Filed under: Uncategorized
Yes. This site is defunct. I am still brewing and my hops are growing out of control, but I don’t have any interest in keeping up with the blog for right now. Might come back to it at some point…
Filed under: hops
In the same spirit that united me with my Cascade rhizome cutting through the Yahoo! Grow Hops Group, I am attempting to propagate the hop plants in my garden to redistribute to the Yahoo! group and other friends.
The plan is simple. As you can see in the picture, I just took three long planter boxes, filled them with a mix of top soil and compost, and buried two bines in each box. They’ll sit outside all winter under a layer of mulch and next season, when it’s time to cut them up, I’ll unearth them and see what I’ve got.
If you click through on the picture, you’ll get a better view of the actual cuttings. I believe that each point generating leaves will transform into a point generating roots, so that, for every section with sprouting leaves, I’ll have a potential root cutting next year. I guess that I have about 10 cuttings total for each box here, if not more.
Filed under: label
The single-X brew of the holiday three-pack is the Gowanus American Harvest Amber Ale. Doesn’t the children’s handwriting scream “American”? Like the others, this is an American-style beer. I’m all about brewing and mastering American-style beers and so that was my inspiration for these labels.
The label for the Gowanus Double IPA, the double-X brew, is messy. More than anything, I think the design is just cool. It fits the theme, though. Beer and Olde English predate America by hundreds of years, but they’ve both been reclaimed by our West Coast. The Double IPA was supposedly resurrected there and you might recognize Olde English as the font of choice for present and former members of the California penal system.
Strong ales, like barley and wheat wine, seem like the type of stuff the founders of our country might have set aside to enjoy on special occasions, so I incorporated some fonts reminiscent of quill-tipped pens, parchment paper, and so on into the Gowanus Strong Wheat Ale label. This is obviously the triple-x beer of the pack.
This recipe is different from my first DIPA, which I didn’t realize until I went to unpack this kit, but all that doubt went away a couple weeks ago went I thiefed my first sample. This one is going to be outstanding:
- 16 lbs. British Pale Malt
- 0.75 lbs. Dingemans Caramel Pils
- 0.25 lbs. Briess Caramel 120
- 1 oz. Summit (60 min)
- 1 oz. Centennial (30 min)
- 1 oz. Cascade (10 min)
- 2 oz. Glacier (0 min)
- 1 oz. Cascade Hops (dry hop)
I tweaked this one just like the Gowanus American Harvest Amber Ale. But, instead of 1 ounce of oak, I used 2; and instead of boiling the garden hops, I threw them in during secondary (pictured). I should add that I actually dumped this beer from primary right onto the amber ale’s secondary bucket to get that first ounce of oak. The GDIPA sat there for only about a week, before I siphoned it too off to a third bucket.
This beer is going to taste great despite a couple of factors working against it. First, I spilled about a pound of grain when I went to mash in. Whoops. Second, primary fermentation was active at the less-than-ideal temperature range of 80 to 84 degrees, but the ambient temperature here quickly dropped to the mid-sixties. Perhaps partly due to those factors, my original gravity was only about 1.075, rather than the target 1.085. But, as I said, it already tastes phenomenal!
The specific gravity is at about 1.020 now and I’m just waiting for some free time to bottle it up. It is going to be one of a three-pack of beers I send out for the holiday season: Strong Wheat, DIPA, & Amber Ale.
Last night, I moved the Gowanus American Harvest Amber Ale off the oak to finish secondary (tertiary?).
I thiefed a taste while I waited for the beer to finish siphoning out of the carboy. To my surprise, I didn’t notice any Home Depot-y flavors, but the beer is significantly drier on the back end. I was intentionally conservative with the oak because I only wanted a tweak from it (and I didn’t want to have to age the hell out of it in case I over did the oak), so I added an ounce of oak chips and let it sit for a week. I’m anxious to try the end product to really see what effect the oak has here.
By the way, the gravity is at 1.014, down from 1.045 and ambient temperatures have been in the low 80s, although in the last week they’ve dropped to the mid 70s.
Filed under: all-grain, amber ale, beer, hops, naming, northern brewer, recipe
The “Harvest” of the Gowanus American Harvest Amber Ale is represented, pitifully, by the half-ounce of fresh hops I pulled off the garden this season. I say pitifully, because that’s the entire harvest. A small harvest is typical, though, for newly-planted hops, which can take up to two seasons to reach their full potential.
Still, a half ounce of garden hops is kinda weak for a harvest ale, especially considering that the ratio for fresh hops to pellets, which recipes tend to assume, is 5 to 1. So, to cover all my bases, I’ll add that the spent grain went to the compost for next year’s harvest. So, we’re agreed. It’s harvesty.
Anyway, the beer. I bought the all-grain American Amber Ale kit from Northern Brewer, which they describe as follows:
It’s not quite an alt; it’s not quite a pale ale. Our American Amber borrows from German and British brewing traditions to make a beer that’s uniquely American, perhaps similar to the ales our forefathers brewed in the colonial days. Hearty and smooth, this beer improves greatly with a little extra aging, if you’re patient enough.
It includes 8 lbs. 2-row pale malt, 1 lb. Munich malt, and 1 lb. Caramel 60, 2 oz. Cascade hops (60 mins.), 1 oz. Cascade hops (15 mins.), and an American Ale yeast. I modified the recipe to include a quarter ounce of home-grown Centennial and a quarter ounce of home-grown Cascade for aroma (the Willamette has yet to flower). I’m also going to put 1 ounce of oak chips on this beer during secondary for about a week to add enough extra tweak to feel like I can really call it my own.
Will tell you how it turned out in about six weeks!
Filed under: hops
The one pictured is the Centennial and it’s climbed well above seven feet. The Willamette is only about five feet high now, but it has a lot of, ahem, girth. The Cascade, on the back fence, is going the best, though I have it set up on a T-shaped trellis, so I can’t say how tall it is. As a guess, I’d put it 15 feet, if it were growing straight up.
All of them have at least some burrs that will become hops soon. The Cascade is ahead of the back with a few dozen well-formed hops hanging all over the place. The others not so much, but, hey, that they survived their journey to Brooklyn at all is remarkable.