Sunday, December 27, 2015

Iron Brewer Honey Tripel Brewday

In an effort to get more club members brewing, my local homebrew club, DRAFT, stole and re-packaged the Rockit Cup as the club Iron Brewer competition. The Rockit Cup had a three year run, so I can’t really complain. Plus, less to be in charge of, honestly. Anywhoo, I decided on taking a stab at a tripel using honey instead of table sugar to dry out the body. Yes, the late hopping is a bit aggressive, but, well, too bad. Felt like it. Here’s to honey. I’m coming for you, Joe Harrington. 

220. Iron Brewer Honey Tripel
Mash:
10 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
½ lb. MFB Vienna 
½ lb. MFB Pale

Mash @ 149° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 ½ gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, and 3 g. CaCl; collected 2 ¾ gallons @ 1.064
Batch sparge @ 162° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 gallons @ 1.024

Collected 6 ¾ gallons; brought to a boil (90 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 ¼ oz. Styrian Golding pellet 2.0% AA
¾ oz. Azacca leaf 9.9% AA

w/10 to go: 5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/0 to go: 2 oz. Azacca leaf 9.9% AA
3 (or so) lbs. Bob Irwin honey
2 g. coriander
1 g. cumin
1 g. grains of paradise 

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched mason jar of Iron Brewer yeast from 218. Iron Brewer Cider

Brewed: 12/27/2015 @ 64° F
Secondary: 1/23/2016 @ 1.008; added 5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient
Bottle: 4/23/2016 w/ 4 ¾ oz. table sugar

OG: 1.076
FG: 1.000

Tasting Notes: Dry with some earthiness and slight sweetness at bottling. Some alcohol warmth but no heat, even as dry as it is. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Alan McLeod’s 2015 Yuletide Photo Contest

Welcome to my yearly (or almost yearly) attempt at being arty and shit. For your viewing pleasure, these are the photos I entered into Alan McLeod’s Xmas Hogmanay 2015 Photo Contest. Bit last minute, really, but that is how things go around these here parts. Anyway, if youd like to see all the photos from this year, go here and here and here. Oh, and maybe here too. 

I missed entering last year because, well, I don’t rightly recall. I just did. Things happen around the holidays. See above. But here are the photos I sent in, along with a quick run down of each. The first picture came on the way to a early morning beer judging competition in Zanesville. Some one forgot to fill up the tank before we left, so we got to hoof it for gas part way through the trip. Nothing says good times like early morning walking along I-70. I thought the YSB sweatshirt was a nice touch, so I took a picture to entertain myself on our walk. Even with running out of gas, we were only ten minutes late. Yes, there might have been some speeding involved. 

The next picture is from Brugge Brasserie in Indianapolis; we stop in at Brugge pretty regularly after cyclocross races for beer and fries before driving home. I took the picture from underneath the table through the hole for french fries. I love the Christmas lights in the background, the matching colors between beer, copper, and wood, and the warm light on the glass reflecting the slightly hazy beer. 

The third picture is an old wall advertisement from a local Dayton brewery, Sachs-Prudens’ Brewing Company, featuring Diamond Brand Pale Ale, amongst other things. The mural is on the side of a house at 101 McClure in the Saint Anne’s Hill neighborhood in downtown Dayton (it was formerly a saloon and grocery store). For more on the house and the neighborhood, see hereSachs-Prudens’ opened in 1881; in 1895, Sachs-Prudens’ was sold to the Dayton Brewing Company. The building that originally housed the brewery on Wyandot was for a long time the Hauer Music building, and now houses the Dayton Metro Library Operation Center. 

The fourth picture was from a beer tasting in my kitchen with long time friend of the blog Jeff Fortney. I believe this was the night I tricked him into drinking through a complete run of the beers from the Great Brett Yeast Experiment on a work night. Im not sure how old the beers were at that point, but I think it was something like a little over a year in the bottle, and I had been hankering to see where everything was at. So Jeff was willing to help out. You know, for science and all. For the record, custersianus is still the best single strain to work work, although the claussenii performed well this night. There are notes somewhere. But not here. The light through the glasses with the bottles and Jeff in the background creates a nice overall image. 

The final picture is from Blue Stallion Brewing Company in Lexington, KY. They were a very pleasant discovery when I was in Lexington for the Craft Writing: Beer, the Digital, and Craft Culture conference in February 2014. They focus mainly on lagers, and do an excellent job at it. and their brewery is gorgeous: almost all copper. Anyway, this was from a later visit after another cyclocross race, where lunch and a couple of crisp clean beers were in order. The open doorway behind the glass helps illuminate the light, and I was happy that I actually successfully made the glass the focus so that the background was blurry—I love the contrast between the beads of condensation on the bright, in-focus glass, and the gloomier, darker, hazy background. 

So there you have it: a quick rundown of my entries for this year’s Xmas Hogmanay! 

(12/15/2015)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Table Saison w/ ADHA 529 Brewday

Another small, light, and eminently drinkable saison. Again, the perfect excuse to experiment with new hop varieties. Again, this beer will be excellent and so so drinkable. Again, I find myself talking to myself. Well, at least I have beer to drink while doing so.

219. Table Saison w/ ADHA 529
Mash:
4 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
2 lbs. Best Malz Wheat
1 lb. MFB Vienna
½ lb. Acidulated 

Mash @ 150° F for 80 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, and 4 g. CaCl; collected 2 gallons @ 1.062
Batch sparge @ 168° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ @ 1.012

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: ½ oz. ADHA 529 10.6% AA

w/20 to go: ½ oz. ADHA 529 10.6% AA
w/10 to go: ½ oz. ADHA 529 10.6% AA
5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: ½ oz. ADHA 529 10.6% AA

w/0 to go: ½ oz. ADHA 529 10.6% AA

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & racked onto 3276 yeast cake from 216. Table Saison w/ ADHA 484

Brewed: 10/4//2015
Secondary: 12/26/2015 @ 1.000; 219a. bottled 3 gallons w/ 3.0 oz. table sugar; 219b. dry-hopped 3 gallons w/ ½ oz. each of Pekko, Jarrylo, and Comet
Bottle: 12/31/2015 w/ 2.55 oz. table sugar (219b.)

OG: 1.036
FG: 1.000

Tasting Notes: When you dont carefully label your carboys, this is what happens: you confuse a table saison and a cider and swap the plans for the secondary for each. Which is why this got split and dry-hopped with something besides ADHA 529, while 218. Iron Brewer Cider got dry-hopped with ADHA 529. Classy, yo. Yes, the taste should have given it away, but that assumes that I tasted them, doesnt it? 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Iron Brewer Cider Brewday

Time for the yearly cider. Especially since I need to bottle the second half of the Barrel Cider from last year (the one sitting on a half pound of maltodextrin). As with my last one, I scored my cider at Peifer Orchards in Yellow Springs. Somebody got a new website.

218. Iron Brewer Cider
6 gallons Peifer Orchards cider

Dumped on top of yeast cake from 217. Iron Brewer Saison

Carboy: 10/3/2015
Barrel: 12/26/2015 @ .98; dry hopped w/ 1 ¼ oz. ADHA 529
Bottled: 12/31/15 w/ 3 ¼ oz. table sugar

OG: 1.060
FG: 0.98

Tasting Notes: When you dont carefully label your carboys, this is what happens: you confuse a table saison and a cider and swap the plans for the secondary for each. Which is why this got dry-hopped with ADHA 529, and 219. Table Saison w/ ADHA 529 got split and dry-hopped with something besides ADHA 529. Yes, the taste should have given it away, but that assumes that I tasted them, doesnt it? 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Iron Brewer Saison Brewday

More table saison brewing, this time with the ADHA hops that have already acquired themselves names, namely Pekko (ADHA 871) and Jarrylo (ADHA 881). You know, the cool kids on the block. Azacca already got some play recently around these parts, so it will have to wait its turn to get an ADHA shout out. Not sure what is going on with the Jarrylo logo (the hop is named after Jarilo, the Slavic god of fertility and springtime), but I do know that is less offensive than the Pekko logo, so I went with this one. And no, I won’t provide you a link to the Pekko logo. Go find it your damn self.

217. Iron Brewer Saison
Mash:
4 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
2 lbs. Best Malz Wheat
1 lb. MFB Vienna
½ lb. Acidulated 

Mash @ 152° F for 80 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, and 4 g. CaCl; collected 2 gallons @ 1.058
Batch sparge @ 163° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 @ 1.020

Collected 6 gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: .4 oz. each of Pekko (15.4% AA) and Jarrylo (13.9% AA) pellet

w/20 to go: ½ oz. each of Pekko (15.4% AA) and Jarrylo (13.9% AA) pellet

w/10 to go: ½ oz. each of Pekko (15.4% AA) and Jarrylo (13.9% AA) pellet
5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: ½ oz. each of Pekko (15.4% AA) and Jarrylo (13.9% AA) pellet

w/0 to go: ½ oz. each of Pekko (15.4% AA) and Jarrylo (13.9% AA) pellet

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched Iron Brewer yeast cake from 215b. Fresh Hop Iron Brewer

Brewed: 9/19/2015
Secondary: 10/4/2015 @ 1.004; dry-hopped w/ 1 oz. each of Pekko and Jarrylo pellet
Bottle: 10/9/2015 w/ 3 ¼ oz. table sugar

OG: 1.036
FG: 1.000

Tasting Notes: 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Table Saison w/ ADHA 484 Brewday

Now that the fresh hop beers have grown the yeast up, time to churn out some small, easy-drinking saisons. And nothing serves as a more perfect excuse to experiment with new hop varieties than a table saison. Learning never tasted so good. Plus, the dwarf hops are so gosh-darned cute!

216. Table Saison w/ ADHA 529
Mash:
4 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
2 lbs. Best Malz Wheat
1 lb. MFB Vienna
½ lb. Acidulated 

Mash @ 150° F for 80 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, and 4 g. CaCl; collected 2 gallons @ 1.058
Batch sparge @ 163° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ @ 1.016

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: ½ oz. ADHA 484 10.6% AA

w/20 to go: ½ oz. ADHA 484 10.6% AA

w/10 to go: ½ oz. ADHA 484 10.6% AA
5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: ½ oz. ADHA 484 10.6% AA

w/0 to go: ½ oz. ADHA 484 10.6% AA

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & racked to carboy and pitched Wyeast 3276 yeast cake from 215a. Fresh Hop Saison

Brewed: 8/30/2015
Secondary: 10/4/2015 @ 1.002; dry-hopped w/ 1 ¼ oz. ADHA 484 10.6% AA
Bottle: 10/9/2015 w/ 3 ¼ oz. table sugar

OG: 1.036
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes: 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Smith Hop Fresh Hop Saison/Iron Brewer Brewday

While I will most likely not get around to brewing as many fresh hop beers as usual this year, I cannot stand by the wayside and watch the free Smith hops from next door go to waste, especially since I have such a long and storied history with them, and they are so so delicious. To complicate my brewing matters, I am also using this opportunity to make a split batch of beer and grow up some yeast to suitable pitch sizes. One is Wyeast 3276, their American Farmhouse, which is a pleasant, spicy, and slightly fruity saison yeast. The other is the Iron Brewer yeast created/blended by Brett Smith for the DRAFT club Iron Brewer brewing challenge that so ignominiously replaced the Rockit Cup. Whatever, haters. The Rockit Cup ain’t afraid of your Iron Brewer malarkey.

215. Saison/Iron Brewer Fresh Hop
Mash:
2 ¼ lbs. MFB Vienna
2 lbs. MFB Pale
2 lbs. Best Malz Wheat
1 ¼ lbs. Best Malz Pilsen

Mash @ 151° F for 80 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, and 4 g. CaCl; collected 1 ¾ gallons @ 1.062
Batch sparge @ 163° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ @ 1.022

Collected 6 gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
FWH: 4 oz. fresh hops

w/20 to go: 4 oz. fresh hops

w/10 to go: 4 oz. fresh hops

w/0 to go: 4 oz. fresh hops

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, split into two three gallon carboys, and pitched Wyeast 3276 in one (215a.) and Iron Brewer yeast in the other (215b.)

215a. Fresh Hop Saison
Brewed: 8/16/2015
Secondary: 8/30/2015 @ 1.002
Bottle: 9/19/2015 w/ 1.2 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.036
FG: 1.002

215b. Fresh Hop Iron Brewer
Brewed: 8/16/2015
Secondary: 9/19/2015 @ 1.000
Bottle: 9/20/2015 w/ 1.2 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.036
FG: 1.000

Tasting Notes: 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hibiscus Saison Brewday

Another in the long litany of summer saisons. I made a Hibiscus Saison last year, which was something of a dud—the yeast ended up being a huge disappointment, leaving me with a rather pedestrian beer—although the brightness and slight acidic sourness from the hibiscus and acidulated malt were delightful. Hence my interest in revisiting the beer. You can follow the link to read all about last year’s stupendous failure, but in this case, I’d let the past be the past. Like, move on, man. So here’s to moving on.

211. Hibiscus Saison
Mash:
4 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
2 lbs. Best Malz Wheat
1 lb. MFB Vienna
½ lb. Acidulated 

Mash @ 152° F for 80 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water and 6 g. gypsum; collected 2 ¼ gallons @ 1.060
Batch sparge @ 168° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 ½ gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ gallons @ 1.012

Collected 6 ½ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 ½ oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA

w/10 to go: 5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
3 ½ oz. hibiscus 

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & racked onto saison yeast cake from 210. Barrel American Saison w/ Dandelion Root

Brewed: 6/14/2015
Secondary: skipped
Bottle: 7/10/2015 w/ 3.0 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.036
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes: This beer is straight drinking pleasure. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Brewvet 2015: My Submission

