Tag Archives: IPA

Beer Bread Showdown

22 Nov

In a joint effort with Foodonia we have put together a beer bread test group, if you will.  We baked four loaves of bread all using the same recipe just adding a different beer to see how the results varied.

Beers Used:

the lineup

Budweiser was used because most recipes online call for Coors, or Bud light and a close friend requesting using straight-up Bud.  I chose #9 for it’s bit of Belgian yeast funk and spices.  The porter was used because I wanted to use a  beer with good, pronounced darker malts.  Lastly, Ommegang’s Hennepin was chosen for it’s white pepper notes and farmhouse qualities.

For a review of the bread baking process and recipe used make sure to check out Foodonia’s post.

The results were not exactly how I guessed things would have turned out.  The porter I had predicted to have tasted the best, however, almost none of the flavors stuck to the bread.  For the most part, it only imparted it’s color to the bread.  The Budweiser was deemed the worst of the breads.  The #9 and the Hennepin both came out giving off good flavors.  I preferred the Hennepin, though others backed the #9, and for good reason.

They boast a remarkably clean oven

The breads came out looking stupid.  I don’t really know how else to say it but they didn’t really get too much of a crust.  This is purely an aesthetic problem because the breads all tasted fine.  They were best after sitting for some time and for whatever reason when the bread is toasted the beer flavors become more pronounced. *shrugs*

If we were to do this again (and we may very well refine the recipe and the beers and give it another go) then I would consider using the following beers:

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Samuel Adam’s Winter Lager, Southern Tier’s Pumking, and Brown’s Harvest IPA.

 

Pale Ale Brewing Adventure [part 1]

4 Nov

Last weekend I broke my ‘dry spell’ and brewed some beer in my apartment.  I didn’t brew all summer and am currently running dangerously low on my homebrews, so it was out of necessity and was easily made part of my Halloween festivities alongside The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Nosferatu.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to go over the brewing process, so this post will be part entertainment and part informational (if you are worried about learning things then feel free to skim.)  It seems necessary to give a quick break down of the essential steps to homebrewing just to avoid confusion later on:

Note: this is in super lamens-terms. It is very important to sanitize all equipment used during the brewing process: beer is crafted by microbes, but we only want a select few of these little fellas in our drinks.  Sanitizing all equipment is essential.

Roughly, in order to brew beer you boil malt, grains, hops and a great variety of other ingredients at a controlled temperature for a certain duration of time.  Each ingredient will enter the mix at a certain time, and playing with these times, in addition to the quantity of any ingredient plays with the flavor of the beer.  At this stage of brewing (the hot, bubbly pot of breakfast cereal smelling goodness stage) what you have in the pot is called a “wort.”  After all ingredients have been added and their allotted time in the wort expired the boil must be terminated (the beer has taken on enough flavors and needs to stop taking on erroneous tastes or aromas.)

There are different methods for this chilling process: we use a wort chiller (a length of copper tubing that runs in a coil that you set into your bucket of wort.  Run cold water through it and watch your temperature drop) in addition to chilled, clean water we add to also cool the wort down in a more timely manner.  A typical homebrew recipe is geared towards making 5 gallons of beer per session (let’s face it, most home operations can’t really handle much more than that.)  Your wort will be significantly less than 5 gallons, however.  Part of our chilling strategy is also adding water to the wort in order to reach 5 gallons of product.

After a stable temperature of around 70 degrees F has been reached, the yeast is pitched, the fermentation bucket is sealed and the beer goes into it’s primary fermentation.  Each fermentor is fitted with an air lock: yeast is a living thing that generates gas.  This gas must be allowed to escape, or your enterprise could end in tragedy (it’s also neat because it seems like the beer is talking to you as it bubbles out the air lock.)  Depending on your recipe or desired outcome, after the primary fermentation your beer may be ready for bottling, or you may wish to enter it into a secondary period of fermentation.

That’s a rough breakdown of brewing, it may make more sense with an example: take my latest session.

