Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fresh Hop Harvest Ale Tasting

Brewing something creative isn't just adding an unusual ingredient, using some long forgotten technique, or fermenting with something besides Saccharomyces (although I do enjoy all those things) it is also combining ingredients that don't usually get put together.  To be innovative you don't need to follow the Dogfish Head model, think about flavors from different beer families that might work well together and give it a shot.

The hop harvest ale I brewed a few weeks back was essentially a slightly strong kolsch (~6% ABV) hopped with Cascades and Willamettes that we picked during the boil.  Nothing too crazy, but a combination of ingredients that I had never heard of before.  Kolsch yeast adds winey esters, so I thought it would be an interesting pairing with the fresh grassy English and American hops.  I wanted the interplay of yeast and hops to be center stage, so I kept the malt bill simple and out of the way.

I did make a silly mistake with my process though; I bottled the beer too soon.  The Wyeast Kolsch strain I used is one of the slowest, laziest yeasts available .  After two weeks the gravity was about what I expected, but there was still a thin krausen floating on the surface.  I needed the yeast cake for a Smoked Baltic Porter, but instead of racking to secondary (like I should have) I decided to bottle the harvest ale.  The beer quickly carbonated, and within 2 weeks was a bit over-carbed, at which point I moved it to the fridge to prevent any further refermentation. 

What looks like haze is just condensation on the glass.Fresh Hop Harvest Ale

Appearance – Crystal clear yellow in the direction of gold. Nice dense three finger white head that just won't quit.

Smell – Hints of citrus and spice, but it has a disappointingly low level of hop aroma considering the big addition at 5 minutes. Faint white wine character from the yeast. Pretty clean overall.

Taste – Pretty mellow, but with a nice bready malt backbone. The bitterness is assertive, but it is clean and doesn't linger. There isn't much hop character besides the bitterness, just some hints of fresh mown grass. The finish is crisp and short.

Mouthfeel – Firm, prickly carbonation.  More bubbles than I intended, but it actually works pretty well for this beer. Medium body that feels substantial without detracting from the refreshment.

Drinkability & Notes – Not bad for a big kolsch, but the lack of hop complexity is disappointing for a Harvest Ale. Not sure if I should blame my first year harvest, or if I simply didn't add enough wet hops.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Biere de Garde All Grain Recipe

Biere de Garde is one of those beer styles that simply doesn't get a lot of attention.  I'm not sure if it's either the middle of the road characteristics (it isn't especially strong/hoppy/roasty/yeasty) or that it is often the odd one out as the only distinctly French style.  Whatever the reason, it's unfair since Biere de Gardes provide some of the best examples of malt complexity.  There are some great imported examples of the style available for under $10 for a 750 (3 Monts, Jenlain, and La Choulette) that are well worth picking up if you haven't tried them.

I've only brewed a Biere de Garde once before, and that batch was brewed to be blended into my Cable Car Clone.  With a sack of French pils on hand and a yeast cake of the Wyeast Kolsch strain from my most recent batch of Kolsch, it seemed like the right time to give the style a real shot.

Home toasted malt, after I toasted it at home.My recipe is based heavily on reading the excellent Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski.  According to the author the larger producers tend to employ simple recipes (almost all pils with a touch of dark malt for color and fermented warm with a lager strain), while smaller more artisanal producers go more complex (multiple specialty malts and fermented with ale yeasts).

The malt bill I selected was a bit more complex than I usually aim for, but it was based on the simple idea of making the beer as toasty/bready/malty as possible with additions of Munich, biscuit, and home toasted malt (Maris Otter baked in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes).  Home toasting malt is an easy way to add a unique touch to a batch, and something I should do far more often.  I went with a lower mash temp to help dry the beer out while preserving the malty flavors.  For the hops I decided on Brewer's Gold, but just about any European variety would have worked similarly well with such small additions.

Once fermentation is complete I'll lower the temperature close to freezing for a 4-6 week period of cold storage (which is what gives the style its name). 
Transferring the chilled biere de garde onto the yeast cake from a kolsch.Biere de Garde

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.44
Anticipated OG: 1.074
Anticipated SRM: 12.0
Anticipated IBU: 23.2
Brewhouse Efficiency: 76 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

67.0% - 9.00 lbs. French Pilsen
23.3% - 3.13 lbs. German Munich Malt
3.7% - 0.50 lbs. Home Toasted Malt
3.7% - 0.50 lbs. Biscuit Malt
1.9% - 0.25 lbs. Dingeman Cara 20
0.5% - 0.06 lbs. Carafa Special II

0.75 oz. Brewer's Gold (Pellet, 7.80% AA) @ 75 min.
0.25 oz. Brewer's Gold (Pellet, 7.80% AA) @ 20 min.

