Brew Day: Nebula

Our first brew of 2017 is our Belgian style Tripel, Nebula.  The name comes from the fact that the recipe is mostly a standard Tripel, but with the addition of Galaxy hops for aroma.  The brew day was fun – we had additional help from our friends Andy and Clarissa.  Clarissa is just learning about brewing, so she came along for the educational opportunities, and I’m sure the games and beers didn’ hurt the situation either!

We also recently purchased our own grain mill, because the grain we get from our LHS is never milled very well, unfortunately.  We even ask that it go through the mill a few times, and our efficiency is still much lower than would be expected.  To try to up that efficiency, we purchased our own… but unfortunately it did not come with all of the pieces we needed to get it up and running and we bought the wrong hardware.  SO, back to the LHS to get it milled before we start.

The brew day had its ups and downs.  First off, it was actually REALLY COLD here in San Antonio, to the tune of 20 something degrees when we first got started.  For this recipe we decided to do a 3-step mash to help give the beer more body but still end pretty dry, and we think that the cold was throwing things off in the calculations.  We were over our temp on the first rest (and never got it down to what it should have been), we were over on the 2nd step (but we were able to get it right), and we were almost under on the third, but in the ned we got it working.  We will see how the mash issues affect the final beer. Who knows, maybe the rests that we ended with will be better than what we planned (it’s possible…)

On the good side, we were very close on our pre-boil gravity, we git plenty of wort, and we had some really active yeast that was spun up from a very expired vial.  Also, we drank some great beers, and enjoyed some fun games.  In addition to our standard Exploding Kittens (and a little Yahtzee at the end), Clarissa brought Cards Against Humanity which was a nice addition.  Additionally, as of this morning (maybe 16 hours after pitching the yeast), the krausen is kicking, so we know those yeasties are excited to be in their new home.  Nebula has one of the oddest fermentation schedules of any of our beers, so the next two weeks we will continue to adjust, and we will see what we get in the end.  Delicousness.  That’s the goal.

Brew Day Playlist:
Run the Jewels: RtJ3
Algorhythms: EELRIJUE
Inside Out: No Spiritual Surrender
That Handsome Devil: A City Dressed in Dynamite
TOOL: Undertow
Madvilliany 2: The Madlib Remix
Soul Coughing: The Brooklynites

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Brew Day: Inked and Canela de Vainilla Inked

Today we took step 2 of 7 toawrds prepping for our hopeful investor’s dinner in the spring.  Today we brewed one of our standard beers, Inked (an oatmeal stout), and one of its Brazen counterparts, Canela de Vainilla Inked (cinnamon vanilla).  During this brew session, we worked some on our business plan, and it is getting closer to being done.  We are hoping that before the end of 2017 you will be able to buy a pint from us!

The brew day wasn’t as great as we had hoped.  First, it was actually cold in San Antonio.  Not complaining… because I complain about the heat most of the year, but still.  Cold.  Made all the hot liquids look cool, though.  Secondly, we ended up low in both our volume of beer and our Original Gravity (potential alcohol).  So, likely, Inked and CdV Inked are going to be lower than their original expectations, unless the Final Gravity ends lower (and dryer) as well. These issues of small variations will be less problematic when we have a more automated system.  As of now we are a very manual process, which means lots of opportunity to introduce human error.

We are going to be brewing a lot, and brewing more than we can serve at one investor’s dinner, so we intend to have some tastings this spring as well.  If you have an idea of a place we can serve homebrew (the rules per TABC: the location must not have a license to serve alcohol, and we need to be able to give it away in return for a “review,” so we will be asking for feedback) please email ryan@brazenbexarbrewing.com and we’ll be best buddies.

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Ryan, checking Inked on the refractometer.

Looking forward to see how these turn out… 🙂

Brew Day Playlist:
A Tribe Called Quest: We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
Beastie Boys: Ill Communication
CZARFACE: A Fistful of Peril
Dangerdoom: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
Deftones: B-Sides and Rarities
Devo: Freedom of Choice
Alice In Chains: Nothing Safe

Cerveceros 2016 Home Brew Competition at La Villiata

Saturday 11/12 we were fortunate to participate in this year’s Home Brew Competition hosted by San Antonio’s biggest home brew club, the Cerveceros.  It was at historic La Villita in downtown San Antonio and it was a beautiful day for an event.

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Luck #7 (this was before the last 5 kegs had been added)

We got down there around 11:30 to deliver our keg and set up our tent and table.  We found out after setting up that some of the other competitors had other beers they were pouring from their tents, and I wish we had realized we could do that!  We would have brought some more things for people to sample other than our competition beer.  Oh well, we’ll know for next time (and besides, we’d have to buy a little more equipment to be able to o that so no loss this time).  Or maybe we’ll just fill a bunch of metal growlers! (no glass allowed)

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Mehoopany, iPA – Pic by Hunter Hinton

Our newest beer, “Mehoopany, iPA” was entered in the competition.  We were assigned #7 (out of 22 entries).  This beer is a “Northeastern style” double IPA, clocking in at 8.5% and 68 IBUs.  This style is defined as being “hazy, soft, and juicy” with a very fruit forward aroma and mild bitterness compared to most styles of IPA.  We feel like we’ve got that description pretty well locked down.

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No mo’ Mehoopany fo’ you!

Funny thing was, in the 21 other choices, there was actually another entry in the same style (they called it a New England IPA but tomayto tomahto) called Betty Hopper.  Betty Hopper was the first keg to float, and one pour later Mehoopany followed.  Then… voting. Mehoopany took 2nd place… by ONE VOTE… to Betty Hopper!  Congrats guys!

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Celebrating 2nd with Pete Alanis, Cerveceros president

Overall it was a great event, and a great chance to get out and meet people both in the creating and consuming sides of craft beer.  There were many familiar faces that we have seen around (even at some of our own tasting event), as well as many new ones.  Thanks much to the Cerveceros for putting on the event, and thanks to everyone that came out, and a special thanks to everyone that gave us feedback.  If you were there and you did not check in our beer, please do! https://untappd.com/b/brazen-bexar-brewing-mehoopany-ipa/1771072

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Here we are, about to drop our new hip-hop album?

Next up for us is a pair of Brazen brews.  We are making variants of Bogues Beauregarde, our saison.  As of now, they are named “Blue Bogues” (Bogues aged on blueberries) and “Bogues Bleus Sauvages” (Bogues on blueberries, then soured).  After those we are intending to ramp production back up because sometime this spring we would like to have a potential investors dinner where we can serve a variety of our beer paired with some food to people that might want to give us money! More to come.

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.

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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).

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Manny stirs as Mike adds some sugar to the brew.

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Exploding…

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Kittens!

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

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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.”

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Mashing in and it smells so good

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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’.

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1.112!

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.

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Awaken the Narnope!

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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…

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Such a pretty color

 

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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: #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

Brew Day: Monogamous – Citra (and FREE BEER events!!!)

I (Ryan) have a week off from work, and since I didn’t really get a chance to go anywhere, I’m dubbing it my Beercation.  Let me be clear, that is a vacation WITH beer, not a vacation FROM beer!  A good friend from high school (in Germany!), Chris, came to town as well.  Chris has recently started brewing himself, so we decided that one of the activities while he was here is that we would do his first all-grain brew day, and I decided that I’d try my updated malt bill for Monogamous.  This time it’s Monogamous: Citra.

Our nice digital thermometer broke, so we had to use the manual one (which means sitting over a hot pot in a hot garage...)

Our nice digital thermometer broke, so we had to use the manual one (which means sitting over a hot pot in a hot garage…)

Chris stirring the mash

Chris stirring the mash

I built a yeast starter a few days earlier of Conan aka Vermont Ale yeast (aka the yeast that is in Heady Topper), and on Wednesday we got to it.  This was a pretty uneventful brew day… no major spillage, no major accidents, and the drinking was a bit more reserved on this one.  That is partially because of past experience, and partially because it was hot as hell in the garage.

Mmmmmmmm... Citra!

Mmmmmmmm… Citra!

...and Turbinado!

…and Turbinado!

We ended up getting a little lower volume than expected from the mash/sparge, and it ended up boiling a bit longer than expected, so the overall volume of beer was a bit diminished.  The OG ended up a tiny bit lower than was anticipated as well, but not significantly so.  I have high hopes that M:C is going to be a much better IPA than Monogamous: Simcoe was.  Once I get the malt bill dialed in to exactly what I want, I will eventually re-visit Simcoe hops and see the difference.

In goes Conan, the beer barbarian!

In goes Conan, the beer barbarian!

Fermenting away!

Fermenting away!

And you can come out and try our beers… SOON!  Really!  It’s official!!!  Wednesday, July 1st, BBxB will be pouring FREE BEER and selling glasses at Home Brew Party Bandera (8407 Bandera Rd, Ste 103) from 5-8 https://www.facebook.com/events/411086812419558/ and on Saturday, July 18th, at Boardwalk on Bulverde food truck park (14732 Bulverde Rd) from 3 – ??? https://www.facebook.com/events/1622071531394881/ Hope to see you there!

Brew Day Playlist:
Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Uplift Mofo Party Plan
Soul Coughing – Ruby Vroom
Reel Big Fish – Turn the Radio Off
Saul Williams – The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust