Friday, May 20, 2011

I'm off to Germany... You're off to Beerfly Alleyfight!

OK, so our plane boards in less than a half hour so I'll make this brief. We're on my way to enjoy some of the best beer Germany has to offer (it's been two years since our last vacation--to Scotland--and four since we were last in Germany, so I figure it's about time). However, while we're drinking Hefes, Kellerbier, Alts, and even something called Bönnsch, you should be drinking Belgian IPA's at Beerfly Alleyfight tomorrow! It's at the Haymarket Pub and Brewery here in Chicago, and our good friends Klavs and Mary will be pouring the beer we collaborated on (details here) and serving up something called Stoemp. Tickets and more info here. In the meantime, I plan on blogging about our trip, so stay tuned. Oh, and if you're a robber, I'll let you know now that we have family who are staying at our house and watching our two oldest kids (you know, the ones who would require full fare tickets?) and our two dogs. So be sure to stop by if you want to meet our 85-lb. Collie mix. :-)


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

(Week old) Brew Day: Somethin' Else India Black Ale

So my non-brew-day posts have always ebbed and flowed. Sometimes I post fairly often about random beer stuff, and other times I might go a couple months posting only after brew days. I'm sad to report that for the first time I can remember it took me over a week to post about an actual brew day. I'm going to use our upcoming trip to Germany as an excuse...

Anyway, last Saturday we (the usual crew plus our good friend Marta) brewed our Somethin' Else India Black Ale which we first brewed for Beerfly Alleyfight a couple years ago. I had been itching to brew it again for a while, but a combination of a surplus of high-alpha acid Warrior hops from this year's Alleyfight combined with an upcoming hoppy beer competition sponsored by Two Brothers provided the motivation to fire up the ol' mash tun.

Most of the details are the same as the first time we brewed it, so I won't bore you with all that. What I will note are two things: first, the peat-smoked malt didn't seem to pack a punch this time around. When we brewed it last time, we used 2 oz., which was enough to give it just a hint of smokiness (like many Scottish ales). This time I wasn't picking up anything, so I added another 2 oz. as a cap. Still not sure if it came through.

The other odd thing was we were a good 8 points below our target (1061 instead of 1069). Can't remember the last time that happened. I cooked up some extract and added it to the carboy so we should be good, but it was still strange. Hopefully it's a one-time fluke. Anyway, the beer has been fermenting away and I plan on kegging soon (the Kräusen is finally starting to fall).

One other beer note to add for now... I recently kegged our Pilsener and the one keg is nice and clean but the other had a slight off-flavor that I couldn't quite peg (almost diacetyl-like but I'd think if that were the case all ten gallons would have to have it; must have been some infection in one of the carboys). Anyway, it's cleaned up for the most part after a couple weeks, but I still wasn't entirely happy and I was planning on serving some at the Drinking & Writing Festival this past weekend, so I decided to get adventurous: I added .5 oz. of freshly-ground ginger to 2.5 gallons of beer. It came out AWESOME. As such, I think I might ginger up the 2.5 gallons of the slightly-off keg, and keep the other keg as a traditional Pilsener.

That's it for now. I'm sure I'll post something else before we leave for Germany (if nothing else, a post about the upcoming Beerfly Alleyfight where we'll serve our Trans-Continental RyePA), but my mind is already in Deutschland!