0.50 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 min.

WYeast 2565 Kolsch

Water Profile
Profile: Washington DC

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest 75 min @ 148

9/5/10 Toasted several cups of Maris Otter in a ~400 degree oven on a cookie sheet on my pizza stone, stirring every few minutes. The grain popped a bit, it was the last of the bag and seemed a bit spongy. Cooked faster than I expected, was ready after 15 minutes or so.

Brewed 9/06/10 by myself

Collected 7.25 gallons of 1.058 wort with a fly sparge.

Could only chill to about 82, so I put it into the fridge set to 58 to drop the rest of the way below 70.

Pitched ~1/2 the yeast cake 6 hours later,shook and gave 30 seconds of pure O2. Left ~1 qrt of trub out of the fermenter. Hooked up a blow-off tube.

9/12/10 Down to 54 for primary on the Smoked Baltic Porter.

9/17/10 Upped temp to 60 to help it finish out.

9/24/10 Racked to secondary, still has a krausen, still really yeasty looking.  Took out from fridge left at ~75 ambient to finish fermenting before cold crashing.

9/27/10 Down to ~1.016 (78% AA, 7.7% ABV).  Still young and yeasty, but it has a nice fresh bread character.

10/3/10 Dropped the temp to 35 to start dropping out proteins/yeast.  Shooting for 6 weeks of lagering before kegging.

11/13/10 Looks pretty clear.  Racked to keg, and put on @10 PSI to carbonate.

12/16/10 Ended up really solid.  Moderate sweetness (on the high end of the style), great malt complexity, and subtle fruit character from the yeast. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pumpernickel Bread Recipe

My friend Nathan and I are in the midst of writing an article on kvass for an upcoming issue of BYO.  A few weeks ago we brewed a "standard" batch based on the recipe we helped brew at East End Brewing in Pittsburgh back in July. I had brewed two similar batches of kvass a couple years back, but this time we had Scott's actual recipe and we used a loaf of my no-knead rye bread instead of store bought.

Unsatisfied to mimic East End, we also wanted to put our own twist on things by brewing a couple of additional batches.  In preparation, on Tuesday night I baked two loaves of pumpernickel bread that will be going into the experimental batches we are brewing tomorrow night (one soured, one gruit-style). 

I did quite a bit of research on pumpernickel while trying to figure out how I wanted to make the bread.  The recipes I found seemed to fall into two distinct categories, complex German (with traditional old-world techniques like adding soaked toasted bread crumbs from a previous batch, multiple long slow rises etc...) and simple American (with odd ingredients like instant espresso, cocoa powder, and caramel coloring).  I needed a recipe I could make in a single night (so not enough time for a slow rise with my sourdough starter), but I didn't want to get the color from something that would impart an out of place flavor.  My imagination was sparked by a post on The Fresh Loaf that suggested adding a small amount of chocolate wheat malt to boost the color of the pumpernickel.  I didn't have any chocolate wheat on hand, but I did have some Carafa Special II (left over from a Smoked Baltic Porter), so I put a small amount into my coffee grinder and let it run until it reduced the malt to a fine powder.

In addition to the Carafa "flour", I added whole rye flour, along with bread flour to ensure a good rise.  For additional color I added some molasses, which seems to be a somewhat standard ingredient in the recipes I saw (although I'm not sure how common it is in Germany).  I used a packet of bread yeast for two loaves, along with some actual kneading to bring the dough together to develop some gluten.  The rest of the procedure was pretty close to my usual no-knead loaf production, baking in my cast iron Dutch oven with the lid on to start, then removing it at the end to allow the crust to crisp.  The finished bread was pretty tasty, with some full city tones and a nice rich cocoa color without adding either coffee or chocolate. 

