Friday, November 27, 2009

Small Bar on Black Friday


About a 15 minute walk from our house in University Heights (just another awesome community in San Diego), is a new addition to our famed beer neighborhood, The Small Bar. Small on seating but big on beer, The Small Bar hosted our homebrew club, QUAFF, this Black Friday. They also gave us a much appreciated discount. I much rather drink away the Friday rather than shop the ridiculous discounts. A little tipsy upon the return home, chillindamos!

video

Look at that beer list! Its easy to waste a day or two here. The video pans the bar and finishes with my brother and sister (in-laws) enjoying the afternoon. I think the bar is more medium-small than "small" in my opinion. I've experienced smaller but this place packs lots of beer goodness in a medium-small footprint.

I had a Houblon Chouffe IPA to start which I'm really taking a liking to. I then had an Anchor Steam Humming Ale, which was awesome. I'm partial to Anchor Steam as it was a desired beer when I was discovering (then-named) microbrews. Last, I had Rogue Brewing's Maierfest. I must have any German-style lager on tap and this was in my sights. It would have been first if not the Chouffe and Anchor Steam distractions! It was a nice brew with honey-like aroma and flavor. Makes me wonder if they tried a decoction mash to pull out rich melanoidins (or maybe they included a melanoidin malt or Gambinus honey malt).

Agave Smoked Porter

After having my Agave Vienna Lager, Larry at our favorite tequileria, Cantina Mayahuel, hooked me up with some high quality agave nectar for my next batch. He was excited the beer featured agave but nearly was appalled that I used a grocery store branded agave source. Michelle and I did a taste test comparing Trader Joe's Organic Agave Nectar with the Cantina's secret source. Larry's agave nectar was sweeter, richer, more aromatic, and much darker than Trader Joe's.


Left: The cantina packages their agave nectar in used Los Abuelos Tequila bottles.
Right: Agave nectar pours like syrup in viscosity and color.

I will maintain the same amount of agave nectar used in the Agave Vienna (8 fluid ounces) since that volume seemed to do very well (my first attempt brewing with agave nectar was a tad over ambitious). I'm considering when to add the nectar. Knowing that heat destroys aroma and flavor when working with honey in mead, I'm considering adding the nectar at the end of the boil (just enough time to sanitize) or take the risk and add it in the primary fermenter (post chilling - not the same as chillindamos).
On another note, this will be my first attempt in brewing a smoked beer. I'm not sure why I haven't tried to do this yet. I've done some "research" on the style. Stone Brewing's Smoked Porter and Alaskan Brewing's Smoked Porter set the bar very high. I have several beer buddies that rank these beers high on their list and for good reason! Outside of drinking the research is listening to the Jamil Show's podcast on Smoked Beer (downloads mp3 of podcast) available from The Brewing Network. Jamil shares a number of insights and his award winning Smoked Robust Porter recipe using either extract or all grain.

2009 Alaskan Brewing Smoked Porter
(notice the fine etching on that pint glass!)

There are a number of considerations when using and/or smoking your own malt. I decided to go moderately on the smoked malt using 2lbs. of German Rauch malt. Jamil Zainasheff's recipe calls for 2.25lbs. of rauch malt and though I don't want to hinder the subtle flavors and aromas that the agave may also contribute, I hear the smoke flavors and aromas will mellow over time. He also suggests going easy on the smoked malt the first time, then adjusting the amount in future brews. Since his recipe calls for 2.25 pounds of rauch malt, I figure that 2 pounds is a good amount to start with.

Roasting agave piñas to develop sugars (source below).
I would love to be able to find out what the above image of roasting agave piñas would smell like. Someday, I'll make a chillindamos trip down to Tequila to find out.

Agave Smoked Porter, Brewed November 29 2009
5 Gallons, Grain/Adjunct, Single Infusion, 90 Minute Boil

7lbs. Domestic 2-Row
2lbs. German Rauch Malt
1lb. Chocolate Malt
0.25lb. Crystal Malt 60°L
0.125lb. Black Roasted Barley

Mash:
152-154°F for 60min.
Raised to 165°F for Mashout

Added at the end of boil:
8 fl. ounces Secret Sourced Premium Agave Nectar

1oz. Homegrown Chinook 60min.
Whirlfloc tab 20min.
0.25oz. Hallertauer 5min.
0.25oz. Saaz 5min.
Racked on yeast bed of Winter Warmer (White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast)

Fermentation will take place below the lower end of WLP001's optimal range. The current house temperature ranges from 58-65°F.

