January 29, 2005
Homebrew Batch 5 - PNW American Pale Ale

Sunday, January 23 I brewed a partial mash American Pale Ale, using Full Sail Pale Ale and Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale as the recipe base.

  • 16oz Crystal 20L steeped until boil
  • 8oz Munich steeped until boil
  • 6.5 lbs Coopers Light LME
  • 0.5 lbs generic light DME
  • 1oz Cascade pellets, 60 min
  • 1oz Cascade pellets, 30 min
  • 1oz Cascade pellets, 5 min
  • 1/2 oz Amarillo pellets, 2 min
  • 35mL White Labs California Ale yeast

  • Stats: 1.054 SG, 1.012 FG, 5.5% ABV, 13.33 Plato, 5.8 SRM, 50.6 IBU

    After transferring to secondary fermentation after 6 days, the gravity was 1.019, and while the flavor is quite good, the aroma is not as well developed, so it will be dry hopped with 1/2 oz Amarillo pellets. This Pacific Northwest version of an American Pale Ale has bright citrus flavors and a smooth, solid malt body with a little flavor from the Crystal and Munich. Though the recipe shares little with Full Sail Pale Ale, the flavor is a close match, as is McMenamins Hammerhead Pale Ale.

    With my new kegging system set up in the main fridge, I wanted to brew a bright, crisp, hoppy pale ale, as close to my PNW favorites as possible. I was tired of the bottle conditioning imparting an unwanted flavor on my homebrew, and the home keg setup has solved this problem.

  • October 10, 2004
    Homebrew Batch 4 - Spiced IPA

    Fourth homebrew batch was a sponteneous experiment on a rainy Sunday morning. I took whatever I had in the fridge and threw it togethor. I have absolutely no idea how it will taste, but it smells really interesting in the fermentor after a day.

  • 3.3 lbs Amber malt extract syrup
  • 3 lbs extra light dry malt extract
  • 1 gallons of water into the boil pot
  • 1 tablespoon coriander - 70 min
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel - 70 min
  • 1/2 oz Fuggles - 70 min
  • 1 oz Centennial - 50 min
  • 1/2 oz Centennial - 40 min
  • 1/2 oz Centennial - 30 min
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander - 30 min
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange peel - 30 min
  • 1/2 oz Centennial - 20 min
  • 1 oz Centennial - 10 min
  • 1/2 oz Fuggles - 5 min
  • Add 2 gallons water to the fermentor
  • After cooled, pour wort (about 1.5 gallons) into fermentor, totalling about 3.5-4 gallons
  • 35mL East Coast Ale yeast

    There it is. Sounds weird. The East Coast Ale yeast is recommended for such things as amber ales, bitters, pale ales and the like. I have no idea what it will do to this IPA, but that's sort of the point. I also don't know what the coriander and orange peel will do, but I always liked the witbier flavors of these spices but wanted a hoppier version. I also have no idea what the semi-continuous hopping will do. Like I said, I'm experimenting, which is the thing I love most about this hobby.

    I did committ a sin, however. While cleaning up, I had the fermentor (a bucket) sitting in the kitchen not too far from the garbage can, and I accidentally threw a wet paper towel right into the wort... it hurt. After a good 36 hours, the yeast started to do their job, so I know I got lucky in that respect... no infection noticed so far.

    As for the beer, right now it smells pretty interesting: sweet coriander, honey, orange and pineapple juice entwined in some strong, musty hops. Tasting the wort it was initially very sweet with dominating citrus and pineapple flavors, then it quickly turned sharply bitter from the high alpha acid Centennials. This should be a fun one to try.

  • April 24, 2004
    Homebrew Batch 3 - IPA

    For my third batch I created an extract variant of the popular Sister Star of the Sun IPA recipe. I substituted Styrian Goldings for East Kent Goldings, and Centennial for Fuggles, so because the Centennials are 9.1% alpha, they bumped the total IBU's up over 150. Holy crap...

    Update: April 25 - The yeast has started fermenting the wort today, and the hop aroma is simply phenominal... I'm expecting this to be much more bitter than the first batch, considering the amount of Chinook added, which are 10.6% alpha, for 60 minutes, whereas on batch #1, Northern Brewer were added for only about 35 minutes. Expect something along the lines of Stone Ruination: 7% ABV, 150 IBUs... mmmmm

    • 3.3 lb light malt extract syrup
    • 3 lb extra light dry malt extract
    • 0.5 lb Crystal 120L
    • 0.5 lb wheat malt
    • 3 oz Chinook 10.6% (60 min)
    • 2 oz Styrian Goldings 4.8% (20 min)
    • 1 oz Centennial 9.1% (while chilling wort)
    • 35ml White Labs London Ale yeast pitched at 75 F
  • OG ~1.060
  • IBU ~150

    Tasting - May 28, 2004
    Dark murky orange, almost a pale brown, with a small fluffy white head. Nose is a vibrant, sweet hop mixture with a small touch of yeast. Very thick mouth feel, bitter is an understatement, the Chinook really make their presence known. Unfortunately, there is a metallic flavor which is hard to ignore, most likely a result of either high fermentation temperatures or wildly varying temperatures. In some bottles it's less evident. The finish has a sweet and soft oak, maple and a light fruit touch to it. Not bad, but the recipe needs some improvement.

