Wednesday, October 29, 2014

REVIEW: Bangarang: Neverland (American Sour Collabo w/ Falling Sky)

When the guys at Falling Sky and I set out to do a kettle soured homage to my Best of Show Gueuze, I wondered if we would ever actually get it brewed.  Scheduling conflicts continued to get in the way.  But we made it, and I am sure pleased we did.  The beer is a hit at the pub.  A new member to our church was talking with another member over lunch about how great this sour beer was he had at Falling Sky.  That other member then introduced him to me, the guy across the table from him, as the brewer of said beer.  It has been a cool experience to have conversations with people about the beer and the vision behind it.  My head is getting a little big, but it is hard not to, the beer is that good.

Pours a slightly hazy deep orange with a decent head to it.  The head is low as the beer is carbed lower than it should be for a sour.  It also falls a little fast, but sticks around as a thick cap, which for a beer this sour is really good.  Some spotty lace clings to the sides, but not much.

The first thing to jump from the glass to the nose is a big sour bite.  Like lemons, but less citrusy.  Very clean for a kettle sour.  Most kettle sours I have had are easy to pick out, but not this one.  Tropical and stone fruits follow, mostly pineapple juice and Kern's Apricot Nectar.  The malt is dominated by sweet honey notes.

A blast of sweet tarts hits the tongue first, makes you pucker up for sure, like sour patch kids.  Mild fruity hops come in next but are pushed away quickly by honey and toasty malts.  It is definitely a sweet and sour punch.  When it was a little younger the hops came through more with the pineapple and apricot, with a finish of Lipton Iced Tea powder. 

This is a sour beer for sure, suck your lips off your face, but then it releases to a sweet, but light and crisp finish.  Faint bitterness.

Very clean and sour beer.  Sweet.  Hints of hops play with fruit up front.  Would actually like more from the hops, so I dry hopped my second keg with Mosaic and Simcoe.  It also need a higher CO2 level, which up until this past weekend I couldn't really do (I finally was able to hook up my dual regulator giving me 4 lines at normal beer levels, and one tap at a higher level for sours, wilds, Saisons, Belgians and Hefes).  You really have to be in the mood to have your lips removed to drink this beer though.  Wish we would have made it in May so I would have the kegs in July and August when it was really hot and this beer would have been super refreshing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

REVIEW # 70: BANGARANG: Rufio 2.0 (1st Place Imperial Red IPA)

The rain is here, actually it is dumping buckets full everywhere.  The weather report says that there is possible flooding, and strong South winds that could down power lines and take out trees.  It gets dark by 6pm, and it stays dark until after I am already at work in the morning.  The temps are dropping as quickly as the leaves on the trees.  Fall is officially here.  And so is my Imperial Red IPA.  I love having this beer around at this time of year, malty, hoppy, dank, alcoholic, warming, comforting.  Needs a couple tweeks and we should have a house recipe.

Pours a clear deep red bordering on brown with definite ruby highlights under a 2+ finger thick khaki head that lasts forever.  Bubbles are tight and small, leaving a thick lacing all the way down the glass, alcohol legs sweep along the path of the sip.

A huge burst of resin and pine leap from the glass before it even gets to your nose, and gives way to a generic bag-o-hop-pellets kick from the dry hops.  Citrus pith, mild coffee grounds, sweet breads, toffee, fruit cake, tangerines, and spicy hops.  As it warms there is a faint floral soap note.

Citrus rind washes all over the tongue at first sip, pith, resin, hop oils coat the entirety of the mouth, pine cones, and dank hops.  Below the initial burst of hops is a firm malt backbone, toffee, dark fruits, sweet malts, burnt sugar finish.  Spicy hops blend with the smooth but warming alcohol.  The finish is roasty, slightly ashy, and bitter, a pithy note lingers.  Touch of lactic sourness when really cold, I added 9ml of Lactic Acid to the sparge instead of 0.9ml, and it shows.

Medium body gives way to a dry and bitter finish.  The alcohol, dextrins, and carbonation leave a good body keeping it from becoming thin.  Medium carbonation helps deliver the hops and wash the palate clean.  Lingering bitterness and alcohol warmth.

The blend of hops and malts are pretty spot on for this beer.  The color is a tad dark, and the roastiness is too present in both aroma and flavor, need to dial the Black Patent back a hair.  Definitely need to avoid adding too much LA to the sparge water, detracts from a wonderful beer.  As always, my bitterness needs to get a crank up a notch or two.  Overall I am really pleased with the beer aside from the minor flaws, the worst of which is brewer error as opposed to recipe.

