Saturday, September 23, 2006

Double IPA update & Ruination Clone

Due to various distractions I did not keg the Double IPA until today. Talk about a long secondary. But for a Double IPA, i thought it appropriate. I decided to skip the split kegging, because it would leave too much airspace in both kegs and add risk of contamination. But this Ale is getting cask/keg conditioned. I used 4oz. of fermentation sugar boiled with about 4 cups of the ale and mixed back in with a rest in a 5gal keg. I'm going to let it age about 2 weeks at room temp and then put it in the kegerator. Yeah, I'll loose a lot of the cask conditioned benefits once i hook up the CO2 for the kegerator, but I hope that it will still be noticable vs. pure forced carbonation.

Since I had to dump my Paulaner clone and I'm still aging my Double IPA, I decided I better get on another batch. I figured, I'd close out summer with another IPA. This one is a clone of Stone's Ruination that I found on the Beer Recipator. Depending on how the Double comes out, I may go the cask conditioning route with this one as well.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Stone's 10th & Paulaner down the drain

I'll talk about the happy stuff first. We went to Stone Brewing's 10th Anniversary Celebration yesterday and sampled a lot of tasty brews. Being an event of drinking beer, I don't have a precise account of what was tasted, so i'll just concentrate of the outstanding parts.

The price of admission got you 10 "tastes", i.e. 10 times the collectible glass (4oz? 5oz?) they also gave you at admission. That didn't seem like a lot, but between the long lines and there being no beer under 6%, it was plenty and a number of us did not make it through all 10. Good thing we had arranged for a bus to take us there and bring us beer, because to have been a designated driver at this event would have been a sad job. There were 40 breweries represented plus Stone. Each had at least two different beers on tap. So selecting 10 from over a hundred beers was not easy.

Favorite: Alpine's Duet. Hoppier, imho, than Pure Hoppiness with a much stronger Hop flower aroma.

Second Fav: Stone's 10th Anniverasy IPA, cask conditioned. I had the normal draft version and it was a nice strong IPA, but i wouldn't rate it above Ruination. However the cask conditioning and hand pumped delivery improved it ever so much. It was a pity that only Stone was exhibiting cask ales

Most interesting: Smoke Creek Rauchbier from Great Basin Brewing Co. Think baconated beer. Seriously! And yes, it was tasty.

Notable: Avery's Thirteen. A Weizen Doppelbock. While I had been aiming my strong ale to land somewhere between Double Bastard and Avery's Hog Heaven, it actually turned out like a slightly sweeter version of this Avery Ale. Tasty stuff, just not the best quaffing beer for a hot day in the sun.

We tried several times to get to the Russian River Brewing Company's tent, but their line was just too long, so we satisfied ourselves with being able to get their brews at a couple of local brew pubs. Another tent with a line too long for my taste was Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Luckily some in our group were a little more patient and I got to taste their Punkin Ale, which I wouldn't mind finding a pint on tap of. In retrospect, I should have stood in line at Paulaner to see whether their brew was the proper Munich stuff, or just the pasteurized kegs you get in a number of places here.

All around, Stone put on a fantastic event and I can't wait for the 11th.

On a sad note, I have given up on my Paulaner clone. First brew for me that's gone wrong. I hoped it had just been green, although I feared it was nothing that time would fix. It's got an odd chemical smell and taste. Did I screw up on cleaning the keg? I don't know, but it's not drinkable. Here's hoping it was the keg, not something in my fermenters, since I still have the Double IPA aging in secondary and I don't want that to go bad as well.