Update 12/12: Racked to secondary. Current gravity is 1.012 at 66°F.

OG: 1.067 at 76°F
FG: 1.012 at 60°F
ABV: 7.5%

Image Source:
Hesse, Tobias. PICT1311.JPG. Digital image. Tequila - Wikipedia. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 28 Jan. 2006. Web. 27 Nov. 2009. .

Monday, November 23, 2009

One Weekend, 8 Batches - 40 Gallons of Homebrew

Epic Brewing Weekend! A number of buddies came over to help brew the beer for this year's Big Bear Bash party over New Year's. It was a tad chaotic at times but it was fun to include everyone in the process.
My friend Andrew (of imakecheese.com fame) picked up on the process quickly and with Kara's help, was autonomously a brewer by the end of the weekend. Kara works with White Labs and was finally able to experience the process (she brought the yeast, of course). Others learned the difference between extract and grain brewing while some really learned how to clean kegs:

Other tasks were completed over the weekend such as dusting all lagers on tap (no one complained about this task) as well as washing dishes and doing some keg maintenance (gotta lube up those poppet valves every once in a while). Our friend Nick seemed to have an exceptionally great time with the kegs!

We were able to brew 4 5-gallon batches in the 48 hour period. My brother-in-law, Ed, came over with a crew and his extract equipment to brew up 3 5-gallon batches on Saturday. We finished up 1 more extract batch on Sunday. Its been about 8 years since I brewed an extract batch!

Here's the recipe lineup:

Grain Batches:

The Infamous Blueberry Wheat - All Grain, 5 Gallons, Single Infusion, 70min.
7lbs. White Wheat
4lbs. Dom. 2-Row
1oz. Hallertauer 60min.
White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast
(blueberry added at kegging)
OG: 1.058
Update 12/12: Racked to secondary. Current gravity is 1.010 at 66°F.
FG: 1.008
ABV: 6.8%

Front End Hopped Ale - Grain, 5 Gallons, Single Infusion, 90min.
10lbs. Dom. 2-Row
1lb. Victory
8oz. Crystal 60
2oz. Crystal 80
1oz. Homegrown Centennial 20min.
Whirlfloc 15min.
1oz. Homegrown Centennial 10min.
0.25oz. Cascade 1min.
0.25oz. Perle KO
White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast
OG: 1.059
Update 12/12: Racked to secondary. Current gravity is 1.012 at 66°F.
FG: 1.013 at 60°F
ABV: 6.3%

Winter Warmer - Grain, 5 Gallons, Single Infusion, 90min.
12lbs. Dom. 2-Row
1lb. Victory
1lb. Crystal 60
4oz. Crystal 80
2oz. Chocolate Malt
1oz. Homegrown Chinook 60min.
Whirlfloc 15min.
0.5oz. Santium 10min.
0.25oz. Santium 5min.
0.25oz. Santium 1min.
White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast
OG: 1.069
Update 12/5: Racked to secondary. Current gravity is 1.017 at 64°F.
FG: 1.013 at 60°F
ABV: 7.6%

Amber Pale - Grain, 5 Gallons, Single Infusion, 90min.
10lbs. Dom. 2-Row
4oz. Crystal 80
2oz. Black Roasted Barley
0.5oz. Homegrown Chinook 60min.
Whirlfloc 15min.
0.5oz. UK East Kent Goldings 5 min.
0.25oz. UK East Kent Goldings KO
White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast
OG: 1.060
Update 12/12: Racked to secondary. Current gravity is 1.012 at 66°F.
FG: 1.011 at 60°F
ABV: 6.7%

Extract Batches:

Blueberry Wheat - Extract, 5 Gallons, 70min.
5lbs. Liquid Malt Extract
4lbs. Bavarian Wheat Dried Malt Extract
1oz. Hallertauer 60min.
White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast
OG: 1.060
Update 12/12: Racked to secondary. Current gravity is 1.013 at 66°F.
FG: 1.015 at 60°F
ABV: 6.1%

