Saturday, December 31, 2011

Elwood's Best Bitter

This recipe is named after my paternal grandfather Elwood. My grandfather was an amazing man. He was a true life DIYer. He lived until 92 years old and passed away about 4 years ago now. I learned a great deal about cooking, grilling and baking from him. He is one of the reasons I have taken to so many home crafted hobbies (brewing, pickling, curing, smoking, etc.). My grandfather liked a good beer or a good Scotch. I decided I wanted to make a mellow yet flavorful beer in his honor and I decided upon a Best Bitter.

Recipe: US 2 Row, Crystal 120, Honey Malt, Brown Malt, US-05 (by accident wanted US-04), Fuggle at 60, Goldings at 20 and 1 min.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday Black IPA

I built this recipe last Black Friday and I told myself that I would brew it this year. I had some other beers lined up but I stuck to my plan and brewed this beer yesterday morning. I would so much rather wake up early and brew a beer than fight with others for "deals". I guess I have different priorities.

I first tried a black IPA about 4-5 years ago when Pizza Port brewed one for the now closed Liar's Club anniversary. The beer was called Black Lie and if you close dyour eyes when you took a sip you probably thought your where drinking a standard IPA with a faint roast. I really enjoyed that beer and have always said if I was to brew an Black/Cascadian IPA this is what I would model it after.

I built the recipe much like a traditional IPA, then I added carafa II to give a faint but noticeable roast but not a roastiness that would overpower the hops. I originally wanted to use Warrior hops as bittering, and a combo of Cascade and Centennial for the flavor and aroma additions. Well I didn't plan very well and all the good flavor and aroma hops are becoming very hard to track down at any of the LHBS here in San Diego, even online suppliers are out of many of the best aroma flavor varietals. I had to make some modifications base don what was available and what I had on hand. I went with Warrior as the bittering charge, and blends of Cascade and Nelson for flavor and aroma. When I was running the beer off it has this awesome cinnamon aroma, not sure why but it was really nice.

I also learned a valuable lesson about measuring grain. My buddy was able to get a 50lb. sack of milled 2-row. I used it for the first time on this recipe. I measured out the 10 lbs. I needed and proceeded as usual. When I took my hydrometer reading my OG was way high and I couldn't figure out where I went wrong. As the boil went on I realized that I was weighing milled malt and not unmilled malt as usual, so I was getting a bunch more grain (sugars) with each pound. My beer was supposed to come in around 6.5% and I will now get something closer to 8.5-9%. So I guess it is more of a Double Black IPA. Now I know for future batches using the rest of the milled 2-row.

Ingredients: 2-Row, Honey Malt, Carafa II, Crystal 40, Warrior @ 60, Cascade & Nelson @ 30, Nelson @ 20, Nelson @5, Cascade at 0, US-05.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Canned Heat-Smoked Helles (with chipotles)

I brewed a smoked helles this morning. I mashed in at 7am and was all wrapped up by 10:15ish. I have been under shooting my beers gravity lately. I think I have been using too much water in my sparge so I am going to try and dial my process back in.

I decided to brew this beer after trying a few commercial versions lately. Ballast Point Brewing makes a really nice and smokey version call Smoke Screen (they also make a nice Rauchbier called Abandon Ship). I tried Schlenkerla;s helles. This beer has a perfectly subtle smoke element yet drinks like a wonderfully brewed helles. The Helles isn't actually made with any smoked malt, but it is brewed on the same equipment as their other beers, so it picks up the smoke during production...creating one of the finest beers I have ever tasted.

I decided to brew w beer somewhere in the middle, not as smokey as Smoke Screen, but using some smoked malt. I decided to use Briess Cherrywood Smoked Malt to get a balanced smoke flavor and aroma. RThe beer smells great and I will be lagering it in my chest freezer, its been a while since brewed a lager and I haven't yet perfected lagers yet. In an attempt to better my lager making I decided to switch to dry lager yeast and to use 2 packs of the dry yeast. Keep your fingers crossed that the beer will finish out correctly.

