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So the move to Denver is complete, and we are getting settled in nicely so far. In fact, I had the pleasure of finding The Brew Hut, which has a godly grain room and friendly staff, and just happens to be next to the amazing Dry Dock Brewing.

Ingredients acquired, I decided to brew an IPA for my first Denver brew because it is pretty straightforward, and I am brewing on a new stove, in a new kitchen, and at a new altitude.

Anyway, my award-winning set up looks like this:

Fancy stuff. The hops for Hopline v. 2 are my personal favorites:

I was actually able to get a solid boil from this stovetop as well, which is encouraging, as I wasn’t sure it would have the power to do it.

Speedwolf + late hop additions=good brewing.

I hit my numbers like I thought, and made a big starter for the AA yeast, so now the wort is fermenting away in the fermentation “chamber” I made for it. It’s just a cooler with an insulated lid that I cut out of insulation. I fill the cooler with cold water and rotate frozen water bottles out to keep the temperature around 65-68. It works like a charm.

Also, in the downtime of brewing, you can (and should!) make bread. So I did, and it looks like this:

Much more news to come. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the local beer scene more, and I will do a whole post dedicated to that and to my search for a job in the brewing industry.

 

Alright, first of all, Agent Orange (aka Collaboration brew) is drinking quite nicely now. That said, I find Citra hops to be lacking something…they don’t have enough depth to stand without at least two other hop varieties, in my opinion.

I used whole hops for all of Agent Orange, and the dry hops looked like this after I racked the beer:

The beer is a pale orange and is heavy on the citra/stone fruit flavor with some small pine/citrus aroma added from the Centennial hops. The orange blossom honey is present in the finish and actually gives a nice, complex, almost rich finish to the beer even though it is quite dry, which the honey helped with.

Moving on from Agent Orange, I kegged the saison today. It tastes quite nice as well. After I let the saison yeast ferment in the mid 80s for a couple of days, it predictably stalled. At this point, I pitched dry American Ale yeast and let that ferment for a week and half in the mid to high 60s. I find this yeast combination works really well. The saison yeast gives most of the characteristic flavor while the AA yeast finishes the beer and gives the beer some additional esters. I also like adding about 1 tsp of lactic acid to the saison to give a very slight tart finish.

The beer finished around 1.008 and around 5.5 % abv, so it is in the more traditional style of saisons.

Outside of these two beers, I have been preparing for a move to Denver, Colorado, which will take place at the end of the month. Barleywater Brewing is moving to Denver, so brewing will slow down until I get up and running there. I look forward to trying to find work in the brewing industry and living near the mountains. Cheers.

Yesterday I brewed my saison, which looks like this on paper:

8.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 64.00 %
2.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 16.00 %
1.50 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 12.00 %
0.50 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 4.00 %
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 16.6 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (15 min) Hops 8.3 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (5 min) Hops 3.3 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (1 min) Hops 0.7 IBU
0.50 lb Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM) Sugar 4.00 %
1Pkgs Belgian Saison (Wyeast Labs #3724) Yeast-Ale

Got a nice hot break.

Also had a quick cool time with the immersion due to nice and cold ground water.

And, a day later, there is a nice krausen forming from wyeast 3724.

I have a heating pad around this carboy to help kick up the fermentation temp, as I’ve used this yeast before at lower temps and found the resulting beer to be a bit boring.

My plan is to add brett after primary fermentation is complete and possibly rack onto some sort of fruit to add a subtle complexity. I will decide the exact route when I taste the beer after primary fermentation is complete.

Alright, as the new year descends, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made this year in my brewing. I’ve now been brewing for about a year and a half, and I have been doing well in competitions, see the following, and have been making interesting, non-stylish beers, like my rye beer. Here is how I did in competitions this year, which I started entering in September:

Brewing awards:

  • Gold —Goodman Brown Ale, American Brown Ale, Schooner Homebrew Championship, 2011
  • Gold—Four Score, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Schooner Homebrew Championship, 2011
  • Gold—Hey Porter!, Robust Porter, Malt Madness V, 2011
  • Gold—Hey Porter!, Robust Porter, Piedmont Brewer’s Cup, 2011
  • Silver—Hopline, American IPA, Virginia Beer Blitz, 2011
  • Silver—Four Score, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Virginia Beer Blitz, 2011
  • Bronze—Oam, Oak Aged Stout, Foam Cup, 2011
  • HM—Winter Shaker, ESB, Happy Holidays Homebrew Competition, 2011


Now then, my brewing goals for 2012 are:

  • Build an all electric brewing setup
  • Win more awards than in 2011
  • Improve all my recipes and refine three recipes until I am 100% happy with them
  • Brew an amazing stout

Tomorrow I will make a starter for a saison (which I will dose with brett after primary fermentation) that I plan to brew on Sunday.

Cheers and happy new year.

The pale ale has been fermenting for two days now, and the wyeast 3522 is insane. I’ve had a crazy amount of blow off from the yeast already, at the lower end of its fermenting temp, and it continues to madly ferment.

Also, I plan to brew a saison soon.

Much more coming up, including a year-end recap and next year’s brewing goals.

After a successful trade with brkstoutfiend @ beeradvocate, we started talking about home brewing. In fact, after several back and forths, we decided to collaborate on a recipe, which we will both brew, and send to each other for comparison.

We settled on a pale ale, and the recipe now looks like this:

Target O.G. 1.050

Mash in around 152-154.

85% 2-Row
5% 40L
5% Dextrin
5% Dextrose or Sucrose

1oz Centennial (60 min)
1oz Citra (30 min)
.5oz Centennial (flameout)
.5oz Citra (flameout)

1oz Centennial (dry hop)
1oz Citra (dry hop)

WLP 550/Wyeast 3522

After primary fermentation, rack onto 1lb of orange blossom honey.

This is my first collaboration, and I’m looking forward to brewing this beer!

Outside of that, there is more news to come in the next few weeks, but, basically, things will be slowing down a lot for me on the brewing front as I get ready to relocate, so this collaboration is great because it is a recipe that I can brew quickly and turn around before I get too busy.

Wee Bit O Heavy

Today I brewed the Wee Heavy. It went well, but I had low (wee?) efficiency (I think it has something to do with the MO base malt), so it will be on the lower alcohol end of the spectrum. I steeped the dark again because Maltdoror, which I also steeped grain for, tasted really great when I bottled it yesterday.

Consensus: steep dark grains.