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.

Adventures in Denver, part 2

Beer adventures were out for Monday night due to conference activities. I’m not complaining though; I got to drink free Fat Tire in Mile High Stadium.

Tuesday was my big night. I’d mapped out a number of places that I wanted to hit up, so I didn’t dilly dally. I pulled a bit of a jerk move by ditching my coworkers, who were having dinner together, but Denver wasn’t going to see itself. The first place I was headed to was Great Divide’s tap room. It was about a mile from the hotel, and after some detours, I arrived at the tap room right as a storm broke. I sidled up to the bar with other business-travel types and ordered some samples. Sadly, there’s no food, and there was no taco tent like I’d seen on the bus in. Undeterred, I sampled the Hoss, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Belgian Style Yeti, Rumble, and Hades. They were all great, though Hades and Espresso Oak Aged Yeti were my two favorites. The Hades had such a perfectly crisp bite to it. and the Espresso Yeti was just layers of delicious. After all those samples, I needed some food.

3 for $3

I had planned on heading to Flying Dog, but their tap room was closed on Tuesdays, so I had to venture on. I decided on Breckenridge’s place adjacent to Coors Field, and again sat at the bar. I ordered their 471 IPA and was kind of shocked to learn it was in excess of 9% ABV. That wasn’t listed on the board, and I don’t think I’d have started with it. However, both it and the Lucky U IPA were good, as was the bartender and the conversation. A growing birthday party pushed me on to the next destination though. A few blocks west was Falling Rock Tap Room.

Falling Rock Tap Room

Falling Rock is damn impressive, but might be a dangerous place to be in an earthquake – not that you’d care. I ran in to my first ever “too drunk to be served” Pirates fan who was over-celebrating the NL defeat of the AL (finally). As you can see, I was seated right by the bear engines, so I had to order a cask. I had the Dry Dock Double IPA, which was fantastic in that medium. A rich roiling of malt and hops in a smooth body. Highly recommend. I was joined by a marketing guy from Subaru (based in Portland) and another LMS admin type from PSU and we talked Beer, Higher Ed, Portland, Hillsboro, and then got to take a break to watch a fantastic thunderstorm and downpour. I finished my night with Odell’s IPA after catching a waft of it from JD’s glass. Hot damn did it smell fantastic. The whole package was an IPA lover’s dream. Slightly hazy golden body with a boiling white head of foam. The aroma was so shockingly fresh and bold I was immediately smitten. The first sip more than met my expectations after the aroma – bright, bold and hoppy but still had a solid body on which to scaffold the whole IPA experience. Thank you Fort Collins.

I apologize for drinking predominantly IPAs. That’s sort of my thing. And Colorado has clearly figured out the style and is doing it justice. As an addendum, on Monday I also tried the Funkworks Saison which was on guest tap at Wynkoop at Josh’s recommendation. It was very good – a very nice fit for the style without any surprises. Great aroma, great flavor, and really satisfying. Plus, what a great homage for a brewery name?