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Topics - ethinson

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Beer Travel / Houston/Austin
« on: June 20, 2018, 11:58:51 AM »
Next week my wife and I are traveling to Houston and Austin.  We'll be in Houston from Sunday June 24-Sunday July 1 and then Austin Mon July 2 to Thursday July 5.  We are volunteering at a large conference in Houston so we won't have a lot of free time (and won't be able to drink) so we might hit up one spot on the last day once we're finished.  A friend recommended St Arnold, which looks great, any others in Houston that I can't miss?

Austin we'll be visiting family so we'll have a lot more freedom.  Unfortunately, since we'll be there Mon-Thurs, Jester King won't be open the times we're there, but hopefully I can find some bottles to bring home.  I'd like to go to Celis. Where else is a can't miss?

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Yeast and Fermentation / Imperial Independence
« on: March 09, 2018, 12:18:38 AM »
I used a different yeast than normal for my CDA based on cost and availability.  It was very active with a huge krausen and I could watch the convection through the carboy, so I'm not worried about the fermentation per se, but after the krausen died down, there's still a huge mass floating on top, which pretty much looks like yeast, and I'm wondering if this is normal for this strain.  Imperial Independence is tabbed as Anchor Liberty. 



Apologies for the crappy cell phone picture.  My main concern is that I plan on dry hopping this beer in a few days and worry that the pellets will just float on top of this float and not break through to the beer below.  I've had some wicked krausen rings before, but not anything that hung around this long.

This is two weeks into fermentation.

3
Beer Travel / Montreal, Quebec
« on: February 15, 2018, 01:03:59 PM »
I finally got official confirmation that I will be going to Montreal, QBC for the Siebel Brewing Microbiology Short Course in April.  I knew they wanted to send me, so I've done some pre-reasearch but I didn't know yet if I was actually getting to go or not, but now I am. 

Looking around on google maps it looks like there are a ton of little microbreweries.  I'll be staying on the SW side of town (Google calls it The Triangle), near the airport.  There's a subway station a couple blocks from my hotel so I'll be using mass transit, but I won't have a car (which is fine by me). 

I was hoping to make it out to Unibroue in Chambly which isn't as far as I thought (about an hour with train/bus combo) but of course they are closed Saturday and Sunday, which will be my two days off between the weeks of the class.  The only other thing in town that I've had their beer before is Dieu De Ciel.  Anything else I shouldn't miss? Especially if it's in the main downtown area or convenient to the subway.

I'll be in town for two weeks, classes will run most of the day (9-5ish) and I'll have evenings and the middle weekend to explore.

4
Beer Travel / Mexico (Baja/La Paz)
« on: December 29, 2017, 04:53:36 PM »
Next week my wife and I are travelling to La Paz Mexico to visit family friends who are retired down there.  I've done a little bit of research and the microbrew scene in Mexico seems to be fairly poor.  The few I've found are located near the border like in Tijuana.  There is one brewery in Cabo called Baja Brewing (run by an American from Colorado, not surprising) they have a location in Cabo San Lucas and in La Paz.  Friends of ours have been there and said it's not very good, but we may check it out anyway, different tastes and all, plus it's a long trip (9 days) so it won't "ruin the trip".  If we were only there for a day or two we would likely skip it.

There's a beer bar in La Paz called the Beer Box that seems pretty highly reviewed.  Does anyone know of any other can't miss spots? Bars, restaurants etc? 

Of course, we'll also be partaking of the local spirits (Tequila, Mezcal) and probably bring a couple bottles back. So if there's no beer, it'll probably be OK.

5
Wood/Casks / Reusing Oak Spirals for different liquor
« on: November 06, 2017, 04:38:19 PM »
I have some Oak spirals that I soaked for a month in spiced rum and then added to a stout for a "rum barrel" character.  After bottling the beer I rinsed the trub off the spirals and returned them to the jar of rum where they've been soaking now for about a year.  I plan on making the rum barrel stout again this winter, but after that I don't think I'll make anything with spiced rum again. 

Would it be possible to get the rum character out of the spirals so I could use them with whiskey/bourbon or are they pretty much toast? I was thinking I could let them soak in water for a while and then soak them in whiskey, but the spiced rum (Kraken) is very strongly flavored and that might not go away.  They aren't terribly expensive so I could buy new ones, but was just curious if I could use them again.

Also, I assume the wood character fades with multiple uses similar to a barrel?

