Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Russian Imperial Stout

Friday nights are being scheduled as brew nights from here on out... It gives us a chance to relax and not worry about being stressed out to start late and finish up because of plans on a Saturday night or having to get to bed to wake up for work if it's a Sunday brew.

We brewed one of our most complex and high alcohol beers, a Russian Imperial Stout. This beer has done pretty well in competition and I am very happy with the way it is evolving. The only problem I really have is keeping my hands off of it so it has time to age.

This particular batch was bumped up a little gravity wise and I increased a couple of the specialty malt additions. We ended up with a 1.110 original gravity from our usual 1.105, it's our most inefficient beer as we use 26 lbs of grain and only yield 6 gallons, our mash tun can only hold about another 5-6 lbs of grain. The 3 liter starter that was made proved to be explosive and the beer took off right away, blowing the airlock off the next morning. I could smell the sweet mess from outside the basement door :)

The 6 gallons that was yielded will be split in half, one getting put on a Stranahan's barrel stave I brought back from GABF soaked in whiskey, and the other half will get an addition of Theo cocoa nibs and a yet undecided local espresso. The whole batch will be bottles and left to age and condition in the bottle.

A great guy and great brewer, Tim Paddy has asked to brew this beer for The Powerhouse in my hometown of Puyallup. Along with Tim Hayner, we have scaled the recipe up and hope to brew within the next month or so. I was lucky to have been there when Tim Hayner brewed his awesome 16 Penny Pale for the ProAm competition a few years back, and I know Tim Paddy will do our beer justice. Now I just need to figure out how to get a full size barrel delivered from Denver.....

I'm planning on making another 6, hopefully 12 very soon,if we can incorporate another mash tun, and take it down to the National Homebrew Conference for club night.

Next Friday's brew will be a big hoppy IPA from all of the extra hops we have laying around, this batch will be split as well and aged on some very special wood that I am really excited about using. Stay tuned and cheers!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Blonde ambition

Made our Belgian style Blonde yesterday. We've made a couple batches in the past that seemed to have been a crowd pleaser and also liked by some refined palates. It's a pretty simple recipe using only Pilsner and wheat malt for the grains, and a couple of spice additions at the end. I incorporated a new varietal of hops called Citra. They are a high alpha Hallertau relative, which were generously donated to some of us from Hutch of Rogue Issaquah as sort of a test run for what these hops have potential for. I'm really digging them so far.

Half of the batch of Blonde will be bottle conditioned and corked, the other half will age with a funky culture I've played around with on a previous batch of saison that was a huge success. I'm excited to see how the lemon and citrus aspects of this beer come through. The picture is what the last one looked like...I was really happy with the head retention and clarity, nice tight bubbles and very sessionable. Cheers!

For more information on new hop strain cultivation, check out this awesome article Mark Emiley wrote for WAHA after attending HopUnions hop school in the summer.