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

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!

Hops...

Hops…

...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: Drie Door Negen Nevel

This past Sunday we brewed what could be one of our “standard” series of beers, Drie Door Negen Nevel.  This is a Belgian Tripel, but made a bit BBxB by using Australian Galaxy for the aromatic hops.  I (Ryan) decided to go this way because the Belgian yeast, when fermented at the right temperatures, usually gives of fruity esters.  I wanted to compliment these esters with a tropical and fruity aromatic hop.

A Belgian golden by a Texas brewery seemed like an appropriate compliment to brew day. All images © 2015 BBxB

A Belgian golden by a Texas brewery seemed like an appropriate compliment to brew day. All images © 2015 BBxB

Mashing it!

Mashing it!

Overall the day went well.  I had help from Robert, a friend from work who wanted to try out all-grain brewing, and was interested in making a tripel, so DDNN was born.  The name means “3 by 9 Nebula” in Dutch… 3 for the 3 Galaxy additions, 9 for the expected ABV and Nebula as a synonym for Galaxy that sounds better in Dutch (rolls off the tongue better than “Melkeg”).

The vorlauf as we get the wort prepared to boil

The vorlauf as we get the wort prepared to boil

Robert drops the bittering hops into the hop spider

Robert drops the bittering hops into the hop spider

There were a few small setbacks here and there.  I forgot to add the sugar in until a little later in the boil, but I don’t expect this to be an issue.  I also broke my hydrometer… so we’re gonna have to guess on the ABV on this bad boy!  I am really looking forward to see how this one turns out, as Manny and I have been working on filling out our Standard series so that we’ve got a sold baseline to experiment from.

The bittering hops... and a sadly empty glass.

The bittering hops… and a sadly empty glass.

The Spider, doing it's thing.  I hope this will lend to clearer beer.

The Spider, doing it’s thing. I hope this will lend to clearer beer.

Two weeks from now, we will brew again, and I’m thinking it might be time for the return of And The Answer is: None. None More Black. so that it can be ready for our adventure in the 3rd week in June!

Brew Day Playlist:
Atmosphere: God Loves Ugly
Queens of the Stone Age: Era Vulgaris
Tenacious D: Tenacious D
SCG: Naughty Brilliant
Sublime: 40oz. to Freedom