Archive for the ‘hops’ Category

BrewingTV episode 32 …and never knowing when that shot will hit.

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Brewing TV with Nathan Smith

I love beer and I love photography and it is always great when I can do both at one time. I shot hundreds of photos over the two days I was with Brewing TV and unfortunately I was rusty. My settings were off and I had to do way too much work in post. I was happy to get a few good shots but I’m always surprised by what the best shot ends up being.
The shot above popped out right away when I reviewed photos the following Monday. The weird thing is I never would have believed it at the time I shot it. A hasty lighting setup after BTV shoots their episode, a few shots with a portrait lens, and then “aw hell I’ll try a couple with the wide angle”. I fire off a couple akward shots since the lens was, er, right in Chip’s crotch….and he did remind me of that a couple times. Good lesson here is always try things, you never know. Also, if you are interested in portaits then please consider the wide angle lens. I would say half of my favorite portraits are with a wide angle.
So Brewing TV episode 32 goes live on Friday and Chip Inc. did a great job. Lots of good homebrewing by Nathan Smith and lost of beer drinking and interviewing around the bay (well, Marin, Berkeley, and Oakland anyways…..hey we took our time!). Can’t thank Chip, Michael, and Jake enough for letting me weasel my way in and help out with their trip out here. Most definitely look forward to seeing them at NHC San Diego this year and sharing pints again….and this time I won’t have to DD so look out boys. Some more shots from Nate’s below. Don’t forget to click on any photo for a bigger view.

Time to brew with Nathan SmithThe beginning of the Time to Brew segment for BTV episode 32.Cheese spread ala Nicole ErnyOf course we had Cicerone Nicole Erny there and she did not dissappoint. Thank you Nicole.

Chip Walton in productionThe one problem with content aquisition and beer drinking is you may not always be sober. Chip is a professional through and through.

Jason PetrosGood to see Jason Petros of the Brewing Network. JP solved a major logistics issue for the crew prior to the shoot. Thank you JP.Michael Dawson suited upMichael Dawson suited up for hop additions while Chip cleans his lens with wort steam.

Brewing TV and Nathan SmithHere’s what the portrait lens got me. Brew for all!

Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA….it’s worth checking out

Friday, February 27th, 2009

great aroma in this one!

I stumbled upon this beauty on a recent trip to our local liquor emporium, bevmo. I am not sure when Sierra Nevada released this but I’m sure it is pretty new.
I have grown accustomed to SN beers being very good and simple. Meaning the newer, smaller breweries will experiment a quite a bit with IPA and other styles, using a wide range of hops, hopping schedules, and a range of malts.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with what SN is doing. There line of beers all very respectable and drinkable. I sometimes hear flack from some of my up and coming beer friends about SN beers being boring. Not the case. I firmly remind them that they ought to sit down with a pint of SN pale ale and remember why this beer is so popular. Yeah, it deosn’t have bells and whistles but it is very well constucted, balanced, and uses a simple set of ingredients. 
My one thing about SN beers is I wished some of their beers had more/different hop aroma. One I have been pleased with is their southern hemisphere wet hop ale. I think the fresh hops carried well in the aroma. So when I grabber a sixer of Torpedo, I was pleasantly surprised by what I had. I’m happy to say that upon my first nose of Torpedo, I got a nice hit of “dank” surrounded by typical west coast hop. The great aroma leads you into a smooth body to back it up. The bitterness is high but very smooth and lingering. To me, Sierra Nevada got this one right. It has that contemporary small craft brew edginess to it….plenty of hops throughout the beer, full mouthfeel and alcohol to balance (7+% ABV), and that great lingering bitterness that will remind you for several minutes that you just tasted something special.
I recommend picking up a sixer for yourself and checking it out. If you know Sierra Nevada beers, and you like IPAs, you will be in for a pleasant surprise from Sierra Nevada.

