Gardening has been something that we have loved to do ever since Eryn and I moved to our current home. We have a great vegetable garden that we grow during the summer, flowers during the spring and a collection of roses that border our back fence. Since we started brewing we have talked about the possibility of growing hops as well but we were always concerned about space and unsure how we could trellis them. A few weeks ago during a stop at our local homebrew supply we noticed a sign for their hop rhizome sale. On impulse we ordered two rhizomes and just decided we would figure it out when we got them.
Last weekend Eryn, bill, and I all made the trek up to Arcata to pour some of our beer at this great event I discovered called the Humboldt Homebrew Festival. I had come across it the year before but not early enough to get any beers together to pour so this year when I saw it come around on the competition schedule we made a point of getting registered and getting some beer together. And now I am so thankful we did.
When we first started brewing it was single gallon batches and a Mr. Beer kit. We instantly fell in love with it but were quickly outgrowing our capacity. To remedy that we purchased a turkey fryer as a kettle and a cooler to mash in. We jumped up to 5 gallon all grain batches and had a great time, but we still felt like there was a piece missing.
It’s been two years now since the brewing bug bit us and it hasn’t let go. This year we doubled down and got even more serious about our brewing, coming up with new recipes, new hardware, and some great parties. We’ve made lots of new friends, rekindled old friendships, and celebrated with our friends and family. We had six tap parties and lots of folks come to taste through our creations. We love everything about it and can’t wait to see what this new year holds but before we get going here’s the breakdown on the last year.
After watching watching BrewingTV’s interview with Kristen England I became very interested in brewing a 60 Shiling Ale. I love session beers and haven’t made many Scottish style ales so after reading up on them for a couple of days I put together a recipe and set out to make it. The video is a montage of my brew day and my new kick ass brew system.
The revised recipe has 100% Kona Coffee from Lehualani Farm. Kona coffee is renowned for its low acidity but rich flavor which was exactly what we wanted to add to the porter. We also tossed in 1/3 of a madagascar vanilla bean to round out the edge of the coffee and give the beer an easy to drink taste.
Last time we made the Coco Brown we decided take one of our 5 gallon carboys skip the coconut and instead to add raspberries to secondary. We’ve had a few nice raspberry ales and we wanted to see how something else would go with our brown base. The finished beer is that same great brown with it’s debittered malts and smooth character except with a huge raspberry flavor. We only added 8oz of raspberries to 5 gallons of beer and we got a very strong flavor. If you like fruit beers or love raspberries this is the beer for you. For me it’s a little to strong to be a nice sipping ale but it goes absolutely great with chocolate as a dessert beer.
The beer pours a little cloudy with a big rich head that hangs on for quite a while. On the nose the beer gives some rich medium roast aromas with a bit of oak sweetness. The flavor is a great malt forward beer with just a bit of hops for bittering and a big long oak finish. It has nice small bubble carbonation from the natural carbonating and gets even better as it warms up just a bit.
The leaves are finally turning some color here and the temperature has dropped. It is turning to fall again and I am starting to crave those seasonal items. One of my favorites it pumpkin beers. I went to Whole Foods last week for their beer sale and picked up a few of the pumpkin beers they had. I know what some of you are thinking, why buy beer when we brew so much? Research! That’s right, I needed some comparable beers to taste along side this years batch of my pumpkin ale.
Just a quick little video of a recent brew session on our old system. All shot and edited on an iPhone.