Sunday, December 19, 2010

2011 Brewing Schedule *

* Subject to change.

Dec. 2010:
Feliz Navidad-Deep Amber with Ancho Chili and Cocoa Nibs
BRETT!!!!! #2- 100% Brett C fermented Pale Ale with 100% Nelson Sauvin Hops

Jan. 2011:
Vanilla Bourbon Imperial Porter- Imperial Porter with vanilla bean soaked bourbon
Maulees Mild- Dark Mild, named after our calico cat

Feb. 2011:
WeeObese- A Wee Heavy, Wee Heavy.
1227- Lambic (the first of many annual lambics)

March 2011:
Elwood's Best Bitter- A sessionable nod to my Grandfather
Cedar Plank Pale Ale
Peppercorn Saison

April 2011:
Gruff-Oak Aged Bock
MLB: A Belgian Blond with Meyer Lemon Zest, and Lavender

May 2011:
Napolian's Dynamite- Berliner Weisse
El Diablo- Belgian Golden Strong

June 2011:
Westerlies Weizen: A Bavarian Hefe
Blonde- Simple Light Hybrid
Wits End-Belgian Wit Bier

July 2011:
Summer Saison- A Saison with Citrusy American Hops
Pale in Comparison- Extra Light Colored IPA
Pop Gose The Wesel- Gose Bier
August 2011:
Saison De La Mesa- A low strength table saison
Doughboy- Pre Prohibition American Lager
Festbier- Oktoberfest

Sept. 2011:
Bon Hiver- Belgian Dark Strong/Barleywine
Homegrown Pale- Pale with homegrown hops
Smoke on the Water- Rauchbier

Oct 2011:
Ded Moroz- Russian Imperial Stout
Feliz Navidad- Deep Amber Ale with Ancho Chili and Cocoa nibs

Nov 2011:
Old Oak:-Oak Aged Strong Ale (Based on Avery BC's Samaels)
The Spruce- Dark Ale with Spruce Tips
Flight Path Pale- A San Diego Style IPA

Dec 2011:
Black Friday IPA- A Black IPA, black in color only.
Vanilla Bean Dream- A light colored strong ale with vanilla bean added in secondary

Well this is my ideal list. I know it will change; some beers being deleted due to time or carboy/keg space. Some will be added, mainly sours or beers for events. I have most of the recipes I want to experiment with at this point and now it is just sitting down and brewing them. Does anyone else plan out a year of brewing?

In 2011 I also hope to develop a brewing collective in my neighborhood somewhat like the the guys at the Pacific Brewing Laboratories . I visited them earlier this month and had a great time. I loved what they are doing. My idea is to meet once a month. Essentially you invite a bunch of friends or friends of friends, and we would meet at my house or a friends and we would brew a batch of beer. As we brew we would teach anyone who is interested in learning about brewing and the rest of the attendees would drink homebrew from the tap. It is a great way to have fun, teach about brewing and brew beer. We would leave out a donation bucket and the money collected would be used to buy ingredients for the next batch. I hope to role out the first session in January.

I will update about my Feliz Navidad and BRETT!!! beers in the next few days.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hefe and Festbier tastings.

I finally got around to do a tasting of these two beers that brewed within the last couple of months.

Hefe (aka Game Day Wheat)

This beer was brewed back in August. Three things made this beer nothing like I wanted it to turn out. 1) The summer here in San Diego had been record breaking cool, so I figured i could go for a nice bavarian style hefe without any real temperature control. 2) I also used a slightly different yeast than I normally do for my hefe's. 3) I brewed this 3 times previous but as a extract/steeping grain recipe. I had never done it as an all grain batch, nor did I do a deccoction.

The beer turned out much more like a American Wheat, not sure if this was due to any of the factor's listed above or any combination of them. Even though it didn't turn out like I wanted it to, the beer is highly drinkable and has become a favorite among friends while watching Charger games. i figure the keg will kick here in the next week or so, so I decided to do a review now.

Appearance; Slightly hazy straw colored, with a nice white head (my pressure is low on that keg right now so the head looks much smaller than the other day).

Aroma: Sweet fruits, but not any particular fruit. There is a tart-wheatiness and some low level spicy phenolics.

Taste: Very similar to the aroma, except the wheat is much more present and the fruitiness takes on a apricot-like flavor. It finishes with a slight tartness and again some low level phenolics.

Mouthfeel: Light and refreshing, with a good carbonation. The only thing is that to me the weird phenols stick in my mouth making the beer seem heavier.

Drinkability: Okay, when the beer is cold and its warm out this beer is very drinkable, but as it warms the weird phenols start to over power the finish and make it less drinkable. My friends like it and drink it without complaint.


I brewed this beer back in September and hoped to have it ready by Halloween. Well that didn't happen and I just got it on tap about a week ago, in time for Thanksgiving dinner. The problem was that I have only made a few lagers and I am learning a bunch about them as I brew them. I have brewed a Light American lager and Dortmunder. The fest bier made me realize that I haven't been making large enough starters even though I have been doubling or tripling what I normally would pitch into a high gravity ale. The fest beer took for ever to get to an adequate final gravity, no where near where it should have been, but close enough and long enough I didn't think it was worth letting go any longer. The beer is nice and I can't wait to try this again with a different yeast approach. I will be trying to brew my lagers using dry yeast or slurries from local breweries. The dry yeast experiment will be up soon. I got this suggestion after posting on a few HB forums.

