Monday, March 11, 2019

Batch #190 - 20th Anniversary Ale: Gratitude Belgian Dubbel

Yes, I can't believe it either.  I began practicing the art of home brewing beer in January of 1999, and I'm still practicing 20 years later, hopefully getting better all the time.
This ale was brewed on Feb.2, the only warm-ish day we've had since last November, and we haven't seen another one since.  Since I "boil the wort" that initiates a batch of ale outdoors, I require a day when the front porch reaches + 60°F.  Last winter, we had one such day per month, and scarcely enough snow to support three weeks of nordic skiing on the local rails-to-trails track.  This winter, it's all cold and snow, and so far little brewing, but seven weeks and counting, of groomed skate-ski nirvana.  I can't complain.
This Ale is brewed with 24# of 2-row base malt, 4# of Caravienne malt, 3.3# of Goldpils Vienna LME, 12 gallons of Basalt tap water, 2.oz of Sterling hops, 2.oz of Northern Brewer hops, and Mangrove Jack's Belgian Abbey yeast, for a net ABV of 7.5%.

I'm setting aside 24 bottles of this batch for a "Local Currency Game", to be played over three sessions of a "community conversation" about local economies, starting on Tuesday, March 12, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, mountain standard time, and live streamed here (also available for later viewing).  I hope to be very pleased with the results of this conversation, and with new "gift economy", "sharing economy" and local economy activists, with whom we find connection.  I'll come back to report on the gifts I received for those I gave.
Cheers to Twenty Years!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Batch #189 ~ Pumpkin Ale

My wife was not amused by my "FIRED!!" label, so to keep peace in the house, I have prepared a slightly tamer label, less irreverent, but still soliciting a smile, hopefully.

I did raise the pumpkin used in this batch.  It was a "jack-o-lantern" variety, which I halved, cleaned, rubbed insides with olive oil and brown sugar, then roasted in the oven until soft.  I spooned out the cooked pumpkin flesh, chopped it up roughly, placed it in a fine-mesh pull-string bag, and floated this in the boil for the last 20 minutes.  I used no pumpkin pie spices, but rather just let the pumpkin flavor come through the hops.  That pumpkin mash I did not waste.  Infused as it was with hops from the boil, I concocted a curried soup in which it performed admirably.

For this silly label, which will not grace any bottles (well, maybe one or two), I carved the pumpkin, backlit and photographed it on Halloween.  The Pumpkin Ale itself was made with Base malt and Carabohemian malt, an oven-roasted, 10# Jack 'O Lantern pumpkin grown in my garden, US Fuggle pellet hops, and Safale #S-33 dry yeast.

I "borrowed" the image of the hairpiece off the internet, and fired up the title and background, in honor of our current nemesis (nem·e·sis - the inescapable agent of someone's or something's downfall).

Gotta do something to amuse myself in these dreary times.

Stay cheerful,

Batch #188 ~ Juniper Brown Ale

The label is a "blast from the recent past", last used for Batch #165, in January 2017.  Ingredients are quite different this time around, using Carabohemian and Crystal 150L malted barley, Cascade leaf and my backyard "Vagneur" leaf hops (latter freshly harvested and used in the boil), 2.oz of crushed Juniper Berries, and fermented with Saffbrew #T-58 dry yeast.

I used half of the Juniper berries that I used in B.165, and 2/3 of what I used in B.182, so I can go back and taste test them all, to finalize the amount I should be using for best results.


Batch #187 - "How We Grow" harvest gold ale

In celebration of daughter Haley's excellent work directing and editing this documentary film about our Roaring Fork Valley young, beginning farmers, I labeled the bottles from this batch with the poster from her film, and served a keg of it at the 2018 Sustainable Settings Harvest Festival, this past September 15.

Made with Caramalt and a tiny bit of Coffee malt to bring out a slightly golden color, this batch was boiled with Fuggle and Cluster pellet hops, and fermented with Safale S-33 dry yeast.


Batch #186 ~ Liberty Rye Pale Ale

"True Freedom lies in the Health of the Soil beneath our feet."
- Casey Piscura, farmer: "Wild Mountain Seeds", Carbondale CO

Truer words have never been said!!

Rye malt and a small amount of Chocolate malt were used to give this ale some color and that lovely rye flavor, then further flavored in the boil with "Horizon" and "Liberty" hops pellets.  Fermentation was generated by "Mangrove Jack's #M36 Liberty Bell" dry yeast.

Labeled in celebration of Woody Tasch's new book, "SOIL 2017", a celebration of the freedom created by the wherewithal to grow our own food, starting with the health of our soil.  How does your garden grow?


Batch #185 ~ French Saison Farmhouse Ale

A few pounds of Dark Munich and Coffee malts, along with all Fuggle Hops (pellets) and "Mangrove Jack's #M29 French Saison" yeast, brought us this French heavyweight ale.

Photo is of a tiny birdhouse given to us by our son-in-law's Grandma Nana Reba, who had them made and personalized as a wedding party favor.  I hung it in Maude, our apricot tree, but so far, no takers for housing.  I think it would have to be hummingbirds to fit into the openings.

Maybe some insects will take up residence in it.  It's a very nice house.


Monday, August 13, 2018

Batch #184 ~ Belgian Abbey Pale Ale

Here is a very simple pale ale, using only base malt grains, UK Golding and German Tettnang hops, and Belgian Abbey yeast.  The label is adorned with a photo taken while cleaning a beer keg, of a soap bubble film.  Was I stoned while noticing and recording this phenomena?  Well, I don't recall, but I do live in Colorado, so this is a legal possibility.

Here are a couple of video recordings I made of this colorful micro-event, which I paired with some music from the psychedelic era.  By the way, the psychedelic era may be coming back, at least in terms of clinical psychology and the new science of psychedelics, as researched and recorded by the acclaimed author, Michael Pollan, in his new book, "How to Change Your Mind".  Check it out.