Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tasting - Solera 2013

I'll admit something without a problem - I am not the best brewer in the world.

I'm good. Better than most. Surprising even to myself at times, but I am not the best. There are beers I make though that I could live with for the rest of my life. This seems like it is one of them. Problem is I only have 50-some-odd bottles left. Guess I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Solera 2013

Appearance - Hands down the best looking beer I have ever made. Ruby red, crystal clear. Sounds wierd, but I just like looking at this thing in the glass. Head is thin and quickly dissipates, which is to be expected.

Aroma - Strawberries, tart cherry, under-ripe plum, very good red wine vinegar. Very intense.

Taste - As last years it is not for the faint of palate. I shot for Rodenbach Vintage and got it in spades. All the aroma fruits are present. Incredibly acidic, but in the most pleasant way possible. No jaw clenching or teeth-on-edge setting reactions. Finish is light, leaving you wanting more, or ready for the next course.

Mouthfeel - Feels like an electric storm rolling over your tongue. Carbonation has finally been nailed in this one. Lively, but restrained. Really pleased.

Drinkability and notes - I wish I had this one for the rest of all time. I could drink this all day. That would leave me useless seeing as it is ~9% ABV, but it is dangerously drinkable. The great thing about the solera project is that each years batch is different. But that is also it's curse. I am excited to see what next year's batch will turn out like and will again have to resist tasting it every few weeks.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Solera Fodder/Mildly Amused

This one is from a few months back, but I need to put it up here. My solera is chugging away nicely. Now 4 years in it is exactly what I wanted it to be, a funky as all get out, heavy acid, oaky sour that approximates Vintage Rodenbach. This year my addition was a bit different from before. Every other year I added unfemented wort and let the bugs do all the work. This time around I aged the replacement beer on Roselare blend and let it ferment out. I'll test the batch in a few months and give an update. I'll crack a bottle of the bottled solera soon as well to give my opinion (though it is still quite young). The second half of this beer was simply put on Ardennes yeast to see what would happen. I'll review that beer in a few days.

The recipe is a darkish English mild in every way. Why put that in the solera mix? Color was on the money and I needed something lighter in ABV to go into the mix...the bad boy was sitting at ~ 9%

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 11
Total Grain (Lbs): 19.5
Anticipated OG: 1.042
Anticipated FG: 1.004
Anticipated SRM: 20
Anticipated IBU: 20
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


14.00 lbs. Golden Promise
2.00 lbs. Crystal 60
2.00 lbs. Brewers Invert #2
1.00 lb.   Crystal 120
8.00 oz. Chocolate Malt


1.50 oz. Ultra @ 60 min for 20 IBU

Yeast: Ardennes and Roselare (Split fermentation)

Mash 158F for 60 min.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fallen On Mild Times - Dark Mild

My blog writing is a joke. Life gets in the way. A friends hard drive crash recently has made me remember the benefit of having recipes in a public domain. Plus, there is the benefit of putting what I am doing out there for the good of those who like me so often are in search of an idea.

Fall is upon us here in Tennessee. As a result my mind goes towards beer for the kegs that is dark and every-day-drinkable. The idea with this beer was to incorporate both Crystal Rye (something I have never used before) and homemade Brewers Invert #3 (something I have made before - Read - insanely intense, deep, almost savory sugar syrup). Crystal Rye because I have an obsession with rye bourbon. Invert #3 because it adds an unmistakable character to English beers.

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 11
Total Grain (Lbs): 2
Anticipated OG: 1.052
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 14
Anticipated IBU: 29
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


18.00 lbs. Golden Promise
2.00 lbs. Crystal Rye
2.00 lbs. Brewers Invert #3


1.50 oz. N.Brewer @ 60 min for 23 IBU
2.00 oz. Willamate @ 10 min for 6 IBU
1.00 oz. Willamate @ 0 min for 0 IBU

Yeast: Nottingham and S-04 (Split fermentation)

Mash 154F for 60 min.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Irish Brown

Needing to seriously keep up with this thing. If for no other reason than to have my recipes in cyberspace in case my hard drive crashes (again).

I recently decided to brew something relatively simple for St. Patty's Paddy's (Thanks to the commenter Smarte). No green beer. No nitro stouts.

The mind went to brown ale. I am not a fan of the style as it is usually presented, but would love to be. It has all the makings of a great beer, but almost always tastes watery, anemic, lame, pathetic, saddening, etc. Here is my attempt at a malt driven, balanced, easy drinking beer with enough residual sugar to provide a decent mouthfeel. I'll try to have enough to report back in a few weeks. 

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 12
Total Grain (Lbs): 25
Anticipated OG: 1.056
Anticipated FG: 1.012
Anticipated SRM: 25
Anticipated IBU: 28
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes



20.00 lbs. Golden Promise

2.00 lbs. Crystal 80L

1.00 lb. Brittish Brown Malt

1.00 lb. Chocolate Malt

1.00 lb. Flaked Oats 



1.00 oz. N.Brewer @ 60 min for 13 IBU

1.50 oz. N. Brewer @ 30 min for 15 IBU

Yeast: Wyeast London Ale III and Wyeast London ESB (Split fermentation)
Mash 156F for 60 min.