Monday, November 30, 2009

Keeping Things On Track

Ahhhhhhhhh, it's a sweet breath of relief to be back in the swing of things again. I'm back on my 2 beers a month schedule and have a head swimming with ideas for future beers! A few days ago I got my holiday cheer mojo into beer action and put together a recipe for a xmas seasonal. I knew from the start that my intention was to keep the beer at a sessionable level since 1. I've been overwhelmed as of late with ~10% holiday beers and winter warmers (Bifrost, Old Wooly - tomorrow anyways, The Abyss, Anchor's Our Special Ale, Black Butte XXI, ect. ect.) and 2. Xmas is only a month away and I wanted something to celebrate with. So I put together a 5% bready brown ale/red ale and added nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves at 10 minutes into the boil. Brew day went mostly with out a hitch too! Naturally the recipe changed up until it was in the fermenter, but with the exception of a high temperature dough in and a pretty thin mash every thing came together just right. I hope to move it to the secondary tomorrow or the next day, and after tasting it may even add some more of the spices in the secondary to add a tasty nose.
Today I also bottled Black Hole. It was tasting reaaallly astringent with bitterness from the roast malt going into the secondary and less so, but still noticeably too much into the bottle. I'm thinking I really should have added CaCo3. I'm reluctant too though because I didn't with the initial batch and it tasted so good, but naturally different batches will come out differently, especially since I have now made this beer on 3 different 'brewing systems'. Regardless, I'm finally happy that I'll be drinking homebrew on a regular basis again and am excited to get, well excited about beer.
I suppose that's all for now! I'm at a toss up between an Imperial IPA, Belgian Dubbel, Belgian Pale Ale, and Porter for the next brew. I will however be brewing The Penthouse Barley Wine again at the end of December. Last year's batch has been coming along veerrrry nicely. I feel it was best in September, but I'm taking a few to the homebrew meeting on Wednesday and am excited for some feedback.

Thirsty,
Kyle

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

(Mostly) Successful Brew Day!

I FINALLY got everything together and brewed Black Hole on Friday! It was a long overdue adventure I'd been (not so) patiently waiting for. I suppose the reason it took me so long to get back to it was my skepticism about whether or not my apartment would even let me do a decent job. My kitchen is actually smaller than my last, and actually even older. So, the stove top didn't look like it would hold my brew pot with 7 gallons of wort it in; my faucet didn't have an easy hook up for my chiller and I couldn't find space to make a decent gravity fed set up. BUT I did it by golly. I got a hook up for my faucet and ran a test boil on the stove. Also fixed up my storage shelving to hold my HLT and Mash Tun.

So, on Friday the 13th at around 11 I made my way down to Bob's Homebrew Shop and it unfortunately, now that I live in Capitol Hill instead of the UD, took me two hours round trip on the bus. Ugh. So at about 1 I got my strike water heating up on the stove and was off! My stove actually surprised the hell out of me. It got hot and I had my water ready in about 20 minutes.
So I ran my mash at 152F for an hour and then sparged with water a little bit hotter than I usually use. At the National Homebrewers Conference I had a discussion with some fellow WAHA brewers about my poor efficiency and it was pointed out that when I sparge I lose a lot of heat transferring my water from the boil pot to the HLT, then in the HLT and also in the transfer to the Mash Tun. So I bumped up the heat and according to my calculations increased efficiency by about 5%! Awesome.
Everything was going great at this point! I was getting things cleaned up and put away. I was ahead of schedule. And even got some video game playing in during the sparge :) BUT it finally happened to me: I had a boil over. Usually when it gets to that point I can just stir super hard and subdue it. Buy alas, not this time. In the long run it looks like I lost about half a gallon of beer and made quite a mess.. At the time it was happening I actually laughed at the fact I had my first boil over in 25 beers on Friday the 13th. I even considered running for the camera! hahaha. But once I got that straightened out everything ran smoothly. I ran my chiller though (which was much slower with the faucet than the hose I used to use) I ended up with a little over 5 gallons of yummy wort at 70 degrees and tossed some Wyeast 1084 in to eat away :)

All together then, it was a great brewday! And now I know it's not only possible, but actually quite accommodating to brew at my new place. Let the beer run like water!

Yum Yum
-Kyle

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting it back together

After much much too long it looks like I've got everything back together to brew again! I got a trial gravity fed set up put together in my kitchen and got an adapter for my sink for the chiller. Brew day was scheduled for tomorrow, but it turns out my cute little girlfriend has the day off so we're going to play laser tag, obviously. So now Friday will be brew day. I wanted to have a nice familiar beer to "test" out the new set up so I'll be brewing up a batch of Black Hole. Which I think is a good plan because I love that beer, and haven't had it in far too long. Come back on Saturday and I'll post some pictures and notes on how everything went :)
Wish me luck on getting going again! And come have a beer with me, I'm going to have a lot to give all too soon!

Finally back,
Kyle

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A long "Break"

Holy Crap! Not only have I not blogged in almost 4 months, but I haven't BREWED in 4 months either! It's getting terribly depressing and I'm going to use this blog as (hopefully) a jump start back in to things.
As a quick back story, I recently (well, 3 months ago) broke up with the girl I was dating and living with. Finding new housing AND a brewing arrangement has been a wee bit tricky. That art studio I had where I brewed previously was split down the middle with her too, so I had to move (mostly for money reasons) out of there as well. So now I'm living in a nice hardwood floored apartment on Capitol Hill and haven't gotten to figuring out how to connect my wort chiller to yet another impossibly old sink faucet. Not to mention needing to find out if my stove top is going to be able to cut it....
There has been one glimmer of hope though! I recently met someone who has an art studio that has a garage, a GARAGE, that I might be able to use! YAY! So, if that works out I'd be sittin' pretty :) In the mean time though, I'm pretty damn busy with work and travel so brewing is unfortunately still number 2 on the list of a million number 1 things to do.
I also don't have internet access in my new apartment unless my wireless can pick something up (which is rare) right now too. So, I haven't really been doing the blogging thing. But I think it's past time to get back to it! So, friends family and fellow brewers wish me luck on my adventure back into the love that is homebrewing.

Brew It!
-Kyle

Monday, June 29, 2009

NHC '09!!

