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

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

Brew day: Bogues Beauregarde

Bogues Beauregarde is a beer that may end up in our Brazen series, depending on how it works out.  The recipe its self is a pretty standard saison, dried out with some sugar and some brown sugar.  What makes it “brazen” is the fact that it is brewed using both a standard, Belgian saison yeas in addition to yeast that I cultured from the skins of blueberries.

The Ingredients...

The Ingredients… All pictures ©2015 BBxB

Enjoying a Ranger Creek San Antonio Beer Week 2015 saison whilst brewing this saison!

Enjoying a Ranger Creek San Antonio Beer Week 2015 saison whilst brewing this saison!

Had a few setbacks today… I (Ryan) brewed this one by myself so there were some issues that come with no second person for quality control.  I lost a little of the first runnings to an open valve (“Why is my foot hot… shit!”) and lost a little bit in the transfer to the fermenter just because it’s tough to move a pot that big by yourself, even if you are only brewing 3 gallons.

A beautiful day to brew.

A beautiful day to brew.

This little guy showed up to help, but he wasn't able to really lift much.  Mostly he just hung out and didn't really do much.  Slacker.

This little guy showed up to help, but he wasn’t able to really lift much. Mostly he just hung out and didn’t really do much. Slacker.

I was happy to get it done, and I was really happy to see some vigorous fermentation in less than 2 hours from the finish!  The fermenter is bubbling away right now, and I can’t wait to find out how Bogues Beauregarde ends up.

Hops go in...

Hops go in…

Enjoying a None More Black. while finishing the brew.  Damn, that's a tasty brew.

Enjoying a None More Black. while finishing the brew. Damn, that’s a tasty brew.

Hopefully this weekend, BBxB will be brewing Monogamy, our single hop IPA for our standard series.  Until then, here’s a video of the yeast burping.  Cheers!

Brew Day Playlist:
Puscifer – Conditions of my Parole
The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium
Deltron – Deltron 3030