Brew Day: Nebula (v.3) and Supernova

After many, many, many years of refusing, I finally gave in and bought a setup to keg my beer.  I gave in for a few reasons… I have WAY too many bottles cluttering up my garage (and found a broken bomber out there just before we started brewing, no bueno), a lot of the more popular competitions here in town require kegged beer and Manny and I want to start competing, and it’s just sweet to be able to go pour yourself a draft at home.  If I want a 1/2 a glass, I can do that and not have to worry about wasting the rest of the bottle.  So I went on Craigslist and found a good double-tap kegerator, and got all the fixings to make it work with some corny kegs.  So now we have this.


Yes, I made a chalk board tap list. Shut up.

So of course, since there are kegs to be filled, we needed to fill some kegs!  I decided it was time to try our nearly traditional tripel, Nebula, again.  In the past it has been too hop forward, so I dialed down the bitterness and got rid of the dry hopping.  We still use Magnum for the bittering (which is pretty traditional) and Galaxy for the aroma (which is not), but no dry hopping on Nebula this time.  Also, we switched yeasts and are experimenting with Northeast Abbey Yeast from the Yeast Bay (aka the Ommegang house yeast strain, supposedly).


Mmm hops

However, since Manny and I are both fans of hops, we made 2 batches of Nebula, and are dry hopping one of them.  Dry hopped Nebula has been dubbed Supernova.

nebual and supernova

Nebula (L) and Supernova (R)

So we decided we’d make a big double batch of Nebula and have them side by side for the first tapping of the kegerator.  While our mash tun fit the 26.5 pounds of grain, the 8.5 gallons of water to go on top was a bit of a stretch!  We only got about 7 in, so we had to make our first sparge a bit larger than normal.  I was actually surprised, we didn’t lose very much efficiency even with the unintentional changes… the recipe was slated to hit 1.083 SG and we got to 1.080, so if the yeast ferments out as much as it should, we will be sitting at about 8.27%, only about a 1/4 of a percent lower than expected.  C’mon yeasties, do your thing!


Popped a bottle of the #150.

We had a pretty packed brewday, as there were the most guests we’ve ever had in one day. Which made for some fun rounds of Exploding Kittens (so much better with 5 people instead of 2!) Overall, besides the mash tun issue, everything went pretty darn smooth.  Two brews in a row of smoothness.  I could get used to that.  I PROBABLY JUST JINXED IT.


Manny stirs as Mike adds some sugar to the brew.





So in about 10 days we will keg these, and not long after we will have the reveal party!  Woot!  Until next time, cheers.


Smellovision needs to be invented. Please scratch your screen… and imagine.

Brew Day Playlist:
Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness: Dawn to Dusk
Mega Gem: Colors of the West
Propellerheads: Decksanddrumsandrockandroll
Queens of the Stone Age: Era Vulgaris
Incubus: Fungus Amongus
Prophets of Rage: Zen Gravy
Primus: Suck on This
Beastie Boys: The Mix Up
Pearl Jam: Vs.


Brew Day: Barry Mangilow (formerly “beer.”)

Well, helllllooooooooo there.  It’s been a while.  We took a short hiatus at the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016, but are now back to brewing, and to start the year off we decided to do something different.  I wanted to do a beer that is very complex, and counterpoint that with a name that is very simple.  What we ended up making is a Mango Triple IPA named “beer.”


Just a little Repo Man influence on this one.

EDIT! We served this beer to some people and our buddy Augie came up with a MUCH BETTER NAME because this brew is sooooooooooooo mango.  So beer. no more (I’m sure we will re-use that one at some point later for a complex brew), intoducing: Barry Mangilow!

Barry Mangilow

Barry Mangilow has left the building.

Manny and I got together and first off we had some cleaning to do.  A lot of the equipment had been sitting for a while.  I spent Saturday cleaning out the garage, and then before we got started together Sunday morning we cleaned (and pressure washed) the equipment to get all the dust and whatnot out.


Got to try out our sweet custom-made brewing paddle FINALLY!

