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 Anniversary.....so 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. www.dashfirebrewing.com 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 pic.......you can see the loose pine needles in the brew pot.....

Here is a picture of the boil with the pine needles in the pot........now 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.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Well, Saturday we try out the new All-grain setup here in Rosemead. Of course, it has been decided to brew a beer that although not completely unusual, it is a little different from your average beer. Tentatively called "LUMBERJACK!!!!" (that includes the caps and exclamation points) it will be a Pale ale brewed with pine clippings, not unlike Alaska's winter warmer. But hopefully it will be unlike it, heheh.

Aiming for a Pale Ale with a slight Pine flavor, there's reportedly (aka it says on the interwebs) always a danger of over "pineing" a pine beer , so we need to figure out a way to measure the amount of pine flavor that goes into the beer. This is obviously difficult to do when you are working with actual pine clippings, but we will have to find a way. I'm thinking we might boil the clippings separately and gauge it on taste.

Everyone knows that when you brew beer, you HAVE to drink beer, and everyone knows a beer with buddies is best, which happens to also be fortuitous when you need extra hands for brewing! It's like Charles Papazian says, you have to be relaxed. Jimmothy McVeigh, our resident Brewni-Bomber, will be overseeing the proper construction of the HLT, and of course the mash tun has already been constructed by said fellow. Tomorrow I shall away to a purveyor of fine home brewing supplies for the various sundries we need.

It is the exact opposite of off, and if you say otherwise,