Pumpernickel Bread

For one round loaf.
Dry Ingredients:
6 oz Whole rye flour
9 oz Bread flour
1 tbls Carafa Special II, ground
1 tsp Table salt
2 tbls of Caraway seeds (optional)

Wet Ingredients:
1.25 cups of warm water
2 tbls Molasses
1 tsp Distilled white vinegar
.5 Packet dried yeast

1. Sprinkle the yeast onto the ~100 degree water and let sit for 5 minutes to rehydrate. 

2. Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk. 

3. Mix the molasses and vinegar into the water

4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. 

5. Once a dough is formed turn it out onto a floured work surface and give it a few kneads to ensure that there are is no dry flour. 

6. At this point the dough will be very sticky, so cover it with a towel and leave it alone for a 10-15 minute rest.  During this time the starch will hydrate and the proteins will align; when you return the dough will be much easier to work with. 

7. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Shape the dough into a ball, dust with flour, and place it somewhere warm (normally I would oil the dough at this point to prevent it from sticking to the bowl, but since this is going into a beer I wanted to avoid adding any head-retention-killing fat.)

8. After 90-120 minutes the dough should be double its original size, and ready to shape.  Fold the dough over a few times to distribute any large pockets of CO2, and roll it in a circle between your hands to form it into a round loaf.  Place the loaf on a tea towel with cornmeal or flour to prevent it from sticking. 

9. Leave it to double in size again (about 60 minutes). 

10. Place a cast iron Dutch oven in a cold oven and heat to 425 (450 for an enameled cast iron), this should take 25-30 minutes.  Once the pan is heated slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife or razor a few times and place it into the pot, return the lid, and place the pot in the oven. 

11. After 25 minutes remove the lid and boost the oven temperature 25 degrees to finish browning. 

12. When the loaf is nicely browned remove it to a cooling rack, and try to give it 15 minutes to cool before slicing into it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bad homebrew Shop Advice (Rant)

I didn't have any hombrew store shots, so here are some sacks of malt at a brewery...There are some great homebrew stores out there, but in my experience (not to mention the stories I've heard) the amount of bad information some store owners and employees give out is staggering.  Especially when the most common argument for shopping locally rather than online is the advice you get.

A few gems:

Liquid yeast doesn't need a stater unless you are brewing a barleywine.

"You should bottle straight out of the carboy. Bottling buckets are known for contamination and there's no way to truly sanitize them. If you use a bottling bucket, you WILL get an infection."

Three piece airlocks are obsolete!

"They tell me I’m going to infect my entire house and unless I want to only brew Lambic styles, I should stay away."

I don't know if these guys stopped reading brewing books in 1987, or if they've just drank a few too many homebrews over the last few decades. It seems like if this was your job and your passion you should put a bit more effort into staying on top of the latest trends, techniques, and ingredients.  The better the advice is you give, the more brewing success people will have, and the more repeat brewers/business you will create.

Luckily these days I'm happy to talk to Derek the owner of My LHBS in Falls Church VA, and the whole gang at Maryland Homebrew in Columbia MD.  I won't say I always agree with the advice they give, but most of the people I've talked to at these two shops really seem to know what they are doing (although it is pretty rare I go in looking for advice these days).

If you've got a good homebrew store horror story post a comment and let the rest of us hear it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Decocted Hefeweizen Tasting

I think I've done enough musing about hefeweizens already the last few months (with the recipe for this beer for example), so I'll keep this brief.   I'm really happy with how this batch turned out (both this part and the Hoppy Wheat), its nice when one of my schemes actually works. At some point I'll have to take a cue from Jolly Pumpkin Weizen Bam and do a soured version of this recipe...

Decocted Hefeweizen

Decocted All-Grain Hefeweizen TastingAppearance – A very fine haze, with no particles floating around. The color is golden, but with a slightly brown tone that makes me think of a dried leaf. The head is dense and thick, but it sinks to a ½ finger after just a few minutes. The extra hops in the hoppy half really boosted the head retention by comparison.

Smell – Big ripe banana from the first whiff, with general fruitiness that follows. A light bready malt backs up the fruit. There is some spice as well, but it is too light to say if it is clove or cardamom.

Taste – Banana, but it isn't overwhelming like it can be in some versions. Some apple fruitiness is nice as well, and it doesn't have any of the bubblegum that plagues batches that are fermented too warm (in my opinion...). The yeasty/wheaty dough character is nice, but it could be a bit more like baked bread with a touch of toast. The clove really comes out when the beer warms a few degrees.

