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April 11, 2010

bruery tasting - tasting

i know i've talked in the past about my love of the bruery. i loved reading patrick's blog as he was getting things started, and seriously enjoyed hanging out with him and tyler when we visited the brewery in the fall of '08. they just keep churning out interesting and tasty beers, most of which don't usually make it too close to us. but, being active traders, we've managed to get our hands on some. most recently, eric (Viggo) and eric (ritzkiss, aka preric) had started to amass an impressive collection. they set upon the idea of having a day to celebrate the beer from this brewery and do a giant bruery tasting.

the first battle was finding a time that worked. we knew we'd need a whole day for this one, and after a few attempts that didn't quite get off the ground, april 10th was set. preric's family would be out of town, so we'd have the run of his place for it.

the next question was who to invite. we thought we'd need more than 4 people, but didn't want too many as we still wanted to have nice sized samples of each beer. 5 seemed to be the magic number, so we invited andrew (bartle) to join us.

with eric and preric providing all the beers, rob (bobsy) volunteered to cook us all dinner, and bartle and i were on snacks to keep our palates fresh and our make sure we made it through them all.

we gathered around 1pm to get things rolling. we'd bounced around a few ideas for what order to go through the beers in, and ultimately decided to go with some of the heavy hitters up front, then mellow things out a little, break for dinner, and then finish up the last few. we figured we could take our time, especially on the early ones, and if it was necessary to save the last few bottles for another day, no big deal.

it turned out to be a great day. we paced ourselves well, and when the bruery beers were done we sampled a little homebrew and then a few bottles from preric's cellar. plenty of euchre was played (bartle thinks me may actually understand it now - i'm not entirely convinced yet). many laughs were had.

all the beers were a hit, and i look forward to the next time we can get together for another day like this.

extra big thanks go out to eric+eric for sharing all this fantastic beer.

i only took a few photos, but here they are. enjoy!

the lineup for the day. not pictured (and saved for another time) were bottles of partridge in a pear tree and two turtle doves.

a few bottles in, and rugbrod on deck.

everyone writing away, and a good look at the snacks to help get us through the day.

it was cool enough outside to have the rest of the beer sitting on the patio until we were ready for them.

past the half way point now.

more snacks and beer.

rob working on dinner: regular carbonara for the carnivores, and one with roasted red peppers and caramelized onions for the vegetarian.

the final carnage (or at least when i left). as if the brewery stuff wasn't enough, when we finished that we started opening up other stuff.

the final list for the day:

bruery papier
bruery black tuesday
bruery autumn maple
bruery barrel-aged autumn maple
bruery white oak
bruery rugbrod
bruery hottenroth berlinerweisse
bruery saison de lente
bruery saison rue
bruery tradewinds tripel
bruery orchard white
bruery black orchard
bruery levud's
bruery barrel-aged levud's
biergotter monk's elixir
biergotter barleywine
bear republic big bear black stout
fat cat old bad cat barleywine

Posted by grub at 8:55 PM

September 21, 2009

double quadrupel - brewing day

quad quad quad. the first batch [brewday blog] back in 2007 was 5 gallons and debued on tap at volo during cask days. the 2008 batch [brewday blog] was doubled to 10 gallons, with half getting aged on calvados oak and corked + caged and the other half going on tap at my place. after the success of both, we knew it'd make a comeback this year. we decided to double it again and make 20 gallons. while we usually do 20 gallons on a typical brewday, this was the first time we'd done 20 gallons of a single recipe. our gear can't handle a single batch that big, so it was brewed up as two separate but identical 10 gallon batches to be blended back together later. there was a slight shift in the bittering hops, but otherwise the final recipe was about the same as the last two years.

peter/icemachine joined us for the brewday. we like helping teach other brewers how all-grain works and always appreciate an extra brewmonkey to help along the way.

the brewday went pretty smoothly. the mill was being a little grouchy since it's overdue for being oiled, so between batches i applied a couple of drops of vegetable oil and ran some old grain through to make sure it was clean. much smoother the second time around. aside from that it was business as usual.

