Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adventures in Homebrewing: Done With Dunkel

Another brewday has come and gone.

My dunkelweizen was a really straight forward and simple recipe so there was only so much I could screw up. We've had some awesome weather here lately so I was able to put some music on and open up some windows, not a bad day for brewing at all. Unlike the last time I brewed, I DID NOT have a whole growler of Nugget Nectar by my side which kept things a little more clear. Everything went as smoothly as it could have, I felt like a real efficient brewer! This was only my second time using the wort chiller that I got for Christmas and I must say that is my favorite homebrewing tool. Waiting for wort to cool was probably the most tedious part of the process for me and I love being able to get that done so much quicker, not only for my own impatience but for the beer's sake as well.

It was a pretty short brewday and with an easy clean up. Nothing too exciting to report. Until I woke up.

As I was getting ready to head off to work this morning I took a peek at my carboy, hoping to hear the glub-glub of the blow-off tube. I was quite pleased to hear that reassuring sound but I flicked on the light to find the tube and jar full of krausen which was growing quite rapidly. I can't imagine what the scene would have been without a blow-off tube. This yeast is having an absolute field day in there, without a doubt the most aggressive fermentation I've seen myself. I think some clever person should create a fermentation screensaver because I find myself just staring at my carboy in wonderment. I switched out the mason jar for a big bucket and it's still going strong as I type. The OG on this batch was a little lower than I was hoping for but there's not much I can do about that now, I'm still very excited to see how this one turns out. I'm toying with the idea of putting together an obnoxiously hopped IPA just for my own amusement and enjoyment but I guess I should just be focusing on this batch for now.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Adventures in Homebrewing: Dunkelweizen

I feel like I've been pretty busy lately but with what I can't quite figure out.

Either way, it is yet again time to brew! The Draught Horse is holding their next homebrew contest during Philly Beer Week so I wanted to make sure I had something to enter and as always, it's going to be a close call. This competition is all wheat beers so after toying with the idea of a lighter weisse with some lemongrass I ended up deciding to brew a dunkelweizen instead. I want to brew a classic style and not mess with it too much at all so I came up with what seems like a pretty faithful recipe.

As always I took my notes over to Joe at Princeton Homebrew who, in between telling me all about the colonoscopy he had had earlier that morning, gave me some helpful tips and recommendations. He also convinced me to swap out my original choice of yeast for his last vile of White Labs' Platinum Bavarian Weizen strain which he got me very excited about. Here's what I'm going with:

Malts & Fermentables
3 lb - Briess Bavarian Wheat DME
2 lb - Munton's Plain Wheat DME
1/2 lb - Weyerman Carawheat 60L
1/2 lb - Briess Caracrystal 45L
1/4 lb - Weyerman Chocolate Wheat 500L

1 oz - Hallertau pellets
1/2 oz - Tettnang pellets

White Labs - WLP351 - Platinum Bavavarian Weizen

I'm itching to brew this one but it will have to wait until early next week.
If all goes according to plan this will be great to have on hand as the weather warms up.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Philly Beer Scene: Liberation Through Libation

Just a bit of self promotion here.

The guys from Philly Beer Scene had kindly asked me if I had any good homebrew recipes that I'd like to see featured in their "Homebrewer's Corner" section of the latest issue. Seeing how I was pretty damn pleased with my last batch I sent in my recipe for Saison du Senegal with a little write up explaining the story behind it and what not. Of course there are a bunch of other great reads in the issue including a photo spread featuring Philly bar bathrooms...and idea I had for a coffee table book that I am now wondering if I ever drunkenly told Mat about.

After a bit of an awkward photo shoot at work, the issue is out at all of your favorite local beer spots. If you are some kind of hermit and prefer to drink alone at home you can check out the digital version right here.

Voting is also open for the second annual "Best Of Philly Beer Scene Awards" so make sure you take a minute to pick your favorites!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company

 It's about time Bucks County got itself a full on production microbrewery.

When I first started working at The CBO I was told, "Oh yeah, there's a guy here starting his own brewery!" and was eventually introduced to Jeremy who confirmed, "Oh yeah, I'm starting my own brewery." It has been pretty interesting for me to have the chance to work with someone who gives me a first-hand and brutally honest account of just how much of a pain in the ass starting a brewery is. While it's been quite a long road for Jeremy and his business partner Rob but they have reached a big milestone, Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company has been federally approved by the Tax & Trade Bureau and are one step closer to being able to sell their beer. While Rob and Jeremy wait for the good old PA Liquor Control Board to approve them on the state level they have set up a few free tastings to get the beer and word out there. While I'll be working Friday night, they'll be handing out samples of their brews and I'm sure I'll snag myself a few:

"Friday, April 15th
Craft Beer Outlet
9910 Frankford Ave. (Morrell Shopping Plaza)
Philadelphia, PA 19114

This is a brewery specific sampling event.  We’ll be pouring our K├Âlsch, IPA, Weizenbock, and Dunkelweizen.  Again, all the beer is FREE, and we won’t be selling anything since we can’t yet.  We’ll also have some t-shirts and other stuff to give out, so stop by, try out a few of our beers, and of course, check out the rest of the huge selection that The Craft Beer Outlet has to offer.  If you haven’t been to this place yet, you’re truly missing out.  It’s one of the best beer stores in the city!

Thank you to everyone that stopped by and tried our beers at the Rose Bank Winery this past Friday.  We brought over 500 ounces of beer and you kicked everything we had in less than two hours.  Either you really liked what we brought or Ray was pouring pretty heavy Friday night, but either way, thanks so much for the feedback.  Much appreciated.  Thanks to Kellyann and Johnny for asking us to participate as well.

We’ve got a few more events that we’re working out the details on, but will post that information soon.  Until then, we hope to see some of you out at The Craft Beer Outlet on Friday!"

I've had a few of their beers at work and also at a couple ALEiens meetings so I can personally vouch for the beer, they're pretty damn good. If they're bringing the same IPA they brought to the last meeting anyone who comes by Friday night is in for a real treat!

So come out to try some great local beer and keep an eye out for Neshaminy Creek Brewing, cheers!