Saturday, November 27, 2010

Old Friends, New Friends

It's so hard to say goodbye. A couple of weeks ago I learned that Flying Dog would be discontinuing the 21-year old Wild Goose line of beers. Wild Goose was a creation of the original Frederick brewing company which was purchased several years ago by Flying Dog. Apparently Flying Dog needs more space in the brewery to grow the Flying Dog brand. My favorite Wild Goose brew is their winter seasonal, Snow Goose. After checking for it this year at Norm's, I was informed that the final batch of Snow Goose would only be distributed in MD. While in Mason Dixon line state for Thanksgiving I stopped by the Perfect Pour to pick up a few things you can't get in Virginia. While there I came across Snow Goose and had to pick up a sixer for old times sake.

Last weekend I didn't have time to brew, but I still felt the urge to ferment something (it's a sickness). So I thought I'd try my hand at another cider. Cider is incredibly easy to "brew." A couple of gallons of organic cider and yeast is about all that's needed. Last night I decided to throw in a third ingredient, a quart of cranberries. Why a quart? Why not. I think I will finish this off with about a pound of turbinado sugar to add some residual sweetness and rummy undertones.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Gift Idea

For the men in your life. Guaranteed to please. Nothing says I love you better than a side saddle for a man's brew. See the following link for details.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hokie Victory, IPA Joy, and Carbonation Woe

Mrs. HolzBrew and I had some friends over to watch VT play UNC on ESPN. The game was fantastic, despite an early Carolina lead the Hokies came roaring back in the third quarter and that's all she wrote. As Natie always reminds me, we are a second half team.

The VT game was a great chance to unleash the Hopping Mad IPA and see what everyone thought. For the most part the reviews were positive. Most people went back for seconds, or even thirds. Lot's of citrusy flavors and all around hoppiness!

At half time I broke out a bottle of my holiday ale, reindeer games. Again I think it was well received. It is a Golden Strong ale in a similar vein to Duvel. I also broke out a bottle of our Noir Favorite Ale (a belgian dark ale blended with Framboise). I corked the bottles two weeks ago and they weren't exactly carbonated yet. We'll have to see if a couple more weeks does the trick or will I need to take more extreme measures? Hopefully the yeast is just slow moving. Otherwise it will be a pain in the arse to pitch new yeast in such a small batch (only a 2.5 gallon batch) and then recork the bottles.

Let's go Hokies,


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hopping Mad

A couple of pictures from kegging the Hopping Mad IPA. The first picture is a shot of the left over dry hops in the fermenter and the fresh whole leaf dry hops added to the keg. The second picture was taken while checking the finishing gravity, which is done to calculate the ABV %. Isn't it beautiful? The Hopping Mad ABV came in around 7.7% ABV.

Keep it hoppy,


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Been Brewing

I haven’t been blogging much lately. There, I said it. Why? I’ve been busy brewing:

1) A few weeks ago I corked the 2010 HolzBrew Holiday Ale, dubbed “Reindeer Games.” This was my first experience using a corker, but after a test run it was pretty easy to figure out. I basically followed the steps laid out in the following excellent article in BYO magazine.
If you brew and are interested in presentation, investing in a corker is the way to go. I think for something like a Holiday Ale that you pass out to friends and family as gifts, it really makes your homebrew unique.

The beer is a Belgian strong golden ale that I brewed back in July and subsequently lagered for approximately two months. I understand that Duvel-Moorgat lagers Duvel and I hope to emulate some of the fantastic flavors you find in that beer.

2) A few months back I was inspired to focus on brewing Belgian ales after reading Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus (a great gift for the holidays), an excellent book for those interested in trying their hand at Belgian brewing. To contrast with Reindeer Games, I brewed a Belgian dark strong ale a few weeks later. My main inspirations for this ale were St Bernardus Abt 12 and Ommegang Three Philosophers. The end result is probably leaning more toward Three Philosophers as the beer definitely has a fruity-raspberry kick. Long story short, I bottled that beer this weekend and am eagerly waiting for an opportunity to crack one open.

3) About two months ago I brewed an Extra Stout. This is currently on tap at la casa HolzBrew. I dry hopped the keg with 3 ounces of cracked espresso beans, which really imparts a fresh coffee flavor. I love dry hopping kegs and I'm not sure why it me until recently to start doing this.

4) About 5 weeks ago I decided to get back to my roots and brew up a good 'ole fashion tongue scorching IPA for kegging sometime in the next couple of weeks. This is the first time I have brewed an IPA with something other than California Ale yeast. I decided to branch out and try some yeast from the other side of the pond, Ringwood Ale Yeast. I hopped with a combination of Centennial, Simcoe, and Warrior hops. The IBUs on this thing is off the charts, can't wait!

5) This past weekend I brewed up a batch of lambic. I stuck pretty closely to a partial mash recipe that I found online. This brew should be done fermenting sometime in 2012 (no kidding), so I'll have to exercise some patience. I'm already planning on splitting the batch and bottling some of it unblended and blending the other half of the batch with Marionberries (that's right, there is a berry that shares it's name with the infamous DC mayor).

That's the basic run down of brewing operations over the last month. I'll keep up the blog better in November. Go Hokies!