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It’s been a while since we’ve posted but the start to 2017 has been great! We closed out 2016 by giving out our WTF Just Happen?!? to friends and family. This batch turned out just as tasty as the 2015 release but we lost .5% on our ABV…we’ll make sure to hit 13% next Holiday Season!
After all the holiday parties we needed a little break but quickly felt a need to brew in late January and decided to make a Porter. This was due to the great response we received on the previous batches and that many beer drinkers don’t gravitate towards Porters even though they are very drinkable. Outside of our first brew we were able to taste our “New” IPA recipe. This is a true hop head IPA because it’s bitter but not tart with strong aromatics. The citrus and earthy flavor from the bittering hops come through on the first sip while the aromatic has a strong tangerine scent provided by the Summit & Simco we dry hopped with for 15 days. This IPA might be a one off because it’s so hoppy compared to our traditional IPA but we’re gathering insight from our amazing taste testers to see if we should repeat it.
Our last update for the new year is probably the most exciting! We had the opportunity to sample our beers (New IPA, Red Ale, Illy Stout & Kölsch) at a Aime’s recording/listening session for Love U off the next chapter of “The Book of David” project. Check out the video below to get a taste of what the session was like:
Bonus video: Aime – 99 (TRFE 99 Minute Video)
All of the holiday festivities prevented us from brewing the past two weekends and we decided we need to make something to keep things going. Since ciders are fairly quick and easy to make we decided this would be the perfect time to satisfy our brewing itch. Even though we started the process we’re still deliberating if we want to make this an apple cranberry strawberry cider or apple cranberry raspberry cider but we can make that decision when we move the “Must” to secondary.
If your not familiar with making ciders here’s our cider making process, cook 4 gallons of store bought cider at 175° for 30 mins. You can also use apple juice but it’s key to make sure Potassium Sorbate is not listed in the ingredients because this stops yeast from converting sugar to alcohol. Once the Must was up to temperature we added a 1lb of brown rice sugar syrup and a 1/4lb of pureed cranberries. Finally we chilled the must with a wort chiller and added a champagne yeast. Once fermentation has slowed down we will move it to secondary, add 1/4lb of cranberries and either 1/2lb of strawberries or raspberries. We’re hoping this will be done by mid February but you can’t force nature. We’ll post an update when it’s completed.
Estimated ABV: 5.5-6%
Our first Stout was a success and the full-body, silky smooth flavor has a slight hint of chocolate right off the bat. We didn’t have a chance to nitro the beer as initially planned but it still came out with some amazing head retention. We wanted to honor the “Stout” women of Philly so were calling it Illy Stout: “Somewhat thick or of heavy build”. We defiantly plan on remaking this one and will likely add a little more sugar to boost the ABV past 5% but all in all we’re happy with the results. Happy brewing and cheers!
Our Düsseldorf Altbier is ready to drink and we learned a few things on our first attempt. We realized with the unexpectedly high weather we should have placed the brew in the fridge during primary fermentation to slow down the process but after letting it keg age and purging with CO2 the flavor developed into what we expected. The final product has good head retention, a spot on golden brown color and an ABV of 4.45%.
Since we’ll be sharing this brew for Friendsgiving, we wanted to honor the amazing Düsseldorf culture by incorporating the Rheinturm into our label. It’s a telecommunications tower located in the heart of the capital city and houses a revolving restaurant and an observation deck at a height of 170 meters.
The Porter is ready, the Porter is ready!!! So from that intro we’re sure you can guess we completed our first Porter. It was done much faster than expected and from brew day to drinking was finished just under 3 weeks. We’re assuming this is due to two things: 1) we used an aggressive strain of Organic Imperial Yeast that coverted sugar to alcohol much faster then we’re accustom; 2) a slightly higher fermentation temperature of around 75°F mixed with a low original gravity(OG) of 1.040 caused the beer to be completed rather quickly.
