Tuesday, February 16, 2010

San Francisco Trip!!!

I went to San Francisco this past weekend! During my trip I was able to try many beers that I have been wanting to try for a while now!!! I was super excited. Here are a few of the ones I was able to to try on tap while I was there...

Russian River Pliny the Younger!!!!!!! (extremely awesomely delicious)
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Russian River Blind Pig IPA
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Allagash White
Dale's Pale Ale

I was also able to hit up the San Francisco Beer Week Culmination event "The Barleywine Festival" at the Toronado, a bar near downtown San Francisco. A very cool place. There was tons of good drinks. Here are some of the Barleywines I drank...

21st Amendment Lower de Boom
Stone Old Guardian
Speakeasy Old Godfather
Full Sail Old Boardhead

Here are the bottles I brought back!! I think I did pretty well....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Grinders’ Goose Island Beer & Food Pairing (Taste Beering)

February 9th at 7:00 PM

The Experience:

Tuesday night Grinders held another Beer and Food Pairing, known as Taste Beering to the Grinders crowd. The event was a success as the room was full and Paul DeVires with Goose Island Beer Company led the 40+ group through five beer and food pairings. If you haven’t ever been to Grinders, this event is a great intro to their food and beer offerings for a very reasonable price: $15 in advance, $25 at the door.

Bang for your buck:
Each 4 ounce beer sample was served with a small portion of food that complemented and enhanced the taste of both. Let me not fool you into believing this a typical American dinner scene with giant plates loaded with food. If you are looking to leave stuffed, you might be in for a surprise. On the contrary, if you want to experience beer with a taste of correctly paired food, you are in for a treat. Most people think of pizza and Big Ass Tots covered in W.I.T. when Grinders comes to mind, but unbeknown to some they have a great kitchen staff and even employ the skills of a Hungarian chef on Tuesdays.

The Brewery:
When you think of Goose Island what do you think? I know what I thought; “InBev owned, mass produced beer that doesn’t jump off the craft beer shelves at the store.” That was until I tasted a little something called Bourbon County Brand Stout. If you have not been privy to this one of a kind super star, leave your computer and go buy some now! That beer helped open my eyes to the quality of GI beers and this tasting provided some info to help ease my craft beer conscious. Two facts about GI: They are privately owned by John Hall who started the brewery in 1988, and the head brewer is his son Greg Hall. Goose Island has won more awards at the GABF than any other American brewery. Huh? Yeah that’s what I said. Also, all of the beers at this tasting have won the GABF Gold. With a specialty of Belgian style beers with an American twist, it is easy to understand how they have won so many awards.

The Pairings:

Mild Winter Beer with Savory and Sweet French Onion Soup
Awe the Mild, a revisit to a most popular style beer in England where one can drink a couple glasses and not smell like a hop yard or feel too buzzed to drive home. Remember “Buzzed driving is drunk driving!” That said the ABV is higher than I had hoped nearing 6%. The toffee color and creamy head come together for a great mild with a smooth mouth feel and finish. The taste of wheat is noticeable and some say the small amount of rye flakes used in brewing comes through. This is a solid daily driver, errr drinker.
ABV: 5.6% IBU: 28

Honkers Ale with Phyllo Brie Cups and Honey Lavender Drizzle
This English bitter is one of Goose Island’s best selling beers and has been winning awards for them since 1994. As a good bitter should, Honkers has a great bite of hops up front and a well balanced malt taste to balance her out. I love beers that have a biscuity flavor that keeps the glass coming back to your mouth. The brie cups were delicious but a little on the David the Gnome size, in fact too small to photo before disapearing!
ABV: 4.2% IBU: 30

Nut Brown Ale with Pecan Smoked Chicken Drummie and Herb Roasted Parsnips w/Frangelico Glaze
The Nut Brown Ale round out the English inspired beers and offered us the best food-beer paring of the night. Grinders hit this smooth brown with a mouth feel of wheat on the nose by providing a smoked drummie infused with pecan flavors. Either one alone was good, but together the flavors blended perfectly to smooth the hop edges of the beer and cut the smoked taste from the chicken. Well done Grinders! The American twist on the brown gives a better mouth feel, tan frothy head, and a wonderful nutty undertone.
ABV: 5.3% IBU: 25

Pere Jacques with Pan Fried Pork Choplette and Apple Compote, Cranberry Sauce
Pere Jacques or Father Jake was the first beer of the night to delve into GI’s flare for Belgian Style Ales. This Belgian Style Abbey Ale comes right out of the glass with a nose of fruit, lots of yeast flavors, and a great malt base. Pere requires a 10 week brew time to develop the complexity of flavors and aromas expected from Belgian ales. The choplette-teet was a sweet, savory combo that helped extenuate the fruit and yeast flavors within the ale. Being bottle conditioned and a strong showing of alcohol, you can cellar this baby for up to five years. If you haven’t aged a bottle of beer, get on it as this is very rewarding. The KCHH group brewed a Belgian Golden Strong in spring 2007 and has tasted a bottle every year since. High-quality for sure.
ABV: 8% IBU: 26

