Saturday, February 14, 2015

CMI All-American Beer Judging 2015

So after a long and most likely unforgivable hiatus, I’m back. In addition to my own personal disappearance, it has been a couple of years since I last participated in the All-American. But it is a new year and all that other malarkey, so here we go. 

I rode down to Cincinnati on the solo because all the people I used to judge beer with from Dayton have either become professional brewers or are lame. That last part probably sounds really mean.

For the morning flight, I got to judge English Browns, followed by Specialty in the afternoon. The English Browns were so-so, while the Specialty category was rather nice. The winning Gose from Specialty ended up taking Best in Show as well, so a shout out to Luke Shropshire for a well-made beer. The rest of the results can also be found here.

I also got to participate in my first BOS, which was fun. While I was away, I horns-waggled my way into being a National judge. Which really only means that I’m on the hook for more potential work. But since that work most likely involves beer, I can live with that.

(2/14/2015)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bike Path Fresh Hop Brewday

Time again for my annual bike path fresh hop beer. There were a lot of hops on the bike path this yearsome of the biggest ones I’ve ever seen. That wet crappy summer gave way to a whole bunch of late heat, and those hops went to town. I picked all the hops for this beer within 400 yards of each other along the bike path. And I wasn’t picky either. I picked enough to cram my brew kettle full: almost four pounds of fresh hops total, and two pounds in the final twenty minutes. Damn. Big learning.

183. Bike Path Fresh Hop
Mash:
8 lbs. Rahr Premium Pils
3 lbs. Breiss White Wheat

Mash @ 150° F for 90 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 6 g. gypsum + 3 g. CaCl; collected 2 ¾ gallons @ 1.078; FWH with 1 lb. of bike path fresh hops
Batch sparge @ 170° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 gallons @ 1.028

Topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (90 minutes), & added:
FWH: 1 lb. bike path fresh hops

w/60 to go: 12 oz. bike path fresh hops 

w/20 to go: 8 oz. bike path fresh hops + 7 g. gypsum

w/10 to go: 8 oz. bike path fresh hops + 3 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: 8 oz. bike path fresh hops

w/0 to go: 8 oz. bike path fresh hops

Let stand for 20 minutes; chilled & pitched packet of US-05

Brewed: 9/11/2014
Secondary: 9/22/2014 @ 1.004
Bottled: 10/7/2014 w/ 2.5 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.054
FG: 1.008

Tasting Notes:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sour Fresh Hop Brewday

This beer was a last minute surprise; I found out from Jeffrey that Heartland Hops was holding a u-pick at YSB with their Nugget hops today, so I scrambled to make this beer happen. I will say that with the glory of hindsight, I should have used a different yeast, but the LTC blend was the best available in the brewing rotation. These hops were by far the best fresh hops I have ever gotten my hands on—the wort was actually bitter tasting prior transferring it onto the yeast, and not just a little. I hope I can score a couple more pounds again next year, and use a neutral yeast like US-05 or 1272 to let these hops shine. Don’t get me wrong—this was a fantastic beer, but the Brett started eating into the hop flavor and bitterness even before I got it bottled: the hop flavor and aroma when this went into the secondary was light years ahead of any other fresh hop beer I’ve ever made, and was still excellent when bottled. But via the Brett, it began to quickly fade. Another lesson on the fresh hop learning curve.

182. Sour Fresh Hop
Mash:
7 ¼ lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
2 lbs. Breiss White Wheat
1 lb. MFB Pale

Mash @ 152° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 ½ gallons RO water & 6 g. gypsum + 3 g. CaCl; collected 2 gallons @ 1.072
Batch sparge @ 166° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ gallons @ 1.026

Topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (90 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 6 oz. Nugget 

w/20 to go: 6 oz. Nugget + 7 g. gypsum

w/10 to go: 6 oz. Nugget + 3 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: 7 ¼ oz. Nugget 

w/0 to go: 8 ¼ oz. Nugget 

Let stand for 20 minutes; chilled & racked onto yeast cake from 176. Smoked Sour (custersianus, Trois, and Lactobacillus)

Brewed: 9/7/2014
Secondary: 9/23/2014 @ 1.004
Bottled: 11/4/2014 w/ 2.8 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.046
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Saison/Gueuze Brewday

Today’s brewing was intended to put some of the yeast that is laying around to work; the saison was to grow up the yeast to use in subsequent experiments, and the ECY was to continue building up the gueuze varieties available for blending. Plus, when I roll this beer off the yeast in about a year, it will be ready for a five gallon batch. For those of you wondering how the picture relates: it doesn’t. But it is still awesome. 