I am toying with the idea of adding a few smoked dried chipotles in the dry-chile method. My sister-in-law picked up some of these chilies up at whole foods a few weeks back when she was making a vegetarian chili. They have the most unbelievable aroma of smoked spice, but they are super ugly. I have a picture of the same type of chipotles below. I have only ever seen them as red chilies in adobo sauce. These are way better! I haven't decided if I will add them or not yet, I am waiting to see how the base beer turns out. I may also split the batch and dry-chile one version.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cranberry Gose

Back in August I brewed a Traditional Gose beer (link here). The beer was very salty a few months ago and the sourness did not really take over like I had hoped, it was pretty out of balance. I decided to let the beer sit and play the waiting game. I tried the beer this weekend and was very pleased at how the beer has come together. I decided since the warm months are over and that
I ended up only brewing a 5 gallon batch, I would go with a winter style Gose. I added the cranberries this weekend and racked the beer onto the berries. I will taste after a week or so and see if I think cinnamon and/or cloves would make for a better beer. I hope I can get this beer on tap in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Feliz Navidad

For Christmas this year I wanted to brew a beer that I could bottle and hand out to friends, neighbors, etc. I wanted something approachable to everyone, but also something that stood out and was special, it is my Christmas beer! I have been throwing around the idea of brewing a Mexican Hot Chocolate style beer for some time. I attempted this last year, using an amber base but once I tasted the amber with ancho chilies, it was so good I left it as is. That beer placed 1st in the Southwest regionals of the NHC in 2011, although it didn't place in the finals. I finally got my act together this weekend and brewed a Chocolate Stout as a base recipe and will add Ancho chilies, cinnamon and probably a hot pepper to add a slight heat spice. The base beer is a export stout/American stout hybrid with cocoa powder added at flameout. I hope the base beer turns out nice, because I know the anchos will be nice with a chocolaty base beer. I am debating how I will add the cinnamon. I am making a tincture of vodka and cinnamon sticks which I could add to the keg to taste, or I could add the sticks with chiles and dry-cinnamon the beer. Haven't decided yet.

Recipe: Us 2-Row, wheat malt, Chocolate malt, Crystal 40L, Roasted Barley, Crystal 80L, Cocoa Powder (unsweeteneded), ancho chilies, cinnamon, spicy pepper (most likely), US S-05, US Goldings @ 60 min.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Red Tide- An American Red Ale

My good friend Nick is turning 32 this coming weekend and when his wife asked him what he wanted to do for his Birthday, he said, go to Jeff's house, drink homebrew and watch football. Sounds like a good time to me! I decided to brew a beer for the event, and when I asked Nick what he wanted, he said a brown or a red. I was inspired to brew a red after having a couple of great commercial versions lately, plus I have never made this style. I wanted a beer that balanced carmel, toffee-like flavors with a nice citrusy, piney aroma and flavor. I didn't want the beer to be too bitter, and I wanted it to finish somewhat dry, even though it has a well rounded malt profile. The one thing I am not sure of is whether or not I will get a nice deep red color or not. I know that there is a CaraRed malt, but my LHBS didn't carry any and I didn't want to order any online.

I called the beer Red Tide because the week that I brewed it San Diego was having a bloom of plankton (dinoflagellates) along our coasts that is called a Red Tide. The coolest thing is that when this particular red tide occurred the plankton have a secondary effect of bioluminescence. This mechanism acts as a predator avoidance technique. When these plankton are disturbed, by wave action or human interference they bioluminesce blue. I have linked a cool video here

The beer smells amazing, and I will transfer it to a keg tomorrow. Hope it is red, but even amber will be okay.

