Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Wasn't sure what to call this post...ideas, thoughts, I just went with "whatnot".

My wife had an Abbaye tonight, and told me that she REALLY likes it!  This from someone who's favor leans toward Dominion Candi and Leffe Blonde...yes, she has excellent taste.  She is also a fan of the LemonDrop Saison I did as a test of the LemonDrop hops.

Speaking of the LemonDrop hops, it's been a week since I bottled the Everlong IPS.  I think I'll put one in the fridge soon, and try it on Sunday or Monday.  Given the amount of hops in this one, it'll likely be another week or so before it smooths out a bit, but I have that partial fill in the soda bottle that will be good to try.

So, upcoming looks like I need to do the LemonDrop Saison again, which is a very good brew.

I'm also planning to do a Sahti soon, based on the DogFish Head description.  I've got black tea bags, and a good weizen yeast (WLP380), and all I need is the juniper berries.  Fortunately, I saw some on the rack at Jay's Brewing HBS.

A couple of ideas for beers that I've been bouncing around:

- A hefeweizen, using WLP300 yeast (known for producing banana esters), and dry hopped with melon hops, and...

- A BaMM IPA, using Brewer's Gold, Melon, and Mosaic hops.

Finally, I was running errands the other day and saw a sign for Mustang Sally Brewery in Chantilly, VA.  With a name like that, how can you not want to stop by?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Brewer's Gold + Mandarina IPA

I really like what I got out of the two hops that I've used individually before, so I wanted to see what I'd get out of using them together.  This may seem like a really over-the-top IPA based on the total amount of hops I'm using, but the Mandarina isn't really high in alpha acids, and I'm using the Brewer's Gold (generally 8-11% AA) later in the boil.

Brew Day: 12 Apr 2016

Partial Mash:
7 oz Vienna malt
4 oz Gambrinus Honey malt
1.5 oz CaraPils

Boil (60 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
3.5 oz table sugar

14 g Mandarina (AA: 7.4%) - FWH
9 g Mandarina + 9 g Brewer's Gold - 10 min
9 g Mandarina + 9 g Brewer's Gold - flameout

Yeast: Safale US-05

Dry Hop: 10 g Mandarina + 10 g Brewer's Gold

Addendum, 16 Apr: Put an airlock on today; the bubble activity through the blow-off tube had settled down significantly, and since I was dry hopping the Everlong IPS, I went ahead and put an airlock on.  I'll probably end up dry hopping on Wed, 20 Apr.

Addendum, 20 Apr: Dry hopped tonight.

Addendum, 27 Apr: Bottled tonight, with 1 oz table sugar.  It was a little passed the time that I wanted to bottle, mostly due to my schedule.  The beer was very clear when I bottled.  I got 8 regular bottles and one "repurposed" Dr. Pepper bottle out of it.

Addendum, 15 May: I tried one of these IPAs tonight.  I'd put it into the fridge to chill last Fri, and tried it before dinner tonight (while my palate was still "clean").  Very good, very drinkable IPA, not overpoweringly bitter or harsh.  Excellent body, good color.  This one had been in the bottle for about 2 1/2 wks; my experience with IPAs has been that 3 - 4 wks is better, so I'll chill another one later this week and try it on Sunday.  I have to say, though, that this is a really good combination of hops to use.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Collaboration Brew - Everlong IPS

A bit ago, I did a brew to test out LemonDrop hops, and it turned out pretty well.  In fact, from the comment that Thomas from Jay's Brewing left, it was pretty darned good.

Now, having tested the LemonDrop hops, and after Mr Rufus has tried out his side of the experiment, it's time to put it all together and

Okay, the name...I'm a child of the '80s, and Phil (Mr Rufus) is "from" a decade later.  But I'm also a fan of the a lot of '90s music (Foo Fighters, etc.), so we decided to go with "Everlong IPS", which is a nod to David Grohl.  The "IPS" is for "India pale saison" (as opposed to "IPA", for "ale"), because of the saison yeast we're using. This promises to be fruity, crisp and tart.

Brew Day: 5 Apr 2016

Partial Mash:
12 oz Vienna malt
1.5 oz flaked wheat

Boil (60 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
3 oz table sugar

7 g LemonDrop hops (FWH)
7 g German Brewer's Gold + 7 g LemonDrop hops (10 min)
7 g German Brewer's Gold + 7 g LemonDrop hops (flame out, 10 min steep)

Yeast: Danstar Belle Saison

Dry hop #1 (2-3 days):
14 g LemonDrop hops

Dry hop (2-3 days):
14 g German Brewer's Gold, 12 oz raspberries (frozen, sanitize by bringing to 160 deg F for 5 min)

Addendum, 12 Apr: Dry hopped with 14 g LemonDrop.

Addendum, 16 Apr: Dry hop #2, 14 g Brewer's Gold hops and 12 oz raspberries (frozen, pasteurized at 160 deg F for 5 min) - Looking to bottle on 20 Apr

Addendum, 20 Apr: Bottled tonight.

 The image to the left is the beer resting on the priming sugar.
I ended up with 6 bottles, a large bottle, and a partial fill on a sanitized Dr Pepper bottle.

Addendum, 3 May: First taste test; I decided to go with the soda bottle partial fill.  Yes, I used a soda bottle for bottling.  I've done this before and it's worked really well, not changing the flavor of the beer, but keeping it quite nicely and allowing the pressure to dissolve carbon dioxide into the liquid.

Opening the bottle proved to require a bit of effort, as the pressure had built up pretty well.  The beer poured easily, without a substantial head.  Full blast of berries in the nose.  The initial taste is of light bodied beer with a hoppy bitterness, followed by a hint of the berries going down, with no aftertaste of any kind.  This has only been in the bottle for two weeks, and all of my previous IPAs had the hoppy bitterness settle out after 3 or more weeks, so I'll let the other bottles for a bit longer.

This is definitely a lighter-bodied beer, with a mild tartness from the berries.  I'm definitely going to let this sit for another week or two before trying it again.  Stay tuned.

Addendum, 27 May: Finally got around to having another one, and man, is it good!  Right after the pour, there was a nice, pillowy pink head on the beer, and I got a full nose of berries.  The raspberries are definitely coming through much better in the flavor this time, and there's a slight tartness on the back.  The beer has a nice moderate body, with excellent flavor and lacing.

Addendum, 6 Jul: Chilled and cracked a 22 oz bottle of this tonight...I'm still amazed at the pink
beer, with a pink, billowy head and some moderate lacing.  REALLY good beer!  A nice fruit nose from the berries, and the flavor on the tongue is a nice IPA zing with a bit of berry tartness. Not too much of either, but just enough!