Blockhouse IPA

Posted: March 7, 2012 in HoCo, IPA
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In continuing with my brewing escapades and with my new found love of IPAs, I decided that my fourth brew would of course be an IPA.

Wow, I jumped from brewing only one beer to brewing my fourth.  I haven’t been the best blogger of all-time, but I should mention that I’ve brewed a Belgian Trippel and a Golden Ale prior to brewing this IPA.  The Belgian didn’t really turn out as I expected, but most people really enjoyed it.  I personally liked the Golden Ale, but I get the feeling that my sampling crowd didn’t like it.  I should also mention that since brewing the IPA, I’ve brewed a Hefeweizen, an American Amber Ale, and a Pale Ale.  Of these three, only the Hefeweizen is ready for consumption.

Back on the subject of brewing my IPA.  I selected an IPA recipe that I found online entitled “4C’s IPA“.  The recipe is as follows:

Grains & Adjunts

4.00 lbs – Bries Golden Light DME

2.00 lbs – Amber Dry Extract

1.00 lbs – Vienna Malt

0.50 lbs – Caramel/Crystal Malt – 20L

0.50 lbs – Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L

Hops

0.50 ozs – Columbus – 60 minutes

0.50 ozs – Citra – 40 minutes

0.50 ozs – Centennial – 20 minutes

0.50 ozs – Citra – 10 minutes

0.50 ozs – Cascade – 5 minutes

0.50 ozs – Citra – 3 minutes

0.50 ozs – Cascade – 14 days dry hopped

0.50 ozs – Citra – 14 days dry hopped

Yeast

1.0 pkg – California Ale

Pretty simple recipe, lots of hops added at differing intervals.  Of all the beers that I’ve now brewed, this one by far is the favorite among my sampling crowd.

I’d like to consider this my signature beer, but don’t want to completely copy the recipe that someone else worked hard to develop.  In the spirit of brewing and of the Wildeman, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus on tweaking this recipe over the course of this year.  I want to call this my own and to completely make it my signature beer.  Hopefully, my experiments will taste just as good, if not better, than this recipe does.

Flying Dog’s Wildeman Farmhouse IPA reminds me of the Animal Planet television show “Call of the Wildman”.  On my trek down this path of beer drinking and now brewing I’ve grown quite fond of IPAs.  When I first started this endeavor I hadn’t really tried many different styles of beer.  Like most people my experience with beer was limited to watered down and flavorless lagers produced by Miller, Coors, and Budweiser.  I also enjoyed the occasional stout and considered the stout my favorite style of beer.

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Like “The Turtleman” diving head first into wild animal extraction, this all changed when I decided to try to drink one of every beer carried by The Perfect Pour.  I quickly found out that IPAs had a funny and bitter after taste, but this grew on me.  I now consider the IPA as my favorite style of beer.  My top brewers of IPAs include Dogfish Head, Lagunitas, and Southern Tier.  Unfortunately, Wildeman Farmhouse IPA did not meet the expectations put in place by these three breweries.  It is not a bad IPA, but probably not one that I would consider over a 60-Minute IPA.

Wildeman conjures up images of a wild, hairy, beastly, and manly character.  To me it means breaking away from the norm, to trying new things.  If it wasn’t for my own personal challenge, I probably would never have tried an IPA, or a beer from Dogfish Head, or brewing my own beer.  So, cheers to the Wildeman out there and to those that choose to break free from flavorless beers.


Introducing Succubus Ale

That’s right I started home brewing.  A co-worker of mine introduced me to home brewing at the beginning of the year.  I started out slowing first helping him bottle a batch of his beer.  Then I helped him brew two other batches of beer.  Finally, after purchasing my beer making equipment and pouring over beer recipes, I decided that it was time to try my own.

Since I had a little experience with my co-worker and since he was helping me out with my brew I figured I go a little crazy a try something difficult.  I settled on a recipe from the book “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing” called Goat Scrotum Ale.  The book describes the recipe as somewhat like a “choose your own adventure” brew.  You get to pick the boiling hops and the finishing hops as well as one or more ingredient from a list of 10 to 12 items.  The two ingredients that stood out to me were chocolate and chili peppers, that whole sweet and spicy appeal.