Ukiah Brewing Co. interview comfirmed…

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

OK, all six interviews are now confirmed. I spoke with Bret Cooperrider earlier today and we will be meeting him tomorrow. Ukiah Brewing Company is the first ceritified organic brewpub in the U.S. We’ll learn about Bret’s background not only in brewing but in conservation…and how the two work together in the world of organic brewing.
I’ll post next week with some initial photos from all the interviews (or I may do it in chuncks…), along with some quick thoughts and reviews of the entire trip.
We’re off!

American Brown Ale Brew Notes

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Took the day off Wednesday to brew an American Brown. Again, I used the Jamil Z recipe from his book “brewing classic styles”. I did do a couple of adjustments: I did a mini-mash with 3 lbs. of DME to make up the difference and I used Magnum, Cascade, and Amarillo hops setup to his IBU schedule.

The brew is fementing nicely and I have no complaints so far. I missed my mash temp by 1 degree but I held it at 151 for 60 minutes. Also, I bought a wine fridge this time for fermentation. Wine coolers are nice because they slowly cycle down to the temp you set so that you don’t take a chance at shocking the yeast. The bad thing about them is they need to be inside since they should be operated in a room that is between 55 – 80 degrees. So you can’t really use it in your garage.

The thermal mass of the 6.5 gallon carboy seems to keep the temp of the cooler at about 59-60 degrees (without the carboy, I got down to low 50′s), I still have a couple lower settings but 60 is fine. With the air at 60 inside the cooler, I then temp control a fermwrap to 67 degrees and keep the carboy wrapped in a thin blanket. I pitched yeast at 67 and the temp has remained dead on so far. Sweet. Fire and forget temp control finally.

Other than that, I hit my numbers (O.G. of 1.48). I did have to top up with a half gallon of water towards the end of boil to get my number….it seems I always have to do this. With the immersion chiller in the boil kettle, I need to remember that I need to be at 6.5 gallons in order to hit Jamil’s numbers.

The wine cooler setup for fermentation.  I don’t like to open the door for too long as it takes the cooler a bit to get back down to temparature.

The photo was taken about 24 hours after pitch (I pitched about a 1200ml starter of White Labs Cal Ale yeast).

Wine cooler has purchased at Home Depot for 200 bucks. It fits a 6.5 gallon carboy perfectly.

Why not a chest freezer? I don’t like the idea of lifting a heavy glass carboy that high…..twice!

Pliny and Blind Pig now at Ledgers!

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

A shipment of 10 cases of Blind Pig and 10 cases of Pliny the Elder arrived at Ledgers Liquors on Thursday.

By Friday afternoon, Ed was down to one case of Pliny and four cases of Blind pig (I bought four bottles of Pliny myself….not to horde too much). He expects to be out of Pliney by today. Don’t know about the Blind Pig, but I would expect him to be out by end of day today. Ed said he will place a new order on Monday and should have more real soon.

The Pliney he has was actually bottled the day it arrived (date of “071008″ on bottle). So it is very fresh.

SF and the South bay have not recieved their orders yet.

Bottled Pliney in August…

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Yesterday I was in Ledger’s liquors to grab some Russian River beers. I spoke with the owner, Ed, who said that the latest ETA on bottled Pliney the Elder is August. Ed said that Vinny and crew are tweaking the bottling line to get it right and the Vinny is only getting about 4 hours of sleep these days. Ed will get some of the first delivery and he told Russian River “don’t bother calling me, just bring it”.



Ed also mentioned that he should be carrying 21st Amendment canned IPA and Watermelon Wheat when available. He said Sean is about to take a trip out there to check on the partner brewery that will brew and can for him. Apparently, one of the reasons Sean chose the particular brewery is that they had a very similar natural water profile as S.F. (according to Ed), there were other factors in the decision as well I’m sure, but that is an interesting point.


