Abominable SnowPilz (v.2010)

My first Lager! I used naturally soft water, fresh MN snow collected from my front garden where the snow was fresh and untouched. Should be a unique Lager. I also did my first protein rest.

Protein rest at 125 degrees for 30 minutes
Saccrification rest at 150 degrees for 60 minutes
Batch Sparge at 165 degrees for 30 minutes

90 minute boil
Saaz at 60 min
Irish Moss with 15 min left in boil
Yeast nutrient with 10 min left in boil
Saaz at 2 min

Gravity reading of 1.050
Pitched Smack pack at 70 degrees.

For the fermentation, I'm going to start the temperature at 62°F for a couple days and then drop it down to 52°F for about 10-14 days. Then, I will raise the temperature to at least 66°F for 2 days to drive off any diacetyl. After which, I will transfer to a secondary and lager it at 40°F for 6 weeks.

02A. European Pale Lager, Bohemian Pilsner All-grain

OG 1.049
FG 1.012
IBU 16
ABV 4.8 %

Boil Volume 6.5 gallons
Batch Size 5 gallons
Yeast 75% AA

% Weight Weight(lbs) Grain Gravity Points Color
90.0 % 9.00 Pils Two-row 44.1 2.2
5.0 % 0.50 American Crystal 10L 2.4 1.0
5.0 % 0.50 CaraPils 2.3 0.2
10.00 48.9

% Wt Weight (oz) HopForm AA% AAU Boil Time Utilization IBU
50.0 % 1.00 Saaz Pellet 3.5 3.5 60 0.283 14.9
50.0 % 1.00 Saaz Pellet 3.5 3.5 2 0.024 1.3
2.00 16.1

Tasting:  Nice flavorful Pilsner.  The long boil helped to bring out the malts a bit.   It's definitely got a smooth taste to it from the snow.   It's much more fruity in the bottle then it was when lagering, so I think that using the Nottingham yeast for bottling was a bad idea.  Next year, I'll bottle with the same yeast that I used in Primary so as to not alter the flavor of the finished beer at all.   Very easy drinking summer lager that I wish I had more of.  Crystal clear!


Snow Beer...a unique Lager

I've been thinking about brewing a lager all winter long. My basement is at perfect lagering temperature, I think, in the mid to low 50's. I have my basement fridge set at 41 degrees, perfect for a nice long rest for the lager yeast. I originally wanted to do a Bock because of my long time love affair with New Glarus Uff-Da Bock, and goats. Oh man I loved that beer in college. Are they still brewing that one? Anyways. Recently I've been looking at the Pilsner style and the thing about a Czeck Pilsner beer is that if you truly want to make it 'to style' then you have to use naturally soft water. Not softened water, but naturally soft water like the water they have in Pilsen.

To the point of my long winded, possibly uninformed rant....

I found out about something today that I just can't stop thinking about. I'd emailed Dane Gonzalez from Pearl Street Brewery and he replied with something that I thought was so interesting. He said..."A beer I never miss out on every year is snow beer and u should try it before its gone. Snow is naturally soft and works great for lagers. Gather the cleanest snow u can find and boil it down for a completely unique brew."

So, I've gathered a whole bunch of fresh snow from my front yard and I'm going to attempt a 'completely unique brew' and my first lager. I'm thinking I'll have to harvest some more tomorrow. I'll need about 9 gallons over all, or somewhere in there.

I ended up getting the European Pilsner kit from Midwest Brew Supply!

If anyone else has a tried and true Pilsner recipe that they'd like to share, I'd think about doing that one instead. Otherwise, I'd highly encourage you to brew up your own Snow Beer with some local snow while you still can and see how it differs from when you use normal water.


Irish Red Ale for St. Patty's Day!

I brewed an Irish Red Ale tonight getting ready for my wife's favorite holiday, St Patty's Day! Melissa is 'up to her eyes' Irish and she won't shy away from telling ya. She gets her Irish spirit from one of her and my inspirations, her Grandma Thelma. Thelma was an amazing woman. I believe she was 100 when she passed away, but she was so young at heart. Thelma used to get decked out for St. Patty's day every single year, and I mean decked out. Green everything, and huge glass's and hats, and all kinds of accessories. It was amazing. To give you a little idea of the kind of lady she was, one Christmas when she was around 96 years old, she came over for Christmas dinner, and I asked her what she'd like to drink, her reply, "I'll just have a shot!"

