Barn Dance Pale Ale Re-Brew

>> Sunday, April 13, 2014

Today I'm re-brewing my Barn Dance Pale Ale. I really liked how the first attempt turned out and judging by how fast it disappeared, so did my friends. I'm not changing much, but I am doubling the quantity of the late hop additions to try to get even more hoppy goodness out of the Amarillo and Chinook hops.

Here's the recipe as I'm making it for version 1.1:

5.25# Rahr Pale Malt - 68.3 % 
12.0 oz Briess Caramel Malt - 10L - 9.8 % 
12.0 oz Crisp Maris Otter - 9.8 % 
9.0 oz Briess Cara-Pils/Dextrine - 7.3 % 
6.0 oz Simpsons Golden Naked Oats - 4.9 % 
20.0 g Columbus - Boil 20 min
46.0 g Amarillo - Boil 5 min
23.0 g Chinook - Boil 5 min
1/2t Yeast Nutrient - 5 min
1/2 Whirlfloc - 5 min
1.0 pkg White Labs San Diego Super Yeast WLP090 in 1L starter
46.0 g Amarillo - Dry hop 
23.0 g Cascade - Dry hop

Mash at 151F for 60 min. 90 min boil. Ferment at 65F.

Brewing Notes
Slight process change, I went with a hop sack to try to contain the hop debris. Also, I added a couple 3/8" standoffs to my burner. I was having a problem venting exhaust gases during the boil if the burner was set too high resulting in some soot. This time no soot and the CO detector stayed at 0 through the whole brew session. I might bump up the dry hop additions on this as well.

Update 4/21/14
Just added the dry hops for this brew. I'm loving WLP090.

Update 4/24/14
Here's a short clip of the whirlpool in action. The flow was much better with the hop sack compared to the scrubby over the pickup tube.



American Amber 2014

>> Sunday, March 16, 2014

Today I brewed an American Amber. This recipe is based on the one from the CYBI episode for AVBC Boont Amber. The BJCP guidelines describe this style as, "Like an American pale ale with more body, more caramel richness, and a balance more towards malt than hops (although hop rates can be significant)." This is a good "gateway craft beer" that can be appreciated by just about anyone. Here's the recipe as I made it.

8 # Rahr Pale Malt (2 Row)
1 # Briess Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L
1 # Briess Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L
7.00 g Magnum - Boil 90.0 min
5.00 g Horizon - Boil 60.0 min
7.00 g Palisade - Boil 20.0 min
62.00 g Cascade - Hopback
English Ale (White Labs #WLP002)
1/2t Wyeast yeast nutrient
1/2 Whirlfloc

Mash at 152F. 90 minute boil. Ferment at 65F and allow to rise to 68F.

Brewing Notes
No real issues on this brew. The gravity came in at about 14.4P (1.058).


Canadian Bacon

>> Sunday, March 09, 2014

Today I fired up the smoker and made some homemade Canadian Bacon. This is my second time making this recipe. The first time I picked up the wrong kind of pork loin; they were really small so I had to tie two together in order to increase the diameter. It worked out but didn't slice up as nicely as it would have if it was one piece of larger diameter loin. Regardless, I made my wife a birthday breakfast of Eggs Benedict with the homemade Canadian Bacon and homemade hollandaise sauce. Not to toot my own horn, but it was pretty awesome. I also used some in sandwiches and such.

This recipe is based on one found in Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman. Like a lot of the recipes in the book, this is really simple and yields excellent results. Not everything homemade is better than store bought, but in my opinion this Canadian bacon is heads and shoulders above what you'll find in your local deli.

For the Canadian bacon, you need one 4-5 pound pork loin. The pork loin was brined for about 48 hours then hot-smoked until it reached an internal temp of 150F. The recipe for the brine is as follows:

1.0 gallon water
350 grams Kosher salt
225 grams sugar
42 grams pink salt (Prague powder #1)
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh sage
2 cloves garlic

Combine all brine ingredients in a stockpot. Bring to a simmer and stir until salt and sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool to room temp then chill. Once chilled, add the pork loin (with a plate to keep it submerged) and allow it to brine in the fridge for 48 hours. 

After 48 hours, remove the loin from the brine and rinse well with cold water. Pat dry then place on a wire rack in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 12 hours. This forms a pellicle on the outside of the loin and helps improve the smoking process. Take the loin out of the fridge and allow it to warm to room temp while you get your smoker ready.

As for smoking wood, it really comes down to personal taste. For both batches, I used a blend of hickory, oak, and cherry and really liked the results. That's really about all there is to it. Like I said before, it's pretty simple but very tasty.


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