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Topics - HoosierBrew

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Commercial Beer Reviews / Sierra Oktoberfest 2015
« on: September 12, 2015, 05:28:47 PM »
Anybody try this yet? Picked up a six yesterday and just tried one - great beer. SN did this beer in partnership with Germany's Brauhaus Riegele and promises to partner with a different German brewer each year on an O-fest. It's has copper/pale amber color, lighter than some, with slightly more spicy late hop character than many. The malt bill uses 2 row pale, Pils, Munich, and German Steffi malt (an heirloom German 2 row variety not used commonly due to its cost according to SN. By their account, it imparts more character than many 2 rows). I love the malt character - it's clean, slightly bready, lightly malty rich and best of all, ZERO crystal/caramunich/caravienne to oversweeten. Hop character ( Magnum to bitter, German Select, Tettnang, and Spalt late) is more prominent when first poured, less so when the beer warms a bit. Complex malt character is more prominent at this point. I could drink this stuff by the liter, regularly. I'm curious how next year's O-fest with a new German brewery partner will stack up. It has its work cut out.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Stone Ruination 2.0
« on: September 04, 2015, 07:12:52 PM »
I'd heard mixed reviews (mostly solid), but to me it's a pretty nice beer. Bought some from Costco, bottled 7/28. Given that it sat there warm for most of a month, the hop character is pretty strong - per Stone, it's Magnum, Nugget, Centennial, Azacca, Citra, and Simcoe.  Pale orange, fairly dry, strong (8.5%ish) but subtle alcohol, nice foam, crystal in check.. Nice bitterness, big hop flavor and aromas of pine, citrus, peach, mango. I assume they bitter with Magnum and Nugget and use a healthy amount of the others late, given the hop flavor and aroma. My only ding is how I feel about the style in general now - the alcohol provides its own sweetness which detracts from drinkability, and unless you have a bunch of friends over it's tough to drain a DIPA before the awesome hop character leaves town (personally, I hop like DIPA in a 1.064 beer, just me). I completely give Stone (unlike other breweries) thumbs up for the foresight not to be set in their ways - I loved Ruination 1.0 for how it challenged the ideas of IPA, but with new methods of late hopping it was time for an upgrade.  This isn't RuinTen or some of the Enjoy By IPAs, but as their new readily available DIPA and an upgrade to original Ruination, I have to say I'd buy it again. Good stuff.

Beer Travel / Very Cool British Pub Crawl
« on: August 25, 2015, 07:26:55 AM »
Someday I'd like to do this one :

Ingredients / Building A Better Hop Pellet
« on: May 07, 2015, 12:33:08 PM »
Saw this on Stan H's blog. Looks to be a pretty nice upgrade in pellet producing technology (and quality) that will hopefully trickle down to homebrewers at some point.

This article is written by a pro brewer and is pretty funny. Should also probably be required reading for anybody wanting to jump in to opening a brewery.   ;)

Commercial Beer Reviews / Sierra Harvest 2015 Idaho 7
« on: March 27, 2015, 07:25:47 PM »
Anybody try this yet ? My wife picked up one for me today - and I absolutely love this Idaho 7 hop. The malt base is simple and unassuming - 2 row and pale crystal.  Pretty much deep gold, little or no orange, beautiful thick foam. Supposedly 55 IBU , with not much up front bitterness. It's called an 'IPA' but in reality it's more of a pale, hoppy APA to showcase a new hop, a great platform.

This hop (Idaho 7) is like nothing I've had - it's sort of orange/ lemon/ herbal ,with a definite tea character , and a really pleasant but hard to define earthiness (ie., not 'crappy earthy' like Fuggles IMO). I'm assuming since Sierra is promoting this hop (like Equinox) that it'll be trickling down to retailers at some point, and I can't wait. It's fairly assertive but not overpowering, and would work wonderfully in most any American style. Really unique, nice hop.

