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: 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

*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