Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Homebrewing Year in Review

I was intrigued about the thought of brewing my own beer for a while, but it wasn't until I met Mike Hess (Hess Brewing) that my interest was truly peeked and I began my voyage into homebrewing in late 2010. Mike explained how simple it is to get started and I thought to myself that I could do this. The only thing that I secretly wanted for Christmas in 2010 (yes, I dropped some hints of course!) was a home brew kit. Well, my wife came through and got me the True Brew Homebrewing Kit. Little did she know that this was going to become our favorite hobby and lead us down a long, fun road of brewing adventures.

My wife and I brewed our first batch of beer on January 5, 2011, which was our one and only extract batch of beer, a pale ale that we named "1844". We quickly realized that "going all-grain" wouldn't take much more effort or equipment, so I learned how to batch sparge and moved to all-grain for batch #2 and never looked back. Here is a re-cap of our brewing year:
- Brewed 25 batches, 140 gallons, 10 different styles of beer, and 1 hard cider.
- We've attended one American Homebrewer's Association (AHA) Pro-Am Rally at Stone, where we became AHA members.
- Judged and competed in one homebrew competition (San Diego County Fair).
- Began attending the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) review class to ultimately become beer judges.
- Brewed a double batch with Hess Brewing.
- Held numerous brew days with friends to help spread the joy of homebrewing. I've specifically taught/brewed with 6 individuals.
- Upgraded brew house from 5 gallons to 10 gallons.
- Grew a Kombucha mushroom (SCOBY) from a commercial bottle, and have brewed numerous batches

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA Tasting Session

I was in the mood for great IPA this evening so I picked up a 6 pack of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. I also am in a 12 week review class for the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) to be come a beer judge, so I'm trying to do formal tastings on many different beers.

Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA is a continuously hopped IPA with Northwestern US hops. Continuously hops means they have an auger that literally drops hops into the boil kettle throughout the entire 60 minute boil, resulting in 60 or more individual hop additions. It's an interesting concept, which seems to result in a fairly balanced beer, although, continuous hopping isn't necessary to achieve a balanced beer.

Although this is a terrific beer, I think they may be pushing the pricing envelope a bit far - $16 for a 6 pack? There plenty of other IPA's out there that are as good or better that are priced at the $9-$10 range. I may not have chosen it tonight if there was a price tag on it - I should have known better - no price tags equal lots of $$$ ! In any case, it's a wonderful beer that I was able to enjoy this evening. Maybe it's because of my cold that I'm recovering from, but after I conducted my tasting session, I looked up what Dogfish Head had to say and they state that it is for hop heads (a hop bomb) and has a lot of citrus aroma. I picked up no citrus aroma, and yes it is definitely hoppy, but no means is it a hop bomb. It's extremely well balanced between the malt and hops though, very drinkable, and probably a delicious beer to introduce to people moving from lighter beers into the IPA realm, but still not as hoppy as other IPA examples, such as Stone IPA, or Lagunitas IPA (my personal favorite).

Aroma: piney, resiny, grassy
Appearance: crystal clear, golden to copper color, thick, long lasting, white head with hints of gold. low to moderate hop character. good lacing
Flavor: dry, resiny, grassy hop flavor thorughout. very well balanced between malt/hop character. Hop flavor persists throughout.
Mouthfeel: clean, dry, leaves a very pleasant resiny coating across entire mouth.
Overall Impression: A very drinkable beer, not overly hoppy. Very well balanced. Enjoyed the consistent flavor of hops throughout each sip. Grassy (vegetative matter) likely due to large amount of hops added through boil process.

Arrogant Bastard Clone Recipe

Jon came down from San Fancisco this weekend to help me brew up an Arrogant Bastard clone. We only had a few mishaps along the way. I never changed out of my warm, comfy slippers (hey! it was cold out there!), but Jon purposely accidentally started spraying me with frigid water when cleaning out the mash tun. That's ok, I exacted my revenge when I sprayed his foot with boiling wort when starting to whirlpool. He cut himself on a hose clamp around the copper coil while vigorously stirring the ice during the chilling process, and while tightening up a hose clamp, I stabbed myself in the hand with a screw driver! Comedy of errors! 

