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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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