Monday, June 24, 2013

Flanders Red Again

Third time is the charm, right? In year three I got the same Flemish ale strain as I had used in the prior two years. Al B's bugs have been working away for that length of time in my prior Flanders Reds. They have worked uninterrupted for that time. I haven't so much as moved them from their resting places since they began to settle there. These brews like many other traditional sours the Flanders Red is a blend. Blending allows you to achieve a complexity that is hard to achieve in a single batch brew. When this batch is around 6 months old I will blend the young and old Flanders Reds to produce my signature blend.

(Please read more after the break.)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Yeasts: ECY29 Northeast Ale

With my scaled back 2013 brew schedule I've been brewing less beer. It's been a relief and a regret at the same time. I know what I want to do for the summer in a general sense. I ordered Flemish Ale Yeast for this year's Flander's Red Ale. Additionally I ordered North East Ale Yeast from East Coast Yeast and Microbiologist Al B:

ECY29 Northeast Ale: A unique ale yeast with an abundance of citrusy esters accentuating American style hops in any Double IPA or strong ale. High attenuation is expected. Suggested fermentation temperature 65-70ºF.

This should make a dynamite IPA. Rumor has it that this is the famed Conan strain used by the notoriously secretous brewers at The Alchemist. Their signature brew Heady Topper is consistently ranked as a top beer by hop heads who are lucky enough to get their hands on this silver bullet.

Conan Yeast is one that has a reputation on home brew forums, in the magazines, and on the lips of challenged home brewers everywhere. The First step is to know thy enemy:

Reading more:
Heady Topper is such a good beer that it has a loyal and devoted local following and a cult following from across the nation. If you Google "Conan yeast" there are no fewer than a dozen blog posts on culturing and reviving the strain. Why? I plan to find out. The only question remains is to try to clone heady or continue blazing my own path.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review: Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow

First and foremost this is a book about the process of brewing wild beers. The science in this book can be applied to Flanders Ales, Lambics, American Wild Ales, Saisons, or pretty much anything else with funk. This is my go to tome for questions I have about brewing these kinds of beer.

What you'll find inside is more of the same from brewers publications. Jeff Sparrow writes about his treks across Europe sampling historic sour style ales. The breweries pictured in the centerfold are as beautiful as any centerfold model. Seeing the historic equipment gives you a feel for just how differently things are done in the commercial sour breweries. You get the sense reading this book that Jeff Sparrow really loves Flanders style ales and Lambic beers. The care he takes describing them and discussing them shows a reverence of the source materials that I think would make the traditional brewers happy.

(read on after the break to find out more of what was in this book.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Review: For the Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymus

It's a book about hops. Done. Review over. Go home. 

Just kidding. This is another great book. It is of the quality that I think you can expect from any modern brewers publications book. Stan Hieronymus compiles facts, testimonials  and personal experience into a book based on age old wisdom supported with science. The book covers hops from cultivation through fermentation explaining how decisions at every level impact what you perceive in your glass. The content of the book ping pongs from highly technical to humorously simple as Stan moves from topic to topic attempting to explain how hopping a beer is both science and art. Read on to find out what is actually in the book. What I thought of what he wrote and more.

(please read more after the break.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour

I went to STL for a weekend of rest and fun recently and on it we toured the AB Brewery to see it when it was in full motion 9-5 Monday - Friday. There were a few different things to see at this time and it's easy to see everything. The tour is fantastic, it involves about 7 blocks of walking without covering your tracks at all. You get to see horses, large lagering tanks, mash tuns, brew kettles, and a bottling plant the size of a football field. They sell a lot of beer. At the end of the tour you get two free glasses of beer and a bag of pretzels.

(please read more after the break.)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Collaboration Series: New Zealand Hopped Pale Ale

I collaborated on this beer with this blog's co-author Kyle. He recently downsized his place to get more flexibility in his life. He asked me to help him get started with small batch brewing; a request I was happy to fulfill. The recipe started out as a simple request for a pale ale and after some banter about "putting more hops in it" I came to a recipe I thought would work. After some thinking and doing a little inventory on my freezer I came to the recipe for a hoppy beer with British roots and Kiwi flavor.

(please read more after the break.)