This was my first attempt at any clone beer (I know, very arrogant of me to think I can replicate an Arrogant Bastard on my first attempt) and of course, I'm excited to see how well I did. We had to finish before a mutual friend's wedding that afternoon, so we were up at 5:45 and started heating water by 6am. San Diego has been having a bit of cold spell lately, so it was about 40 degrees when we started out in the garage. This made holding my mash temps difficult because my mash tun (cooler) was so cold it kept absorbing the heat. After adding a gallon of boiling water, then 2 more gallons of water at 190, I was able to stabilize the temp at about 156-157 and held it there for about 45 minutes for a total of an hour long mash.

Fortunately, my new "brew tap" on my tankless hot water heater helps shave some time off the heating process, which now takes longer when brewing up a 10 gallon batch. Of course, the Arrogant Bastard recipe is a closely guarded secret at Stone, which has developed its mystique over the years and makes it a fun project to try to clone. I'll post an update on this once the beer is finished and carbonated to let you all know if I cloned it.

Here is the recipe I came up with, based on listening to The Jamil Show Can You Brew It, research online, some advice, and my thoughts on the beer. I used Beer Smith 2.0 for the first time to design this recipe instead of Hopville.
90 Minute Boil, 20 Minute Whirlpool
OG: 1.072, FG 1.017 (in order to hit the 7.2% ABV)
IBU's 100
Mash 157
77%, 22.5 lbs American 2-row
7.7%, 2 1/4 lbs Special B
5.1%, 1.5 lbs Munich
5.1%, 1.5 lbs CaraMunich
5.1%, 1.5 lbs Aromatic
5.5 oz Chinook for 60 minutes boil
4 oz Chinook for 20 minutes of whirlpool
Yeast: WLP007 Dry English Ale
Whirlfloc (2 tablets) at 15 minutes
Water Profile: Balanced at 1:1 ratio Chloride:Sulfate (which required 6 grams of Calcium Chloride in the Mash and 7 grams in the kettle to adjust my water.)

I chose Special B over Crystal 150, mainly due the Jamil show's research on the matter and popular opinion online. Perhaps next time I will try using C-150 to see if it makes a difference. The Special B adds the dark, ruby color and caramelized flavors. The C-60 adds a mid level caramel flavor to help round out the caramel flavors and the 90 minute boil helps with the caramelizing as well. The Munich and Aromatic help out with body and malty mouthfeel.

My initial taste after brewing this, it seemed a bit too bitter, so I'll probably dial down the IBU's next time. The WLP007 English ale yeast may help soften that bitter bite though, so we'll see what happens before I make any changes.
Jon hard at work!
the brewery

mmm! beer!
Yep - that's four carboys in there! 10 gallons of
Dark Side of the Moon Black IPA in the back (dry-hopping)
and 10 gallons of Arrogant Bastard clone.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pirate's Breakfast Tasting Session

I've been working on perfecting my Imperial Oatmeal Stout recipe (Pirate's Breakfast) for quite a while now. I've brewed it 5 times now with a coffee oatmeal stout thrown in there, so really 6 times. In any case, I call this one Pirate's Breakfast #5, or for short, PB #5. PB #5 is getting much closer to my ideal oatmeal stout. Frankly, I've never had a beer that tastes exactly what I'm shooting for, but that's really the whole point of creating this beer. I think that my next attempt at brewing this should be spot on for what I'm shooting for. This beer roughly falls within the Oatmeal Stout, 13C BJCP category, however, since it's "imperial" it doesn't exactly fit. The OG is 1.080 and the IBU's are 50. The style calls for a max OG/IBU's of 1.065 and 40 respectively. Aside from that it falls within the category quite nicely.

Pirates's Breakfast #5 Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Jet black, seems to be perfectly clear with now haze. Pours a thick tan head that persists for a couple of minutes then disappears almost entirely.

Aroma: Slightly sweet on the nose, malty, biscuity roasty

Flavor: Strong roast malt hits up front with a little chocolate and perhaps a bit of coffee. Flavor starts to fade slightly then a nutty, toasted oatmeal comes rushes. This character lingers on the back of the tongue and roof of mouth for quite some time.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, moderate carbonation, great carbonation level for this style. Leaves front of tongue dry and after drinking a few ounces over a period of time leaves most of mouth a bit dry. Fuller mouth feel towards side and back of mouth initially.
Overall Impression: Rich and ark with intense roast character up front which quickly gives way to a delicious toasted oatmeal character that lingers. Chocolate and coffee flavors present, but these are dominated by roast, nutty, toasty character. More body is needed and preferred by me, but falls within acceptable range of this style. A very delicious beer, but still room for improvement.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yeast Flavors and Affects on the Brewing Process at Bottlecraft

Last night I attended a class presented by White Labs hosted at Bottlecraft in Little Italy (see my review of Bottlecraft here). The presenter was Troels Prahls, Yeast Applications Scientist who stepped in to cover for sick co-worker. The material presented was very informative and covered both basic topics as well as advanced topics related to brewing. We tasted six beers, some of which had similar recipes, but different yeasts, showing how selecting a different yeast strain alone can produce a vastly different beer. We also discussed fermentation temperatures, yeast harvesting, storage and re-pitching.

