Monday, March 28, 2016

Tasting Notes: BeerSmith's Dry Irish Stout on cask

When I packaged BeerSmith's Dry Irish Stout I filled a three gallon keg that is currently in my basement, I filled a one gallon polypin to simulate cask conditioning, and bottled the rest. The bottled version was the basis of my original tasting notes. I brought the polypin to the March North Shore Brewers meeting to share and get feedback.
Irish stout out of a polypin, psuedo cask beer!

The meeting was at Mystic Brewery in Chelsea. It was a chilly, early spring night. I put the polypin in the trunk which chilled it to a degree. One thing I didn't have was a spigot for the polypin. Once I took off the cap I had to carefully pour the beer into the glass.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Classing up my brews

When we first started brewing I bought blank labels online, Jennie designed awesome labels, I wrote some text to add to her design, we printed the labels at home, and labeled all 50 some-odd bottles by hand. We did this for our first few batches, but the labeling, and more so peeling of all the labels to reuse the bottles became tedious.
After awhile we would only label bottles given as gifts. I had the label template saved on my old Windows XP desktop, and edited the template in Photoshop Elements for each brew. The beers we didn't label, I would mark the bottle cap with a Sharpie, or buy different colored caps to color code my beers.
The hard drive on my 2004 vintage desktop was 99% full. When Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP I took it offline. My old printer didn't support AirPrint, so I stopped buying ink. Needless to say, we haven't labeled in a long time. There is nothing classier than giving a bottle of beer as a gift and explaining that the "CH" on the bottle cap means it is the Chocolate Milk Stout.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tasting Notes: BeerSmith's Dry Irish Stout

My house has a ton of world-class hoppy beer. Since hoppy beers don't keep well I am doing my best to drink them fresh and store them at as cool of a temperature as possible. Even with all of this beer, I still had a hankering for an Irish or Irish-style beer for St. Patrick's Day. The one store I stopped in was sold out of all of their Guinness, I didn't see any O'Hara's, nor any of my local favorites like Samuel Adams Irish Red or Harpoon Celtic Ale. Luckily, my homebrew was ready to go!

Frothy, tan head.

About a week and a half ago we made a day trip up to Portland. It was supposed to be Bissell Brothers last release of their double IPA Swish until the fall. As we were driving up, Jennie saw that the brewery published their release schedule for the upcoming quarter, and there was indeed more Swish in the pipeline.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Brew Day: Barrel House Z Launch Pad Contest

There are more breweries in the US than there have been at any point in history. Locally, breweries are opening on an almost monthly basis. One new brewery scheduled to open is Barrel House Z in Weymouth. The brewery is being opened by original Harpoon brewer Russ Heissner, and like Innis and Gunn all of their beers will be barrel-aged.

A couple of months ago I received an email from the North Shore Brewers about Barrel House Z's Launch Pad Contest:
Launch Pad is a real opportunity for you, the home brewer, to scale up your operation and get a taste of what it’s like to brew your beer on a commercial level! The winner of the Launch Pad Contest will get to enjoy the following:
  • Commercially produce, brand, and distribute a limited batch of beer in collaboration with BHZ (minimum of 20 BBL, maximum of 140 BBL)
  • Attend and enter your beer at the Great American Beer Fest (travel & accommodations included)
  • Be the “rock star”, host tastings and signings for the beer on the South Shore and in Boston
  • Learn the ins and outs of the craft beer business and how to scale up from home brewing to commercial brewing
  • Receive consultation on starting a brewery and/or setting up a contract brewing operation of their own
Well, that certainly sounds interesting! Now, look at the kind of beer they are looking for:

My Camp Randall Red IPA is exactly what they are looking for! I was thrilled with how the beer came out; it had a fruity hop flavor and was complimented by a complex blend of malts. I had it in my mind to brew this one again. The contest just moved it to the front of the line.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Beer Inspiration in our Backyard: Gentile Brewing Company

In the past couple of months I have brewed a couple of big beers: Banshee Breakfast Stout and Pyrite Pistol. I also brewed my first sour beer, Dawson's Kriek. I am very excited about these beers. I look forward to cellaring them for months and years to come. What I am missing, are the more sessionable type of beers I typically brew.

My latest batch of Curly's Milk Stout is just about ready. It is my flagship, but I don't drink it every day like Jim Koch drinks Boston Lager. I am starting to think the beer is a little too heavy, and I might tweak the recipe further before my next brew day. After tasting BeerSmith's Dry Irish Stout on bottling day I think that beer is going to be outstanding, and it is as simple as anything I have ever done. Lately I have found myself craving simpler beers.
The Celebration Clone and Pa's Lager were gone in a couple of sessions. I have already drank all of the Misplaced Bitterness; it was only a one gallon batch and that was always going to be a one-off brew. Trans-Atlantic Ale will also more than likely be a one-off. I want to get back to perfecting a house pale ale recipe. Something I can go to if I just want to have a beer and not fuss over it.

Shoulder to shoulder on opening night. 
Gentile Brewing is having their Grand Opening on May 4. If you stop in around 6:00 p.m., you will likely see me there. Jennie and I tried their Blonde and Porter last night at A&B Burger, and both were very, very good. Both beers had a very nice restrained nutty malt, yes malt, flavor. Paul Gentile told me that he used a light English base malt, lighter than Maris Otter, and a touch of dark caramel malt. Both were medium-bodied and eminently drinkable. We didn't stick around long enough for them to tap the IPA and Stout. Those will be the first beers I try at their tasting room.