Ingredients

4.00 lbs – Dark Dry Extract

1.00 lbs – Caramel/Crystal Malt – 120L

0.25 lbs – Black Patent Malt

0.30 lbs – Roasted Barley

8.00 ozs – Dark Brown Sugar

8.00 ozs – Blackstrap Molasses

1.00 lbs – Corn Sugar (Dextrose)

1.50 ozs – Northern Brewer Hops – Boiling

0.25 ozs – Fuggles Hops – Finishing

1.oo pkg – Irish Ale – Yeast

2.00 tsp – Gypsum

6.00 oz – Chocolate

5 – Chili peppers

 

Results

I don’t want to toot my own horn too much, but this beer turned out really good.  Seeing that I brewed 5 gallons of brew, I gave away a lot of bottles to friends and co-workers.  Most everyone enjoyed it.  One friend chipped in some cash for me to make my next beer and another friend that didn’t think he would like it gave it an 8 out of 10 rating.

Succubus Ale is a really dark dark porter.  When held up to the light you can’t see anything through the glass.  I didn’t expect to with the all the dark grains, dark brown sugar, chocolate, and blackstrap molasses.  The first one that I poured was straight into the glass and not down the side.  A big mistake there, the glass was soon full of almost complete foam.  You can vaguely make out the chocolate flavor and as it warms up you can start to taste the chili peppers. Not too bad for a first try and waiting patiently for a little over a month for the beer to completely ferment and age.

More to follow as I plan on brewing my second beer, a Belgian Trippel, next week.

 

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Posted: October 7, 2011 in HoCo, Porter
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Baltimore Beer Week is upon us. It officially started yesterday with close to 330 events taking place in and around Baltimore. It runs from Thursday October 6th to Sunday October 16th. You can find out about events on Baltimore Beer Week website.

I plan on attending Frisco’s First Beer Dinner on Monday and maybe the Battle of the Belgians at Victoria’s on Thursday night.

Enjoy Beer Week!

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Unique beer from Starr Hill. Very aromatic and very bitter, almost too bitter. I guess that would be expected from an Imperial IPA.  Starr Hill is located in Charlottesville, VA and this the first beer that I’ve had from them.  This came recommended from my good friends over at The Perfect Pour.

I’m not too happy with this beer, it is not really all that bad, but I don’t think I would drink this on a regular occasion.  It is definitely not a beer for someone that is a casual beer drinker or someone that is going to be drinking a few beers.

Double Platinum is way more bitter than a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.  I’ve never had an Imperial IPA before, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  Oh well, with an 8.6% alcohol by volume rating, I don’t think I’ll be worrying for too long about how bitter it is.

If you live in HoCo, then you know about Antwerpen Dealerships and the funny commercials with Jack wearing the white glasses. On Thursday in little old St. Michaels, MD my wife and I had the pleasure  to meet Jack.

We were searching for a place to have a drink and eat some apps when we walked into The Big Pickle Food Bar. While we were looking over the menu I noticed a gentleman in the back wearing white glasses. I asked the hostess if that was Jack Antwerpen. She said yes and that he is the owner of The Big Pickle. Shortly thereafter Jack walked over to greet us and welcome us to his new restaurant.

We chatted with Jack for a few minutes and sat down at the bar.  We ordered some drinks and shared an order of Street Tacos.  Jack left, but came back a few minutes later and chatted us up again.  He asked us if we have ever had fried pickles before.  Both my wife and I have not, so he said to the bartender, “an order of fried pickles on the house.”  Dang, Jack just purchased us an appitizer in his own restaurant.  What a cool thing to do!!!!

Back to the food for a few minutes.  The Street Tacos were excellent, the fried pickles surprisingly good, and we came back later in the night for some crab fritters.  The crab fritters weren’t my favorite, but two out of three isn’t bad.  Overall, The Big Pickle looks to me to be a huge success, I definitely want to go back to try some other menu items.

