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Jail Broke

More suds

Every beer blog I read has already posted a two thousand and fourteen page talking about beer this year, etc.  So here goes mine, but there’s really something to be excited about other than saying I’m going to write more (many of you would prefer me to write less or even none).  You see what’s about to happen in Athens, Georgia is the local breweries are actually going to double.  How many people can say that?

Currently Athens is home to, the now ever vastly expanding, regional brewery Terrapin Beer Company.  It’s also home to Copper Creek Brewing Company, also known as the home of wing night.  They have great wings on sale Thursday night and if I’m lucky Sarah lets me go twice a month, but normally only once a month because she loves me.  In 2014 Athens will see doors open and beers pouring from two new breweries, Creature Comforts and The Southern Brewing Co.

photo credit CCBC

Creature Comforts

Creature Comforts

is housed in the old Snow Tire Co. building on W. Hancock St. downtown.  With Creature Beer being downtown, it’s a prime location which will certainly be at capacity during game weekends.  They recently received their tanks and posted plenty of pictures over on their blog.

credit CCBC

CCBC tanks arriving

photo credit CCBC

Line up!

From reading their site they will brew on a 30 barrel brew house and as you can see above, has a lot of fermentation capacity from the rip.  They posted on Facebook that their Berliner will be in cans, so let’s hope all of their beers wind up in our favorite aluminum container.

The Southern Brewing Company

The Southern Brewing Company

has acquired land along Collins Industrial Boulevard, which runs alongside highway 29, and is across from McLane Trucking.  They are working on plans for clearing land and building right now.  Brian Roth, a 10 year brewing veteran, is working diligently to make his dreams come true.

Concept 2 - phase 1 includes a 10k sq. ft. brewery with huge bier garden

Concept 2 – phase 1 includes a 10k sq. ft. brewery with huge bier garden

He has the help of long time friend and co-founder Rick Goddard (you’ll soon realize he’s not American once you go to his bio page) and brewer Mark Mooney, so he’s surrounded by good help.  I’ve never seen anyone as proficient as Rick clean not one, but two giant 15 gallon pumpkins in a single brew day.  If you ever need a trust worthy bottle filler then call on Mark.  I’ve never seen Mark pull a bottling bucket off the table while bottling and I can’t say that about Brian.

What’s great about SBC is their love for brewing, the community and the camaraderie that comes with it.   We started out as a cleaner at Gratis Brewing, the home brew pilot system for SBC, and have moved up to collaborator.  Remember the great things we said about Rick?

Rick fisting a gourd

It’s a very rough timeline because there are still a lot of hurdles to jump or knock down, but they are tentatively planning to brew on their system in July.  I didn’t think I’d ever say this but summer can come soon enough.

Big Ginger (little cinnamon) Pumpkin Porter

Single hop ale – Cascade

First runnings

First runnings

Probably the last beer I’ll brew until Fall unless things work out for the better.  It’s the first week of May and unlike last year, we have yet to turn on the air conditioner.  So we could have brewed a batch but again, time is short now a days.  After Denver brewed an IPA using Dry English Ale yeast as Stone Brewing does, Brian and I had to get on the bandwagon.  As I’ve done with all the beers I brewed this year, we’ve stuck with lower ABV targets, all under 5%.  But brewing on Gratis Brewing’s system gave us a better efficiency.  Even with a yeast mistake this single hop Cascade pale ale still attenuated to 5.5% ABV.

oxygen insertion

oxygen insertion

By no means can I say I’m knowledgeable of  all hops, but I might know someone who is.  I do know which ones I have brewed with and of those that I really like.  Cascade would be the major one that I really enjoy.  There are many commercial examples of beers that solely use Cascade hops.  It is also one that falls in the bittering and aroma category.  Thankfully Mark over at 5 Points Growlers and Home Brew Supply opened a fresh bag of Cascade leaf hops for me.  Posting a full Ziploc bag holding six ounces of Cascade hops had quite the remarks on BookFace.  Using Gratis’ setup warranted some recipe changes since I’m not fully familiar with brewing what I would consider double batches.  I have yet to brew a really good beer on his system too.  But I have no problem wearing a rookie shirt and brewing in the minor leagues still.  One day though, right?  I think I ended up adding 5.25 oz of Cascade hops.  I should have asked Brian to dry hop the two carboys, which would have been tough with those .75 oz of Cascade hops in my fridge at home.

