Archive for August, 2014

If by some miracle you are actually keeping up with this blog and its posts, you may have noticed that the posts have stopped. Well… as it turns out, I am still alive and well. It also turns out that blogging is A LOT of work. By “a lot of work,” I don’t mean its hard work – but it is work to publish something that doesn’t turn into a series of Facebook and Instagram updates, yet is still frequent and interesting to read. 

Example:

     “Here’s a picture of my beer.”
     “Here’s the food from this place that I had with my beer.”
     [INSERT POSITIVE QUOTE]
     [INSERT RANT ON CURRENT ISSUE]
     “This beer tastes like this.”
     [INSERT FUNNY MEME]
     “Look at this IPA. It is so hoppy.”

Other than trying to figure out this whole blogging thing, I’ve also been shoulders deep in reading everything I can about entrepreneurship, brewing, and running a taphouse/brewpub/restaurant. My office is filled with everything from recent articles and books on running your own business, to magazines on beer and brewing – including some old issues of Zymurgy (1989-1996 editions) given generously on Freecycle.org. [Freecycle.org is this amazing, community-based website where you can give and find tons of free/used stuff. For more information, click here.]

From what I’ve read so far, apparently there are a million ways to do the same thing – and everyone is right! There will definitely be good times ahead. If I never open a brewery/taphouse/brewpub, at least I’ll be that much better of a businessman and homebrewer right?

*****UPDATE*****

In other news, the experimental “Pale ale”  is now in the secondary. Its cleared up quite a bit, and is hopefully conditioning just as well. It should be bottled within the next week, and thanks to natural carbonation, will be ready to drink by the middle to the end of September. I’m curious to see the differences the yeast made. I’ll get some photos come bottling time.

*********************

Finally, here’s a funny photo just because I can. You’re welcome.

 

Photo cred: see photo.

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Well, the weekend is over, and for most of us, it’s back to reality. Other than the couple home-brews and the half a bottle of wine, I think I got a good amount of work done. More importantly, I was able to begin the first in a series of homebrewing experiments. I’ve included the recipe and some photos of the brew day below.

 

Since I am fairly new to homebrewing, I decided I would try variations of ideas that I’ve had or heard about in order to become much more familiar with the ingredients I would be using. Much of the first round of experiments will be  SMaSH-based recipes. If you have not heard of the concept, or are new to home brewing, SMaSH recipes use a Single Malt and a Single Hop. The purpose of using this strategy would be to isolate the differences in the different ingredients. For example, I may want to focus on malts one day, hops another day, and yeast on a different day. If I wanna get crazy, I may even play with the water or the mash and fermentation profiles. The possibilities are endless, but that is the beauty of homebrewing!

 

In the experiment that took place this weekend, I decided to play with the yeast (since that’s what was on hand). I made a SMaSH with American 2-row malts and Cascade hops in a 2 gallon mini batch. The yeasts used included a starter derived from White Labs WLP001 California Ale yeast and a starter made from White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison yeast. I am curious to see how the fermentation progresses, and what flavors come from the different yeasts.
The mini set up. A friend brewing an American Wheat in the background.

The mini set up. A friend brewing an American Wheat in the background.

The work area with BeerSmith mobile running on the tablet.

The work area with BeerSmith mobile running on the tablet.

60 Minute Boil
4 lbs – US 2 Row
4 oz – 20L Crystal
.25 oz – Cascade @ 60 mins
.6 oz – Cascade @ 15 mins
1 – Whirlfloc @ 15 mins
.5 oz – Cascade @ 5 mins
Cascade additions. From left to right, initially supposed to be at 60, 30, 15, and 5, but decided to combine the 30 min and 15 min additions.

Cascade additions. From left to right, initially supposed to be at 60, 30, 15, and 5, but decided to combine the 30 min and 15 min additions.

Yeasts
1 gal – WLP001
.5 gal – WLP565
.5 gal – WLP565
Both fermenting at approx. 68 – 72 F.

If I’ve missed or didn’t include anything, or if you have questions or feedback on the recipe, feel free to comment or email. Thanks for reading!

The final product. The WLP565 on the sides, and the WLP001 in the middle.

The final product. The WLP565 on the sides, and the WLP001 in the middle. The WLP565 batch had to be split due to the size of the starter.

Hello, my name is Conrad. (Hi Conrad.) And, I think I am obsessed with beer. No, I am not an alcoholic. I definitely recommend anyone who has hit a level of dependence or loss of control to seek professional help. Instead, I am talking about a different kind of obsession altogether.

I walk around the grocery store with the wife and I think, “Hmm.. Coriander and pumpkin pie spice? Well it is time for Autumn brewing..” Or I see fresh fruits and I instantly start searching for recipes that may use some of the ingredients before me. Even when I walk through the camping gear, I see the coolers and say, “That’s a nice small batch mash tun. Oh that would work for the 5-10 gal. batches.”

All I can think about is my next batch. My last few (to include a Centennial-based IPA, an American Brown, and a Belgian Tripel) do not seem to be satiating my appetite. I even switched to small-batch brewing to I could brew and experiment more.

Now that my obsessions are out in the open, it is time to share a little secret – I want to open up a brewery and/or tap house. “But Conrad, recent openings of breweries have increased exponentially within the past few years. The market is already too saturated!” I know. “And, Conrad, don’t you know that the Craft Brew bubble is about to burst?” Maybe it is. “Conrad, you do know it is a lot tougher than just drinking beer all day right?” You’re right, I’ll stick to the walk in the park that is my Monday through Friday.

Look… I’m not trying  to open up the next BBC, Fat Tire, or Stone. I don’t need a brewery pumping out thousands of barrels of the same IPA or Blonde. In fact, there’s a hole in the wall pizza joint that serves the best damn pizza and craft brew that I could ever want. And, at this point, that’s all I want. A local, nano brew/tap house that puts another quality beer into someone’s hand.

I know it’s not going to be all fun and games. And I’m not in it to make riches beyond my imagination. It is most likely a billion times more difficult (on a scientifically accurate scale) than I could imagine. But a man could dream right? We all have something that we want to do when we “grow up.” Not all of us grew up wanting to work for the local government. We did not always want to be accountants and office managers. We didn’t want to labor for 10-12+ hours for a major construction company. We have an idea of what we want to do the rest of our lives, so why not try and make them happen? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen – we keep doing the same thing we’ve been doing all along?

Cheers to a dream in the works, and to the awesomeness that is homebrewing.