Friday, May 25, 2012

Partial Mash Day

I brew solo most of the time. I tend to brew on random nights after work, Mondays or Tuesdays. If I am sure that I will brew I have my starter going a few days ahead of time. Maybe I get sidetracked and throw it in the fridge. Usually I have it planned out a bit though.

Lately I have been enjoying brewing with someone else. I've been brewing with The Heal Brother's every month now since November. Yesterday, I brewed with the first person to get me into homebrewing. Tim brews 5 gallon extract batches. Last year, one year ago, we brewed an all grain Amarillo Pale Wheat. This year we decided to brew again, almost a year ago to the day. Memorial Day weekend 2012 was a partial mash year. But yet again, a single hop year. Tim has the best homegrown hop system that I've seen. I counted sixteen, 25-30ft lines spanning across his homestead stretching up the side of the house, or up the newest contraption dubbed, Good Ship Hoppy Hop or Hopistad (Amistad). Yes, it looks like a ship.

I forgot how fun Partial Mashes can be. Granted we did use 6lbs of grain on what should be a pretty decent Citra Pale Ale. The well water on the property is outstanding. I get so use to filtered Philadelphia water that I forgot that something so delicious still comes out to the earth as close to as 50 miles from my house. This is a low gravity beer, session-like beer. I am hoping to have it bottled in 3 weeks.

Citra Pale Ale
2 Row, Wheat, Victory, Crystal 40, Carapils
Citra Hops
Monocacy Water
California Ale Yeast

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mini-Micro-Session IPA

Working on The Heal Brother's
 Brew Rig. Photo by J.K. Slingluff.

Philly Beer Week is approaching. A few months ago fellow brew collaborator, Julian Heal and I were asking to participate in a couple events, the 3rd Annual Oakmont Cup and a Homebrew Tasting Night at The Slingluff Gallery. I've been anxious for both. The Oakmont Cup isn't a sanctioned contest, but it is a nice opportunity to semi-compete for patron's palates. A little alliteration goes a long way. Every year the contest is about one beer style only. Belgians take the cake in 2012.

For the Homebrew Night at The Slingluff Gallery we aimed to take it low. A low gravity treat with hops to knock your socks off (Keep your feet off the walls, it's an art gallery). The gallery is right in the midst of Barcade, Johnny Brendas, Memphis Taproom, Kraftworks, and an on going list. There will be plenty of events ending Philly Beer Week, but this just so happens to fall on the The Slingluff Gallery Anniversary, and with beer running the city for a week we shot for brew that won't put you face down on the concrete as you make your rounds around town.

The Oakmont Cup is on Tuesday, June 5th from 7pm-9pm in Havertown, PA.
The Slingluff Gallery Event is Saturday, June 9th. TBA.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Imperial Black Ale

I've got about a week to go before I bottle this one. The past few months have been devoted to brewing Belgians and I am in need of a well hopped American IPA. This beer was my first time fermenting on a yeast cake. It was everything that you have read about. It took off in about 2 hours and was vigorous for about 4 solid days. I didn't hit my original gravity, 1.102, but at 1.094 I was still pretty pleased. My worry came from pitching a 3 gallon batch onto the cake from a 5 gallon batch and getting some off flavors from stress. I also adding a bit of dextrose at high krausen. I was pleased to find out a week later that everything when fine. I did get great attenuation and 2 months later it is sitting at around 9.8%. I am excited for a first tasting post.
Sweet Honey: Joyce Hemsley

'Good Morning hairy bumble bee
Have you stopped by to talk with me?
You seem to be in a frantic rush
Humming and buzzing from bush to bush.

A little bird told me the story
At the end of summer you must die,
I will miss your yellow striped body
Humming and buzzing and drifting by.

But please, don't ever try to sting me.
Because if you do, you'll surely die
And I would be so full of sorrow...
So bumble bee, don't even try!

Just peacefully collect the nectar
From your favorite summer flower
And I will live in gratitude
As your sweet honey I devour.'

Imperial Black IPA
Maris Otter, 2 Row, Crystal 80, Carafa III, Chocolate, Orange Blossom Honey
Columbus, Motueka, Citra, Galaxy
American Ale 2


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Birthday Beer List

Sign for Shawnee Craft Brewing Brewpub

Shawnee Craft Brewing: Bourban Barrel Porter
Shawnee Craft Brewing: Double Pale Ale
Saint Somewhere: Lectivo Devinia
Allagash Brewing Co: Curieux
Farmers Cabinet: American Nightmare
Stillwater Artisan: Existent
Saint Somewhere: Saison Anthene
Ithica Brewing Co: Flower Power
Clown Shoes: Supa Hero Double IPA
Flying Dog: Cujo
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan: Maracaibo Especial
Stillwater Artisan: As Follows
St. Fuellien: Blonde
Dark Horse: Double Crooked Tree
Goose Island: Matilda
Monks Cafe: Flemish Red
Earth, Bread and Brewery: Amerella
Earth, Bread and Brewery: Pale Ale
Brooklyn Brewing Co. The Companion
Stillwater Artisan: Debutant (Bottle)

My birthday was a few weeks ago. I treat that week like a vacation. I like to go to my favorite places and hit up some new ones as well. This year's list included an old hometown brewpub, Shawnee Craft, as well as my around the corner and through the woods spot, Earth, Bread and Brew and includes tap lists from Bookstore Speakeasy, Boilermaker, Union Jacks on the Manatawny, Barcade, Kraftworks, Belgian Cafe, and Old Eagle. I even made time to brew and hit up Yards for a brew tour.

Every beer on this list stands out to me so I am not picking a favorite. Stillwater's As Follows was pretty amazing and was a huge influence on my last brew session. I have read about five different discriptions of this beer and I will throw it in the ring to contend as a Strong Belgian American Pale. It weighed in around 9% and that is where that description throws a monkey wrench in wording of, American Pale.

Bookstore Speakeasy in Bethlehem should be a trip for every beer lover in and around Philly. Brought to you by the people at Farmer's Cabinet and Boilermaker, it was around before defunct Fork and Barrel and paired nicely with Tap and Table's Emmaus farmhouse atmosphere. Yes, Tap and Table, defunct as well. Bookstore is on a side street behind a metal door stamped with the establishments name. Walk in through the doorway and there you have books galore in a tiny room with a podium and hostess. You'll find yourself led through velvet curtains into a tiny ceiling space with jazz bouncing across the room. The tap list is small. I believe 6 at most, but for my visit included Saint Somewhere, a few Mikkeller's, a rare to find Hitachino and a Darkhorse. Think Fork and Barrel more than Farmer's Cabinet. It is delightful.

Happy Belated to me.