Avocado Leaf Pale Ale

I was recently given a homebrew from a coworker. Not an entirely unique thing, but when she said it was brewed with avocado leaves, I was intrigued. It’s a partial-mash beer. The carbonation is great, the beer is a nice hazy pale, and the aroma is predominantly malt but with an earthy sweetness that I’m not familiar with. The taste is great – I’m actually surprised by the beer – for an extract beer it’s very clean and there’s not too much sweetness or anything. It’s really good – and there’s just something different about it that is intriguing. I’ve never had avocado leaves in anything so I have nothing to compare it to.

There’s not much hop to it, but I understand why. The leaves apparently came from a friend in Hawaii, and were steeped and added to the wort. It’s definitely a recipe worth brewing again.

Imperial BIPA

Today’s brew went from normal to Imperial when the hot liquor tank ran out of hot water. I was shooting for an IPA with a nice biscuit flavor. Thus BIPA. All told, the OG was 1.078 and I managed to pull off a full 10 gallons.

Grain

  • 18 lbs 2-row
  • 6 lbs Pilsner
  • 1 lbs Munich
  • 1 lbs Biscuit

Hops

  • 3 oz Simcoe @ 60min
  • 1 oz Newport @ 60min
  • 2 oz Simcoe @ 20 min
  • 2 oz Simcoe @ 10min
  • 1 oz Amarillo @ 7min
  • 1.5 oz Simcoe @ 5min
  • 1 oz Simcoe in keg

Other

  • 1 packet of Safale S05 in 1.5L starter
  • 1 smack pack Wyeast NW ale yeast
  • blend the two at inoculation

I debated whether to have two separate batches with a unique yeast, but given the initial gravity, I opted to mix and pitch to make sure both beers got a running start.

Oak-aged Bourbon Porter kegged

After 3 months sitting on bourbon soaked and toasted oak chips, I’ve kegged the remaining robust porter. It smells great and the sample I had while racking the beer suggests that it’s going to be a doozy. Stay tuned.

Banquet draft tower – for all your office party needs

Banquet Tap tower

I built this banquet tap tower for Michelle’s office christmas party in December. It’s a simple block of CVG Douglas fir with a hole straight-thru for a beer spigot and a partial groove in the bottom that allows it to be attached to a desktop with a C-clap. It started out as a part of a jockey-box, but after reading a fair amount, I decided that for the purposes of a party (or a wedding), the 5-gallon kegs usually get finished before they can cool down, and having the keg under the desk in a bucket of ice would be cheaper and less foamy than trying to get a jockey box dialed in.

Anyway, it worked well, looked nice, and was fun to make with some scrap I had laying around. I re-sawed some of the CVG fir to glue to the sides so that it would be CVG all the way around. It seemed a shame to have only 2 pretty sides. I didn’t finish it – and I probably should given the wet nature of beer – but unfinished fir just looks so lovely. Personally, I like it better with the short tap-handle. Next step will be to make a matching handle.

Dr. De’s Special Bitter – A PCC 50th Anniversary Tribute Beer

McMenamins is tapping a special beer this Wednesday, February 1st, brewed in honor of my employer’s 50th Anniversary. The beer, Dr. De’s Special Bitter (get it … DeSB), was brewed in honor of Dr. Amo DeBernardis, the person who founded and directed Portland Community College through it’s formative years. Oddly enough, Dr. Bernardis was a student at Kennedy School (a proper student, not like us), so it’s somewhat fitting that McMenamins be doing the brew.

This is pretty cool news and I can assure you that I’ll be stopping by Chapel Pub to sample the honorary beer on Wednesday. I hear it’ll be available at the nearest pub to each of the 4 main campuses – Chapel, Mall 205, Rock Creek Tavern, and John Barleycorns.

Robust Espresso Porter tapped

Last night I woke up sweaty, anxious, and my heart was racing. I wasn’t sure what I was forgetting, but I was given some productive night thought time. It wasn’t until tonight that I realized that last night I had tapped my robust espresso porter and consumed a pint and a half. It contains a fair amount of cold press coffee, and I’m susceptible to caffeine at night. So to those who get sweaty and nervous at night from caffeine, you might want to skip this one. It’s good though.

