Tuesday, April 29, 2008

White Salmon Report

Great time had by all at the White Salmon river. Aside from the massive amounts of quality beer, there was also a ton of good food cooked by chef Miller. I finally had a chance to run an inflatable kayak down this river on Saturday, and managed to only fall out once! Here are a couple of videos Kat took on Sunday.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Middle Fork American River

We just booked our reservation with All Outdoors Rafting to raft the middle fork of the American River, just outside Sacramento, CA. We're putting together a road trip to include this and visit some of our favorite breweries. More details on that to come - in the meantime, check out this video of the stretch we'll be on!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Brewday!

I'll try a little live blogging today since we decided to brew our 10th beer. My folks surprised me with a gift certificate to the brew supply store up the street for my birthday, so we decided to take advantage and make our last beer for awhile since the rafting season is going to keep us busy.

We also just finished bottling our Imperial Pale Ale, and the sample tastes spectacular.

3:03pm - Okay, this post is not quite live since we technically started it about 20min ago, but the pre-boil with specialty grains is underway. This used a variety of light malts including Munich, Carapils, Wheat and Honey. The house already smells like a brewery.

3:25pm - Wort is now in the brew kettle. Once we get it up to ~180F we'll had the first extract addition and an ounce of hops (Simcoe and Columbus).

3:38pm - While waiting for the wort temperature to rise, Ryan Rowland-Smith struck out Garrett Anderson with the bases loaded to secure the win for the Mariners. Nice win boys!

4:02pm - Malt and hops added. We'll boil until we reach the hot break (after bubbles subside), and then start our timed hop additions. Coming up are Cascade, Amarillo and more Simcoe and Columbus.

4:15pm - Boil reached. Waiting for the hot break.

4:20pm - Happy 4/20!

- Timing starts now. Added Columbus hops to boil for 60min.

4:56pm - Added Amarillo hops. This and the hops afterwards will mostly contribute to the aroma.

– Added last dry malt extract (DME) addition.

5:11pm - Added Simcoe hops to boil for 15min. Also added 1 teaspoon of Irish Moss for clarity.

5:16pmAdded Columbus hops for 10min boil.

5:21pmAdded Cascade hops to boil for 5 minutes.

5:25pmAdded a full ounce of Cascade hops for the last minute of boil.

5:26pm - That's the end of the timed boil. We'll whirlpool the wort and let it rest for 15 minutes before cooling it in the ice bath.

5:41pm - The wort has been transferred to the ice bath. Rather than timing it, we'll wait until it cools to 75-80F.

6:55pm - Looks like it's time to buy a wort chiller, 75 minutes is probably a bit too long for this part of the process. Anyway, got it moved into the fermenter and aerated. We used some leftover yeast from our ESB that we still had stored in the fridge (Pacman strain). Kat boiled up a small batch of extract yesterday to add to the yeast as a starter. It seemed pretty feisty when we activated it before tossing it in so we're not too worried about it. It's sitting at a comfortable 69F in the cabinet. See you in a week when we rack and dryhop. I'll also have rafting stories from our trip on the White Salmon.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Yeast Washing

The article on yeast washing I referenced earlier can be found at Homebrew Digest. Happy brewing!

Back to posting

Been away for a little while, sorry about that. I've been thinking a lot about the blog, just not posting. I feel as if I've almost been hyping up each entry in my mind before it gets written, instead of just sitting down and sharing the recent news. I'm going to try this more personal approach and see if it can't lead to some more content.

First, an update on the brewing since early March. We've brewed two beers, an ESB and an Imperial Pale Ale. The most fascinating thing to report about this is we used the same yeast for both beers. When shopping for ingredients for the ESB (Grand Teton Brewing Bitch Creek ESB clone) we decided to try a special yeast that had come in. This was the Pacman yeast, formulated by Wyeast specifically for Rogue. It was a mutation of the strain that was called for in the recipe, so it was only a slight change. Anyway, when racking this beer the following week, Kat used directions she found online to reuse the dormant yeast for our Imperial IPA (I'll post them when I can find them). I think it took a little longer for the yeast to take off than the full package, but once it got going it was aggressive. We racked it just a few days ago and it smells great. Looking forward to that one.

We've also finally sampled many of our batches. Here's a rundown of all the drinkable brews we have so far, and our thoughts.
  • Brown Ale (Bob's Homebrew) - Full flavored malt with mellow hops. We couldn't believe how great this was for our first attempt, and neither could many of our friends. Supposedly dark maltier beers like this age better than the hoppier pale ales, so this could be really amazing later on.
  • IPA 1 (Dogfish Head 60min clone) - This one took longer than we expected (although now feel that 4 weeks in a bottle is required), but was a great blend of hop character. We actually compared this to a bottle bought from the brewery. The flavors were very different, most likely due to the yeast in the recipe not available. But as stand alone beers, we both agreed we'd prefer to drink our homebrew over the actual beer. We'll probably try our version of the recipe again, with a few modifications.
  • Red Ale 1 (Red Tail Ale clone) - This beer is disappointing and turned out pretty bland. It's a drinkable beer, just not very exciting, with no real noticeable hop or malt character. We wouldn't brew this recipe again.
  • Pliny the Elder clone - Originally we titled this as a double IPA, but I don't really think that applies to this beer. This thing is a hop sledgehammer, as the aroma and bitterness clobbers you in the face. We've only tried it a couple of times, and saving the majority of this batch for next weekend, my birthday. It probably will have have mellowed just enough by then.
  • Porter 1 (Avery New World Porter clone) - Our second dark beer turned out just as good as the first, and maybe better. This thing is fantastic, subtle hints of chocolate and a nice hop aroma. Very smooth and drinkable. We'll use this recipe as a framework for future porters I'm sure.
  • IPA 2 (Lagunitas IPA clone) - We had high expectations for this beer and they have held up. This has a very nice flavor with a bite of hops at the aftertaste. We held the IPA challenge last night between this beer and our first IPA, and this one was decided the champ.
We've got the Rye bottled as well, but it won't be ready for another two weeks. The ESB will get bottled this weekend, and the Imperial was dry-hopped on Wednesday. We probably won't do much more homebrewing until I can get working again. Yeah, that's right, I am officially unemployed as of April 1st. At least I don't have to worry about buying beer. We do have a surplus of left-over ingredients, so there might be a brewday or two still left this spring.

I'd also like to mention an awesome rafting trip we went on last weekend. We joined our friends Paul and Matt down on the Wind River, near Carson, WA. This is a serious class IV+ run with long stretches of continuous whitewater and some BIG drops. Definitely the toughest paddling trip of the year. We had great runs both days. Saturday was cold with snow in the morning, but a dozen determined rafters still went down. Both boats flipped at the same place on the run, but fortunately after the toughest stretch and we recovered in a reasonable time. Sunday's weather was surprisingly nice with the sun following us almost the entire trip. I managed to get thrown from the raft, but nobody else did. You know, I should talk to Matt about that.

The only problem with the Wind River is the camping. In years past, we've always camped out right at the take-out, which is nothing more than a muddy parking lot. It's always wet and cold, not to mention the lack of decent tent sites. I told Kat a few weeks before the trip, "I really want to raft this river, but I am not camping in that spot." We decided to get a motel in Stevenson Saturday night, which really made all the difference for the weekend. Our friends that were staying overnight also decided to join us, and we had a hilarious night hanging out in town. One of our favorite small breweries, Walking Man Brewery is in Stevenson, so we sampled many of their beers, and tall pints of the Homo Erectus, their Imperial IPA (such a tasty brew). I splurged and picked up a T-shirt as well.

I'll post more, I swear. Cheers!