Well, NHC was amazing. So much good stuff happened! I'll cut to the chase:

Day one was Wednesday, June 17th and it started at 8am to get on the bus for the "Iron Liver Tour"! This was a 'pre-conference event' that was hosted by the the Heart of the Valley homebrew club and I was one of the lucky 45 people that payed to go. It was a bus tour that started at the Oakland Convention Center and went up to Santa Rosa making stops at Triple Rock, Lagunitas, Russian River and 3rd Street Aleworks. The bus was stocked with amazing beer as well to keep us entertained on the way there too :) The first fun surprise was that Sam Calagione was also one of the lucky 45 that payed to go! For those of you who don't know him, Sam is the mastermind behind Dogfish Head Brewery. Here's a picture of us together on the tour:
and here's me with my first beer at 8 am. The new Sierra Nevada Kellerweis.
It was quite dealicious! First stop on the tour (after several beers on the bus, including Mirror Mirror YUUMM) was Lagunitas!
The tour of Lagunitas was awesome! The owner took us around and talked about everything that was going on and even let us all grab a beer right off the bottling line before it got labeled. It was a new beer of there's called Little Sumthin'. And it was goood! Fresh from the source :) Next we made our way to Russian River where Vinnie himself was there to serve us EVERYTHING they had (in pitchers) with lots of delicious pizza! Pliney, Consecration, Supplication droooool. After that we went over to Third Street for a quick drink and then it was down the road to Triple Rock where I had an amazing russian imperial stout called Keyser Soze. Oh boy was it a treat! Then we hit a really nice bottle shop and got back to the convention center. By then, it's very safe to say that despite my honest effort I was very drunk. Getting back to Alli's parents house on the BART was very interesting that night.

Next day was the beginning of the conference!! I got there at 8 to register, but judging was until the opening toast at 1. So I went with Alli's dad out to Anchor, which was closed and then to Speakeasy where all we could get a a small talk with the delivery guy because they're only open for 4 hours on Fridays to the public. So then I came back the the convention center for the opening toast!
Charlie Papazian had a great speech to listen to while drinking the event specific beer, "Sippin' on the dock of the Bay" IPA, and then we were off and rolling! I got started by going to listen to 'Wood Aging' by Matt Brynildson from Firestone Walker. It was awesome because he talked about how to do it at home for cheap too. Then I went and listened to Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River talk about "funkification" or brewing with bugs. It was great. And after that it was Pro-Brewers Night! Which was just basically a really good beerfest. Here's some pictures:


That night was a complete blast and I had dozens of amazing beers, but found myself posted up at the Deschutes booth for most of the night because they were pouring Mirror Mirror. YUUM

The next day was by far my favorite day, not only for the conference either, maybe ever! The first two seminars were fairly hard to get to because of the hangover I was nursing from Pro Brewers Night, but completely worth it. They were duel seminars with Randy Mosher and Ray Daniels. They were called "making better beer" and the two played off each other really well and had tons of awesome information and entertainment. I could listen to Randy Mosher talk about just about any thing for very long periods of time, he's a great speaker. Here's me and Randy and a view of what the seminars rooms were like:

After their first two seminars was Ken Grossman's Key note speach. It was really cool. He talked about being a homebrewer starting at a very young age and all he went through to get to where Sierra Nevada is now.
After that it was back to the seminars and Randy and Ray had two more sessions that were great. At 5 that night I got together with the WAHA gang and was lucky enough to sit in with them for an interview with Basic Brewing on the decoction mash experiment they did. Basically, if you don't already know, WAHA held a decoction clinic for people who wanted to know more about decoction mashes and then from that decided to make 3 of the same beer using different techniques and see how they tasted finished side by side. The beer was a dopplebock and the first beer was made normal with a single infusion mash, the second with a three step decoction mash and the third was a single infusion mash but with 4% melanoidin malt substituted. It was a lot of fun, and cool to get to drink their beers there.
After that it was time for club night! I have honestly never had so much fun at a beer event! Here's some pictures:

video

As you can see, there's a picture of me with all the WAHA guys, and all the WAHA kegs, and the WAHA booth. They rigged up 2 espresso machines to flow beer through as a "northwest randal" One had espresso in it and had a stout running through and the other had fresh Hop Union hops with a tasty IPA running through it. There's some pictures of the fun people and cool booths also including the toilet that was pouring Jamil's amazing Flanders Red and a video of the homebrew slot machine. We didn't win any thing in this video hahaha if you won there was one of two beers and sizes of pours depending on what you spun! awesome. After that the WAHA booth was in the hospitality suite most of the night, but after god knows how many of those flanders reds and all the other amazing beer I was tuckered out and headed back to the girlfriend's parents place.

The next morning was really hard. I was sitting on 3 straight days of drinking and was definitely feeling it. Then the day seemed to be stacked with the most not attention grabbing (interesting none the less) seminars of the whole deal. First was water chemistry that was completely packed in a very small hot room at 9 in the morning. I didn't make it too far in that one. I caught most of it, but needed to get some air and water a few times. Then was John Palmer talking on protiens. Poor John Palmer isn't the greatest public speaker. He's a really smart guy but it was hard to stay completely awake through that one hahaa. Then I did two seminars on yeast health, nutrients and culturing that were also fairly sleepy.

That night was the awards banquet but I didn't get a ticket in time and as it turned out my really great friend who lives in Santa Rosa was in San Fransico that night celebrating her birthday, so I went and had a good time with her instead of the banquet.

All in all it was a totally amazingly fun experience. BIG BIG THANKS to the guys with WAHA. It was awesome to know some guys there and they even let me chum along with them and pour beers at their bar!


It's going to be hard for me to ever say no to this event in the coming years. Next year in Minneapolis and hopefully Seattle soon!

I love beer!
~Kyle

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Recovery

Well, following the NHC I got a horrible head cold. So, for now I'm nursing that. I'm hoping to get a batch brewed on the 29th though, and will have all the pictures and fun times posted on here in a day or two! For now though, here's me and Charlie Papzian:



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

National Homebrew Conference


I'm getting packed for my trip to Oakland California for the NHC! I'm really incredibly excited as this will be my first (and hopefully not last) conference. I get to Oakland at 9:40 tonight. Alli's family is picking me up at the airport and I'm going to stay at their place in Alameda. Then, tomorrow morning I get up bright and early for the Iron Liver tour. It's a luxury bus tour hosted by a homebrew club in California that tours up north of San Fransico to Russian River, Lagunita's and more! Then, on Thursday morning at 8am the conference starts! For three days there's seminars including talks on water chemistry, wild fermentation, protiens, yeast culturing and much more from almost all of my favorite beer writers, homebrewers and brewers! The keynote speaker this year is Ken Grossman, co-founder and president of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the likes of Charlie Papazian, Sam Calagione, John Palmer, Ray Daniels and so many more are going to be speaking as well! Then, on Sunday I have the day free! I was realllly hoping I could tour Anchor Steam with Alli's dad. I called Anchor Steam in the begining of April because you have to reserve a place in the tour and they were already booked solid through July! So, the next brewery I really wanted to see was Speakeasy because I love everything I've tried from them, but it turns out they're only open for a couple hours on Fridays. Oh well. SO, while writing this I got a call from one of my best friends who lives in Santa Rosa and it's her birthday on Monday and she's going to be in San Fransico on saturday night! So after the conference Saturday and Sunday morning I'll get to hang out with her and her awesome boyfriend! YES! Well, now I'm even more excited. This is going to be great!