I recently purchased 4, one gallon sized jugs in which to ferment my brew from NorthernBrewer.com.  This may seem out of order, but it is important to tell you the nature of the beer I brewed.  I took a book out of my own library and used a Pale ale recipe as my base for this adventure.  So, overall I am yielding 5 gallons of Pale Ale, however, now that I own the smaller fermentation jugs I can make several different variations of this Pale Ale base during the secondary fermentation stage.  My plan was to brew a one gallon batch of beer using the pale ale recipe, but adding pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to the wort.  I would then brew a seperate 4 gallon batch of the same pale ale recipe (sans pumpkin) and let that beer go through it’s primary fermentation.  At the end of the primary stage of fermentation, the one gallon pumpkin ale will get transferred to another container in order to continue aging and gain clarity, while the 4 gallon batch has a whole different experience coming.   2 gallons of the 4 will be unadulterated as a control for the pale ale recipe as I have never used this recipe previously.  Of the two remaining gallons, one will get an insane amount of cascade hops added for the secondary fermentation, and the other gets a shot or so of a grapefruit flavoring I bumped into at the supply store.  This may taste like absolute garbage when all said and done, and I’m okay with that.  I know that I will at least have 2 gallons of drinkable pale ale.

Unsettled Pumpkin Ale right after sealing the fermentor.

My strategy towards making beer is to add first, measure later.  My girlfriend’s father said it best, “if the Vikings can make beer then you can probably do it too.”  I don’t know the outcome of adding any amount of these ingredients so for my first time through I basically eye-balled it.  My pumpkin ale may have had too much pumpkin added to it for the amount of liquid in the wort.

I have never made a pumpkin ale before and I am a little past the season for it, but I wanted to try it and I don’t really see any problems with enjoying a pumpkin brew around Thanksgiving.

Here you can see the pumpkin, malt and hops sediment settling at the bottom of the glass jug. This seems like an unnatural amount. : /

During the fermentation process it is very important to keep the beer at a constant temperature of about 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Additionally, as we know bacteria grows best in dark places, so you have to cover your fermentation container in order to protect your beer from light sources.

I purchased my ingredients this time around from HammerSmithHomebrew.  The cashier/part-owner was incredibly friendly and very helpful.  He may have been more excited about me brewing than I was (and that is really saying something.)  I recommend this supply store (they also have wine-making kits and equipment as well as everything you would need to make your own soda.

On Monday the pumpkin ale gets transferred to it’s secondary fermentor, and on Tuesday the 4 gallon batch gets divided up and made into separate beers.  Then it’s just one more week and I can bottle my beers.  They should be ready just in time for Thanksgiving.  Look for posts at each of the above steps and I will keep information updated about these brews as they come to be.

it... is... alive!

I hope that this made any kind of sense.  Brewing beer is a very scientific art that I am far from mastering or even cracking the surface of.  However, it is incredibly fun and I don’t think anyone is incapable of doing it.

One last note: I also did this during my Halloween weekend:

lick it up, lick it up!

 

 

Another Burger Laid to Rest, Another Beer Enjoyed – Brown’s Brewing Company, Troy, NY

14 Sep

My Beacon in the Night

In my battle against hunger, thirst and the craving for the flavor and aroma of hops I found satisfaction in Brown’s Taproom, on River Street in Troy.  I had settled upon my destination but soon found myself caught in a feud of burger ownership from the City of Lakes, Minneapolis.  The Juicy Lucy, or Jucy Lucy, is a cheeseburger where cheese is cooked in the middle of the beef patty.  Two bars in Minneapolis both claim they were responsible for the creation of this burger, but I’m not picking sides: I am just enjoying Brown’s take on it.

Head chef, Paul Minbiole, has put together a very interesting menu for a Troy brewhouse: many of his creations involve beer made locally by Brown’s.  My burger, unfortunately did not contain any of their signature beers, but it was oozing with delicous boursin cheese.  What to pair with my rich, cheesy burger?  I used Brown’s Harvest I.P.A. (Beer of the Day on September 10th) because I gave in to temptation.  I can’t resist the idea of an I.P.A. made with hops that have been used in brewing a day after they are picked.

poor guy didn't have a chance...

I made short work of my burger and my beer was soon to follow.  If you live in the area and haven’t been to Brown’s then you should re-examine your priorities.  Even the building is cool: their taproom is an old brick building they saved and have re-worked to contain their brewery and pub.  I have to cut myself off because I will literally go on about how much I like this place for the rest of the day.  Just experience it for yourself.