Thursday, August 30, 2012

Future Brews Calendar

(Photo Compliments of Hilde and Stock.xchng)

So I read a recent article on Hop Harvesting and Storage Tricks by Scott over at Bertus Brewery and it really got me thinking about planning.  I rarely have a day where I wake up and say "I'm gonna brew!"  I am just to thorough and passionate (some may say nerdy) about this hobby to have not researched and formulated a recipe I think will be great, but I also rarely plan out more than 2 brews in advance.

The last time I tried to plan back-to-back brews, I failed miserably.  I was going to make a Helles and then use that yeast cake to make a Maibock.  Due to a series of problems (ingredients shipping delay, then shipped to my old house, then not being able to brew due to work) I just didnt get around to making that Helles until the end of February.  We had a real mild winter here in D.C. and I didn't think my ferm chamber had enough stamina to ferment at that 48-50 degree range in March, so the maibock didn't happen.  But I digress...

So I have decided I want to try and formulate a rough brew calendar for the next year.  This will hopefully give me the following benefits:

  • Bulk Ingredients - I know what I will be making so I know how much and what kind of grain, hops and yeast I will need to buy.
  • No Keg Left Behind - sometimes my friends get thirsty, but hopefully I will be able to keep the pipeline full
  • Seasonals -  Thinking far in advance I can have seasonal beers ready when I want to consume them, rather than speed brewing to make them in time - like every march when I realize "Shoot!  I need a stout in 2 weeks"
  • Productivity - If I don't have deadlines or a schedule, I tend to put things off (I still haven't bottled the small beer from the second runnings of RIS from mid july yet).  If I have a schedule I will be more likely to stick to it and be productive
So there you have it.  In the next few weeks I will be crafting a master list of beers I want to brew.  I will then narrow it down using a number of criteria and come up with a calendar for the next year.  I have found some links that will be helpful in this quest:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sour Beer 2 - Petrus Aged Pale

Much overdue posting...

Bavik Brewery's Aged Pale is described as an uncut old beer.  From speaking with the distributor this beer was used in other beers at the brewery for blending, but it wasn't until Famous beer Guru Michael Jackson visited the brewery and tried the unblended version (and highly recommened) that it was released for consumption by itself.

Aroma: musty fruit, like a sweet champagne with slight grain smell behind

Appearance: Deep straw color, thick white head with tiny bubbles rising to the top from the sides of the glass

Flavor: Very sour and tart up front, with a fruity character in the middle

Mouthfeel: More sour than the Oud Bruin, but also less dry.  Strong carbonation compliments and helps balance things out

Overall: Great sour beer! The sour taste lingers throughout.  There is some sweet malt character in the middle mixed with some yeast esters likened to "sweet fruit."  This beer will definitely make you pucker, but more so it will creep up on you in a hurry.  I could NOT tell at all this beer was 7.3% ABV

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sour Beer 1 - Petrus Oud Bruin

Bavik Brewery's Oud Bruin is a Flanders style brown ale.  It is aged for 2 years in oak barrels and comes out about 5.5%.  Unfortunately, I didn't have an appropriate chalice/bowl type glassware, so I went with the snifter.

Aroma: A musty and champagne like smell, with a slight malt character in the background.  Possibly some spicy aroma as well

Appearance: A mahogany brown color with a light tan head which quickly dissipates.  Good Lacing on glass

Flavor:  Sourness up front, dark malt notes of chocolate and toffee are briefly detected in the middle, and a tart finish

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation and sourness lead to a crisp and dry finish

Overall: Overall this beer was tart, refreshing and thirst quenching.  As the beer warmed up the malt character started to come through a bit more.  This is very well balanced sour beer and one that I would recommend as a starter for someone looking to try sours.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Brewery Update 8-5-2012

RIS is most likely done fermenting (I don't like to bother it too much) and is just cleaning up after itself.  I plan to keg it in a couple of weeks.  I am considering natural carbonation in the keg as it ages another few months before I put it in the keg fridge.  Either way I don't plan on drinking it until until at least October (we'll see if I can be this patient).  I should probably bottle the small 2 gallon batch, but I haven't got around to that either!

The pipeline is on its last legs.  The pale ale is low, the mild is lucky if there is a pint left.  I will need to brew something soon, but I always have trouble making decisions!  Any suggestions are always welcome!

Since I haven't been active in the brewery, I feel the need to tell everyone that I have been doing something related to beer!  My wife's friend who works for the Washburn Wine Company, was nice enough to get me some sour beers from Belgium.  The beers are part of a sour variety pack from the Brewery Bavik (Will need to Translate, I used Google) and are distributed to the U.S. via the Global Beer Network.  I will provide further details on these beers as I write my tasting reviews, but I will leave you with these pics in the meantime.