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

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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

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