Batch 156 – Kellerbier

It had been three years since I last made my Kellerbier.  I thought that it was time to make it again as a somewhat quick turnaround beer to follow the most recent batch of Kcölsh.  It wouldn’t require much lagering, and I don’t have to clear it for serving.

The ingredients were purchased from Atlantic Brew Supply, and included the following:

  • 8.0 pounds of Pilsner malt
  • 1.0 pounds Muncih Malt (light)
  • 4 ounces Aromatic Malt
  • 2.0 ounces of Saaz hops (2.8% alpha acid)
  • 3.0 ounces of Hallertau Hersbrucker hops (2.2% alpha acid)
  • 2 packets SafLager W-34/70 yeast
Batch 156 Kellerbier ingredients

The Kellerbier ingredients

My targets, based on Brew Pal, are:

  • Original Gravity:  1.048
  • Final Gravity:  1.011
  • ABV:  4.9%
  • 38 IBU
  • 5.4 Lovibond

The IBU were a little higher this time as I adjusted the amount of Saaz hops due to their lower alpha acid content.

Since I have been having problems with the fine crush of the grains clogging my mash tun spout when I lauter, I decided to wrap the false bottom in my mash tun with a grain bag to see if that eliminated the clogging and cut down on the many small pieces of grain that get pulled through during the vorlauf.

This was a marked improvement that what I had been experiencing.

The brew day was otherwise uneventful, but I went way, way over my target original gravity, getting a reading of 1.056 as I was transferring the wort into the primary fermenter.  With a final gravity of 1.012, the beer came in at 5.8 percent ABV instead of the targeted 4.9 percent.

After almost three weeks in primary, the beer was transferred into secondary for two weeks, and kegged and force carbonated.

This was fortunate, because I ran out of Kölsch that night and the Kellerbier was ready to go the next day!

Kellerbier Draft

Kellerbier Draft

 

Posted in All-grain Brewing, Carbonating, Homebrewing, Kegging, Kellerbier, Kellerbier | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Batch 155 – Konfrontational Kölsch (all grain)

Having the Rauchbier through primary fermentation, it was time to get its successor beer made.  What would be perfect to have ready over the summer?  My Konfrontational Kölsch!

I made a slight adjustment to my recipe since I found that Weyermann is producing a Cologne Malt.  Previous batches used Schill Kölsch malt, but it isn’t clear if that malt is still being produced.  This German Wikipedia article says “The Schill Malz GmbH & Co. KG was disbanded at the end of February 8, 2018,” though it looks like some online retailers are still selling the product.  I ordered the following ingredients from Atlantic Homebrew Supply:

  • 7.0 pounds of Weyermann Cologne Malt (4.5° L)
  • 3 .0 pounds of Best Malz Pilsner Malt (1.9° L)
  • 3.0 ounces Spalt Hops (3.8%)
  • Wyeast 2565 (Kölsch Yeast)
Batch 155 Ingredients

The ingredients for the new batch of Konfrontational Kölsch

Targets for this batch, based on BrewPal were as follows:

  • Original Gravity:  1.052
  • Final Gravity:  1.013
  • 5.2% ABV
  • 5.9ºL
  • 26 IBU

Atlantic Homebrew Supply offers a ‘single’ or ‘double’ crush on the grains ordered.  I opt for the single crush since the spout on my cooler mash tun tends to clog if the grains are ground too fine.  This happened before with grains from Atlantic Homebrew Supply grains, and did again on this batch.

Batch 155 - First runnings of the vourlauf

Once unclogged, lots of small pieces of grain came through the false bottom of the mash tun.

Once I got the clog clear, the vorlauf, lauter, and sparge went smoothly.  I did run out of propane just as the boil was starting, but I keep several spare tanks on hand for just such an event.

I collected about 7½ gallons of wort and boiled down to about five gallons in an hour.  I was pleased with my measured original gravity, which at 1.054 was close to the target original gravity of 1.052.

