Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Few Beer Updates

This week has been a cold and snowy one. Luckily there have been some good beers to keep me warm!

This past Wednesday I headed into the home brew shop to get a couple more vials of yeast for some upcoming brews. I picked up one each of the White Labs 400 and the 500 (Wit and Trappist yeast)

Later that evening I got a call from our UPS driver asking me to come down the driveway and sign for my package. My next shipment of beer-of-the-month had come in!

I got beers from Smuttynose (FinestKind IPA and Robust Porter) and Mustang Brewing (American Lager and Winter Lager) So far I've gotten a chance to try the Robust Porter and the Winter Lager. I was really impressed with the winter lager. Dark and chocolatey, but had that smooth easy drinking lager characteristic. The robust porter was really good too. A nice rich style that I enjoy quite a bit, and Smuttynose never disappoints!

Friday it was time to brew again. It was crazy cold outside, but I stayed warm inside the garage, mostly.        I milled my grains, mashed-in, sparged, boiled, cooled, and pitched my yeast. At the end I had 5 gallons of Witbier ready to ferment.

My recipe was:
45% Pilsner Malt
41% Flaked Wheat
9% Flaked Oats
2% Munich Malt
3% Rice Hulls

31 grams Hallertauer Hops for 60 Minutes
I threw in some Coriander, Orange Peel, and Chamomile at the end of the boil too. It smelled pretty awesome!

(I didn't take any pics of my brew day, it was too cold! But heres my dueling carboys)

The yeast is working it's magic on both of my beers, so hopefully I'll have them ready to drink soon!

Hope your all staying warm and having a great beer filled week out there!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First Brew of 2014!

Yesterday I got my first brew in of 2014!

My lovely wife got me a gift card to Northern Brewer for Christmas, and I knew exactly what to get. I ordered up a grain mill and my first order of bulk grains and started planning my first brew.

Deciding I'm going to focus on Belgian styles this year, I decided my first brew would be a Belgian Pale Ale.

My grain bill was:
91% Belgian Pilsner Malt
7% Caramunich
2% Biscuit Malt

Next it was time to mash. I overshot my temp a bit. I mashed for 60 minutes at 154 (was supposed to have been 152)

I collected my wort, started my 90 minute boil and added my hops. (East Kent Goldings. 1.22 oz 60 minute and .29 oz 0 minute)

Now it's up to the yeast

I can't wait for this to finish up so I can try it out. Hopefully if any of you are into brewing you've had a chance to brew something up this year. Let us know what you've got fermenting!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grains are pouring in!

My first delivery of grains came in today. Getting ready for my first brew of 2014. Any guesses as to what it might be?

I picked up my yeast from the LHBS (Local Home Brew Shop) yesterday, now I'm just waiting to get the rest of my grain and my new grain mill!

I'll post a picture of my grains and mill when they come in. Hopefully by the end of the week.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

What a Week!

This has been a fast and furious beer week. So I thought I'd better take a minute to recap some of the things that have been going on this week.

After the BJCP Style Session on Sour Beers, we held our monthly UNYHA meeting. As always it was great. Lot's of people in attendance, lots of great homebrew and a few great commercial beers that were passed around. Special thanks to our beer hunters who brought some beer back from Wicked Weed this month. Their Milk and Cookie Stout was phenomenal!!!!

At the meeting, I got to talking with a fellow homebrewer, and he invited me over for a brew session on Friday. We put together an Imperial Stout (see, I said this month was for Imperial Stouts!) and brewed it up on his awesome custom-built brew system. Check out his set-up and more at LüBrü. We had a great time brewing and the beer hit all the numbers and smelled awesome, I can't wait to try it!

Continuing on Saturday, we ventured out to do some shopping, which was good for me because it took us close to AJ's Beer Warehouse who just so happened to be hosting a tasting by one of my favorite local breweries Abandon Brewing,

I picked up a few bottles and tried some awesome brews from Abandon, including a Belgian Quad. If you aren't familiar, a Belgian Quad and a Belgian Dark Strong are similar in most ways, and completely delicious. Dark candy, fruits, and rich malts come together in this amazing brew. I was very happy to have gotten to try it!