Homebrewer Bios / Bio - HoosierBrew
« on: March 17, 2015, 06:23:47 PM »
Ok, maybe a little overdue (or incredibly overdue).  Figured a pic from the Hofbrauhaus in Newport would be a good touch. Hence the s^%t eating grin.   ;)

Who Are You (please include a picture):   Jon H
Home Town (City, State):   Indianapolis area
Homebrew Club:   none currently
I've been a homebrewer since:   1992-1993
Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share?   Lots. Broken carboys resulting in stitches, yeast geysers from not enough head space, plenty of garden variety rookie mistakes.
What is your favorite style(s) to brew?   American hoppy styles, Belgian anything, German lagers.
What style(s) will you never brew?  Funny how things evolve. I never thought I'd brew a sour beer, thinking I preferred to buy them. But I've been dabbling and enjoying learning how lately. American light lager would be the closest to a 'never brew', but who knows ?
What was the first beer you ever brewed?  How did it turn out?   A Munton's ESB kit (2 hopped extract cans, packet of 'ale yeast') that I got as a gift from my Dad. I brewed it to the letter and , at the time, it was very good . I'm sure not as great today, but I'll never forget how good it was then, and it definitely turned the light bulb on for me and brewing beer.
Have you ever had a homebrew mistake that turned out great?   I brewed a Dubbel once that unintentionally ended up with a subtle but really pleasant sour character. My first sour beer of sorts, but I was anything but pleased about it, at least until the flavors melded. I stepped up my sanitation game afterward in a big way.
What is your favorite beer recipe?   Gonna cheat - I have APA, IPA, Trappist, saison, and stout recipes I keep coming back to.
Are you a BJCP Judge?  If so, what is your rank and how long have you been judging?   No I'm not and I want to test soon.  I haven't given back to the hobby in that capacity like I should be.
Do you have a good beer judging story you'd like to share with the rest of the homebrewing world?   N/A
Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you've found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc?    Nylon hose over a racking cane and mash tun exit hose, 5 gallon paint strainer bags for dry hopping - not so uncommon nowadays.
Describe your brew system.    Dennybrew Coleman Extreme (blue, so it's less prone to leakage) all the way, with a Bargain Fittings bulkhead conversion with a valve,  10 gallon SS pot from a restaurant supply store, SS hop spider, Blichmann burner.  I have the urge now and then to upgrade, but I honestly doubt I will. I like the simplicity of my system. Never say never, though.
How frequently do you brew (times/month or /year)?   It varies (I have kids), so between once and  four times a month. Most years I average twice/month.
What is your favorite malt?  Why?    European Pils is just great malt period, even for American styles.  But I love Munich for its rich malt character, even in place of most of the crystal in American styles, in porter and non-Irish stout, ie., many beers.
What is your favorite hop? Why?   I am a true hophead, so it's like trying to pick your favorite kid. But in American styles it's impossible to go wrong with Centennial for its ability to blend with pretty much anything American. I like to try new hop varieties pretty regularly, to find new hop blends to try out in various beers. 
Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast?   I like to use lots of different strains, so no house strain per se, but WY 1056, 3787, 1762, 2124 and WL833 have made a lot of good beers here.
Do you have a good homebrew club story you'd like to share?   N/A
What haven't we asked that you would really like to answer?   Aside from brewing and reading on it, I am a big sports fan, a pretty damn good cook/bbq smoker guy, like to fish, grow tomatoes and share it all with family and friends.
If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him?    Michael Jackson (the awesome, not creepy one) or Charlie P.  They have been ambassadors for beer and homebrewers and fueled the excitement for everybody.
What's the most unusual ingredient you've ever used in a brew?  Lots of unrefined sugars like piloncillo and others.
Do you have any pets or kids named after beer styles or ingredients?  Nope, a couple loyal brew dogs though.
How many medals have you won from homebrew competitions?  Several but years ago. I'm planning to enter a few comps this year, to see how these beers stack up against the huge number of entries in the big comps today.
Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with?  Often alone, but there are times when I do several beers in a row with friends, or occasionally a new brewer. I love to show new brewers the basics of AG.
Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer?   Mostly outdoor, but if it's just stupid cold, I will come indoors to the stove top. Probably has my man card on thin ice.   ;)
List some of the names you've given your beers. Which is your favorite?   They don't usually get a name, but when they do, it's often not suitable for print.