Mouthfeel – The wheat adds some substance to the body that you just don't get in a 5% beer with just barley. Carbonation is firm without being fizzy.

Drinkability & Notes – Other than the worse-than-expected head retention, this is spot on for the style. I may even like this batch more than the original batch (which had a nicer head, but not the rich mouthfeel), it's close either way.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wet Hopped Pale Ale Recipe

I love connecting what I am cooking to the season by using ingredients that are only available during a brief window.  I'd like to do the same thing more often with my brewing, but the closest I can usually come is brewing beers that compliment the season (strong/dark beers for winter, crisp/refreshing beers for summer etc...).  During the summer I do take the opportunity to add fresh fruit to sour beers, but that always seems like adding a layer of flavor rather than an integral part of the composition. The real "problem" is that the two main ingredients in beer (malt and hops) store so well that a beer brewed in December with "fresh" ingredients isn't noticeably better than one brewed at the end of the summer using the previous fall's harvest.

Wet hopped beer (brewed with hops that haven't been dried) is one of the only truly seasonal styles there is (if you even want to call it a style).  So I was excited when I saw that the hop bines in my backyard produced so many cones during their first year.  About half the hops were ready to harvest two weeks ago, but I didn't have time to brew so I vacuum-packed and froze them.  Sadly when I defrosted these on brew day they resembled wilted spinach... I was worried the damaged cell walls would impart a grassy-chlorophyll flavor to the beer.  So I ended up throwing those out and harvesting another 10 oz of hops (equivalent to 2-2.5 oz of dried hops) while the beer was mashing.  I did the bittering addition with commercially dried hops so I could save all the fresh picked hops to add near the end of the boil.

The wort and yeast were stolen from a batch of kolsch, although I didn't dilute this half of the wort, so the gravity ended up at a more robust 1.060 instead of 1.050.  With Pilsner malt as the base this was not exactly a classic recipe for an American pale ale, but it really wasn't that far off either. 

After two weeks I bottled the beer and harvested the yeast to pitch into a Smoked Baltic Porter.  The Wyeast Kolsch strain is a very poor flocculator, so the beer was still very yeasty and had a bit of krausen hanging around at bottling, but at 1.013 it appeared fermentation was over.  If I had enough space in the fridge I would have liked to cold crash the beer for a week or two before bottling, but with two other beers fermenting there just wasn't enough space.

Anybody else do/doing a fresh hopped beer this year?  Any interesting ideas for a style besides APA/IPA?

Indian Summer Harvest Ale

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 3.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.38
Anticipated OG: 1.060
Anticipated SRM: 7.3
Anticipated IBU: 44.8
Brewhouse Efficiency: 35 % (I got ~74% when taking into account the wort from both batches)
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes

82.2% - 11.00 lbs. French Pilsen
7.5% - 1.00 lbs. Wheat Malt
7.5% - 1.00 lbs. Vienna Malt
2.8% - 0.38 lbs. Carahell Malt

0.75 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 7.73%AA) @ 60 min.
5.00 oz. Cascade (Fresh, ~1%AA) @ 5 min.
5.00 oz. Willamette (Fresh, ~1%AA) @ 5 min.

0.25 Tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 Min.
0.50 Whirlfloc @ 15 Min.

WYeast 2565 Kolsch

Water Profile
Profile: Washington DC

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest 75 min @ 150

Brewed 8/28/10 with harvest help from Jimmy

Added 3 g of gypsum to the mash.

Double batch sparge. Collected 9 gallons of wort ~1.048.  Took about 4 gallons of wort for this batch. Harvested 10 oz of fresh hop blend (Cascades, Willamettes/Goldings?) during the mash.  Amarillos were about 3 years old.

Chilled to about 80, strained, racked to 5 gallon better bottle and put in the fridge at 55.

Pitched ~1 pint of starter after 10 hours in the fridge. Shook for 3 minutes to aerate.

9/02/10 Upped temp to 58 to ensure complete fermentation.

9/11/10 Bottled ~3 gallons with 2.25 oz table sugar.  Still pretty cloudy, but I needed to harvest the yeast.  1.013 (78% AA, 6.2% ABV).