In homebeer news, I just bottled the Liberation a few days ago and am really excited to crack one open when I get back! I also made the cream ale and kegged the oatmeal stout. I'm not sure exactly where it went wrong but upon my first taste I think the oatmeal stout got infected. Bummer :( Here's the Oatmeal, Liberation and Cream Ale at the space with the last of the Saison and Black Hole in the kegs.

Here's the Cream Ale brew day. It's for my friends Alex and Aaaron Means' 4th of July BBQ and is currently being called the Means Bros Cream Ale

I'm thinking though when I get back I'm going to brew one more beer before July (a wheat wine to open in the summer next year?) and then take July as a brew free month (sort of). I've been brewing a lot lately and it's been taking a ton of time. Now that Alli's out of school though (congrats to the college grad!!!) I'm hoping that a small break from brewing will allow us to hang out more. I have however, decided that I'd like to take on the red heffeweizen in July to have as a birthday beer to myself. Being that I'm half Irish and half German I thought a Irish Red mixed with a German Hef would be great! Ideally I would like to make a Irish Red German Lager (YUM!) but, I can't lager :( I'm thinking then I'll go with a traditional german hef recipe but add some munich and crystal malts for color and sweetness, and then double up the yeast with british ale for a dryness and german wheat for cloudyness and aroma, or maybe even Weihenstephan if I brew with it on the cooler side so I don't overwhelm the beer with banana cloveyness.

So I suppose that's all for now! I'll be back on sunday night with a million pictures and hopefully no hangover hahahaha

CHEERS!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More good results!

I heard back from the Pudget Sound Pro Am a few days back and did really well!! Sunset scored a 36.5!! And got first in the fruit beer category! Black Hole scored a 33.6 and the Witbier scored a 32 giving those two third place in stout and wit! I knew that Sunset was something special :) So that's super awesome news! I'm excited to get my score sheets back to see what the judges had to say. I mailed off the stout today to the second round of the NHC. It was mostly just a sort of thing where I really don't feel I have even a tiny chance, but oh well I guess you never know. I got my ribbon in the mail from the first round though!!! AWESOME! That's really exciting!

Otherwise there's not a whole lot new. I'm going to keg the Oatmeal Stout, and maybe bottle 12 tonight or tomorrow, and rack Liberation over to the secondary as well. And then tomorrow I'm going to be making a cream ale for a BBQ on the 4th of July. I'm looking forward to that because I don't know a whole lot about cream ales and am excited to do some research.

I suppose that's it for now! I'll be back with news on the new brews!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Perfect Brew Day

With yesterday not only being a day off for me but also an amazingly sunny paid holiday I couldn't think of anything better to do than brew a beer! So I got out to Bob's and got the fixins for a second batch of Liberation Pale Ale on Sunday and also dropped off the Wit Bier, Stout and Sunset Wheat for the Pudget Sound Pro Am Competition. And speaking of competitions I got my score sheets back from the Oregon Competition. It made me really realize how valuable entering competitions really is. There was actually 4 score sheets for each beer and each judge had different words of advice and different perspectives of each of the beers. I find it as a great opportunity to see what a refined pallet can have to say in terms of how to improve the beer for better future enjoyment. This really boosted my desire to enter competitions, even with beers that I don't think are good (the reason I entered Tiger's Blood). Because I guess I just used to brew and drink whatever and if it was good I'd try to snatch a ribbon out of it. But using judges as guinea pigs works too, hahaha



Here's the new note taking white board I got too! I think it'll help me keep everything straight. I also got the ribbons with the score sheets from the Oregon comp! That's a second and third that I'll add to the wall tomorrow!!! WHHOOOOO!

Back to brew day though, it went great! I had planned on getting down to the space at around 9 or 9:30 but of course stayed out too late the night before and didn't even wake up until noon. Crap. BUT I got down there and started at 12:30 and was actually done by quarter after 5! Everything went exactly like it was supposed too, with the exception of actually getting a better efficiency than usual! In this pale I added some munich for some malty goodness and upped the cara pils in hopes of getting a nice big white head in the beer. I also, instead of 3 big additions of hops at 60 minutes, 20 minutes and flame out, added small amounts of hops in several additions through out the boil. In the first liberation I noticed there was a huge space in flavor and aroma between hops and malt, so I'm hoping this will balance and even everything out alright :)

As far as other beers go I gave a glass of the Saison to a friend the other day and her face instantly went a skew. "what's that taste?" she said and continued to smell and taste it. "Coriander? Seeds of paradise? Esters? Pepper?" I asked. "No....It's something really familiar...." she replied. "Well, I used a hose to take the water to the pot which is somewhen detectable" I tried to say, but as soon as the word 'hose' left my mouth she said "THAT'S IT! HOSE WATER!" Which made me seriously hopelessly glad that Bob's jaw nearly fell off when I mentioned I was using a hose to get water to my pot. Now I get it straight from the faucet inside so as not to track that hose water into the beer. Yuck. I kegged the stout though finally. I caved and got the expensive wrench and got the keg all cleaned out.

So that's all for now! I'm hoping to keg the oatmeal stout later this week and maybe try and bottle twelve of them too. I tasted it today when I checked that gravity and it is Very good. I'm thinking I might take this keg down to the NHC since it's the same recipe as the normal stout just with oatmeal. It'd be GREAT on nitro.

~CHEERS

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sweet

I got down to the space today to drop off a few new additions, rack the oatmeal stout and keg Black Hole. Included in the drop off was a portable electric grill and two small pots for boiling bottle caps and priming sugar for when I bottle beer at the space. That'll be nice. I also dropped off some random tools and magazines and a new radio. The new ribbons went on the wall too to keep me encouraged to make clean balanced beer and continue my great ribbon collecting quest!



Unfortunately, I for some reason don't have a 7/8 inch wrench with the star like end for disassembling and cleaning the new kegs. So, I went to a hardware store where they didn't have a used one and new ones were 16 dollars. The cheap guy from Poor Man Brewing Company decided to settle for the dollar fifty socket instead. Of course though, the socket wasn't deep enough and I didn't get the intake or dip tube out to clean. I guess I'll be hitting the hardware store again tomorrow then and I'll be able to keg Black Hole in the afternoon before work.