So once we got everything cleaned up and ready to go, time to start the brew.  beer. is a big brew, with 15 pounds of grain for the mash tun and then another 6 pounds of light malt extract in the boil.  We wanted to make something big and complex, so we used lots of tropical hops (Simcoe, Citra, and Hull Melon) and we are going to balance them with mango puree in the secondary.


Mashing in and it smells so good


Putting the paddle to good use

Once we get through our primary fermentation (with Conan yeast), we are adding 5.25 pounds of mango puree.  This will add additional sugars and should send the beer in to even bigger territory.  If we hit our expected final gravity, it’s already going to be about 11.5% alcohol BEFORE the mango gets added.  This will be a sipper fo’ sho’.



We played a few games of Yahtzee and drank some beers like we usually do, but we added in The Oatmeal’s Exploding Kittens (NSFW Edition) to the mix and that was a lot of fun.  Hopefully one of these brew day sessions soon we will get a few guests so we can see how the game plays out with more than 2 players.  Overall, it was an incredibly smooth brew day and we could not ask for much more than that.


Awaken the Narnope!


It’s cloudy and cool as we get the transfer to the carboy going

I am really looking forward to sharing this beer with you all.  Hopefully we will have some events getting set up sometime soon that you can come out and get a taste of some BBxB beers, including beer., sometime soon!  Who knows, #150 (our bourbon barrel aged barleywine) might even make an appearance! …no guarantees…


Such a pretty color



Happy yeasties doing happy yeasty things

Brew Day Playlist:
Atmosphere: God Loves Ugly
Kendra Morris: Mockingbird
Eagles of Death Metal: Peace, Love, Death Metal
Atmosphere: The Lake Nokomis Maxi Single
Puscifer: Money Shot
Incubus: When Incubus Attacks, vol. 1

Brew Day: Nebula (v2)

We were invited to come out to Home Brew Party’s grand re-opening on October 4th (Facebook event info here, please come!) so we decided to brew a batch of Nebula for the event.  This time we are shooting for a drier, hoppier version of the original recipe.  We mashed in lower, for longer, to add the dryness and we greatly upped the amount of aroma and dry hops added to the beer.  Along for the ride today was our friend Alex, who just bottled his first batch of homebrew ever (congrats)!

Nebula's first runnings... running.

Nebula’s first runnings… running.

#150 vacates the barrel.

#150 vacates the barrel.

Because we can’t make it simple around here at BBxB, we also bottled #150 out of the whiskey barrel at the same time.  We are so, SO excited about this beer.  We had some that didn’t quite fill up the last bottle, and it’s going to be really good.  Right now the aroma is amazing.  The beer itself is quite hot and strongly bitter, but that’s why we really don’t expect this one to be drinking right until 3-6 months from now, maybe longer.  But on top of that, this one is built to last and I expect #150 to have layers of added complexity over the next 1, 2, probably at least 5 years.  We’ll see what I say about it in 5 years!



...go in with a little help from our little friends

…go in with a little help from our little friends

The brew day went without incident, we even got a 3-man game of Yahtzee! in.  The only issue (and this is likely from the different mash) was that our OG was lower than before… this won’t be an issue as long as our FG is lower as well.  As of this morning, less than 12 hours later, the beer is fermenting in full swing.  We look forward to sharing it with you in a few weeks.  We will also have at least a few bottles of Lupulus Texensis on hand too… we got to give it a try and wow, it’s pretty damn amazing for something fermented with flowers picked up the street.  If you like brett/funky beers, and you like hops, you’ll not want to miss it.  We will also have glassware for sale and stickers for free, so please come see us!  Until then, cheers!

A bit low, but we'll take it

A bit low, but we’ll take it

Lupulus Texensis looking lovely

Lupulus Texensis looking lovely

Brew Day Playlist:
Atmosphere: Sad Clown Bad Dub 13
One Day as a Lion: One Day as a Lion
Wu-Tang Clan & Jimi Hendrix: Black Gold
Hammerbox: Numb

And for your viewing pleasure, here’s Alex aerating the wort!

Brew Day: Lupulus Texensis

I was thinking about it last night, and realized that I never posted the Brew Day Blog from our most recent beer, and this is gonna be a cool one!  Back in the spring I thought “I wonder what kind of yeast lives on bluebonnets?”  How much more Texas, and how much more San Antonio could a beer be than one fermented with bluebonnet yeast?  So I tossed some bluebonnets that were growing in my neighborhood in some unfermented wort and let it sit for a few months.  I saw some bubbles in the first few days so I knew we had something on there… not sure if it was something good or bad, but we had something.

Started early, so some morning coffee from my Branchline cup.

Started early, so some morning coffee from my Branchline cup.

Our new burner, with 72,000 BTUs of sexiness

Our new burner, with 72,000 BTUs of sexiness

I ramped that up with a yeast starter and made a quick 1 gallon very simple pale ale.  And it was tasty.  It’s most definitely a strain of Brett, but I’m pretty sure it’s not Brett B or Brett C.  Once we had proof of concept, we decided to go with an all-Brett (all-bluebonnet) IPA.  Since hops are Humulus lupulus and bluebonnets are Lupinus texensis, we decided that our bluebonnet IPA would be Lupulus Texensis.  Now, because this was already a week ago, I was able to get a taste on Sunday when I was checking the gravity (looks like LT is coming in around 6.75%) I am excited to say that it’s even better than I hoped.  It’s sweet up front, with a soft bitterness, then a healthy – but not overwhelming – funk on the back end.



Using some new hops on this one

Using some new hops on this one

I am excited to have an IPA that is going to evolve. It’s being dry-hopped right now and should be pretty hoppy by the time it goes in the bottles.  I expect that for the first few months it will be a nice, sweet, hoppy and somewhat funky beer.  With some time on it I think we will see the hops fade, and the funk become more pronounced.  It will be nice to have an IPA that will evolve with time and not have to be consumed as soon as possible… I wonder what LT will be like in a year?  On a related note, I got a taste of #150 (it’s taking on beautiful flavors in the barrel) and #105 which was pretty damned good for an incredibly green barleywine.  Things are looking good!

The last of the hops go for a dip

The last of the hops go for a dip

A little taste... loving the color

A little taste… loving the color

Brew Day Playlist:
That Handsome Devil: That Handsome Devil
Wick-It the Instigator: Grindhouse Basterds
The Pharcyde: Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
Dangerdoom: Occult Hymn
Aphex Twin: Come to Daddy

Brew Day: #150

First off, just in case anyone was wondering, our last beer is #lovewins – as in: hashtag love wins.  This beer is number 150.  Back before the time of Twitter and social media, that symbol used to be a sign signifying number… or time to start playing tic tac toe.  So this beer is #150 because it is going into  Ranger Creek’s .44 Rye Whiskey barrel #150.  When we acquired the barrel, we knew we had to make something worth of going in it, so we decided on a big, badass barleywine.

Look at that color... it's even prettier in person.

Look at that color… it’s even prettier in person.



If we hit our numbers as planned, this beer should be 12+% and should be pushing close to 100 IBUs.  Our intention is to let it sit for a few weeks in the barrel (since this is a much smaller barrel, it will take on those flavors much more rapidly that the beer would if it were sitting in a full-size vessel), then bottle condition until at least the new year.  Then we’re going to see how things play out over time.  Who knows; maybe when we open our brewpub publicly there  could be a bottle or two of this popped in celebration!

Manny soaking in the scents of barleywine-to-be

Manny soaking in the scents of barleywine-to-be

Passing the time during the 120 minute boil

Passing the time during the 120 minute boil

The brew day went pretty well overall, except when we ran out of gas while heating the sparge water!  That probably is why we got such good efficiency, as I continued to sparge with wort while Manny went to get more propane.  Other than that one hiccup, everything went exceptionally smooth.  We also decided that since we were brewing a barleywine, we were going to drink some barleywines, including a vertical tasting of Real Ale’s Sisyphus.  It was a good day.

With such a high amount of expected alcohol, aerating the wort was especially important on this one

With such a high amount of expected alcohol, aerating the wort was especially important on this one

It's a big'un!

It’s a big’un!

To try to be sure that we’d not have any troubles getting through the fermentation process with such a high alcohol content, we pitched quite a bit of Safale-05 and then supplemented that with some Super High Gravity yeast.  Between the two we should sail right up to that 12.6% or so that we are expecting #150 to finish out at.  We look forward to sharing a bottle with you, but until then… Cheers!

Brew Day Playlist:
Prophets of Rage: Zen Gravy
Rage Against the Machine: Demo, Rare, and Live
TOOL: Ænima
NoFX: Punk in Drublic

Tasting event: Boardwalk on Bulverde

Hey everyone! On Saturday we had our 2nd public tasting event, this time at the awesome food truck park Boardwalk on Bulverde (14732 Bulverde Rd).  If you haven’t been there before, this weekend is their FOOD TRUCK THROWDOWN, so sounds like a good time to check it out!  The event was nice.  We had a shaded bar area, we got to use our banner for the first time, we served a BUNCH of beer, and we got a BUNCH of feedback!

Our set up, with our fancy schmancy new banner

Our set up, with our fancy schmancy new banner

Beers, waiting to be graded by the masses

Beers, waiting to be graded by the masses

We had a decent sized crowd that came in waves, so we’d have times with a lot of people at the table, and times with none.  This crowd also had a lot more interaction with us than the last crowd, which was made up more of people we knew.  This time there were a lot more people we didn’t know personally hanging out, and I feel that made for more honest and valid feedback.  Speaking of, the feedback was sort of what we expected.  The beers that we thought needed the most work got the lowest scores… but nothing scored “low”!  We were amazed once we tabulated the forms as to just HOW HIGH the people at BoB rated the beers!  Thanks guys and gals! *blush*

Our BoB Feedback...

Our BoB Feedback…

Fallen soldiers

Fallen soldiers

We also met some cool people that want to help us in the future with getting the word out, as well as some representatives from Four Corners Brewing Company, who brought us some of THEIR beer.  You guys rock!!!  We got to sell some glasses, and with the money we took in from that we ordered stickers (so you too can have your BBxB sticker soon!)  Other than the fact that it was SUPER DUPER HOT, this was a really fun event, and we want to thank everyone for coming out.  On top of that we had 50 new Facebook followers in less than 24 hours, so the word is getting out!

Ryan and Manny take a beer break outside the tent

Ryan and Manny take a beer break outside the tent

Awwww BoB, we love you too!

Awwww BoB, we love you too!

Speaking of getting the word out, we just applied to be a part of the Break Fast & Launch program, which is a “culinary business accelerator,” in other words they help us get going quicker.  If you could do us a solid and go here and tell them how cool you think we are, that might help us get in the program!  Anyone in the San Antonio area looking to get one of our glasses, email or and we’ll make that happen.  In the meantime in-betweentime, we’ll leave you with the video Ryan made for B F & L.  Until next time…




Boardwalk on Bulverde

Hey everyone!  Just a reminder that THIS SATURDAY, 7/18, we will be at Boardwalk on Bulverde (14732 Bulverde Rd) giving out free beer samples!  All we ask in return is that you give us some feedback (on the handy dandy feedback forms that will be provided), and if you really like it, social media love is always nice!

Agrio Inked, looking all Agrio and stuff

Agrio Inked, looking all Agrio and stuff

We will be pouring Nebula (Tripel), Bogues Beauregarde (Saison), Cap’n ‘Murica (Pale Ale), Tetahi e Waru Tekau (Double IPA), Inked (Oatmeal Stout), Something Wild This Way Comes (Sour), and we will be premiering Agrio Inked (Sour Stout) and Monogamous: Citra (Single Hop IPA)!  And it’s all free!!!  We will also have some glasses for sale separately, but there is no obligation to buy anything to get free beer.  The beer is free, the glasses are on their own.

Monogamous: Citra is ready for your tasting enjoyment...

Monogamous: Citra is ready for your tasting enjoyment…

We hope to see you there.  FREE BEER.  FREE.  BEER.  FREE BEER!!!