9/30/10 A bit overcarbonated, but it cleared beautifully.   The flavor is nice, but not nearly as hoppy as I was hoping for.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mad Fermentationist Event in New York

Nathan (DesJardin Brewing Blog) and I will be special guests for the monthly homebrewer's meet up at Beer Table in Brooklyn on October 25th.  We'll be there to talk kvass, sour beer, our solera project (which recently got a mention from Will Meyers in the July/August issue of New Brewer), and homebrewing in general.  We'll also be bringing bottles of our kvass as well as a special blend of our sour beers. 

I ate at Beer Table with a couple friends while I was up in New York in April.  The passionate husband and wife (Justin and Tricia) who run it have a small weekly menu of interesting dishes, a few well chosen taps, and high end bottles that you can buy by the glass.  It is a great concept for a restaurant, and it's pretty cool that they have events like this. 

Hopefully some of you can make it out for the event to say hello.

Event Details:

October 25th

On Monday, October 25th, Jack Algiere (a farmer from the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture) will speak at Beer Table from 7-8:30 PM, telling his tales of hop-growing and discussing his work at Stone Barns.  We will taste a variety of beers that highlight particular hop varietals during Jack's presentation.
Tickets: $35. Please e-mail [email protected] for tickets.

Immediately following Jack's presentation will be our Monthly Homebrewer's Meetup, starting at 9PM.  Our special homebrewer guests for this evening will be Nathan Zeender and Michael Tonsmiere. Nathan and Mike are frequent collaborators who share a kink for mixed fermentation and 3 oak barrels with which they experiment with sour beer production and solera aging. They are currently working on an article for BYO magazine about a kvass project with Scott Smith from East End Brewing. There's no charge to attend, just bring your own homebrews to share with others.  As always, let us know in advance if you'd like us to have a case of empty bottles waiting for you.

You can come to the meet up for free if you don't want to attend the presentation

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hoppy Wheat Tasting (American Hopped Hefeweizen)

The two types of beers that benefit the most from being drunk fresh are German wheat beers and hoppy American beers (in my humble opinion).  So after just a month in the keg I didn't want to wait any longer to do a tasting of my Hoppy Hefe.  Incidentally a friend of mine just had a pour of Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse (close to two years old now) at a local bar, apparently not surprisingly it was a poor choice of beers to age.

The wonderful cloudy appearance of my beer despite being on tap made me think of a claim I've heard several times recently, that protein rests don't do anything (much?) because the protease enzyme is denatured during the malting process (Michael Lewis is often cited as the source, Brewing p.199).  Brewing with Wheat on the other hand suggests that many German breweries do a protein rest to break the proteins down enough that they won't clump together and fall out of solution quickly in the bottle.  I haven't done a side-by-side experiment, but I'm not sure that this beer would have stayed so cloudy after 10 days close to freezing and another month in the kegerator at 40 without the rest at 125 F.

One of the only times haze is a good thing, a hoppy wheat beer.Hoppy Hefe

Appearance – Beautiful fluffy whipped egg-white head. The beer beneath the head is perfectly cloudy/hazy without looking muddy (although there are some small hop bits floating around in there).  The hops along with the small amount of crystal really help the head.

Smell – The aroma has a beautiful combination of bright/resiny citrus hops and a light peppery-fruity yeast. A few weeks ago the yeast character was dominant, then the hops took over as the dry hops went to work, now that they have faded slightly the balance is just about right for my taste.

Taste – Nice clean, crisp bitterness that lingers for a moment. Similar to the aroma the yeast and hop flavors mingle nicely with the IPA qualities outshining the hefeweizen slightly. Sadly the hops cover up most of the bready/malty components, but for the big citrus it's worth it.

Mouthfeel – Light and crisp, moderate-high carbonation.  Refreshing indeed.

Drinkability & Notes – As much as I hate that its getting towards the middle of September and still 90 F, it certainly makes me appreciate this beer. While I like the base hefeweizen (which I'll post the review for next week) this beer is so unique and drinkable that I've been reaching for it much more often.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fall Kolsch Recipe

Fresh Hopped Pale on the left, Fall Kolsch on the right.A few years back I brewed a great batch of kolsch that was a bit hoppier and lighter than the median of the style.  I wanted to brew something similar again, but with fall rapidly approaching I thought a beer that was slightly stronger (a bit of extra pils and a touch of CaraHell for added body) would be the way to go.  I also wanted to switch the hops from Saaz to Hallertau since I am hoping to finally get around to a traditional Czech Pilsner recipe I have been thinking about brewing.  The one thing I wanted to keep exactly the same was the nice cool fermentation with Wyeast 2565 Kolsch, which is clean but still gives a subtle apricot-wine character.