I got the oatmeal stout racked over though. It actually tastes crazy different from the normal Black Hole. To my surprise, even though I used only one pound of oatmeal as opposed to the two pounds of flaked barley I usually use, the gravity of this beer was higher by about 7 points! When I racked it today it was insanely sweet with a very pronounced roasted character. It's completely obvious to me now how flaked barley adds the creaminess. I think it will be quiet delicious! That's what I truly love about beer, you change one small thing and you can get a completely different but equally delicious concoction! Here's to experimenting and exploring!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

RIBBONS

Well, over a month after the competition I finally got my ribbons from the Vegas Winterfest! I got a blue first place ribbon for the stout, and red second place ribbon for the IPA, and a big yellow third place best in show ribbon for the stout as well! I also heard back from the competition in Albany, OR and got third for my stout and second in the fruit beer category for that delicious Sunset Wheat! (results are here:
http://www.hotv.org/pdfs/2009_OHF_Results.pdf) Unfortunately, when I went to Oregon this past weekend I couldn't get a train or bus back from Albany to Portland if I would have gone to the comp, so I wasn't able to actually go down and hang out. Portland was a blast though! I went to Rogue and got the beer bread and a Chipotle Ale, then hit Laurelwood for a delicious sampler (the workhorse IPA was a delight!). I also hit up lucky lab where I was please to see they were doing a beer called "Malt Bomb" I believe, which was a malty beer that they were making every new batch with a different yeast. I had the one with Scottish ale and it was great! The best place I went though was Amnesia. It was up in north Portland and had the most back yard comfortable feel. It was a very modest little building with about 5 or 6 beers and a small BBQ menu. The seating was all outside under canopies and the food was all made on a small back yard grill near the seating. I was told they do this all year round! The food looked delicious and the beer was great! Their pale ale, Dusty Trail, was 100% Maris Otter and Cascade and was quite a delight.

I did end up brewing black hole again on Wednesday, and in true new space fashion I made an interesting flub. When I went to Bob's I got to talking as usual and after I had crushed my grains I completely forgot to get my flaked barley. So, naturally I realized this about 5 minutes into the mash (It looked a lot thinner than usual) and I didn't have anyway of getting to Bob's with in a reasonable time. So! With a little advise from Bob and the luck of having a breakfast joint in the little industrial area where the space is, I was able to buy 2 pounds of Quacker Oats and add about a pound 20 minutes into the mash! hahaha, which is making this my "oatmeal" black hole!

The second batch of black hole (the one that wouldn't boil, which still makes me mad) went into the secondary tasting about right. I had the same boiling issue with the oatmeal black hole, but was able to get a boil, after like 2 and half hours grrrrr, thanks to a suggestion from Matt. I was able to get a piece of aluminum used for roofing and wrap it around the burner as a wind breaker.

So, tomorrow I'm going back to the space to clean out the new kegs really well and put black hole into one of them. I'm hoping it will turn out alright and I can use this to take down to the National Homebrew Conference. If it doesn't taste right I might be able to brew it again on monday and still have time to have it ready.

I also got my tickets to the Great American Beer Festival yesterday! I went last year and had an absolute blast. I met up with 2 of my best friends from high school there, and we decided to make it a yearly get together and have talked 4 more of our best friends from around the country to meet us there too! I'm super excited.

I suppose that's all for now! I'll be brewing again on monday. Hopefully a Hef or the Pale Ale as long as black hole comes out alright. I'm also hoping my ribbons from the Oregon fest and the NHC will be in soon so I can continue my never ending mission to make beer that myself, my friends, and my family can enjoy while collecting as many ribbons as possible!~

RIBBONS!!!
~Kyle

Sunday, May 10, 2009

EXCITING!

They posted the results from the first round of the NHC and Black Hole took second place in the northwest region! I'm completely overwhelmed and pretty severally surprised! I'm more excited then the first time I saw Jurassic Park! Wow. Here's the link to the results: http://www.beertown.org/events/nhc/first_round_northwest.html I check it almost everyday as a way of pinching myself to make sure it really happened! So that's out outrageously exciting.

In other beer news I did end up bottling the wit bier and it tasted great coming out of the fermenter! I could already see improvements over my last one. I noticed in my last beer I, out of habit, added some whirlfloc which causes the beer to clear up where as a traditional white beer gets that foggy like whiteness from all the proteins and haze so I didn't use any fining materials this time and also didn't use a secondary fermenter. I also cut back on the coriander because that stuff can realllllly take over. And I also decided that I'm glad that I used the Trappist High Gravity yeast because I think how dry that out of control yeast made it will really add to the crisp refreshingness (that's a word) and give the esters and spices the main stage.

I also got 2 more kegs which turned out to be a great idea. The guy I got them from apparently gets them straight through Pepsi (they are 5 gallon soda kegs) and so they're super cheap and he told me to hold onto his number and I could get more any time! Awesome, I have an empty soda keg dealer hahaha

Black Hole got brewed up on Tuesday and things didn't really go so well. First off I was going to rack the Le Saison Du Le Space over to the secondary on last Monday so that when I brewed on Tuesday I'd already have a clean primary fermenter to rack the stout into, but I ran into a good friend and we ordered pizza, played video games and drank Lagunitas IPA instead...oops. So the beginning of the day was rather hectic. I woke up early to get a good start and of course it was raining, windy and crappy out, and of course this coaxed me back to sleep. When I got back up closer to 11 Alli and I went out to lunch and I debated whether to brew or not and decided I might as well. I'm going to have to get used to brewing in the rain. I brew outside and live in Seattle, there's little I can do about it :) PLUS I totally scored at Joe's going out of business sale again and got a really nice 10 x 1o foot canopy for 40% off! So, I got all started around 1 I believe and the weather wasn't actually that bad. I was moving around a lot so it didn't seem that cold but there was a good wind and some sprinkles of rain. It was kinda stressful at first but I was able to get all set up, get the mash going, and get the saison racked with out any issues. I added the CaCO3 as well to see how that balanced everything out. Then I sparged out my 7 gallons and everything looked perfect. I began to get the wort heated up and then it just stopped. I think it was the temperature outside, or the wind blowing out the flame on my burner, or the heat escaping out of the pot with out a lid, or something but I couldn't for the life of me get the damn beer to a boil! It just hovered between 180 and 182 for nearly an hour and a half. So I finally got incredibly frustrated and impatient and found a piece of cardboard and put it on top on the pot with a rock, let it heat up to around 195-200 and just threw in the boiling hops and am hoping for the best. I'm not sure of the specifics on how not have rolling boil will affect the final beer. My guess is that it will be a more concentrated beer due to the 2 and a half hours it steamed off and I will get lower hop utilization because of that and because of the lower heat. In thinking about this I did actually upped my hop addition by about .3 ounces. I've got my fingers crossed and figure that if it doesn't come out all that great it will be a lesson learned and a perfect beer to join the saison as trial brews to enjoy exclusively at The Space. I took a few pictures, but can't seem to find my camera....

