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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It’s JAMBO Season

Holy fucking shit. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, kids. That’s right, it’s JAMBO season!

WTF is JAMBO Season?

So, my homebrew club – Metro South Homebrew League a.k.a. MASH HOLES – has officially been in existence for a little over two years. Our biggest participatory event of our inaugural year was the New England Homebrew Jamboree in Tamworth, NH. In the grand scheme of things, the NE Jamboree (or “Jambo”) is pretty small potatoes; it is a gathering of homebrew clubs from around New England for a weekend of camping/debauchery. It is also a shit-ton of fun. The MASH HOLES made a bit of a name for ourselves last year – as MASH HOLES are wont to do – and this year we’re rolling twice as deep, with plans to drink twice as much and party twice as hard (sanity permitting).

Cool story, bro. Why should I care?

A fine question, assuming I cared about you, part of my psyche asking these questions. This – like 99.9% of this blog – is about me. I am ungodly excited for this year’s Jambo, and have been brewing up a storm in antici…pation.

anticipation

Today, I started kegging the only three time (three time, three time) brewed beer here at Anti-Hero Brewing: Symphony of Decay. And while I have my reservations about the 2015 vintage after an initial tasting, only time will tell how it stands up against its predecessors. SoD will be making the trip up to the Jambo, along with its personal tap handle, created from the club’s annual Pumpkin trophy:

IMG_0859

Symphony will be joining the well-received Hustler (NE-style IPA) at Jambo, as well as the club barrel-aged robust porter with Maker’s Mark. So I’ll be rolling three kegs deep. If you’re in the New Hampshire/New England area, and are interested in attending here’s the Jambo website. I’ll be the guy with the douchey undercut at the MASH HOLES tent, making fun of people and (if history serves) accidentally cutting myself with a Leatherman and taking 11am naps.

Beyond Thunderdome Jambo

But the hits just keep on coming, Internet friends. This week and next, I’m planning to fit in two more brew sessions. Odds are both of them will be pumpkin-based beers. Right now I’m debating the styles; my Pumpkin Pie Porter (P3) is most likely going to one of them and the other will either be my planned Pumpkin Saison or a recipe I just came up with yesterday: a Pumpkin Milk Stout. I’m leaning towards the milk stout at the moment because I think there’s a lot of potential for something unique there. I’m also debating adding vanilla bean to it to round out the flavor, but we’ll see.

The next brew day is scheduled for Thursday or Friday of this week, so I’ll probably be making up my mind shortly.

Other News

I almost forgot to mention that I purchased another chest freezer/fermentation chamber this week. I’ll soon be able to have four simultaneous fermentations, which will let me continuously churn out new brews. I’m excited.

 

Anywho, that’s my updates for this week. If you’ve got an opinion of pumpkin saison vs. pumpkin milk stout, feel free to leave a comment. Also – as always – if there’s something you’d like me write about, feel free to mention that as well.

Later.

The Great Thaw and Peak Brewing Season

Well the Great Thaw is upon us here in the Boston area. Over the past few weeks, the majority of the record snowfall has melted leaving behind a king’s ransom in trash and dog crap. Some cleaning is in my new future, but also so is more brewing.

Spring is peak brewing season for “us” here at Anti-Hero Brewing; it’s warm enough to brew comfortably outside and the ground-water is at its coldest without being frozen. And now that I have a fairly excellent (if I do say so myself) saison recipe to brew again for this Spring/Summer, I’m looking forward to a couple of brew sessions in the near future. Right now I’ve got 4 kegs in the freezer; though two of them – barrel-aged Belgian dubbel and the aforementioned saison – are nearing completion.

The our club – which just got a Twitter account – is having an internal competition this Wednesday for brown ales. I brewed a variant on Arctos, a brown ale I made that was well-received (BJCP score of 38-40). I think this variat, Bad Jackson, is much better than the original. A little bit of roast, some chocolate, good mouthfeel, etc. It’s one of a small handful of beers I’ve brewed that I would purchase commercially (the saison is another).

I’m going to try and kick the saison keg in the next couple days and get another brew day on the calendar for a variant on the recipe; I was unsatisfied with the yield and think I can get more beer if I alter the bittering hop addition. I also want to brew a couple of IPAs this summer and get one that I’m happy with which is pretty much a never-ending pursuit for me. We’ll see how it goes.

Beer Review: Trillium Brewing’s New Roots

I got a really awesome beer review for you today. Straight outta Southie, ked. Last Friday I stopped by Trillium Brewing Company in the Fort Point neighborhood of South Boston, MA and picked up their newest brew: New Roots. For those of you who aren’t in the know about Trillium, they are a super-small, mom and pop operation that is making some terrific beers; a lot of them one-offs. Being located in South Boston means they are one of only three breweries operating in the Boston city limits (Harpoon and Sam Adams being the other two).

This New Roots brew is so limited and so new, I’m only the 26nd person to check into it on Untappd, and some dude named Scott checked into it 3 times. Typical Scott. All I really know about this beer is that it was only a pilot batch, brewed with hops grown by the head brewer, JC Tetreault. It is a hoppy farmhouse ale at 6.3% ABV.

Trillium New Roots 3

BeerAdvocate: N/A, N/A
RateBeer: N/A, N/A
Untappd: 3.64

Appearance: A hazy orangish color with a just-off-white head. My head was pretty thin on account of it sitting for a week, but it had nice small bubbles, and it still leaves some decent lacing. The haze doesn’t make it the prettiest beer, but it looks its part.

Smell: I get a citrusy smell with this one along with some clove and a bit of a peppery aroma as well. It’s not hoppy smelling in that dank, resinous way that  you think of a West Coast IPA. The aroma is pleasant but subdued. As it warms I get a little more hop aroma and a bit more earthiness, as well as more cloves and a hint of banana bread.

Taste: This is a nice flavor. There’s some of the citrus (a lemon or orange flavor, maybe even a hint of mango), some of the clove and a nice bite of pepper. There’s some hop bitterness which comes more into play as the beer warms. That bitterness is balanced well with a sweetness that is usually described as “bubblegum,” but I think this is a little less blunt than the usual bubblegum taste. Maybe a little hint of banana or banana bread as well. There’s definitely also a wheat character to the taste, and some earthiness as well that really gives the farmhouse impression.

Mouthfeel: A nice creamy mouthfeel, just a small tingle of hops and spice lingering on the lips and tongue. Body is light-medium. Very quaffable.

Final Verdict: 4.5 out of 5. Buy it. Oops, you can’t.

Sorry, friends/now enemies, but this beer is officially no more. Like I said, this was only a pilot batch and 64oz of it went home with me (and presumably a similar amount with Scott). I really enjoyed this beer; it’s a nice, easy drinker with a smooth, creamy body. There’s enough flavors and nuance to keep it interesting without my tastebuds wondering what the hell is going on. I’d probably like a bit more aroma and maybe a bit more hop-bite, but overall is this a super, well-balanced beer. It’s a shame you probably won’t get to try it.

Trillium New Roots 1