4.28.2010

Check the bass and the hook!

Abominable Snow Pilz and Maple Sap Brown tasting!

Last night my bud Kevin stopped  by on the way home from work and we sampled the first sips of my two water experiments.   Abominable Snow Pilz (fresh MN Snow) and my Maple Sap Brown Ale (fresh MN maple sap).  Kevin is a great beer drinker and soon to be homebrewer!  Check him out here...give him advice, make fun of him, embrace his quest for better beer!  http://sweetwort.blogspot.com/.  He is the newest of Minnesota homebrew blogger, and I guarantee he's gonna do some good stuff!

ABOMINABLE SNOW PILZ REVIEW-
First off with the Bohemian Lager- Abominable Snow Pilz.   We poured a 12 oz bottle out amongst the two of us and it had a nice crystal clear golden hue.   The aroma is mostly of caramel notes from the 90 minute boil but you can get a little spicy hop in the nose as well.    The taste of this beer was so fresh and refreshing and crisp and smooth all at the same time that it was almost overwhelming.   This might actually be my best beer I've ever brewed.   It's certainly the most drinkable and sessionable beer I've ever brewed!  The fresh MN snow definitely shine's through as the main ingredient with a nice smooth mouth-feel.  Balanced with a malty, caramelly taste and aroma, this is one beer that I wish I would have done a 10 gallon batch for.   You'd be hard pressed to NOT drink a 6er of this in one sitting.   It goes down sooo smooth.

I had a bunch of 'first's' for this brew.   First Lager, first time cold conditioning a beer, first protein rest,  first time controlling different fermentation temps for different stages in the process, first diacytl rest (kinda), first time repitching with yeast for bottling, first time having such a clear beer, first time I thought this could seriously win or do well in a competition.  

A


MAPLE SAP OATMEAL BROWN ALE - Initial thoughts-
Can't really do a certified review of this one.  It did taste fantastic, but it wasn't exactly carbonated yet. Kinda weird since it's been bottled almost a week longer then my lager.    I poured a 22 oz bomber and split that for both Kevin and I.   You could see the start of carbonation, but it clearly needs to sit another week.   Actually, after tasting it, we feel that it tasted pretty green and that it could use about a month to sit and mellow.  It was very complex.  The great thing about it is, the woodiness of the maple sap really came through.  It almost tasted like it had been aged in oak barrels to me.   Also very present was the aroma of coffee.   I'll update a better review once it's sat for another month and has had time to fully carbonate and to mellow a bit.

4.26.2010

It's #IPAmonday in Twitter land, and it's MF Doom getting Abrasive on the mic stand



#IPAmonday Surly Abrasive Ale for this guy.  It was extremely tasty!  Just like this tune.

Wyeast French Saison - 3711 vs. Safbrew T-58




I'm really getting into experimenting with different shit in brewing.   If you've followed any of my posts, you know I've been messing around with my brew water a little bit, and now I've done this yeast experiment with a couple of belgian strains.   As a beer blogger in Minneapolis I feel like I must make the results of this last experiment available to the public.   Okay..that was just a cheap SEO ploy by putting MINNEAPOLIS HOMEBREW BLOGGER in my post so I can get some more Search Engine Optimization.

Anyways...it was a pretty cool yeast experiment that is going to end up with two distinctly yeasty Saison's that are going to be terrific summer quaffers.   I took a simple Saison recipe from Northern Brewer, and I brewed it like a Bier de Garde, and then split the batch with Wyeast French Saison 3711(which I really like) and Safbrew T-58(which I'd never tried).

Wyeast French Saison 3711-
After 3 weeks in primary fermentation at 66-68 degrees it came all the way down to 1.002This yeast is a beast!  Serioiusly.  I didn't think that was even possible to ferment out that completely without champagne yeast.  Sampling it during bottling, it had a nice sharp fruitiness of citrus and apples and a slick mouthfeel.  It's fantastic!  Should be nice and dry.  

Safbrew T-58 - Belgain dry packet
After 3 weeks in primary fermentation at 66-68 degrees it came down to 1.008 which was pretty normal and it had a great yeasty flavors of  cloves, anise and black pepper. .It was real tasty as well!

Wyeast French Saison 3711 vs. Safbrew T-58
(winner is yet to be determined)

Come on over for a tasting!
***FYI (my SEO experiment worked too!)

4.22.2010

Update on Big Papa Stout brew day stats....