Something I think I forgot to add to the last blog also is that I made it down to Big Brew at Larry's! Well, sort of. Basically traffic was a complete disaster. Bridges were closed, construction, rallies through the street, parking lot like traffic. Everything went wrong. So I was able to be in a car for 4 hours and at Larry's for 30 minutes. I didn't see anyone I knew except for the guy who I believe brews at Georgetown who's name I can never remember. Impressive set ups though and it's ALWAYS nice to see the huge system in the back of Larry's brewing. It smelled soooo good.

So, it's bed time for this guy. I'm really excited about the competition in Corvallis and will be having a Black Hole brew day 2 on Wednesday. And if you're in the area I'm going to invite who ever to swing by and try my saison with me and maybe sample a few other beers as well.

CHEERS TO BEERS!





edit: I found my camera and here's the set up getting the strike water heated with the canopy-

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Anxious

I'm in the middle of a million things and getting as anxious as ever! The last kitchen brew, Summer Wit Bier, is ready to bottle and I don't have any damn bottles. Well, I've got like 14 bombers and like 13 twelve ouncers but I don't thing that'll suffice. So, I'm thinking tomorrow about getting 3 more kegs so I can keep beer moving.

I also got the fixings to make a new Black Hole today and it looks like that's going to be put together on Tuesday. On my National Homebrew Competition score sheet the only real bad feedback I had on the beer was that it was a little roast forward which could be fixed with a little CaCO3. I looked into it and as it turns out highly roasted malts can add a slight acidity to the mash and the CaCO3 plays with the alkalinity of the water steadying out the Ph which could reduce the roastyness. Or at least that's what I got from it. Water chemistry is slightly over my head. A definite educational goal for the future. But the biggest anxiety that's coming out of all of this is that between tomorrow and Friday they're going to announce the winners of the first round of the National Homebrew Competition! I'm hoping with a 37 I'll have a good chance of moving on to the second round, but I'm nervous. The big things that I was worried about though are over. I actually entered (good job Kyle!) and even scored well!! (I get a sweet silver certificate for scoring between a 30 and 37!!) But wish me luck!!

I'm also getting some beers together to send to a competition in Corvallis, Or. I'm going to Portland on the 15th to see No Age and found a BJCP competition in the town of Corvallis, where conveniently enough Alli's sister lives, on the 16th. The competition looks fun though. They're having a guest speaker (TBA), raffle and equipment swap. So that should be a good weekend. I'm going to enter Black Hole again (that's why I'm making a new batch, it was so good I sent most of it off! I WANT SOME! hahahaha) Tiger's Blood (I need some feedback) and the wheat beer. (I put it in the fruit beer category, we'll see)

Le Saison de le Space is being a crazy little guy as well. I'm still nervous as all hell about it tasting like hose water. The brewing water I used came from a 100 foot hose and just reaaaked of hose coming out. So I'm thinking in the future I'll use hose water to clean and haul water out by buckets for the actual beer. But the temperature issue isn't going to be as bad as I originally thought. The dial that managed the time allowed to have the outlets on seems to stay on for at least 48 hours and I discovered a higher setting on the space heater. I went to check on the beer today and it was off the thermometer and bubbling like CRAZY :) hahaha, It's going to be quite the trial beer.

As far as finished beer goes I'm reallllly enjoying this Imperial American Honey Orange Wheat which I finally desided to call "Sunset Wheat". The beer has a great carbonation with a wonderful yeasty haze and I just can't get over how pronounced the sweet orange is but more importantly how the malty wheat backbone reaaaly shines through! It's alcohol level makes it a late evening goodnight beer, giving it the name Sunset :) I also jumped the gun pretty seriously and cracked a Penthouse Barleywine. I got home from work last night and just CRAVED a barleywine. I can honestly say that's never happened to me before. I still have a couple Bigfoots laying around, but got curious about how mine was coming along. So I tossed it in the freezer, the cheaters way of getting a homebrew ready ;) and cracked it to an episode of SNL. All I can say is whoam. Which is a combination of the words "whoa" and "hmm". The color is beautiful and the aroma is full of cherries and alcohol and raisins and malt. The taste is a thick maple syrup sweet cherries with a touch of oxidation and alcohol. The mouthfeel is great with not too high of carbonation, but pushing it, and heavy and silky with a fairly surprising dry-ish finish with a strong alcohol flavor. It definitely has numerous flaws (the hmm) but is overpowered with different tastes I wouldn't have imagined being in there (the whoa) I'm excited to watch this one mature and make another this coming December!

So, I'm off to bed now. I just opened a second Sunset (boy it's tasty) and have a big day tomorrow with chores prepping for the competition and getting the space ready for a brew on Tuesday. Plus I need to get those kegs, a plane ticket for the NHC, a canopy to put over the outdoor brew space in the rain, a train ticket to PDX, bottle the Wit (somehow) and numerous other not beer related things (BORING!) hahaha

Until Next Time!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

More things happening!

I got my score sheet back from the National Homebrew Competition yesterday! I only entered that stout (it's such a damn fine beer!) into the 13a category in the northwest region and I got a 36 from one judge and 38 from another giving me a 37! To qualify for second place you needed a score between 30-37 so I was just on the cusp to qualify for first! That's pretty damn good if I do say so myself :) They announce the winners who are qualifying for the second round by next week, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed! Man, I'm excited about that!

In other beer news I finally got the barley wine bottled. It tasted much different from when I last tasted it. The hops are all but gone, it seems to taste a little oxidized and it has an almost... soury aged taste to it that could be called pleasing.. but I think that now it just needs to get a little carbonation and mellow out in the bottle and it'll be a tasty brew

I also bottled the Imperial American Honey Orange Wheat beer! (that really needs a better name) about a week ago. I threw one in the fridge to try it cold with a little carbonation and it actually tastes awesome! It's exactly what I wanted. It's REDICULOUSLY hazing (nice job Wyeast 1010!) and the color of orange juice, smells of sweet orange with a VERY slight hop and malt nose, it's got a really pronounced wheat back bone (I was scared that wouldn't come through) and tastes, for lack of a better description, similar to a memosa! I think this is going to be a great summer beer. I'm not sure how I feel about how big I made it though. It went from 1.065 to 1.012 which puts it in the ballpark of 7%. I'm think with how easy it goes down this might be a little bit of an issue. hahaha

I also brewed up my Wit Bier a while back. Bob's didn't have any of the Wyeast Wit yeast though so I used Trappist High Gravity and holy crap! It was fermenting like crazy in 10 hours and at 24 blowing out of the bubbler! I put a blow off tube on it and the next day when I came home from work my apartment stunk like yeast! I'm thinking that'll be a delicious summer brew too :)

Well, it's time to go make some beer money.