Kolsch is a bit of a DC thing, mostly thanks to Bill Madden who has established it during his stints at Capitol City, Vintage 50, and now Mad Fox (where it is better than ever).  His version tends to have a bit more bready malt character than Reissdorf or Gaffel (maybe it is just the freshness), but I often find them to be a bit bland.  We interviewed Bill for BrewLocal (Kolsch comes up about 34 minutes in.  He credits the area water, and suggests around 10% wheat malt, lots of Weyermann pils, a couple additions of German(ish) hops during the mid-boil, and the right yeast).

Much like my split Hoppy Hefe and Regular Hefe batch, with this one I made two beers from a single mash.  The other half of the wort was hopped with fresh hops harvested from my two first year rhizomes during the mash (but the details will have to wait for next week).  If you want to brew just the kolsch you should scale the malt bill to account for your regular efficiency.

Fall Kolsch

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 4.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.38
Anticipated OG: 1.050
Anticipated SRM: 5.8
Anticipated IBU: 36.5
Brewhouse Efficiency: 39 % (I got ~74% when taking into account the wort from both batches)
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

82.2% - 11.00 lbs. French Pilsen
7.5% - 1.00 lbs. Vienna Malt
7.5% - 1.00 lbs. Wheat Malt
2.8% - 0.38 lbs. Carahell Malt

2.00 oz. Hallertau (Pellet, 3.30% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. Hallertau (Pellet, 3.30% AA) @ 5 min.

0.50 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.

WYeast 2565 Kolsch

Water Profile
Profile: Washington DC

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest 75 min @ 150

8/25/10 1.5 L starter made with 6 oz of DME

8/28/10 Brewed with Jimmy

Added 3 g of gypsum to the mash.

Double batch sparge. Collected 9 gallons of wort ~1.048. 4.75 gallons of wort plus 1.75 gallons of water brought to a boil.

Hops were generic German Hallertau, adjusted down from 3.8% AA.

Chilled to ~80, strained and put in the fridge at 55.

Yielded about 4.25 gallons in the fermenter.

Pitched ~2 pints of the starter after 10 hours. Shook for 3 minutes to aerate.

Good fermentation after ~18 hours.  Dropped temp to 52 to counter the rise in fermentation temperature from the active fermentation.

9/02/10 Upped temp to 58 to ensure complete fermentation.

9/6/10 Racked to a keg and left at ~75.  Still pretty yeasty, so a bit earlier than I would have liked, but I needed the yeast cake for a Biere de Garde.

9/11/10 Pretty strong buildup of CO2.  Put into kegerator and hooked up to gas to cold condition for a few weeks before serving.

11/13/10 Turned out to be a crisp, hoppy, bready, complex, session beer.  Sorry I didn't take a better shot of it before it kicked (but glad it didn't kick before I got a chance to review it).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How much ready-to-drink homebrew do you have?

The Mad Fermentationist's CellarNone - 4%
Less than 5 gallons - 22%
5 to 10 gallons - 28%
10 to 20 gallons - 24%
20 to 40 gallons - 16%
40 to 80 gallons - 2%
More than 80 gallons - 1%

Sounds like most of you have plenty of beer on hand.  I think I have somewhere around 50 gallons of carbonated beer. My issue is that I brew a lot more than I can (want to that is) consume, so I've been trying to get better at bringing more beer when I go to a homebrewing meeting or over a friend's house for dinner.  However, despite my best efforts I'm still pretty protective of my favorite batches.

Luckily the basement gives me the space to hold onto a huge volume of beer without taking up all the closet space in my house.  My cellar room (which also has my aging sours) had some water damage when I first moved in, but some new gutters and a bit of regrading fixed the source and my father and I managed to rip up the damaged floor.  This summer saw temperatures down there climb into the high 70s, so next year I'm considering getting a small A/C unit to hold the temperature in the mid to low 60s (at the moment the window just has an empty grain sack over it to keep the light out).

If anyone else has any other ingenious home cellar solutions I'd like to hear them.