So I actually brewed my first Russian Imperial Stout last night and it seemed to be a success. I started off a couple days ago by making a huge yeast starter with 5 pints of water and 2 cups of DME. This is about double what a normal yeast starter is I believe. I had a couple issues and learnings from creating my yeast starter which I can talk about at another time.

Brew day began at about 5:30pm. I used Spring water this time. I wanted to make sure to use very pure water for this bad boy, because it's going to be spending so much time maturing. Didn't want any nastyies coming in from the Mississippi river water that I get at my house in NE Minneapolis.

Mashed in right where I wanted at 154 degrees for 1 hour. This should provide a nice thick chewy mouth-feel but also it left some unfermentable sugars that'll probably give it a little bit sweeter of a taste. It also led to my gravity reading being lower then I expected at around 1074. Because of the higher mash temp and my brew-house efficiency somewhere in the 60% range it won't be as high gravity as expected. Not sure if my efficiency went down because it was too big a beer for my Mash tun or because of the higher mash temp. Sparged at 165 for 30 minutes and started a boil with about 7 gallons of wort that looked like it came out of an oil can. I hopped the crap out of it so hopefully the bitterness will blend well with the higher amount of residual sugars created in the higher mash temp.


Over all very successful night that I can only attribute to the fact that I had a great assistant helping me (Assistant Brewer, Beer Drinking Extraordinaire, Bob Pederson-The Great) -Pics/video to be added later here-


malt & fermentables

% LB OZ Malt or Fermentable
71% 13 12 British Pale (Maris Otter)
10% 2 0 American Two-row Pale
8% 1 8 American Chocolate
5% 1 0 Golden Naked Oats
4% 0 12 American Crystal 120L
1% 0 4 Roasted Barley - 550L
19 4
Batch size: 5.0 gallons

Original Gravity
1.074

Final Gravity
1.016

Color
32° SRM / 62° EBC
(Black)
Mash Efficiency
60%

hops

boil 60 mins 2.0 Warrior  pellet 15.0
boil 20 mins 2.0 Warrior  pellet 15.0
boil 10 mins 2.0 Warrior  pellet 15.0
boil 1 min 2.0 Warrior  pellet 15.0
dry hop 14 days 2.0 Warrior  leaf 15.0

Bitterness
155 IBU / 60 HBU

yeast
Wyeast Dennys Favorite 50 (huge yeast starter)

Alcohol
8% ABV

Possible names-
Big Papa Stout
Hops and Punishment - Russian Dostoyevsky (Bob pulled this one out of his ass some how!)

Initial thoughts at bottling: The warrior hops give it a nice earthy aroma, and in about 3-4 months all of the flavors should blend nicely.  I tasted sweet chocolate, a little bit of espresso, and just a tad of dried fruit, but leaning towards the chocolate side of things.  The biggest surprise was the earthiness from the hops.  The earthiness must be coming from the dry hops.  It may simply be the flavor and aroma of the Warrior hops.  The Warrior leaf hops I dry hopped with were about a year old and that may have something to do with it.... or, it may be because I dry hopped it for about a month which is longer then typically recommended for, say, an IPA.  I'm sure the hops will dissipate a bit in the 4 months left before my little baby boy is born.  Can't wait for that little fucker to get here!   Earthy and Russian Imperial Stout seem to work well together in my initial sample.

Tasting notes from 7.17.10- Drank a 12 oz bottle to make sure carbonation was taking place. Seemed to be fully carbonated. Poured a nice jet black pint with a thick brownish head. Nose is of earthy hops (very much more subdued since bottling) and a very little bit dark fruit and a little bit of roastiness. Taste was similar with a pronounced nuttyness that I can only assume is from the Golden Naked Oats. Also some breadyness coming through from the Maris Otter malt. It's a chocolately, nutty, earthy, stout. It definitely needs a little bit of time for everything to mellow out and come together. Tasty beverage!

4.21.2010

Road Trippin music...

An essential part of any road trip is a nice mixture of driving music. For some reason I've always thought of this song as a road trippin song, and I definitely need to put that to the test very soon. Duluth will be the destination, whether just for a day trip or an overnight stay. I need to hit up the north shore! Anyone have any favorite road trip music?