West Coast Nut Brown

Monday, June 30th, 2008

So funny enough, I’m up in the mountains this last weekend and on the way, I had a chance to stop at a store to check out the beer selection. It was pretty good one and I grabbed a six pack of Double Nut Brown Ale from Mammoth Brewing Company out of Mammoth California. Not only a new beer for me but it’s from a California brewery that I have never tried. So we get to our desintation and I pour one into a glass and wow, it has many similarities to the Full Sail Nut Brown that I tried below.

So this is interesting. While some folks online knocked the Full Sail nut brown for not being to style, turns out someone else is swaying from guidelines in a similar fashion. I agree that it is not to style but I also enjoyed it. It had the particular Nut Brown grain bill…..but turned up a notch and then throw in some roast. OK worked for me. Call it a west coast Nut Brown?

So back to the Double Nut brown, I didn’t right down any notes but it certainly had the amplified grain bill and the roast. One brewery does it, call it peculiar (or a miss if you are stuck on style), but when two do it and you might have something. I will have to keep it in my head to try and find yet another example of “west coast nut brown”.


Hits and Misses for the weekend.


So as I mentioned, I was up in the mountains this last weekend where we were staying at a friend’s cabin. The temperature was in the low 90s, so crisp, clean lager was the way to go for me. I don’t really care for adjuncts or standouts when I am drinking in hot weather. It seems to upset the already over boiling body. I need something I can put down quickly!



Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager. Fits the bill. Crisp and clean pilsner taste with some saaz hop character. Just the way I like it. Easy drinking, clean, fresh beer that you can throw back quickly.



Full Sail LTD series (bottling 01 and 02). I bought these Lagers which had some copy on the label about its malt (including a “malt-o-meter”). OK, sounded like a nice lager with some good malt presence. Didn’t work for me. There was malt, but too much in an amber/caramel sort of way. It seemed to muddy up the taste. Again, after a hike in hot weather, I want to throw down a couple beers that are cold, clean, and crisp. Not there. It seemed to marketed as a warm weather beer but I guess next time I should try the full sail “session”.

Brew day: American Amber Ale

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Decided that I need to start using my stash of magnum and cascade so I took JZ’s recipe, changed out the hops (calculated ~35 IBUs) and then converted to mini-mash. I figured the mini-mash would only add another half-hour to my day since the little amount of water will come to temp quickly and I batch sparged. I used light DME to make up the difference in gravity (….4.25 pounds worth).
I didn’t hit my projected OG of 1.052 and ended up with 1.056 instead. No biggy, but the seemingly wanton nature of my refractometer readings is bothering me. Supposedly the thing has auto temp control….and I cool the wort on top of it. Not sure why my readings seem to be all over the place. In the end, I know my kettle pretty well and with the immersion chiller in the pot, I need to have the water level at about 6.5 gallons. So I got close to the OG I needed…by eyeballing it.
Due to water restrictions I am now cutting over to ice water recirculation at 120 degrees (instead of 90 degrees) when chilling the wort. This saved many gallons of water and didn’t really call for too much more ice.
Since we are having warmer weather in Berkeley, I worried about whether I would need to cool the ferment or not. The basement ranges between 66-75 degrees now, so I cooled the wort to 65 degrees, got it in the carboy and let it settle. Since the carboy is sitting on concrete and I put a wet t-shirt around it, it held at 66 degrees for pitching.
Come morning the t-shirt was still moist and the yeast had started up to the tune of about a ¼ inch of kreusen. Temp was still 66 degrees. Figure I’ll check tonight when the yeast is producing the most energy. If I am still 66 degrees, I’ll move to a heat wrap and do a warm temp control when necessary, to get it to, and keep at 67 degrees. If it has moved in temp up to 68 or higher, I’ll leave it on cool temp control, which will trigger a fan that is positioned to blow on the carboy. I can also add a pump to pump water over the carboy if necessary.
UPDATE: temp was holding at 66 with an air temp of 76… I put on the heat temp control with a dry shirt around it. Now happily fermenting at 67 degrees.

double pot for warming mash without scorching