Breakpoint Brewery

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The Hop Report

Well, another Friday night. You know what that means – The Hop Report! But here’s some Requiem’s Rollercoaster with Citrus Ale Marinaded grilled chicken.

Tonight, I went with a little more major brewery beer – Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA. I still consider this a craft beer and am thankful for Sam Koch’s efforts in revolutionizing the beer scene. While Sam Adams has a considerable lineup of good beers and Latitude 48 IPA is definitely a good beer, there’s just too many better beers. I’m glad I tried it, but I’ll probably pass it up next time around. It has the hop profile of an English IPA, which is perfectly good, but not my cup of tea. I prefer the insanity of an American IPA, such as my Mooney Stars IPA.

This beer is insane. It’s got all of that resin-y hop goodness that I love in an IPA. While it has a considerable amount of bitterness, probably from the FWH, it basically kicks you in the face with citrus-y aroma. I’m hoping the carbonation improves over the next few weeks and hop debris clears from the beer, but right now this beer is awesome! I think the Simpsons Golden Promise creates an ideal malt backbone for something this hop forward.

Well, onto The Hop Report – they are all doing quite well. I have noticed a bit bug infestation as the leaves are eaten up a little bit, but I’d prefer to avoid using chemicals on them so I’m just going to keep a close eye on them. They’re all growing, but it appears that the Zeus and Cascades are having a little trouble climbing the wooden posts. It’s possible that I left a few too many sprouts climb and now they are weighing each other down.

Here they are:

Zeus

Cascade

Centennials

Magnums

Pride of Ringwoods

I’m still trying to figure out if the Pride of Ringwoods are Cascades and the Cascades are Pride of Ringwoods. They appear to have fairly distinct leaves, so I need to do some Google searching to discern which is which.

Well, I hope to get my Wye Oak CD this weekend, but it appears that Monday may be the earliest possible delivery. Based on what I have already heard and the fact that I’m considering an American Brown Ale, I should still be able to fit in a brew day next weekend for this “Mashing with Merge” beer.


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Wye Oak – Civilian

I sit here drinking a Requiem’s Rollercoaster and have surfed the Merge Records site for a little while. I was not exactly sure what I was going to order as there’s still a lot that I want from there, but nothing that I had to have this month. In the end, I decided that I wanted to keep trying new artists like I did with last month’s “Mashing with Mergepurchase. I wasn’t feeling the rocking of Let’s Wrestle or Times New Viking, so I went with the quietness of Wye Oak’s Civilian.

Seeing as my wife had my computer for a considerable amount of time tonight, I sat in the study surfing and listening to the full stream of Civilian. This gave me a bit of head start on the recipe and I am kind of thinking about an American Brown Ale. I should be posting a recipe sound as I already have a base brown ale recipe that I’ve been tweaking and could possibly use here.


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Conversion Factor

The day of rapture is upon us!* No better time than now to brew a beer – hopefully, I’ll still be around to enjoy it after it’s fermented!

One of the bonuses of being a scientist is that you can occassionally come across an unwanted laboratory item that can be re-purposed and utilized in the brewery. This was the case with the scale I use to weigh by base malts because it has a larger area for weighing and can handle larger amounts of grain than what I use for specialty malts and hops. The only unfortunate thing is that it will only weigh in kilograms which isn’t a big deal because I have a conversion app on my phone and it’s always easy to use Google for such a thing.  Plus, I’m single-handedly trying to overthrow The Stonecutters. Today, though, it kind of bit me in the butt. I thought my base malt was 9 pounds (in actuality, the total brew was 9 pounds with the base just being 7.5 pounds), so I converted that and then weighed out the 4.08 kg of pale malt – only to realize my mistake after I had crushed the grain and was preheating the mash tun. Oh well, I guess this beer will be a little stronger than planned…maybe more of a ESB, then just a Best Bitter. I did add an extra hop addition to hopefully keep the balance between malt and hops.

My original plan was to FWH with the Simcoe’s and then bitter with some Centennials followed by a finish with Centennials. With the extra gravity I added another charge of Centennials at 30 minutes to increase the bitterness. Of course, it may not have been necessary seeing how fragrant all the hops were, but especially the Simcoe. Fortunately, when weighing out hops, I have a scale that reads in both metric and English (though I typically weigh out in grams because it seems a little more accurate than weighing in ounces on this scale).

I did overshoot my gravity by about 10 points. Also, I ended up with only about 4 gallons in the fermenter because I had trouble with the siphoning from the kettle again. For whatever reason my kettle diptube clogs even with only 2.5 ounces of hops in the kettle. I’ve been slowly collecting the parts to set up my March pump, so that I can whirlpool my wort during chilling and pump the wort into the fermenter without moving the kettle.

Otherwise, the brew day went pretty well and I wasn’t raptured – even the yeast were not raptured and started fermenting the wort in under 12 hours.

* – Apparently, the rapture has been moved to October 21, 2011 – better drink up!


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Requiem’s Stars

My goal in this blog is to track my brewing progress and make notes on past brews, so that when I brew them again I can tweak them until I’m happy with them to re-brew them.