Cascade carboys

Cascade carboys

The yeast mistake garners the minor league pay too.  Using a very fresh vial from 5 Pts. I propagated it to 1 liter.  Then I split it, using not quite half of it for the White Pale Mutt along with the German Hefeweizen yeast.  That beer did turn out really well.  Still too much banana and bubble gum from that WLP-300 yeast strand, but the WLP-007 dried it out nicely.  So I took the harvest Dry English Ale yeast from the fridge and propagated that to 1L, then I stepped it to 2L and would use that to pitch with.  My FG was only 1.o20 which isn’t bad, but I was hoping for more like 1.013 FG.  With the super efficiency of the soon to be known Southern Brewing Co. pilot system, it still shot over our 4.8% ABV and ended up with 5.5% ABV.  The beer is drinking nice with a mild bitterness and some subtle sweetness with the higher final gravity.  My hop schedule was 60 minutes, 30, 15, 10 and finally 5 minutes.  Without the yeast mess up and some dry hopping, this would be a great beer.  It’s going to be just fine as a good beer to get us through the Summer months.

cheers to rainy days

cheers to rainy days

Now if we want to talk about great beers brewed the same day using the same yeast strain then I have to mention the SBC Racing Mud Puddle IPA.  Last night served kind of like the release party for SBC Racing.  Brewed with a first wort hopping of NZ Hallertau, then bittered constantly throughout the boil with Motueka and finally dry hopped with Citra.  It runs the color of a murky Georgia red clay mud puddle and drinks like a peach NEHI.   Such a great beer and check out SBC Racing on BookFace.

Later we’re going to talk about our first attempt at brewing parti-gyle style.  An ancient brewing style that uses the same grain to produce different batches of beer, all being lower in ABV from the original.

Cheers race fans!

SBCR mud puddle IPA

SBCR mud puddle IPA

SBC Racing Mud Puddle

SBC Racing Mud Puddle

Hop Back To It

additions and consumptions

additions and consumptions

I hope some of you don’t read too much into that title.  This post isn’t related to our new Southern Brewing Company t-shirts saying “We’re going to need a bigger hop back.”  It’s in reference to finally have some free time to relax with some home brew and do some writing, err typing.  Work has certainly consumed the weekdays to the point that I have enough time to work, eat and sleep.  The weekends have been consumed with everything from concerts to weddings to travelling.  The travelling is about to come full circle too.  If you’re in the know, well then ya know.

I’m sure you’ve forgotten like I have, but our first brew was a hoppy wheat beer brewed a couple of nights before New Year’s Day.  I then got a last-minute inspiration to brew a white pale ale, dubbed White Pale Mutt.  I wanted to continue playing with yeast after successfully washing a WLP-300 German Hefeweizen culture and propagating it.  So I brewed a light grain bill using Sorachi Ace hops for their known lemon and citrus notes.  I finished the boil off with some Cascade for more citrus notes and tossed in some fresh sweet orange peel for good measures.  I blended the washed WLP-300 culture with a fresh WLP-007 Dry English Ale strand.  I propagated that strand too and split it, using half on this brew and refrigerating the rest.  This will prove fatal to me later.  Oh well, what do you do?  Brew and learn!

Secondary runnings

Secondary running

I took advantage of an off Friday to get this brew in.  It really fell together a day or two before after sipping on a Westbrook White Thai.  I thankfully found Sorachi Ace hops at 5 Points Growlers and Brew Supply, which is where I found the really fresh vial of WLP-007.  I threw a pork butt and a couple of whole chickens in the smoker to keep me occupied during down time.  I shouldn’t take on so many hobbies at once, but I for the most part have brewing at home down.  Not so much at Gratis, but I’m learning, so I won’t be smoking any meat there while I’m brewing just yet.

Sweet orange peel

Sweet orange peel

I threw in more fresh orange sweet peel during bottling but even the small amount of bottle carbonation blew that off too.  The beer fresh was awesome lemon/citrus bitterness.  The dry English ale yeast helped subdue the big German Hefeweizen yeast notes of banana and bubble-gum flavors that are so known with that culture.  It’s a great beer for Summer and even Spring.  But since Spring isn’t here yet, and I’m not complaining, we’ll decide if we sit on them or slowly sip them.

Samples

Samples

We did some more brewing but it was at Gratis Brewing.  I want to keep these next few posts short, so we’ll be there next time.

Cheers!