Recipe: 2-Row, Crystal 60, Dark Munich, Victory, and a tiny bit of Chocolate Malt, US-05, Northern Brewer @ 60, Amarillo & Cascade @ 15, Amarillo & Cascade @ Flameout.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Festbier 2011

We have had a really cool Summer and early Fall here in San Diego. As I write this we are covered in clouds and the temps are at least 20 degrees cooler than average. In fact today we set the record low-high, if that makes sense. With all of this cool weather, I have started to crave Fall seasonals. I will be brewing an Oktoberfest with the hopes that it will be ready to drink by Halloween, or worst case scenario by Thanksgiving. Last year I brewed the same beer but my starter was not large enough and the beer never fully fermented. My version is on the darker side for the style with large amounts of Dark Munich malt. I really like added malt richness in a beer like an Oktoberfest.

In the hopes that my beer will ferment all the way out, I am using two packs of dry lager yeast that I will rehydrate before pitching. My lagers are still not anywhere near the quality of my ales, so I will keep practicing. Most of this comes from not doing decoction mashes (I'm not doing these yet), and from under-attenuation.

Ingredients: US 2-Row, Munich Malt, Dark Munich Malt. Hallertauer @ 60 and 20, DCL S-23 Saflager.

Note: Sorry for the gratuitous breast shot, but I thought it showed the carpal strength of the Oktoberfest servers best!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Luau Pineapple Wheat

My in-laws are having a luau party in a few weeks and they asked me to make a beer for the occasion. I was planning on brewing a saison with citrusy American hops, but I will have to put that on hold for another week or so. After that I will shift to some Fall and Winter brewing. I did some research on beers that would contain traditional Hawaiian ingredients. I figure that a wheat beer with fruit is the most approachable and "luauish" beer I could brew. My other idea was a guava saison or a guava wheat. I had a tough time finding a good source of guavas, so I decided on the pineapple. I am brewing it on my base American Wheat beer recipe, the same recipe that I made my peach wheat with.

I'm planning on adding a whole pineapple (cut up) at flameout in a mesh bag, and then another 2 whole pineapple (cut up) into secondary.

Recipe: 2-Row, White Wheat, Vienna, Honey Malt, Warrior at 60, Nelson @ 25 & 5, White Labs American Ale Yeast, Pineapples.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pop Gose the Weasel #2

I use the yeast/bacteria cake from my Berliner Weisse to make a Gose beer. Gose is a historic and often forgotten style of beer from Leipzig and Goslar Germany. It is a wheat beer with a lactic tang and a dose of coriander and salt. I have made this beer before with nice results. Last time the beer was very balanced with only a slight coriander and salt presence. This time I think I may up the salt and coriander. I am making a 10 gallon batch, and splitting it into two different versions. I was inspired by Cascade brewing companies Gose for every season. I will do a traditional 5 gallon batch, and I will do a 5 gallon batch with cranberries, and cinnamon, possibly clove as well. I am shooting for a holiday Gose, something tart, and spiced.

Ingredients: US 2-Row, White Wheat Malt, Coriander, Kosher Salt. Winter version will have cranberries, cinnamon and cloves added to secondary.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Flight Path IPA

My house sits directly under the incoming flight path for the San Diego International Airport. On cloudy nights the jets will pass over and a few seconds later the air they displace will come crashing back into the place it once idly sat and make the craziest, eeriest noise. We have lived here for almost 3 years and I have wanted to make an IPA named after our location under the flight path.

As I have said before, I love San Diego/West Coast style IPAs that are light on malt bills, have moderately high bitterness, and a ton of flavor and aroma additions. I am making this beer in a similar manner. Simple malt bill, moderate bittering charge and big citrusy, fruity late hop additions of Amarillo and Nelson. As I sit here writing this post the Nelson hops are just smelling amazing and my mouth is watering for this beer.

I didn't hit my OG, so the beer will be a little smaller, maybe more like a Pale than an IPA, oh well.

Ingredients: US-2Row, Honey Malt, Warriors @60, Amarillo and Nelson @30, Amarillo and Nelson @15, Amarillo and Nelson @1, Dry Hopped with Amarillo.