The presentation was excellent and the venue at Bottlecraft was terrific. I got to Bottlecraft a bit early, so I perused their wide selection of beers for awhile, then purchased a couple of fine beers after the session. I also ran into fellow I know through Hess Brewing, which made the class a bit more fun! Many thanks to Bottlecraft and White Labs for putting this event on!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

10 Gallon Brewery Upgrade & Big Brew Day

I recently completed my upgrade from a 5 gallon brewery system to a 10 gallon brewery.
The equipment consists of (2) 15 gallon aluminum kettles, a 120 qt cooler mash tun, and (2) pumps.
I had a brew day with several friends to test it out and introduce them to the world of homebrewing last week, brewing up batches #22 and 23 for the year. We brewed 10 gallons of Dark Side of the Moon (Black IPA) and 5 gallons of a Scottish Ale. It was a lot of fun having so many people over to brew and introducing more people to the home brew craft.

Part of the upgrade included sizing the stainless steel water supply hose used for the mash tun drain to be 1" diameter allowing improved drain flow rates. I was able to hook a pump up to the mash tun and quickly mash out/sparge. I learned that it is important the batch size should be sized to the kettle. The 5 gallon batch of Scottish Ale was intended to be a Scottish Heavy 70 (1.036 OG), but due to the very small volume in the large kettle, 50% of my 7 gallon pre-boil volume boiled off in 70 minutes, leaving me with 3 1/2 gallons at an OG of 1.066. I guess this is a Wee Heavy, brewed without a lot of malt. I'm very interested to see how this turns out.

I began adjusting my water profile for these beers, but due to the distraction of having several new people to teach, I forgot to add the brewing salts until nearly the end of the mash. I threw in the salts anyway into the mash as well as the planned amount in the kettle. We'll see how it turns out.

The new 15 gallon kettles and yours truly.

Carefully calculating the next hop addition. I love this photo - it shows so many aspects of the brewing process in one photo.

Jon and Geoff made a great stirring team to keep the copper coil cold during chilling.

Brother Dave came in town to visit and brew with me.

Dave sporting his Adroit Theory Brewing shirt and my Hess Brewing glass.

Mike and I enjoying some great beer during one of the calm moments of the brew day.

Chilling down the 10 gallon batch. Liz is carefully overseeing the operation.

Yours truly is monitoring the kettle and the chilling procedures.

Dark Side of the Moon almost chilled.

Dark side of the Moon hitting the fermenter.

Stir baby, stir!
Pre-Brew Day: Making the Filter: I wanted to keep the fittings to attach the filter to a bulkhead fitting in the cooler. So I had to carefully pierce the rubber tube inside by using this small tool, then carefully work the tube out (see photo below).
Working the tube out of the filter proved difficult because a water supply hose is like a chinese handcuff!

The completed 120 qt mash tun with 1" stainless braided hose filter and ball valve.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Northern California Brewery Tour

I wrote this on my back from San Francisco earlier this week and finally got around to posting it: We went on a trip to San Francisco to visit friends and visit beervana - Lagunitas Brewing Co in Petaluma, CA and Russian River Brewing Co in Santa Rosa, CA.

Firat Stop: Lagunitas: The directional signage was non existent, so after getting lost around the back of the production brewery (and checking out some of their old plastic fermenters) we eventually found the entrance to the brewpub. We entered through the beer garden/outside seating area line with rows of thick solid wood picnic tables and benches which was quickly vacated once the rain picked up. we found a spot in corner by the band and were treated to some good local music. We tried almost every beer they have on tap and I think my favorites were Maximus (double IPA) and Lagunitas Sucks ale (replacement for Brown Sugga' ale they couldn't brew this year). We were tucked away kind o in a corner which made it a bit difficult difficult to get the full experience I was
expecting to get without craning my neck around or getting up to walk around a bit. Their brewery tours are unfortunately spaced several hours apart but we eventually got on the last tour at 5pm which was informative and the tour guide kept things fun.