the mill filled up and rolling through the first batch of grain.

the grain for both batches, one in blue and the other in red. these bins from ikea are really handy.

first batch awaiting strike water. the mash was basically right up to the top on this one. one of those times when having a second 15.5gal keggle would be helpful. most of the time these 50 litre/13gal keggles work fine, or we can juggle things so the bigger batch is in our big keggle, but with two identical big batches we had no other choice.

peter cleaning one of the little keggles and me looking on. at this point we had two batches mashing and were about to get our sparge water heating. it was all-pots-on-deck here.

fast forward to the end of the mash. batch #1 had just finished vorlauf and we were collecting first runnings for the magic elixir. here eric was adding the first bag of demerara. yeah, i said first bag - a total of 8.5 pounds were used. i love the character that demerara adds to dark belgians.

more first runnings being collected.

we decided it was beer-thirty and poured a pitcher of our gonzo clone.

me adding the rest of the demerara as we started to collect the first runnings from the second batch.

once we were done collecting runnings it was time to get the magic elixir boiling. as soon as it approached a boil it immediately boiled over. we tried dropping the temperature down, but it boiled over again. it was about to boil over for a third time when we decided this was going to be annoying. we generally don't skim the elixirs, but in this case we had to. after a few minutes of clearing off the hot break we were able to get a good strong boil going without it boiling over (for now anyway). later on it still boiled over a couple of times, but it was mostly hassle-free.

you can see the mess it was making down teh sides and on the inner rim of the keggle. we had to clean the burner out a couple of times along the way.

eric was pretty excited about the double batch of quad and had to throw up a double set of horns as a result. peter was in the background helping out with the sparging.

we discovered a giant spider in the corner of the garage. however, since he had already caught two yellow jackets in his web, we figured he was helping us out and we left him alone.

the elixir getting angry again. at this point it had boiled down and had over 2gal of headspace, yet still managed to boil over a couple more times.

another view of the carnage on the keggle. from about 6.5 gallons initially it was down below the center weld of the pot, so somewhere under 4 gallons. we usually let them boil a little longer, but we needed the second burner for the second batch.

we split the elixir between the two batches, slowly adding it back to the boiling wort.

batch #1 chilling out and #2 boiling away.

brewday lunch: some badass sausage, potato, and cabbage soup, homebrew, and a few bottles that peter brought from highlander brew co.

peter, the brew monkey for the day.

one last shoot of the beers in the same state as above. by now we were almost done boiling #2.

we took the yeast cake from our dubbel [brewday blog] and split it in two for these batches. we ended up with about 22 gallons of sweet tasty quad wort at an OG of 1.102 - right on target for both gravity and volume. after oxygenating them it was no time before the yeast were going nuts. by morning both fermenters were blowing off and making a mess. the basement smelled heavenly. can't wait until we can drink it!

Posted by grub at 12:08 PM

September 8, 2009

markham hops 2009 - hops

we're into the fourth year of hop growth (2008, 2007, and 2006 harvests), and it hasn't gone all that well. about a month back i noticed that my centennial plants were covered in bugs. the few cones that had formed were turning black and the plants themselves were in pretty rough shape. i climbed up the ladder to see if there was anything worth salvaging, but it was too late. i ended up cutting the 4 of them down and disposing them, hoping that they wouldn't cross over to the cascades. already half my expected harvest was gone.

luckily, the cascades seemed more resistant to the bugs and still seemed to be progressing well. the harvest didn't look as big as the previous year, likely due to a combination of another cool summer and too much shade from the tree in my neighbour's yard that has grown significantly in the last two years. as usual, labour day weekend seemed to be about the right time for me to harvest.

jenn and i harvesting.

the rest of the cascade vines on the ground.

cascade hops! pretty good sized cones this year, even if the total harvest was small.

eric found a little one.

me harvesting away.

the final haul. i think this is about half of what we got last year. hopefully next summer will be better!

Posted by grub at 10:48 AM

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