Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Hoppy Christmas

Wishing you all a very HOPpy Christmas!  Some wonderful presents from Sith@Heart and her family.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Great Places to Drink Beer - San Deigo

Last weekend Sith@Heart and I went to San Diego to escape winter, however briefly.  Home of the double and imperial IPAs, San Diego is a hop lover and craft beer enthusiasts dream!  Here are some photos of us at Hamilton's Tavern.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Craft beer lounges in Vancouver

I am very enviousness of the great craft beer scene in B.C. C'mon Alberta, let's get on it!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Home Brew - Pumpkin Ale

Once again the Jack O'Lantern season is upon us, and that means making some pumpkin beer.  This year I thought I would try for an ale as opposed to a stout.  I also decided to throw in some of my smoked malt to try and give it a subtle smoky flavour under the spices and pumpkin.  I guess we will see how it turns out.

Roasted 3.5 pounds of pumpkin "meat" at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (note - next time, roast longer)

Steeped in 5.5 litres of water at 150 degrees for 30 minutes:
- the pumpkin
- 2 oz. crystal malt (40L)
- 5.5 oz pale malt
- 2 oz smoked malt (see my smoked porter recipe)

Bring to boil:
- added back some of the pumpkin
- 2.8 kg amber malt extract
- 1 oz Willamette hop pellets (4.7% AA)

After 50 minutes:
- 1 tsp Irish Moss
- .5 oz Willamette hop pellets

After 55 minutes:
- spices: 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon, 3 allspice berries, 1 clove

fill to 19 .5 litres (approx 5 gallons)

Pitch Wyeast American Ale II (1272)

I will let it ferment for a week then rack to the carbuoy for another week or so

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Here are some spooky beers to help get you in the mood!  (and yes, that is the Simpsons in the background)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

25 beers to drink this fall

I am always a fan of lists like this, especially when they point me to new and exciting craft beers.  Of course the downside is usually only a handful are available in Calgary.  So far I have had the Ayinger and the Anchor.  Better get hunting!  The winter beers will be here soon enough.

Thanks to Raj Smith for the find.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Beer number 1500

Well, I recently drank beer number 1500.  (It didn't seem that long ago I was in České Budějovice knocking back beer number 1000).

The place: The Flying Saucer pub in Kansas City, Missouri
The beer: Boulevard Brewing Pop-Up Session IPA
The event: Annual boys football trip

The beer is a slightly hoppy IPA, with a slight, saison-style sourness (although the brewery describes a fruity taste).  The relatively low (for and IPA) bitterness does make this a potential session beer.

See you at beer 2000!

The new must-have glass!

And speaking of IPAs, it appears that Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada have helped design the "prefect" IPA glass from Spiegelau.  Looking forward to receiving (hint hint) and test driving one of these babies!   Too bad you can't get Dogfish Head in Alberta anymore.  Boo!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tool Shed part 2 - Star Cheek IPA

Another solid beer from Calgary's newest brewery (unless that honour goes to Vagabond?)  This time I tried their IPA.  It is a very hoppy beer, but not as hoppy as West coast IPAs.  It has a deep amber colour and slightly more malt flavour than most IPAs.  I really enjoy this beer.  You should try it!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tool Shed Brewing Co.

Huzzah!  Finally, a new craft brewery has opened in Calgary.  I finally got to taste the work of Tool Shed Brewing Co.  Specifically, I bought a six pack of their Red Rage.  Unlike Village Brewery, this beer is not boring.  Red Rage has a nice, bold mix of malt and hops.  Definite notes of coffee, and a slightly smoky taste.  Fairly strong in alcohol (5.6%) and so has a dry finish.  If you are in Cowtown and you see their beer be sure to check it out.  I am looking forward to trying their other brews.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Home Brew - Special Bitter

This batch of home brew was based mainly on the ingredients I had on hand, specifically Fuggles and Willamette hops and amber malt extract.  Rather than try and copy a recipe I used the general guidelines from Complete Joy of Home Brewing and used what I had.

Steep 10oz Crystal malt (40 L) at 150 for 40 minutes

Boil 50 minutes:
2.2 kg amber DME
.5 oz. Fuggles (US) hop pellets (4.2% AA)
1oz Willamette hop pellets (5.6% AA)

Boil 10 minutes:
1 tsp Irish Moss

.5 oz. Fuggles (US) hop pellets (4.2% AA)
.5oz Willamette hop pellets (5.6% AA)

Fill to 5 gallons.  Pitch Wyeast London Ale (1028)

I will rack into the carbuoy after a week

Thanks to iRob, Karate Hottie and G$ for their help

After 1 week: racked to the carbuoy

After 3 weeks: bottled.  Added 1/3 cup of dextrose, 2/3 cups of light DME

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Homebrew Tasting Notes

Pumpkin Stout:

I am quite surprised as to how strong the spice flavours come through, given how little was used.  I am quite pleased with how this turned out, although you can't really taste the pumpkin.

Smoked Porter:

Well smoking the malts worked!  The smoke taste is subtle, but it is definitely there.  I quite like how this turmed out.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Home Brew - Smoked Porter

Thanks to iRob and Karate Hotty, I got the book Smoked Beers by Daniels and Larson.  So, first brew of 2013?  Smoked Porter.  I didn't use the recipes in Smoked Beers but rather opted for the clone recipe of Alaskan Smoked Porter in Clone Brews.  The smoke malting technique was taken from Smoked Beers, but changed to match the use of my Big Green Egg.  Home Brew and egging - the ultimate hobby merger!

Smoked Malt:

Step 1: soak a combination of alder and apple wood chips in distilled water (about an hour)

Step 2: take 2 pounds pale malt.  Used a blender to crack the malt.  This resulted in a bit too much powder.  Soak for about 10 minutes in distilled water

Step 3: build a charcoal fire in the Egg.  Add wood chips.  Place the damp malt in a aluminum cooking tray, the bottom of which I perforated with a small nail

I smoked the malt in the Egg for about 3 hours.  Egg temp was about 350.  Sometimes I put the malt directly over the heat, sometimes indirect.  Added soaked wood chips as needed.

Even after 3 hours the malt was still slightly damp.  I left it out over night, and the next day gave it about 1.5 hours in the oven at 200.

Brewing the beer:

Steep at 150 for 30 minutes:

10oz light (40L) crystal malt
7 oz black malt
8oz chocolate malt
1.5 pounds smoked malt (see above)

Bring to a boil.  Add:

2kg light DME
3.4 lbs light DME
0.8 oz Columbus hop pellets (15% AA)

Boil 45 minutes.  Add:

0.5oz Willamette hop pellets
1 tsp Irish moss

Fill to 5 gallons.  When cool, add Safale US-05 American Ale Yeast (dry).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Winter Beers

From the Globe and Mail:

In terms of double IPAs it is such a shame Pliny the Elder is so hard to find.  As for the dark beers, this is a good time to mention I have a batch of Smoked Porter on the go.  Receipe to be posted shortly.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Robbie Burns Day!

In case you need a little help on what beer to drink (save the scotch for the end of the evening)