Thursday, May 18, 2017

GoodBelly Trials: What I've learned

GoodBelly, a name synonymous with fast souring.  If you haven't heard about this probiotic you need to check out "Milk the Funk" on Facebook.  Or read this. ;)  Now this isn't going to be a technical breakdown of pH reading or a boring textbook style processes(s).   This is going to be notes on the way I prepare a basic Berliner Weisse or Gose style beer that's simple to read and understand.

Starting off you have a couple ways to create a fast soured beer.  On the ones I've brewed, I've found that a blend between the 2 popular techniques works best for me.  A quick boil for about 15 mins then onto a hot heating pad.  Which is set at about 100°.  Boring right?  Well, I found the magic happens before brew day.  It's all about a large Goodbelly starter.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Live and Brew Free: Fuck HOA's

With today being February 1st, the anniversary of Jimmy Carter legalizing homebrew I wanted to give a little history of whats happening with me personally in relation to brewing.  I know its long, please bear with me.

March 2012 I was at the hospital holding my sleeping 2 day old son when my phone rang.  (Thinking it was someone congratulating me on my newborn son.)  It was the legal council for my Home Owners Association.  Asking me about my Homebrewing activities.  There was an anonymous complaint. Typical in our Association.

It turns out I have a fan of this site that was also on the HOA Board of Directors.  However this fan hates anything alcohol related and rules the community with an iron fist attached to a gross, fat hateful body.

For those of you out there that live inside Home Owner Association's understand the complete dominance they have over every little detail of your daily life.  This association follows the same pattern.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Daydream with Me; a Oaked Mead & Tasting Session

When I partake in Mead, I tend to think about life.  Goals, family, work, friends of the past and friends I see everyday.  This always gets me emotional.  Sometimes sad, sometimes happy, however the end result is the same.  I tend to daydream.  Something about the mythical part of mead, I'm sure.  Having nothing to do with the warming, almost liquorish concoction headed into my stomach, I'm sure its the history of mead, not the other delicious reason ;) ...But the result is always the same.  Finding a spot between the grinds of daily life and the depths of substance abuse.  And I'm ok with that.  That is my happy place.  A place to Daydream.  Typically during a tasting session (Using the label "Tasting Session" trying to make it sound as official as I can for my 2015 v2 "Hold my Hand into the Sunset" series) I started to think about another mead.  The goal was a Honey Whiskey. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Building a Jockey Box, my way

This is something that I've always wanted to build and own.  Something that if built correctly, should have years and years of enjoyment.  Before this my problem was, not how to build a Jockey Box, but how to build a Dream Jockey Box.  Something that works, all the time, tossing costs out the window.  Now this is more difficult than it seems.  Most Jockey Boxes (JB from here on out) are build to sell and not built to use.  What does that mean?  Simply put, they are price point items.  A good example is this one.  Which is mostly achieved by cutting corners on the cooling element(s) or the coil length.

So let me explain my thinking when trying to build my Dream Jockey Box:

  • Coil Only, the hate for cold plates are well documented.  The hate for coils is solely length related.
  • So two 120ft stainless coil are needed.  Please do NOT use Copper. 
  • I wanted 2 taps, since more choices are better.  (remember you do not need to use both at the same time)
  • Solid Metal cooler.  Staying away from the toss-a-way red and blue cheapies that don't hold ice more than an afternoon.
  • Everything stainless.  From the shanks to the couplers to the nuts, no brass (hey... except the taps, which I'm changing soon.)
  • Needs to last 10+ years with solid 10 to 12 uses per year over 3 to 4 days at a time.
  • No drip collectors since when camping no one cares anyway. 
  • Make it look freaking awesome if at all possible.
So my list was set.  A double tap setup in a metal cooler.  All stainless parts.   Seems simple enough. :)  right? 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Cheap Beer Line Cleaner System

If you'd ask me about cleaning my beer lines, I'd say I do it about every 2 weeks, until I really think about it.  In reality it's about every 5 to 6 weeks.  Whats worse, I think I clean my lines more frequently than most other homebrewers.  (Currently I'm replacing my keggor which allows me to see how important regular cleaning is.)  I have 4 taps on my old system.  2 of which have stainless shanks.  The other 2 are chrome plated brass.  Let just say, don't purchase chrome plated brass if you are building a keggor. (they are replaced on the new system)  No matter what you have, cleaning is essential to good beer. 

My cleaning ways of the past was filling up a scotty keg with Beer Line Cleaner (BLC) and running it thru my system into a bucket.  This system, easy as it is, didn't allow me to re-circle the cleaning liquid as directed on the bottle.  It was a one time shot thru the line, shank and then out the Perlicks. If a line needed extra cleaning, I was out of luck.  Having to blend more BLC into the keg and waste more Co2.  I needed something better.

Friday, May 15, 2015

NHC Conference Guide, 2015 San Diego

After 4 years, the American Homebrewers Association's National Conference is back in San Diego this June.  Along with being my hometown, San Diego is a top craftbeer city, created by its homebrewing roots.  Why else do you think the AHA sent the conference back to San Diego only after 4 years?

The AHA has their own guide, which you should read if it's your first time, but you should also check out my guide below for the conference.  Which might be a little more focused than the AHA's.  (You can also read my Philly 2013 NHC recap if your interested.)

First things first, San Diego is a car city.  If you want to hit the local craft spots, you need a car and a DD or a Taxi/Uber.  The San Diego Trolley does work, only if the spot you're looking for is along its route.  Which, most of the time, it isn't.  If you do rent a car, the Town and Country Hotel has a great parking lot, which does happen to be next to the Trolley station at Fashion Valley Mall.  Which sadly is the only outside food within walking distance (more on that later).  

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?