Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gute Träume Kölschbier

Well, I had a good little brew day last Sunday. I decided to brew at the last second, after running with some buddies on trails in WyCo Park.

I decided to brew a simple version of my Kölsch recipe, since I had the materials on hand. I think a homebrewer should always have a Kölsch or Pilsener on tap, along with a Porter or Stout. Simple session beers for variety's sake.


Here's the guts of the recipe:

Gute Träume Kölschbier v3.2
Style: Kölsch
Type: All grain Size: 10.5 gallons

OG: __1.046 FG: __1.010_(est.)
Alcohol: 4.0% v/v (3.2% w/w)
Color: 3 HCU (~3 SRM)

9 lb. Weyermann Pilsner, 1.7-2L
9 lb. Maris Otter, Crisp -3L
2 lb. Wheat Malt

2.0 oz. Tettnang Hop Flowers (60 min.)
1.0 oz. Hallertau Mittelfruh Hop Flower, German (45 min.)
1.0 oz. Hallertau Mittelfruh Hop Flower, German (30 min.)
1.0 oz. Tettnang Hop Flowers (20 min.)
1.0 oz. Hallertau Mittelfruh Hop Flower, German (10 min.)

Wyeast Scottish Ale, 1728 XL (activator pack).

As I said, it's a simple recipe (and I used a single-infusion mash, too). The Scottish Ale yeast attenuates well, and brings out some malty notes with few estery issues.

The yeast really took off. I'm going to have to transfer to secondary fermentation tonight...just three days after brewing.

Other Bad Ben Nanobrewery News:
Currently on tap: Porter, Maibock, Double IPA, and a 2-year-old Belgian Brett.
I took the Barleywine off-tap to save it for later.
The Uber-Saison that I brewed 3 weeks ago is almost ready for tertiary conditioning.

Happy trails,
Bad Ben

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hotter Than Hell Brew Day

I brewed last Saturday, and holy-crap it was hot! I brew in a west-facing garage, and I couldn't get started until 1 p.m., because I helped put-on a little race that morning.

On this particular brew-day, it was 100 degrees F, with 68% humidity. For those of you from drier climates, this type of weather can kick your butt (or even kill you), if you're not prepared. I just treated it as "heat-training," and drank a few pints of water for every beer that I drank. I had some salty snacks available to keep the ol' electrolyte balance up. I also used an old window-shaker air-conditioner; I sat in front of it while doing some tasks, and as much as I could.
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008MillingGrain
Milling Grain

I had invited Christy and her boyfriend Greg over. Christy is an extract brewer (from Colorado originally), and she wants to learn the all-grain brewing process. (Both of them went up to Oregon for the Oregon Brewer's Festival, also). My son, Matt came over for a little while, and Jim (another brewer) came over, too. It's crazy how I always get a crowd on the hottest or coldest brewing days of the year! Christy's dog was the only sane creature in attendance; she begged to go into the air-conditioned house, so we relented and let her stay and play in the house.
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008BrewCrew2
Brew Crew

I've been on a brewing roll, lately, and I'm not going to let some nasty hot weather get in the way! I'm trying to re-stock my normally well-rounded offerings. I usually like to have at least 5 different homebrews on tap, but currently only have three: a 1-year old Barleywine, a Maibock, and a Porter. I also have a 5 year old Barleywine, but I rarely give out samples of that.
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008Fridge
Garage Fridge Offerings
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008Failure
Failure is not an option!

The Porter (at 4.8% alcohol) was the only "session-like" beer on tap for brew day. It was hot enough that some folks had a "hoppy beer" on their minds, instead of a dark Porter. I came up with a special strategy for the hop-minded: I poured a small amount of hoppy Barleywine into a glass, and then topped it off with a Boulevard Pale Ale, keeping the alcohol percentage in the neighborhood of 6 - 7 %, instead of kick-in-the-head range. We grilled some chicken, had some fresh veggies, and also chips and hummus to top it all off. A nice day, despite the heat.
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008Mashing_in
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008Brewing
Hot work!

The homebrewing part went very smoothly. I brewed yet another version of my Über Saison, which always has an interesting grain profile, but this time I used some off-the-shelf Wyeast, instead of my own privately cultivated "BadBenomyces cerevisiae." The cooled wort's original gravity ended up hitting 1.072. It's now bubbling-away in the primary. The Double IPA that I brewed 2 weeks ago is in secondary fermentation, and I'll transfer it to tetiary conditioning soon enough. Hopefully, I'll have it on tap within a week or so.

Happy trails and cheers!

Bad Ben

Friday, August 01, 2008

Oregon Brewer's Festival & PCT 50M

For the third year in a row, I flew up to Portland Oregon, to attend in the Oregon Brewer's Festival, and participate in the PCT 50-mile trail run on and near Mount Hood.


