Monday, January 31, 2011

33 Bottles of beer

Way back last February I posted about a cool pocket sized tasting journal named 33 Bottles of beer. The note book is sold in a package of three (which worked out perfectly at one for each of us). My first entry was on March 11th 2010. It was Lagunitas Hop Stoopid in a 22oz bottle. It's been a while so I don't remeber it all that well. I commented that it was good for the price but not the smoothest IPA. I haven't had it since so it must not have left that great of an impression on me.

On January 21st 2011 I logged my 33rd entry in true Texas fashion with a bottle of Lone Star beer. I know that it's cheap and not exactly complex but you know what? It's easy to drink and true to its style (American Lager). I like this stuff. I know it isn't the type of thing that beer geeks would get excited about but that doesn't discredit it one bit. I'm sure I'll be consuming many a Lone Star come summer. 

So many new beers to try here in Texas that are not distributed back in NY. I'll be ordering some new journals shortly. I doubt it will take me as long to fill one up this time around. At 3 for $10 these things should be in the pocket of every beer geek.

You can get your own here.

 - Jay

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jester King Brewery grand opening party.

This after noon Rachel and I attended the Jester King Brewery grand opening party in south Austin. As a recent transplant to Austin this was a treat for me. To be outside enjoying a pint in January was almost unreal for this Buffalo, NY native. The weather forecast predicted rain but the sky stayed clear and it was pleasant and breezy in the low 70s. The good weather meant a large turn out. I won't bother to guess how many people actually attended but the photos should speak for themselves. There was a ton of excitement and activity there. People just seemed happy to be there. The full pint or snifter glasses for tastings may have had a hand in the good mood. They sure made me smile. I was hoping to leave with a t-shirt but they were sold out by the time that I enquired about them. There was also a gathering of some rat rods and hot rods that was a nice little treat.

The newly constructed brewery was nice. It was still unfinished but it looks like it is going to work for them nicely. I'm especially excited about their tasting room. They had several 30 barrel fermentors, A wall of casks, and a cold storage room for cask conditioning (which I'm assuming will be kept in the mid 60s for proper aging). We didn't get a full tour but Rachel and I briefly spoke with Ron (one of the partners) about the brewery. He told us about what the guys were doing between the time a business plan was submitted and today. Which was you guessed it, a ton of brewing and recipe tweaking. I left him with a hand shake and my resume. To be a part of this would be awesome.
The lines for the samples were pretty long so Rachel and I were only able to taste two styles, Boxers Revenge Farmhouse Provision Ale and Black Metal Imperial Stout. I was happy none the less. Both brews were unique, exciting and damn delicious.

We sampled Boxers Revenge Farmhouse Provision Ale in a commemorative snifter glass appropriate to the style. I found this beer to be pleasantly tart with a mild hop aroma and strong fruit notes. This one was actually much more sour than I anticipated. That's a good thing though. I really enjoyed it and found it to be quite unique. This brew has an ABV of 9.0% and 23 IBUs.

Awesome Pint glass and Snifter.

Black Metal Imperial stout was a beast. Rich, complex and very malty. I found strong chocolate notes and a slightly burnt coffee flavor. A seriously strong brew that in which the alcohol taste was pleasant and unapologetic. The mere fact that this exists puts a smile on my face. Black Metal + Beer (an Imperial Stout for that matter!) = Me with a ridiculous grin on my face. Too awesome, total krieg. Black Metal has an ABV of a little over 10% !!! and 60 IBUs.

I am excited about the future of this brewery. They have some unique brews in a sea of craft beers now available in the U.S. You don't need to look too deep to know that these guys are doing this because they love it. With a brew literally called Commercial Suicide and another called Black Metal (which is a reference that I can truely appreciate) how couldn't I love this place. I had a great time at the grand opening and hope to return for a tasting once they're fully up and running.

- Jay

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Final two NY brews

Aaron and I planned on brewing two holiday ales before I left New York for Texas. We only had the time to brew one, which was still in secondary fermentation at the time I left. So unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to taste it. He promised to save me a bottle for when I travel back to Buffalo in June.