181. Saison/Gueuze
Mash:
8 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
2 lbs. Breiss White Wheat
½ lb. rolled oats

Mash @ 150° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 ½ gallons RO water & 5 g. gypsum + 3 g. CaCl; collected 2 gallons @ 1.076
Batch sparge @ 165° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ gallons @ 1.028

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (90 minutes) & added:
w/60 to go: 1 ¼ oz. Comet leaf 10.9% AA

w/15 to go: 8 oz. table sugar

w/10 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding pellet 2% AA
3 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding pellet 2% AA

Chilled, split into two 3 gallon carboys & pitched

181a. White Labs 585 Belgian Saison III
Brewed: 9/5/2014
Secondary: 11/26/2014 @ 1.002; topped off w/186a. & .65 oz. dried lemongrass
Bottled: 1/6/2015 w/ 1.75 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.054
FG: 1.002

181b. ECY01 Bug Farm
Brewed: 9/5/2014
Secondary:
Bottled: 

OG: 1.054
FG:

Tasting Notes:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fresh Hop w/ Brewer’s Gold Brewday

More in the way of my favorite seasonal beer style. I just can’t stop. And honestly, why would I even try? Exactly. Fresh hop ’til I die, yo. I mean, will you look at those beauties?

180. Fresh Hop w/ Brewer’s Gold
Mash
8 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
2 lbs. MFB Vienna

Mash @ 150° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 ½ g. RO water & 10 g. gypsum; collected 2 ¼ g. @ 1.072
Batch-sparge @ 171° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 g. RO water $ 10 g. gypsum; collected 4 g. @ 1.026

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (90 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 6 oz. Brewer’s Gold

w/20 to go: 6 oz. Brewer’s Gold

w/10 to go: 6 oz. Brewer’s Gold
3 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: 7 oz. Brewer’s Gold

w/0 to go: 7 oz. Brewer’s Gold

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled and racked onto US 05 cake from 178. Fresh Hop w/ Cascade

Brewed: 8/10/2014 @ 78° F
Bottled: 9/23/2014 w/ 2.5 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.054
FG: 1.008

Tasting Notes:

Friday, August 8, 2014

Dayton Brewvet Ride 8: Outdoor Beer

Sadly, it is time for the last of our Dayton Brewvet rides of the year, although that does mean that we have actually completed the brewvet! This ride was to the Yellow Cab Food Truck Rally, where they are also serving beer. We did end up getting there later than planned, so all of the Yellow Springs and Warped Wing beer was gone, but there was still Redhook Long Hammer IPA a-plenty to drink, which we did while wandering among all of the food truck offerings to be had. Which were plenty, mind you.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Redhook, mostly because I used to go to the Trollyman Pub back in the day when Redhook Brewery was located in Fremont, just past Queen Anne and right on the way to Ballard, back before the giant craft beer explosion and Redhook’s deal with the devil (i.e. A-B) for distribution. Back then, they’d fill our bike water bottles with beer on the way out the door for the ride home. Yes, my love affair with beer and bikes goes back to the early ’90s. And I will confess, that certainly makes me feel old. Thus, I think it a fitting conclusion to this year’s Dayton Brewvet that we close it out with one of the under-appreciated and oft-scorned founders of the craft beer movement. And before all you Boston Beer nay-sayers get started whining about Redhook, just remember that Jim Koch was himself a contract brewer until the mid-90s. So suck it.

Today’s ride was another short but sweet outing to wrap things up; all told, we covered 1.2 miles from start to finish. While today is the last day for completing Dayton Brewvet rides, you all have until August 22 to submit your control card and information. See here for more details! Remember, even if you didn’t cover everything, I’d love to hear what you did cover. And if nothing else, we’ll be back next year for more fun and hi-jinx with two wheels and some pints.

(8/8/2014)

Saison w/ Cascara Brewday

Another collaboration project with Press Coffee, this one a seasonal saison—or saisonal, as I like to call them—highlighting Cascara, which is the skin and pulp of the coffee bean. Brett gave me a pound, which I added to the wort at flame out; I let it steep for 20 minutes, then chilled the wort and racked it onto the yeast cake from the most recent iteration of the Great Saison Chain of Being. The Cascara imparted a plum and raisin element to the wort; it was much clearer and more pronounced in the actual beer when I racked it over to the secondary. With some carbonation, I think this will be some tasty, tasty beer.

179. Saison w/ Cascara
Mash
6 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
3 lbs. Best Malz Spelt
1 lb. Weyermann Acidulated

Mash @ 150° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 ½ g. RO water & 5 g. gypsum; collected 2 ¼ g. @ 1.052
Batch-sparge @ 168° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 g. RO water & 5 g. gypsum; collected 4 g. @ 1.024

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (90 minutes), & added:
w/80 to go: 1 ½ oz. Willamette leaf 7.8% AA
½ oz. Cluster leaf 7.6% AA

w/10 to go: 3 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/0 to go: 1 lb. Cascara

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled and racked onto Lallemand Belle Saison yeast cake from 177. Saison

Brewed: 8/8/2014 @ 76° F
Secondary: 8/19/2014 @ 1.004; racked two gallons to 3 g. carboy, and the rest into a corny keg to carbonate for Brett from Press for secret covert operations
Bottled:

OG: 1.042
FG:

Tasting Notes: