Wednesday, February 29, 2012

JC's Wit The Eff?????

Well these post are long over due so please excuse the lateness. There have been many things afoot here in the circle of scholarly gentlemen beer drinking friends we call dash-fire brewing. Our friend, mr Juan Carlos, or JC as we call him, requested that we make him a beer that would initiate him into the world of homebrew / craft beer. He requested that we make him a Belgian wit ale, so we were more than happy to oblige him......BUT.

Of course, we couldn't leave well enough alone, so we decided to make it an American style Wit beer on steroids . And of course, this being the first time I have worked with wheat on a grain bill, I decided to make it 60 percent wheat, with enough grains that, if everything went smoothly, they would put us at around 7.5 percent alcohol when done. Note the words "if everything went smoothly".

I also decide to create a unique hop schedule that mixed a little of the old world with the new, and also added the usual wit spices. It was my first time making a wit, period, let alone an all grain wit. Challenge accepted.

As you can see, we gathered at Sean's house for this beer and we had a great time tasting many delicious craft beers, and as always, Sean was the picture of a great host and provided lots of super cool drinks and snacks for us to enjoy while we brewed. Sean is a BOSS. Good dude to have on your league of extraordinary Beer Men. He also has pretty good taste in music, which helps when you are toiling away the long hours brewing beer.

Good eats and drinks, check. Good Friends, check, Good ingredients, check. WHAT WENT WRONG??????

Well we had a great time brewing for the most part but I pretty much started losing it when, at mash in, I lost about 30 degrees of temperature and pretty much never got it back. The wheat just kept eating up the water in the mash like a hungry hungry hippo. We would put in water, it would swallow it and get dry, and we would lose heat. SO I kept adding hot water, and still the mash stayed at a temp of 145- 150 degrees I believe. I ended up mashing for a longer period to try and make up for it, but alas, it was to no avail. I also vorlaufed like a one armed paper hanger, still, lost a ton of efficiency.

When all was said and screwed up, We got about 45% efficiency. And that was on a setup that consistently yielded 75 percent previously. So the equipment was good. Something went very wrong. So out came a beer with the SG of a session beer, hopped more aggressively for a higher gravity beer. You can imagine where this went.

In addition to the beer exploding the lid of the primary fermentation bucket off in Sean's kitchen, scaring his poor wife and making a huge mess, (sorry Sean and Naomi), the beer finished at a measly 5 percent. And that was after several weeks in a secondary. Might as well be second runnings.

To say the beer came out bad would be a lie. It is a decent session beer. To say it was not a solid win would be more accurate. Plus my hop schedule made it taste like an IPA. So instead of a strong Belgian wit with a hint of American hops, it became a wheat IPA with some spices that the hop flavor killed. Well, it was a learning experience and a good ego check for me. Plus, it was fun to brew and hang out at Seans. JC got a decent beer, everyone had fun. The end.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bottling LUMBERJACK!!!!!

 So As you can see above, Last night I finally bottled the LUMBERJACK!!! beer. I only used Bombers because i'm lazy and washing all those bottles by myself was hard. Anyway, at the time of bottling, the gravity read 1.002, which was a little bit lower than when we racked to the secondary. According to BeerAlchemy, this gives a ABV of 9.1 percent. Since I am on a cleanse diet and not drinking alcohol at present, Jason sampled the 'Jack and indicated that it " tasted like a dark japanese beer" - whatever that means, but he did say the alcohol is definitely present. He said it was a little dry, which makes sense since we suppposedly got 97% attenuation, but I think this number is off because we lost some volume in the boil or due to evaporation.

The one thing that we have been fairly surprised at is the apparent lack of pine flavor - if you see the blog post from when we brewed it, we but a TON of pine needles in it in two different fashions. So this was interesting. Since it spent about 2 months in the secondary, it may have mellowed a bit, but not TOO much. It smelled delightful, to me at least.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More bruery Anniversary pics

Here is a few more Pics that were Donated from Karson's archives and his camera for the Bruery's Anniversary. The one on the left is from last years, I believe. You can see the difference in the tasting glass right away. That was the tulip glass I was referring to in the earlier post. I wish I could have another one of those.....
This other pic is of me and Jimmy deep in some beer-planning pow-wow (probably talking about star wars or something).Heres Karson and Garrett, chillen outside of the Zep- Tent.        

 Another shot of the group minus Kenny, Chillin out side of the tent                                                                                                                                

Kenny with a cup of those chocolate chili rosated almonds........

A close of up of the nuts.

When we sat down for lunch.

The top of the Zep - Tent. Obviously German themed.
A better shot of the taster glass. Thanks for reading guys!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Bruery's 3rd!

So now's that time of year when things really start to get popping beer-fest wise, and we always kick off the season right with the annual Bruery Anniversary beer fest, this being the 3rd year we have attended and this being the 3rd 0 for 3 ain't bad! This year, they had to change things up because of their growing pains. Some of the GLOBE team were not too happy with the changes - however, a good amount of us showed up to represent. The first two years, the event was held at The Bruery's tiny Brewery in Placentia and it was, hands down, the best bang for your buck as far as beer fests go, including both food AND beer AND a nice tulip glass. They used to have a local BBQ place show up and do most of the food, plus they had chocolate bacon, fresh Belgian dessert waffles and gourmet cheese, all included in the entry price. They also had a lot of vegetarian food, which a lot of us liked too. Suffice it to say, we all voted it a Capital event both times it was held as such.

This year, it was held at the Phoenix club in Anaheim, just a little ways away from the main brewery. This place was like a beer Garden type place that was mostly German themed and sold it's own German beer fest food, like bratwurst and potato salad and what not. It also happened to be next to some kind of animal situation, maybe a petting zoo or something and when me and Kenny got there at 10am and got in line, the smell was quite strong. The Picture on the right shows the line when Kenny and I got there. The left shows kenny smelling the pungent animal smell.

Well, the rest of the team was running a little late , and they began letting us in a little after 10 am so we got in and after a little confusion, I got my taster glass (as opposed to the Bruery Tulip glass they used to give) and I was immediately confronted by a table that was giving away free cheese and crackers. You Didn't have to tell me twice. I don't remember which cheeses they were, but they were definitely gourmet and SUPER delicious, especially with the beer.

Finding all the different pouring booths was confusing at first, and a map was given out, BUT since we were MEN and GENTLEMEN BEER ENTHUSIASTS at that, it was ignored, so there was some more confusion at first. There was a giant Zep - Tent and it appears that all beer that were NOT the Bruery's was in here. It looked kinda funny because it was such a huge tent and it dwarfed the small collection of pour stations in the middle of it. It was here I got my first pour at the Hanger 24 station. I chose to sample their Double IPA and it was heavenly - not overly bitter with a nice hope induced grapefruit flavor. I highly recommend it. Alot of good things coming out of Hanger 24 from the IE, they are one to watch. There were several breweries there : Ladyface, Inland Empire Brewing, Taps, Stone, Hanger 24, Kern River, and few others I cannot recall at this moment.

After the Hanger 24 pour, I went to sample the Bruery's offerings, and I tried the Iniquitous, which was and EXCELLENT Belgian strong golden ale (one of my favorite styles) and then I tried their 3rd anniversary beer, Cuir, which blew my my mind and my taste buds away. Strong, spicy, and very unique. Hard to even describe, but I highly recommend it.

By This time, we noticed the rest of the group filing in from the front. You can see Karson with his Green shirt. The event could officially start now that the whole crew (all that was attending) had arrived. On the Left you can see Jim Master Jam, with a generous shot of the Zep - Tent behind him. After salutations were given, we got down to bidness. The Animal stench seemed to be most diminished under the Zep- Tent, so that's where they wanted to go first.

The Generous Cheese plates never seemed to end. Everyone grabbed one before getting their first pours. Megan was very pleased with the cheese, as you can see here. They also were giving out these roasted almonds that were covered in a chili - cocoa powder that was amazing. There were a lot of recognizable industry people there, you can see the back of Patrick Rue and his co-hort to the left here, and Dr Bill from Stone was there, which was pretty cool, and I even spotted Jonny Lieberman , the world famous homebrewer who has helped the Bruery out several times. His brewing adventures are stuff that legends are made of. As you can see on the left, Don Pancho was in the house! Kenny photobombed me.

After everyone had a couple of pours we all got a little tired and sat at one of the benches on the premises. You can see some of the awesome nuts in the picture of Jimmy on the left. Garrett was laying some sort of knowledge upon our heads in this pic.

After this we headed back into the Zep - Tent for the raffle, which we all lost, and then we hung for awhile. Towards the end of the event, it was discovered that many places were not taking tickets, and we all had the chance to get many more pours than the 10 that came with the entrance fee, so we were all pretty excited about that. I'm pretty sure this was sanctioned since so many places were doing it. All in all, this event was definitely a winner. We all enjoyed it thoroughly, and I'm sure at least some of GLOBE, if not all, will be back next year. The Bruery never fails to represent. My favorite beers of the fest were the Iniquitous, the Cuir, The Hanger 24 DIPA, and one from Taps that blew me away called " Balinese stout" that was 8 or 9 percent and tasted like Starbucks. Ah, much merriment was made. Until next year, Patrick Rue and Pals.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Racking The 'Jack!

 Well, it's been about a week and a half in the primary and fermentation has slowed to a crawl so, we decided to rack the LUMBERJACK!!! to secondary. We also were very anxious to see how our little experiment was turning out, and if it had gone spectacularly awry. Putting pine needles in a beer is not exactly standard practice.

When we popped the top on the ferm bucket, a delicious smell wafted up from the beer and we knew, this beer was already a success. We checked the gravity - it was 1.004 - which meant that it currently has and ABV of 8.9% ! That surprised me because the target gravity was lower......and then I remember at the last minute we threw a bunch of maple syrup in the boil.

 One thing that I noticed that just might be in my mind, is that there seemed to be a lot less beer in the bucket than the wort we started off with. I have been thinking for almost 24 hours about this and the only thing i can think of was that there was a lot of evaporation because I like to keep my house around 80 degrees...... but that's never happened before so maybe I just was really REALLY tired when we pitched and didn't notice that we didn't have a full 5 gallons. In any case, this beer look beautiful, a nice brown- amber color. When we all sat down to taste it, we were shocked. I personally thought that the copious usage of pine needles and chopped pine parts would give the beer a huge pine flavor.......I was wrong. The pine flavor is very subtle, and it's most noticeable at the very tail end of the flavor in the finish. And it doesn't have a pine flavor like you would expect. It's more of a type of bitterness that you don't usually get in a beer - but it's not a bad taste. We debated whether to dry hop with the leftover magnum, and we decided against it because we didn't want to detract from that subtle flavor.
For a 9% beer, it was very drinkable un-carbonated. Jason remarked that it almost tasted like wine. It was exceedingly smooth. There also was a very subtle smokiness. I think that must be from the 100% organic maple syrup we used. We were all very pleased with how it turned out because it tastes like no other beer we have had, and on top of that, it tasted like a high quality craft beer. So we achieved all the goals of this beer, but in ways that were unforseen. I think that the next time we make this beer, we should probably stick with the same recipe. Can't wait to taste it carbonated! Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 9, 2011

dot COM

Karson did the deed and got us the Dotcom. and one other but it slips my mind right now. It will direct you to our blog now, so bookmark it, write it down, however you want to do it.

Why can't ads be like this anymore?

In other news, LUMBERJACK!!! is bubbling away still, emitting delicious smells that indicate all is well. Got some new beer ideas that all need to be researched and developed, so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Inaguration Day

The essentials were all in place, wooden sword, maple syrup and Idophor.....oh yeah, plus the rest........priorities, you know. This day has been a long time coming. It took me a year to "acquire" all the brewing equipment......cause we all know I'm not too handy, so I couldn't have built it alone....the last piece of the puzzle was the HLT, which we built (by we , I mean Jimmy.....I watched) on that day. We had a little situation arise with the cooler I purchased for it.....the spigot hole was the wrong size for the ball valve. It was a coleman, so let that be a lesson to you, don't use the 5 gallon coleman cooler unless you have some know how on how to completely redesign that area of the cooler for the ball valve. We went on an emergency run at the 11th hour to return the cooler I had purchased at Walmart, and we found a hardware store nearby with the Igloo cooler we needed. Once we got home, Jimmy put in the ball valve, and after a little mix-up with the rubber washer, all was good. As you can see to the right, Karson was definitely ready to brew. He got in there and started cleaning the pine clippings with Sean, as you can see on the left.

Sean came through for us with the propane and the refreshments, and as we all know, you have to put first things first, so we enjoyed several delicious quality beverages before really getting down to business(or should I say, that's HOW we started getting down to business)All of them top of the line, quality craft beer, natch. Sean has impeccable taste, and he brought a veritable treasure trove of overwhelming deliciocity. It was agreed upon that Sean was a capital fellow. And there was much rejoicing.
As you can see to the left, there was quite a bit of grain for this beer - 14 pounds of it. But the Mash Tun accommodated it nicely. After Mash in, the whole thing was quite heavy. We left it on the floor for the whole hour. we stirred the Mash periodically and checked the temperature to make sure we had it right. We ended up adding some more hot water because we missed the mash in temp by a little bit.

You can see out whole basic setup here in the picture on the right. We got a nifty "Ace Hardware" sponsored HLT.......that's the one that was on sale at the hardware shop.......

Here is a picture of the Sparge, not a very good one but I was too busy doing the actual sparge to get a better can see the loose pine needles in the brew pot.....

Here is a picture of the boil with the pine needles in the that's pretty awesome. Also added into the boil was a sizable amount of organic Maple Syrup.
We got roughly 65-70% efficiency and ended with a OG of 1.070. I would like to vorlauf a little longer in the future.......All in all, it was an exhausting, but rewarding day. The usual Shenanigans were gotten up to, which was inevitable.....this pic to the left is one of the few pics I took of the monkeyshines that I feel was appropriate for the blog!!!!  If this day was any indication how every brew day will go down, next time, I will eat my wheaties and get plenty of sleep the night before. And maybe get more of the equipment cleaned and in place. The whole process must have taken around 5 hours. ALSO, next time I'm wearing sunscreen. I got my neck sunburned. I just noticed that I am in none of the pictures.......I guess because I was busier than a one-legged man in a kicking contest....PLUS I took the pictures. So, thus, the LUMBERJACK!!! was brewed and now is bubling away nicely in its primary fermentation bucket. PHEW, this is alot more work than extract brewing fer sure! Well, until next time, This is Tobi signing off.