Sunday, October 28, 2012

Barrel Project

Photo by a G.L.U.B member

Yesterday was a Multi-Club Group Barrel Project put on by Keystone Homebrew. My club participated in filling our Bourbon Barrel with an Allagash Curieux Clone. The day was pretty much perfect for brewing and every once in a while it is great to wake up at 7am and get started. A little over a dozen clubs were involved from all over the area. Beer was poured by Round Guys and Free Will and food was served by Iron Abbey and a few others. Checking out other brewer's setups is fun for me. When brewing solo I am pretty simple. I heat up my strike water in my mash tun, dough in and insulate if needed. My SS mash tun loses about 1 degree in a 60 min mash and 2-3 degrees in a 75 to 90 min mash. I fly sparge with a whirly-gig and boil as normal (unless I have a high hop amounts going in and I use a SS Hop Spider). Five gallon batches are easy this way. But with 13 or so clubs and 5-10 club members per group, there were plenty of propane burners, single tier rigs, 10 gallon kettles, 55 gallon kettles and everything in between. The gist of this project is that we collect from the barrel is that it will part of a giant club night event at NHC in Philly next year. I don't have the complete low down on how long it stays in the barrel.

One of my last posts ended with my eagerness for the Farmer's Cabinet Tamarind Brew Challenge. The event changed a few weeks prior to the date and ended up turning into a tasting at Keystone. The date didn't work for me and even though it was a friendly-style competition to start with I never entered my beer. It was a Tamarind Brown Ale with a few Belgian specialty malts in there as well.

My end result on the Tamarind wasn't really what I was shooting for. My original intention was to brew a few different styles and go from there. I slacked. I brewed other beers that  I had planned. I don't know why. I ended up brewing 2 sours and I have nothing but time to sit an wait on those. I had a British Yeast in mind for this one. I picked up a pack and it was pretty old. I had my doubts from the start. It was one of those decisions that homebrewers make that seems even more wrong when you walk out the door of the brew shop. I put in on the stir plate for 36 hours with little to develop. I probably could have stepped it up a few times. Instead I hoped and pitched. The next morning was a sad morning. A sad Monday morning with the only Homebrew shop open an hour away. I gave it a few more hours, but I wasn't going to kid myself. So Nottingham Yeast it was. I am not blaming the yeast on this brew. In fact I was pleased and intrigued after a vigorous fermentation. The tamarind was super noticeable. Maybe too prominent, but I didn't care. I thought it would fade in time. It did. At this point I am letting it sit a bit. Maybe my taste buds will come around. I can't put my finger on the issue with it. I want to say oxidation and thought my Brew Club would agree with me. There is nothing like a group of brewers palates to find the flaw. No one picked up on the oxidation. Most said it was a fine session beer. I am almost out of the last few bottles of them and that is just fine with me.

But a las. My art opening at Sweet Mabel Folk Art is 6 days away. The Oatmeal Stout is ready to be kegged. In the meantime Jules and I found the time to brew up a Dark and Hoppy Harvest Ale. I haven't had to much time to sample it out of the fermenter, but we dry hopped it the other day and 8ozs of uncarbed, deep brown, slightly murky and beautifully hopped beer looked nearly ready. Tracy at Sweet Mabel did mention her fondness for IPAs. I hope this one makes the show. The grain bill on this started out like a Black IPA minus the roast and it's currently the color of a Victory Yakima Glory.

Curieux Clone
Belgian Pilsner Malt, Carapils and Dextrose
Hallertau and Tettnang  Hops
WLP 550 and Wyeast Belgian Ardennes Blend

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