Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nano Brewery

I have in the past referred to SheppyBrew as a "nano-brewery" in this blog.

Last night, while listening to a podcast of the Brewing Network's "The Sunday Session", I discovered that there is actually a classification (unofficial) of commercial breweries of "Nano-Brewery".  I thought I was being clever coming up with the term, but apparently, I was not so original.  Basically, a "nano-brewery" is one that brews commercially on a home-brew scale.  One of the guest of the show was actually brewing in his home.

I just want to make it clear, you cannot buy my beer.  If you want to drink it, you have to come over, ask nicely, and let me give you some.  Sorry, but that is just the way it has to be.


I'm thinking about brewing a Rye Beer sometime in the near future.  My recipe will sort of be based on the "Can You Brew It: Terrapin Rye Pale" podcast.  I have not plugged it into Beer Smith yet, but here is what I'm thinking:

70%  -  2 Row / Light LME
10%  -  Munich Malt
10%  -  Malted Rye
5%  -  Victory Malt
5%  -  Honey Malt

14 IBU Magnum Hops (60 minutes)
5 IBU Fuggle Hops (30 minutes)
2 IBU EKG Hops (20 minutes)
2 IBU EKG Hops (10 minutes)
2 IBU Cascade (1 minute)
Amarillo Gold Hops -- Dry Hop (.75 oz)
Probably Fermentis US - 05 (Terrapin Brewing company uses WY1272 ... which is what I use for Phat & Tyred and BlackHawk Black, so maybe I'll harvest that from my current batch of P&T)

Eventually, I'll plug this into Beer Smith and get a finalized recipe.  Might brew it up right after Phat & Tyred gets bottled up.


I tried one of my Tweedle Beetle Stouts side-by-side with an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout.  I have to say, my beer compares very favorably.  Color of both the beer and the head is identical.  Body is identical.  The roasty malt flavor is identical.  The only differences are that my beer is a bit more carbonated and seems to have a better head, and that my beer has a bit more of a hoppy bite to it.  I expect that if I am able to save some of my beer for a few months, the beers will taste identical, though.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Playoffs start

If it were not for this time of year, I probably would not own a big-screen HD TV or pay ridiculous amounts of money for cable TV.  The HD is nice to have for football, but if I were not a fan of hockey, I probably would not have bothered.  Quite frankly, I know a couple of guys with big-screen HD TVs who don't watch sports at all.  And, I cannot figure out why they spent the money.  I guess most TV shows (other than sports) hold no interest for me, and those that do don't really improve that much with a crystal-clear big picture.  Maybe these other guys have found shows much more interesting than any that I watch.

And, of course, here in Colorado, even the local Avalache coverage is not on free TV.  I suppose I could head out to the bars like I did in my younger years to catch hockey, but if I'm at a bar, I want a beer or seven, and I just cannot recover quickly enough to be a productive member of the work-force in the morning if I go out to the bars every night.

So, I paid for a huge TV and I overpay for cable T.V. most of the year mostly just for watching hockey, and more specifically, playoff hockey. 

And the playoffs started last night.  Life is good.  To make matters even better, the Red Wings lost and the Avs won.  The only thing that would have made it even better would be if the Blackhawks won too, but they don't start until Friday night.  Most likely, the Wings will end up winning their series, and the Avs will end up losing theirs, but right now, I can take pleasure in having watched both of the games last night.

Hawks are going all the way this year ... I can feel it!

Another LHBS

Not too long ago, I mentioned my LBHS's (Local Home Brew Shops) on this blog.

I have recently started working in "the Tech Center" of the Denver Metro area, which means I no longer work close to Stomp Them Grapes .  But, now I work close to another LHBS called The Brew Hut.  I went there today to get grains for my Phat & Tyred Ale.

I like this place too.  Their grain price is slightly better than Stomp and seems to have similar selection.  Their hop prices are better than Stomp, but not quite as good as Beer at Home.  Their extract prices are better than  Beer at Home but not as good as Stomp Them Grapes.

So,  now, I guess I have 3 LHBS's that I will go to.  If I want extract, I should go to Stomp Them Grapes.  If I want hops, I should go to Beer at Home, and if I want grains, I should go to The Brew Hut.  Of course, when it comes right down to it, Stomp Them Grapes probably will not get a ton of my business just because I will not be "up North" very much.  I think what I need to do is work on the guys at Beer at Home and The Brew Hut to improve on their negatives.