We must say the beer turned out better than anticipated for a first attempt. It’s smooth with an ABV of 4.45% but has some complexity provided by the brown and black malt. We want to make it a little bit more robust for round two and plan to add some additional malts and are considering toasted, chocolate, smoked or even some peppercorn . But for now, we’ll enjoy the fruits of our labor, CHEERS!
After the great responses we got from our EOHS IPA at the Tiny Room For Elephants event we got inspired to re-vamp our IPA recipe to hopefully solidify our IPA brew. We’ve heard from friends, family and even IPA haters that our IPA’s are always smooth and drinkable. So our goal is to create something that’s not overly bitter but has a balanced and enjoyable flavor. To achieve our goal we decided to adjust the grain bill slightly to work with the change in hops. We want this IPA to have a great citrus flavor while providing a tangerine/grapefruit aroma with a mid-to-high range ABV of 8-9%. We also decided to add our hops slowly over a 2 minute span during each stage instead of just dropping them in all at once. We’re hoping this will allow each hop to shine individually and create a deep complex flavor.
Fermentable – Light LME, 2-Row, 90°L, Vienna, Carapils, Flaked Oats)
Hops – Bitter: Cascade, Simcoe, Centennial; Aroma – Centennial, Citra; Dry – Simco & Summit
Estimated ABV: 8.5 – 9%
Estimated IBU: 114ish
In honor of the Halloween weekend we decided to do something that scares most people, trying something new. We’ve never made a porter before and to be honest, we haven’t tasted to many we’ve liked but we felt it only right to man up and face our fears! After a “market research” session (sitting around and drinking different porters) we got some inspiration and dove in. We decided the first attempt should be simple so we can improve the beer over the next couple of attempts. Below you’ll find our receipt and we’ll try to provide an update on how it turned out in later post. Wish us luck and Happy Halloween!
Fun Fact: The porter was originally called a “Entire” or “Three Threads” beer because it was a combination of three beers mixed together at the bar/pub in England. The name porter was adopted because the mixture was known as a working class beer that was often consumed by street and river porters. To learn more about the history of porters check out “Porter: The Entire History” blog post by Anchor Brewing or “What the Hell is a Porter?” on BeerAdvocate.
Fermentable – Light LME, 2-Row, 60°L, Brown Malt, 120°L, Black Malt
Hops – Bitter: Northern Brewer
Estimated ABV: 4.25-4.75%
Estimated IBU: 16ish
We’ll we were able to get our End Of Hop Season IPA completed in time for the Tiny Room For Elephants music showcase and we have to say it was a hit. We received rave reviews from the attendees and all of the hops blended together nicely. The beer also had a strong tangerine smell because we dry hopped with Summit for 12 days which help bring out the Citra and Sorachi Ace. We think this might have to be more then just an end of hop season brew but….that would defeat the purpose.
Inspired by the past few weeks of Octoberfest activities in Philly we decided to brew our first Dusseldorf Altbier. Even though an Altbier is considered a “lagered” ale, we will allow primary fermentation to happen around 65-70° and prior to racking we’ll cold crash and leave our secondary carboy in the fridge for a few weeks. Then we will sample and make any necessary adjustments to hopefully make this beer a staple in our brewing cycle. If your interested in creating your own Altbier, check out the recipe below.
Fun Fact: “Alt” means “old” — an allusion to the old style of brewing, before lager. The modern altbier acquired its name only in the 1800s, when this Düsseldorf original became threatened by the “new” beer — the lagers of Bavaria and Bohemia. The first lagers had been pioneered in Bavaria in the 16th century but they became ubiquitous in Continental Europe only in the 19th century. Before that time, in Düsseldorf, altbier was just bier. (Dusseldorf Altbier:Style Profile, Brew Your Own)
Fermentable – Light LME, Pilsner, Munich, Vienna, Chocolate Malt
Hops – Bitter: Spalt; Aroma: Spalt
Estimated ABV: 4.5-5%
Estimated IBU: 36ish