So here it is, in all its masterful glory: my Brewvet summary for 2015. I covered 233.8 miles in eight rides, which is not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I hit a little bit of everything: a couple of breweries, a brewpub, a homebrew club meetings, a grocery store, and even managed to fit in a couple of your old fashioned hanging out on the lawn drinking beers after a bike ride. Well, really only one of those, as one was actually inside, and the other one got rained out. But the real winner—besides me for all the beer I got to drink along the way—is craft beer. And John Roche. Plus bicycling as well. Or even everyone’s fitness. So a lot of winners. And for those of you that may have missed any of the various rides along the way, here are quick, easy links to my eight different rides:

Brewvet 1: Yellow Springs Goat’s Eye IPA
Brewvet 2: Founders All Day IPA
Brewvet 3: Hoppy Brett Beer
Brewvet 4: Fifth Street Herbivore No. 2
Brewvet 5: DRAFT Homebrew Meeting
Brewvet 6: Warped Wing Tres Carnales
Brewvet 7: Blank Slate Movin’ On
Brewvet 8: Boulevard Radler

Probably my favorite part of this year’s Brewvet were the longer rides—I used the Brewvet as a chance to get out on some of the local bike trails I haven’t recently ridden. While the first couple of longer rides certainly hurt, the last one in particular was much easier. And those primed me for the 100+ mile I managed to complete a couple days ago, the first one that long in over twenty years. So thanks again to John Roche for combining beer and bicycling. It does make for good outdoor fun. Oh, and in the off chance that it is not self-evident, I “borrowed” the Brewvet graphic above from portajohn. Hope to see all of you out there next May for Brewvet 2016. 

(6/9/2015)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Land-Grant Brewing Company

One of the fun perks of traveling for bicycle racing is visiting the new craft breweries that are springing up everywhere. Today we headed to Columbus for the Tour of Franklinton Criterium. And as luck would have it for me, Land-Grant Brewing Company was right on the course. So while Elli got all her bike gear together and warmed up, I went to the brewery, ordered a sampler, and headed to the front windows to watch some bike racing and sample some beers. They only had four of the five beers listed available—they were out of Greenskeeper, the session IPA—so the beers left to right in the picture below follow the comments from top to bottom.

Creamsikölsch: Their dry-hopped American Kölsch infused with orange and vanilla. Nose carries creamsicle, as does initial flavor in the front, followed by graininess and hop bitterness. Good flavors, but a bit uneven across the profile; would be more enjoyable and balanced without the bitterness in the finish, but I am sure it does well as a summer beer. 

1862 Ale: This is their dry-hopped take on a traditional German Kölsch. It has the doughy rounded malt character of a Kölsch; it is clean and bright, with hop flavor and bitterness coming through in the middle, and some lingering grainy bitterness in the finish. Overall, a nice American interpretation of a German classic.

Son of a Mudder: Described as “a drinkable and balanced American brown ale.” Chocolate and caramel in the nose with a slight creaminess, with a medium body and mouthfeel, followed by cocoa and chocolate flavors. Bitterness comes in in the middle to final third. Balanced and clean overall, although it could use a touch more body. Very drinkable, though. 

Stiff-Arm IPA: A West Coast IPA interpretation with orange, orange pith, and pine resin hop aromatics in the nose. Orange citrus and slight candy malt in the front, followed by a clean, pleasant bitterness in the middle. Citrus and pine lead into the finish, with some lingering resin bitterness. Well-balancednot as extreme or punchy or aggressive as many West Coast IPA interpretations, which is meant as a compliment. 

Stiff-Arm was my favorite of their offerings, although the 1862 Ale was a close second. As a whole, all of their beers were clean and well-made, And it appears that cans are soon to be released, so I’ll be certain to keep my eye out for those. Especially since I’ll be spending a fair amount of time in Columbus in July! 

(6/7/2015)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Barrel American Saison w/ Dandelion Root

Quite similar to the first batch, but with a few modifications. I just used dandelion root in this version, lessened the late hop additions, and cut the sugar addition. Hopefully, I will be able to discern the flavors contributed by the dandelion root. At least that is the intended goal. I’ll bottle a couple to try later before racking the rest into the barrel. Check back!