~CHEERS!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Successful Test Batch!

Well, the test batch at the new place was scheduled for Sunday, but with exceptional weather and a day that Alli wasn't all that busy we decided to enjoy the weather and get some basketball playing done instead! So, the brew day was pushed back to yesterday. I worked in the morning so I didn't get to the place until around 4 and didn't get things set up and running until about quarter after. Then, after going through giant checklists of what all I needed to have to get the beer made, came to the realization that propane burners need fire to start. Duh. So in a pinch was able to go to the Ivar's (a specialty salmon restaurant that smells of smoked salmon 24/7 which makes that space that much more awesome) and steal a very large handful of match books. Finally then got the sparge water heating up at around 4:45. Everything seemed to be going fine until we realized that the 100 foot hose we have to run from the inside of the studio was backing up and spraying water all over the floor and leaking into one of the studios! We discovered it was from the nozzle we had on the end of the hose, so to solve that I now just have to run back and forth into the studio to turn the water on and off as I need it. After that things seemed to go great! I made the Saison from the Big Brew recipes (http://www.beertown.org/events/bigbrew/recipes.html) since I couldn't get out of work for the day of big brew. I did get most of the morning off though, so I'll still be at Larry's to check out everybody else :) So the mash went great. I got the strike water up to around 160 and got the mash going at about 151, which was about where I wanted it as I'm hoping for a very dry beer and lose about 3 degrees during my mash, but I was just happy that the brew day was outside in the sun! AND I was finally making a Saison. While the mash was going I started heating up my sparge water. I usually use about 28 quarts or so at around 180F. So, I filled my boil kettle with 28 quarts of water and when I put it on the burner with the thermometer in it it was at 35 degrees!! Fortunately, I realized later that since the hose is actually hooked up to a sink faucet it has a hot and cold setting and the hot is decently warm, next time hopefully this will shave some time off of heating water up. I didn't however realize this until after heating up the sparge water for this batch.... Which meant that when the mash was over the sparge water was at about 120F. At first this stressed me out, then I reached for the new issues of Zymurgy and thought "Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew" and just waited for the water to heat up while enjoying some fine reading in the sun. Unfortunately, at 165F I gave in and sparged with that. I also have a thing about not drinking until the chiller goes in, so I didn't have a homebrew. By this time it was getting somewhat late so usually when I drain my tun while fly-sparging I take it slow to try and extract as much as I can but with the sun going down I went a little bit faster. Once I got it in the boil pot I decided on a 60 minute boil instead of a 90 minutes boil as well. I was getting really nervous of cleaning all this stuff up in the dark in a place I had only been to twice before. When the boil finished I had actually cleaned up most everything and I tossed the chiller in. As I mentioned earlier the water there was near freezing so chilling the beer only took 25 minutes! I was verrry pleased with that. So I racked the beer into the carboy and carried it (I need one of those carboy handle things!) the very long distance into the space and pitched 2 packs of wyeast belgain saison yeast :) And now that I knew there are two different temperature settings I was able to clean everything in the near dead of night with warm (awesome) hose water. It made things a little quicker and easier.


All in all things went really well! As far as the ability to brew there I think it'll work out fine. My only real issue now is the fermentation temperatures staying in check and the effect using hose water will have on my beers. When I put the water into the HLT it just stunk like hose :/ I'm hoping that doesn't make too much of a difference.

It's funny how the only time I ever plan on following a recipe word for word with out saying "I don't like that addition" or "I think this would be better in it" is Big Brew and this year through a little stress and hustle I still didn't follow it very closely. I didn't use any orange peel because I ran out of time, cut the boil time, cut back on the coriander, mashed at a lower temp, hahaha. So I'll be dubbing this "Le Sasion De Le Space" and have it only in a keg in the space for anyone who wants a taste :) Speaking of the space, here it is in it's beginning stages:

*Notice the unopened bottle of Saison Dupont that it got too late to drink last night, and Le Saison De Le Space all cuddled up in it's blanket*

Future "The Space" will have a giant white board for note taking, a shelf of cellering beers, a chest freezer for lagering and future kegeratering, and much much more!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Putting things together

Well, we got the keys to the place (name pending) and signed the lease giving us the OK to come and go as we please! I got to look around a little bit more and am weary of a lot of little things that I know is just me over analyzing. The room seems to be a little brisk which might be hard for those german and belgium beers that summer loves so much; the electrical outlets (except a few low watt ones in the ceiling) are all on a timer nob, like the ones you see on hot tubs so a temperature controlled fridge for lagering might be a challenge; it looks like i can probably run a hose out side from the sink on the inside and be able to brew outside but I'm worried about having it rain on my days off when I'd be brewing; I'm not sure how exactly to set up a gravity fed system since the part that under an over hang is on a pretty serious incline; and lastely I'm worried about how to transport beer around once it's bottled or kegged. I'm thinking storing them there wouldn't be the best for carbonation because of the lower temperature, but we discussed maybe just hooking up one of those kid carrier things that drags behind a bike to my future bike and running beer like it's my child hahaha. I'm sure we can make it work though. I bought a propane burner yesterday at Joe's going out of business sale. It's a 60,000 BTU burner and I realized when I went to Bob's this morning it's the same one he has for sale (he seemed bummed out when I told him I got it for 65 bucks, I guess it was quite a steal) which I didn't even realize at the time. So, that's one more step towards getting out of the kitchen brewery. But until then I'm still brewing the the little kitchen! I just put the chiller into the boil for the last 15 minutes of a boil on my Wit Bier. It was fun because I got a bag of fresh coriander from a little indian spice shop and instead of putting them through a coffee grinder like is suggested, I just put 1/4 ounce in between some paper towels and went to town with a hammer! It was fun and smelled delicious. I'm drinking a Blanche De Bruxelles while waiting on the boil (I need out of this kitchen). I'm fairly disappointed in this beer.. To me it stunk like wine and tasted watery and somewhat tart and sour. But it sure looked pretty! ha. So, I better get to MY beer and start the water through the chiller.

