Friday, April 24, 2015

Parallel World #2 & Tasting Session

The cat's out of the bag, Trois is not a true Brettanomyces Yeast (As most of you know by now).  It's a Sac yeast with uncharacteristically ale like qualities to put it best.  You can read all about it on the smarter homebrew blogs (most of them are linked to the right of this).  So what about this beer with Trois not being Brett.  Well for one, its still a damn good beer and that's all that matters.

A couple years ago I did my first Brett Trois IPA called Parallel World, this rebrew only shares the same name with the first variant.  New and improved, completely re-engineered from the ground up.  I wanted this to be a tropical fruit bomb.  Inspired by Ed Coffy over at Ales of the Riverwards.  He sent me a fantastic sample of his Not-Brett Riverwards IPA.  Without getting into details, it was wonderful.  I wanted to base this recipe off his idea of what a Trois IPA should be, turning into what I envisioned as the perfect tropical Trois IPA. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Tonga, Rustic Pale Ale & Tasting Notes

So what's a Rustic Pale Ale?  I have no idea, but if it was a style, this beer would be in the style guidelines.  I lusted to create what I envisioned as a perfect pale ale, in fact a perfect beer in general, crafted for me.  Light, a little rough around the edges (to satisfy my Sour/Siason needs) and hoppy on the back end.  So I guess calling it a Rustic Pale Ale fits for me, and isn't that the point? 

Aroma:  Medium to low "hop aroma" but well balanced with rye peppered notes pairing into soft green grape stem-ish aroma coming from the Nelson hops.  Medium to high hop aroma.

Appearance:  Golden Yellow, brilliantly clear.  Fluffy white head, lingers longer than I've seen on a pale ale.  The lacing down the glass is textbook.  Everything about this beer screams "Drink Me!" Don't the carbonation bubbles traveling up the glass in that shot look quaffable?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 America's Finest Homebrew Competition Results

As normal, I enter 2 beer competitions a year.  Quaff's, America's Finest Homebrew Competition (AFC) is a test place for my National Homebrew Competiton entries. AFC is a really large competition at around 600 entries and its local which I like.  I've always received solid feedback on the beers I've sent. 

This year I entered 4 beers into AFC, 2 of them are sold contenders, the other 2 are ok beers but really don't have a place in the BJCP guidelines.  It ended up working out as I thought and the 2 better beers metaled.

My thoughts are below.

Farmers Daughter 2013, Blend #2:  Scored a 41/50 Overall. Category #17B Flanders Red Ale. 3rd Place, America's Finest City Homebrew Competition 2015

Judge #1, Not Stated 39/50

Aroma: 9/12 Sour, Black cherries, hint of diacetyl.  Some vanilla notes that blend well and support the rest of the noted. 

Appearance: 3/3  Deep Red clear, moderate white head that lingers for several minutes.  Lingering lacey white head

Flavor: 16/20 Cherry fruitness, bit spicy, moderate sour character, some hop bitterness.  Bready, caramel maltiness that supports it all.

Mouthfeel: 4/5 Moderate in body and high in carbonation, light sweet finish

Overall Impression: 7/10 Great Job! Some of the sourness in the flavor overpowered everything else

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Naked: Series, What I've learned

In April 2014, I brewed what might be the best Pale Ale recipe I've encountered.  The recipe, posted on HomebrewTalk.  Is formulated from Russian Rivers Pale Ale, Row 2 Hill 56.  Using 100% Simcoe hops, created as a tribute to the hop that Vinnie saved from being pulled from the ground for being to aggressive.  As the story goes of course.  After my clone was completed I started brewing the second clone.  Keeping everything the same except fermenting it at a lower temperature (64° vs 66°).  Because I'm a homebrewer and the temptation to change something is overwhelming. This went on for 6 batches, not changing anything on the recipe, just enjoying the fruits of my labor.  Then Ed Coffey posted a link for a new hop variety I've never seen before.   Called Azacca which I still can't figure out how to pronounce.  (If anyone wanted to inform me how it would be awesome, I just call it Azz"ca") And his (Ed's) planned split brewday using this hop.  Showcasing big orange zest paired with pine notes according to the growers website, a couple clicks later it was being shipped to my house.

Upon arrival, I really didn't know what to use it for.  My original thoughts were a Saison to push the orange zest notes the hop advertised.  (Which I still should do) The idea slowly changed into a SMaSh beer to pull my thoughts concerning this new hop.  However, I remembered I hate SMaSh beers.  Using single malts just can't hold up to the hops. (My opinion)  But I've never brewed a single hopped beer...or have I?  This fantastic Russian River Row 2 Hill 56 beer that I've brewed 6 batches  is single hopped. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Homebrew Presentation, It Goes a Long Way.