210. Barrel American Saison w/ Dandelion Root
Mash:
6 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
2 lbs. flaked maize

Mash @ 148° F for 80 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water and 6 g. gypsum; collected 1 ½ @ 1.072
Batch sparge @ 164° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 ½ gallons RO water; wort collected 5 @ 1.026

Collected 6 ½ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: ½ oz. Azacca leaf 9.9% AA
1 oz. Comet leaf 10.9 AA
1 ½ oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped

w/10 to go: 5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
3 ½ oz. table sugar

w/0 to go: ¾ oz. Comet leaf 10.9 AA
2 g. coriander
2 g. grains of paradise

Chilled, & pitched mason jar of saison yeast blend from 207. Dandelion Saison

Brewed: 5/31/2015
Barrel: 6/14//2015 @ 1.002

209/210a. 1/30/2016 @ 1.000; racked onto 2 lbs. wild plums
209/210b. 1/30/2016 @ 1.000; racked onto 4 lbs. 10 oz. tart cherries
209/210c. 1/30/2016 @ 1.000; bottled w/ 2.5 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.044
FG:

Tasting Notes: 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Brewvet Ride 8: Boulevard Radler

Time to finish out this year’s Brewvet. For today’s ride I started with a circuitous meander to the local Second Street Market—fresh summer produce is just starting to appear!—followed by a quick lunch, them a short jaunt up to the grocery store for a new six pack just for the occasion. I like treating myself right, after all, and nothing says indulgent like choosing a fresh new summer beer. Since I’ve run through most of the session IPAs on the market, I figured it was time for something new. And there it was: Boulevard’s Ginger Lemon Radler. Boulevard makes good beer, and it was hot as bejeezus outside, so I grabbed it and headed for home. Along with some cheese for dinner, might I add.

I managed to outrace the looming thunderstorm on the way home, ducking onto the porch as the first drops started to fall. Once inside, it was time to try the beer. Apparently, I’ve bad-mouthed Radlers in the past—no so much this specific one, but Radlers in general—as I got called out almost instantly on Instagram when I initially posted my Brewvet picture. Oh well. Like Mayor Quimby, I am officially flip-flopping. Because this beer was delicious. Boulevard describes the Ginger-Lemon Radler as a “zesty, refreshing take on the tradition of mixing beer with soda or lemonade to create a light, thirst-quenching beverage ideal for warm weather. Radler (literally ‘cyclist’) takes its name from active German sportsmen of a hundred years ago.” There was one more sentence they included, but it was annoying, so I deleted it. As to how the beer tastes, it is sweet and slightly lemony with a dry ginger bite that runs into the finish, all supported by a soft, delicate, pillowy malt body. And some bright carbonation. Quite a nice way to finish out this bike ride, and this Brewvet. Oh, and I covered 13.2 miles all told on today’s ride. Cheers!

(5/30/2015)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Brewvet Ride 7: Black Slate Movin' On

Today seemed like a good day for a longer ride, one designed to push my bicycling limits, so I headed out early with Elli on her morning bike commute to Xenia, and then continued on to Jamestown before turning around and retracing my steps. Yes, I saw a lot of bike path today. All told, I covered 70.8 miles. 

For my reward, I stopped by the Barrel House on the way home to partake in the beer I had so justly earned. I choose Blank Slate’s Movin’ On, an American Session Ale that weighs in at 4.2% ABV, not only because I think Scott LaFollette is awesome, but because he brews interesting, well-made, and esoteric beers. And we share a love for interesting facial hair. But maybe I have revealed too much, my dear reader.

Blank Slate describes Movin’ On as an American interpretation of the “English ‘session ales’ used to keep the working man happy all day long. Lower in alcohol but still flavorful, this beer won’t keep you from being able to ‘move on’ with your day. Blank Slate’s take on the English Best Bitter style combines Maris Otter and Brown Malt with American 2-Row Malt. Classic American hops include Cluster and Cascade up the ante from its traditional namesake and round out the flavor profile of this American Session Ale.”

And not surprisingly, I had two.

(5/29/2015)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Brewvet Ride 6: Warped Wing Tres Carnales

Since I didn’t drink any actual Warped Wing beer during my most recent visit to their establishment, I figured that I owed it to them to at least partake in one of their beers at some point during my Brewvet antics. And, since there is no time like the present, I decided to fit this beer in while doing some other errands, between school and lunch and home and the likes. As you can tell by my repetitive route, I didn’t get far, but had fun going over the same streets again and again. Oh, and my afternoon pit stop was at Jimmy’s Ladder 11. 

Today’s Brewvet selection is TresCarnales, a Pan American IPA. I can already here you asking: “Pan American IPA? What pray tell is that?” Lucky for you, I can cut and paste like a pro: “Once upon a time in Mexico 3 brewers met. They shared a common passion. Their love for exceptional craft beer. Over time the brewers became good friends. One day they decided to put their collective beer knowledge together. Their quest was to create 1 truly outstanding beer. Introducing Tres Carnales. 3 minds. 3 friends. 1 beautifully crafted beer.” Everyone loves a backstory, right? But wait, there is more: “With the perfect blend of American and Mexican brewing influence this Pan American IPA is pale orange with copper highlights. The hop character explodes with Mandarin orange aromatics and resinous pine undertones. All from copious amounts of Mandarina Bavaria and Centennial hops. The malt character is slightly bready. You’ll find mild hints of sweet and tart from the addition of select Blue Agave and Hibiscus flowers. The finish is dry with an assertive yet elegantly refined bitterness from German Magnum hops.” The hibiscus and blue agave flower elements are more subdued than I would like—they get lost a bit in the malt and hop components—and the resin hops flavors and aromas out compete the softer, subtler orange ones, but this is a tasty and drinkable beer.

