Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Bell's Brewery Hopslam

The Beer:

Bell's Brewery releases this as a special edition in early January. It is only released to a few states, and Missouri happens to be one of them. A lot of people were excited about the tap version, which was released the same night as the Boulevard Collaboration party. I went to the party, and ended up getting some bottles of Hopslam from Kyle. He got them at The Cellar Rat, a STELLAR liquor store. Good work on his part!

ABV: 10%
Original Gravity: 1.087
Final Gravity: not listed
IBU's: not listed
Hops: not listed
Malts: not listed

Appearance: A very good color for Pale Ale's. A nice dark golden color, probably around 12-13 SRM. Not a ton of residual head. Some very slight lacing.

Aroma: A delicious hoppy aroma. Citrusy. Not overwhelming, but very pronounced hoppiness. Smells awesome. No hints of alcohol.

Palate: Good carbonation. Slight resin.

Flavor: Tastes just like it smells. (Redundancy on) Very hoppy, but not overwhelming. Front end is hoppy. Back end is hoppy. After taste is hoppy. There is no hint of alcohol, just like the aroma, even though it is 10% ABV. Very hop heavy.

Verdict: It is a hop heavy beer, but not overwhelming like many hoppy beers are. I would say it is one of my favorite hip hop hoppy beers. (Redundancy off) But I wouldn't have missed Jean-Marie Rock for an on-tap version! It is a little expensive too by the way.

Fixing the HERMS

Let me start this off with saying I can't stand it when stuff doesn't work. It just absolutely irritates me to no end. So... this weekend I said.... hey I should brew a pale ale. So I did. I put together a recipe for a fairly hoppy pale ale I named C4 Pale Ale. I named it that because it uses Citra, Columbus, Cascade, and Centennial hops. That's four hops that start with C if you weren't paying attention. I put the recipe below.

ANYWAYS... I was brewing/watching the KSU - OSU game and wasn't watching closely. One of my PID controllers had been giving me an error message so I thought one of my temperature controllers had gone bad. I worked around that and brewed anyway. While I was watching the game I let the water level get past the electric water heating element in the HLT. I didn't realize this did anything until I was fixing the sensor... which I did successfully. Then I realized that one of my 4500W heating elements exploded because there was no water to offer resistance. It took me 2 hours and $100 worth of tools to remove the old element because it had slightly welded itself into the threads. Here are some pictures of why it took so dang long.

Point is... I got the element out. It looks like it needed it. I replaced it with a bigger element, so now I have 10,000W to heat my water. It should help cut a little time off. I was pretty excited to get it loose since I had to stand on top of the keggle, with a new 18" pipe wrench hanging off the old element, slamming it with a sledge hammer. Sometimes a little brute force is needed. Everything is fixed and this weekend we will be using it to brew a Belgian Golden Strong Ale for a friends wedding after we started the tradition with Kyle's wedding.

C4 Pale Ale

Brew Type: All GrainDate: 1/21/2010
Style: American IPABrewer: Thomas Sanford
Batch Size: 10.00 galAssistant Brewer:
Boil Volume: 11.45 galBoil Time: 60 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00 %

Brewing Steps


1/21/2010Clean and prepare equipment.

-- Measure ingredients, crush grains.

-- Prepare Water (14.45 gal total)
10.00 galKansas City, KSWater

-- Prepare Ingredients for Mash
20 lbsPale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)Grain
2 lbsWheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)Grain
1 lbs 8.0 ozCara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)Grain
1 lbsCaramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)Grain
8.0 ozCaramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)Grain

-- WARNING: Preheat Mash Tun - No equipment adjustments made!

2 minMash Ingredients
Mash In: Add 37.50 qt of water at 157.2 F

50 min- Hold mash at 148.0 F for 50 min

2 minMash Out: Heat to 170.0 F over 2 min

10 min- Hold mash at 170.0 F for 10 min

-- Sparge with 5.08 gal of 168.0 F water.

-- Add water to achieve boil volume of 11.45 gal

-- Estimated Pre-boil Gravity is: 1.065 SG with all grains/extracts added

Boil for 60 minBoil Ingredients
60 min0.66 ozCascade [5.50 %] (60 min)Hops
60 min0.66 ozCentennial [10.00 %] (60 min)Hops
60 min0.66 ozCitra [11.10 %] (60 min)Hops
60 min0.66 ozColumbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (60 min)Hops
15 min0.66 ozCascade [5.50 %] (15 min)Hops
15 min0.66 ozCentennial [10.00 %] (15 min)Hops
15 min0.66 ozCitra [11.10 %] (15 min)Hops
15 min0.66 ozColumbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (15 min)Hops
1 min0.66 ozCascade [5.50 %] (1 min)Hops
1 min0.66 ozCentennial [10.00 %] (1 min)Hops
1 min0.66 ozCitra [11.10 %] (1 min)Hops
1 min0.66 ozColumbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (1 min)Hops

-- Cool wort to fermentation temperature

-- Add water (as needed) to achieve volume of 10.00 gal

-- Siphon wort to primary fermenter and aerate wort.

