Warped Pours

Holy shiitake.

This long gap in brewing updates is brought to you by: Warped Pours, my club’s first-ever hosted homebrew festival. And man, what an event it was. But more to the point: man, what a pain in the ass it was. As a nice little kick to the jujubes, the Brewers Association posted an article entitled “How to Start a Beer Festival” literally two days after Warped Pours wrapped up. Our club spent most of the past 3-4 months working on getting this event off the ground, and I can happily say that it was a massive success. We far surpassed our wildest expectations, raising over $9000! That money will be split between two awesome charities, after expenses (e.g. campsite costs, ice, tickets, wristbands, etc.), and honestly I’d have been surprised if we’d raised half that.

Red(ish) IPA Update

On a more relevant-to-me-and-this-blog note, I was only able to present one beer at the festival – the reddish IPA that I’ve dumped so much time into. I significantly altered the recipe to some mixed results. The latest version incorporated HopShot (5mL) into the boil in addition to a large bittering charge of Nugget. The result? Well, I finally brewed a beer with that trademark West Coast Bitterness.

Unfortunately, the beer came out with the kind of murky turbidity you’d expect from a New England IPA… and it was brown instead of red. So that murkiness made it look a little (a lot) like swamp water. Having lost my olfactory senses from too many shots to the nose, I wasn’t able to get a good read on the aroma but my friend Andy – a National BJCP judge and pro brewer – said it smelled like a “big bag o’ weed.” That’s exactly what I was going for, so it seems like this hop bill is almost nailed down. The malt bill is going to need some tweaking. The bill for this version (v3) was:

  • 2-Row (82%)
  • Munich 10L (13%)
  • Carapils (3%)
  • Roasted Barley (1%)
  • Carafa III (1%)

I think I may remove the Carafa III or the Roasted Barley altogether, haven’t decided which to get rid of yet for Version 4, though I’m leaning towards nixing the roasted barley.

New Brews

The aforementioned Andy was over a couple weeks ago to hang out for what was essentially the maiden voyage of my new Spike conicals and my upgraded system. It wasn’t a true maiden voyage, as the Red(ish) IPA was brewed in the kettle and transferred to the conical, but it was brewed at someone else’s home and then brought back here. I also hadn’t quite figured out all the fine tuning with the system yet either.

We brewed 11 gallons of a Czech Pilsner, and the numbers hit spot on. Unfortunately – as I mentioned earlier – Andy is a pro-brewer and brought over a case of beer. Normally that’s a good thing, but not while brewing. We were a little too drunk to complete the transfer, so I bucketed the finished wort and went out to dinner with the girlfriend; the wort was transferred when we got home with 4 packs of Saflager 34/70. I’m planning to take a hydrometer reading this weekend, bump the temperature up for a diacetyl rest, and then start lagering.

Next up, I’ll be brewing a saison and a pale ale for easy drinking over the upcoming summer months. Saison brew day will be next weekend and the pale ale will be at the beginning of July.

 

Cheers!

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Brew Day: Red(ish) IPA

This is a cross-post from my updated blog: The Anti-Heroic Epic.

Original post date: March 9, 2018


 

Well, shit. Today was a productive Friday. In addition to my usual full workday (which on Fridays is not too strenuous) I managed to slip in a full brew day. I also tried out my first pizza dough recipe from Elements of Pizza, more about which at a later date.

Outside of missing the post-boil gravity due to a lot wind giving me a sub-optimal boil*, I hit my numbers throughout the day.

Today’s brew was my take on Troegs’ Nugget Nectar, one of my favorite easy-drinking beers. Generally speaking I find most “red IPAs” taste like hoppy cough medicine so I tend to avoid them, but Nugget Nectar tastes like a solid IPA that just happens to be higher on the SRM scale. Anyway, this beer – tentatively titled Ambrosia after the “nectar of the gods” – isn’t supposed to be an exact clone of NN, so much as a riff on it.

Here’s the recipe:

There’s more details on the BrewToad page for those who might be interested. Like I said above, the final OG came in a few points low so I dumped a cup of table sugar into the wort. It’ll probably dry out the beer a little bit, which would be pretty nice for the style. I’ve been drinking a lot of non-New England IPAs recently, and it’s a welcome change to not have a juice-bomb every once in a while.

* Regarding the shitty boil: I dropped some money on a pair of Anvil burners and basically set up a nice two-tier system with them. Problem is – especially with the shorter one – any time it’s windy it kills the intensity of the flame. I don’t think I screwed anything up while putting them together but I’ve noticed this issue multiple times. I’ve started keeping a partial lid on my brew kettle to keep the heat going, but I’ve missed my target OG a lot recently.

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This is only my second brew of 2018, but I’m definitely feeling a lot more confident with my brews this year than with some of my efforts from late last year. I’m hoping to have this batch ready in time for an upcoming competition.

I placed a stout and my shitty maibock (with a great name: Necro Romancer) into a different competition, so I’ll check back in with my scores/feedback.

Until then, time to drink some beers…