  • April 3, 2004
    Homebrew Batch 2 - Witbier

    Because Summer is approaching and our supply of HB#1 IPA is quickly dwindling, Sean and I brewed a witbier as our second batch on Saturday, April 3, 2004. The recipe was as follows:

    • Steep 0.5 lbs Carapils to 160 F
    • Stir in 6.6 lbs LME & boil for 60 minutes
    • Add 1 oz Hallertau hops at 60 minutes
    • Add 1.5 tablespoon dried orange peel at 10 minutes
    • Add 1.1 tablespoon crushed coriander at 10 minutes
    • Add three thin slices fresh lemon peel at 10 minutes
    • Add 1 oz Hallertau hops at 5 minutes
    • Strain into primary, add 35mL Whitelabs Belgian White Yeast

    Rigorous fermentation took place in the first 5-10 hours in primary, and has since slowed down. We will keep in primary for 7 days, then 7-14 days in secondary before bottling.

    First Tasting: April 20, 2004
    Copper clear appearance with a small head, light carbonation, resembling a mild ale in both aroma and flavor. Lots of coriander in the flavor, probably too much, but as of now, less than 1 week after bottling, the nose is a very pleasent scotch, caramel, coriander and orange. Perhaps this should not be considered a witbier after all. We'll see in a few weeks.

    Second Tasting: April 25, 2004
    Still a huge amount of coriander in the nose and flavor, but right now it's quite drinkable. Really doesn't need any time to bottle condition.

    Last Tasting: May 6, 2004
    The coriander has definitly mellowed out, allowing the orange peel and malts to show up a bit stonger. It's similar to before; still more of a mild or traditional ale, but definitly still drinkable. Photo from May 6, 2004.

    April 1, 2004
    Homebrew Batch 1 Tasting Notes

    Since bottling on March 5, I have opened a few bottles, and it is only now, April 1, that the IPA has reached a good age to begin drinking. Here are some notes on the latest bottle, with an accompanying photograph to the right.

    Golden red hue with a muddy tan head, large bubbled. The nose is a sweet pine and dark plum Cascade hop aroma, the dry-hopping very evident. The yeast still is quite noticable in the nose as well, but over the next few weeks I expect it to be less of a factor. Flavor is a nutty and woody malt and Belgian-yeast flavor, with a peppery peanut and moss finish. The body has really grown in the past 2 weeks, and though the bitterness is not as strong as I would have preferred, this homebrew definitly hits within the IPA style. Being that I've sampled over 1000 beers and almost 100 IPAs, I have to say that this homebrew IPA is not fantastic, but it certainly is drinkable and tasty. Something I wouldn't mind buying on a regular basis. This is really not my ego talking. If we ended up with a crummy IPA, I would certainly say so.

    With the RateBeer.com rating system I would judge this one:

    • Aroma 7/10
    • Appearance 4/5
    • Flavor 6/10
    • Palate 3/5
    • Overall 13/20
    • Total Score 3.3/5

    While this one is good, there is room for improvement. I would prefer a grapefruit and pineapple hop nose along with a lot more bitterness. This is something we will work on with the next batch.

    March 25, 2004
    Stolen Beer

    Something very interesting happened this week:

    • Sunday, 3/21/2004 - 10:30pm: Ann and I arrive home from a week in the Chicago area. We park my truck at my apartment complex and grab a load to take up, consisting of my camera bag, a laptop, my handgun, and a grocery bag containing 5 bottles of beer.
    • Monday, 3/22/2004 - 12am-7am: My truck is stolen from the apartment complex.
    • Monday, 3/22/2004 - 11:30am: I discover that my truck is missing and drive to the Norman Police Department to report the theft. What is really bad is that inside the back of the truck there were 7 cases of beer, worth over $400. Also contained in the truck was a new tent (not an inexpensive item), sleeping bags, a ratchet set, and miscellaneous other camping and truck-related items. I can't understand if the truck was taken for the truck, to be scrapped for parts, or if it was taken for the contents. The beer list, which I sadly assume is gone forever, includes:
      • Three Floyds Dark Lord Imperial Stout (12x22oz) ($15 each!)
      • Three Floyds Alpha King Pale Ale (54x12oz)
      • Three Floyds Robert the Bruce (6x12oz)
      • Three Floyds Dreadnaught Imperial IPA (2x22oz)
      • Bell's Pale Ale (5x12oz)
      • Bell's Java Stout (6x12oz)
      • Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock (6x12oz)
      • Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (4x12oz)
      • Dogfish Head Aprihop IPA (3x12oz)
      • Dogfish Head Raison D Extra (1x750ml) ($18)
      • Arcadia London Porter (6x12oz)
      • Carnegie Porter (1x500ml)
      • Cantillon Iris (1x750ml) ($11)
      • Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek 1999 (1x750ml) ($25)
      • Fish Tale Old Woody (1x750ml)
      • Great Lakes Blackout Stout (4x12oz)
      • Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale (4x12oz)
      • North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout (8x12oz)
      • Oud Beersel Oude Kriek (1x375ml) (retired)
      • Rogue Imperial Stout 1996 (7x7oz) (retired)
      • Schneider Aventinus Weisen-Eisbock (1x330ml)
      • Upland Bad Elmer's Porter (6x12oz)
      • Cooperstown Benchwarmer Porter (1x12oz)
      • Boulevard Dry Stout (1x12oz)
      • Stone City John's Celebration White Ale (1x12oz)
      • J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 1998 (1x275ml)
      • Stone Ruination IPA (1x22oz)

      Yes, that is 145 bottles of beer that had been accepted as lost.
    • Monday, 3/22/2004 - Wednesday, 3/24/2004: With various friends, we search throughout Norman for signs of my truck. I'm hoping that the theif dumped the beer into a dumpster, or perhaps took the beer but left the truck somewhere. Three days of searching produces no results.
    • Tuesday, 3/23/2004 - 10:00pm: I'm informed by my father that my cell phone, which was stolen with the truck, now has a new voice mail greeting message, someone simply named "Greg". This means that this asshole has my phone and is using it, which is good news for Norman PD to track him down.
    • Wednesday, 3/24/2004 - 7:00pm: I get a call from a friend who is visiting other friends in east Norman and he says that he found my truck. I meet the police at the vehicle and am relieved to find all of the beer still in the back. The thieves stole my CD player and my CB radio, apparently they took the truck because they could not quickly take the radios in my parking lot. Fuckers.

    March 6, 2004
    Homebrew Batch #1

    On February 15th I brewed my first batch of homebrew, a malt-extract IPA, and on February 22 I racked it to secondary and dry hopped it with 3oz of Cascade pellets.

    The photograph to the right shows the batch, at about 4.5 gallons, after it was siphoned into a carboy. Throughout primary fermentation the airlock was not bubbling, but yeast seemed to be doing it's job. It seems the bucket was leaking just enough to expel the CO2 so the airlock wasn't able to do it's job. Seconds after securing the plug and airlock on the glass carboy, excess CO2 began to bubble out, a very good sign. One more week until bottling.

    Here are the stats:

      8oz Crushed Victory Malt
      16oz Crushed Crystal Malt
      3.3kg (7lbs) LME

      2oz Northern Brewer (7.1%) - 35min
      1oz Cascade (6.6%) - 5 min
      3oz Cascade (dry hopped on 2/22/2004)

      35mL White Labs Burton Ale Yeast

      Feb 15, 2004 - 1.055
      Feb 22, 2004 - 1.015
      Mar 05, 2004 - 1.015 (bottling)
    Update: Batch #1 was bottled on March 5, 2004. The batch was also tasted for the first time, and to my complete surprise was actually really damn good. I imagine that the dry-hopping had the most influence on the outstanding hop profile. Nice balance of pine and citrus hop flavors, with an incredible Cascade nose. Bitterness reminiscent of Stone Ruination IPA. Not that I'm bragging at all, being that my brewing experience is quite limited. I imagine that the huge hop profile aids in covering any "homebrew" flavor that the batch might have.

    Big thanks to The Brew Shop OKC.

    January 20, 2004
    Christmas 2003

    I spent 24 days away from Oklahoma this Winter. I visited 25 breweries, sampled and rated over 200 new beers, and brought back a truck full of various bottles once again. Here are the breweries visited this vacation:

    • Pumphouse - Longmont, CO
    • Coopersmiths - Fort Collins, CO
    • The Library - Laramie, WY
    • Alamada Chophouse - Laramie, WY
    • Bitter Creek - Rock Springs, WY
    • Bear River - Evanston, WY
    • 25th Street Roosters - Ogden, UT
    • Sockeye - Boise, ID
    • Tablerock - Boise, ID
    • Big Horse - Hood River, OR
    • Full Sail - Hood River, OR
    • Rogue Taphouse - Portland, OR
    • McMenamins - Portland, OR
    • Lucky Labrador - Portland, OR
    • Old Market - Portland, OR
    • New Old Lompoc - Portland, OR
    • BridgePort - Portland, OR
    • Portland Brewing - Portland, OR
    • Alameda - Portland, OR
    • Tugboat - Portland, OR
    • Tucks - Portland, OR
    • Raccoon Lodge - Portland, OR
    • Laurelwood - Portland, OR
    • Squatters - Salt Lake City, UT
    • Red Rock - Salt Lake City, UT