This beer took 1st place in the Imperial IPA category at the McKenzie Cider & Craft Beer Festival - Homebrew Competition

Thursday, October 16, 2014

UPDATE: Let it grow, let it grow, can't hold it back any more...

Got this video clip from Matt Van Wyk at Oakshire Brewing this morning.  This is the blow off activity on my yeast pitch I gave him at less than 24 hours after pitching onto just under 1 barrel of 10* plato wort.  Ferocious!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

RECIPE #71: WTWTA: The Carol 3.0 (Lambic)

Earlier this year I entered a local BJCP competition and happened to win the Best of Show with a wild fermented "Lambic" I had brewed 2.5 years earlier.  I had cultured yeast and bacteria for that batch from blackberries over growing the fence of the back yard at our old house we rented, as well as peaches from the local farmer's market.  This was the only yeast I used for fermentation.  Over the course of the year I added dregs from commercial and homebrewed sours.  After a year and a half in bottles it won BOS.  When this happened I of course wanted to re-brew it, so I started stepping up the dregs.  For winning BOS I got to brew the batch at Falling Sky, but they don't do sours, so we did a kettle soured version that mimicked the original.  

Just after the win I was chatting about the beer with Matt Van Wyk of Oakshire Brewing and that it wouldn't actually be re-brewed commercially.  Then, almost as if it wasn't a big deal, he stated that he would brew the beer with me.  Matt makes amazing sours and the thought of even being able to do my beer with him is a huge honor.  8 months later and we are there.  I brewed this current batch for myself, 10 gallons, to fill a 6 gallon wine barrel, and have some for aging and blending later, as well as the big reason, to begin growing the yeast up for the 10 barrel batch.  I had pitched my starter onto 6 gallons of the wort I got from my Falling Sky brew, then pitched that slurry onto this 10 gallon batch.  I gave the slurry from this batch to the Matt who stepped it up on a 1 barrel batch to have it ready to ferment 10 barrels.  A few days from typing this, I will be at Oakshire brewing this recipe on a large scale for aging in full size wine barrels.  Never thought I would see this day come.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

REVIEW: I (heart) PcA (1st place IPA)

When my pastor told me we were going to do a Fall Party for the church and wanted me to brew a beer for it, I knew right away what I wanted to make.  I wanted an IPA, because that is the drink of choice here in the PNW.  Home to Oakshire and Ninkasi, the people here in Eugene know good IPAs, so I had to make a great one for the event.  I wanted big citrus character with background pine and resin notes.  I wanted a dry finish.  I wanted a firm bitterness.  Boy did I get it.

Pours a fairly clear orange with a touch of haze which is appropriate for a dry hopped beer.  A 3 finger eggshell colored head with tight bubbles sits atop the beer and slowly fades to a thick cap that lasts the whole way down.  Thick lacing clings to the glass and spots its way down the glass to the end.  Beautiful beer, best looking IPA I have made to date.

The smell of floral hops hits first with a touch of geranium, but not overpowering as some floral notes can get.  This is shoved out of the way quickly by an onslaught of grapefruit rind, sweet onions, hop oils, and mangoes.  After a moment there is a hint of sweaty socks (hello again Amarillo), followed by lemon and lychee fruits.  Touch of dank and pine, some sweet bread notes, and a hint of alcohol.

The first wash over the tongue is super oily, resinous hops, pine, bitter grapefruit, and tropical fruits.  There is a touch of floral, but not much and a hint of dirty peaches.  Sweet malt backbone supports the hops well leading to a firm bitterness that lingers on the back of the tongue.  Touch of grainy crackers.

The medium to light body gives way to a really dry (but not bone dry) finish.  The bitterness is firm but not abrasive or harsh, and it lingers through the glass.  No astringency.  Touch of warming alcohol.

I am really happy with this recipe.  I have always been anti-crystal malts in my IPAs but the light handed use of the lower lovibond Carastan actually worked quite well.  The sweet grainy malt and dry finish really let the hops shine.  Complex blend of citrus, dank, tropical, and floral work great together without getting muddled.  The bitterness is firm, but could actually stand to get turned up a few more IBUs.  Need to keep this recipe in the rotation and make a couple tweeks.

This beer took 1st place in the IPA category at the McKenzie Cider & Craft Beer Festival - Homebrew Competition