Batch 155 - Original Gravity

Just a smidgen above the 1.052 target original gravity.

Primary fermentation was about two weeks, and after another month in secondary fermentation, I fined the beer with gelatin to brighten it, kegging and force carbonating it four days later pushing 25 psi while vigorously rolling the keg for 3 minutes.

Initially, I was not pleased with the clarity of the beer.

Batch 155 - early draft after tapping the keg

The day after kegging and carbonating, the beer was no as clear as I’d hoped.

I was beginning to think that maybe I wasn’t doing the gelatin fining properly, but was pretty sure that I did it just like I had on earlier beers that turned out very clear.  But after a month (!) in the keg, it did clear up nicely.

Batch 155 - clarity after a month in the keg

One month later…very clear!!

I’m not sure if I’m transferring too much gelatin into the keg when I package the beer, and wonder if my carbonating method (vigorously rolling the keg while pushing gas at high pressure) keeps the gelatin in suspension and requires more time for it to settle out.

The beer came out great, though!  I really enjoyed it and the keg was out six weeks later!

 

Posted in All-grain Brewing, Carbonating, Gelatin Fining, Homebrewing, Kölsch, Kolsch, Kolsch, Style | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

O’ zapft is! (2019 – Annual Oktoberfest Post)

I’m ready to go back.  It has been nine years.  Maybe next year?  Who is with me?!!

Oktoberfest 2018: Opening Day

The happiest woman in the world!

source:  https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/09/oktoberfest-2018-photos-from-the-opening-weekend/571099/

IMG_8179

An angel of mercy!!

Source:  https://www.merkur.de/lokales/muenchen/oktoberfest/muenchen-oktoberfest-2018-schuetzenfestzelt-wiesn-bedienungen-lieben-ihren-knochenjob-nicht-nur-wegen-trinkgeldes-10300491.html

 

Posted in Oktoberfest, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Batch 154 – Rauchbier (all-grain)

I had purchased the ingredients at the local homebrew store, intending to brew this batch of Rauchbier over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018.  Lots of interruptions intruded and the batch was delayed for six months.  Plans to have a nice, smoked lager into the winter were delayed.

The ingredients were the same as the last batch of Rauchbier that I made:

The ingredients were:

  • 4.5 pounds of 2-row Pilsner Malt
  • 4.1 pounds of Rauch Malt
  • 2.o pounds of Munich Malt
  • 3.0 ounces Saaz Hops – 3% alpha acid
  • Saflager W 34/70 Yeast

Unfortunately, an 8½ month break in brewing left me a little rusty on my procedures so I didn’t capture too many worthwhile pictures during the brewing process.

I did get a killer cold-break when I was cooling the wort.

Rauchbier cold break

Rauchbier cold break

I came in a little above my 1.056 original gravity target, hitting 1.060.  Two weeks in primary fermentation were followed by three weeks in secondary fermentation before I fined the beer with a teaspoon of gelatin in ½ cup of water.  I let the gelatin work for another six days before kegging and carbonating the beer.  I finished pretty much right on target at 1.012, and it was looking pretty clear when I was transferring it to the keg.

Rauchbier pre-carbonation

Clear uncarbonated Rauchbier. Tastes as good as it looks!

The first few drafts weren’t as clear as I would have liked.  Probably some settled gelatin getting pulled from the bottom of the keg.

Early Rauchbier draft

I was a little disappointed in the initial clarity of the Rauchbier.

I had it ready for when I fired up the smoker for 4th of July weekend barbecuing.  That included one day smoking pork shoulder and beef brisket:

Smoked pork shoulder

A smoked pork shoulder

Smoked beef brisket

Best beef brisket I have made so far!

And then the next day, three slabs of baby back ribs.

Smoked baby back ribs

I don’t know why I didn’t get a picture of these sauced and cut!!

By the time I was deep into draining the keg, the Rauchbier ended up clearing up nicely.