Second stop: Russian River: located in downtown Santa Rosa, we pulled up nearly right in front of the brewpub and walked in and were seated immediately. We ordered two sampler platters of the 15 beers they have on draft which included the California Alss and Belgian/sour ales. All the beers were amazing and it was great to sink fresh Pliny the Elder directly from the source! I got a growler of Pliny to go which we enjoyed a day later.

I was disappointed to be seated in the side room away from the fun atmosphere of the main bar area. There were also TV's in the main bar playing college football but there weren't TV's in the side room. I felt that if there were TV's then everyone should be able to watch the game. It really needs to be all or nothing - I felt a little jipped to have traveled so far to RR to sort of miss out on the RR experience. The service, beer, and pizza were all excellent which helped make up for it though. Overall, still a great experience to visit such awesome breweries. If I'm in the area I'll definitely be back to RR and Lagunitas

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hamiltons Tavern

I'm sitting in my favorite local bar in San Diego enjoying a couple of fine beers - Russian River Pliny the Elder and Green Flash Hamilton's 5th Anny I Plead the 5th Black IPA. Both excellent example of beer in their respective styles. I definitely miss living just 3 blocks away from this fantastic establishment, but every time I step into this place I instantly feel at home, like I never left. What's not to like about this place? Black painted walls, loads of craft beer signs, wood bar, distressed wood booths, a couple of pool tables, 30 taps, hundreds of tap handles hanging from the ceiling, awesome staff and great food! Whenever you find yourself with a free moment or in the South Park/Golden Hill/North Park area, be sure to check out the hottest beer bar in San Diego.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kombucha Update

Baby mushroom grown from the original
mother mushroom.

It's been a while since I provided an update to my Kombucha SCOBY mushroom starter experiment. After a couple of weeks, I had a nice little Kombucha mother mushroom growing (see below). It frankly looked hideous, but I was able use that as a starter to begin growing a number of "baby" mushrooms. I grew the mother mushroom into a large mushroom by pitching it into a 3 gallon batch of tea stored in a 5 gallon food grade bucket. That batch sat too long and turned very vinegary, but it produced an excellent environment to propagate additional kombucha babies, which it pops out a new one every 1-2 weeks.We gave one to Liz's sister Esther who graciously supplied the photos for this post (visit her post about it here.)

My wife brewed up a fresh batch of tea several weeks ago and pitched the baby SCOBY shown at left into the fresh batch. Within a week, the tea had turned into kombucha and was ready for bottling. Liz and her sister had a little bottling party and used several different flavors including plain kombucha, kombucha with juice, and a third with fresh raspberry and ginger root.

All turned out quite well. A slight cider vinegar aroma on the nose, but a fresh kombucha flavor when drunk. The ones with juice were a bit sweet. The bottles with the raspberry and ginger root were fantastic. Carbonation was a bit light, so we just need to try to bump that up next time. All in all, it turned out very well - we've got another batch fermenting now!

Kombucha mother grown from a commercial bottle
of GT kombucha. and pitched into a 3 gallon batch of green tea.
(Esther DID NOT take this photo :=)

Esther's much smaller kombucha batch
with one of the "babies" we gave her.
Raspberry and ginger.

Finished bottle

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Black IPA - Dark Side of the Moon

I brewed up a second batch of Dark Side of the Moon - Black IPA on Sunday, which was as the title suggests, my 20th batch. Liz and I have hit 100 gallons brewed this year! This was the first time brewing in my now cleaned out garage and second time at my house. It was great brewing in full shade instead of constantly rotating an EZ Up in the backyard to follow the course of the Sun, and having easy access to the kitchen was great too. Soon I'll have a tankless water heater installed with a prefilter/diverter so I can have instant or near instant hot water! I hadn't brewed just a single batch in quite a while, having done double batches for quite some time now, and it was quite relaxing having just the one batch to focus on. It's bubbling (blowing off) quite nicely in the new fermenter now.

Grain Bill was pretty simple - 12 lbs 2-row, 1.25 lbs Carafa II Special, .75 lbs Crystal 60, 1 lb Sugar
1 oz Centennial at 60, 30 and 1 minute
1 oz Cascade at 10, 5 minutes (fresh home grown hops from Dominic)
Whirlfloc and Sugar added at 15 minutes.
White Labs Cal Ale 001 re-pitch from Hess.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beer Bomb, Busts, and Black IPA Name

August and September have only allowed for one double brew day in each month for a total of (4) batches.

