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.

Vorlauf!

Vorlauf!

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

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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.

Vorlauf

Vorlauf

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