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!