Friday, July 22, 2011

El Diablo: Belgian Golden Strong

It has been a while since I last posted. Between the end of the school year, NHC and some out-of-town work trainings I haven't had a chance to brew or post much. At one point just before NHC, I had 17 fermentations of some form going. Club night allowed me to "get rid" of some beers, along with a work party. Last week I racked my Berliner, Pilsner and 100% BRETT beer into kegs. I also bought grain for 4 beers (Golden Strong, IPA, Summer Saison, Gose) that I will be brewing over the next couple of weeks. These should get me through the summer and then I will turn my attention towards my Fall beers (Festbier, Rauchbier and some others tbd).

Today I am brewing a Belgian Golden Strong. I brewed this style back a few years ago with a friend and it fermented a little too warm and I had it on the higher end of the abv level for the style. Because of these two factors it ended up pretty hot and with a bunch of fusel alcohols. I did some research and decided that I wanted to shoot for something like Russian River's Damnation. Vinnie Cilurzo says that when he dialed the beer back down close to 8% the beer was way more drinkable. I am shooting for a very drinkable beer. The style is so dry, crisp, with a nice hop profile, and a restrained Belgian yeast profile that it is a perfect summer beer. I have a yeast cake left over from my Belgian Pale so I will be pitching that for this beer.

Ingredients: Belgian Pilsner Malt, Sugar, Goldings at 60, 30, and 15. Saaz at Flameout. WLP575 Belgian Ale Blend.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Schools Out for Summer!

Every year I brew a few beers for my work parties (Winter and End of School Year). In the past I have tried to incorporate an item from the student's school lunches. I call this series, The Best Ale in the Universe. Recently the district switched food providers and very little has looked appetizing in a beer, so I decided to forgo the food item and keep it simple. I wanted beers that would appeal to the widest range of drinkers, so I went with a Belgian Pale and a Blonde.

Belgian Pales are easy drinkers and in my opinion a little boring. I wanted to put a slight twist on the beer to spice things up a little. I wanted a tartness that a slight bacterial or brett infection would give, but I didn't have the time, so went with a little acid malt. This is my first time using the malt, so I will see how it comes along. In addition to the acidulated malt, I added some fresh Meyer lemon zest and pink peppercorns at flameout. Finally, I used some late addition Amarillo hops to give the beer a nice citrusy and tropical fruit component.

The Blonde is pretty straight forward, simple malt bill, a little added sugar, and northern brewer hops. I hope it will come out as a balance between malt and hops. I have never brewed a blonde before so I ma interested to see how this beer comes out.

Spring Forward Belgian Pale Ale: Pilsner Malt, Wheat Malt, Honey Malt, and Acidulated Malt. Norther Brewer Hops at 60, Amarillo at 15, and flameout. Meyer Lemon Zest and Pink Peppercorns. White Labs Belgian Style Pale Blend.

Blonde: 2-Row, Wheat Malt, Sucrose. Northern Brewer at 60 and 15. US-05.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Napoleon's Dynamite

Berliner Weisse is one of my favorite styles of beer. Said to be one of Napoleon's (not the one above) beers, he and his troops called it the Champagne of the North. It is light, refreshing, tart and low alcohol. It also is the shortest brew day I have. I brewed a batch a few years back and it was a huge hit. I think the best commercial version I have tasted is The Bruery's Hottenroth. I wanted to shoot for a beer like Hottenroth. I did quite a bit of research on methods and procedures to brew a Berliner when I was planning the first batch. What I found was a blend of 50% pilsner, 50% wheat malt, lactobacillus bacteria, neutral yeast, a small amount of aged hops (which do not inhibit the growth of lactobacillus delbrueckii) gave the best approximation to what I was going for. I emailed Patrick Rue of the Bruery and asked them some questions about yeast and bacteria. They shared with me that they grow their lacto in a starter of preservative free apple juice. I grow mine in the apple juice and left it in my warming oven which sits at about 70F or higher. This would promote the most bacterial growth in the shortest time period. I mash the beer (hops included) and then run off and bring the wort to a boil. I kill the flame and chill to about 80-90F and pitch my bacterial starter. I let that go at it alone for 2-3 days keeping a warming belt on while the bacteria grows. Then I pitch the neutral yeast, and take teh warming belt off. The beer comes out nice and tart with a clean finish and so easy to drink on a hot summer day.