I would have never have guessed that I would “bump” into Jack Antwerpen in St. Michaels, but he wasn’t the only regional celebrity that we ran into while on vacation.  We were sitting at the bar at Eastern Shore Brewing when Todd “The DIRT Man” from Todd’s Dirt walked in from the brewing floor to get another beer.  Todd makes his own line of Seasonings and lives next door to HoCo in Anne Arundel County.  We chatted with Todd for a few minutes and found out that Giant will be carrying his line of Seasonings starting this week in all of Maryland.  Before we left the brewery, I purchased a bottle of Todd’s Crabby Dirt. Yum!

Anyway, what a crazy couple of days rolling with regional celebs in St. Michaels!!

My signed Mikkeller bottle

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Mikkeller
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Stopped by the Mikkeller Tasting at The Perfect Pour and picked up a bottle of Hoppy Easter. Mikkel was kind enough to sign it.

Wish I was able to go to the after party.

Danish brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergso is hosting a tasting event at The Perfect Pour on Wednesday, August 31st from 5:30 to 7PM. If this doesn’t get you excited then maybe the after party at Frisco Tap House & Brewery will. Mikkel will be there and Frisco’s is planning on having over 20 Mikkeller Beers on tap. Talk about a crazy night in HoCo this coming Wednesday.

Most people won’t know who Mikkel is, but if you are microbrew fanatic or a homebrewer, then Mikkel is like Mick Jagger to you.  Mikkeller’s story involves two individuals that started homebrewing in their kitchen and in a few short years went on to international recognition.  More information can be found at the Mikkeller website.

On Saturday, during the hurricane, I stopped by The Perfect Pour and was asking about the Mikkeller event on Wednesday.  I was surprised to learn that Mikkel is really hyped up for this event.  Apparently he regularly visits larger cities in the US and was shocked to find out that he has such a following in little old HoCo.  It turns out that HoCo is becoming somewhat of a Mecca for Microbrew fanatics.  This doesn’t surprise me because of places like The Perfect Pour and Frisco’s.  More on Frisco’s and their future plans in an upcoming posting.

For now, mark your calendar’s for this Wednesday night and have a night with Mikkeller, you won’t be disappointed. See you there!

Hop Sun

Posted: August 27, 2011 in Golden, Southern Tier, Summer

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Hop Sun from Southern Tier Brewing Company is a wonderful summertime ale.

Obviously this beer is golden in color and is pretty hoppy. I would also suggest throwing in a slice of orange with this drink.

I don’t recall the smell or the taste of this beer as it has been a while since I’ve had a fresh one.

I’m not sold on my rating system so I need to come up with something new. I’d love to use the hop leaf to rate beer, but another blog already does this. I guess I’ll come up with something. For now I rate Hop Sun as great on a summer day.

Back in June I had the opportunity to visit Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, NY.  All I can say is WOW!

Southern Tier Brewery had such a laid back and relaxing vibe.  The brewery consists of a large warehouse and a brewpub located within an industrial park. Southern Tier’s large warehouse, at first seems uninviting, but once on the patio of the brewpub all cares seem to disappear.  The patio has a large wooden roof providing cover to about 20 or so tables.  Farther out on the lawn are more tables and finally a makeshift stage where small local acts come to perform.  All of this is up against a backdrop of large evergreen trees.  You can’t get any better than good beer, no humidity, family, friends, and mother nature.  While chasing my son around the patio I stopped and had a conversation with a couple that were in town for their business.  It was refreshing to be able to carry on a 40 minute conversation with complete strangers.  A brewery like this could just not exist within the confines of Howard County

For $8 a person, you received a glass cup with Southern Tier’s logo, the tour of the brewery, and large samples of 6 to 7 beers.  The only disappointment of the tour was the large machinery running that made it impossible to hear the tour guide even though she was standing two feet away from me.  It would have been nice to hear her explain what each piece of equipment did, but I can’t complain too much, I was sampling some good beer.  The high point of the tour was that the group got to sample a beer right out of the fermenter.

Southern Tier was top shelf for me.  If I lived near this brewery I would probably spend one or more evenings during the week at their brewpub.  I can’t wait to go back.