Microburst DIPA With Citra, El Dorado, and Azacca

>> Sunday, November 27, 2016

I've really been enjoying my Microburst IPAs which are inspired by Noble Ale Works' IPAs. I recently got my hands on some 2016 harvest El Dorado and Azacca hops so I'm doing another variant with these hops plus some 2015 Citra. I'm also planning on splitting the batch and fermenting half with US-05 and half with a special brett blend that I got from Co-Brew, an absolutely awesome homebrew shop located in downtown Denver. Co-Brew had Inland Island grow up this custom blend to their specs, so I figured I better give it a try. I picked up a vial when we were in Denver visiting friends and this was one of the coolest homebrew shops I've ever seen. Besides having all the latest homebrew gadgets, they also have setups for brew on premises, their own beers on tap to purchase by the glass, and they have their own barrel program in-store...pretty freaking sweet! Besides all that, the owners are really nice people and they love to talk beer. It's worth stopping in if you're in the area.

I also have a new piece of equipment I'm going to try out, a corny keg dry hop filter from NorCal Brewing Solutions. I'll be using this to dry hop one of the kegs from this batch and see how it does containing hop debris while hopefully infusing some hoppy goodness in the beer. I imagine this filter will be a regular item on their site, but as of the date of this post, it was only available as a pre-order item.

Here's the recipe as I'm making it today.

Expected OG 1.076
~51 IBUs
Est ABV 8.9%

5# 11oz Rahr 2-row
3.5# Avangard Pilsner Malt
1.5# Simpsons Golden Promise Malt
25 grams Carafa III (added before sparge to adjust color)
1.0 # 3oz Corn Sugar (boil)
6ml Hop extract (60 min) ~ 49 IBUs
Wyeast Nutrient
112g Hop blend (1 min) ~ 2 IBUs (52g El Dorado, 52g Azacca, 28g Citra)
Co-Brew Brett Blend
132g Hop blend (dry hop) (48g El Dorado, 48g Azacca, 48g Citra)

Mash at 150F, 90 minute boil, 60 minute hop stand at 160F, ferment at 64F, dry hop after primary fermentation slows down.

For water profile I'm going with Tasty's water again. To 10 gallons of distilled water I added:

16g Gypsum (CASO4)
7g Epsom salt (MgSO4)
2g Canning salt (NaCl)
1g  Calcium Chloride (CaCl2)

Brewing Notes
No real issues except that my gravity was lower than I expected (1.070). Then it dawned on me...I forgot to add the corn sugar. I'll let this beer ferment most of the way through primary, then I'll boil the corn sugar with a little bit of water and dose each fermenter.

Update 11/30/2016
The US-05 half of the batch took off fairly quickly while the Co-brew half lagged behind showing no signs of active fermemtation. I decided 64F was probably a little too cool for the brett blends and brought the fermenter into the house the afternoon of 11/28 to ferment at room temp (about 69-70F this time of year). Within 24 hours it started showing signs of active fermemtation with thin a trace of foam on top and some positive pressure in the airlock. Fermentation is super active this morning.

Update 12/23/2016
The Co-Brew Brett half was kegged yesterday with dry hops in the corny keg dry hop filter. The clean half will go on dry hops today.

Update 1/10/2018
I kegged the clean half of this beer before going on a little trip. I tasted the Brett half before I left and there was quite a bit of hop debris in suspension, but the flavor and aroma where great. I pulled another sample last night and aroma was still great, but the flavor and bitterness seemed to have dropped off a bit. There was also a noticable alcohol flavor. I'm going to put the clean half on tap this week and do some comparisons to see if some of the character is related to the brettanomyces.


Barrel Aged Imperial Porter

>> Sunday, November 13, 2016

This is a late post. This beer was actually brewed back in September.

Back in May some buddies and I did a collaboration beer, a clone of KBS. That beer spent some time in the 15 gallon bourbon barrel acquired from Sugar House Distillery. It was recently kegged and the barrel was re-filled with an Imperial Porter based on La Cruda from The Lost Abbey. Like the KBS, this will spend a few months chilling in the barrel. Below is the recipe we used for the Imperial Porter. The following grain bill is for five gallons.

13.0# 9oz Rahr 2-row
1.0# 6oz Crisp Extra Dark Crystal (120)
14oz Crisp Chocolate (630)
11oz Crisp Dark Crystal (77)
3oz Crisp Roasted Barley
17g Cascade (90 min)
19g Mt Hood (30 min)
31g Tettnang (1 min)
WLP028 Edinburgh

Mash at 152F, start fermentation at 65F, raise to 68F over a couple days.