Today’s ride was all of 6.2 miles. Bit longer than some, bit shorter than others. But same final result: beer. I win.

(5/27/2015)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Barrel American Saison w/ Dandelion

This batch (along with 210.) will replace the cider that currently calls the ten gallon barrel on my dining room table home; I’ll fill and soak the barrel with boiling water after I empty it to give the claussenii that is getting added in the secondary a head start over previous bugs and wild yeast that are already in the barrel. As with American Saison w/ Dandelion Flowers, this is another Jeff Alworth-inspired beer intended to experiment with the rustic elements of corn in American craft beer.

209. Barrel American Saison w/ Dandelion
Mash:
6 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
2 lbs. flaked maize

Mash @ 150° F for 80 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, & 2 g. CaCl; collected 1 ¾ @ 1.072
Batch sparge @ 163° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 ½ gallons RO water; wort collected 4 ¾ @ 1.032

Collected 6 ½ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: ¾ oz. Azacca leaf 9.9% AA
¾ oz. Comet leaf 10.9 AA
1.95 oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped
1.8 oz. dandelion leaves

w/10 to go: 5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient
8 oz. table sugar

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
3 ½ oz. table sugar

w/0 to go: ¾ oz. Azacca leaf 9.9% AA
¾ oz. Comet leaf 10.9 AA
4.4 oz. dandelion leaves

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched mason jar of saison yeast from 208. American Saison w/ Dandelion Flowers

Brewed: 5/26/2015
Secondary: 5/31/2015 @ 1.002; added a vial of WLP645 Brettanomyces claussenii
Barrel: 6/14/2015 @ 1.002

209/210a. 1/30/2016 @ 1.000; racked onto 2 lbs. wild plums
209/210b. 1/30/2016 @ 1.000; racked onto 4 lbs. 10 oz. tart cherries
209/210c. 1/30/2016 @ 1.000; bottled w/ 2.5 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.048
FG:

Tasting Notes: 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Brewvet Ride 5: DRAFT Homebrew Meeting

Another short Brewvet ride—1.1 miles total—but this trip combines a visit to local brewery Warped Wing with my monthly DRAFT Homebrew Club meeting (yes, the website is really outdated), as the brewery is kind enough to let our homebrew club meet in the tasting room every month, something that John Haggerty carries over from his New Holland days. It does help that former DRAFT member Jeff Fortney is now the head brewer, too. If you’ve never been to a homebrew club meeting, it is precisely what you’d expect: dudes drinking and discussing beer. Sometimes, an educational segment gets included—today there was a brief overview of the new BJCP 2015 guidelines—but that doesn’t always happen. It can be a bit more esoteric than your average craft beer nerd discussion—homebrewers tend to know how to make as well as analyze beer—but the lingo and the attitude are often the same.

For drinking purposes, I brought along a couple of my recent saisons. In addition to the Dandelion Saison you heard about yesterday, I brought a bottle of Saison w/ Azacca and Styrian Golding. I hopped it a bit more aggressively than normal for a saison, but I wanted to be able to get a sense of the influence of Azacca hops in a beer: they have nice flavor and aroma, but the bitterness is a slightly unpleasant and a bit harsh in the back of the throat in the finish. Still, the beer as a whole is dry and very drinkable, and the floral fruitiness from both yeast and hop in the aroma and flavor makes this beer go down easy. And best of all, after an evening discussing the intricacies of brewing, home was just a short bike ride away.

(5/18/2015)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Brewvet Ride 4: Fifth Street Herbivore No. 2

Plans for today involve helping judge beers for the Fifth StreetBrewpub Member Homebrew Competition. Yes, my life is generally enviable. So, in the spirit of all things Brewvet and beer-related, I rode my bike to the event. After all, since it is barely over a mile away (it was a 2.1 mile roundtrip), it’s not like it was s strenuous trek. 