    I totaled over 4400 miles in the truck, after getting a valve job and the timing chain and tensioner replaced before leaving. I camped outside of Fort Collins, Colorado the first night out, and stayed north of Trementon, Utah on the second. On the third day I visited two RateBeer friends from Boise, who took me to two of the local breweries. After stopping for dinner in Hood River, Oregon, I arrived home in Portland at about midnight Pacific time.

    Most of my time in Portland was spent exploring the local brewpubs, hitting the happy hours and spending time with the only person from my high school class of 1997 that I still keep up with, Dave. I was planning to leave on Tuesday, January 6th, but on the 5th, the Portland area received about 4 inches of snow followed by 1.5 inches of ice to cover the snow. Roads were terrible, and the road I needed to take out of town, I-84, was closed through the Columbia River Gorge. I spent an extra three days in Portland, driving around in the snow with Dave to visit various happy hours. I finally made it out of town on Friday, January 9th, spending the first night in Boise while the second was spent back in Fort Collins. Fort Collins is home to perhaps the best burrito restaurant in the world. This place was 100% no-bullshit, nothing on the walls, college kids behind the counter, and EVERYONE was there on a saturday morning for their burritos... these are huge fuckers that come wrapped in foil with a drip bag as well. If you want to find the best place to eat in a college town, look for where all of the students are. This place was so good I'm going to give you their address and phone number. If you go there on my recommendation and don't like the food, I'll pay for it. or kick your ass.

      510 S College Ave
      Fort Collins, CO 80524
      (970) 482-3303 [ map ]

    Some Notes

  • Laws in Utah require no beer brewed over 4% ABV, but the quality of the three breweries visited was fairly good. Not only was the Chocolate Stout from 25th Street Roosters excellent, but Red Rock had an almost-to-style Abbey, which to get under 4% ABV must have taken some creativity from the brewers.
  • The beer scene in Wyoming is extremely young, but it has some legs. Towns with probably no more than 2,000 people have breweries making decent quality beer. The market in Wyoming can't be too huge, and the scene reflects that, but at least there are people pushing good beer into the area.

  • December 07, 2003
    Austin RateBeer Gathering

    Ann, Beno and I drove down to Austin for the night to attend another RateBeer gathering, this one at the Bitter End. Fun was had by all. Photographs are available.

    Some of the beers sampled:

    • Kelpie Seaweed Ale
    • Dogfish Head Festina Lente
    • Apis Jadwiga Mead
    • St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
    • Stoudts Fat Dog Stout
    • AleSmith YuleSmith IPA
    • Corsendonk Christmas Ale
    • Back Road Christmas Ale 2003
    • Arcadia Imperial Stout
    • Rogue Imperial Pilsner
    • Ommegang Three Philosophers
    • Unibroue La Terrible
    • Gouden Carolus NoŽl

    November 30, 2003
    Thanksgiving in Chicago

  • Free State (Lawrence, KS) (excellent)
  • John's Grocery (Iowa City, IA)
  • Three Floyds Brewing Co. (excellent)
  • Goose Island Brewing Co. (excellent)
  • Duneland Brewhouse (awful)

    The first stop that Ann and I made on our way to Chicago was Lawrence, Kansas, where we met Emily and Jeff at Free State Brewing Company for lunch. Unfortunately Owd Mac's Imperial Stout was not available anymore, so we were left saddened and a little frustrated that one of the top stouts in the world is so difficult to get your hands on. No growlers, no bottles, and it just seems like Free State doesn't want to be popular.

    The only other stop we made on the way to Chicago was at John's Grocery in Iowa City. They have a fairly good Belgian beer selection, with the lowest prices I've ever seen on Cantillon bottles. The other highlight of John's was the large glassware collection, and I picked up a Thomas Hardy's snifter and a Augutijn tulip.

    Most of the time in Chicago (La Porte, IN really) was spent helping Ann's family pack up her Grandparents house for their move to Iowa, so I was left with only half of the last day to see Chicago. Ann and I met up with Mike in Michigan City and drove out to Three Floyds in Muster, Indiana, where they were just releasing their Christmas porter, Alpha Klaus.

  • October 12, 2003
    OU/Texas Weekend

    October 01, 2003
    Great American Beer Festival - Denver, CO

    August 17, 2003
    Durango, CO

    June 28, 2003
    Summer Vacation