January 2011 Archives

Jamaica Stout

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Jamaica Stout.JPGThe Beer Club selection this month included a Jamaica Stout. This is really some stout, with an incredible chocolate aroma and a minimal lacy head, it poured dark as midnight. It had a smooth vanilla and chocolate presence with no sharp or astringent aftertaste. This is quite possibly the smoothest stout I have ever had. Great with dark chocolate. Highly recommended! 

I love kegging

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I love kegging. Every homebrewer I know loves everything about brewing except cleaning, sanitizing, and filling all those bottles. Kegging takes under ten minutes and you're done. I kegged my Honey Weisse today at 1.015. It's still a little sweet but with a little conditioning in the keg it should be perfect in a couple of weeks. I was a little concerned about keg conditioning, but an avid homebrewer I know told me Friday that he had done it successfully. The first pint or so will need to be tossed but after that you're ok. I can't wait!

Cellar Ageing

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I guess I am not the only one aging beers in my cellar they are doing it in NYC too. 

Brewery Vivant

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vivant.jpgThis evening I stopped off at Brewery Vivant, aside from the hipster overload, I was impressed. Their food smelled great, and their brews were top notch. It's a brewery with a french/belgian cloister theme. Set in an old church they have Belgian and French-style beer and food. Their bar service was very good considering how busy their were. When I did find a table I found their wait staff a little unresponsive. As a result I made my own 'Belgian' fries when I arrived home from the brewery. Had I had the opportunity, I would have ordered one of their many scrumptious looking entrees.

My first brew was their Farmhouse ale, a very clear blonde ale, despite the menu description of a 'cloudy' beer, it was what a farmhouse ale should be, it had a light maltiness and a barely detectable hop character. Typical of a Belgian Farmhouse - you have to get pretty imaginative to describe it 'fruity in the aroma and flavor'  'earthy yeast tones'  'mild to moderate tartness'. The truth is, that I have been drinking beer so long, I can tell you if something is brewed right, but I think all that descriptive stuff is hogwash. It tastes like a Belgian farmhouse ale, if you don't know what that is, drink more beer. The fact is Jason Spaulding knows what he is doing, this is not his first attempt at making a great brewery.
My second ale was their Sgt. Peppercorn Rye, it had a very distinctive malt character, not the sweet malt flavor of a German beer, but the dusty roasted taste of malt running through the grain mill. It was amber in color with no hop aroma or taste, very drinkable like a session beer.

One thing that stuck me as unique, as if having your brewery in an old mortuary in not unique enough, was their bright tanks. They are horizontal storage tanks that have been, according to their website "repurposed from dairy tanks" that "give our French style "biere de garde" the extra time it needs to develop".

I give it a thumbs up. From the time I stepped in and was greeted at the door I thought it was a great place. Their bathroom sinks are a one of kind, check them out when you're there. So aside from my deep concern that the hipsters, those young folks who are so confused about who they are they have to be just like everyone else who pretends to be 'different' watering down the craft brewing movement by making people think we drink good beer to be cool - we don't - we like good beer - it was great. And to all those hipsters out there, just be yourself. You look like a bunch of immature posers. Take it from someone who is their-self,  it's better to just relax, not worry and have a homebrew.


Abandoned Breweries

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This is a cool article if you find old abandon buildings, breweries in this case, fascinating.
(Thanks for finding the link goes to Reddit)

Culturing - 45 million year old - Yeast

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I just ventured into yeast culturing and find yeast to be pretty fascinating. Some breweries like Jolly Pumpkin have even cultured wild Michigan yeast for their brews. But Raul Cano, a Cal Poly biology professor took things to a whole new level by using 45 million year old yeast that he found in amber. This is like the jurassic park of beer. Read more here at the Tribune.

Brewday - Honey Weisse

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Today was brewday. I haven't brewed in ages, I had been holding out to do full mash. I had been culturing some Weisse yeast and I just couldn't put it in the fridge to go dormant, I had to pitch it. So I asked my buddy for his all too popular wheat beer recipe. His recipe is as follows:

6.6 Pounds of Munich Wheat LME
1.5 Pounds of Honey
1 oz Mt. Hood Bittering hops
.5 oz Mt Hood Finishing hops
Zest of 3 lemons.

You are supposed to put half the malt extract in after forty minutes, and the honey at the beginning. I did not follow the recipe, I am not very good at following other peoples directions. But it was a great place to start. I used an ounce of Amarillo and half an ounce of Mt. Hood for bittering, I boiled the malt extract for a full hour and added the honey in the last fifteen minutes. I also added the lemon zest at the end which my buddy does and that made sense to be. Boiling for a full hour it's bound to loose something. I used a little yeast nutrient and Irish moss as well. Many commercial breweries add yeast nutrient, and with honey in the mix it seemed like a good plan. I also steeped some wheat grains for added body and head retention. Then I did a fast cold break, (under ten minutes)  this gives you a nice clean brew without a lot of floating crap in it. If you bottle condition it also helps keep the sediment at the bottom of the bottle to a minimum. So we'll see how it turns out. His is very drinkable and light. Mine should be just a little more bitter and have some more complex notes from the yeast - I hope - it could make it all go south, we'll have to see. I saved some unpitched wort for priming should I end up bottle or cask conditioning some of the brew. I don't like priming with corn sugar, it really messes with your brew and gives you a goofy head with big bubbles compared to saving the wort. The basic rule of thumb is to divide 60 by the O.G., this will give you the volume in quarts that you should be saving. This came out around 1.055. Since I had no homebrew I had to Relax, and not worry with a Bell's Hopslam.




The Brewmaster


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This page is an archive of entries from January 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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