Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rye Amber Ale

 So I've been slacking a bit on getting this in the blog.  Last Saturday, I turned the ingredients seen on the left into beer.  It;s going to be very similar to my usual Amber Ale that I make, except, I added a pound of rye to the grain bill.  The rye will add some spicey undertones to the beer.  It's also well hoped, and I used Wyeast Northwest Ale yeast to finish it off.

This brew was a partial mash, over 4 pounds of grain, mixed with 3 pounds of light dry malt extract (DME,) I also had a pound of corn sugar laying around from when I used to bottle, so I added that to the boil as well.  That will add an extra percent of alcohol to the finished product as well as allow the yeast to fully attenuate, meaning it should have a crisp, dry finish.
After 3 days the fermentation was starting to slow down.  I figured this would be the ideal time to add some more flavor to the party.  A few years back, I wrote to the good people at Templeton Rye Whiskey, in Templeton, IA.  I told them I was a homebrewer, and wanted to do a wood aged beer using their oak.  The quickly shipped out a board from one of their used whiskey barrels, and I try to use it sparingly for one brew a year.  I always use two 6 inch long pieces at once.  Before adding it to the fermenter, I bake them in the over for a half an hour.  This kills any microscopic critters that can add some interesting flavors to the beer.  I'll let this sit for at least two weeks before kegging.  I guess that means I need to finish the last of my Weizenbock to make room for this.  So once again, thank you to the people at Templeton Rye for making such an awesome product, but for being generous enough to share your barrels.  If you haven't checked them out yet, you really need to.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mad Town

 This weekend we went to Madison, WI to visit family.  It was also the annual neighborhood art walk that my sister participates in (see makes and sells pottery.)  Every year her husband does beer samples during the event.  The past 2 years he's sampled my homebrew there.  This year I brought just over 8 liters of beer for sampling, a Weizenbock, Cherry Stout, and Ginger Saison.

Little did I know, it was Madison Craft Beer Week.  What perfect timing!  Dale (my brother in-law) had a connection with a local brewery, and got us a short private tour.  The House of Brews is a small Co-op style brewery.  Paige, the owner and brewer, is working very hard, and producing high quality brews.  I highly recommend the Bungalow Rye ESB.

We also checked out a cask ale festival, and had 2 very interesting beers there, went to a few local markets/liquor stores, and also hit a local distillery, Old Sugar Distillery.  Their rum and ouzo were very tasty.  Spending time with family, and enjoying great local brews is my idea of a great weekend.
Above and to the right is the haul of Wisconsin beer that made the trip back to Iowa.  
Above and to the left is a Maibock from Capital Brewery.
Below is an IPA from Ale Asylum.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hop Wrangler

 I enjoyed a nice Hop Wrangler from Peace Tree Brewery (Knoxville, IA) tonight.  If you like hops, this is the beer for you.  The citrus flavor of the hops smacks your taste buds with the first sip, and the oils coat your tongue and throat on the way down.

Peace Tree has been around for 3 years or so now, and they make some great beers.
The hoppy IPA goes great with spicy food.  Tonight I made grilled pork chops (with Galena rub from Penzy's Spices,) zucchini, and jalapeno poppers.

This weekend I'm off to Madison, WI to visit family, and it also happens to be Madison Craft Beer week.  I hope to enjoy many local Wisconsin brews while I'm there.  Prost!!