Front End Hopped IPA - Extract, 5 Gallons, 90min.
9lbs. Liquid Malt Extract
1lb. Crystal 80
4oz. Crystal 60
1oz. Homegrown Chinook 30min.
1oz. Homegrown Centennial 20min.
Whirlfloc 15min.
1oz. Cascade 10min.
1oz. Cascade 5min.
1/2oz. Perle KO
White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast
OG: 1.077
Update 12/5: Racked to secondary. Current gravity is 1.022 at 64°F.
FG: 1.017 at 60°F
ABV: 8.1%

Big Gay ALe - Extract, 5 Gallons, 90min.
8lbs. Liquid Malt Extract
8oz. Victory
8oz. Crystal 80
4oz. Crystal 60
2oz. Black Roasted Barley
1oz. Homegrown Centennial 60min.
Whirlfloc 15min.
0.5oz. UK East Kent Goldings 10min.
0.5oz. UK East Kent Goldings 5min.
White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast
OG: 1.060
Update 12/5: Racked to secondary. Current gravity is 1.016 at 64°F.
FG: 1.017 at 60°F
ABV: 5.9%

ALe Pacino - Extract, 5 Gallons, 90min.
8lbs. Liquid Malt Extract
1lb. Chocolate Malt
4oz. Crystal 60
1oz. Homegrown Chinook 60min.
Whirlfloc 15min.
0.5oz. Cascade 10min.
0.5oz. Cascade KO
White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast
OG: 1.060
Update 12/12: Racked to secondary. Current gravity is 1.015 at 66°F.
FG: 1.016 at 60°F
ABV: 6%

I should have just put some anti-foam in every batch since the day after the above picture was taken, 5 blew through the airlock. Luckily, I was home to catch it before big messes ensued.

I have one more batch to brew next weekend that will feature agave nectar provided to me by my favorite tequileria, Cantina Mayahuel.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tasting The Glenrothes

Trying a single speyside malt scotch whiskey. Yumm, thus far! We started with their 1991 but we'll have to save the others for another night. Before this, I have a Highland Park 15 which is a hard act to follow. I'll have to give the Glenrothes another try since I think my palette is a bit exhausted and I'm a bit tipsy! I like scotch, yum yum yum. Scotch in my belly, yum yum yum.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vinturi Aerator

video
Michelle and I did a side-by-side comparison a couple of nights ago using the Vinturi and the difference was significant! The aeration provided an immediate cut on the perception of tannins, enabling flavors to come through that you usually need to wait for by either decanting, leaving the glass of wine on the table for awhile, or aging the bottle for months or years in the cellar.
On a side note, my new Droid's phone has been taking some time to get used to. The still image was taken at 3mp (out of 5) at a macro setting. And the video was taken at mms quality settings. I was able to send both simultaneously through Gmail rather than dealing with the limitations of mms. I was thinking that Google might have a blogger app for android but with Gmail settings, I may never need something like that!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SDBW, BLAH

Enjoying San Diego Beer Week at Blind Lady Ale House this evening. This is my first update from my Droid and while the image looks like it could be better, its not all that bad considering the low light and still being a cell phone camera.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Beer Wars, The Movie

Anyone seen Beer Wars? Gotta put this on my wish list. Here's the trailer:

Another good recommendation for anyone interested is Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer by Maureen Ogle. While history was never my favorite subject (probably because teachers/professors never talked about beer), this book is an awesome read. It gave me a good understanding of how immigration, rivalry, and prohibition not only defined the brewing industry, but also helped shape American culture. Good reading when chillindamos ;-)

Friday, November 6, 2009

SD Brewers Guild Festival

The night is winding down (was packed an hour before this) and the opening night of San Diego Beer Week is officially off to a great start. This is the inside of the World Beat Center in Balboa Park. There are about 10 or so booths inside here and the outside there are about 20 more booths serving beer and food. Several bands and groups performed inside and there was a band that played on an outside stage as well. The Ballast Point Bagpipe group also played inside and out.