Sometimes it's not what's in the bottle, it's how the bottle presents itself.  Are the labels off?  Is the cap on straight?  Any signs of rust?  How's the fill level?  These are all honest questions to ask yourself before handing anyone a bottle of your homebrewed Beer or Mead.  Lets start the new year off right and forget your promises to hit the gym and focus on something important.  The hobby you love. 

A lot of thought goes into the way I package my homebrewed.  While I have no intentions of selling my homebrewed beer and mead, I do want it to look professional.  The level of cost(s) and how you get there is really up to you.  (All of the ideas below are gauged at homebrew that is NOT meant for competition.  For comps, a new bottle and some blue tape on top is about perfect IMO.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Farmers Daughter 2013 Blend #2 & Tasting Session

Taking some Tasting Session notes while brewing at a buddies house in EastLake

Last June, I got together with Eric, Danny and Sisco to blend our 2013 Flanders Red Ale.  (Which we normally do each September, but the timing was off this year) Eric, Danny and myself all had variants of our house Flanders ready to go.  Plus, I always brew a clean malty beer for some added mouthfeel (if needed) during blending.  Here is a quick overview of the beers we used.

  1. Eric brought his Flanders Red ale fermented w/ DeeperRoots Flanders House blend yeast*
  2. Danny brought his Flanders Red ale fermented w/ DeeperRoots Flanders House blend yeast*
  3. I brought my Gail Belgian Dark Strong, fermented clean w/ WLP550 Yeast
  4. I brought my Invocation American Sour Ale , 100% Wild, which had really gotten clean and tart.
  5. I brought my 2013 Farmers Daughter 2013 Base (recipe below) fermented with my house Flanders pitch (Called LB-Flanders) *1

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hold my Hand into the Sunset; Blended Brett Mead & Tasting Session

Everything looks so nice after a San Diego downpour

 *Update 12/11/2014 - There has been a lot of chatter about Brett Trois not containing any Brett.  To see a good story about it, please read this story. 

People seem to love Brett IPA's, Brett Saisons and even some Brett Wheat beers, so always confuses me when Meads are not included into this statement.  Lets go over the facts, meads are perfect avenues for honey to show off fruit and spices.  Brettanomyces during primary fermentation pushes these fruit phenolics and spices.  So creating a fruit forward mead, paired with a fruit producing yeast seems like the perfect combination right?  Well I think so, with some small issues that we can overcome.

If you've seen my other posts you know I love 71B for my meads. Its quick, its easy and it fly's through fermentation when treated right.  However, the more and more I use Brett Trois and Brett C, the more I want to explore what these yeast can do, especially in meads.

This started off as two meads, one clean and one Brett fermented.  The clean mead was a "Quick, lets make this while brewing this other IPA." mead.  The Brett was a little more planned. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Cit" Tronic IPA & Tasting Session

Citra was the cool hop before we even knew hops could be this cool.  Rising to fame in late 2008/09.  Bringing flavors most beer drinkers didn't know were possible.  That's what inspired this recipe.  Citra Blast was first brewed back in early 2013 (based on Kern River's Citra IPA), followed by a couple more re-brews tweaking this or that.  Until it was changed into "Cit"tronic IPA.  This beer is a beer designed for IPA lovers for what it isn't.  No big punches of dankness, pine or resinous hops.  Only tropical, mango flavors of citra.

For those of you keeping count, this was brewed 5 (starting with Citra Blast) times over the last 2 years, with this one headed in a slightly different direction vs the others.  The use of a hop back or a "Randel", if you wanted to use its trade name.  (I went into detail about using a Blichmann Hopback a couple years back and decided it was more show than go.  So I built a Customized Randel the way I thought it would work best and it does

Now what to fill the Randel with?  Pairing Citra hops with citrus seemed best.  Focusing in on Grapefruit zest and some pulp.  No rind.  Using the zest of 2 grapefruit and the fruit of one.  Peeling as much of the white rind as I could off.  Chunked it up with a knife and filled the Randel once the beer was carbonated.

Aroma: Grapefruit zest, maybe a little soapy.. from the zest?  Starts off on the sweeter side (grapefruit) then goes into a tart grapefruit zesty ending. I can't explain how big the grapefruit notes are coming off this beer.

Appearance:  Hazy, no clearing agents used in boil or keg.  (It also is going thru a hopback) Big foamy head which fades quickly.  Leaving solid lacing rings down the glass as you quaff it down.