Anyway ... just another benefit to living in the Denver area ... choices when it comes to LHBS's.

Oh ... a couple other advantages that The Brew Hut has:  it is attached to a brewery with a tasting room (Dry Dock Brewing) and it is open 7 days a week!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Avs fan

Check out the hot avs fan I picked up tonight.

I hope I get lucky.

Tweedle Float

I tried a Tweedle Beetle Stout float today after dinner. I put the ice cream in first which seems to have caused extra foaming. If I ever try this again, I will scoop the ice cream in the already-poured beer instead.

This probably would have been better with my Leprechaun Stout. The hoppiness of Tweedle Beetle Stout clashes a bit with the ice cream, whereas the chocolate peppermint of the Leprechaun probably would have complimented the taste. Of course, the Leprechaun Stout is gone, so that will have to wait until I brew more.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Hoppy Spring

When I started brewing beer (way back in 2009) ... I did not consider myself a "hop head".  I never really cared for really hoppy beers.  I never ordered IPA's.  I stayed away from APA's whenever possible.  Anything that was considered dominated by hop flavors would usually not be something I asked for.  My preferences were clearly with balanced or malty beers. 

Somewhere along the way, I have discovered that I really like what higher amounts of hops bring to a beer.  I started to see that malts really need some hop bitterness to balance the beer out.  I think the first beer where I really started realizing that I needed to start paying attention to balancing out my recipes was my first attempt at Dragon Spit.  My notes mentioned that the beer would be better if I basically took the hops from Northern Amber with what I had done with Dragon Spit.  On my second batch, I thought I had overdone the hops until I tasted the beer, when I realized that it was better than I had imagined it could be.

After that, I made a real effort to make sure my Bitterness to Gravity ratio was at least .50.  I still thought I preferred balanced beers, so the closer I got to .5, the better.

But lately, I've started moving toward IPA hoppy.  My Tweedle Beetle Stout is .976 on the BU:GU scale.  My Quarter Life Crisis was "only" at .785, but significantly "dry hopped" to add an intense hoppy taste and aroma.  And my Stone Soup IDA has a high .976 ratio plus is dry hopped even more than the QLC, which gives it a double IPA taste in a black beer.  And, I think at the moment, these are my favorite beers.  I mixed up my second batch of Tommy Hawk APA on Saturday, and at the last minute added more hops than I had planned to.  My initial reaction to my Brother Bear Bock was "wow ... that could really use some hops" even though we all know dopple bocks are purposely low on the BU:GU scale.
I might as well admit it:  I am a "hop head".  I am not sure when this occurred.  I think maybe I always was one, just didn't realize it until I could start exploring beer flavors in my own recipes.  I like how hop bitterness balances out malty sweetness in a beer, and I really like the intense hoppy taste that dry hopping adds.

The beer model is not a "hop head".  I do not think she will ever be a "hop head".  She is already prejudiced against anything darker than Phat & Tyred despite my attempts to explain to her that "dark" is not really a flavor.  I think eventually I can convince her that "dark" beers can be ok.  But, I do not think I'll be able to alter her tastes to prefer my Stone Soup or even my Tommy Hawk.  She will probably never even be a fan of my Dragon Spit even if I can nudge her towards appreciating some "darkness".

That is ok.  In fact, it is probably good, because it means I'll continue to brew beers lighter in color and lighter on hops.  Most (all?) non-beer drinkers ... those who claim to like Coors Light, Bud, Rolling Rock, etc... will prefer those beers over my intensely hoppy, highly flavorful beers.  And, if I am going to have beers on hand that appeal to guests, the fact that my wife forces me to brew some of those beers means I am more likely to have beers that appeal to everyone, not just "hop heads" like me.

Of course, ideally, everyone would like what I like so I can just brew the good stuff.  But, quite frankly, that is not going to happen.

Hoppy Spring, everyone.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Happy Birthday Con-Man

My "little" boy is always getting bigger.  Today, he turned 5.  It blows my mind that he could be so old.  It seems just yesterday he was a tiny little baby in Tyler's arms.

I do not know how I got so lucky to have two such a wonderful little boys.