The beers brewed in the first session yielded what was supposed to be a highly hopped pale ale and an improved version of the Pirate’s Breakfast (PB) – Imperial Oatmeal Stout. 

The Busts: The pale ale, despite having large amounts of late boil/whirlpooled hop additions and significant dry-hopping had virtually no hop aroma. It also failed to carbonate in the bottle. I’m working on a solution for that, so we can at least have a carbonated beverage.

The PB I unfortunately had to dump because I forgot to check the pitcher of water that the blow off tube was discharging into. We bought a house and remodeled it during the month of August and with all the activity, I forgot to inspect the beer more frequently. The water completely evaporated, allowing untold contaminants to enter and spoil the beer. I could smell the bad odor immediately and it had very bad off flavors.

The second brew session was the inaugural brew day at our new home. It was great having all the extra space to brew in our backyard. We brewed two somewhat difficult beers – the Pirate’s Breakfast (to make up for the dumped one) and a Barleywine. The PB mash got stuck and took us an extra hour to drain the mash tun. The boils on both beers are long (90 minutes and 120 minutes). So between the stuck mash and long boils, it made for a very long brew day.

The beer bomb occurred when the barleywine apparently got clogged in the blow off tube and blew the stopper off over night after 3 days of fermenting. It rocketed off 3 ½ gallons of half fermented wort all over the fermenter fridge and the garage floor, requiring an hour and a half of clean up time for Liz. At least the beer shouldn’t be contaminated, but it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out now. I was trying out the new yeast strain from White Labs, WLP090 San Diego Super Yeast. Unfortunately, this won’t be a good indicator of how the yeast really performs, other than it is obviously an extremely strong fermenter. 

Black IPA Naming: Thanks to Jon for coming up with a terrific name for the Black IPA (which tastes amazing)! The new name is "Dark Side of the Moon".

The beer bomb

The barleywine on the left should be as full as the pirate's breakfast on the right.

We also set up our new Chugger Pump, which worked ok for pumping horizontally, but it wouldn’t recirculate into the kettle. More to come on that later.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yeast Harvesting and Washing Process

Here is a second in my series of homebrewing tutorials, with this post focusing on Yeast Harvesting and Washing. I've recently begun harvesting yeast from the primary fermentation vessel and either storing it or racking freshly brewed wort directly onto it. I blogged about this here, where I stored harvested Safale 05 yeast from a IIPA and re-used it on a Black IPA, and directly pitched a Saison onto White Labs WLP565 that remained in the carboy from the previous Saison.

Today, I harvested the WLP565 that had been used on two batches and washed some White Labs Cal Ale 001 that I received from a local brewery that had been harvested from a stout. This was the first time that I washed yeast in preparation from storage/re-pitching. I ended pitching this yeast into my Saison (after harvesting the Belgian yeast from the Saison) to attempt to dry out the Saison even more.

Re-using your Yeast; Harvesting and Washing Process
Yeast harvesting and washing is a very simple process. It seems daunting at first and there are many opinions on how it should be done, to which I'll add my own here. I'll leave the debating of which way is better to other people that feel their cause is worthy enough to be argued.

There are two ways to re-use yeast: 1) pitch freshly brewed wort onto the yeast cake that remains in the fermenter from a previous batch or 2) harvest and store the yeast for future use. Word of warning if you're choosing to re-use your yeast: If your first batch was contaminated in any way, then don't reuse the yeast - you'll spoil two batches instead of one!

Method 1. Re-use the yeast cake.
This process is the simplest and easiest way to re-use. To do this simply perform the following:
1. Plan your brewing sessions so that your first batch is ready to be racked off into a secondary fermentation vessel or bottling bucket on or near brew day. Note: It's ok for your wort to sit on the yeast for a little while after fermentation is completed, but don't wait too long, or your yeast will start to self-destruct, reducing its life and viability and resulting in some off-flavors in the finished beer.
2. When your second (fresh) batch of beer is brewed or being brewed, rack the first beer off into another vessel. This exposes the yeast cake and trub at the bottom of your fermenter.
3. Simply rack your fresh (cooled) wort into the primary fermenter, on top of the yeast cake. Note: You don't need to clean your vessel, as it should already be sanitized from the previous batch.
4. Aerate as normal, and your done.

