brew day: Get The Acorn

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It will probably be the last brew day of October, and it may well be the last brew day under the open sky before the looming winter of 2013/14 ushers operations into the garage and kitchen. It will be a day to play hooky and eat lustily of the tacos of bachelorhood, even if only for an afternoon, and over the sink so I don’t have to wash dishes later.

It will be a west coast IPA with West Coast IPA, riffing on the recipe for Russian River Blind Pig in Mitch Steele’s IPA. It will have some well-loved old friends – Rahr 2-row, Amarillo, Simcoe – and some new blood too: Polaris for the bittering power, EXP 5256 standing in for CTZ and Cascade where called for in the Blind Pig bill. Continue reading

German IPA, Polaris, 1217, process, self-righteousness – must be an October brew day

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There I was, citizens: I was enjoying the last gasps of Minnesota summer while brewing outside, I was drinking something from Maine Brewing Co., I was trying out some new hops and new yeast, I was smelling the roast happening at the coffee shop downwind, I was gristing some malt and heating some water and ruminating on a recent conversation with friends. Continue reading

reader question: desert island yeast strain

Sorry to do this two posts in a row, citizens, but this one is a stumper (and worthy of debate). Andrew writes:

I have recently moved to China. I will be in the US to see some friends in a couple of weeks and intend to bring a supply of hops and yeast back to China.

My question is, “what yeast would you take to China for a years worth of brewing?” Is there a strain that you absolutely couldn’t live without?

First off – unfair question!

I’ll do what I always do when I inevitably get asked what my favorite beer is, and give multiple answers. So secondly, yes – several strains.

Here’s my highly subjective and somewhat evasive, possibly unhelpful in narrowing it down, desert island list for broad categories I brew within at least a couple times a year:

  • for American-style ales: 1056 ‘merican
  • for Weizens: 3068 Weihenstephan
  • for Belgian-style ales: 3787 Trappist … or maybe 3522 Ardennes
  • for Bavarian lagers: 2487 Hella Bock
  • for Czech lagers: 2782 Staro Prague
  • for British ales: 1275 Thames Valley … or maybe 1469 West Yorkshire

And yours?

Reader question: Brett beers to try

Reader Carl wrote:

I was recently at Surly’s taproom and tried both You’re in (Urine) Trouble and Misanthrope and was surprised by how much I liked them. I have not had any Brett beers before and now want to expand my tastes; do you have any suggestions for what I should try that are available in our (MN) market?

Help me out, citizens: what should Carl drink? I’ll go first:

MN-specific, two other beers I’ve had in the past year from local brewers that stand out in my mind were Surly Brett Liquor IPA and Pour Decisions St. Whatshername Tripel. They’re both limited-release, so keep your eyes peeled.

And you can’t go wrong with the classics: Cantillon, Boon, Hanssens, Rodenbach, Bockor Cuvee des Jacobins, Orval, Liefmans …

tasting notes: Boat Bitter

Boat Bitter

We met the deadline for Chip’s block party and have also imbibed it in a boat. At the time of this writing it is coming up on 8 weeks old and my half of the batch is down to its last couple pints. Although it drank pretty well at under two weeks, I’ll allow as how it looked prettier about a week later, once the finings really took hold and the chill haze resolved. Let’s taste the Boat Bitter before it’s gone: Continue reading

test day: BDSA 2013

I try to brew with the weather, harnessing the ambient temps in my unfinished basement for primary fermentation. Late summer means low to mid 70s, so it’s Belgian time; it’s also a good time to use up odds and ends to make room for hop harvest and restocks for the fall brewing roster, so last week’s brew session was a bin-cleaner Belgian Dark Strong Ale. Continue reading