Clear Rauchbier

The Rauchbier ended up clearing nicely!!

It was a very enjoyable beer – I emptied the keg in about a month after pulling the first pint!

 

 

Posted in All-grain Brewing, Gelatin Fining, Homebrewing, Rauchbier, Rauchbier | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Ireland and England Trip

I have yet to complete my beer narrative from my European vacation in the summer of 2017 (which I don’t know if I will ever get around to finishing), and it is much more daunting a task to write about the beer I drank in Ireland and England at the end of January 2019.

I went on a bucket-list trip with a friend to watch two English Premier League mid-week matches.  After some planning, we decided to catch the Manchester United-Burnley match up at Old Trafford on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at Old Trafford and the Livepool-Leicester City match at Anfield on Wednesday, January 30, 2019.

Day 1

My friend handled the flight arrangements, so we left the US on Saturday, January 26, leaving from Charlotte to go to Dublin, Ireland with a layover in Boston.

The first beer I consumed on the trip came during the layover where we caught lunch before our flight to Dublin. While at Logan International, we stopped at the Beerworks brewpub for lunch.  I had two beers:  the Beerworks Excellent Porter (that’s its name), and the Old School IPA.

Beerworks Excellent Porter

First beer of the trip at the Beerworks restaurant in Logan International Airport.

Beerworks Old School IPA

The Beerworks Old School IPA

Based on my ratings on Untappd, I preferred the porter over the IPA.  There were some other beers that I had wanted to try, but they were out of them.

I don’t recall if I had a beer on the plane.  I think the wi-fi that was supposed to be working, wasn’t.  So if I did have a beer on the plane, I couldn’t have recorded it on Untapped.  But I also don’t have a picture of a beer from the flight, and since I generally don’t like to drink on long flights (I have trouble sleeping on airplanes anyway), I probably didn’t have one.

Day 2

We got to Dublin just after 5 AM local time on Sunday and took a taxi from the airport to our hotel in the Temple Bar area of Dublin. It was far too early to check in, but the staff – who were great and very accommodating and understanding – and allowed us to leave our bags under their attention and sit in the front room until the kitchen opened at 7:30 to serve breakfast.  While we waited, we were getting groggy and fighting off the urge to take a nap.

During breakfast, we decided to do what any beer lover would do in Dublin – book a tour of the Guinness Storehouse online.  After breakfast we set off on a brisk walk to the west on Wellington Quay on the south side of the River Liffey, weaving our way through a number of streets until we found it!

Guinness!!

What is the Irish version of Mecca or Nirvana? GUINNESS!

After our tour, we went to the top of the Storehouse for our free pint.  I made a note to try the Hophouse 13 beer that was available there, as well as the Smithwick’s Blonde.  But I ended up choosing a pint of the Stout.

My Goodness - My Guinness!!

My pint of Guinness at the top of the storehouse.

There was a group of what I took to be Spanish high school students there on a field trip.  Of course, they weren’t permitted to drink, but that didn’t stop two of the young women from asking us if they could hold our pints as props for pictures.  When they did, the one young woman almost completely spilled my friend’s beer when she put it back on the table.  He was not amused!!

We decided that we needed to keep moving if we didn’t want to fall asleep on our feet, so after checking back at the hotel to see if our rooms were ready (they weren’t) we decided to explore the Temple Bar area as it was nearing lunch and we would have to try to eat someplace.

One place my friend had wanted to check out was the Hairy Lemon pub.  I ordered a Chieftain IPA by Franciscan Well Brewery, followed by a Rebel Red from the same brewery.

Chieftain IPA

Franciscan Well’s Chieftain IPA at the Hairy Lemon Pub

Rebel Red

Franciscan Well’s Rebel Red at the Hairy Lemon Pub

I also decided I wasn’t going to wait for another opportunity to try the Hophouse 13, so I had that next.

