April, 2012

The Gingerman Austin


I’m in Austin, Texas, this week for Railsconf. If you’re ever in downtown Austin, highly recomment you hit up the Gingerman. Lots of taps, even more bottles. I’ve really been enjoying all the local beer and things like Stone that we can’t get on draught in or anywhere near Fargo.

Friday Photo – Extra Pale Ale

Extra Pale Ale

Found this while going through some photos from early this winter. This was actually brewed New Years Day, and was later renamed the Extra Mild Ale due to some efficiency problems stemming from a horribly coarse crush. Not a beer worth writing home about, but it sure looked great!

Wort Stability Test

I stumbled across an old post over at the Fledgling Brewer blog a couple weeks ago that piqued my interest. Titled, Homebrewer, Heal Thyself: The Wort Stability Test, it introduced a simple sanitation test that I’d actually done in the past, but hadn’t considered as being a thing with a name to itself.

A couple years ago, I fought with some off-flavors after bottling. In trying to find the source of the off-flavors, I bottled some wort from various stages of the cool side and tested how they tasted 4 or 5 days later. All of them were fine, until I got to the bottling end of things, and through process of elimination, I eventually narrowed things down to the bottling bucket or spigot (I replaced both).

As it happens, a simpler version of this test is discussed on the commercial side of the Wyeast Labs site:

It is important that a brewer regularly check the stability of the wort produced. A very simple and effective method is a wort stability test. This test can be performed by any brewery with or without a lab. The wort stability test consists of aseptically pulling a wort sample (post heat-exchanger) into a sterile sample container and holding that sample for 3 days in a warm area. If the sample remains clear and no CO2 is formed, the wort is stable. If the wort clouds up, CO2 is formed, a film develops on the surface, or off aromas are detected, then you know that you have a problem.

Wort Stability Sample This is such a simple sanity check, it seems worthwhile to do at least once or twice a year, so I pulled about 8 ounces of wort on it’s way to the fermenter into a sanitized beer bottle this Sunday when I was brewing what I’m calling the Freezer Burner APA.

This was especially timely because I’m planning on harvesting and rinsing the yeast from this batch of beer to repitch into an IPA I’m making in a few weeks, so I’d like to make sure it’s reasonably free from bacteria and other spoilers.

You can see the sample isn’t brilliantly clear, but it tasted and smelled exactly like the fresh wort going to the fermenter 3 days prior, and I believe some of the cloudiness was due to my less-than-careful pouring from the bottle into the sample jar.

I’ve never repitched yeast before, but knowing the initial batch had a nice healthy starter, controller fermentation temperatures, and the wort was essentially as sanitary as we can hope for going into the fermenter gives me a little extra piece of mind that I won’t be ruining 10 gallons of wort in a couple weeks by pitching less than clean yeast slurry.


Friday Photo – Takes Beer to Make Beer

India Brown Ale

Snapped this shot of my India Brown while brewing up an American Hefewizen on Easter Sunday. I love capturing photos that showcase the colors and clarity of beer, but occasionally a simple silhouette can tell more of a story.

Coleman Extreme Manifold

This is the hopefully last of the updates to my 52 quart Coleman Extreme manifold. Part One dealt with swapping my brass valve and bulkhead parts for a sweet stainless kit from, while Part Two covered the new manifold layout and the thinking that went into it.

I said in my last post that I was going to use a Dremel to cut the manifold slots, but that ended up not working out. I couldn’t find a cut-off wheel that was large enough to let me cut straight slots in the longer tubes. I did use it for the short runs near the bulkhead:

Mash Tun Manifold Slots With Dremel

Read more →

Surly Launches Bandwagon IPA

Wow, exciting news from Brooklyn Park: To help deal with the insane demand for Furious and the Simcoe shortage, Surly is rolling out a new IPA to be sold exclusively at Target Field this summer. From their Facebook page:

Today, Surly starts pouring beer at Target Field and we will have rotating varieties throughout the 2012 Minnesota Twins season. That will include Cynic, Bender, Coffee Bender, Bitter Brewer, and Hell. It will not include Furious, unfortunately. Because of shortages on specific hops and an already long waiting list for the beer, we couldn’t commit to getting Furious to Target Field this season. But, it’s a unique opportunity so we wanted to do a unique beer. That’s why we brewed a special beer for the 2012 season, which will be exclusive to Target Field.

Introducing Bandwagon, a West Coast India Pale Ale. This IPA is brewed with pale and crystal malts, centennial and chinook hops, and fermented with English ale yeast. Bandwagon is pale gold in color and has flavors of caramelly biscuits slathered in pineapple-orange marmalade.

Bandwagon. Jump on, Get Surly!

I hate to naysay, but for a company that usually has strong branding, I can’t help but be turned off by their choice of logo for this beer:

Surly Bandwagon IPA

Nonetheless, I’m really excited to try this beer. Hopefully I can make it to a Twins game this summer!