Fearless John’s Order of the Hop Take Two

April 20th, 2013,  the day I brewed up this delicious American Pale Ale with Citra Hops. It was highly sought after. Unfortunately, there was only one gallon in the whole world.

Not enough for a yeast starter.

This has changed. I have now scaled it up to a full 5 gallon batch. I used Beersmith to scale it, and this is what it came up with.


6 lbs 6.6 oz of Extra Light DME

The grain is in there, you just can’t see it.

1 lb 1.8oz of Crystal 60L Malt

I don’t know if that Whirflock tablet actually does anything.

And most importantly, the Citra hops:

2.25 oz at 15 minutes
2.00 oz at 5 minutes
2.75 oz at flame out

Easiest way to sanitize the wort chiller.

What makes this beer so great is that the longest you need to boil hops is 15 minutes, with no traditional 60 minute bittering addition. This better preserves the flavor and aroma. It also makes the brew day shorter, since there is no reason to boil the wort longer than 15 minutes.

Brew Dog is never satisfied with the cooling operation.

One thing that you have to use more hops, and this does make the beer more expensive since you have to use more hops. On a commercial-scale, the extra price may put the beer out of reach of the craft brewer, but on the homebrew level a few extra bucks hardly matters. This is one of the reasons that the homebrewer has the very real potential of brewing better beer than a commercial craft brewer.

Ferment at 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

5 Vulture por 5 Rabbit Cervecería

The Aheiateteo are the 5 Aztec Gods of excess and pleasure. 5 Rabbit, or Macuiltochtli, is the God of drunkeness, and is the God that the founders named this Chicago Cervecería after. An interesting name for a brewery, and one I kind of doubt the “Man” understood when they approved the license for this brewery. The history of the first Latin-themed brewery in the United States is mired in drama, with one of the founding members suing the other one. Maybe some of that famous Latin fire and passion? The beers are still flowing though, with Randy Mosher, the Radical Brewer himself writing the recipes.

5 Vulture, or Macuilcozcacuauhtli, is the God of gluttony. The scavenging nature of the vulture represents the stripping off of deeply rooted lustful and envious impulses from our being. The god is associated with wisdom and longevity.

This beer is a uniquely North American creation. An Amber Ale, one of the only true American Styles of beer, that has a small amount of roasted Ancho Chiles, a new world fruit. It smells like an earthy chili. I love chili. I probably end up eating chili in some form every single day of my life. This smell is very inviting to someone like me.

One of the founders of this brewery is from Costa Rica. When I was there, there was this light American-style lager brewed locally in  San José called Imperial everywhere. Now someone is bringing a little Costa Rican flair to the booming craft beer scene in the states, and with this brewery, you end up with some pretty descent beers.

It has a dark brown color, with an off-white head. The head is small, and does not last long. I think that could be because of the oils from the chilies.

Chili beers in my experience are hit and miss. Sometimes they taste like taking a swig from a Tabasco bottle, and sometimes, like this time, they taste delicious. This one kind of tastes like an interesting mole sauce. I love mole sauce. It tastes darker than the description would lead you to expect. It has subtle spices and subtle bitterness, but luckily not much hoppiness.

I was eating it with buffalo flavored tacos, and it kind of clashed. A more traditional flavored taco probably would have tasted better. Maybe a nice flat-iron steak with your favorite mole sauce.

Brother Thelonious

The great jazz musician Thelonious Sphere Monk. Known for his dissonant harmonies and angular melodic twists. His  unorthodoxies on the piano remind me of the unorthodoxies of his namesake beer. But as his piano work influenced jazz for decades to come, this beer just reminds you where differences can go wrong.

You see, North Coast’s Brother Thelonious is nominally a Belgian Strong Dark. It definitely smells like the dark fruits and malts you are expecting from a strong dark, but when you taste it, there is something… missing. Usually a strong dark is attacking the senses from every direction, and you have this feeling that it is everything that beer can be. This falls flat. There is a bit of spice, and a bit more brown sugar. There is malt. There is fermented fruit. There is plenty of tartness, and just a memory of bitterness. Don’t get me wrong, it is still smooth and tasty, just compared to “everything a beer can be,” it doesn’t hold up.

Red Eye Coffee Porter

The nuptials are over, and do you know what means? Time for beer! A special beer from Two Brothers, part of their Retro Series. As part of two Brother’s 15th Anniversary in 2012 they re-released 15 of their earlier beers. The Red Eye Coffee Porter was first brewed in the Spring of 2009 and due to popular acclaim was temporarily brought back in the fall of 2009. Now it is back as part of this special offering. It is a great example of American Beer recipe ingenuity. Take some rye, which is popular in German Brews, take a Porter from England, Americanize it, and throw in some coffee beans, not technically traditional in Porter, but we don’t take kindly to tradition in these parts.

IMG_3241

The days of summer are ending and that means no more ice cream shops, but fear not, take a sniff of this beer and you will be taken right back there. Take a sip. Yes I know. You still think that you are in the ice cream shop. I had to bring you back to reality, but you aren’t. Your probably sitting at home, but you are drinking Red Eye Coffee Porter and that is good.

You would kind of expect more bitterness from so dark a beer, but it is a big beer and the hops are downplayed, but as the beer warms up, the bitterness along with the spiciness from the rye really comes forward and rounds it out nicely.