Until Next Time!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Brewery Begins!

Well, today marks a great day in my "brewery"s life with the rental of a 12 foot by 12 foot "art studio" at the Gasworks Gallery! Alli and I are going to split the studio where she's going to set up a little art studio for her screen printing and paintings and photo work, and (space permitting) I'm hoping to use this space to finally get a sort of brewery that isn't a kitchen brewery. The studio is basically under I-5 on Northlake. We can actually see Lake Union from the gallery! For those who are in the seattle area, it's RIGHT off of the Burke Gilman on 4th ave. There's actually a set of stairs from our front door up to the Gilman. The room we have has it's own lock too which as I've heard is a bonus in an art studio like this. The place is basically just a large warehouse that used to be an old saw factory? or something and a guy bought it and put up partitions, to make more little rooms. our room is in the basement with actual walls and on the north side of the building. The hope is that, being in the basement on the northside and having a cement floor, the temperature will be fairly regulated for fermenting that wonderful thing often referred to as homebrew. There's a nice big community sink that I hope will be able to have a hose hook up to it or something that I can run out to the front for brewing. I haven't had a chance to look around that much to work out the specifics, but I'm hoping things will look good so I can go out and get a propane burner and get to some serious boils!! (fiiinally!) When the current occupant is all out, which should be by wednesday I believe, we'll be able to finally start getting situated and get everything figured out. So, when that comes around I'll be back with some more, hopefully wonderful, news! In the mean time I'm enjoying my delicious IPA in some new glassware I picked up at some vintage store in Fremont. (notice the Space Needle out the window. I love my view. Chill haze, on the other side, I do not like)

~CHEERS!
Kyle

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


After a really busy weekend, I got a lot accomplished! On Friday, I brewed up that American Imperial Honey Orange Wheat I was so excited about! (I used a blow off tube thinking all the wheat would go crazy, but it was rather well behaved) I'm hoping it turns out okay though. After having a few Tiger's Bloods I'm losing my faith on honey in beer. I liked the thought of using it because it adds great fermentables and a residual sweetness, but I'm starting to detect a slight copper taste from it... We'll see. Also, I was going to try a batch sparge on it to see how my efficiency held up doing something different, but using 45% wheat malt I got a little scared about a stuck sparge and decided to just fly sparge as usual (change sometimes scares me). I used a half pound of rice hulls and everything came out fine, well except for the 55% efficiency. With the Wheat all brewed and settling I took off Saturday morning for Portland to meet an old friend from Santa Rosa! And upon talking to her, realized that Russian River is in Santa Rosa! I told her I would come visit her just for that, but she INSISTED that where she works, The Third Street Aleworks Brewpub, is exceptionally better. Hahaha. We'll see. Speaking of California I also got my ticket for the National Homebrew Conference this weekend! I'm really excited! No one from my homebrew club is going though, so I sent an e-mail out to the Impailing Alers in Kent and am hoping they'll have a gang down there I can represent Seattle with. Back to Portland though. I hit the big ones mostly (Dechutes, Rogue, Bridgeport) just because they were right down town or on Burnside, because that's mostly where we were. And I refuse to go to Portland with out having Rogue's beer bread. That stuff is amazing. At Bridgeport I had their seasonal "Fallen Friar". It was actually really good. It was a Abbey Style Ale that I thought tasted like a really smooth fruity trippel. At Rogue I had a sampler and tasted what everyone else got. It was all really good as usual. And at Deschutes I had the Night Rider Nitro Stout which is their Obsidian Stout on nitro with some kind of coffee from Bend, Oregon. It was very very tasty, but absolutely filling. Like a little coffee meal in a glass. I also read through most of Randy Mosher's new book "Tasting Beer". It's reallllly good! I recommend it to anyone who has any interest in anything about beer. He goes into the history (geographically and economically) how it's made, how to use your senses to enjoy it, a guideline of the styles including examples. Just about everything you need to know, spelled out very clearly. So pick it up!

Cheers!
-Kyle

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Relaxing

Well, after not brewing for damn near a month I'm getting a little anxious. In thinking about nice weather and being out side and all, I decided I wanted to make a good authentic tasting German Hef. Which I realized would be the perfect opportunity to try out my 10 gallon experiment. Because I have the mash tun for a 15 gallon batch, but a boil pot for only a 5 gallon batch, so I was thinking I could mash 10 gallons worth (or 14 total pre boil) and mix it into a large container then take off 7 gallons boil it, cool it and get it into the carboy with some yeast. Then take the rest of the wort and do everything exactly the same but with a different yeast. (since we all know it's the yeast that makes a weizen beer) I only have two hang ups: One, I'm kind of worried about that pre boil wort just hanging out for the nearly 2 hours after the mash. I know I'll be boiling it, but some of those nasty little infection buggers are tricky. Two, how the hell am I going to get the 7 gallons out of a giant container into the boil pot? 7 gallons is heavy enough as it is! But, I'm hoping and can figure it out and give it a try. Along with those I decided a wheat-a-thon would be fun. I've really wanted to remake my Wit with real coriander (not safeway bought preground crap) and have had a Weizenbock recipe I put together months ago laying around begging to be brewed. On that note I decided a good American Wheat would be fun too. But I was thinking about taking a simple American Wheat (Half 2 row half wheat with a dash of crystal and 1056) and stock it up on something more grainy and bready like munich or vienna and toss some orange peel and honey in to make a delicious American Imperial Orange Honey Wheat. In already made beer news: Tiger's Blood came out fantastic! I guess it's too early to really say that since I only drank one, that was luke warm and flat, but it came out just like I wanted it! It's got a fantastic taste and nose of caramel with out being over powering with a touch of hops and sweetness. mmm hm. mighty fine! I threw another one in the fridge last night to crack open tonight to see how it's still progressing.

OH! And also, I got Randy Mosher's new book "Tasting Beer" in the mail today. I read the first 10 or 12 pages and thumbed through the rest and am very impressed. I think it's going to be one of those books that every beer geek should have, and yet feel the need to suggest it to every person they know who has any interest, or even just an enjoyment, in beer

-Beer haunts my thoughts :)
~Kyle

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

3rd Place Best In Show!

