Thursday, April 2, 2009
Today I'm giving you the cookie and the cream- a late post and one hastily thrown together. Sorry. Its the first time in weeks I've actually hit my day, though my weekend 'tech posts' haven't been as erratic as usual ("YES THEY HAVE" screams BJames- who I can hear psychically across time zones; sadly I can also psychically feel Richard Dicks Rogering his desk chair during his coffee break, so these powers are both a curse and a curse).
Back to beer--- I went out and judged again last weekend. Great time and a Muffalatta sandwich that blew my mind. I did APAs, with not only a master judge but one of Chicago's many homebrew authors. I won't say which one, but it was quite the experience, despite my being unaware of who he was at the time and having never read his book. As usual I learned a lot from him and from the process, hopefully I also helped out the entrants. The APAs were so-so, most missing the essential hop character that makes it an APA. Still, no gushers, no rings and overall a decent selection of beers. The other category was wood-aged beers. I like these 'freak beer' categories, which is a good thing since novices often have to pay dues in those categories. We had some good and very good beers that were aided by the wood (these won), some good beers harmed by it and some mediocre beers that used the wood as a distraction. I made a rye-IPA recently that could have used some distraction. It is all bottled, but I'm thinking of flushing a keg with CO2 and dumping all of the bottles into the keg, oaking the shit out of it and seeing if it gets more palatable. Phenols and over-oaking might work-- it can't get worse. The other suggestion has been to use it to cook brats.
Back to the wood aged beers- it is a nice category for me as a novice because I get to see a range of base styles at one time- which requires some odd comparisons: is this porter a better porter than that triple and does the oak character help the beer? A nice process.
As for other things happening here. It was a weekend of technical mishaps and corrections- starting with my keg fridge getting down to 28F, helping my buddy put his kegerator back together and ending with dropping my iPod in the gym toilet (shockingly it still works). This week I'm meant to be ordering bulk grain and a crusher for the first time (very exciting) and will be getting ready for a brewing series that goes Cream Ale, IPA, Barley Wine, the Cream Ale and IPA are testers / backups for my friend's not-wedding this summer, the Barley Wine is just to try doing.
That's all here- I might finally do a system post this weekend so I can draw people to the blog off the forums by having details of the mash-tun and build and other things. I also might add thermometers and valves to my boil kettle and a thermometer to my mash-tun.