This year, my son Matt and I went. We flew up on Wednesday, after work. It was our intent to meet up with my nephew Andy, but we were surprised when Andy's dad (my bro) Jim drove down from Spokane on Thursday.

2008 OBF & PCT 095
The Holmes' Bro's. Matt and me in front, Jim and Andy in back.
2008 OBF & PCT 096
Don't run over that Emo kid! You've already hit your scoring limit!

Our fist stop after our plane ride was Lucky Labrador Brewing, off of Hawthorne.
Good beer, good food, and lots of friendly doggies!

First Beer while in Portland. Cheers!
Watching it happen doggy-style, at the Labrador.
They don't call it the "Lucky" Labrador for no reason.

Wednesday night was filled with a night of Glorious wondrous Stumptown Style.

On Thursday morning, we hooked-up with Greg and Christy, and hit the Bijou for breakfast, Whole Foods, and then Powell's books, before heading to Rogue Brewing for a breakfast beer.

Greg & Christy, (AKA "Lecompton G" and "Mountain MudBabe")
My breakfast at my favorite breakfast place in the entire universe.
I've been going here since 1990 or so. (One of the wait staff that always recognizes me thought that I lived in Portland, until I told her otherwise, a few years ago).
Keith Moon, back from the dead, serving us breakfast beers with 'tude at Rogue, in Beervana, Oregon.
2008 OBF & PCT 041
"Roguesque Beerscape," by Matt Holmes.

From Rogue, we wandered about Downtown Portland, and showed-off some of the sights. (Yes, there were a few Trail Nerd stickers still up from last year's all-city pasting). We showed-up at the Oregon Brewer's Festival (OBF), right after 1 p.m., or so.
2008 OBF & PCT 092
Good times!
2008 OBF & PCT 084
Serving station at OBF.
This girl is serious about her hops. I guessed right...she used Willamette Hops for the tattoo model. (I know my hop varieties).

Friday was reserved for rest and recovery, and letting my brother Jim get to know Matt a little better. We went to our favorite resort in Welches, Oregon, while Greg and Christy went to Cannon Beach (and then met us later at our digs, to sleep for the night).

Saturday...RACE DAY! Five Trail Nerds were there to run the race: Greg Burger, Gary Henry, Danny Miller, and Bobbi Ashwandi-Thomas. The rest were there to cheer us on, pace us, (and maybe ignore us and head to Hood River for a brewery tour to arrive back at the finish line 20 minutes late).

I hadn't really trained for this race, and I was out of shape. I've only been averaging 25 miles per week of running for the past 2 to 3 months, due to being busy and other issues. But I figured, what the hell, it's only a fifty-miler...right?

Upon arrival at the race, I gave the two female race directors (Olga and Monika) Mud Babe shirts. They proceeded to wow the race audience by stripping-off their tops and donning the stylish gaments forthwith.

The weather was perfect for racing: 52 degrees at start time, sunnyall day, and it never warmed up past the mid-70s. Compared to KC, the humidity level was "dryer than a popcorn fart." PERFECTCONDITIONS!

2008 OBF & PCT 162
Near the start / finish area.
2008 OBF & PCT 101
Me, getting my gear & shit ready for race.
No drop bags necessary for a short 50!
2008 OBF & PCT 115
We're off!

Danny "Sandbagger" Miller did well. He nearly dropped out at the turnaround point on the mountain, but after sitting and regaining his insanity, proceeded to recover and start blazing down the mountain like a luge on teflon-coated ice. He soon passed Greg and me and ended up finishing in 10:14 or so.

2008 OBF & PCT 165
Me, coming into Timberline Lodge aid station (at mile 25).
2008 OBF & PCT 168
Scoring some tasty watermelon for fuel!

Greg "Lecompton G" Burger and I played leapfrog all day long. Three miles from the finish we decided to pace each other in, and finished together with arms raised shouting "Trail Nerds and Wu Tang Clan forever." We finished in 10 hours, 37 minutes.
Yep, I wore lucky number 69!

Gary "Luddite" Henry and Bobbi (AKA BAT) took the early 5:30 a.m. start. Gary finished in 11:07, and Bobbi a few hours later.

After the race, most of us repaired to a the Ice Axe brewpub (Mt Hood Brewing) on the Mountain, and proceeded to infuse mass quanities of food and "cool amber emulsion fluid" into our calorie-starved bodies. mthoodbrewco_logo
We met a couple of other addled souls (other finishers), and fed the mosquitos out on the patio until they popped in little blood-soaked explosions.

Greg, Gary, Danny, Matt, me, Christy, Jim, Andy.

Well, that's about it. We had a lot of fun, and then flew back on Sunday. My left hip was a little tweaked, but other than that, I'm feeling fine. Nothing that some good ol' homebrew can't fix.

Happy trails,
Bad Ben