4.16.2010

"Once it hits your lips...It's soooo good!" - Hank 'the Tank'

Last night kicked off the start of my big week of bottling in the dank basement brew house. I've got 20 gallons of beer to bottle, well, 15 now since I bottled up my Maple Sap Oatmeal Brown (Bender-ish clone) last night. I took a sip of this beauty last night out of secondary and I must say it might be the tastiest thing these taste buds have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I felt like Hank the tank, and had to pry my lips off like a vampire in restraint. It was a small sip and it was hard to tell if the maple sap had an effect on the final product here, but hopefully with some professional tasters, we can figure out if the maple sap effect was noteworthy.



I'm also going to be bottling my first lager, the Abominable Snow Pilz, my Surly Furious Clone that has been dry hopping, and my Saison experiment. Luckily though all of my fermentation equipment will finally be free for me to brew my Big Pappa Stout!

Cheers and get with me in about three weeks and we'll do a tasting!

Salute!

Nick

4.12.2010

Big Papa Stout

Breaking News. The wife and I are expecting a child. We are with child. Baby is on board. We are going to be having a little baby. This is our first child and we are soooo extremely happy. Thankyou so much to all of our friends and family who have tried for so long to help us keep a positive attitude! Without our friends and family, I'm not really sure how we would have kept our heads above water at times. Melissa is going to be a great mother, and I can't wait to see her look in to our little child's' eyes for the first time. Two angels looking back at each-other.

In my excitement I decided to brew a beer, of course, one that would take a while to mature. There are a few different kind of beers that can mature for long periods of time. Some belgians, especially the funky ones, barrel aged beers, some funky english beers, Barleywines, and the ever popular Russian Imperial Stout. I've decided to put together a recipe for a Russian Imperial Stout. I'll brew it in the next week and put it down for 6 months and then bottle it for Halloween, just in time for the late fall arrival of the newest Pederson to see the glorious light of day.


Big Papa Stout - Russian Imperial Stout

malt and fermentables

Malt or Fermentable

13 12 British Pale (Maris Otter)
2 0 American Two-row Pale
1 8 American Organic Chocolate
1 0 Golden Naked Oats
0 12 American Crystal 120L
0 4 Roasted Barley
19lb 4oz

-- --
Batch size: 5.0 gallons

hops
time oz variety form aa
60 mins 2.0 Warrior pellet 15.0
20 mins 2.0 Warrior pellet 15.0
10 mins 2.0 Warrior pellet 15.0
1 min 2.0 Warrior pellet 15.0
dry hop 2.0 Warrior pellet 15.0


Wyeast Dennys Favorite 50
medium flocculation

4.05.2010

Saison/ Bier de Garde Hybrid and Yeast experiment

I'm a huge fan of Belgian beers, in particular, the farmhouse ales. Both Saison's and Bier de garde are amazing beers in my opinion. Saison's being more hoppy, and yeasty and many times spiced, and Bier de garde's tending toward the malty side with a typical 90 minute boil to give it it's signiture caramel characteristic. I decided to do an experiment with a split batch. It's a great Saison recipe from Northern Brewer and I had done it in extract and loved it last summer. I fermented it last year at upwards to 78-80 degrees and the French Saison yeast is amazing at this temperature with fruit and peppery spice flavors. This year I'm going to let the yeast hang back a little bit by fermenting it at the lower temperatures to see how that effects the Belgian yeast flavors. Start at around 65 for the first couple days and then slowly bring it up to 70 is what I'm thinking. My two yeasts are the Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast, and Safbrew T-58 (6 gallons split into 3 gallon batch's). The safbrew Belgian ale is one that I got for free from NB at the AHA Surly event. I figured I'd split the batch and taste the difference. I did a long boil, 90 minutes. I'm a big malt head and love the caramel, malty flavors in Bier de garde style, and I typically boil my first runnings when I'm sparging anyways. This tends toward the bier de garde, but since this is a nicely hopped Saison, a malty backbone should work well, hopefully. These will be tasty, and very sessionable summer ales!

The grain bill is Belgian Pilsner, Vienna, and Torrified Wheat.
The hops consist of East Kent Goldings, Styrian Goldings, and Saaz.

I mashed at 150 for an hour
Boiled my first runnings while sparging
Sparged at 165 for 45 minutes
With the very last of the runnings, I boiled a gallon of that down until it was practically a caramel and lightly poured that back into the main boil.
Full 90 minute boil.

Pitched the yeast at 70 degrees and both had nice vigorous fermentation's. I'll let them sit for a couple weeks and then bottle in big bottles!


Salute!

Fermentation and tasting results of this Yeast experiment
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