Guinness Hop House 13

Guinness Hop House 13 at the Hairy Lemon Pub

Our next stop was to check out the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College, along with the Trinity College library.

Part of the Book of Kells Exhibit

Part of the Book of Kells Exhibit

Trinity College Library

Trinity College Library – I don’t think I’d want to climb the ladders to get a book at the end of the shelf on the second floor…

After Trinity College, we decided to head back towards the hotel stopping at pubs along the way to break up the walk.  Our first stop was at the Norseman Pub, where I ordered a Citra IPA by the Guinness Open Gate Brewery.  The Norseman was great fun, and our bartender was a charming and vivacious young woman from Brazil named Rayanae – not what you’d expect in Dublin!  I followed this up with a Murphy’s Irish Red.

Open Gate Citra IPA

Open Gate Citra IPA at The Norseman Pub.

Murphy's Irish Red

Murphy’s Irish Red at The Norseman Pub.

At this point, the afternoon became a bit of a blur.  We went to another pub on the way back to the hotel, but the beer I was drinking was not all that noteworthy (I remember a Carlsburg and probably another Guinness or two).  We made it back to the hotel, went to our rooms for what was supposed to be a short rest so we could go back out for dinner at around 6 or 7 PM, but both of us fell asleep.  We needed to catch up on our sleep because the flight to Manchester was leaving the next morning.

Day 3

We took another cab back to the Airport in the morning, and caught the flight to Manchester.  From there, we took the train from the Manchester Airport to Victoria Station where we walked with our luggage to our hotel.  After we checked in, we walked back toward Victoria Station to visit the National Football Museum.  A completely awesome place that I highly recommend!

It was early evening when we started walking back to the hotel, and after finding an ATM to pull some British Pounds (Ireland uses Euros), we bumped into a place that I had scouted in the pre-trip planning as a potential stop for dinner and drinks.  One of my goals was to drink some real British Cask Ales on this trip, so the first beer I ordered was a Saltaire Blonde.

Saltaire Blonde Ale

Saltaire Blonde Ale at The Oast House

This was followed up by a Thornbridge Brewery Jaipur IPA, and then took a little detour to a draft Budweiser Budvar.  The Budvar was an interesting diversion. While I have had it on tap before (in the Czech Republic in 2017, and the Czechvar version sold in the United States), at the restaurant, the beer wasn’t served out of kegs, but from tanks of beer that were racked horizontally in a stand.

Thornbridge Jaipur IPA

Thornbridge Jaipur IPA at The Oast House.

Budweiser Budvar

Budweiser Budvar from a tank at The Oast House

After dinner, the beer drinking continued.  The next one up was the Beavertown Brewery’s Gamma Ray American Pale Ale, followed by two Camden Town Brewery beers: the Pale Ale and Helles Lager.  My evening at the Oast House ended with a Marston’s Lancaster Bomber.

Beavertown Gamma Ray

Beavertown Gamma Ray at the Oast House. What guy in a bar doesn’t want to go to Beavertown?

Camden Pale Ale

Camden Pale Ale at the Oast House

Camden Helles Lager

Camden Helles Lager at the Oast House

Marston's Lancaster Bomber

Marston’s Lancaster Bomber at the Oast House

Believe it or not, the night wasn’t over yet.  We walked back to the hotel and decided to have a few more beers at the hotel bar.  I had a Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, and capped the evening with a Brightside IPA.

Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted

Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted

Brightside IPA

Brightside IPA

Day 4

Since  the soccer match between Manchester United and Burnley was in the evening, we decided to do tourist stuff to pass the day.  We walked from the hotel to St Peter’s Square and took the blue line tram to its end at Media City, crossed the pedestrian bridge over the River Irwell and checked out the Imperial War Museum North.  That was a great museum, with the highlight being able to chat with an elderly British gentleman in a wheelchair who landed at Juno Beach on D-Day.