Well, my stout that I've been enjoying so much proved it's worth at the Las Vegas Winterfest! It took first in the Stout category and 3rd in best in show! Here's the link:
http://www.nevadabrew.com/twiki/bin/view/Competitions/Winterfest09Results
I'm so excited! Unfortunately, I totally spaced it out and didn't get the beers into the cascade brewers cup, but I think I'm going to take a big chance and enter the National Homebrew Competition. It's kind of nerve racking, but I think I'll just send it in and expect nothing. There's got to be thousands of people who enter it, and the thought of entering a beer into a competion with the likes of Charlie Papazian, John Palmer and others just blows my mind! hahaha. But I'm still super excited to have taken a place in best in show!!!!
I tried Tiger's Blood today to see how it's coming along and it tastes great! I'm going to try and get motivated enough to bottle it tomorrow. I'm also thinking about finally bottling that barley wine. It's been in the fermenter bulk aging for 3 months now. I'm just worried because I've read a million different dos and don'ts for bottling a barley wine... we'll see how it goes. I'm most likely take a gravity reading and taste it tomorrow when I bottle Tiger's Blood.

EXCITED!
~Kyle

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Continuing Progress

Well, tonight I made my attempt at entering these competitions. It turns out the one at some air force base south of Tacoma accepts entries until Friday, unless you're mailing them. I which case it needs to be there in 17 hours. Meh. I definitely don't want to make the 3 hour round trip with a zipcar either, so it looks like that one's out. The one in California is only accepting beers that are first registered online and I can't get the damn online registration to work. So that one's out. The 'Winter Beer Fest' (in March?) in Las Vegas looks like it is going to work out though. And the Cascade Brewers Cup right here in Redmond is a for sure one as well. Bob's is taking entries, so I'll run down there on Friday.

I'm glad at least two worked out though, because I cracked an IPA (dubbed Jail Bait for being so delicious that is easy to enjoy too many and misbehave) and Stout (which is going to be the new Black Hole) tonight and they are both super ridiculously good! The IPA came out an amazing light amber color with a huge nose of citrusy flowery sweet hops. The body is light medium with an initial hit of sweetness with subtle bready background followed by a strong hop flavor. It finishes really dry which I think is good for an IPA, but a little too much for my taste. The whole thing has a lingering bitterness, which might even be a little too much. Next time I'm not going with that crazy Pacman yeast and maybe try out American Ale II. I think I would help add a little more body and keep it slightly less dry. The Stout might even be better! It's dark black but not completely opaque with a nice off white head. The aroma is outrageous! hahaha! Strong roastiness with a slight choloate note. The body is medium and silky with a great bitterness/sweetness balance and a great roasty finish with a light chocolate after taste.

I'm honestly knocked out by how much I like these beers. I'm generally my very worst critic, but can't seem to enjoy these enough! Holy crap. hahahaha So, I guess I'm hoping others will think highly as well :)

I'm going to rack Tiger's Blood to the secondary tomorrow to let it clear out a bit. Fermentation looks to have been done a day or so ago, but I just haven't gotten to it yet. I'm thinking I'm going to skip out on the Brewboard's group brew now. I wanted to join in before, but I just don't really feel like it's going to be that great of a beer, so the 'ol chalkboard is all marked up on what I'll be brewing next. I'm thinking saturday will be brew day, so I've got some decisions to make!

wishing he could lager,
~Kyle

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tiger's Blood

With the exception of feeling like crap all day Tiger's Blood got brewed up without a hitch! I even took pictures of the new system

Here's the HLT (Hot Liquor Tank) and Mash Tun


The Mash Tun has a sparging manifold on the top so as the sparge water comes out of the HLT into the tun it is lightly sprinkled onto the mash so it doesn't disturb the grain bed. At the bottom is a braid to act as a sort of filter to keep the grains from clogging the out end


Here's a picture of it in action..


And here's the boil pot on our tiny stove top


Everything went well after that! The color wasn't as red as I was hoping for but it was other wise great looking. I missed my damn target gravity again. I don't know what's going on with that, but it's frustrating. Oh well, it's still beer and it's fun as hell! Speaking of fun, I'm a terribly huge fan of ribbons. As it turns out, if you make good beer you can get ribbons too! So coming up I'm going to put the IPA and Stout (which I haven't tried yet so I'm going on faith) into 4 competitions. So wish me luck! I'll post back any good news. hahaha

~cheers!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Unfortunate View Of Empty Carboys



Though the sight of empty carboys makes me sad, it's good to know I have 15 gallons of beer in my cupboard :) hahaha.

The IPA didn't really shock me as much as it did when I racked it to the secondary, but it still seemed to come through well on it's way to the bottle. I hate allergies in times like these though... It's hard to really tell how things are coming with a throat lozenge and a runny nose. The Stout however went into the bottles with a smile! It's sooo roasty and creamy! yum yum yum

I'm going to be brewing up Tiger's Blood on Monday morning. I originally made this Amber Ale for my friend Trevor. It was made to be a slightly carmelly good bodied balanced session brew, and the original one I made got me 9th place in the best in show at the Homebrew Fair last year. I did the best I could to scale it from extract to all grain. I think this will be a nice (hopeful) welcome to spring.

Happy Brewing!
_Kyle

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Home from Hawaii

Wow. What an amazingly awesome adventure! To keep this mainly a beer blog I only have two must share moments. Firstly, we went to the Kalalau Beach on Kauai by toughing through the 11 mile hike along the Na Poli coast. I can't even to begin to describe the absolute utter beauty. Here's a few photos but honestly there's no words to describe it and pictures don't begin to do it justice.


So with the exception of realizing how outrageously white I am and some cuts bruises and soreness this may have been one of the best and most beautiful experiences in my life.

oh, and here's what the 11 mile hike (that took 8 hours! It was treacherous) was all towards. Sleeping on the this beach was 110% worth it. There was only 6 other people there too.




Ok. So having a hard time moving past the hike, we went to the Kona pub on O'ahu!


It wasn't actually a brew pub. I guess they only do brewing on the big island. But they had 12 beers on tap and they were all pretty good! Of course their Pipeline Porter was great (we had it with breakfast 3 days on the trip) and they also had a really great stout that was aged in barrels, and since their delicious looking american wheat with mango or something like that had run dry the bartender, who was really great, made us up a mixture of their red and IPA called an IRA. hahaha. The bartender also, when I asked about the hops in the IPA, brought me the "beer bible" which had a run down of most all of their beers (Northern Brewer, Centenial and Cascade by the way) The pub was right on the water as well so we sat on the deck with a giant pizza and some poke (delicious). It was awesome!



So, it was a fantastic trip and everything went swimmingly.

As for my beer, a window was left open while we were gone so the beers in the secondary were sitting quite cold. I had planned on bottling them both today, but when I went to check on how many empty bottles I had laying around I was kinda sad to see 17. Ooops. So I guess I've been mailing off too many homebrews and not buying enough craft brews. Looks like I need to go down to Bob's and get some.

Until next time!
~Kyle