Appearance: Deep amber/garnet in color. Very cool color if not a little dark for the style. I think the color is perfect for what I was going for. The head is a light tan and it is thick and fluffy, more like a nitro stout head than a regular CO2 beer.

Aroma: Sweet dark bread and malt, with some fruitiness. No hops, or esters.

Taste: Rich munich malts, dark bread, some slight meledonins and a sweet finish. This is the beers only flaw, the sweetness that the beer finishes with. I tasted this same thing in my earlier lagers but because one was so light and the other had enough hops it didn't really distract from them too much. this beer, being rich and caramely by nature really shows the lack of attenuation big time. It tastes good but is too sweet.

Mouthfeel: The beer has a nice richness and is light, but the cloyingness of the finish makes the beer seem bigger than it is.

Drinkability: Again the beer tastes great until the finish and although the sweetness isn't a terrible flavor, it definitely makes the beer too filling and takes away from its drinkability. I can only have like 1 maybe 2. A fest bier should be dry and you could easily consume liter after liter. I like the recipe and will attempt it again this summer with dry yeast, in time for the first cool fall nights!

Up next RIS tasting, I promise and two new beers to be brewed asap!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rum Raisin Porter: Best Ale in the Universe 4

Here is the next beer in the Best Ale in the Universe series. I wanted to use raisin and made a beer that people who are not really beer drinkers would still like. I though about a dubble style beer, but decided on something a little more fun and adventurous. I thought a Brown Porter would be a good base and then I would throw in some raisins and rum. I kept the base recipe and then created a puree of caramelized raisins (caramelized in second runnings wort, and a little bit of Old Mill Rum.

I will then add rum soaked raisins into secondary along with some of the rum.

UK Pale Ale Malt4.50 lb45.0 %2.6In Mash/Steeped
German Munich Malt4.00 lb40.0 %4.2In Mash/Steeped
UK Brown Malt1.00 lb10.0 %10.7In Mash/Steeped
US Chocolate Malt0.25 lb2.5 %16.6In Mash/Steeped
German Carafa I0.25 lb2.5 %15.9In Mash/Steeped

UK Fuggle4.5 %1.00 oz15.4Bagged Pellet Hops60 Min From End
UK Fuggle4.5 %0.50 oz5.9Bagged Pellet Hops30 Min From End
UK Fuggle4.5 %0.50 oz2.8Bagged Pellet Hops10 Min From End

Other Ingredients
Raisins15.00 ozIn Boil
Whirlfloc Tablet0.10 ozIn Boil

DCL S-04-SafAle

Mashed in at 152F, Batch sparged, 75 minute boil.

The wort smelled and tasted awesome and I can't wait to see how this beer turns out.

I was trying to get this batch of beer made quickly so I could watch some football and make some ribs. So no pictures this time.

I have the week of Thanksgiving off and I plan on brewing my second 100% brett beer. I will use brett c. and Nelson hops. I hope to bre wanother beer as well, not sure what yet, maybe my a rebrew of my RIS. I will also be doing some tasting reviews, bottling up some beers for the Bruery's 300th batch comp. I also inherited a new chest freezer, which will become my new fermentation chest!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Orange Pale Ale- Best Ale In The Universe #3

For my work holiday party I will be brewing 2 unique beers. I have made two other beers for last year's holiday party and last year's end-of-the-year party. I say unique because I incorporate a food item that is left over form our student's school lunches. I figure the food is gonna go to waste so I might as well create a beer that incorporates the waste for the staff parties. The two previous batches can be read about here: Graham Cracker Southern Brown and American Wheat with Peaches.
This year I will be brewing two 5 gallon batches, since at the previous two parties the beer seems to blow way too quickly. One will be a Brown Porter with Caramelized Raisins and Rum Soaked Raisins (Rum Raisin Porter). The other, I brewed today. An Orange Pale Ale.

9# 2-Row
1# Honey malt *
1# Wheat Malt
.25# Crystal 40

.5 oz Cascade @ 60
.20oz Simcoe @ 60
.5oz Cascade @ 30
.35oz Cascade @30
.5oz Cascade @1
.5oz Simcoe@1


Added 6 oranges cut into 1/8 into the mash. Added 20 oranges cut into 1/8 and placed in sack into boil for last 20 minutes of the boil. Added 1.30oz orange zest in hop sac last 5 minutes. Wort had a nice orange sweetness that I think will balance out well with the hops, to make it a very drinkable beer.

I also racked my 1+ year old Funky/Sour Pumpkin Saison into a keg and added 3 Chardonnay soaked oak cubes to the keg to add even more complexity.

I also brewed a October Beer (see Mosher's Radical Brewing). Essentially it is a Strong Ale made with Marris Otter and Golding Hops, both fresh from the Fall Harvest. I augmented the malt with a little Honey malt* and a tiny bit or crystal. Should be about 8%.