After the museum, we walked about 1.5 miles to the Salford Lads Club, which has connections to the band The Smiths.  The weather was cold and wet and miserable when we started walking back to the hotel to get a rest in before having to leave for the match at Old Trafford.  We eventually tracked down a cab after deciding we had quite enough with dealing with the weather.

When we left for Old Trafford, we went back to St Peter’s Square and took the Purple Line to the Old Trafford stop.  From there we walked up Warwick Road to Old Trafford.

Our seats were in the Sir Alex Ferguson stands, and we found this daunting sign waiting for us:

Sign outside the entrance to the Sir Alex Ferguson stands

Beware All Ye Who Enter!!!

They weren’t kidding!  We started up the steps and managed to make it all the way up without having to stop to catch our breath or rest, though it was hard to get my feet up on the last five steps!  Not bad for a couple of late middle-age men carrying a bit more weight than when we were in our twenties!  There were two young women who were also climbing the stairs at the same time we were, and I commented that it was a tough go, but they seemed to handle it ok.  One of them responded that they didn’t think they were going to make it either!

To regain my strength, I hit the concession stand…

John Smith's Extra Smooth Bitter

John Smith’s Extra Smooth Bitter at the Sir Alex Ferguson concession stands

We had a couple of these John Smith’s Extra Smooth waiting for the match to start.  In the English Premier League venues, beer is not allowed in the stands.  There was a totally shit-faced squirrelly little fuck that kept trying to walk into the stands with his beer.  We got to talking to the security guards about how they were going to handle him if he kept up his idiocy.  Apparently, he had ridden a train down from Scotland to come to the game and had been drinking champagne (what the fuck?) on the train and all day – at least until he got to Old Trafford.

Our seats were pretty good, but I was annoyed that Man U pulled out a 2-2 draw after being down 0-2 to Burnley.

Old Trafford Pitch

Old Trafford Pitch – Man U – Burnley warm-ups

After the match, we picked up a tram at Trafford Bar to take us back to St Peter’s Square.  We picked up some beer at a carryout on the walk back to the hotel.

Kronenbourg 1664

Kronenbourg 1664

Day 4

The next morning we walked back to Manchester Victoria Station to catch a train to Liverpool’s Lime Street station.  Liverpool was, simply put, AWESOME.  After we got to the Lime Street station, we found the location where we were to pick up our tickets for the evening’s match and then headed off to do touristy things.  First stop…

Entrance to the Cavern Club

Entrance to the Cavern Club

Our day there happened to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles last public performance on the roof of Apple Records.  At least, that’s what they were telling us!

The first beer I had was another John Smith’s Extra Smooth.  After several served out of cans the previous night at the Old Trafford concession stands, I thought I would try it on draft.

Draft John Smith's Extra Smooth

John Smith’s Extra Smooth on draft at the Cavern Club

The next beer at the Cavern Club was a Maltsmith’s IPA.

Maltsmith's IPA

Maltsmith’s IPA at the Cavern Club

We eventually left the Cavern Club to backtrack to a little pub we saw on a side street as we were heading from the Train Station to the Cavern Club named The White Star.  The White Star Pub refers to the White Star Line steamer company, which was headquartered in Liverpool.  Today, the White Star Line is most well remembered as the owner of the Titantic.  Naturally we had to check it out.  We were glad we did – it was one of the highlights of the trip!

The White Star Pub - Liverpool

The White Star Pub in Liverpool. Awesome place!

The first beer I ordered was an Otter Brewery Otter Bitter.  A real ale pulled from a beer engine pumped by a Scouser lady that I couldn’t understand!

Otter Bitter

Otter Bitter at the White Star Pub

This was followed up with a Moorehouse’s Brewery White Witch.

Moorehouse's White Witch

Moorehouse’s White Witch at the White Star Pub

To give an idea of the ambiance of the place…

Inside front corner of the White Star Pub

Who wouldn’t want to join in to sing some traditional sea shantys and other songs of the sea??

The White Star Pub

The White Star Pub – CASH ONLY!!

