Thursday, October 28, 2010

2 year old Kriek finally kegged and ready to drink!

I was hoping to get a chance to homebrew this week, but alas, it wasn't in the cards. I did however get a lager yeast started on a stirplate, and next week I'll brew the first of a series of lagers that I am very excited about.

Since Clarissa's birthday is coming up on Saturday, I decided to take some samples of various things that I've had going so we could decide what to serve for her birthday beer. The first beer I sampled was the amber farmhouse ale we brewed together for her birthday, but it was obvious that it was still not ready. The brett C hasn't done much, and I'm sure it will be good, but it needs a few more months. And it might get some cherries since I still have an ass-pile in the freezer taking up room. The trippel was also pretty good, but what was really, really good was the Flanders red-kriek. So that's what we decided to put on, and when her real birthday beer is done, maybe we will just bottle it.

The kriek started off as a Flanders Red, which I brewed in Brooklyn with Ray in August of 2008. I kegged it before we moved to Portland, and even served some before deciding that it was just a little too lackluster and needed some extra souring. I still had about 4 gallons of beer, which I topped off with a little Belgian Dark Strong and some of the new Flanders red brewed with Al B's bug blend. I added a bunch of fresh cherries and some oak chips almost 3 months ago, and I am finally happy with the flavor.

Once it's carbonated I'll be sure to do a full tasting. I feel like it could use a little more malt background and a touch more sourness, but overall I am very happy with it, and the cherry flavor couldn't be better. The color is amazing, such a bright, clear cherry-red! It is probably the best sour beer I have done so far.

I also kegged up the Rye beer I did 3 weeks ago, and I honestly don't know what I think about it. It only dropped to 1.016, and i was hoping to get it at least 3 points lower. Also the hops were not that pronounced, and there was a tannic tea flavor to the beer, but I usually find that drops out after a week in the keg. So we'll see, I will try to get a tasting of that up in the next week too.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

First brew in the new "man-cave": Rye-Amarillo Pale Ale

My friend Ryan came over the other day to check out my new digs and help out with a batch of homebrew. He has a few batches of homebrew under his belt, but he had never seen an all-grain brewday or brewed with anyone else, so I hope he had a good time and learned a bit (and remembers it after all that drinking, man that guy is a lush!)

I'm still in the process of getting moved in and set up at the new house, but in the mean time I thought I would kick things off with a nice, simple beer that will hopefully be very tasty and drinkable. It's a recipe that, if it turns out well, I would like to pitch to Carston and Eric as something we could brew at Alameda. Even though this recipe is pretty straightforward, I just figured my best shot at getting it brewed would be to come to them with a finished product that we could scale up, and make improvements if we think there should be any.

So, this is the new man-cave. It is not attached to the house which unfortunately means that you can't gab a beer in your socks. It is also very uninsulated, and I fear that the kegerator will be quite cold during the coldest winter months, and brewing during that time might be a hand-numbing bitch. But my ultimate goal is to make it into a place where homebrewing can be a fun, relaxing hobby I do on my off days, instead of the labor-intensive brewdays I have done in the past. Including the homebrew, I have gotten in 4 brewdays this week, so when you brew for work you don't really want to be coming home to something that just ends up being a labor-some chore.

I need to put in some kind of basic sink or wash tub, and insulate my small stainless mash tun which used to fit in the oven to stay warm. After that, I might invest a small amount of cash to get my 10 gallon system a little more workable.

Here's Ryan tenderly measuring out some hops...

Rye-Amarillo Pale ale
Brewed on 10/6/10
Recipe is for 6.5 gallons pre-boil, 5.8 gallons post-boil, all grain
O.G. 1.056 F.G. 1.016 ABV 5.3% IBU's 41

9 lb. organic pale malt
10 oz. Munich
10 oz. C-60
1.25 lb. Rye malt

All hops are Amarillo pellets 8.2% AA
24 gr. at 60 min
28 gr. at 15 min
28 gr. at 0 min
34 gr. dry hopped, loose in primary, on 10/11/10

Mash in 4 gallons water + 3 tsp burton salts to 152 for one hour
Efficiency 77%
Boil 60 minutes
Rest 15 minutes after flame out
transfer thru plate chiller over 20 min
pitch Alameda (Scottish ale yeast) at 70 degrees and ferment at 68

Racked to keg on 10/25/10. Initial flavor is OK, but with an annoying tea-like hop flavor. In my experience this usually goes away with a little time. F.G. was definitely higher than I like my pale ales, but I am more used to fermenting with the dryer Cali ale yeast. Let's see in a week when it's carbonated, I'll bet the flavor will be better.