Well, it just occurred to me that I have a blog out there in the inter-aether that I haven’t given any attention to in quite a while. I was all the more embarrassed when I took a look to find that I haven’t posted anything in nearly a year.
OK, a lot has changed in that year. I am less of a hobby/home brewer than I used to be. I now work for Goose Island Beer Company by day and study professional brewing at the Siebel Institute of Technology by night. I’m spread pretty thin, but am very excited about what the future holds for me.
As for homebrewing, I still do as much as I can with what little time is leftover. I have been experimenting with different versions of my (award winning, ahem) porter recipe. I am working on a Baltic porter variation as well. Right now, I have my Munich/Oktoberfest lager bubbling away in primary. It’s been bubbling for close to 3 weeks and doesn’t show signs of slowing. Boy, oh boy, lager brewing requires patience.
I have begun planning and preparing for my Bucktoberfest II party. If there is any particular style of beer you’d like to see on tap, let me know and I’ll consider it. So far this is what I have in mind…
porter (probably 2 variations)
Bohemian lager (if I have the time)
Some sort of summery american wheat
I’m not going to make any promises about more frequent blog posts. I’ll try to be more on top of this though.
I’ve got a new brew coming along beautifully.Â Hamburger Mary’s Rec Room brewery is having a brew-off in July, so I put pencil to paper and sketched out a nice summer Cream Ale magnified to pre-prohibition scale—Stronger,Â hoppier, I even threw in a good chunk of unmalted rye to dry it out and add a little spice.Â We’re looking at 30-35 IBUs of Cluster, Mt. Hood, and Liberty.Â I’m also planning on dry hopping it when I rack.Â More Mt. Hood and Liberty?Â Probably.Â I’ve got some left over Saaz that I might introduce as well.Â I dry hopped with about an once of Saaz in my last beer and it added something almost majestic to the flavor.Â Definitely something I want to experiment more with in the future.Â I’ll post the recipe when I’m at my home computer and have a moment.
Memorial Day weekend was a blast.Â I brought a keg of my Spotted Cow inspired beer to a party at friend’s place, and those 5 gallons went quick.Â It was a perfect hot summer afternoon beer, though the relatively high, but barely noticeable, 6% abv might have snuck up on some.
Ok.Â Now we begin working on the Oktoberfest beers.Â I may also throw a dry-hopped amber lager like Brooklyn Lager into the line-up.
I got second place in the porter category.Â Not bad for a national competition.
Well, I really want to get rolling on my Oktoberfest batches, but I’m a push-over.Â A friend and I are planning a July/August beer & pizza party:Â I brew the beer, he makes the pizza.Â I large handful of my friends just love New Glarus’ Spotted Cow and have implored me to reconstruct the beer for them.Â I am not shooting for an exact clone here (don’t tell them), but Spotted Cow is a fun summer beer, so a similar Cream Ale/KÃ¶lsch hybrid will be a fun project.Â I hit the local brew shop yesterday and got the fixins.Â This will be my first try at brewing with corn and unmalted barley, so it will be a learning experience, I’m sure.Â I will share my recipe Saturday morning, as I get it all set up and ready to brew.
In other news, I finally took the plunge and bought myself a grain mill at Brew & Grow yesterday.Â I’m pretty excited.Â Since I graduated to all-grain, I have been taking advantage of the mills available at the store for customers to use.Â This, of course, means that I’m relying on somebody else’s mill adjustments and largely rushing through the process—there’s usually a line.Â I really feel like this will improve the quality of my brews, in addition to simply making life a bit easier.Â Plus, I’m going to rig a drill up to the cam, so that I don’t have to kill myself spinning that crank for 20 minutes straight.
I’ve got a few Oktoberfest and other German lager recipes coming together right now, but I think my next brew is going to be a clone of Goose Island’s Demolition for my wife.Â I’ve tried a few Belgian styles in the past with marginal luck.Â I’ve been a bit too experimental.Â I’m taking it easy on this one.Â The grain bill is simple, the hop schedule is simple, and I’m going to get it rolling with a bit yeast starter.Â I think I’ve got a good handle on the flavor I’m shooting for.Â My color might just end up a little deeper.Â I’m sure she’s going to like it though.
I’ve got my ticket and the day off of work.Â Next Monday is going to be a blast.Â I’m hoping to taste a number of great beers, meet a lot of great people, and maybeâ€”if I’m luckyâ€”make some progress towards an internship.Â I’ve got business cards with a summary of my resume on the back, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that some brewmasters and other movers and shakers are there for me to distribute them to.
Check it out here.
My Robust Porter won first place in the Babble Homebrew Brew-Off.Â I knew that I liked it, but it’s nice to have my feelings validated.Â Yippee!
After a week of steady fermentation, my American Pale Ale has slowed down enough (a bubble from the airlock every couple of minutes) that I decided to dry hop with the last 0.5 oz of Cascade pellets that I had left over from the brew.Â I have had problems in the past dry hopping with pellets because they break apart and get everywhere.Â The result is a not very clean beer.Â So what I decided to do this time is to bag the pellets up.Â I used 3 unbleached coffee filters, briefly dropped into some boiling water to sanitize.Â I split the hops up between the filters.Â Then I tied them up with some dental floss (not the mint flavored stuff!) that I had also dropped in the boiling water briefly.Â The bags fit into the mouth of my carboy with no trouble, though I’m a bit worried about how I’m going to get them out.Â The bags are floating on top of the beer right now, so I’m not sure how much contact there is, or how much extraction there will be.Â Hopefully enough.Â But since I only used half an ounce to begin with, I’m not expecting anything dramatic.
I’ll let you know how it all turns out.Â So far, the beer looks great.Â Good color, vigorous ferment, and my temperature control has been good—I kept the fridge at 64 degrees.Â I am excited for a delicious tasting beer.Â Hopefully a contest winner.
Goose Island’s new Green Line American Pale Ale is delicious.Â Period.Â On the low end of bitterness for the style, Goose Island doesn’t skimp on hop presence, with loads of citrusy hop flavor and inviting aroma.Â At 5% abv, it’s another Goose Island offering that makes for a reasonable session beer.Â Best of all, the brew has been formulated and produced with environmental concerns given a great deal of attention.Â It’s a great tasting beer that you can feel good about drinking.
Check out Goose Island’s carbon footprint report here (based on the impact of a keg of 312)
And if you found that to be good reading, you can check out New Belgium’s here.