-- Add Ingredients to Fermenter
2 PkgsAmerican Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056)Yeast-Ale

1/21/2010Measure Original Gravity: ________ (Estimate: 1.074 SG)

1/21/2010Measure Batch Volume: ________ (Estimate: 10.00 gal)

5 daysFerment in primary for 5 days at 68.0 F

1/26/2010Transfer to Secondary Fermenter

7 daysFerment in secondary for 7 days at 68.0 F

-- Add Ingredients to Fermenter
1.00 ozColumbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (Dry Hop 7 days)Hops
1.00 ozCascade [5.50 %] (Dry Hop 7 days)Hops
1.00 ozCitra [11.10 %] (Dry Hop 7 days)Hops
1.00 ozCentennial [10.00 %] (Dry Hop 7 days)Hops

2/2/2010Measure Final Gravity: ________ (Estimate: 1.018 SG)

-- Bottle beer at 68.0 F with 4.7 oz of corn sugar.

4.0 WeeksAge for 4.0 Weeks at 52.0 F

3/2/2010Sample and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Thomas Sanford, Ashley Strube, and Kyle FitzGerald are pleased to announce the 1st Annual Maifest 2010. What is Maifest you ask? Traditionally, Maifest (translated to Mayfest) is a celebration of winters darkness giving way to springs light and warmth, commemorated with plenty of food, beer, wine, and dancing. To this end, Maifest 2010 will be a celebration of the art of craft beer and the skill of home brewing.

From 12PM to 6PM we three home brewers will be providing approximately 15 different types of handcrafted beers covering styles from classic Belgian Ales to German Lagers and of course a great selection of hoppy beers. In addition to a full lineup of beers, plenty of delicious food will be provided to appease the masses.

Because you are our close friends the beer will be provided for free. Heck, we’ll even feed you for free! Must be 21 or older to participate with valid I.D.

For more information please click the Maifest flyer. If you would like a t-shirt we are going to get a few made to venerate this occasion. Pre-ordering is the best way to guarantee you get one. Hopefully you can make it and enjoy a day of good times, good beer, good food, and good friends!

Probable Beers At Maifest

Brewer: Kyle FitzGerald
10 G. Bavarian Wheat
10 G. Belgian Wit
5 G. Maibock
10 G. Dunkelweizen
10 G. European Pilsner
5 G. Schwarzbier

Brewer: Thomas Sanford
10 G. Roasty Toasty Amber Ale
10 G. C4 Pale Ale
10 G. Hop Heaven India Pale Ale
5 G. Hopocalypse
10 G. Common Man California Common
10 G. KC Beat Down Brown

Brewer: Ashley Strube
10 G. Tripel
10 G. Dubbel
10 G. Belgian Blonde
10 G. Saison
5 G. Chocolate Hazelnut Porter
5 G. English Dark Mild

301 City Park Dr.
Kansas City, KS 66102



From the East…
Take the Park Dr/38th St exit - 0.3 mi
Turn right at Park Dr - 0.5 mi
Take the 2nd right onto S Grandview Blvd - 115 ft
Slight right at City Park Dr - 0.3 mi
Look for the Pavilion!

From the West…
Take exit 419 toward Park Dr/38th St - 0.4 mi
Turn right at Kaw Dr - 246 ft
Continue onto Park Dr - 0.6 mi
Turn right at S Grandview Blvd - 115 ft
Slight right at City Park Dr - 0.3 mi
Look for the Pavilion!


Wyandotte County Pavilion Link:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Review: Avery Brewing duganA IPA

The Beer:

Avery brewed duganA IPA as a a limited release and released it in October 2009. It is a Double India Pale Ale focusing HEAVILY on hops. They claim to brew it when they have some additional tank space and want something hoppy. The marketing and supplemental blurb aim to tell the consumer that they are buying something that will make their head spin with lupulin and alpha acids.

ABV: 8.5%
Original Gravity: 1.076
Final Gravity: not listed
IBU's: 93
Hops: Chinook, Centennial, Columbus
Malts: Two-row Barley, Dark Aromatics, Caramel Malt

Appearance: A very clear bronze color. A slight burnt orange, resembling the color of a dark honey. It pours with a significant one to one-and-a-half finger head. It has strong retention and lacing lines the glass as the bubbles begin to dissipate.