Holiday Brews – Two takes on a robust porter

This year’s holiday ale is based on a Robust Porter recipe, but one the two halves of the 10 gallons were halved, each faces a different fate. The first half was inoculated with my regular Fermentis dry ale yeast. It will be infused with cold-press espresso roast coffee during secondary, and will likely get quite a kick from it. The second half was pitched with Wyeast British Ale yeast, and will be put in to secondary with bourbon soaked oak chips. Both will have some pretty strong constituents, so I hope that this base recipe will be robust enough to support such big flavors.

Malt

  • 18 lbs 2-row
  • 1.5 lbs chocolate malt
  • 1 lbs Crystal 60L
  • 1 lbs Munich
  • 0.5 lbs roast barley

Hops

  • 1.5 oz Glacier @ 60min (4.6% alpha)
  • 2 (ish) oz Glacier @ 10min

Misc.

  • Irish moss @ 50min
  • Safale S05 in one
  • Wyeast British Ale Yeast in the other
  • lightly toasted oak chips soaked in Maker’s Mark
  • TBD amount of Portland Roasting’s Espresso roast

I’m still working out the details on how much coffee to add. Talked to a brewer and have been reading about other home brewers’ experiences. Plus, there’s a lovely step-by-step to cold-press coffee on America’s Test Kitchen.

As an FYI, the O.G was 1.062, and no less than 10 people stopped by to comment how good the the wort smelled.

Well I’ll be damned

During this year’s Super Bowl, President Obama created a stir by offering guests at the White House beer that he’d brewed himself. And now the president reportedly plans to have another batch of his homebrew on hand March 17 — that’s right, for St. Patrick’s Day.

Who would have known. From NPR News.

Hoptoberfest 2011

This is an amalgam of beer styles. Malt profile should be similar to a Märzen/Oktoberfest style beer, yeast is an ale yeast, and the hops are mostly from my neighbor’s and my hop plants. It’s an homage to our harvest season. This is for a 10 gallon batch.

Grains

  • 9 lbs. 2-row
  • 8 lbs. German pilsner
  • 2 lbs. Munich
  • 1 lbs. CaraPils
  • 1 lbs. Vienna

Hops

  • 2 oz Glacier @ 60
  • unknown addition of unknown hop @ 45
  • unknown addition of unknown hop @ 20
  • unknown addition of unknown hop @ 15
  • unknown addition of unknown hop @ 10
  • unknown addition of wet centennials @ 5

I used Fermentis Safale S-05 yeast again, one per carboy. Someone recently told me that they were bored with this strain. I’m not yet. I plan to cold-crash the carboys right before bottling to clear it up a little more like a true Oktoberfest.

Brewing Hoptoberfest 2011

After some delays, I managed to work in a brew session yesterday to use both some recently dried and some vine-fresh hops. My mom and the two girls picked hops from the neighbors plant and dried them out so I could use them (I didn’t have any set time to brew yet). Then, Michelle suggested that I brew this past weekend, which was slightly delayed due to Michelle’s canning, visitors, and a trip out of town. But we got back late Sunday night and after helping Michelle get some tomatoes in to jars, I started setting up the tower of terror and heating the liquor tank. The brewing process was same as usual, but due to the volume of fresh and dried hops, I actually ran out of kettle-space for more and ended up not using some. So if you want about 1/4oz of dried Centennials…

One of the things I do while brewing is take stock of what’s missing from the setup and what needs replaced. I’ve been putting off making a counterflow wort chiller, but may have put it off too long. Just as I was starting up the immersion chiller, I heard a pop, then the sound of cold, unboiled water running in to my hot wort. NOOOOO! The heat weakened a connector on the chiller and a kink down-line caused the pressure to build up until that connecting hose failed. Better fix that.


Oh, and dry yeast sure has gone up in price. Best get another starter flask.