I will probably use the yeast/bacteria cake for a gose, another interesting German Style Wheat!

Recipe: German Pilsner Malt, White Wheat Malt, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, aged cluster hops, and US-05.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lil' Shand Wit Beer(s): A Tale of Two Wits

My best friend's (and long time brewing partner) sister and her husband are having a baby girl. They asked me and my buddy to brew a beer for their coed baby shower next month. We talked at length about who would be attending, the weather, etc. During the early recipe development we didn't know if the baby would be male or female so we put together 3 versions of a wit beer. The first is a traditional wit with coriander, chamomile, and citrus zest. The second in honor of a boy was going to be a blue wit with standard spice additions, but add blueberries in secondary. The third in honor of a little girl would be a pink wit with coriander, pink peppercorns, and hibiscus flowers in secondary. We found out a couple weeks ago that the baby was female and so we decided to brew 10 gallons of wit; 5 that would be
traditional and 5 that would be pink. We did some tasting of Dieu Du Ciel! Rosee D'Hibiscus which was very nice and pink, so we thought let's do this.

We brewed on April 10th, a day after the great brew master and man who brought wit beer back into popularity, Pierre Celis had passed away. A wit beer for a new life as another leaves, pretty deep for a homebrew.
I used the same base wit recipe I have always used in the past. In the traditional version I used coriander, chamomile, the zest of 2 grapefruits, 4 tangerines and 3 homegrown Meyer lemons (3.8 oz total). This blend of citrus zest gives a great bitter and sweet combination that I feel is way better than the Curacao versions.
The pink wit uses coriander for a citrusy fruitiness, pink peppercorns for a sweet zesty citrusy peppery flavor, and hibiscus that will add a tart drying sourness, in addition to a great pink color. For the hibiscus we will be using a steeping method I saw on The Mad
Fermentationist. I think this will give us an ability to make the hibiscus flavor and aroma really pop because very little of the flavor or aromatics will be lost in the boil or the primary fermentation. We can also adjust the color and flavor with this method.

All in all, I wanted two beers that will be three things; 1) A beer that us approachable by people who are more often Macro drinkers (Blue Moon included). 2) A refreshing beer to quench your thirst on a warm May afternoon and 3) a beer that will celebrate my good friends new family member.

On a final note, I would like to thank and remember Pierre Celis for re-establishing wit beer, one of the world's refreshing styles that we almost lost. I raise a glass of New Belgium's Mothership Wit in your honor.

Recipe: Belgian Pilsner, White Wheat, Flaked Oats. Traditional Version: Coriander, Chamomile, Grapefruit, Tangerine, and Meyer Lemon zest. Pink Version: Coriander, Pink Peppercorns, Hibiscus Flowers.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pils-German Pilsner

The painting above is from Max Libermann , a German Impressionist Painter, 1847-1935. The painting is of “Biergarten in Brannenburg”. To me the image evokes warm weather, and the cooling shade of trees as you sip on a crisp and refreshing beer. I can just imaging the people in the painting enjoying glass after glass of a pilsner. It was the inspiration for my pils. I hope to have this beer on tap at the height of the summers heat, as I sit in the shade of my back yard.

I have been on a real pilsner kick lately, even though the weather hasn't been the traditionally warm San Diego spring. In the past two-three months any time I am out and I see a true pilsner on tap, I order one. For some reason they have just been calling to me. I have not brewed that many lagers (4), and most of the attempts have been sub-par at best. I believe my biggest mistake has been the lack of attenuation due to pitching too little yeast. After doing some research this fall when my Octoberfest failed I have found many homebrewers use dry yeast as an alternative to starters made with liquid yeast. I will be testing this out on this batch using Saflager S-23. My luck with dry ale yeast has been great so I hope for the same success with dry lager yeast.

Recipe: German Pilsner Malt, Germna Munich Malt, and US Carapils. Saflager S-23, German Hallartauer at 60 and at 1 minute additions.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Maulee's Mild- A Dark Mild

(Photo credit:

Last December I visited Magnolias Pub and Brewery in the Haight in San Francisco. This great pub and restaurant has wonderful food and even better beers. I have visited this pub twice and I have enjoyed the variety of beers on tap and cask. They seem to focus on lower alcohol English influenced styles, that lend themselves to food very nicely. Last time I was there I enjoyed a couple of pints of cask conditioned Bitters and Milds. The Dark Mild in particular was extremely well balanced and easy to drink. The fact that I had a couple of beers in the middle of the day and wasn't feeling the booze was nice and allowed for more sightseeing.

I decided upon my return from that trip, that I would work on making some lower alcohol English styles ales this year. First up was a Dark Mild. I named this beer after our Calico Cat Maulee, as she is full of attitude (flavor) and yet still very mellow (low abv). It just seemed like a fitting name for a beer shooting for great flavor and low alcohol.

I kegged it up and and poured a glass, the beer was almost exactly what I was looking for, except it seems to be a little too roasty. Not harsh but a little astringent. I'm thinking that this came from the combination of malts that I used, all are described as giving a nuttiness, roastiness, and coffee-like flavors.

Recipe: 60% Marris Otter, 27% Brown Malt, 6% Crystal 120, 3 % Dark Crystal, 3% Turbinado Sugar. Fuggle at 60min, and Fuggle at 20min. White Labs 023- Burton Ale.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Opening Day Pale Ale

Opening Day of Major League Baseball is quickly upon us. The teams are spread out in the warm lower states, mainly Arizona and Flordia getting ready for the season. I have the first week of April off for spring break and Padres home opening day is that week. My buddy got tickets for us so I want to have some beer to drink before we walk down to the stadium to watch the Padres beat the World Champion Giants.

I wanted a beer that is in the style of San Diego Pales and IPAs, light in color and full of late citrusy hops
. I wanted it to be on the lower end of the abv scale so I could drink a few after work while watching the Padres play. I had some Citra hops and wanted to do a 100% Citra pale, but I didn't have enough (only 2oz whole hops) so I used some Nelson Sauvin for the bittering charge. I read an article about Kern River Brewing (who make some awesome Pales/IPAs) who are using Honey malt as a way to add some sweet maltiness, but still allowing for a dry finish. I have started to use thin some of my beers and I have found it works pretty well.

I have also started using dry yeast for any beer where I am not looking for a specific yeast profile. I find that the dry yeast is clean, easy to use (no starter) and attenuates really well. I wish someone would make a dry Saison yeast!

Recipe: 2-Row, Honey Malt, Crystal 40. Nelson Sauvin bittering, Citra (10, 1, Dry Hopped). US-05.

Ancho Amber

I originally created this recipe to be my Christmas beer. It was going to be called Feliz Navidad and be a beer inspired by Mexican Hot Chocolate. I have had this beer in mind for about 3 years and I did a small test batch a few years back. I would incorporate ancho chilies, cocoa nibs/powder, and cinnamon. I figured a malty amber, stout or porter would be a good base to stand up to these flavorful ingredients. I chose an amber to try first and added some chocolate malt and special B to match the chocolate and raisin flavors of cocoa and ancho chilies. When the beer was finished fermenting I racked into the keg and placed 4 large ancho chilies, that were de-stemmed and deseeded to my dry hop bag and placed them into the keg to dry-chile the beer. I had them in the keg for 10 days and then pulled them out and sampled the beer. It was not spicy at all but had a great ancho aroma and flavor. The beer was so great as is that I decided to save the chocolate and other spices for another time. The beer is a big hit with all of my friends and family (including those who are BJCP certified) so I am going to enter it in this years NHC.

I will brew a stout or porter with the anchos, cocoa, and spices for Christmas next year.

Recipe: US Pilnser malt, Germna Dark Munich, White Wheat, Special B, and Chocolate Malt. Check Saaz bitering, and Golding for flavor. US-05. Ancho Chilies.