6
Commercial Beer Reviews / Leffe Blond
« on: May 19, 2017, 04:47:29 PM »
This week was Belgians in my homebrew club's BJCP class and it was an amazing lineup, including a bier de garde hand ferried back from France. The one that blew me away though was the Leffe Blond.  I think I was assuming as a Blond Ale is was going to be very subtle and light flavor, and it was quite the opposite.  Bursting with strong Belgian yeast character, all the bubblegum esters I love, plus a nice malt character that gave it some perceived sweetness, but it finished dry and crisp and made you want more.  Very light and refreshing, a little higher on the ABV than I would have expected at 6.6% but really enjoyable.

As an interesting side note, the instructor apologized for the first two beers being AB InBev products (Hoegaarden Wit and the Leffe Blond) but what I thought was intriguing is that these were legit InBev beers from Belgium, I assume part of the portfolio long before the AB merger.  Whether that earns them a pass or not, who knows, it seems (at least here in the US) the ire and anger is directed at the AB side of that company.  I don't know how InBev operates in Europe, if they are just as predatory.  The other interesting side note was these two beers had huge flavor profiles, mostly from yeast but some malt and hop as well, pretty much the opposite of "industrial light american lager".  The reason they were used for the class of course is because they are classic examples of the style, listed in the guide, and readily available in the US.

7
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Adding salts to extract brews
« on: May 12, 2017, 12:06:48 PM »
An advanced brewer friend of mine came over to observe my brew day and one of the pieces of advice he gave me was to start adding some salts to my water.  Mostly NaCl for flavor, and CaCl to balance to chloride to sulfate ratio and add calcium. 

I am adding a very small amount of Calcium Carbonate to my dark beers (1/2 teaspoon for 3 gallon) and a small amount of gypsum to my hoppy beers (around 225 ppm, 1 teaspoon for 3 gallon).

Everything I've read about adding salts to extract beers says to not do it.  They say the water where the extract was made has minerals and the brewer adjusted pH in the mash already.  I don't doubt that part, although I think the suggestion to me is based on flavor rather than pH. 

I've downloaded the Bru'n water spreadsheet and I'm still playing around with it to figure out how it works.

For what it's worth, Portland Oregon has very clean, super soft water.  All the minerals are under 10ppm (which according to John Palmer is "damn near distilled") so maybe accounting for the minerals in the extract it could still use more? A typical recipe for me is usually 4-6 pounds of LME and 1/2 to 1 pound specialty grains.

Cheers!

8
Beer Travel / Fort Collins New Belgium Tour
« on: February 28, 2017, 12:29:54 AM »
I'm sure this is a no-brainer, but if you're in the Denver/Fort Collins area and haven't been to New Belgium I would highly recommend it.  90 minute tour with good samples. Get to learn a lot about how they got started and how they do what they do.  Highlight of the tour was getting to go into the sour aging room, which they refer to as the Foeder Forest and drink La Folie next to the barrels it was aged in.  Room smells like red wine and whiskey. It was pretty incredible. Not surprising based on their distribution footprint, their bottling line is MASSIVE. Pretty nice if your a tech/equipment geek.  Plus you get to taste samples of whatever they are bottling at that moment, so you're tasting 5 minute old beer.

One word of caution, you do have to book the tour in advance, probably well in advance for Saturdays.

Also, side response to the lower post about Denver spots, replying way too late for his trip, but definitely check out Hogshead if you're a fan of English style beers.  They had about 6 on cask and 5-6 on CO2.  The ESB was incredible, and the English IPA was a nice subtle, earthy, nice change of pace compared to NW style (which I love, don't get me wrong). We almost skipped it since it was the last place on our second day but I'm glad we didn't.  It ended up as some of the best stuff we had that day.

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Commercial Beer Reviews / North Coast Brother Thelonious
« on: June 07, 2016, 06:17:55 PM »
Popped the cork on a bottle of this over the weekend and quite enjoyed it.  Fairly fresh, March 2016 bottle date.

Poured it straight from the fridge which I realized was way too cold.  Had a sharp almost metallic aroma when it was that cold.  Let it sit in the glass to warm and that went away.  Strong fruity/bubblegum esters that I love in a Belgian.  A little sweet, lots of malt.  Really good example of a Belgian Dark Strong.  Really nice.

A little spendy at 8$ for a .5L bottle, but cork finished, bottle conditioned Belgian not bad. 