The recipe that we did brew was a Fruit Cake Ale. Both recipes are based on two that we found in Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher . We did some tweaking to the recipes (like changing the types of fruit used in the fruit cake ale) but that's what home brewing is all about. The Fruit Cake Ale was fun to brew as I had never used re hydrated dried fruit in a batch before. I decided to post both recipes even though we only had the time for one.

I'm already missing brew days with Aaron. I'll be brewing a batch of my own soon but half the fun was brewing with friends. Maybe we'll brew a batch next time we see each other (perhaps the Gingerbread Ale we ran out of time for).

So here are the recipes, enjoy!

Fruit Cake Ale

21-B Seasonal/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer

Author: Jay

Size: 5.0 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 224.07 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.067 (1.026 - 1.120)
Terminal Gravity: 1.017 (0.995 - 1.035)
Color: 27.13 (1.0 - 50.0)
Alcohol: 6.62% (2.5% - 14.5%)
Bitterness: 34.5 (0.0 - 100.0)

6.5 lb Amber Dry
1.0 lb Crystal Malt 60°L
1.0 lb Special B - Caramel malt
0.25 lb Carafa® TYPE II
2.0 oz Liberty (4.0%) - added during boil, boiled 90.0 min
0.5 oz Saaz (5.0%) - added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
0.25 tsp Nutmeg (ground) - added at end of boil
0.25 tsp Allspice - added at end of boil
2.0 tsp Cinnamon (ground) - added at end of boil
1.0 tsp Ginger (candied) - added at end of boil
1.0 tsp Vanilla (extract) - added at end of boil
1.0 lb Cranberries (fresh) - added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 lb Apple (dried) - added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 lb Raisins - added dry to secondary fermenter
2.0 ea Orange zest - added dry to secondary fermenter
2.0 ea Cloves (whole) - added dry to secondary fermenter

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.12

Fruit Cake Ale with re hydrated dried fruit in secondary fermentation.

Gingerbread Ale

11-C Northern English Brown Ale

Size: 5.0 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 141.46 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.043 (1.040 - 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.011 (1.008 - 1.014)
Color: 14.98 (12.0 - 22.0)
Alcohol: 4.18% (4.2% - 5.4%)
Bitterness: 34.5 (20.0 - 30.0)

5.75 lb Light
2.0 oz British Crystal 55°L
1.0 oz Black Malt
2.0 oz Chocolate Malt
0.8 oz Target (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
0.5 oz East Kent Goldings (5.0%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
1.0 tsp Irish Moss - added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
0.5 tsp Ginger (ground) - added at end of boil
1.0 tsp Cinnamon (ground) - added at end of boil
0.25 tsp Allspice - added at end of boil
0.25 tsp Cloves (ground) - added at end of boil

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.12

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Brewing Mead with AMON AMARTH

I do not yet have all of the equipment I need to begin brewing again. Aaron and I shared what we had and most of what we used stayed with him in Buffalo. Until I purchase some new carboys and a burner I can't brew again. So this left me thinking about alternatives like wine and mead. When I typed "mead" into the You Tube search engine one of the first videos I came across was the band Amon Amarth conducting a how to session. The video is pretty humorus and some of their methods are questionable. I got a kick out of it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The rust belt goes south.

The past few months have been chaotic for me to say the least. My wife moved to Texas in september which left me in New York until mid december when I completed my degree. During those three months Aaron and I continued to brew. Sadly I was very busy with school and moving preparations so I neglected to blog about any of our exploits.

To briefly sum up what happened last fall we brewed several batches. Including a Bavarian Dunkelweizen, and a Spiced Holiday Fruit Cake Ale (which was fermented with a variety of dehydrated fuit). I also showed a friend how to brew with a recipe roughly based on an English Pale Ale (roughly because it was more so based on what hops and malt I had floating around at the time).

So now that there is about 1600 miles between my brewing buddies and myself, Aaron has decided to start a blog of his own and I am going to continue with this. I'm sure that Aarons blog will have more activity that RBCB over the next few months as I am in the process of job hunting and settling into a new city. There will be alot more activity on the blog this spring. Until then check out Aarons adventures here.