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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Drink my effin beer

The first step to finding a solution (goal) is admitting you've got a problem.  The next step is doing something about it.

My problem - I have too much damn beer.  It started out as a couple of special bottles here and there.  Then I bought a beer fridge (mostly at the time for homebrew).  Now the fridge is full to the point that the extra gallon of milk for my daughter barely fits. I've got 5 1/2 cases of beer in my lagering deep freeze in addition to about another dozen beers floating around in it.  I also have 4 growlers (1/2 gallon) of barrel aged goodness from Town Hall.

Something had to be done.

In the end I want to start working it down to my goal of no more than 3-4 cases in the deep freeze (I'd love to get 3 fermentors in it so I can step up my lagering)  and a shelf and a half free in the fridge for none beer items.

So that's my goal, now to start down that path - which frankly is the fun part.

Just like losing weight, start by decreasing the input (trading and purchasing) and increase the output (enjoying the beer).

Five vs Pentagram
Addressing the inputs.  This does not mean a complete halt in attending beer releases just doing them with a more strategic mindset ie instead of the full allocation a smaller amount.  Start enjoying more local beer to curb my need to trade - I've bought a lot more six packs of my favorite IPAs lately.

As for ways to reduce the on-hand quantity I've got a couple of things up my sleave. I'm planning on doing more group tastings at my place where consuming my beer is the focus. I'm going to focus on hunting down a few of my whales via quantity for quality trades.  Finally I'm going to focus on beers that come in smaller formats 12-16 oz so that I can consume them myself if I want to. I've already started moving toward smaller bottles. Fortunately my options over the last several years for outstanding beers in a smaller format has improved greatly.

So what does any of that have to do with the title of the post? When I started writing it I figured I'd do a quick intro explaining where my head is at right.  Apparently I had more to say than I orginally thought.

As I mentioned above one of the ways I wanted to decrease my supply was to share what I've accumulated with my friends.  In that vein I decided to host Drink my effin beer.  Drawing heavily on the OC Beer Society, SBS and Tao of Fermentation I assembled a team of some of the best craft beer aficionados in the OC area (plus two of the best from LA). My request to them was simple, bring either food or A solid beer to share. I made sure to note the emphasis on the "A" primarily as I wanted them to drink MY beer. Nothing like a good old fashion cellar cleaving.

In all 17 people not include Bonnie or myself helped cleave through approximate 43 fantastic beers, 17 of which were mine.

Here's the final kill list (along with some of my personal highlights)
Czar Jack 2011
Czar Jack 2013
Surette Reserva

Barrel Aged Big Sound
Barrel Aged Full Malted Jacket

Lou Pepe GueuzeFifth Element

Infected Rosé De Gambrinus
Fear & Trembling
Coffee Break Abduction
BCBS Cherry Rye
Czar Jack 2012 - infected
Fourteen FourteenFifteen

Saint Lamvinus (2010)
Sede Vacante Ale
BCBS Coffee 2013
Sexy Mexican
Straffe Hendrik Heritage 2011
Barrel Aged Old Numbskull
Double Sunshine
Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout

Chez Monieux
Sour in the Rye - Peach

Acer Quercus
Bourbon Barrel Quad
Batch 50
Barrel Aged Scotch Ale Silly
Breakfast Stout

The final killed line up
All and all I had a great time getting to share fantastic beer with incredible people.  I can't wait for round 2 as I've still got a long what to go.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wee Bonnie Lass

A while back my wife Bonnie tried her hand at her own batch of BIG IPL.  She had a good time doing it but lacked the amount of time to do it fully herself.  A month or so ago she came to me with the Northern Brewer catalog and told me she had decided what he next beer would be - Dundalk Irish Heavy - she even had the prefect name for it Wee Bonnie Lass (I think that's more Scottish that Irish but then again, so is the beer)

From the catalog - 

The inspiration for this deep garnet ale was actually called a barley wine, even though it weighed in at quite a bit less than you’d expect for a beer of that name. That’s “weighed” in the past tense because the powers that be gobbled up a small brewery in Kilkenny, moved this beer to Dundalk, and then did away with it altogether. Nice work, European corporate brewing industry. Looks like it’s up to us again, homebrewers. 
Nomenclature aside, think of Dundalk Heavy as an overgrown Irish session ale: the color of old mahogany, rounded and full in the mouth easing into an off-dry and slightly biscuity finish. Throughout you will find overtones of butter toffee, juicy malt, and tree fruit with glimmerings of ruby port, earth, and ground coffee. Raise a pint or four to brewing your own and keeping the dream alive: Slainte! 

Time was going to be tight to get it on draft by St Patricks day so she needed to brew it soon. It was pretty straight forward for me to convert the recipe from liquid extract to dry extract so that she could brew it with ingredients from the shop

The brewday went well and Bonnie had a great time. I should note that all of the pictures are ones she took during the process. I also mostly stayed in the background doing miscellaneous chores having brewed Westbennetteren 12 b2 myself earlier that day. 



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