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.

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!

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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.

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*Double* Brew Day: Tetahi e Waru Tekau (aka 81) and Cap’n ‘Murica

So in getting prepped for our event later this month, we decided to double up on this brewday and brew 2 different beers that use the same yeast, so we could ferment them at the same time.  First up was version 2 of Tetahi e Waru Tekau aka 81, our Imperial New Zealand IPA.  The last time we brewed 81, it was a combination of American and NZ hops, but in trying to go with a NZ theme (the name is the Māori word for 81) we changed the hop bill to Pacific Gem, Pacific Jade, and NZ Hallertau aka Wakatau.  This time around we also upped the variety of hop additions to make a more interesting beer.

Vorlauf on 81.  All images © 2015 BBxB

Vorlauf on 81. All images © 2015 BBxB

The crazy hopping schedule.

The crazy hopping schedule.

Once we had the boil going, we cleaned out the mash tun (and for about the first time ever, EVER, we didn’t spill a bunch of grain on the ground… or on my feet!) to get prepared for Cap’n ‘Murica.  This is our Pale Ale that is dry hopped with Citra.  It was our first Homebrew Competition entry, and it took 3rd so that’s not too shabby!

Mashing the CM

Mashing the CM

Hops go in... tasty elixir comes out

Hops go in… tasty elixir comes out

Today we used dry yeast that we did not do a starter on, and that was a first-in-a-long-time.  I think next time the starter will most certainly be made, because both beers took quite a bit longer to get going than I’d like (81 more so).  Our original gravities ended up a bit low on both brews, but not too too much, so we’ll see if there’s a significant difference in the end.  This is why we’re brewing so much now: to get our recipes dialed in.

The tastiest of steam...

The tastiest of steam…

...makes the tastiest of steam baths!

…makes the tastiest of steam baths!

And recipes… if you want to come try some… you can.  Soon.  You can even buy a glass if you so desire.  See our Facebook page for more details!!! http://www.facebook.com/BrazenBeXarBrewing

Limited edition (144) first BBxB glass, available for $6

Limited edition (144) first BBxB glass, available for $6

Brew Day Playlist:

Suicide Machines – Destruction by Definition
That Handsome Devil – Jungle Book
Jurassic 5 – Power in Numbers
Atmosphere – Seven’s Travels
Clutch – Blast Tyrant
MC Frontalot – Question Bedtime
NOFX – White Trash, Two Heebs, and a Bean
Wu Tang Clan & Jimi Hendrix – Black Gold

Brew Day: Inked & Agrio Inked

As we prepare for our event next month (more info soon), we are getting various recipes put together for feedback.  Today Manny and I brewed our new Oatmeal Stout, Inked, and it’s sour brother, Agrio Inked.  This is an Oatmeal Stout with a dose of Piloncillo sugar, and Agrio is the same recipe, soured with hill Country souring bacteria.  Both Manny and I are big fans of sour stouts, so we have grand aspirations for Agrio Inked.

The mash has started!

The mash has started!

Brunch of champions: doughnut holes and Lagunitas Imperial Stout!

Brunch of champions: doughnut holes and Lagunitas Imperial Stout!

The brew went pretty smooth overall.  We started early so that we could be done early.  Since we were making 2 versions of the beer, we shot for 8.5 gallons total.  5.5 will be Inked, and the other 3 will be Agrio Inked.  Of course there was the occasional slip up… but overall relatively smooth.  The biggest issue we had was the STUPID FLIES that would not leave us alone!  I had to dump two glasses of beer (well, not full glasses) because I found flies going for drunken dips.  Stupid flies.

Poured a little out for homies.  That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Poured a little out for homies. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

We were really excited with the color we got on this one.  Should live up to it's name.

We were really excited with the color we got on this one. Should live up to it’s name.

The mash tun could not be *much* smaller and still work, but we made it through with only a few burns here and there.

The mash tun could not be *much* smaller and still work, but we made it through with only a few burns here and there.

In the end, we were at about exactly the amount of wort we expected.  The OG actually ended up a bit higher than expected so either we read it wrong (possible), we got a lot more from the mash than expected, or the math was wrong somewhere.  Stupid math having to be a part of everyday life in everything.  We’ll see where it ends up… we were expected about 6.4% but I think it will be higher.

One of the San Antonioan ingredients in Inked

One of the San Antonioan ingredients in Inked

The final outcome...

The final outcome…

Until next time… CHEERS!  And we’ll hope to see you in person next month!

Miller Clear?  No.  Gotta make sure you don't get dehydrated on brew day! Cheers from BBxB to you!

Miller Clear? No. Gotta make sure you don’t get dehydrated on brew day! Cheers from BBxB to you!

Brew Day Playlist:
Tool: Salival
Smashing Pumpkins: Zero EP
Tenacious D: Tribute EP
Louis Mackey & Thirtyseven: No Humans Allowed II – Yesterday, Tomorrow, and You
MF DOOM: Live from Planet X
Handsome Boy Modeling School: So How’s Your Girl?
DJ Shadow: The Private Press
From Beyond: One Year & The Colour Out of Space

BBxB Day Out: Jester King and Real Ale

This past weekend, Manny and I headed up to just outside of Austin, Texas, for a trip to one of my favorite breweries, Jester King.  Not only is it a beautiful place, but they make very interesting, amazing beers.  They focus on being a true “Farmhouse” brewery, and all of their beers are spontaneously fermented to some point.  They were actually the impetus behind harvesting wild blueberry yeast for Bogues Beauregarde, as I have heard their brewmasters talking about how they use local flora and fauna to spontaneously ferment some of their beers.

Keep Austin Weird, they say.  So Jester King hung a chandelier in a tree. Like you do.

Keep Austin Weird, they say. So Jester King hung a chandelier in a tree. Like you do.

A selection of some of the beers that Manny and I tried...

A selection of some of the beers that Manny and I tried…

While at Jester King, I met up with a friend I know through my beer group on Facebook, We Enjoy Beer Quite a Lot.  Dan was in town from Virginia visiting his friend Gina, so we all met up for some good beers.  Since Dan didn’t have a long time in Texas, Manny and I took him from Jester King along to another one of our favorite breweries, that happens to be literally on the way home, Real Ale.  Real Ale is based in Blanco, and has been growing a lot this last year.  They are only available in Texas, and do not get nearly as much fanfare as Jester King.  They make a much more varied lineup of beers, but also have some great sours and wild beers in their Mysterium Verum series.

My flight included (L-R) Morgum,

My flight included (L-R) Morgum Sour Porter, Full Moon Rye IPA (on cask with Citra), Brewer’s Cut: Helles Lager, and Lost Gold IPA which is one of my go-to every day beers.

The Mysterium Verum: Morgum was so good I had to have a full pour, the flight did not suffice.

The Mysterium Verum: Morgum was so good I had to have a full pour, the flight did not suffice.

I think Dan enjoyed the beers Texas had to offer.  But then, to make sure no one got left out, we stopped by Big Hops Growler Station on the way back into town to look at some other options form around the state.  I was lucky enough to catch a pour of St. Arnold’s Bishop’s Barrel #9 (bourbon barrel aged Pumpkinator) before it disappeared for ever.  This was a fun day out for ideas and mostly to just enjoy some beer.

From us to you: Cheers!

From us to you: Cheers!