Now two months after my wedding, my wallet has restored its modest dripping of funds, enough to get brew back into both fermenters & kegs. I came into the wedding plans with the fervor to supply all my reception's beer intake. But, thanks to MN liquor statutes, I am left with a complete glass carboy & plastic bucket army. As I get back onto my feet, here's a rundown of my exploits in stocking our home with the gift of grain:
The week of the first ample pay stub filled me with dedication for a blueberry brown porter & our house beer, the Thomas Avenue Ale. The porter is a popular carryover in my fall-winter brew lineup, very revered by thirsty friends. You simply take your favorite porter recipe, anything within style guidelines, and add 4 oz. blueberry extract at bottling or kegging.
Both of these initial brews are long-since digested. Our Minnesota Summer may not have been busy with brew, but it certainly got buys with severe weather. Through August, our state was outpacing Texas for tornado touchdowns! All those wailing sirens made me nostalgic & a tad nerdy about my midwest lifetime of hearing spinning, wailing sirens. I got into a project to make a recipe in tribute to the yellow civil defense Thunderbolt sirens that are rapidly being replaced. I started a recipe project, hopped with Simcoe, Summit & Centennial, and colored a matching yellow. The first batch got the color right, but I envision a louder hop profile. Thus, I'll report back when the recipe suits both my siren- & beer-nerd taste.
A forgotten Belgian Porter from our previous Limited Edition lineup was next brewed successfully with some vintage Newport hops for bittering. Then, I stepped back into the rudimentary with an extract Tongue Splitter kit. I continued to get back to extract roots with a Saison Wheat Wine. So far, we've two gallons the extract Tongue Splitter - I think all the all-grain batches have polished the fundamental methods I learned as a beginner. After two weeks back over the kettle, the wife & I decided our house was too empty & clean, so we began planning a Halloween party. We had already tapped kegs of porter & house beer, so we clearly needed to shuffle onwards with the brewing...
A fireside evening in River Falls, WI with some bottles of a Belgian by Dave's Brew Farm gave me the impetus to create a red rye Belgian ale: A mash of Belgian Pale malt & some serious Styrian Goldings additions paved the way for my long needed return to Belgian session brews. The rye stuck up the mash, but only resulted in the loss of a gallon of wort. Tasting this one, last evening around our backyard fire, it was striking my palate as well balanced & not at all as boozy as Dave makes it.
The Innkeeper is back. If the description of the kit fails to pique your interest, try doing like I did & switch out the grain bill to all-organic. I'm tentatively dubbing it "The Long-Haired Landlord". Though I, in traditional form when the kit is offered, completely forgot the Fuggles, thus forcing me to compensate with more Kent Goldings. Okay, I'll need another name than Landlord. Oh, it's good to be back brewing!
Seeing as this rundown is sort of listy, I'll stir the creative pot with a question: For you, dear brewers, which part of the brewing process is (if any) the most mystic? To me, it's the mashing/steeping of grain. So many aromas, combined with the rising steam of scalding waters is a magical time.