The customers were generally really friendly, though there was a creepy guy who kept lurking nearby and muttering a lot.  He looked like a cross between Argus Filch (from the Harry Potter movies), and the barber from High Plains Drifter.

The best part of the stop at the White Star was that we timed our visit to coincide with a regular (I forget if it was weekly or monthly) gathering of Scottish pensioners in the back room, listening to traditional music played by some of the attendees, talking and having a few midday pints.  There came a point when it got quiet, and then a bagpiper led a gentleman carrying something on a silver platter.  A haggis!!  There was plenty made and the pensioners generously asked us if we would care to try it.

Haggis at the White Star Pub

It was great!!  It reminded me very much of the Hurka sausage I would eat when I was growing up.

Unfortunately, we had to move on.  We thanked our hosts and bar mates for their generosity and moved on to more touristy things.  We walked down to the River Mersey and took pictures at the statue of the Beatles and admired the local architecture before we started heading back towards the train station and the bar where we would have to pick up our tickets for the match.

We needed to stop to piss on the way back and, similar to the rule we had in college when we were returning from the south campus bars, we had a beer where we stopped.  So next up was a Worthington’s Best Bitter at The Liverpool Pub.  Sorry – but I couldn’t find a website link.  This brand is owned by Molson Coors and their website, not surprisingly, is shit – I get a 403 Forbidden error on the link that is supposed to take me to the information on the Worthington beers.

Worthington's Best Bitter

Worthington’s Best Bitter at the Liverpool Pub.

It was still too early to pick up our tickets, so we stopped at another pub – I’m pretty sure it was a place called The Vines at the corner of Lime Street and Copperas Hill.  I had Carlsberg or something more mainstream – I didn’t record it on Untappd because I had it before.  It tasted bad – as though the beer lines were skunked and hadn’t been cleaned in ages.

We went to pick up our tickets and arrange for a ride to Anfield and of course had a bee while we were waiting.  I had a Mitchells & Butlers Mild (again, ultimately owned by Molson Coors, so no website!) and something else more mainstream that I didn’t record.  Then it was off to Anfield!

Mitchell's & Butler's Mild

Mitchell’s & Butler’s Mild

After our taxi ride to Anfield, and after we made arrangements for a ride back, we headed straight to the Sandon for pre-match pints!  Again, I had several more mainstream beers and was distressed to see so many Scousers drinking shit like Corona and Coors Light that it made me sad. One guy even had the bartender put an inch of water in the bottom of his pint before he poured it – I still can’t understand why somebody would want to water Coors Light down even more!

The one beer I had at the Sandon that I did not have before was a Tetley’s Smooth Flow.

Tetley's Smooth Flow

Tetley’s Smooth Flow at the Sandon

The Sandon was totally great, along with a regular who approached me and my friend and said “I noticed you were a couple of Yanks.  What do you think of Donald Trump?”  We cautiously found that we were like minded individuals and had a great chat about Trump, Brexit, and all things political!  Great guy – he has a permanent spot at the corner of the bar so I will be looking for him when I next make it back!

I left a 20 pound note for our new friend to enjoy his next pints of the evening on us and we headed over to Anfield.  The seats for the game at Anfield were not quite as good as those we had at Old Trafford and the weather was much more shit.  It reflected in the match, as Sadio Mane scored early to put the Reds up 1-0, only to have Harry Maguire equalize just before halftime.

Anfield prior to Liverpool-Leicester City

Crap seats and crap weather (it snowed during warmups) at Anfield

We had to rush back to the Sandon to try to beat the crowd out of Anfield after the match in order to return our tickets and try to get to Lime Street Station before our train left.  It was a tight thing and we missed the train.  So instead of sitting in first class for the 45 minute ride back, we had to wait and sit in coach.

