Monday, November 4, 2013

Hoodang Fresh Hop IPA

It's been a while since I have written on here.  In my time away from the blog, I have continued to try new brews, and have brewed 2 more original beers myself.  I had an IPA (that went very fast,) and a Vanilla Porter.  I also harvested 7 pounds of hops, and stuck them directly into the freezer after picking.  What do you do with 7 pounds of fresh hops in the freezer?  You make an IPA!  For this beer, I decided to go all-grain.  It's been nearly 2 years since I did an all-grain beer, so I thought this was the perfect time.

Since I do all my brewing inside, I use a 2 pot method for my boil, and with just one cooler for my mash tun, I do a batch sparge.  All-grain brew day took me 5 hours from start to finish (including cleaning.)

Using fresh hops, I new I would need more than my typical 4 ounces of pellet hops, so I brewed with just over 3 pounds of fresh hops (all Nugget,) and reserved about 3/4 of a pound for dry hopping.

To the right, you'll see my set up with the batch sparge in action.  Below, You may notice a hop bag with 1/3 pound of Nugget hops in the mash tun.  Just another way to try and get the most out of the hops.
Not shown, I made a gallon of "hop tea" while the other two kettles were busy brewing.  I heated up a gallon of water and submerged another hop bag with another 1/3 pound of nugget hops in it, and let it steep for an hour.  I added the hop tea directly to the fermenting bucket.
This picture shows both brew kettles in action.  The first running wort is in the pot on the right, with the remaining wort on the left.  When I do two pots, I don't hop the first wort pot. I do this partly for less clean up, but I also think it stretches the hops a bit further by using it in the weaker wort.  This is after my first hop addition of a full pound of nugget hops.

I added another half pound of hops after thirty minutes, and the final pound fifty minutes into the boil.  After the sixty minute boil, I quickly cooled both pots down with the wort chiller before transferring it to the fermenting bucket with the hop tea.

This shows the two and a half pounds of hops left in the pot after I transferred the wort.  The pot holds about four gallons of liquid, and I got about one and a half gallons of highly hopped wort.  I'll let it ferment for a week before adding the last of the four pounds of hops for this beer to the fermenter to dry hop.  I'll post results in a few weeks.

Below is a picture of me (left) and my brother in-law (right,) Chad.  He started home brewing a few years before me, and had a huge influence on me and my love of great beer.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Life has gotten in the way of blogging.  You can still keep up with my beer experience with the free Untappd app, where you can friend me to see what I'm drinking as well as follow my latest home brewing.  Follow the Crinkletalk Home Brewery to see my latest creations.

You can also follow me on Twitter for inappropriate humor and beer expeditions, @crinkletalk.

I will come back to blogging later this fall when life slows down again.  Until than, Prost!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

 New Glarus makes some of my favorite beers. I found Serendipity to be a good beer, but fell a little short of my expectations.  It was very smooth, and had a ton of fruit flavor, but it was a bit sweet for me. I prefer their cherry beers, but I still wouldn't turn this beer down in the future.
 My Alliteration American Amber Ale is ready to drink! The wild hops give it an interesting finish, but overall, I'm very happy with this beer.  It's a great transitional beer for the spring.
 Sprechter Hard Root Beer is an interesting one. The base totally tastes like root beer, but a lot of whiskey and whiskey barrel flavors greet your palate.  This one confuses me. I like root beer, and I like whiskey, just not sure that I like them together.
 Third Shift Amber Lager was better than I expected. It was good, but very one dimensional. If you love biscuit malts, this is the beer for you.
 Angry Planet Pale Ale by Planet Earth Brewing was disappointing. I bought this during my last trip to Minnesota. I like to buy local brews when I travel, but this one wasn't anything special.  I'm just glad it was cheap!
Another solid beer by the good folks at Deschutes Brewery.  This Mirror Pond Pale Ale was the perfect brew to enjoy a nice spring day in Iowa.  Rumor has it, they'll be distributing in Iowa soon. I can't wait to try more of their beers.

Next up for me is an IPA that I will be brewing later today.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Brew day, a little late

So, I'm a little behind on my blog. 3 weeks ago, I brewed what I call my Alliteration American Amber  Ale, basically it's my recipe for a California Common.  I changed up my hops for this brew since I had some home grown and wild hops supplied by my brother in-law Chad.  I also used 1 oz. Of pellet Galena hops for bittering.
 I mostly partial mash, but lately my 2 gallon cooler was leaking. This picture shows the valve I added to it. Along with some new seals, I no longer have any leaks, and I can get the job done  in a third of the time.
 Here is the wort mid boil with the fresh hops rolling atop the boil.  Fresh hops are fun to use, but make it tricky to transfer, as they tend to clog up the siphon.  I re-used the lager yeast from my doppelbock, and should be kegging this beer in a week or two.
 I'm so glad Stone Brewery is now available in Iowa.  This Double Bastard was awesome.  Thick, hoppy, and delicious, I have yet to have a bad beer from Stone.
 One of my favorite Iowan breweries, is Peace Tree Brewery.  I don't usually drink beers this light, but it has a lot of flavor, and you can really taste the sweetness from the corn used in making this beer.  If you haven't had a Peace Tree beer yet, you need to make it a priority.
 Another beer I don't normally drink is the light lagers from the major breweries, but when I do, it's usually a Coors Light. I saw this Batch 19 lager from Coors and thought I'd give it a shot. Overall, not bad. Had the same general flavor as a Coors light, just with more. More aroma, mouth feel, and a little bolder flavor. Should be a good beer to have while fishing on a hot summer day.

