Almost Done with School…

Well, time has sure flown by and I am getting ready to head out to Vermont for my residential week for brewing school. It has definitely been intense, but I have learned a lot for sure! I can say that I am not a fan of thermodynamics (the extreme calculations), flow rates and a lot of the engineering that I have learned, but have enjoyed the deeper look into brewing at a professional level. This week is the last lecture and it is Brooklyn Brewery’s own Garrett Oliver discussing beer and food pairing. I am thoroughly enjoying this one and may have to get a copy of The Brewmaster’s Table after I get back! So, what will I be doing in Vermont specifically? Well, I’ll be brewing on the school’s system, which is actually also a brewery called Drop-In, and doing filtration, as well as laboratory work. Every day we will also be completing various organoleptic sensory analyses with beer and off-flavors and working with raw materials. Finally, we will be taking our Final Exam next Friday, so wish me luck!!! What are my plans when I get back? I am looking to find a brewery that I can gain some experience on a larger system and work at part-time. I will of course continue to work on my recipes and hone them into a consistent offering. This should be a little easier once I get back, as there hasn’t been enough time to brew since starting school and brew-days when they have occurred, have been few and far between… Then it will be on to the business plan and getting...

Brew Happenings

My last beer-related post was in early January about the upcoming batches of Crimson & Clover (Irish Red with Rye) and a Raspberry Chipotle Stout that I was getting ready to brew that weekend… I also said that I would take pictures and of course forgot until the fermenters were in the fermentation chamber, so at least got the shot at the left. As per my previous post, I am now in brewing school, so decided to try and get as many batches in process before the coursework started on 1/20. Not only did I manage to get the above two beers brewed, the following weekend I knocked out my Kolsch 45 and a batch of the Roasted Grapefruit IPA. An update on these beers follows: All but one of the beers are still in the fermenter and that being the Crimson & Clover, which I kegged yesterday. It’s my version of an Irish Red, similar to Smithwick’s®, but without the corn syrup and with Organic maple syrup instead. The base is also primarily organic and this was my first time using a traditional Irish Ale yeast in the beer. I think this turned out really well, as the traditional yeast finished out for the most part clean and added a hint of diacetyl, which is common for the style. The beer clocks in at a low, easy-drinking 3.4% and just got placed on tap, so we’ll see how it progresses. The Raspberry Stout base is basically a Dry Irish Stout, but a little over the typical alcohol range, currently around 5 1/2%. The beer received almost 2 lbs of...

Back to School

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I really do have good reasons for it, I promise!!! On January 20th, I officially started my brewing education with the American Brewers Guild. The program is Intensive Brewing Science & Engineering and is 23 weeks total; it is distance-based with DVD lectures, reading and online content (10-15 hours total a week). The course culminates with one residential week at the school/brewery in Vermont for hands-on brewing and lab, as well as sensory training. I’ve been signed up for this program for 2 years now due to the wait list, but after just two weeks, am happy that I waited. The program is extensive with 6-9 hours of DVD lectures taped at the school with various professionals from the industry as guests. The first week consisted of Brewing Science and Sensory Methods and I’m not going to lie, that first lecture started off with some intense Biochemistry that had me wondering what I got myself into… After getting my hands on some Chemistry for Dummies and other reference books, I think I have a better grasp. This last week was very interesting as it went into everything Malt, with discussions on the Biochemistry of malting (which, I surprisingly found very interesting), the process of malting and equipment, as well as specifications. Today is the start of week 3 and we will be covering Water this week. I’m sure there will be some more Chemistry, but know that it will build on the previous weeks and should go well. As you know, being on this site, the end goal is opening...

Bourbon & Old Ales

  Over the last few weeks, I have completed two dual batch brew days… The first round of the two included Smokey Joe and Bourbon Nectar. Smokey Joe is a brown porter with a base of organic pale ale malt, caramel and dark malts. It is currently sitting on Bourbon-soaked vanilla beans and will be getting a concentrated addition of smoked coffee before bottling. Bourbon Nectar is one that I am really looking forward to, as it is a specialty Bourbon beer, with organic 2 row as the base and a hint of honey malt. The beer is currently at 8.3% and super smooth; the magic will happen soon, when it gets transferred over Bourbon soaked oak and will age for 6 weeks. The brew day for this first batch went pretty well and was improved even more when we had Hot Bourbonies! For those of you that don’t know, Hot Scotchies is actually the term, and typically consists of the sweet liquor that is extracted from the grain, combined with Scotch; a very simple, but amazing elixir. Well, we found out that it is even better with Bourbon, when mixed with the sweet liquor from the Smokey Joe! The second round was Old Cinnamon Ale and Winter Solstice Ale and occurred this past weekend, mainly due to the fact that it was a long holiday weekend. Old Cinnamon is… An Old Ale, you guessed it! It has an organic pale ale malt base with some other English and roasted malts. It gets cinnamon and brown sugar in the boil, along with additional cinnamon, vanilla,  sweet orange peel and...

Busy Week

As the title suggests, it was a busy week with work and beer events… Last Thursday was the Grand Opening of my friend Eric’s Coworking on 15th Ave. location. Eric invited us to have our beer at his event, so we brought a keg each of Pineapple Wit and the Extra Special IPA. The event went really well and was a blast! The Pineapple Wit was a hit as usual and we came close to killing the keg, but surprisingly the IPA was enjoyed by many people as well, even those that weren’t specifically IPA people. It was great to meet new people and see how enthusiastic they got about the different flavors and profiles of the two beers. It wasn’t fun to tell them that our beer isn’t available anywhere at this time, but felt good to hear the interest and enjoyment of these beers. Saturday and Sunday was the OHSO Bike-In Beer Fest that supported Ingleside Middle School PTO. The really cool part was that a handful of us from Arizona Society of Homebrewers brewed a porter last month at OHSO and we each did our own additions into the secondary, which were served at the event. The different renditions turned out really well in my opinion and those attending seemed to really enjoy them as well. The offerings of the porter were pumpkin, smoked, mocha, persimmon and coffee, with the coffee being mine, having coffee of course with some cinnamon and vanilla (see below picture). People really seemed to enjoy the beers and the hits were definitely the pumpkin and the coffee, in addition to a blend...