By this time, I was starting to feel a bit run-down, so my friend went and had dinner while I waited and watched the clock for our train back to Manchester.  Both of us tired, we were recounting just how epic our trip had been up to that point when some old smelly hippy (who had been following us around on the train platform before we left) started berating us for having traveled from the states to see Liverpool play.  To him, it was a disgrace that we got to see the match while his children have never been to a match – he accused us of  keeping local kids away from Anfield!  I told him that we didn’t knock any children down and wrest their tickets away from them to go to the match.

The guy was a real downer.  When my friend asked him why his kids had never went to a match, he rubbed his thumb and index finger together.  “Money?” we asked?  And he said that they couldn’t afford tickets.

The sole of one of my old winter boots that I was wearing on the trip gave out and was flapping when I walked, So we caught a cab at Victoria Station back to the hotel rather than walk.  Along the way, our Pakistani cab driver was trying to explain cricket to us.  We had another beer or two back at the hotel before turning in.  Tomorrow we were returning to Dublin to start our trip back home.

Day 5

We took a cab late in the morning to the airport in Manchester rather than walk (again) to Manchester Victoria Station and take the train back to the airport.  The flight back to Dublin was uneventful, but I thought we had to walk all the way back to Manchester to get to the location to catch our shuttle to our hotel for the night.

We got settled into our rooms and I realized that I was well out of gas and needed a rest.  I begged off accompanying my friend on a side trip to Malahide for dinner, which broke a cardinal rule I have for traveling: JUST GO!.  But I was really worn out and could feel the start of the respiratory crud that hit me after I got home taking hold.  I took a brief nap and then went downstairs to the restaurant connected to the hotel for dinner.

I had during dinner was a Smithwick’s Blonde. I also had a Harp Lager (I had to – I was in Ireland!) along with a Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc.  I had this last beer before at home (and for some reason gave it 3.5 stars!) but it was awful and I had to nurse it.

Smithwick's Blonde Ale

Smithwick’s Blonde Ale at the Hilton Airport in Dublin

Harp Lager

Harp Lager at the Hilton Airport in Dublin.

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc at the Hilton Airport in Dublin

Day 6

The flight back home left Dublin and took us to JFK in New York City. I had another Hop House 13 on the flight back (Aer Lingus for the win!) – unfortunately, the airplane wi-fi wasn’t working, so I wasn’t able to check in with this beer.

Hop House 13

Hop House 13 on Aer Lingus between Dublin and New York JFK

 

There we had lunch at one of the restaurants in the airport.  The beer I had during lunch were a Bushwick Pilsner by the Braven Brewing Company followed by an Empire Brewing Company Empire Cream Ale.

Bushwick Pilsner

Bushwick Pilsner at JFK on a layover

Empire Cream Ale

Empire Cream Ale at JFK on a Layover

And that’s it!  It was a hell of a fun trip and something I hope I get to do again soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Batch 153 – Hefeweizen – All Grain

I brewed another batch of Hefeweizen on September 1, 2018 to tide me over until the Festbier, Oktoberfest, and Tmavý Ležák would be ready in October.

The ingredients were purchased from Atlantic Brew Supply and included:

  • 5.0 pounds of Pilsner Malt
  • 5.0 pounds Wheat Malt
  • 0.5 pound Rice Hulls
  • 2.0 ounces Hallertau Hops (2.2%)
  • White Labs 351 (Hefeweizen IV yeast)
Batch 153 Ingredients

Hefeweizen Ingredients for Batch 153

Not having learned my lesson, the grain crush was to fine for my false bottom and the spout from the mash tun clogged when it was time to run off the wort.

The beer turned out well, and was great to have in the waning days of summer and the warm days of early fall.

Batch 153 - Hefeweizen

A typical draft from this batch of Hefeweizen.

The problem now was that I had a five batches of beer to consume because our plans for another Oktoberwe’en party never materialized.  In addition to this batch and the three batches mentioned earlier, I still had a bit of my forgotten batch of Dampfbier kegged in the chest freezer.

