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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Our First Public Event!

Hey everyone!  Thanks to those of you who made it out to Home Brew Party on Bandera for our first public event.  We really enjoyed meeting you and getting your feedback on the beers!  It seems overall we were well received, but there are some things to work on.  That’s exactly what we wanted to know – what can we make better, and what is working right now.  When we have these events, it’s not to make ourselves feel good or pat ourselves on the back, it’s to get good, usable feedback.  Feedback is a gift, positive or negative, so we were glad to get a lot of responses that weren’t just “It’s great!”

What we were pouring (plus Monogamous: Simcoe made it out there too)

What we were pouring (plus Monogamous: Simcoe made it out there too)

Feedback is a gift.

Feedback is a gift.

A few of the peeps that made it out... Hi Nicole and Troy!

A few of the peeps that made it out… Hi Nicole and Troy!

We had a decent sized crowd, and gave away the majority of the beer we brought with us.  The next event is Saturday, 7/18, from 3 – ??? at Boardwalk on Bulverde (14732 Bulverde Rd, San Antonio, TX 78247) and we’d love to see you there.  Please tell your friends.  The more people we can get there, the more honest feedback we can get, which will do nothing but make our beers better for you when you actually have the ability to buy some!  In the mean time, FREE BEER.  We will again have our 1st edition glass for sale for $6 as well.  Manny and I hope to see you, and your friends, and your friend’s friends… cheers!

Bottles as far as the eye could see.... if you are very short sighted.  Let's just say: bottles.

Bottles as far as the eye could see…. if you are very short sighted. Let’s just say: bottles.

Cheers from BBxB to you!

Cheers from BBxB to you!

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

Brew Day: Monogamy (Simcoe)

Today we crafted what will hopefully be the first beer in our Standard series, our IPA: Monogamy.  It is dubbed Monogamy because it is a single hop IPA that will be brewed with the same malt bill and yeast (assuming we like this malt bill and yeast!) each time, but with a rotating cast of single hops.  The first iteration is Monogamy (Simcoe).

Starting the day with morning coffee in my Branchline mug while filtering some San Antonio water. All pictures ©2015 BBxB

The weather out side is frightful... so today we'll be brewing in the garage.

The weather out side is frightful… so today we’ll be brewing in the garage.

At 10 or so in the morning it was pouring out, so I (Ryan) decided to set this brew day up in the garage.  By 1:30 when Manny and some guests (Roxanne and Mark who were here on academic reasons, and Raul who was here for libation-ic reasons) arrived and we got set up, the sun was shining and the humidity was blasting.

Heating the mash water

Heating the mash water

This mash tun is amazing... with no top offs, it lost less than 1.5 degrees in 75 minutes.

This mash tun is amazing… with no top offs, it lost less than 1.5 degrees in 75 minutes.

The brew went pretty smooth overall.  We hung out, listened to music, drank (mostly) good beers and enjoyed good company in my not-super-hot and not-super-humid garage.  No sunburn this time like Tuesday, no foot burn (because we didn’t lose any mash water due to a not-quite-closed spigot), no big issues.

Manny

Manny “supervising” the wort coming to a boil

Ryan pretending like he's doing something important, but really just enjoying the warm hop steam facial.

Ryan pretending like he’s doing something important, but really just enjoying the warm hop steam facial.

We tried something a bit new today, running the cooled wort through a sanitized filter bag to remove the excess hop matter before putting it in the fermenter… and I wasn’t too impressed with the results.  The mesh was too fine, and it was a pain in the ass getting all of the wort out.  Manny had to literally squeeze it out with his bare (sanitized) hands.  Next time we’re going to look into just isolating the hops in the wort to begin with instead of trying to separate them at the end.

Roxanne and Mark keeping the wort chiller running strong (and trying to kill my weeds with the hot water)

Roxanne and Mark keeping the wort chiller running strong (and trying to kill my weeds with the hot water).

And finally, for your viewing pleasure, here's a pig dressed as a green bunny on a skateboard.  You're welcome.

And finally, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a pig dressed as a green bunny on a skateboard. You’re welcome.

Brew day Playlist:
Soul Coughing – Irresistible Bliss
Allen Stone – Allen Stone
Doc Delay & Godforbid – American Style Cardboard
Primus – Antipop
White Zombie – Astro-Creep 2000