Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Batch #195 - Wheat Stout

Aiming for a rich stout, but not quite at Imperial level, I used the full 29# of grain my system could hold, and held back on the amount of water used.  Instead of the usual 9.5-gallons I harvest at final bottling and kegging stage, this batch yielded 8.0-gallons of stout.  I used 2-Row and Chocolate Wheat malts, US Fuggle and UK Challenger pellet hops, as well as Northern Brewer leaf hops, 8 gallons of Basalt sparge water, and landed at 7.5% a.b.v.

Brewed in mid June and bottled in mid July, I think I'm going to take a break from the heavy beers, and get in a light batch of session ale, before summer is gone again.


Batch #194 - Red Abbey Ale

Brewed in late May and bottled in mid June, this Abbey Ale began with 2-Row, Dark Munich and Cara-Aroma malted barleys, US Fuggle pellet and Northern Brewer leaf hops, and fermented with Mangrove Jack's Belgian Abbey dry yeast.  Infusing it all in 12 gallons of Basalt town water in the brewpot, I landed at bottling and kegging time with 5-gallons bottled, and 4-1/2 gallons in two small kegs, of a 6.5% a.b.v. batch.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Batch #193 - Juniper Farmhouse Ale

I bought a CSA half-share (community-supported agriculture, twice monthly vegetable share) from my friends Harper and Christian at Two Roots Farm in Emma Colorado.  They asked me if they could "buy" some homebrew for the grand opening of their CSA pickup and farm tour for this 2019 Summer, and of course I had to decline.  It is illegal to sell homebrew.  Instead, I gave a keg of this batch to them freely, because it is not illegal to give it away.  This act of generosity is often rewarded with a gift later on, like a case of tomato seconds, or a box of some produce they have in excess, that I can preserve for the winter.
Two-row malted barley, Cara Aroma malt, US Fuggle and Northern Brewer pellet hops, juniper berries and Mangrove Jack's French Saison yeast made this magical elixir.  Maxxing out my ten-gallon brew system with a total 30# of malted barley, brought this ale up to a 7.75% abv, which made for a very satisfying and flavorful ale.

Batch #192 - Big Dog Strong Ale

Return of the BIG DOG label from Batch #144, circa November 2014.  Getting up to 8.0% abv with my ten-gallon brewing system requires either adding about 3# of liquid malt extract to the boil, or just using 3-gallons less water in the sparging process, which results in a 7-gallon batch of "be careful with this ale".  For this one, I used the former technique, so I could harvest closer to ten gallons of fermented goodness.

Two-row malted barley, Special Roast malt, Extra Pale liquid-malt extract, US Fuggle and Mt. Rainier pellet hops, and Mangrove Jack's "New World Strong Ale" yeast.  If you find yourself before a full 12-oz bottle of this ale, find yourself a friend and a couple of 6-oz glasses, before popping it open and sharing.


Batch #191 - Black Hole Dark E.S.B.

Brewing began for this batch on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, with 2-Row Malted Barley, Crystal 150L and Cara Aroma Malts, Northern Brewer leaf and US Fuggle pellet hops, and Lallemand Classic London ESB yeast.

The photograph for the label was made somewhat famous as the first time an actual black hole was photographed in a distant area of our local universe, through a very complicated process of layering many light wavelengths together.  Science knows no bounds to knowledge, given enough time and dedicated persistence.


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,