Yeast week

WLP007 1L starter

WLP007 1L starter

So this past week saw a scheduled Friday off.  A day that is usually consumed with way too many chores scattered through-out the day to plan anything fun.  Even if it’s just lunch downtown with the wife.  Even though I caught a little expected grief on missing lunch I was excused to finally brew at the house.  I also threw some meat on the smoker.  It’s an inexpensive one from Academy but will do the job once I figure things out.  The second smoking was better than the first, so hopefully I’ll have it figured out next try.  It’s not near as bad as brewing beer.  I haven’t dumped a smoked butt yet.  It all gets eaten!  But I digress.  Back on topic of yeast.  I recently posted about washing yeast for the first time.  This is the process of saving $8 per brew to reuse yeast from the previous brew.  “Shit actually works!”

WLP007 & WLP300 starters

WLP007 & WLP300 starters

We wandered into 5 Points Growlers Beer & Brew Supply awhile back when Amber & Ty were in town for fills.  I always check out the yeast cooler to see if they have what I want or I’m curious about.  I found the only vial of White Labs WLP-007 Dry English Ale yeast and its fresh w/ a best before by date of 4/11.  Which means it was packaged on 1/11 this year.  Most beers aren’t that fresh.  Usually Monday before brewing is just recipe creation day, but I have more up my flask this week.  I made a 1 liter starter with that WLP-007 vial.  Denver used this in an IPA and it kicked ass.  This yeast is highly flocculent with high attenuation, which means it makes a clear beer and eats lots of sugars to produce a dry finish.  I want to use this yeast in a pale ale brewed at Gratis, so I can’t ‘waste’ it in this week’s brew.  Which means on Wednesday I ‘stepped’ it to 2 liters.  I crash chill the starter for the day and make a 2 liter starter on Wednesday after work.  I decant off the beer and pour the yeast slurry into a new starter.  I wake up Thursday morning to find it’s blown through the airlock.  Thankfully I save Star San while these things are happening.  I pull the airlock to cleanse and sani it before work.  By the time I make my sandwich for lunch the krausen is already pushing into the airlock.  “Hope it (the airlock) stays wet until I get home!”

I also got a 1 liter starter going with the White Labs WLP-300 German Hefeweizen yeast along with 1/4 tsp of yeast nutrient.  When I checked on the yeast Thursday morning I was overly excited to see this yeast going strong.  Success!  A quick manual stir and the krausen woke up and spit right out of the air lock.  Now I’m not only cleaning up krausen from the WLP-007, but I have foam running down the cabinet doors in our laundry room.  If I shut the door with the HVAC vent open this room will stay almost exactly 70*F all the time.  Which is near perfect for ale yeast fermentation.

Thursday I finished a recipe and decide on a white pale ale.  This style recently came to life from a few select brewers and is still not recognized by the BJCP.  Some of the more famous beers are Deschutes Chainbreaker IPA, Westbrook White Thai and the Founders Brewing collab with Green Flash for the Linchpin White IPA.  The differentiating here is that I’m doing a pale ale, or a pale wheat and using a blend of WLP-007 and WLP-300.  While I didn’t measure yeast counts, I feel like I had a bigger slurry of 300 over 007, thus hoping to have a dry finish with a cloudy beer.

Friday rolls around and NO WORKY FOR ME!  I realize quickly that I’ve driven over my good water hose end and it’s inoperable, SOB!  So out comes the old hose which thankfully isn’t frozen.  I get the coolers sanitized to get some ice and Gatorade in them.  Finally get some charcoal burning in the smoker and get the pig’s bottom and whole yard bird on there with hickory chunks.  It’s too bad it’s Friday and no one is in the cul-de-sac to salivate other than me.  I’m pretty impressed with myself in that I get the mash water heating up at noon and by 5pm the yeast is pitched.  The grain bill is simple in Brewer’s Malt, White Wheat and some Cara-Pils along with some Sorachi Ace hops from Japan which are known for their lemon/citrus flavor.  Throw in the common American Cascade hops at 15 minutes and 5 minutes along with some fresh orange zest at 15 minutes and we should have a great citrus white pale wheat with around 5% abv just in time for front porch homebrew this Spring!

Don’t forget that the Classic City Brew Fest is just around the corner.  Go ahead and buy tickets, you may get a chance to brew with The Southern Brewing Company on their pilot system along with a tour of their new space before it’s open.  I’ll post links tomorrow, or just Goggle tonight.  Hope to see everyone there.

Slainte!

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