Yesterday, as rain poured down outside the open garage, a Baltic porter was born. A few friends joined to get a refresher in partial mash brewing (extract plus steeping grains). We started the morning with a quick recipe, a trip to Homebrew Exchange (which is open Sundays thankyouverymuch), and got the water heating. I had to do some reading again to remind myself how to do an extract batch, but the savings in setup, time, and cleanup were a nice change of pace. To mix things up, and to get beer a little sooner, we decided to split the beer in two carboys and pitch one with british ale yeast and the other with California lager yeast (2 packs on a recommendation from the shopkeeper). Brew day was easy, and the extra hands around meant that cleanup (and carrying the 6+ gallons for beer to the basement) was much easier.
In a “life imitates art” display of use of the Idiot trademark, Coronado Brewing Company is suing Elysian for Elysian’s use of Idiot in their Sauvin IPA. I’m on the verge of heading to San Diego for work and had collected a list of breweries to try while I’m down there. Coronado’s legal exercise just made that list a little shorter.
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.
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.
18 lbs 2-row
6 lbs Pilsner
1 lbs Munich
1 lbs Biscuit
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
18 lbs 2-row
1.5 lbs chocolate malt
1 lbs Crystal 60L
1 lbs Munich
0.5 lbs roast barley
1.5 oz Glacier @ 60min (4.6% alpha)
2 (ish) oz Glacier @ 10min
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.