For those of you not in the know, Fifth Street Brewpub is a Co-op with something in the neighborhood of 2000 members. Thus, the competition is a chance for all of the members who are also homebrewers to enter beers, with the winner getting her or his beer brewed on the Brewpub’s 7 BBL system and served in the taproom. There were 60 entries for the competition, which is pretty impressive considering that there was a limit of two entries per person (and most people only entered one beer)—I’ve been to smaller competitions that were open to the public. Darren Link, the Fifth Street brewmaster, had sorted beers into seven different flights; judges pushed the top one or two beers from each flight into a Best of Show round that was judged by Darren and Sarah Browning. Niall Fosters and Jim Witmers Thin Mint Stout won overall, while my Dandelion Saison ended up getting second place. However, my beer is going to get brewed this summer, as Darren wanted to save the Thin Mint Stout for non-summer time enjoyment and brew it as the Winter Seasonal. So I win, too. 

After the competition was over, I had a Herbivore No. 2, 
which is an American wheat beer with ginger and lemongrass. It is a clean and bright beer; the ginger and lemongrass flavors come across in the nose and the flavor, imparting a crisp finish. Went down easy. Then a leisurely bike ride home for this gentleman gadabout (remember the pronunciation!).

(5/17/2015)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Brewvet Ride 3: Hoppy Brett Beer

Today was a small group ride with some of Elli’s Team Dayton teammates. Yes, they let sluggish slowpokes like myself tag along on occasion, mostly because they are all nicer people than me, and/or because Elli just drags me along. I should probably stick with the nicer people theory—it has a better ring to it, and it doesn’t make either Elli or myself look like the surly curmudgeons that we undoubtedly are.

Our route started out as a road ride, but the strong winds required some strategic re-planning along the way—we made use of some bike path sections to cut down on the wind we faced, although we still ended up covering the same basic distance that was part of the initial plan. I managed to hang until about the last five miles or so, when the wheels started coming off the wagon. Or, to use the parlance of the sport, I started going backwards. Very backwards. 

I spent the first ten minutes after the ride lying on the ground to catch my breath. I did mention that they all are on a bicycling team, right? But after a nice cool shower with the garden hose, I felt recovered enough to pull out the homebrew I brought for today’s Brewvet action, 202. Hoppy LTC, which is a hoppy pilsner fermented with Brettanomyces and some other things. Lots of dry cracker malt accompanied by straw and earthy Brett characteristics with bright, effervescent carbonation and pleasant lingering bitterness. It certainly perked me right back up, as did the sandwiches and pizza we also had. Beer and food save the day again. All told, we covered 59.3 miles on today’s ride. Proper.

(5/10/2015)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Brewvet Ride 2: Founders All Day IPA

More Brewvet hijinx to be had! Today’s ride featured a short jaunt down to Miamisburg and back. Ride selection was determined by wind direction: this route got me a tailwind all the way home, which is much preferred over a headwind all the way home. Well, at least for me! Plus, riding along the river is always enjoyable, which you are for most of the way. And if you block out that one stretch that runs next to I-75, it is certainly an enjoyable section of one of the many bike trails found in the Miami Valley. 

After my return, I grabbed a smooth, easy drinking Founders All Day IPA as my recovery drink. It was one of the first session IPAs that are now flooding the market—session IPAs are apparently the hip beer of spring and summer 2015 since every single brewery is putting one out—but this one still holds its own in comparison. And it comes in a fifteen pack of cans. So I’d call that a win win, honestly. While it is a little bit watery on occasion, there is plenty of hop flavor and aroma to cover that over, along with just a touch of bitterness. In regards to today’s post-ride drinking experience, it served its purpose perfectly: down the hatch in nothing flat! I probably could have easily taken down a few more, but a shower and getting dinner started were more pressing concerns. Oh, and today’s ride covered 30.6 miles. I did it all for the beer. 

(5/7/2015)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Brewvet Ride 1: Yellow Springs Brewery

Brewvet is back! As you all undoubtedly recall, I ran a Dayton Brewvet last year. Well, that idea was unceremoniously stolen from John Roche at portajohn. Actually, I did ask, but you don’t need all that dirty sordid history, do you? Because that was 2014 and this in 2015. In other words, time to move on. And by moving on, I mean getting on that bike and riding! 

For my first Brewvet 2015 ride, I decided to saunter on up to Yellow Springs Brewery. I’m out of school for the summer, so nothing says lazy summer days like a 50.5 mile round trip on a bike. Although, technically, it was probably slightly longer—my phone still sucks, although that will be changing shortly. And since it was a lazy summer day, there was a couple hours of hanging out in the brewery to be had, listening to all-female hip hop, before the return trip home. Oh, and some beers. I had, among other things, Goat’s Eye IPA, a Belgian IPA that is easy-drinkin’ magic. There may have also been some grilling for lunch after a couple hours of cleaning. Honestly, I’ll never tell.

