary and kegging them up.   In each post I will talk about what was done to both beers and will provide the recipe if you only wanted to make one version of it.  The first recipe I will provide is for BaseCamp Breakfast aka Maple-Bacon-Coffee.

Bacon and beer, two traditional male stereotypes but could they work together?  It is a question several breweries have set out to answers.  I first read about bacon in beer in Brew Your Own when I was first getting into brewing.  They highlighted San Juan Brewing Co in Washington as an early pioneer of the concept which I have not had the chance to try.  I have gotten a chance to try two bacon beers on opposite sides of good, Rogue's disaster in a bottle Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale and Funky Buddha's wonderful Maple Bacon Coffee Porter

The beans
The premise behind adding bacon to beer is to add cooked bacon to secondary like you would hops. You want to cook off as much of the fat as possible so that you don't kill the head retention on the beer, something that fat does.  The technique that I used was to take a pound of thick cut bacon and cook it in my oven at 350 for an hour.   I used cooling racks over a broil pan so that the fat could drip down.  Once is was cooked I took paper towels and dabbed the surface to remove any additional fat.  I wrapped in a towel and set it aside.   If I did it again I'm going to cook it the same day I transfer and not before.

On transfer day I stuffed the bacon in a sanitized bag and submerged it in sanitizer.  I then jammed the sack into the secondary fermenter and racked the beer over it.  I have a bad feeling that it is going to be a pain to get out after kegging. The only thing that remains to be done is to brew up a batch of cold brewed coffee extract to add at kegging and toss in another 8oz of maple syrup.

Resting until kegging
The other beer half of the porter is on its way to becoming BaseCamp Dessert aka Bourbon-Vanilla.  BaseCamp Dessert as well as the base grain bill was inspired by Denny Conn's Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter. I put the recipe together by scrolling through about 89 pages of posts on Northern Brewer's forum to make sure I collected the best version. Let that be an insight to how I come up with recipes, I read - a lot.  I look for ingredients I'm familiar with, interesting ideas and most importantly feedback on how the recipe turned out.  This is also one of the reasons I like to post links back to where I'm looking at recipes, so that you can get a feel for what's out there,

The first step in creating this was to source and prep vanilla beans. I picked up four vanilla beans from Whole Foods, two from Uganda and two from Papua New Guinea. To prepare them I took them and sliced them into sections and scraped out the filling. This is where I screwed up pretty big as I've never worked with them before.  When the directions called to scrape of the fillings I thought it meant to remove it, so I sent most of the good stuff down the drain.  I realized this toward the end so hopefully I'll get some flavor out of what I left behind.  I then tossed the beans into two clean and sanitized yeast vials with some tequila to extract the flavor. When it was time to transfer to secondary I dumped the entire contents of both vials into the transferred beer.  

The only thing left to do on this treatment is add some quality bourbon upon kegging by just pouring it in. No spirit soaked chips on this one my friends.  I'll cover all that next week.  One last thing, on the original post I mentioned plans for harvesting and washing the yeast for a house strain of WLP007.  I didn't do this because I didn't really like how the fermentation went starting with the starter.



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sour Barrel Ale Project

The wine barrel from Hogshead Wine
I know I promised an update on my SCHF Split Batch Porter which is well on its way to being BaseCamp Breakfast and BaseCamp Dessert.  I promise I will do an update on them in a week or so when I keg the finished products.  This post will cover a far more exciting project – barrel aging.

A few months ago my brewing mentor Shawn got his hands on a couple of used 65 gallon wine barrels from a local winery.  The idea surfaced to fill one them with a red ale and then pitch a large culture of bugs to create a barrel aged sour ale.  The problem became filling the barrel as 65 gallons is a lot of beer to produce.   Shawn decided to launch a thread on the AHP Brew Club forum to recruit additional brewers.  In total 7 brewers participated.

That's a damn big fermenter
The next question in the fill became how to conduct the primary, this was a question that I had an answer too.  A little over a year ago I bought a 55 gallon food grade water drum from my friend and Mead Master Chad.   My reason for buying it was that one day I wanted to do a group brew and use it as a massive primary.  Over a year later that day had arrived and I offered it up to the group. The water drum was in great shape and only needed a light cleaning to get it into shape.  

At the beginning of April we met at the shop to outline the project and determine the style guidelines we would brew to.  I mentioned it was a red ale that we decided to lightly hop (under 20) with a targeted OG around 1.060-1.075.  It’s a huge range I know, but will even out around the up 1.060 range when combined.  We next settled on a brew date of April 15th for everyone to brew in the morning then meet at Shawn’s house for drop off and combining.  In addition to the 50 gallons we planned a group fermenting we set aside about 15 gallons to ferment by itself for topping off the barrel.  In total the range on production was between 26 and 5 gallons with Shawn brewing the bulk with 26 over a very long brewday that used every piece of equipment he had. 

The day before the brew I went over to Shawn’s house with the water drum so that we could study it to see what we needed to do to convert it from a sealed water drum to a massive primary fermenter.  There were two ports on the lid what upon closer examination turned out to contain 2 inch threaded end caps.  After unscrewing one we headed off to Lowe's to build a blow off tub.  The blow off adapter is made of three part which reduced it from 2 inches to 1.  We then took about 5 feet of 1 inch ID vinyl tubing and hose clamped it to the adapter.  We ran the tub up and over the fermenter pulling it back to its sides and into a bucket (which will be filled with sanitizer) using blue bungee cords.

I opened this after the wort was combined
After the conversion I headed over to the shop to grab my grain and ran into two of my fellow brewers also buying grain for the next day.  After a quick comparison of recipes it was noted that my mash temperature was too low.  I had been in a rush to finish it and clearly had forgotten to make the adjustments.

Brewday itself will probably go down as one of my smoothest.  Not only did I set a brewhouse efficiency record of 80% but I was extremely productive as well.  Between in process cleaning I was also able to plant my remaining hops and mow the lawn.  

In about two weeks I plan on heading back to Shawn’s to help him transfer the beer from the fermenter drum to the barrel.  After that it is a short 12 month wait to the final project.  In the meantime Shawn and I will try to figure out a use for the other barrel.  Maybe a big stout? 



Adding it to the barrel 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beer Picture Gallery 1

Cool filter and my favorite beer
It's been over two weeks since my last post. Between my work schedule and Bonnie gearing up for trial my free time to do almost anything beer related has been zero.  I've got a couple of things that I want to post in the next few weeks such as an update on the Split Batch Porter which has been moved to secondary with 5 gallons getting dry hopped with bacon and another 5 getting some vanilla beans that I sort of messed up with.  Also this weekend I'm going to be brewing 11 gallons of a red ale that will be fermented in a 55 gallon water barrel before going into a red wine barrel at Shawn's house for souring and aging.

In the meantime I thought I would share some of my favorite beer-related pictures I've taken.  The bulk of the pictures come from my Untappd gallery.  Since I've downloaded app on my phone I've started taking pictures of almost all the beers I've been checking into some of which came out really cool. I tossed in a few brewing pictures for fun.

I hope you enjoy some beer porn



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...