I’m finding that as each year passes, my ability/desire to drink beer – even beer that I make – is tapering off.  That reduced appetite, coupled with a very active final club soccer season for my daughter and a hectic time at work, meant that most of the kegs weren’t emptied until after the first of the year – indeed, the Dampfbier and the Czech Dark Lager weren’t finished until March.

It also didn’t help that I was fighting off a bad respiratory infection that I had picked up on the way home from an awesome, fun-packed week where I hit Dublin, Ireland, and Manchester and Liverpool in England during the last week of January to catch a Manchester United Match at Old Traffored and a Liverpool match at Anfield with a friend of mine.  That kept me off drinking anything after my return throughout most of February.

With all that beer on hand, no more brewing reasonably could be done.  I had planned on brewing the next batch (a Rauchbier) over Thanksgiving weekend to carry me through the winter but that got delayed for almost six months.  More on that on an upcoming post.

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Batch 152 – Tmavý Ležák (Czech Dark Lager) – All Grain

This was my second attempt at making a Czech Dark lager, with things going much more smoothly than the first time.

Because of the great experience I had with Atlantic Homebrew Supply when I ordered the ingredients for the Festbier, I decided to order the ingredients for this batch from them as well.  Once again, I was pleased with their service, responsiveness in my asking about the alpha acid content of the Saaz hops, and timely shipment and delivery of my order.

The ingredients were largely the same as the last batch, with some slight differences in the amount of hops (due to a different alpha acid content) and foregoing the Wyeast 2000 Budvar Lager strain of yeast that caused me such problems previously in favor of the White Labs 802 version of the yeast.

The following ingredients were purchased:

  • 7.5 pounds of Barke Pilsner Malt (1.5-2.2°L)
  • 2.5 pounds of CaraMunich Malt (46.0°L)
  • 8 ounces of Carafa II (375-450ºL)
  • 3.0 ounces Saaz Hops (3.0% alpha acide)
  • 2 packages of White Labs 802  Czech Budejovice Lager Yeast
Batch 152 - Czech Dark Lager ingredients

Batch 152 – Czech Dark Lager ingredients

The recipe was tweaked slightly from the previous batch of Tmavý Ležák.  I was hoping for a slightly sweeter beer, much more in keeping with examples like Bernard rather than a pronounced roasted malt bitterness, which gave the previous batch more of a porter flavor. In continuing to research the style of Czech Dark Lagers, one suggestion that I found was to not include the darker Carafa II malt for the entire mash schedule, but rather to add for the last 10 minutes of the mash.  I incorporated this into the mash schedule.

I again had problems with the valve on the mash tun clogging with grain.  I’m thinking I’m going to have to make an adjustment, such as lining the bottom of my mash tun false bottom with mesh, such as that used for the brew-in-a-bag technique.  It is clear that the grinding of the mash is finer that my false bottom can readily filter.

Batch 152 - first runnings with lots of small grain pieces

Batch 152 – first runnings with lots of small grain pieces

Targets were:

  • Original Gravity: 1.054
  • Final Gravity: 1.012
  • Alcohol by Volume: 5.5%
  • IBU: 23
  • Color: 27°L

My original gravity measured prior to fermentation came in around 1.056.  The beer was in primary fermentation for two weeks.  Similar to the Oktoberfest Märzen I made two weeks previously, the gravity when I transferred the beer to secondary was again a point  higher (1.022) than the targeted final gravity (1.012).  After four weeks lagering time, I fined the beer with gelatin, let it sit for three days, and kegged/force carbonated it on the same day as the Festbier and the Märzen.  I let it sit another 12 days before I tapped it to try it.

Batch 152 - first draft

Batch 152 – first draft

Holding the Carafa II malt out of the mash until the final 10 minutes seemed to cut down a lot on the roasted malt bitterness, though it was still present.  I think this beer was probably a bit young when I kegged it, since it seems to have improved a bit in the month since I tapped the keg.

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