Monday, February 21, 2011

California Homebrew Club Of The Year

The awards ceremony and luncheon for the California Homebrew Club of the Year winners was held again at Anchor Brewing in San Francisco and the winner is.... the Maltos Falcons, again. This Southern California club is huge with over 300 members and are very active in their communities and in the homebrewing arena so it's not surprising that they have now won this title seven times. There are so many members in this club that they have their own band which performed during the event and they were pretty good.

Anchor Brewing was a great host as usual and provided not only their regular line up of outstanding beers but debuted a brown ale that was excellent.

Anchor's brewer Ollie said "brew master Mark Carpenter's first brew and it's named after Gottlieb Breckle who bought a brewery in S.F. in 1871 which twenty five years later became Anchor Brewing. The Breckle Brown is kind of a 'hats off' to him because he started it all."
The Anchor website has more details on the the man that inspired the idea of Breckle's Brown
All those homebrewers that were in attendance were also served an amazing lunch of Tri-tip, BBQ chicken, mash potato's, corn on the cob and salad by Anchor employees. I attended with a few fellow Zymurgeeks and we scored a special tour of the facilities which included the room where the new owners were storing oak casks to later be used for holding their ever expanding line of distilled products

I appreciate Anchor Brewing for allowing me to be included and also, a special thanks goes out to Dave B. for being our designated driver.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Imperial Pale Ale With Citrus

Here's a little experiment I did today. After tasting my most recent IIPA I thought it could use a little more something in the flavor. Normally, I get a fair amount of citrus quality to the flavor of this beer through the use of Columbus, Chinook, Cascade and Sorachi Ace hops that I add late in the boil. (For those interested, here is the recipe for my Sorachi Ace Only IIPA).But, this time around those flavors and aromas are too subdued for my tastes. My normal solution to this dilemma is by dry hopping in the keg with an additional charge of Cascade or Sorachi Ace but I'm out of both of those hops and so I decided to try something new.

I picked up some citrus fruit at the market which included a lemon, an orange and a grapefruit. I figured I would go straight to the source for the citrus characteristics I'm looking for in this beer. My process was as follows:
  • Clean one each - lemon, orange and grapefruit
  • Peel of just the outer most part of the skin (excluding the white pulpy part)
  • Place in a sauce pan along with 1/4 cup sugar and 1-1/2 cup water
  • Boil for 10 minutes
  • Strain out the skins and place in a large tea ball
  • Pour the citrus liquid into the full keg containing carbonated and chilled beer
  • Lower tea ball with skins 3/4 of the way down into keg (lower and raise tea ball several times to mix in the citrus solution with the beer
  • Place lid on keg and seal with co2 pressure
  • Serve and enjoy
I was able to immediately sample the beer after this process and I was happily surprised at the amazing results. This technique added an ample amount of the blended citrus flavors and made what was a decent IIPA into an excellent beer with a distinctive and flavorful quality.

I highly recommend this process but a word of caution is in order. The huge citrus flavors imparted by this process can be over the top if all of it is used in a five gallon keg. I found that I needed to remove the tea ball with the skins after only several hours because the flavors were getting too strong. It might be a good idea to save the tea ball addition and add it later if the liquid solution is not enough for you. In any case,  if you have any questions, leave them here in the comment section for all to review or address.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Easy Yeast Harvest

One of the great things about fermenting in open containers is the ease in which I can harvest yeast. In an earlier post I showed how you can salvage the yeast by fermenting in a bag lined, open fermenter and in the future I'll show how you can top-crop the yeast. But today, I show in this finely edited, high quality video how getting the yeast cake off the bottom of the fermenter is quick and simple and a good way to cut costs on yeast by saving for re-use in the future. I typically try to re-pitch this salvaged yeast within a few weeks but have had good results even after a month of storage in the fridge.

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