And for those of you out there in blogland, it is not too late for you to participate in this year’s Brewvet: information about the 2015 Brewvet Challenge can be found here. So go jump on your bike, go for a ride, and drink some beer. Just not all at the same time. 

(5/1/2015)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

American Saison w/ Dandelion Flowers Brewday

This is another Jeff Alworth-inspired beer, albeit a riff on a previous similar idea. But if the goal is to recover corn for American craft brewers, the saison and all that it represents for American craft brewing seems the most obvious place to extend the idea. After all, who don’t love saisons? I mean, besides this guy? Although since he hasn’t posted for like six months, that insult is effectively as dead as that blog. Oh, and I included the dandelion flowers as a means to compare the flavor contributions to beer in relation to the contributions from the leaves and roots in 207. Dandelion Saison.

Note: the 30/70 corn to grain ratio might have got some extra traction for me today via today’s stuck sparge. I adjusted the ration for the next version, so we’ll see what happens.

208. American Saison w/ Dandelion Flowers
Mash:
6 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
3 lbs. flaked maize

Mash @ 150° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, & 4 g. CaCl; mash stuck after I collected 1 gallon drained, so I topped it off with sparge water @ 1.080
Batch sparge @ 158° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 ½ gallons RO water; wort collected @ 1.030

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 ½ oz. Azacca leaf 9.9% AA

w/10 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
3 ½ oz. table sugar

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
4 oz. dandelion flowers

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched mason jar of saison yeast from 207. Dandelion Saison

Brewed: 4/28/2015
Secondary: 5/26/2015 @ 1.002; dry-hopped w/ 2 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
Bottle: 5/30/2015 w/ 3.25 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.050
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes (12/15/2015): American Saison w/ Dandelion Flowers pours a hazy straw with a big white mousse-y head that hangs around, and has plenty of tiny white bubbles streaming up the sides of the glass. The nose is floral and perfume-y and lightly spicy all at once; there is a hint of Pilsner sweetness, but the yeast overpowers much of that. Additionally, there are white pepper phenols with a hint of clove as well. As it opens up, citrus, lemon zest, earthiness, and dandelion also comes out. There is nothing here that reads distinctly as corn, although the dandelion flowers mixed with the yeast does provide some scratchy rusticity. Flavors start with a hint of banana that leads into a medium grainy Pilsner malt mixed with a soft ephemeral bread crust and lemon zest, quickly followed by floral spiciness, both from the hops and yeast—I can’t really distinguish where one begins and the other ends. There might be some hints of corn sweetness in the final third of the beer, but it is also dry and crackery via the bright sharp carbonation, and the finish is dry and peppery with hints of lemon and that Styrian Golding earthy spiciness I find so beguiling. The main contribution of the corn appears to be lightening the color and thinning the body of the beer, although I am pretty sure that it contributes to some of the rustic saison character, as do the dandelion flowers. And it has a dry body, even by my standards—when I try this again, I will raise the mash temperature to 152° F to see the affect that has on the mouthfeel of the beer. I might also try substituting 6-row and some wheat—swing it towards the grain bill of the American Weissbier—to see how that affects the overall beer in the glass a well. Still, corn’s presence in beer seems to be more dependent upon yeast than anything else; as with some of the American Weissbiers, I am not certain that anyone would readily identify this as having corn were they not told. But I do like the contribution corn provides, and I’ll continue to experiment. Stay tuned, y’all.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dandelion Saison Brewday

Time to bring back an oldy but a goody. I've made dandelion saisons off and on over the years, but I was re-inspired by pulling out an old bottle of dandelion saison, and being blown away by the balance of flavors, even after 3 plus years. Plus, since it is the time of year when dandelions have returned in all their majestic glory, it is time to once again take advantage of the bounty of my back yard.

207. Dandelion Saison
Mash:
6 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
1 lb. Best Malz Wheat
1 lb. light Munich
1 lb. Acidulated

Mash @ 149° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, & 4 g. CaCl; collected 2 ¾ gallons @ 1.064
Batch sparge @ 158° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ gallons @ 1.018

Topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go:½ oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
4 oz. dandelion leaves
1.5 oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped

w/20 to go: 1.2 oz. dandelion leaves
.7 oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped

w/10 to go: 1.2 oz. dandelion leaves
.7 oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped
5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient
8 oz. Turbinado sugar

w/5 to go: 1.2 oz. dandelion leaves
.7 oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped
2 g. coriander
1 g. grains of paradise

Chilled, & racked onto yeast from 205. Saison

Brewed: 4/18/2015
Secondary: 4/28/2015 @ 1.004; dry-hopped w/ 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
Bottle: 5/4/2015 w/ 3.5 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.044
FG: 1.004

Tasting Notes: