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.


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).


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!


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.


Manny stirs as Mike adds some sugar to the brew.





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


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: 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 “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