BRETT!!!!!!! #2

100% Brett claussenii and 100% Nelson Sauvin hopped beer. This is my second all brett, single hop beer. The last batch of BRETT!!! was 100% Brett c. 100% Amarillo and it was an awesome beer. It took 2nd place in the Southwest Regionals at last years NHC, and earned a Honorable Mention in the second round of NHC.

I love this style of beer, last month I finally was able to try Sanctification, Russian Rivers 100% Brett beer. It is dry, tart, funky, fruity and just delicious. I was inspired to make this series of beers by Sean Paxton (The Homebrew Chef), Tomme Arthur (Lost Abbey), Michael Tonsmeire (The Mad Fermentationist), and The Burgundian Babble Belt (100% Brett Discussion). I named them after my big hairy, funky friend Brett, who's mom would yell from the back of the house for him in a gutural BRETTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!! when he failed to complete one of his chores. I plan on continuing to beer this series of beers once a year, changing the brett species, and hops each time.

When I make these beers I stress the yeast so they produce more sour, tart, fruit flavors. I do this by not making a starter and just pitching the pack of yeast. I have had a few 100% brett beers from the Bruery who make a starter and I find them nice but too clean for the flavor profile I am looking for. Sean Paxton used a similar method in his Sonoma Pale Ale, not pitching a starter of Brett a.

In addition, I will be changing the way I post recipes to mimic a new homebrew blog I found called Hopfen Treader. His post are all about the inspiration and background and not recipe, numbers based. I find it a little more fun and easy to read (let alone easier to post). I have decide to post this way because my favorite part of homebrewing is recipe creation (and drinking the final product of course). Let me know what you think.

Recipe: 2-Row, Carapils, Crystal 120. Nelson Sauvin hops (60, 20 Flame out, Wyeast Brett claussenii.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ded Moroz: RIS Tasting Review

I have finally gotten around to doing a tasting of my Russian Imperial Stout; Ded Moroz. Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) is a slavic/Russian character that is a close approximation to Santa Claus or St. Nic. I brewed this beer Christmas of 2009. I know a long time ago even for an imperial stout. I brewed this beer to be a close approximation to North Coast's Old Rasputin. Rasputin is a very well balanced beer and at 9% abv, is on the smaller side of most domestically produced RIS. It is not overly hopped nor too sweet and malty, to me it is a beautifully balanced beer. That is what I shot for when I brewed Ded Moroz. When this beer was young the hop bittnerness was very strong and actually too harsh in my opinion. So, I let it age, and age. About 6 months ago I put a little gas on it to see where it was and wow has it come a long way. I carbed it up this fall and have been stealing small amounts at special times (yes I have been hoarding this batch). I also wanted to bottle a few beers off the tap for comps, so I didn't let too much go. I am entering it into The Bruery's Batch 300 competition and a fireside sipper competition on RateBeer (supposedly BrewDog will brew the winners beer). These are more for fun than anything else. I also want to bottle some for this years NHC, which the finals will be held in my home town of San Diego. I am pretty proud of this beer and if you look at my brew calendar you can see I will be brewing it again in October (if I can wait that long). Now on to the tasting.

Appearance: Jet black with a great dark tan (dark kahki) colored head that is thick and creamy and although it diminishes in size, there is small but dense head that persists.

Aroma: Chocolate and coffee aromas up front followed quickly with dark fruit and a nice vinous-like characteristic to finish. Low to no hop aroma, and light alcohols. Very well balanced.

Taste: Dark Roasted malts, dark chocolate, hop bitterness, and warming alcohol all dominate in a nice balance. The roast chocolate flavors dominate and are followed by an alcohol warm and some fruitiness. As the beer warms the vinous characteristic fades. The finish is dry, roasty and has a slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: The beer is creamy and rich, but not cloying. Low carbonation that makes the beer creamy.

Drinkability: For a bigger beer, it is easy to drink. As it warms the bigger flavors take over and it becomes harder to drink, but for the style it is very well balanced.