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Beer Travel / Anaheim CA - Disneyland Area
« on: April 20, 2016, 06:21:04 PM »
My wife and I are going to Disneyland in a couple weeks and I'd be interested to try some local beer, although this isn't a "beercation" and we will be limited to what is in walking distance.  There's a place in California Adventure that serves a handful of "local-ish" options, Karl Strauss, Pacifico and Sierra Nevada, but of course it's spendy.  8$ for either 16-20oz (menu doesn't specify). 

I'd mostly be curious what kind of stuff we could find in bottles (22oz or 6 packs) to take back to the hotel room.  There's a WalMart Neighborhood Market a couple blocks from our hotel and a 7-11 around the corner from Disney.  Not sure the 7-11 down there has a devoted craft section like they do here in Portland.

Cheers!

11
Commercial Beer Reviews / St Bernardus Abt 12
« on: April 08, 2016, 06:16:11 PM »
Had this last night for World Beer Day and it was pretty good.  Bottle date of 31 10 18, so based on what I read they do 5 year dates, so this was bottled in 2013.  I wonder if all the stuff that makes it stateside is this old. 

This beer is thick and chewy, pretty syrupy but not sickly sweet.  Nice bubblegum ester, other wise dark malt flavor.  No hops or bitterness to speak of.  Picked up a tiny little bit of wet cardboard/paper as it warmed (the last sip or so) but really no signs of oxidation for a 3 year old bottle, so it holds it's age well. 

I really like the fruity banana/bubblegum of Belgian beers, so I'd love to try a fresh sample.  Based on the Orval flight I did a couple weeks ago that tends to fade with age.  It was super fruity in the 3 month old, the 2 year old one had none (Orval also has Brett, so that could do it too).

Overall good beer, I'd try it again if I find a fresher one, and someday hope to travel to Belgium since this is my favorite style.  Kinda pricey at 6$ for an 11.2oz bottle, but all the imported Belgian stuff tends to be.

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Heart of Cascadia - The Colors of IPA

Heart of Cascadia began in 2013 as a style competition focused on "Cascadian Dark Ale" and "Northwest Red Ale" - two styles who have taken root in the Pacific Northwest. This year we are doing things a little differently! We are looking for homebrewers to expand their IPA horizons and add a little color! We are embracing the new 2015 style guidelines and opening up the competition to the entire "American IPA" and Specialty IPA" category. While the standard American IPA is being accepted and judged equally, our hope is to recieve dozens of entries from all the specialty IPAs outlined below.

Black IPA (Cascadian Dark Ale): The hop character of an IPA combined with the dark color of a porter. Roast character from the dark malts can be present but much more subdued than a stout or porter, the hops still take center stage. Local examples include Deschutes Hop in the Dark, Widmer Pitch Black IPA.

Red IPA (Northwest Red Ale): Malty flavors of an American Amber blended with the hop characters of an American IPA. Deep red color from darker malts along with slight toasty or dark fruit flavors. Strong hop presence distinguishes this beer from an Amber. Local examples include Hopworks Rise Up Red, Laurelwood Red Elephant.

Brown IPA: A hoppier version of an American Brown Ale. Retains the light body and drinkability of an IPA without getting too heavy or sweet. Some fruity and toasty malt character will be present and accent the hops. Examples include Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale.

Belgian IPA: An IPA made with Belgian yeast to add fruity, spicy character. Belgian examples tend to be hoppier versions of a Tripel or Belgian Pale Ale. Examples include De Ranke XX Bitter, Stone Cali-Belgique, Piraat Triple Hop.

White IPA: An IPA brewed in the style of a hoppier Belgian Wit with the additions of wheat to the grain bill and sometimes spices and orange peel. Lighter in color and body than a traditional IPA and sometimes hazy from the wheat. Local examples include Deschutes Chainbreaker.

Rye IPA: Traditional IPA with the added dryness and spicy notes of 10-20% Rye Malt added to the base malt bill. Examples include Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA.

Additionally, entrants will be required to specify session, standard or double strength on each 21B entry. Note: Imperial/Double IPAs will be accepted in 21A even though they are technically part of American Strong Ale. However they will be judged against all the standard American IPAs.

http://hoc2016.oregonbrewcrew.org

Entry deadline - April 30, 2016 - Judging May 14th, 2016

If you are interested in judging
contact competition@oregonbrewcrew.org.

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