Thelma was a little Irish Spit Fire I tell ya. Hence the name of my beer....Irish Spit Fire Red Ale. She was small in stature, but not in spirit. It's an Irish Red Ale brewed in the memory of Thelma. Raise a glass on St. Patty's day and remember to stay youthful like Thelma. When someone asks you what you'd like to drink, dare say, "Just a shot"!


Tasting notes:

This turned out to be a fantastically malty beverage.  It has a nice bready aroma and flavor with little to no hops in there.   The hops nicely balance the beer so that it's not too sweet.  I could drink a ton of this, and the only reason I don't brew more of it is...I've got a billion other beers I want to drink.   This is possibly my favorite beer that I've ever brewed.  My next favorite is my GF Hop Head Red Ale clone.  Another Red ale, but this time extremely Hoppy.  Apparently I like red ales.

Pearl Street Brewery Tour in Lacrosse, WI

While in Lacrosse this weekend I did my typical stop in at the Pearl Street brewery. They have an awesome tap room and great beers so I always try and stop in for a few when I'm in town. The beers are fantastic and their Downtown Brown is one of my favorite brown's on the market!

This particular time, I was there with my High Life slugging brother-in-law, Mark Shaw. This guy can put back Miller High Life like no other. It's what he does best. We had an amazing time. The brewery is not big at all with 3 - 40 bbl fermentation vessels. It's located in the old Lacrosse shoe factory that relocated over-seas in 2001. They have the entire 4 floor warehouse!!! It's huge.

I started off with their Fruit Bat Belgian. Interesting beer, nothing to write home about. I have no idea if it was true to style or anything like that. It was pretty merky, and a little fruity, but not overbearing fruit. Then I got a Pale Ale and we went on the tour. Pretty fun tour and tour guide. Found out that the reason it's called Pearl Street Brewery is because they started out many years ago on Pearl street in the basement of The Bodega. The Bodega is the quintessential beer bar in Lacrosse. The owners of The Bodega let Owner and Master Brewer, Joseph Katchever, open up shop in their basement. That kicks ass! We went upstairs and saw the malt, and downstairs and saw the cooler where they had their new Scotch ale crashing. Then we went back up to the main floor where Assistant Brewer Dane Gonzales was brewing up a batch of their German Wheat- El Hefe. He also had some DT Brown carbonating in one of their tanks, and hooked up a little sampling device and we got to sample some DT Brown that just finished carbonating. Very tasty, fresh beer! That was a nice treat. I got to talking with Dane at the end of the tour and he ended up hooking me up with some hops that they got during the big hop shortage. It's a weird strain called Celeia that I think is a low alpha Slovakian hop. I'm thinking about using it for Flavor and Aroma in one of my upcoming IPA's just for fun. We will see. We ended the afternoon off with a Java Lave- Coffee Oatmeal Stout and were on our way.

I'm a huge Pearl Street Brewery fan and hope that everyone can eventually enjoy their brews as they expand throughout their huge facility!


Updates....Dry Hop, and more Kegs!

I've got the IPA Dry Hopping right now in Secondary fermentation. Also, I now have not only my GimmeThatNut Brown flowin, but I'll also soon have my Native Brown Ale carbed and flowin as well! F-N-A, right?



Dank Brewing, now taking Special Orders!

Apparently my dad likes my beer enough that he wants to share it with his friends. He has requested a beer for his golfing league. Therefore, Dank Brewing is now officially taking special orders. Have a party or special event and I'm invited, let me know at least 4 weeks in advance and you might have a tasty home made beverage to serve to your guests.

First Project.
Golfing Beer for my Pops
(Suggestions for the name, please.)
1. Kick, Push - Winter Rules Ale
2. A Foolish Pleasure, Whateva - Big Papa Ale
3. True Playa - Big Papa Ale
4. Flag-y, Hole-y - Cream of the Crop Ale
5. Lone Wolf Ale
6. Gungala, Gungala, which is nice - Cream Ale

In an effort to work up the perfect pint for my dad and his golfing buddies, I'm going to make a nice light drinking ale. I was thinking Bier de Garde, Saison, Kolsch, or maybe a Cream ale.

