Saturday, April 23, 2011

The curious case of the dry hops

I found myself racking a red seal clone I brewed a few weeks back into secondary this afternoon. And it occurred to me that I need to hit up the secondary fermentation with some dry hops. Dry hopping is a pretty simple process, just add hops to the secondary ferementer after racking. People talk about dry hopping like its some sort of an art form, but it is a simple procedure used to hit the wort with one last blast of fresh hop goodness. If done right it will add hop aroma with a very fresh quality. If done wrong it can introduce harsh grassy and vegetal notes to the finished product.

Brynildson (of Firestone-Walker) says that three to four days of dry hopping is optimal. Cilurzo (of Russian River) believes the appropriate time to be 7 to 14 days. Regardless, keep your dry hopping to less than 2 weeks and you will be good to go.

How do you hop?


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some cities

Some cities just aren't beer destinations. I've been in Miami for a few days and the craft brew options at the restaurants I patroned were more or less nothing. I managed to find the only brewpub in Miami Beach (however, I don't think they brew on premises), Abbey Brewing Company. Despite what is listed on the website, they only had one self-brewed beer available, an IPA. After telling this to Meg she said that they weren't really a brewery, but rather an IPA-ery. The brew wasn't half bad, but not hoppy to really be considered an IPA.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

always plan ahead for a brew day ... unless you don't

The day got filled with things. Trips to the mall, grocery, and the gym that made it look like another Saturday without brewing. With Sunday in sight i had already planed to fill that day with non-fun things like work and homework, maybe a jog if i was lucky. So the lady and i were planning a quiet dinner at the house, complete with netflix. Then it dawned on me. i could start brewing now and possibly pull it off. i had ingredients for two very different brews, a flanders red, and a hoppy red ale. i didn't have the spare time to do the partial mash that was required for the flanders, so i pushed ahead with the hoppy red. Extract for the base no doubt due to the time crunch. 6 oz. of 80l crystal malt for flavor and color. 6 oz. of carapils for head retention. i also added one pound of wheat to add to the light body and head retention. cluster hops for the bittering. then wave after wave, like an unstoppable rebel force, of late cascade hop additions. currently this beautiful red head is coolimg down to pitching levels where she will be greeted by two packets of us-05 california ale yeast. and then dry hopped a week from now with more glorious cascade hops, then consumed 4 weeks from now.

the inspiration for this brew was red seal ale. i think i will call it red dawn.

i wear my sunglasses at night when i'm brewing.


Friday, April 8, 2011

rye fox

Stopped at Mad Fox for dinner. They had their wee heavy aged in rye barrels on draft. Very interesting. The rye accentuated the natural smokiness of the brew but also made the beer very dry. I personally enjoy their regular wee heavy more, but it was worth trying. if you like scottish ales then you should give it a try.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Port(er) City?

In case you hadn't heard, Alexandria's got a brewery, Port City Brewing. I haven't had the opportunity to try all of the brews, but I can attest that their porter is particularly delicious. Full-bodied and roasty, this ain't no wussy watery porter. This one is strong enough to carry the American Porter moniker proudly.

Further, it is guaranteed to make Economics homework infinitely more interesting.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The difference between gueuze and lambic

If you are into the sour or wild ales like myself you might find the flavor profile of gueuze and lambic to be similar. And for good reason, gueuze is a blend of one -, two -, and three - year old lambics.

First, the lambic that I am discussing is not the fruit blended kind, such as kreik or framboise. Nope, I'm talking about the slap you across the face, apologetically raw form, that is traditional lambic. In general it is somewhat rare to find traditional lambic outside of Belgium. Lambic is generally not fully matured until it has fermented at least 2 years and even then, much like wine, it can be aged successfully for 10 - 20 years.

Gueuze is a blend of young and old lambic. The young lambic may only be fermented for 6 - 8 months, while the old lambic can be 2 - 3 years old. Lambic is flat or uncarbonated, whereas gueuze is effervescent. Gueuze develops its carbonation in the bottle naturally by re-fermenting the sugars left in the young lambic.

Well that's just barely scratching the surface on these two beer styles. More will have to come at a later time. If you are feeling adventurous, go out and try some sours, but don't drink them too cold, they are to be savored like good wine.


PS - I got a call this week from the NHC saying that 3 of my 5 entries showed up destroyed. Bummer. However, they did allow me to reship three new bottles, hopefully they made it alright.