Friday Night Basement Brewery Tour

Summer is winding down my friends. These Brew Dudes have been busy squeezing in the last drops of summer we can get. Family vacations and back to school planning occupies much of the days. Oh and we still have to work too. Anyway, I got nothing special for you this week. I just thought I’d turn the camera on and let you see the disaster area that is my brewing space. Just me in the basement on a Friday night looking for some beer to drink.



Flanders Red Update

This week we sample Mike’s Flanders Red. I brewed this up over 6 months ago. Its not really sour but there are some hints of acidity. Its got great flavor, so maybe its something we can rescue.

This brew started with a fate pointing towards failure. My Roselare yeast blend was frozen and likely dead on brew day. I knew I wasn’t getting the the LHBS anytime soon either. I had a saved pitch of Belle Saison and Brett Clausinii from over a year ago in the fridge. I warmed that up and put it along with the thawed out Roselare blend in the carboy. A month later I racked it off the yeast pack into secondary and added an ounce of toasted French oak cubes.

Today the beer is a 1.004 dry dry dry Saison. It has a great ruby garnet color with hints of vanilla, oak and a touch of cherry. The acidity level isn’t enough to make it sour, however it is enough to make it…. acidic. You can tell it wants to go somewhere but there just isn’t any nutrients or enough microbes left to really go anyway else.

I was just going to keg it and drink it as a Fall Saison. John had the good idea of splitting the batch and trying to rescue half of it. I have more Roselare and some maltodextrin on hand. The plan is to keg the first half, then I am going to add a gallon of concentrated DME/maltodextrin wort along with the smack pack of Roselare. Hopefully that will restart the process and get things moving in an interesting direction.

Stay tune for the additions and the some shots of what the beer looks like today.



Funkwerks Raspberry Provincial

Straight from the pages of Brew Your Own Magazine, comes this weeks summer beer. John wanted a light a refreshing fruit beer to beat the summer heat. Along came the July/August issue of BYO. Here’ our review and comments on the Funkwerks Raspberry Provincial Clone.

This recipe comes from the great folks at BYO magazine. We both been long time subscribers, although we don’t official pimp for them regularly. We made this beer out of summer necessity not a chance to advertise.

4.3# Pilsner Malt
2.2# wheat malt
0.5# Carapils
0.5# Flaked Wheat
1.2# acidulated malt (added last 20 min of mash)
25oz Oregon Raspberry puree
WLP400 Belgian Wit

John brewed this one with some slight changes. He used two yeasts pitching some WY 3944 Witbier and some WY 3942 Belgian Wheat yeast. Because he had it on hand and wanted to use it up. Also we both have brewed plenty of fruit beers off and on. Tis the season for great fresh fruit so John decided to use 2# of fresh raspberries rather than use puree.

This beer was refreshingly tart with a good balance of raspberry. The beer is definitely fruity with very little witbier character. I think that acid malt and the raspberries are masking the true witbier character. I am sure though that any other yeast would not adequately support the fruit and the acidity.

The best part is how quick John turn this around. In just over three weeks, it had been brewed bottled and ready to drink. I think if you really sat on top of your schedule, you could get this done a little sooner y pitching more yeast.

So if you still think there are some hot days ahead as summer starts to slip away… this might be a salvation beer. One last hail Mary to the brewing gods for those final days of summer burgers and dogs. Give it a try and let us know how it comes out for you.



BrewUnited Challenge

There is a new homebrewer community and a new type of brewing competition gaining momentum. If you haven’t heard of it, its the BrewUnited Challenge!

Formerly, BrewUnited.Com has been relaunched with an enriched home brewing community slant. There’s recipes, forums and articles/blog style posts. As part of the relaunch, there is a very nifty competition with a format twist lined up for this fall.

This competition restricts the brewer to approximately 12 different styles of beer. Dived into three subcategories: Malty, Balanced and Bitter. You can chose only one from each category if you want to do multiple entries.

Brewing each beer is pretty easier with the exception of one hitch. They have also restricted the ingredient choices. Only four malts and six hop varieties are available. Your are free to go crazy with the yeast choice. You must use only two of the hops available, and you must use ALL the malts provided to at least 1% of the grist. You can however modify the malts through roasting, toasting, bleaching or nuclear fusion (maybe).

Its a pretty interesting idea. It certainly will stretch your abilities as a brewer to make it all work. Some of the styles pose interesting challenges. Like a brewing a Kolsch with some crystal 60L in it. Or brewing an English Brown Ale with no chocolate or dark malt. (or EKG, my favorite English hop).

We chat it up in the video about the unique challenges, due dates and the nifty prizes they have lined up. Space is limited so get on board soon if you want give it a try.

Check them out and let us know what you think.



Thirst Friend ChillRod Supreme

The Thirst Friend ChillRod Supreme is an innovative way of keeping your cold beer colder longer. We received one set of these rods in the mail and decided to give it a go on John’s last two bottles of Harvest Lager.

The basic premise with these rods is that you freeze them for at least 40 minutes. They get inserted right into a bottle of beer (after taking one generous swallow to make room for the ChillRod Supreme). At the top of the rod is a larger bottle like opening made of stainless steel. You drink from the bottle as normal.

IT wasn’t clear to us via the packaging whether the rods were meant to chill warm beer as it passed through or they simply enhanced or maintained the chilled beer experience of already cold beer. Or fun first trial with these chill rods clearly favored the latter. Cold beer, big sip, insert the chill rod and drink as normal without the beer getting warm as fast.

I normally drink from a glass as I am sure many beer connoisseurs do. But when I do drink from a bottle its always been a set back that your warm hand warms the beer as you hold the bottle. I guess you could grip it by the long neck, but what if you are drinking form stubbies??? Craft beer in the can is becoming more and more prevalent and I have plenty of beer-coozies to keep as cold but none for bottles.

Thirst Friend ChillRod Supreme certainly picks up the slack there and has the potential for keeping beer colder longer when drinking from the bottle.

Thanks for Thirst Friend for looking us up and sending us a couple samples.
Please stop by their website for more information and order info.