Friday, October 23, 2009

well, it's about time...

I've been included in the "contributors" list since the summer, and am now finally getting around to posting. So here goes:

Earlier this year, an idea came up that in order to best celebrate the birth of Nate and Marissa's son we would brew up some beer and give it to them. Joel took it upon himself to go the Parti-Gyle route, for those of you who don't know what that means you should look it up. I mean, you're already on the internet, it'll take just a few seconds.
Just kidding. Here it is. Once you've absorbed that info, I'll let you know that I got the second pull, and with that decided to make a 90 minute IPA in the style of Dogfish Head(which, by the way, is worth every penny that you'll spend on it. In my experience most of their beer is right on target.)
Now, it's also important to note that I was starting with a smaller amount of beer than I usually do: 2.5 gallons rather than the full 5. I didn't really think through this process, and proceeded to make my beer as if it was a full 5...Actually, now that I think about it, I did add some water, but not nearly enough. I think that I started with 4 gallons, and by the time it was all over I boiled off enough to end up with 3.
Anyways, throughout the brewing I found myself saying "fuck it" quite often. I said it when I added the hops (every few minutes for 90 minutes. I used a mix of Magnum, Amarillo, and Fuggle. These aren't the hops that the origonal recipe calls for (Simcoe, Amarillo, Warrior) adding much more hops than what was required for the amount of wort I had going. I also said it when I put in the entire packet of yeast (Wyeast 1099).
In the end, after dry hopping for a couple of weeks, I gave it to Nate. He drank it, said it was fine.
I held back a couple of bottles for myself and just cracked them a few weeks ago. With the amount of sugar in the beer compared to the amount of yeast I found that the end product was too sweet, and although I had added so much more hops than called for it got lost in the yeast.
I've added a photo, courtesy of Nate.

My next post will be in 11 months.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

5 Breweries, 3 Days

Regan and I decided to pack up the car and head out on a little road trip recently. We did a little loop, heading straight down I-5 for the Bay area, then looped up and around toward the California 1 and up the coast route back into Oregon. Pictured above is a view south from Port Orford (could this be heaven??) toward Humbug Mountain, where we made a nice camp.

The drive and time alone with my busy wife was amazing. The scenery was spectacular. And the beer...yes, beer...was truly incredible. On the trip, I was able to hit 5 of my very favorite breweries, all situated (conveniently) along our route.

First, there was Lagunitas, in Petaluma, CA.
Pints consumed = 2

* Hop Stoopid (imperial IPA) - mouth puckering hopiness; crisp, clean and dry. amazing
* Benny and the Jets (bourbon barrel aged imperial stout) - 11% alcohol. rich malt. sweet. good.

Then there was Russian River, in Santa Rosa, CA.
Pints consumed = I don't remember

* Sample Tray - all of the breweries current offerings in 1 convenient place.
* Blind Pig IPA - A tasty, clean and hoppy IPA. Aged in oak for a little while before serving
* Pliny the Elder - my favorite imperial IPA on earth. Nobody does this style better than Vinnie.
* Others??? Hmmmm. Don't remember, and I blame it on Vinnie.

Bear Republic Brewing came next. In Healdsburg, CA.
Pints consumed = 2

* Racer X (imperial IPA) -big citrusy hop flavor. Dry and crisp. California brewers really know how to brew double IPAs, and I'm not sure why. Portland brewers should take a workshop from any 1 of them.
* Hop Rod Rye (brown or rye IPA) - this is one of my favorite ipa-style beers. A good chunk of the malt bill is made with rye malt. Gives the beer a warm, rich spiciness. Goes well with loads of hops.

Followed by Anderson Valley Brewing, Boonville, CA.
Pints consumed = 1

* AV IPA - a good, not great IPA. Very malty, a little too fruity, and with a slightly higher finishing gravity. This gives the beer (in my opinion) a heaviness that makes me want to only have 1 pint. But a spectacular IPA. This is similar to most IPAs you get in Portland.

Finishing with Eel River Brewing, Fortuna, CA.
Pints consumed = 2

* ER IPA - another good, not great india pale.
* ER Triple Exhaultation (old ale) - probably one of my favorite american strong ales (after Hair of the Dog Fred, of course). This one has an intensely rich malt flavor, characterized by a sugary sweetness (maybe from brown sugar or teacle?) and just enough hops to keep it from getting cloying.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Ale

Brewed a pumpkin Spice Ale (partial Mash) using Vienna, Crytal specialty malts and pumpkin. The trick to this brew is the pumpkin. I followed a receipe off of the internet. There are several out there. This one called for 6-10 lbs of pumpkin. The pumpkin(s) I used were the small pumpkins, not the big ones; I read this somewhere. I cleaned and cut the pumpkins. I then cut the pumkins up into 'manageable pieces'. I did 2" by 2" chunks. Baked the pumpkin, skin and all, at 325 for 1 hour. This is followed by a 1 hour rest at 160F of the pumpkin and grains in about 7 gallons of water. The picutre above is of the cooked pumpkin. I won't go into the receipe, as you can google a dozen. I did use cinammon, nutmeg, vanilla, molasses and brown sugar. I sampled the wort.......just like pumpkin pie. yum.

On a side note, Gear talk: I fired up my pump for the first time and its fantastic. I really like it. I was frustrated at how my counter flow chiller, under gravity, took along time. With the pump, it is much faster. i'll time it some time and we can quantitatively compare the immersion to the CFC. I was able to dial in the wort temp to 74 degrees right into the carboy.