The carbonation is very low, which is immediately noticeable as soon as you start pouring. The off-white head is small and does not last long. The lacing does not last on the glass. On the other hand, the body is big, real big. All of this contributes to the milk-shake like consistency of the beer. The color is of very dark brown, virtually black, and no light can make it through. This beer is thoroughly enjoyable, and I’m wishing that the beer wasn’t a limited release.

What should you pair this with you might ask? I paired it with the Great Gatsby movie, but your morning Wheaties (assuming you don’t have anywhere else to go after a 9.2% ABV beer)  would be an equally appropriate for this Coffee Porter.

International Beer Day- Stone Ruination IPA

International Beer Day (first Friday in August) is a global celebration of beer, taking place in pubs, breweries, and back yards all over the world — It’s a day for beer lovers everywhere to raise a toast to our brewers and bartenders, and rejoice in the greatness of beer!

I actually wasn’t going to drink any beer today, but since I learned that it was International Beer Day I decided that I had to drink one of my bombers I’ve kept around. Stone Brewery Ruination is. It’s a hop forward beer, and I probably shouldn’t have been kept around for as long as it has, but it takes a special occasion to break out a semi-high alcohol bomber all by myself, and international Beery day is just the time to do it.

It pours a pale golden straw color, with a nice off white head, and a cloudy, homebrew-like appearance.

The aroma comes off as a wonderful citrus and pine.  It seems subdued from what it could be, but that is probably what happens when you keep a hop forward beer around for a few months.

The taste follows right along from the aroma. Citrus, pine, wood right up front. Not as sweet/mango/fruit that you would get from something like Citra, but very traditional American hop. Toasty malt coming up behind. The bitterness is very assertive, but despite the name, and the long warning on the bottle, it is not harsh. In fact, I think the word smooth would be very appropriate. It is not too sweet, but definitely not dry. There is also a nice warming alcohol feel, without any hot burning.

It is a great, refreshing ale for hot summer days. It goes great with a spicy stir-fry and smashed Chipotle sweet potatoes. In fact, you really need  to pair this with food that has very strong flavors, otherwise this beer will ruin all other flavors for you and you will just taste beer.

 

The Wedding Beer

My wedding is coming up in a handful of months, so it’s time to pick the beer. The wedding package comes with the usual Bud and Miller on tap, but there is no way I’d let my wedding have only the yellow fizz. I have a reputation to maintain of course. Good thing the venue promised that they can bring in cases of any beer that they can get through a distributor.

Wedding_Beer

With over 2000 breweries in the country, I have quite a decision to make. To help narrow it down, I am limiting it to Midwest beers. I would probably limit it to Chicago itself, but there is no way I’m going to take 3 Floyds out of the running. I think I will go for two types of beer, a hoppy lighter beer and more maltier darker beer, but I haven’t decided specifically on the styles. Even though I will ultimately only choose 2, I need a bigger list since my choices will ultimately also depend both on the price and the availability.

This is my list so far:

3 Floyds Gumball Head
Two Brothers Side Kick Extra PA
3 Floyds Zombie Dust APA
Pipeworks Brewery Unicorn Vs Ninja American Double
Pipeworks Brewery Cash for Gold Belgian Strong
Revolution Brewery Repo Man Rye Stout

I want to include some Half Acre, but most of their beer are seasonal, so that may cause a problem with the slow-moving purchasing apparatus of the venue. It also looks like I am heavy on the hoppy beers. I need to keep looking, and sampling (I know, so tough). Any ideas?

Fearless John’s Order of the Hop

A 15 Minute American Ale.

Fearless John’s Order of the Hop was a Chivalic Order or Knights. It seems he basically created it to have a drinking club for his friends. No better person to create a drinking club.  John the Fearless Duke of Burgundy is supposedly the  man who invented hopped beer. I created this beer for three reasons. I wanted to try the 15 minute APA that the guys at Basic Brewing Video came up with, I wanted to do a 1 gallon “6 pack” batch, and I wanted to try the relatively new (2007) Citra Hop.

15 Minute Pale Ale

It is a very straight forward process.  You basically throw the specialty grains in the water and take them out when the water reaches 170 deg. F. Then add the DME. Once the water is boiling, throw twice as many hops in as you would with a regular boil. This is because, as the name implies, you are only going to boil 15 minutes.  Twice as many hops you ask? 15 minutes isn’t half of 60 minutes. You are correct, but alpha acid isomerization isn’t linear. Approximately half the isomirization occurs in the first 15 minutes.

1 gallon batch

The most common batch is a 5 gallon batch. Sometimes a smaller batch is useful. It takes less time to boil 1 gallon of water. You can easily do a full boil. You can experiment, and if the experiment fails, you only waste a gallon of beer instead of 5.

Citra Hop

The Citra Hop is a relatively new variety of hop. It was released in 2007, and at an Alpha Acid of around 12-14% you can consider it as both an aroma hop and a bittering hop. It has an interesting aroma and flavor of citrus and tropical fruits.

Here is my particular recipe:

Target OG: 1.054
Measure OG: 1.055
Target IBU:

1 lb 2.5 Extra Light DME
3.2 oz Crystal Malt 60L
0.50 oz Citra Hop at 15 Minutes
0.40 oz Citra Hop at 5 Minutes
0.50 oz Citra Hop at Flame Out

I underestimated the boil off you can get with only a 15 minute boil, so I ended with an original gravity of 1.068. I used Beersmith to figure out how much water to add, and diluted it down to 1.055. I threw it in a 1 gallon jug and put it in my closet. The hops should really showcase in this beer, and I hope it lives up to its namesake.

I should have used a blow off tube.