*I read an article recently about Kern River Brewing Company here in CA. The brewer there makes a great IPA called Just Outstanding IPA. The brewer says that he uses honey malt to balance out his beers as opposed to Crystal. Since I typically like a lighter colored and less sweet IPA/APA I decided I would try and sub some crystal malt for the honey malt. We will see how it turns out.

Up soon will be a RIS tasting, Festbier tasting. Hopefully I will be brewing more and posting more.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fest Beer

I am listening to the Results of the GABF live on the Brewing Network and brewing a Fest Beer. I got into lagers last spring and have fallen in love. I wasn't always a huge fan of them but when I started making them I realized the subtle complexity of these styles and have been brewing lagers and ales at about a 1-for-1 since. I wanted to brew this style for a long time, and I want to build up a yeast cake for a Bock beer later this fall. I will be adding two types of oak to the bock, more on this later. As I was mashing the Munich malt aroma was insanely good and rich. I also used a hop bag for this batch something I haven't done in the past, well see how my hop extraction turns out.

Here is the recipe:

German Pilsner Malt5.00 lb47.6 %1.2In Mash/Steeped
US Munich 20L Malt4.00 lb38.1 %15.1In Mash/Steeped
German Dark Munich Malt1.50 lb14.3 %2.6In Mash/Steeped

German Hallertauer Hersbrucker3.5 %1.50 oz19.4Loose Pellet Hops60 Min From End
German Hallertauer Hersbrucker3.5 %0.50 oz3.9Loose Pellet Hops20 Min From End

White Labs WLP833-German Bock Lager

I mashed in at 151F. I also made a 1.5 liter starter.

Home Grown Hops

I planted 3 rhizomes two springs ago. 2 Willamette and 1 Goldings. The Goldings never took off and flat leaf parsley now grows in its spot. The Willamettes both grew up to my roof and back down last year, although I had very few hop flowers. This year the both started out, but while I was on my honeymoon this summer one of the Willamettes died off. The other is growing strong as you can see above and although it doesn't have a tone of hops it is growing well. I will be making a fresh hop beer (well fresh hops for aroma and flavor) I will use pellets for bittering as I won't have enough hops for the bittering charge. The base beer will be a English Bitter. Marris Otter and some 40L Crystal malt, and US 05 yeast.

Valle de Oro to Ruby Red

Last spring I brewed a beer that was inspired by Orval. Wyeast had just released their blend of brett and Trappist yeast said to come close to the flavors of Orval. I was going to dry hop the beer but the brett pellicle formed so fast and thick that I didn't want to disturb it. I kept the beer in my mind and pondered what to do with this overly funky Orval-like beer. Then this summer as I sat eating some homemade raspberry ice cream and drinking Goose Island Sophie (a nice dry, hoppy, brett beer). I took a bite of the ice cream and a sip of the funky beer and wow a great combo, then it hit me add raspberries to the Orval-like beer. I added 3 pounds of raspberries to the beer and the color turned a beautiful ruby red and the beer took on an amazing raspberry aroma that blends perfectly with the brett. I am deciding whether or not to keg this beer or bottle it in larger format bottles. I think this may be one of the better beers I have made

Saison Indochine

I have always loved saison's for their spiciness, dry, hoppy flavors. I have also loved the flavors of Thai (well all South East Asian) food, specifically the ginger, keffir lime, and lemon grass. I brewed a saison about 4 years ago (my first) with galangal ginger, keffir lime leaves, and lemon grass, all dried. The beer was over spiced (ginger) and just not a great base beer. So I waited until I became a better brewer and was re-inspired by my honeAdd Imageymoon to Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. When I got home I sourced fresh galangal, keffir leaves, and lemon grass. I decided to attempt the beer again. I wanted a light colored, dry and balanced beer with a nice low spice/herb characteristic. I also wanted to add sugar to the beer so I added palm sugar and rice solids; two common ingredients in South East Asia. The recipe calls for turbinado sugar but I subbed for the specialty sugars. I also made a extract of keffir leaves and lemon grass soaked in vodka, to add to the keg. You can see that in the jar in the pictures above.

So here is the recipe:

Belgian Pilsen Malt8.00 lb74.4 %2.4In Mash/Steeped
US White Wheat Malt1.00 lb9.3 %0.5In Mash/Steeped
Belgian Munich Malt0.75 lb7.0 %0.8In Mash/Steeped
Sugar - Turbinado1.00 lb9.3 %1.9Start Of Boil

UK Golding5.5 %1.00 oz19.3Loose Pellet Hops60 Min From End
US Amarillo5.0 %0.50 oz5.3Loose Pellet Hops20 Min From End
US Amarillo5.0 %0.50 oz0.4Loose Pellet Hops1 Min From End

Wyeast 3711-French Saison

Mash Notes
Mash at 147-148F for 60 minutes

Boil Notes
1.3 oz of lemon grass, 0.6 oz galangal ginger, 0.1 oz keffir lime (about 8 leaves). Added .5 lbs Palm Sugar and .5 Rice Sugar to start of boil. Added spices last minute of boil and kept in wort for 10 minutes as wort chilled.