Who knows what it will be, but just for shit's and giggles, I'm going to attempt a clone of the Wisconsin favorite, Spotted Cow. It's a very easy drinking beer for the summer, and I'm hoping to come up with something close, but not quite as sweet.

For the longest time I thought that Spotted Cow was a New Glarus, WI brewers take on a Saison (Belgian Farmhouse Ale). While that may be in part true, I think that it's closer to an American Cream ale (Lawnmower Beer). I think I'll try this recipe with a few different yeasts. The first one will be a Kolsch because I've heard through the hop bine that Dan Carey uses Kolsch yeast for the Cow. I'll also try a German Wheat yeast fermented at around 62 degrees to reduce some of the banana-y flavors, and then I'll also try it with my favorite type of yeast, French Saison, fermented at high temps around 75+ degrees.

Here is my recipe. If your a recipe wizard, please give feedback and thoughts. I'll keep you updated as to the finished product.

5 gallons

5.5 lb Rahr 2-row
1.5 lb Flaked Corn
.5 lb Flaked Barley
1 lb Crystal 20

1 oz Northern Brewer (45 minutes)
.5 oz Saaz (10 minutes) (I used 1oz)

WLP029 Kolsch Yeast

Tasting Notes:   This beer had a little bit of a thin, almost watery mouthfeel which was to be expected because I mashed fairly low at 149 degrees.  It was nice and cloudy like a spotted cow, but it didn't exactly taste like a spotted cow.  Close, but definitely more hops.  Probably because I put in more hops at the end then I intended to do.   It ended up having a pleasant lemony, citrus taste after each sip that comes from the Saaz hops.  I wasn't a huge fan of the Kolsch yeast, so next time I may try the Wyeast Kolsch, or something completely different for fun.   My dad (who I brewed this for) loved it though.  This is also my Mom's favorite beer of mine so far.  




Upper Mississippi Mashout- Judge Not, Until You Judge Yourself

I attended the Upper Mississippi Mashout (homebrew competition) this weekend at the Grumpy's in St. Paul. It was a great learning experience in that I learned what it takes to get good honest feedback and criticism from a beer judge at a homebrew competition. What you need to do, is try your hardest to brew a style of beer according to the Beer Style Guidelines. If you brew ‘to style’ then this could be a very good way to get objective feedback on your beer.

I didn't submit any of my beers to the competition for a few reasons. Reason #1 was that all of my bottle conditioned beers were from when I was brewing from Extract. I've completely shifted to All-Grain now and my GimmeThatNut Brown ale wasn’t quite ready for consumption. It probably would’ve done pretty good in the Northern English Brown Ale category though. My extract beers were good, but they aren't a good representation of the beers I’m brewing now. Reason #2 goes along with #1, in that, the only reason I would enter one of these contests is to get the feedback from the judges in order to better my brewing process. Obviously a medal would be welcome and worn around my neck for weeks if not months, but that’s not the goal. Being critiqued by a Grand Master Beer Judge is invaluable in helping anyone improve their brewing process and discovering shortcomings. There’s also something to be said about the average rube liking or disliking your beer, even more so then a beer judge. If it tastes good, drink it, that’s how my dog feels.

I don't think I'll ever be a beer judge, but I completely appreciate and encourage the people that are and strive to be beer judges. It's not as glamorous as it sounds, whoamikidding, you have to look at the beer, smell it, TASTE IT, and then you have to write down your thoughts. That's the hard part, expressing what you just tasted, and explaining how that does or doesn't represent that particular style of beer. If it’s good, you can taste it again, but, if it’s bad, you also have to taste it again.

What I AM going to do is join my local Home Brew clubs (mnbrewers.com, and www.sphbc.org), because these 'beer geeks' are really passionate, helpful, cool people with open arms, and I want to hang with them! I'm seeking people out to help me drink and brew better alcoholic beverages!

A side note: I'm pretty sure my Nut Brown would've taken best of show. My dog loves it, and so does my Uncle.

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