Sunday, May 16, 2010

Odonata Beer Co. Interview

Odonata Beer Co. is a small craft brewery based in Sacramento California. Owners Peter Hoey and Rick Sellers started selling beer in 2009 and currently partner with Sudwerks to make their beer. Vinocruz in Santa Cruz was the first to sell Odonata beer, a quadruple, aged in old port barrels with wild cherries, and so it is fitting that the tasting I attended was held at their wine bar.

A Saison Ale, Odonata‘s flagship beer just happens to be the style of beer they enjoy the most, a rustic and everyday beer with Belgian origins. This style of beer is refreshing, hearty and perfectly balanced to complement a wide variety of meals. Their Saison is made with malted barley, lots of wheat, rolled oats, Styrian & East Kent Golding hops. This is an off the cuff interview that Peter Hoey who was generous enough to give while I sampled their delicious Saison.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Schwarzbier Recipe

Before going to Mexico I decided to brew some beer that I could leave behind to lager in my kegerator for the five months while we would be away. One of the beers I brewed was a hybrid of sorts. I don't have the equipment to ferment at lager temperatures but I really wanted a schwarzbier to return to when we got back to Santa Cruz. Something light in alcohol but full of flavor. My solution was to come up with a "mock" schwarzbier recipe using White labs WLP810 California Common yeast. I had a large jar of this yeast in the refrigerator that I had salvaged from a Steam beer that I had brewed earlier. This is a yeast that can ferment nicely at warmer temperatures. In my case, I fermented with this yeast at the top of the suggested optimum temperature range of 65f. and this may be why I got an unusually high attenuation of 78%.

Now that we are back in S.C. I've really been enjoying this beer. It turned out great and the cold storage has paid off in terms of the clean, crisp and bright flavors that make this beer a very enjoyable and unique session beer. The dark roast character may be to bold for style and if you follow this recipe you may want to reduce the carafa by several ounces, but this is a good beer just as it is.

Batch size 11 gal.

Eff. 93%

Attn. 78%

ABV. 5.8

SRM. Black

IBU. 30

O.G. 1.056

F.G. 1.012

Mash in 6 gals. H2O for 1 hr. at 150f. with:

16 lbs. 2-row

28 oz. Munich

22 oz. carafa II

Boil for 90 minutes


60 min. 4oz. Hallertau @ 3% AA

20 min. 2oz. Hallertau @ 3% AA

15 min. Irish moss

1 min. 1oz. Hallertau @ 3% AA

Chill to 60f. aerate thoroughly and pitch salvaged WLP810 yeast.
Ferment to completion.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you brew this, please report back how the beer turned out for you. Also, if you have a schwarzbier recipe you would like to share, post it here. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

American Craft Beer Week

The American Craft Beer Week is coming up and Julie at the Brewers Association has asked me to pass this information along.

Thousands to Participate in National Celebration During American Craft Beer Week
"The Mother of All Beer Weeks" Takes Place May 17-23
Beer lovers, craft brewers, homebrewers, beer distributors and retailers are all making special plans for the annual American Craft Beer Week taking place across the country May 17-23. The "Mother of all beer weeks" celebrates small and independent craft brewers and is a chance to highlight all that the U.S. loves about craft beer. In 2006, the week became the largest national effort focusing on American craft brewers and remains so today.

Looks like events worthy of supporting whole heartedly. This is the "event data base" where you can find information on events in your area or locate a brewery.

Also, the House of Representatives Resolution H.Res.1297 was introduced on April 22‘Supporting the goals and ideals of American Craft Beer Week’. You can track the progress here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Big Brew At Seabright Brewery

Big Brew was a challenge for me this year because it was the first batch of beer I’ve made since putting my brewing equipment in storage six months ago. I pulled it all out a few days early to take an inventory of what I needed and to make sure I was prepared for a day without mishaps. As it turns out, I only forgot a couple unessential components like my thermometer and clarifier.

The American Homebrewers Association event turned out to be a big success this year with six members of the Zymurgeeks homebrew club including myself, brewing batches of beer in the patio area of Seabright Brewery. The day was sunny and warm and we set up early to prepare our demonstrations for the amusement of the coming lunch crowd. Several of the AHA’s recommended recipes (Am. Wheat, Scottish ale and Oktoberfest) were brewed but I took a different path by brewing an organic pale ale. I decided that if I was going to make ten gallons of beer, that it ought to be something that I enjoy drinking and that would be good for the coming summer months. With an original gravity of 1.054 this should be a low alcohol easy drinking beer with bold citrus hop flavors.

While the day was enjoyable, the space was limited and I found myself feeling a little claustrophobic as I squeezed my way between brew rigs to plug into the electrical outlet and screw my water hose into the community splitter. Fortunately, plenty of homebrew was being shared to keep my sense of humor in tact. We all took up glasses of beer to make the national home brewers toast and it gave me pause to appreciate the camaraderie and shared interests of my local home brewing community.

When all was said and done, I hit my targeted gravity and my equipment performed perfectly despite the months it lay dormant in storage while I was in Mexico. The hard part was the clean up and jockeying my heavy brew sculpture out between tables which were filled with patrons enjoying their lunch.

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