Thursday, September 2, 2021

Batch #212 - Capitol Creek Red Ale


I used a  medium-bronze colored barley malt called "Caramel 90L", to give this ale a distinctly red tint.  The US Fuggle and Chinook hops added a sharp bitter to this batch, and I took a shortcut, by re-using the yeast from the prior batch, along with some background bitterness from Batch #211's Cascade hops.  It's an interesting experiment you can't repeat more than once on a repeat batch, but this one turned out pretty nice.

This image is from a hike to Williams Lake with my friend Doug, on one of the few midsummer days we've had so far that was less than 90° outside.  I hope seeing a green winderness landscape like this doesn't become too rare, as western wildfires don't discriminate against beautiful landscapes, they'll consume any dry fuel, and there's a lot of that out here now.

Batch #211 ~ Special Roast Ale


In our front yard flower garden this summer, this flower came to visit for a season.  Fortunately for it, we had not gotten around to weeding this section before it reached flower stage, or it would have been gone, undiscovered.  When I did go in to weed, it had bloomed, and I had to search for it's genome.  The "Globe Candytuft" flower is an annually seeded variety, so I'm hoping it's here to stay.

This ale is made with a "Special Roast" malt and all Cascade hops, with an American dry ale yeast.  The special roast malt imparts a nutty-biscuit flavor to the ale, which has made it one of my favorite ingredients.


Batch #210 ~ Summer Kolsch Ale


Brewed on 5.June, this Munich malt and Cellar Science "Nectar" yeast brought a very unique and pleasant flavor to this beer.  It came out at 7.0% abv, and is labeled to welcome pollinators back to the garden.

This lady is a Yellowjacket, a species that was prevalent in the garden this season.  My Apricot tree served as host to an invasion of Aphids, which our Ladybug and Trichogramma Wasp communities are here to control.  This year, the Aphid invasion was particularly strong, and the Yellowjackets, an omnivorous bee, consumed both flower nectar and Aphids, voraciously.

I was never stung by the Yellowjackets in my garden, but one bicycle ride to the post office swept a traveling bee into my shirt collar, and waited until we were in front of our po box, before she decided to reveal her presence by stinging me several times, while I peeled off my shirt and she fell to the floor.  The stings weren't too bad, and were gone after a day.  It is true, that the Yellowjackets are having a boom year here.  Mother Nature put out the Aphid boom, and it was answered immediately by the predators.



Batch #208 ~ Ingenuity Porter

The first batch of 2021, this porter was brewed outdoors on 3.April, a sunny day of around 60°F on the front porch.
I was inspired by NASA's latest Mars reconnaissance mission, the Perseverance Rover and it's sidekick, the Ingenuity helicopter drone.  Remote robotic missions are truly advancing science in many ways, and it's a thrill to see their success.
The homebrew behind the label is a fairly high-test 8.0% abv porter, with a choclatey, slightly "sour" back taste, very pleasant.


Ice Cider 2020

This is the second season using "au natural" fermentation, this time with ice apples.  I learned this technique from an 1872 article in Atlantic Magazine by Henry David Thoreau, titled "Wild Apples".

Thoreau described methods the western homesteaders were using to make alcohol from apples.  I did take it a bit to extreme with the frozen apples, but it has turned out to be my best "fizzy hard cider" yet.

There are a few old trees I have access to, that hold onto most of their apples until after the leaves have fallen, then we wait until the fruit has frozen and thawed a few times, before shaking them off the trees onto tarps below on a cold morning - easy peasy.  By the time we have the apples back to the press, they are nearly thawed, and we proceed to press them whole - no need to run them through the crusher.  They give up the sweetest cider of the season, and I ferment the cider straight from the press into a carboy - no boiling, no yeast, just like old times.  The natural yeast in the skin of the apples does the job, and when finished, I bottle it with some added sugar, so it carbonates in the bottle for a nice bubbly hard cider.



Monday, January 25, 2021

Batch #207 ~ Rye IPA


This India Pale Ale with Rye grains was brewed with 2-Row and Rye malts, US Fuggle and Helga hops pellets, fermented with Safale S-33 yeast, and dry hopped with Helga pellets during the secondary fermentation.

I chose the photo of California hillsides on fire, off the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, to remind us that our activities are causing climate extremes, including wildfires across the west every summer.

Perhaps I should be making my "climate warning" label with a picture of Chinese or Dutch people riding bicycles?

Shine On Conservation!


Batch #206 ~ Amber ESB

This Extra Special Bitter Ale was brewed with a medium dark "Crystal 150L" malt, Helga and Cascade pellet hops, and fermented with Safale K-97 Dry Ale Yeast.  The label celebrates our Superheroes, the Medical Professionals who have literally carried us as we battle the COVID pandemic.

A Toast to our SuperHeroes!