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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sydnie IPA

The labels from the first 2 Sydnie IPAs
As I've mentioned before in 2009 my mom bought me a Mr Beer for my birthday.  After sitting on it for a few weeks I ordered the American Devil IPA kit as I wanted my first beer to be an IPA.  It was with that in mind in that I brewed my first beer in my house in January of 2010.  I called this beer Sydnie IPA after my still incubating offspring and as legends go it turned out really bad.  Somewhere along the way it got an infection (probably from the water I found in the back of my fridge) and was never really drinkable.  Despite the disappointment of the first try I really loved the process and continued forward.  For those saying it was probably because I used Mr Beer I disagree as I went on to make dozens of success beers using Mr Beer products. 

Later that year after getting 20 odd beers successfully under my belt I decided to give Sydnie IPA a second go and again I was left with a less than stellar brew.  Was the name cursed?  I had made a bunch of really tasty beers since my first outing. I'd followed the directions to a tee and had again failed. Again I put the disappointment behind me and continued forward honing my brewing techniques. While I made several IPAs and worked on a few IPLs over the last couple of years but none of them carried the name Sydnie IPA.

That was until October of 2012.

On October 21st I did a brew demo for Addison Homebrew Provisions.  Leading up to the demo I created a poll on the forum asking people what they wanted to see made.  I had five ideas in mind each would included a presentation topic to discuss during the downtime between steps. 
  • IPL – Discussion Topic: Lagering 
  • IPA – Discussion Topic: Hop Additions 
  • Imperial Stout– Discussion Topic: Brewing BIG Beers 
  • Vanilla Porter – Discussion Topic: Flavor Additions 
  • Split Batch – Discussion Topic: Creating Two Beers from One Wort 
In the end IPA won with 24% of the vote. 

My buddy Daniel from BeancurdTurtle Brewing pouring
some of his outstanding beer during the demo
When it was clear that IPA was going to win I started looking for a recipe. Like a lot of brewers I tend to have a lot of beer recipes floating around my brewing software.  Some of these are scribbles of recipes, a few are recipes I've come up while others are ones that I'd found online. They all fall into the "someday" I'll get around to brewing them.  One in particular stood out - Sydnie IPA... 

I'd always known that one day I would make another go at a beer called Sydnie IPA it was too sentimental of a name for me to never use again.  I also knew that I would need a new recipe for it, just start completely fresh carrying over just the name.  The recipe I'd been toying with was based on an old Melrose IPA homebrew recipe that Julian Shrago had posted back in 2007.  I'd made a few modifications along the way (converting it to extract for the demo and including a little carared for color).  Mostly I was evaluating the hop bill for a new IPL style recipe I'm working on.

The demo went off pretty well,  a few oh my gosh (as Sydnie would say) moments but overall it went really well.  

One of the few benefits that not posting for over 6 weeks has afforded me is time.  Normally I would post about only the brew aspect of the beer and never really report on how it came out. In the case enough time has passed between brewing and posting for me to report on how the beer turned out.  It turned out really great, probably the best IPA I've brewed.  The hop bill worked really well and is a lock to make it into my forthcoming IPL. Curse = Smashed



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Amy's Backyard Honey Mead aka Trilobite

Amy's Backyard Honey Mead
aka Trilobite
After a very long delinquent period of not posting I'm back.  Sorry for the delay but the last six weeks have been absolutely the busiest of my life, between work, home and vacation I've had zero extra time to do anything.  Part of being busy included another barrel brew on a 2 barrel brewsystem with one of my homebrew clubs Brewcommune.com, hosting a brewday for them, attempting to brew my annual imperial stout and hosting a brew demo at the shop.  This was followed by a trip out to Minnesota for work which included an overnight camp-out for Darkness Day 2012.  I've got lots of stuff to cover but let's get started with my second mead.

Back in mid-October my good friend Bryce came down from our hometown of SLC to LA with his girlfriend Amy.  She was in town at the last minute to take her Medical Licensing Examination Step 2. Besides bringing me an at least 250 million year old Trilobite (it could be up to 500 million years) they also brought with them 2 pounds of fresh honey that Amy had harvested from the bee hives she keeps in her back yards.  That's right from the bee hives she keeps in her backyard, how cool it that. 

I decided to use it to make a small batch of mead using the recipe for Joe's ancient orange mead as the recipe.  I've had mead from this recipe from several friends and it has produced some of my favorite meads.  I also had pretty much every ingredient on hand including fresh oranges from my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box.  Amy gave me 3 8oz by volume jars of honey which equated to 2 pounds by weight of honey. the standard Joe's recipe calls for 3 pounds of I scaled the recipe down based on the about of honey I had (2/3 of a gallon versus 1 gallon).

Close up for the trilobite they also brought
Violating probably a dozen unwritten rules about hosting a brewday I decide to use that time to keg up a bunch of beers, transfer some to secondary and clean everything that needed cleaning so pretty much I decided not to brew on a brewday. Like I said, it probably violated tons of unwritten rules. Not wanting to violate them all I decided that I would include making the mead on my to do list so I could at least say I made a fermented beverage.

The really nice thing about mead is how freaking fast it is to make. From warming the honey to clean up it probably took me less than an hour, probably less, almost all of it going to heating the honey to liquify it make it easier to work with. Now comes the waiting, currently it's hanging on in my kitchen for a few months as the bread yeast chews though the honey.  I have plans on when this will make it's debut but who knows when that will happen.



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