Method 2. Harvest and store the yeast.
Harvested yeast (dumped into sanitized vessel from primary
The second method is more involved, but it allows you to store your yeast for an extended period of time and use it on future batches weeks later. Note there is another method that I won't discuss here, since I haven't done it, but a homebrewer can also "top harvest" yeast during fermentation from the krausen head formed. Apparently, more viable yeast can be harvested at this point.
1. Rack the fermented wort (beer) off into another vessel.
2. Dump the yeast into a sanitized container.
From this point you can proceed in two ways. I'll start with the simplest first.
1. Pour the harvested yeast into a sanitized mason jar or container with lid. (I used an old yeast container).
2. Tighten the lid down, then loosen slightly to allow the yeast to breath.
3. Store in a refrigerator (not a freezer!).

Second option: Yeast Washing
Washed yeast with foil over it to protect from contaminants
falling into it (container next to it is what it is stored long
term in.

This method allows the homebrewer to clean up the yeast sample and store more actual yeast, rather than yeast trub, and wort.
1. Boil filtered water for 5 minutes to sterilize the water.
2. Cool the boiled water to near the same temperature as the harvested yeast to avoid shocking the yeast is either too hot or cold water (if your water is over 100 degrees, you'll likely destroy the yeast cells). I would recommend doing this well in advance so you can move quickly between the steps to avoid contamination from occuring.
3. Pour the sterilized water over the harvested yeast.
4. Cover with aluminum foil and place in a refrigerator for several hours.
5. The heavier trub will settle to the bottom, the yeast will settle to the middle layer, and the water/wort mixture will be on top.
6. Pour off slowly the water/wort solution into the sink
7. Pour the yeast into a sanitized container and store refrigerated as described above.

Close up shot of washed yeast
Washed yeast after pouring off water/wort liquid.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Homebrew Names Used So Far

Here's a brief list of the names I've used for my beer batches for the record:

Pale Ale (extract version) - 1844
IPA - Chizzam!
IIPA (i.e. San Diego Pale Ale, Imperial, or West Coast IPA) - Damn Chizzam!
Imperial Oatmeal Stout - Pirate's Breakfast
Oatmeal Stout - Wenches' Milk
Rye Pale Ale - RPA

Kombucha Restarted

My first Kombucha batch showed no sign of life after a couple weeks and I began to think I did something wrong in the first batch. Sure enough, after a little more research, I found out I shouldn't have used Herbal tea for the initial fermentation. Rather, green or black tea should be used. Herbal tea is only used for adding flavor and nutrients after initial fermentation is complete.

I re-brewed the starter batch. this time using green tea. After about 1 week I began to see signs of life. A gelatinous substance formed over the entire surface of the container and is continuing to grow. My kombucha SCOBY or mushroom is now growing quite well. Hopefully in a few more weeks, I'll have a full mushroom to brew the first drinkable batch of Kombucha!

Kombucha ingredients with green tea this time!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Black IPA & Belgian Saison

This is how I usually start my brew day.
Filling up water jugs at the water station
near my house and trucking them back

We brewed up another 10 gallons this last weekend. In the fermenter now is our first Black IPA or "Cascadian Dark" and another Belgian Saison.

The Saison was the same recipe as the last one except this one, I added a tablespoon of coriander to start experimenting with adding ingredients to spice it up a bit. I also repitched directly onto the yeast bed of the previous saison. (White Labs WLP565 was used).

The black IPA used 2 row, Crystal 40 (the LHBS was out of Crystal 60), and Carafa II special dehusked grain as the darkening agent. I had intended to use Carafa III special dehusked, but again, the LHBS was out of it, which required that I change my recipe while at the store. Fortunately, I've been designing my recipes "in the cloud" on hopville, which allowed me to access it from iPhone and manipulate the recipe on the fly. I ended up using 1 1/4 lb of Carafa II instead of 1 lb of Carafa III. I repitched some harvested SafAle 05 from the IIPA I brewed a couple weeks prior.

The idea behind using the dehusked Carafa, is that it imparts less roasted flavors to the finished beer. A person should be able to close their eyes and drink a black IPA and not realize their drinking a dark beer.

1 Tbsp of uncrushed coriander seeds heading for the kettle.
Coriander seeds being added into the hop bag

Fermenter with yeast from previous Saison batch ready for racking chilled wort directly onto it.
Yeast bed in the fermenter!
SafAle 05 Yeast Harvested from IIPA pitched into Black IPA
(this photo is from when I first harvested the yeast, it was stored
in an actual yeast container for a week prior to using)

Beer babies - Saison and Black IPA
I didn't add a blow off tube to the black IPA and look what happened! Fortunately, I put a plastic pitcher upside down over it when I saw it getting close and contained it.