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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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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One Last Cold One

Well, it’s not entirely cold today, but it is dreary and rainy. Also, I’m burning the last few logs that were sitting on our back porch. Just trying to clean up and get somewhat ready for spring.

Since, we’re cleaning up some of our winter stuff, I decided that tonight would be a good night to finish off a winter beer. Not that Imperial Stouts are solely relegated to winter by some legal agreements, but that is when I like to drink them, so I broke open New Holland’s Night Tripper. I bought this beer probably about a year ago, but I’ve stored it in my kegerator for that time which means it wasn’t really aging because it was kept cold that whole time.

This is a decent beer, but may have finished a little too high. I know Imperial Stouts can have this issue due to the use of crystal/caramel malts in the beer. It does have a nice clean nose of hops, but there is a prominent sweetness from the beer. There’s significant raisin and prune flavors in this beer. It’s a decent beer, but I’d prefer it to be a little more attenuated and to have a stronger hop presence.

I’d like to brew my own Imperial Stout in the next few months for Christmas presents, especially since I’ve a unique idea about the presentation. May 7th is coming up, but I think I’m going to shoot for a Barleywine on that big beer brew day. Hopefully, I’ll be able to brew the Imperial Stout shortly afterwards because I’d love to hand out both during the holidays.

As per my “Mashing with Merge” beer from my Butterglory purchase, well, that post is in the works. I already have the ingredients and the brew plan, but I haven’t had the time to post it to the blog. It’ll be up shortly, probably this weekend, so stay tuned (all 2 of you).

Also, now the weather is getting perfect for brewing and with the little one on the way, I need to brew boatloads of beer in the next few months.


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Preparing for the Ride

It’s Friday night at Breakpoint.

I’m enjoying a Founder’s Centennial IPA. It’s a nice IPA that is easily too drinkable. A slight bitterness, but more importantly a nice hoppy resin finish. Centennial hops have a great aroma, but my preference is for the resin-y hop taste they have. Basically, I can easily put back a few, but at 7.2% ABV that would be dangerous. Luckily, my only plans for this evening are drinking this beer (and possibly a few more), weighing out my specialty grains for tomorrow’s brew, cold crashing my starter and writing this blog post.

As I mentioned, I weighed out my specialty grains for tomorrow’s brew day. We have a quarter pound of American roasted barley (I thought British roasted barley might push the beer too dark and astringent, so I went with the lighter American version) and three-quarter pounds of caramel 40L. I also weighed out the two pounds Vienna malt.

In other brewing news, I took the starter off the stir plate, poured off about a quart into a sanitized jar, then placed both in the fridge. Also, I worked a little on my grain mill and it seems to be working better. I’m still going to buy the hopper as it’ll be the best way to get this grain mill working at it’s optimum.

So, tomorrow is the first “Mashing with Merge” brew day in what will hopefully be many – I think I even picked out my next album already so there should be a “Mashing with Merge” brew day in April. Hopefully, I’m prepared enough that I can document and photograph the brew day and then post it all up on here.


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Great Divide Old Ruffian Barleywine

Most Friday nights at Breakpoint are usually pretty low key and tonight is no different.  I’ve broken open a Great Divide Old Ruffian Barleywine and it’s reminding me why I love barleywines so much. While they are a bit decadent and they can easily become too much of a good thing, American Barleywines are an interesting beer toeing the line between the various American IPA style (IPA and Imperial IPA).  The main difference is that American Barleywines typically stay balanced or err on the side of maltiness while IPAs err on the side of hops, but don’t use that as a main guide because American Barleywines can push the IBU level into the 100s.

Old Ruffian pushes the IBUs, but definitely stays in the malty category.  Pouring out of the bottle with a nice deep ruby color and tan head, there is a nice warming alcohol taste – which there should be at 10.2% ABV – but it’s not overwhelming. Truthfully, there isn’t anything overwhelming about this beer. The malt profile suggests some caramel-y sweetness, while the hop profile has some nice American hop character to it. Overall, it’s an excellent beer and an even better beer to enjoy next to the fire.

The dogs are being cute and the wife is sewing. Overall, a typical, yet great Friday night at Breakpoint Brewery.