No major issues but this beer did get mashed on three different systems (5 gallons each) so there is some variance in the mash efficiencies. Fermentation was really quick. I suspect there will be a fair amount of residual sugars with this yeast.


American Wild Barrel-Aged Brown - Solera

A while back I brewed an American Wild Barrel-Aged Brown based on The Rare Barrel's base recipe. This beer has soured very nicely and I used a portion to blend with two other Flanders Reds for my Flanders Red entry in this years Beehive Brew-off. This was my first foray into blending and I was a little nervous about how it would be recieved by the judges, but I was very happy when it earned me my third gold in a row for European Sours. It got me to thinking, maybe I should turn the Queen Jennie barrel into a Solera of sorts. So today I'm brewing up a fresh 6 gallons of brown base that will go into the barrel. I'm going with 6 gallons so that I'll be sure to have enough to top off the barrel.

6 gallon batch
9.5# Weyermann Pilsner
1..0# 10 oz Rahr White Wheat Malt
8 oz Crisp Crystal 60
8 oz Briess Chocolate 350L
8  oz Flaked Oats
8 oz Special Aromatic
8 oz Spelt Malt
2 oz Carafa III (During sparge)
17g Aged Hops (60 mins)
INISBC-913 Brett Barrel III
Yeast Nutrient

Mash at 157F for 60 mins, 90 min boil, ferment at room temp.

Water Profile:
Nothing fancy here. I filled my HLT with 3 gallons of RO water and 8 gallons of carbon filtered tap water.

Brewing Notes:
No issues today. I hadn't brewed for a while, so no issues is a good thing. Hoping to see a pretty active fermentation in the morning.

Update 11/14/2016
Wish granted, I woke up to an explosive fermentation this morning. Krausen had pushed up through the airlock and the hissing from off-gassing CO2 was loud enough that it sounded like my stirplate was running. Blowoff connected.

Update 11/15/2016
Came home from work last night to find my blowoff needed a blowoff. Yeasty foam was erupting from the blowoff growler and making quite a mess. Things seemed to have calmed down this morning to the point that I can reinstall an airlock. This yeast is a beast.


Homemade Smoked Snack Sticks

>> Sunday, November 06, 2016

I recently got my hands on a Cabela's 5 pound sausage stuffer and for my maiden voyage into the world of sausage-making, I'm making smoked snack sticks. I'm following the recipe from Chop and Brew episode 42, the biggest difference being I'm using pre-ground meat (since I don't have a grinder).

A couple comments...the original recipe called for sheep casings or 17-19mm casings. I used smoked collagen casings, but the smallest I could find locally were 20-22mm. Keep the meat cold until you put it in your smoker. Here's the recipe as I made it.

6 Pound Recipe

4.5 # Walmart All Natural Ground Beef ~ 70/30
1.5 # Walmart Fresh Ground Pork ~ 80/20
6g Pink instacure
57g Kosher salt
4g Black pepper, freshly ground
4g Homemade chipolte powder
15g Garlic salt
11g Accent Flavor Enhancer
11g Table sugar
3g Cayenne pepper (add more for additional heat)
1.5g Smoked paprika
4.4g Crushed red pepper (run it through a mill/grinder)
2 tsp. Plus a little more hot sauce
12 oz Cold water
1 Tbls. Encapsulated citric acid (optional)

I blended the beef and pork by hand until it seemed mixed well. Add salt, sugar, spices etc. (except encapsulated citric acid) to water, then add to meat and mix well. If you're using citric acid, add it right before stuffing. The citric acid will give the snack sticks a slight tang similar to dry cured meats like salami.

Cook in smoker at 130F for about 30 min.
Smoke at 150F for 2 hours. I used hickory in my Pro Q cold smoke generator
Bump the temp up to 172F until internal temp hits 154F
Cool in an ice bath to halt cooking process. Leave out on counter for a couple hours to "bloom". Package and store in freezer until ready to eat.

I was planning on adding Sriracha for my hot sauce, but I forgot entirely. I skipped the encapsulated citric acid because I couldn't find it locally. The snack sticks turned out really well. I was a little worried the Walmart meat might have been ground too fine, but it seems to have worked well. I might cut back on the salt a little next time. Heat-wise, there's some spiciness there, but it's not super spicy, so everyone can enjoy them. Given the right equipment (sausage stuffer), this was a pretty fun and easy process.

Update 12/4/2016
I made another batch today. I remembered the Sriracha sauce this time. I also used smaller casings, increased the cayenne pepper to 5g, reduced the garlic salt to 10g, added 5g of garlic powder, and used the encapsulated citric acid. I also found my digital Maverick thermometer, so I was able to more tightly control my temps this time. The first time the temps were on the high side, so the snacks cooked faster than they should have and didn't spend as much time on smoke compared to this time.