Aroma: A very strong dank smell. Heavy notes of citrus, pine, florals, and fruit. A "dank" hop-forward smell that makes no attempt at hiding its hoppy treasure.

Palate: Mouth Puckering. Resinous. Oily.

Flavor: WHOA! A hardcore mouth-puckering citrusy bitterness. A definite resin remains as the pine begins to shine through. There is a small malt note that peeks through eventually after your taste buds beat back the bitterness. A good IPA that is not for the faint of heart. If you don't like hops, you won't like this beer.

Verdict: I like the beer. I think it tastes slightly worse than I expect from the aroma. That's not to say that it is bad though. I would buy again, if I was having a shortage of lupulin in my blood. There are probably others that I would choose first, but its certainly a tasty hop bomb.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Boulevard Collaboration #1 Release Party

The Experience:

Last night Boulevard Brewing had the release party for their first (of hopefully many) collaboration. It was held at a new hotel in Lawrence, KS: The Oread. What a beautiful hotel. Inside the hotel was the Bird Dog Bar which is where the big party was! We got there around 7:15 to make sure that we got good seats. With some persuasion, we convinced our waitress to ensure that we got the first bottle commercially sold to the public. As 7:30 rolled around, she quickly brought us the FIRST publicly sold bottle of Collaboration #1! We instantly geeked out and poured some golden goodness as quickly as possible.

As the night kicked off, Jean-Marie Rock (of Orval) and Steven Pauwels (of Boulevard Brewing) began making their rounds. They were generous enough to sign it and even labeled it the first bottle Fles #1 (which translates to "Bottle #1"). We were also able to acquire two unopened bottles from an un-named source and greedily had them sign those as well.

We were able to have conversations with both Steven and Jean-Marie. Jean-Marie ensured us that this would be his only collaboration which made it all the more special to be able to meet him and talk about his creation. He told us he was in charge of both the brewery operations and Orval's cheese making as well. Even across the globe, from his room in Lawrence, KS, Jean-Marie was able to monitor and make adjustments to the Orval operations. He joked that there was a parameter that he did not like and had to send an email to make sure they were on the ball. Although probably not as intimidating as Frank Martin, I am sure that he got his point across. Overall, the night was a glorious success. Hopefully everyone that went had as much fun as we did as I can't imagine anything that would have made it better!

The Beer:

The beer is Boulevard Brewing Smokestack Series, Collaboration #1, Imperial Pilsner.

ABV: 8.0%
Original Gravity: 14.3 Plato
Final Gravity: 2.3 Plato
IBU's: 30

The beer was served in room temperature wine glasses. It pours a wonderful pale color. Tiny pure white bubbles slowly retreat leaving a very slight lacing. The aroma is very crisp, with an ever so slight hint of hoppy goodness, slightly spicy aromas hint at the Saaz hops which were used. The carbonation was perfect for this style and it had a wonderful mouthfeel. In a society dominated by the flat, uninteresting flavors of Americanized pilsners, this one takes the cake as my favorite pilsner with ease. A very delicious Pilsner that starts and finishes very clean. It has a slight hoppy undertone with spicy notes from the hops. As soon as they come out, you should buy one and drink it because it is glorious.

New Kansas City Beer Blog! Projected Content.

So, we are huge beer geeks. We are hardcore homebrewers, love great beer from all over the world, and really want to help lift Kansas City and the midwest to the next level in beer RESPECT! With a couple other blogs shutting down or taking hiatuses, we decided now would be a great time to start one up. Here is a mostly inclusive list of what we would like to cover on here:

Beer Reviews
- process
- equipment
- techniques
- recipes
- ingredients
Local Event Coverage
- Beer Release Parties for local breweries
- Beer festivals (Irish Fest, KC BrewHaHa, Maifest (more to come on this), homebrew gatherings)
Local Brewery Info (tidbits of info, seasonals, special releases, etc.)

There is always a beer centric event going on somewhere it seems, so we will try and cover the ones we find most interesting. We really like being creative with our homebrew concoctions. We will post about our brewdays, and will blast out our recipes and techniques. Please feel free to comment or advise, as we are always looking to improve and become more knowledgeable.

The appearance will continue to evolve for the blog. For now we are using the template so we can get started sooner rather than later. If you have any ideas for a real sweet header, send em over!

Hopefully you find this blog interesting and useful!

Thomas, Kyle, and Ashley!