I just love having a big, bold, dank, pithy, piney, red, hop bomb around a couple times a year. Especially in the Fall when the darkness starts creeping in sooner and sooner, the nights are cooling off, the garden is waning, the trees are changing colors, the hops are fresh. I usually don't like much, if any, crystal malts in my hoppy beers, and have even avoided it completely at times. For my Imperial Red IPA I do like some burnt sugar in there, just not raisins and plums. Of course you have to have the right hops to play nicely over a red, malty, base with a touch of burnt sugars and toffee, and a big alcohol presence. I have done 2 beers along these lines in the past, the first iteration of Rufio was over a base of Vienna and Munich with Chinook, Simcoe, and CTZ. The second Imperial Red IPA I did last fall used flaked barley, crystal rye, and Kiln Amber for a malty and aromatic base to support the Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and CTZ hops. For this version (a return to Rufio), I used a base close to Pliny the Elder with an extra layer of Crystal using an addition of British Dark Crystal for burnt sugar and color along with the Carastan for honey and light toffee notes, as well as Black Malt for the color and dry roast finish. I really enjoyed the way the 4 C hops played up the dank and pith last Fall over the more berry / tropical fruit forward notes on the first Rufio, so I went with this combo again.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
As I look back through old posts, and try to organize the blog, I came to realize that I had made an initial recipe post for the clean beer that eventually became the two sour beers that are Ira and Judith. I also gave some random updates with lofty ideas about all this crazy stuff I was going to do, and on how things were going. But there was no single recipe to show for the beers, what I actually did with them, what the process was, aging times, fruit additions, blending, bottling, etc. If someone wanted real info on the beers and how to make them, I didn't have gathered source of all the information. So, here it is. I have given the original recipe and fermentation specs, then outlined the process from there on in the notes.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
There has been a large shift in our church lately away from an attitude of retreat from "the world" to one of pursuing people with Christ's grace. Our church is located in the South Hills so it can be out of the way and easily overlooked. We haven't had much exposure to the community, even other churches don't know who we are. Time for all that to change. In an attempt to get more exposure, and to serve those around us, our church is going to be putting on an annual Fall Kick Off Party, the first of which is scheduled for October. Part of this kick off party is to have beverages and food for people to enjoy. Of course, in a city like Eugene, the beverage of choice is Craft Beer, and not just any Craft Beer, as this is the birthplace of Ninkasi, we prefer IPA. I was asked to make the beer for the party, so I went with a hop bomb. I have been really happy with the last few IPAs I have brewed in the aroma hop kick department, but the bitterness is always too low, and for a culture acclimated to NW IPAs, the bitterness has to be there. To get my bitterness up on this one I pushed the Sulfates up over 250 ppm, dried it out, and upped the BU:GU ratio to 1.35. This should give me a nice dry, bitter bite in the finish, and tons of hops in the flavor and nose.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Back in February I was able to watch the Best of Show unfold at a competition I had judged, and also entered. It was completely humbling and shocking to see my 2.5 year old Gueuze advance to the top 6, top 5, top 4, top 3, top 2, Best of Show. I still find myself at times wondering if it really happened. The prize was to brew the beer on a full system at Falling Sky Brewing. Issue is that they don't do sours, it would take 2+ years for the beer to be done, and I didn't have the exact yeast pitch used for primary as I had cultured it from Blackberries and Peaches almost 3 years ago.