Bourbon County Brand Stout with Almond Joy Brownies
Ok boys and girls, this is where we get serious. As I said earlier, if you haven’t tried the Bourbon County Brand Stout it needs to be at the top of your list. GI brewed Bourbon County for the first time in 1992 using one oak barrel to commemorate their 1000th batch. Since then this beer has taken on a life of its own and demands full attention when tasted. I suggest splitting the first bottle amongst multiple people so you don’t get overwhelmed, after that hoard it! When pouring this ‘midnight’ colored ale, notice how it covers the glass and leaves a rich film. The nose is full of dark flavors: chocolate, tobacco, vanilla, and the charred barrel from whence it came. The 13% of alcohol is enclosed within rich flavors of chocolate and caramel malt and a sip will provide more taste than a case of normal stout. The heart and soul of Bourbon County comes from the 4 to 23 year old barrels it’s produced in and the 180 day sit time prior to bottling. Each drop is hand pumped from the barrel into bright tanks. Can you say labor costs? GI has lovingly passed that buck by rewarding pumping employees with a bribe of this dark magma as a reward. This beer is summed up by one word “Limitationless,” – Paul DeVries. This is truly a beer ‘with out limit’. Enjoy!
ABV: 13% IBU: 60

DE-MO-LITION Belgian Style Golden Ale:

After the tasting the KCHH group was able to speak with Paul, the Goose Island guy, and obtain a preview bottle of the DE-MO-LITION Belgian Style Golden Ale that will be hitting the KC market in about a month or two. You will have to tune back in to see the results of the tasting next week.

Dark Mild Tasting

A couple months ago I was doing an inventory of my beers in kegs and bottles and realized almost every beer was over 7%. I decided it was time to brew a session beer. Since I have recently visited the UK, milds and bitters immediately came to mind. While there I had few beers that were labeled dark milds. These beers had a more full flavor than regular milds, more roasty and slight chocolatey flavors. After remembering how great these beers tasted I decided this was what I wanted to brew.

Dark Mild

Appearance - Dark brown with reddish hues when held up to the light, almost opaque. Beautiful tan head that slowly compacts to a creamy cap.

Aroma - Roasty, dark chocolate, hint of coffee, butterscotch, cream.

Taste - Roasty followed by an unsweeted chocolate bitterness. A hint of butterscotch and finishes semisweet with a lingering roasty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Very soft on the carbonation with a good input of microscopic fizz. Very refreshing and not thin by any means.

Drinkability & Notes - Really solid beer. This is what I remember drinking pint after pint of in the pubs around London. At 3.8% ABV you could have many of these without feeling guilty.

Recipe Specifics
Batch size: 12 gal.
Total grain: 16 lbs.
Original Gravity: 1.039
Final Gravity: 1.010
Estimated SRM: 18.4
Estimated IBUs: 19.3
ABV: 3.77%

81.2% - 13 lbs. Maris Otter
6.25% - 1 lb. Crystal 80L
6.25% - 1 lb. Caramunich
2.37% - 6 oz. Chocolate 350L
2.37% - 6 oz. Roasted Barley 300L
1.56% - 4 oz. Special B

2 oz. Fuggles (Pellets 4.50% AA) @ 60 min.
1 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellets 5.00% AA) @ 15 min.

Wyeast Labs 1968 - London ESB Ale
Made a 1L starter to pitch into fermenter.

Mash Schedule
Saccrification rest - 60 min. @ 152
Mash out - 10 min. @ 168

Monday, February 8, 2010

Easy Hop Hanger Design.

So after making two beers with an immense amount of hops, I am officially tired of dealing with the hop chunks remaining in the beer post boil. I have been whirlpooling hard, and then siphoning off because I was concerned that my bazooka style filter would get clogged from the amount of hop sediment.

After kegging a Pliny The Elder clone last weekend, it immediately jammed up my corny keg, and I had to disassemble the thing while the beer was in it and clear it out. Instead of continuing to battle the hop sediment I decided to do something about it. Here is a simple solution I put together from a few dollars worth of items at Lowe's and a large nylon bag. I saw something similar to this on a forum some time ago, and finally got around to putting one together.

Items needed (with Lowe's part numbers):
23284 - 4" PVC Coupling - 1.99
66136 - #72 Clamp - 1.83
69886 - 1/4" -20-3' Aluminum Threaded Rod - (2) $1.64 each
Large Nylon Bag from the local homebrew shop

Drill four holes in the PVC coupling towards one end. I drilled 5/16" holes and they are about perfect size. Place the bag over one end and slide the clamp up over it and use a flathead screwdriver to tighten it. Slip the rods in and put it in the boil! Now dump all your adjuncts in the nylon bag. When the boil is over... pull it out and BAM! no trash left in your wort!

Assembly in pics...