The Pub / 'Changing Tastes Of IPA' Article
« on: March 09, 2015, 04:05:52 PM »
Pretty interesting article from a UK blog, told from the British perspective on American IPAs - not that that they're too hoppy, that they're too sweet and crystally. Of course I agree.

The Pub / Lots Of New Hops Farms
« on: February 24, 2015, 05:32:57 PM »
This is a pretty cool article showing how many states are growing hops, or planning to start hop farms, to keep pace. Not just primarily the PNW anymore  :

Ingredients / Good News For Hop Lovers
« on: February 06, 2015, 01:00:38 PM »
Saw this in Stan's (excellent) blog.

EDIT - Cool to read that homebrewers make 1% of the beer, but account for 10% of HopUnion's business.

Ingredients / Equinox Hops
« on: January 24, 2015, 09:54:12 AM »
I brewed a small batch APA recently to check out this new hop and I thought I'd pass on the final results. Equinox (HBC366) is the new release from the Hop Breeding Co.- the guys that produced Simcoe, Citra, And Mosaic, so they've been on a pretty hot streak in recent years. And this is another good one. Sierra (among others) is a big fan and used it in one of their single hop IPAs last year. 
   Equinox goes around 14-15% AA, and also has a very high oil content (2.9) -  it screams out IPA and dry hopping . In comparison, Citra is often listed at ~ 2 or or a little over. This is a complex hop - I get citrus, mango, earthiness, a touch of pine, and an overall resiny character (in a good way)from the high oil content. With its intensity it could drown out less intense hops easily unless you backed off on the Equinox. Except for trying out new hops, I rarely make single hop beers because I like to blend different hops for complexity. Thing is, this hop (sort of like Mosaic) has a lot going on and tastes like a blend of hops on its own. I get a little bit of Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe together with a unique earthy/spicy character. Just bought a lb.

General Homebrew Discussion / Belgian Beer Pipeline
« on: September 25, 2014, 12:21:15 PM »
Ok, this is news to me - A Belgian brewer sending its beer 3 km from the brewery to its bottling plant via a 6,000 liter/hour pipeline :

Commercial Beer Reviews / 2013 Bourbon County
« on: September 19, 2014, 07:55:12 PM »
Broke out one of these tonight. I buy it every year when I can find it and was lucky enough to get 3 - 4 packs last year - it's maybe my favorite bourbon barrel aged beer.  It's a beautiful, cool early fall night here and it made me want to pull out one of last year's vintage while sitting outside on the deck.
 So whereas the 2013 was wonderful at release (as it always is IMO) age can only help. As far as bourbon barrel stouts go, BCS is fairly boozy in a good way. Very well attenuated in a non-typical way for RIS, but complex - dark chocolate, milk chocolate, coffee, caramel/toffee, vanilla, boozy,oaky but tastefully oaky. At ~15%, insanely drinkable all things considered.
So half a year later, the difference in an already great beer is the softening and blending of flavors, a predictable mellowing of the booziness into more vanilla and toasted coconut character, slightly more caramel, ie., pleasant oxidative changes.  Nothing drastic, but definitely a more velvety, soft overall mouthfeel. Really,really good stuff.

Ingredients / Patagonia Malts
« on: August 23, 2014, 07:37:51 PM »
Anybody use any of these malts ?  My LHBS has changed their malt lineup a bit, and they've added the Patagonia stuff, from Chile - a few of their crystal/caramel malts and a base malt called 'Extra Pale Malt'. This is the one I'm curious about - I've heard good things but nothing very specific. The LHBS says to use it where you would a 2-row. I may break down and try it in an APA sometime to assess.

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