Friday, August 15, 2014

#Homebrewed Stout Study: Highly Hopped Wheat & Kelp Variation

This beer started out as a part of my 7 gallon, low gravity, "Stout Study" batch, and ended up highly hopped with a variety of pellets and buds I had ziplocked in the fridge, and before I was done (just before I was done because I added the Kelp on bottling really), there was the potassium rich hint of the sea, the result of a pinch of seaweed.  

According to my Beersmith notes, apparently, "I added enough hops to make this a celebration type ale than a typical dry or sweet stout. Hops include Cenntenial for bittering, Chinook for both and Cascade for dry hopping-aroma".

It was converted using Nottingham yeast, the voracious monster I favor in missions such as these.   At first, I though I a pinch of powered cacao to the boil, intending to accent the roasty flavors, but Beersmith notes tell me it was a shot of coffee. Go fig-- Beersmith does.  

Apparetnly I also added unusual elements to the boil: Cayenne pepper, flacked oats (4.7%), honey, Northern Brewer's wheat extract, and Briess "Caracrystal Wheat (16%), which is way beyond suggested ratios of 13%, I know, but I think we were way off the reservation by then.  I used 3lbs of Black Barley, which is 45% of the sugaz, so it's hard to tell if the coffee gives it the chocolate notes, or the roasted barley.  I used 1lb of caramel malt (11.7%).  I used 5.3 oz of Wisconsin wildflower honey, or just 3.9%, mostly to bring the alcohol level up a bit. 

Original gravity was 1.031, and it ended up 1.010, or 4% by weight.   The IBUs are estimated to be.... 57.7 (hehehe).

I'll have you know, I also added a good half cup of roasted American oak chips (and a bit of juice from boiling them).

The result-- get my nut hugging flight suit because it's truly "mission accomplished," right down to the small hint of kelp after taste. The stout is really very good.  I mean, if I were to make something the mad flavors I like most, this would be the beer: chocolate, sprucy nose, well balanced roasted malt taste with the kind of thickness you've come to expect from the world's leading Stout, which shall remain unnamed, in Dublin.  

A nice big bubbled frothy head, which is still in effect after 30 minutes drinking this flavor delivery devise. And the after taste of kelp, so you know you'd getting the potassium a body needs.  I love this beer 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Homebrew: "Wheat Wacker" Dandelion hopped Sorghum Wheat Beer

Recently, as the dandelions showed up in mid May, I picked a good amount and made a tea, adding some lemon juice to create a high acid environment to avoid spoil so it would last long enough to hop the  Sorghum Wheat beer I was putting together, which I've ended up calling "Wheat Wacker".

Dandelions and sorghum are unloved, and wheat is kind of getting a lot of bad press lately too, even if it's the staff of life.  So this is brew made of  largely unloved things albeit with very big, bold, unique flavor.    I love this stuff and so have all my informal samplers so far, who are not the type to pull punches if a batch tastes like shit.

So here's what I put together-- Sorghum syrups, honey, malted Wheat extract from Northern Brewer, and Danstar's epic and always, Nottingham yeast (no, they are not paying for this blog post... yet).

I had to move fast, because these dandelion flowers turn quick, even in lemon juice, and in fact, I lost a few bowls before capturing this one for the bottle.

Don't get the wrong idea-- hops were added (high alpha Chinook), albetit in small doses, to merely taint the batch like a noble hop.

The result was outstanding-- "tasty, delicious and amazing", if you will (please don't).

So , yadda yadda-- boil about 1.5 gallons of sweet syrups and 1 pound of dextrose for 30 minutes, add Chinook leaf and dandelions at the last 5 minutes of boil for aromas, beging cooling with colder waters to 5 gallons, and measure for levels.   There is no Heather in this batch, even though there is a bag of it in the background.

(My impression right now is that Dandelions makes and even better adjunct than heather-- #sorrynotsorry you Highlanders).

It was my goal and was also predicted by my bouncing hydrometer to be a low gravity beer-- under 3%, until I started honey, and it read more like 4.8%, which is not my idea of an ideal summer beer.

My next batch is certainly going to be a super low ABV Kvass.

So we added yeast, easy peasey, lemon dandelion squeezey... and it fermented very very well for 7 days.  Bubbles fuming out of the airlock-- so my impression is that sorghum is well loved by Nottingham yeast.  And the flavor of the wort was very good-- unlike the mixed reviews I've been getting about sorghum for a year or two from other #Homebrew devotees.  This is a photo of the transfer for dry hopping with more dandelions and some Chinook leaf.

And after letting the dry dandelion hop situation sit for another 10 days, it turned out fantastic.

Big Big surprise.  My best batch of beer since Dunkelweizen Guy in winter.

I bottled a lot of it in quarts and wine bottles because I'm mostly filled up with other brew adventures since Jan.