Great Divide's Expresso Oak Aged Yeti, is an imperial stout aged with expresso in oak aged barrels (you never would have known with that name.)
 This is a bold, thick, yet surprisingly easy drinking beer that I will definitely be buying again.  Such a bold beer needed a flavorful meal to pair with, so I made roasted venison loin and jalapeño poppers.  Good food and good beer make for a great night.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

 I received 3rd place for Tasters Choice at this years Beers to You and Gourmet Too in Waterloo, IA.  There were about 30 home brews in the competition, and many were excellent, so I'm very happy with third place.  Thanks to everyone that voted for me, and my Caramel Coffee Doppelbock.   I'll be back next year, shooting to at least match this years 3rd place finish.
 This Amber Ale proves how stiff the competition really was.  It didn't place in the top 3, but it's a fantastic example of the style. Perfectly balanced, good malt/biscuit flavor, with the perfect amount of hop bitterness to keep the malts in check.

This is a super easy drinking beer that would be perfect drink to have while grilling on a spring afternoon.  If spring ever gets here, that is.
Sweet Child of Vine by Fulton Brewery in MN, is an above average IPA. Another well balanced brew.  I personally would have liked a touch more flavor and aroma from the hops, but it was a great beer to have with the BBQ chicken nachos I had for supper last night.  I'd be interested in trying some of their other brews.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beer is good

 First draw from the keg of Caramel Coffee Doppelbock.  This beer turned out perfect.  Thick, rich, sweet, yet balanced.  Caramel and chocolate flavor through in this easy drinking 7.25% ABV brew.

If you'd like to try some, come out to Beers to You in Waterloo on Sunday March 3rd.  You will need a VIP ticket to get into the home brew section, and have the chance to vote for your favorite beer.
Schlafly Brewery out of St. Louis has been producing solid beer for many years.  I recently picked up one of their specialty releases, Single Malt Scottish Style Ale, aged in scotch barrels.  Weighing in at 10.2% ABV, this beer is very easy to drink.  If you like scotch, this is a must have.  It's a perfect combination of beer and scotch.  The smell of a high quality scotch, and oak is the first thing you notice, then you get the perfect balance of scotch flavor mixed with the subtlety and smoothness of a great beer.  The beer itself is a simple, straight forward, yet perfectly brewed light beer, that really takes on the complexity of the scotch and oak barrel that it was aged in.

My hat off the the genius at Schlafly that came up with this amazing brew.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Caramel Coffee Doppelbock

 Sunday, it was finally time to keg the doppelbock.  This is a recipe I created and brewed last year, and was a favorite of mine,  and friends and family alike, so I decided to brew it again.  To add a little something extra to this 7.25% doppelbock, I added some fresh roasted Starbuck's Caramel Coffee to top off the keg.
 This brew won't be ready to drink in time for the Super Bowl, but will be ready for samples at the next Beers to You, on March 3rd.
 Went to Single Speed Brewing in Cedar Falls on Saturday with my brother in-law Jared, and his wife Johanna.  She dropped us off at the bar for awhile before joining us for a beer cocktail.  I had to put this picture on here, because, I found out this was her first ever drink at a bar!

I tried a Snowshoe ale and an Imperial Red.  Both beers were extremely tasty.  You could really taste the chocolate overtones in the Snowshoe ale.  The Imperial Red was excellent and very smooth for a 7.5% brew.
This is a picture of my beer cocktail.  A mixture of an Imperial Stout from Peace Tree Brewing, some bourbon from Cedar Ridge Distillery, and some cherry flavoring.  The bourbon really came through after the drink warmed and opened up.  I would absolutely have another one of these.

Iowa is quickly becoming a great place to enjoy craft brewed beers and liquors.  Here's a few links from my sampling this past weekend.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Quick reviews

 Laguntis Maxius IPA is a great IPA.  It has a ton of citrus flavor and aroma, and is extremely hoppy.  It is still a well balanced beer with a lot of sweetness from the malts. This beer is good with food or on it's own.  I highly recommend this if you are an IPA fan.
Recently, I've had a craving for scotch.  Not wanting to spend the big bucks on Glenfiddich, I decided to try Dewar's 12 year old, double barrel aged scotch.  Upon opening the bottle I noticed it smelled more like a bourbon than a scotch.  Mixing it with water, I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth it was.  Again, it did have similarities to a bourbon, but still had some of the classic peat, almost smokey flavors of a good scotch.  I also tried a little "neat."  It was still very smooth, and picked up a ton of flavor from the barrels it was aged in.  The was great vanilla flavor with some interesting caramel flavor.  Why this is still not in the same level as a Glenfiddich, it is still a very tasty, respectable scotch, and a nice way to bring in the new year.