I'm about half-way though my growler of Abandon's Farmhouse Saison, which is fantastic, so I need to get beck to that. I hope you all are having a great beer-week. Let us know what special brews you got into, or where beer took you this week.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

BJCP Category 17 - Sour Ale

Very few things could get me out of the house when the weather drops below 0, but one of those things is beer. Last night my homebrew club UNYHA had a BJCP (Beer Judges Certification Program) style session, and the beer in the crosshairs is a very unique, creative, mis-understood, and often times delicious, sour ales.

The category is split into 6 categories:
17A-Berliner Weisse
17B-Flanders Red
17C-Flanders Brown
17D-Straight Unblended Lambic
17F-Fruit Lambic

Thomas, one of our beer judges and leaders of the BJCP teaching program put together an amazing collection of beers for us to try, many of which I'd never had before. Think of these beers as refreshing, sour, but not too much. Imagine a very dry white wine with different fruit and body complexity.

Trying all of these sour beers got me thinking, it might be time for me to try my hand at making one of these beers and seeing how it goes. Stay tuned for an update on that, and all of my brewing. It's been far too long since I've put fire to my brew kettle.

Special thanks to The Old Toad for being such amazing hosts. This is one of my favorite pubs in Rochester, so if you are ever in the area, let me know and we can go in for a pint!


Monday, January 6, 2014

A Stout for Cold Seasons

Today as I was driving to the grocery store in the quickly plummeting temperatures (wind chills are supposed to hit -35f by tomorrow) I decided that the beers I'd be focusing on for the rest of January were going to be something that could warm me up and keep me happy as we grind through winter. That beer is the Russian Imperial Stout.

According to the BJCP (Beer Judging Certification Program) Style Guidelines, this beer was originally brewed to a high gravity to make the trip from England to the Baltic States and Russia.

One of the things I really love about the Russian Imperial Stout is the complex flavors that are produced by a good example of the beer. Chocolates, Coffee, and rich fruits come together in a heavy mouthfeel that is never too sweet and very drinkable.

I'm definitely not planning on having one of these every day, heck they clock in at 8-10%ABV, but when the winds are howling and the snow is blowing, you'll probably find me kicked back, sipping away at one of these delicious treats.

Check in with me on Untappd to see what I'm  drinking, and stop back here. I'll be sharing a few notes and more pictures of these beers and any others that are doing the job this winter!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

It will always be Beer-Mas in our hearts!

I decided in the spirit of the holiday's, that I would keep on myself Christmas beers that is. As it turns out there are a lot more than 25 great Christmas beers out there, so I may have tried a few more over the course of the past month I wanted to catch up on.

In no particular order they are:

12 Dogs of Christmas by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Frosted Frog by Hoppin' Frog Brewery
Noel de Calabaza by Jolly Pumpkin
Old Man by Southern Tier
Rudy's Spiced Christmas Ale by Matt Brewing Company (Saranac)
Celebration 2013 by Sierra Nevada
Sled Dog Doppelbock by Wagner Valley
Winter Hook #29 by Redhook Ale Brewery
Winter Lager by Samuel Adams
Winter Welcome Ale 2013 - 2014 by Samuel Smith Old Brewery

There were also a few from Belgium that were fantastic and representative of some of my favorite beers and breweries in the world!

Affligem Noël by Affligem Brewery
Gouden Carolus Noël by Brouwerij Het Anker
Delirium Noël by Brouwerij Huyghe
N'Ice Chouffe by Brasserie d'Achouffe

I think that should about take care of all the Christmas beers in the beer fridge (except a bottle of Mad Elf that I'm saving for a rainy day!) Hopefully all of you got to try as many Christmas beers as you wanted this holiday season. Let us know which ones you loved, and which ones you didn't. Which ones were special, and which ones you hope you get to try next year!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy Brew Year!

Or is that, Happy New Beer? Anyways, just wanted to wish everyone a safe, happy, and healthy 2014.

Thanks for stopping by, hopefully everyone had some pretty great beers to ring out 2013. If you had something really special, let us know in the comments!