New Glass for Stouts:

You'll have to turn your screen because I don't want to edit photos right now, but this new glass is worth a look if you drink the Stouts.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Note to Selfie: What Am I Drinking Now?

I've chosen this beer so many times in misc rando nyc bar settings that I should say how much I like this beer, and I believe I just did.

To my chagrin, their website's "About" section is... well, let's call it literary and corn ball, so I can't say much more, except that the founder-owners met in a magical place where folks know a thing or two about beer (MKE, WI).  One of the lads was a home brewer.  Nevertheless, they are making #epic cans of beer, and it's my goto in hyped up nyc, where beer menu choices, service and flavas often scream #meh.
These guys Six Point guys are the top of the bell curve where the rubber meets the road.  Here, you figure them out:

This cider may be my favorite drink-- Doc's is ROCKING a hopped hard cider that is magnificent by every measure, from appearance, to aroma, to thin, crisp perfectly hopped (!) flavor, to a medium ABV. 

I've hopped hard cider at home, and always wondered why no commercial hard cider is hopped.  Well, that's over.

This stuff is just redonkyouluss!
Go there:

From Kingston, NY comes Kegan Ale's Mother Milk Stout-- it's a wonderful thing by every measure, except, texture or mouth feel, which could be a little more thick for mine.

Go there:

Peekskill Brewery's Kneel Before Zod Double IPA from the beer machine cask is a extraordinary and highly highly highestly recommended to hop heads.

Nobody should need to be told how good the beer at PB is, so why would I?

Go there:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hudson Highland Heather and Hibiscus Hopped Homebrew

Starting with Maris Otter and 2 ounces of Heather to hop it before the Notty yeast, this offbeat home brew batch was like Scottish economics itself, a smooth enterprise with so few bubbles in the airlock that I opened it about 8 or 15 times to see if we had liftoff, Houston.

The result at this point of the primary fermentation was thin, clear red color (from the hibiscus) and a bit floral, if that's how Heather can be described.

Heather is a very common plant in Scotland. It was used in many traditional beer recipes 100s of years ago, but never really enjoyed much commercial success, particularly because it was outlawed by the British Crown in the 1700s, when hops were made the only permissible bittering agent.  So Heather, and certain hallucinogenic qualities the grow on the fungus that grows on the flower.

Well, that was a long time ago, and heather is on the market, but sadly, most of the recipes are all but gone according to Randy Mosher in his outstanding brewing book, "Radical Brewing".  He's included a recipe there that calls for a pound of honey in a secondary fermentation phase, which I've used for inspiration. 

It's now doing a second fermentation with some dried hops, and elements that impart a very little oak flavor.

Ironically, after brewing the batch, I ran across a Smuttynose Scotch Heather ale in Stamford, CT Fairway, but didn't taste it so the inspiration is just the elements we put in it, not anything I've ever had with which to compare.

So we are half way there.

We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Captain Lawrence Coffee Stout, Firestone's Wookey Jack and a Peche Lambic

Captain Lawrence Coffee-Expresso Stout is another great coffee beer being brewed in Westchester.  It's got a thick, fun froth, deep dark color, and a great coffee aroma and mouth feel.

This is an outstanding beer, that keeps getting retired at, where it's been rated an 88, which is probly low. 

Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA is also an outstanding taste experience by every measure, if less memorable than the Captain's expresso stout, especially when it comes after the first.  This is also an outstanding beer, with a moderately thin malty mouth feel.

Beeradvocates rate it a 95, which is about right.

The Peche Lambic is what it is-- a prefect version of itself.

Moar Good Beerz at Peekskill Brewing: Wakeup Call, The Aristocrats and Bow Before Zod

Peekskill's Brewing's Wakeup Call, The Aristocrats and this week's Bow Before Zod highly hopped cask ale are outstanding ways to wet your whistle.

Wakeup Call is one of the best Coffee beers I've ever had, so if you see it somewhere, don't hesitate to fill 'er up.  At Beeradvocate, 21 samplers rate it a 91, which should mean something if "16 is as good as a mathematical infinity", as my statistics professor used to remind us.

But The Aristocrats is an outstanding example of a Wild Sour with a fast froth, nice golden color, thin bitter mouth feel, and powerful citrus aromas and flavaz.  It's a great addition to the menu with Peekskill's award winning Simple Sour right beside it on tap. 

No word on whether the name came from the Disney movie or the taboo crushing stand up comic's challenge to tell the most filthy joke they can conjure.  With a flavor that sour, I'm thinking it's more taboo defying than in line with Uncle Walt's legacy.  The Aristocrats rates an 88 with 12 members sampling at

Bow Before Zod has a whopping ABV-- somewhere around 10%-- but it's aroma and flavor are off the charts bitter hopped, but with a thick malty mouth feel that somehow makes it well more drinkable than those thin Belgian deals that typically go off at 10% ethanol.

The froth is outstandingly entertaining, as you can see pictured here, so there was a bit of a wait as it came freshly pumped out of the beer machine.