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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Spice Must Flow!

Pumpkin Spice Beers:

For the past few months I’ve been reading the original Dune series, by Frank Herbert. In the Dune universe everything is centered around the “spice”. It extends life, allows interstellar space travel, and is described as having a strong cinnamon flavor and aroma. Throughout the books, characters are constantly drinking spice coffee, spice beer, or eating spice laced food. I’m a huge geek so it was no surprise to anyone who knows me that I changed up my usual coffee, a light roasted breakfast blend, for a cinnamon flavored blend.

Over the weekend, I wanted to brew but couldn’t decide what. When my roommate Ted told me to brew a spice beer I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that! In addition to Dune, my brew club is hosting a club “brewers challenge” on spice beers at the end of October, and fall is almost here which means Halloween parties and Thanksgiving dinner. How did I not think of this sooner? Pumpkin spice beer here I come!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting a little Buzzzzzzz

Coffee Porter Recipe:

It may still be hot; we are forecasted to hit almost 100 degrees tomorrow, but its time to start getting fall and winter beers ready. It is going to be cold out before you know it and you’ll want nice rich malty beers to warm up with. Porters and Stouts are great styles to experiment with adding strong flavored ingredients to, like coffee, vanilla beans, and licorice, of chocolate. This post will cover brewing with coffee.

A Barrel Full of Fun

My American Stout has finished primary fermentation and I’m getting ready to add it to the barrel that I just got. In preparation for this let’s discuss how to use and maintain a barrel.

One note before I start, if you are looking to get wood aged flavors from barrel aging, you need a new barrel or a refurbished barrel. Many local distilleries and wineries will sell their used barrels for cheap. I called around my local area and found several wineries that would part with red wine barrels for 50$ to 75$. These barrels were all refurbished, and ready to go. Refurbished means cleaned, possibly shaved staves, and charred. Refurbished barrels have some wood flavor to impart due to the charring, but can have thinner staves, will be more oxygen permeable and won’t impart as much wood flavor as a new barrel; they may also still have flavors of the previous liquid they held, like red wine. Used barrels are a great option for sour beer. Once I extract all the oak flavor out of my barrel I will be turning it into a sour barrel.