Anyway, I’ve been drinking Requiem’s Rollercoaster for a few weeks now. The color on this beer came out great. Unfortunately, the sweat on the glass makes it look cloudy, but you’ll have to take my word that it is crystal clear. The aroma of this beer is quite unique. There’s this hint of the roast from the roasted barley, but it’s not overpowering. I would have to say that the roasted barley probably contributed to the excellent color, but I may cut back on it (possibly just 2 oz) or switch with some Carafa III to maintain the color while subdueing the roastiness. It’s not really the aroma of the roast that has me down on it, but the aftertaste that it leaves in – it’s almost like a rauchbier. There is a nice and subtle fruity hop aroma that comes wafts out of the glass with the roastiness. Overall, the flavor is a great balance of hops and malt with the caramel sweetness sitting at right about the level I wanted it. The hops are great and I would probably leave them mostly the same with potentially some increase in the FWH or finishing hops just to get a little more of that resin-y hoppiness that I love (though this may move it more from an AAA to an American Pale Ale).

Mooney Stars IPA is not at the drinking stage, yet (though, it should be and only isn’t because I was too lazy to clean the keg and keg it sooner), I did keg it this past weekend. I was siphoning it out of the bucket, but all the hops that I had to put in the fermenter got in the way and clogged up the autosiphon. Eventually, I was able to get about 4 gallons in the keg. I will let it chill and carb for a few weeks or so, then I’ll try it out. I have not pulled a final gravity reading on it, but I’ll do that with the first pull off the kegerator which is usually full of yeast anyway. Anyway, I think the next time I brew a monster IPA, then I’m gonna make sure that I either have an improved non-clog-able diptube or I’ll use hop pellets.

So far, the first two “Mashing with Merge” brews have gone well. I think this project has kept me creative with the recipe process keeping me on my toes with new ingredients and processes.


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The Hop Report

I need to report on other things and possibly with this 3 day weekend, I may get a chance to do that. Real quick: Requiem’s Rollercoaster is going down smooth; Mooney Stars IPA was a bit troublesome to keg because of all the hops in the fermenter, but it’s now kegged and carbonating; and finally, Backroom Bitter was brewed last weekend and fermented all this week.

Now to the hops that do their thing without requiring much work from me, but they have enlisted some security protection.

We got some rain and some sun this past week and I think that made all the hops happy as they’ve all grown a bit. The Magnums are still the dwarf stepchild, but they have grown considerably and are almost reaching the trellis. The Cascades and Zeus got a bit beat up by some storms this week. The Ringwoods kind of took off and the Centennials are doing well themselves.

Here they are:

Pride of Ringwoods

Cascades

Zeus

Magnums

Centennials

Now, I need to get to work on the other posts and on figuring out how to make my pint glasses tell you when my beer has reached absolute zero.


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The Hop Report

Man, I can’t believe it’s been a week since I posted. I had plans to evaluate Requiem’s Rollercoaster and let my readers know that I did my yeast starter for my Backroom Bitter. I guess life got the best of my week, so you’ll have to suffer through back-to-back hop growth updates.

Truthfully, the hops didn’t grow much in the past week. While the weather people were calling for rain everyday this week, I think it barely sprinkled once or twice. Now that the hops have been successfully growing for a few weeks, I’m not a huge fan of watering them. Plus, if the weather calls for rain, then I’d just rather let that take care of it. Anyway, I’m brewing tomorrow, so if I think of it, I’ll water them with the immersion chiller water.

Finally, here they are:

Zeus

Magnums

Pride of Ringwoods

Cascades

Centennials

While I was digging around in our strawberry patch trying to determine what was a weed (everything) and what was strawberries (nothing), I noticed this little guy.

There’s two possibilities of what this is. It’s either Centennials or Chinooks. I’m leaning towards the former because if I’m remembering correctly, I think I filled in a hole that Jezebel dug with the leftover dirt from the planter that I had Centennials in on the porch. Maybe I’ll make a mystery brew with randomly selected grains and some hops off this plant!


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The Hop Update

While I sit here listening to the thunder and enjoying a Requiem’s Rollercoaster, I thought it would be a good idea to show how insane my hops have gone in the past week.

By far my most prolific growers are the Zeus hops (I’m calling them Zeus because that’s what they were sold to me as and I’m well aware that they are more commonly called Columbus).

The next most vigorous growers would be what I am assuming are my Cascade hops. Of course, I’m assuming they are Cascade because they are growing so vigorously. I know it’s hard to differentiate hops, but I think Cascades and Pride of Ringwoods are probably differentiable. I do, though, need to do some research to be sure.

What I am thinking are my Pride of Ringwood hops are not doing so bad now. They only have one bine, but it shot up like 6 inches just over night.

The biggest slacker are my Magnums, but I think they’ll start growing a little better as the sun moves higher in the sky. They currently do not get as much sun as the rest of the guys because the house shadows over them later in the afternoon. This is really their first full growing season as they weren’t planted until mid-season last year. I’m not planning on a good harvest from them this year, but it’s probably a good thing as I’ll be learning how to deal with my hop crop this year since this is my first harvest.

Finally, here are my Centennial hops. Nothing huge, but I’m sure they’ll take off this season because they did last season in their planter.

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