Breakpoint Brewery

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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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India Black Lemon Ale

There’s been a lot of discussion with regards to this new beer style. For one, no one is exactly sure what to call it – Black IPA, American Black Ale or Cascadian Dark Ale. Also, there’s been some disagreement as to where it started. Most importantly, I think there’s a lot of discussion with regards to how to make this beer black and keep it an IPA. Some suggest that you just need to add Sinamar to color it black, but my rule (as I’ve mentioned previously, I have certain rules that I follow when making some beers) for Black IPA is it must not be colored with Sinamar and must have some sort of roasted characteristic.

Well, I’ve posted the recipe for this black IPA over at the recipe page and there are a few things I would change this regards to this beer. For one, I would use a more attenuative yeast or mash lower because 1.020 is far too high for the finishing gravity of this beer. The level of roastiness from this beer is excellent, while the caramel character is good, but a little too much. Caramunich III is fine, but the Caramel 120L is a little too much, so in the next brew I’d probably bring that down to Caramel 80L. Also, I would most likely reduce the bittering hops knowing that some the bitterness for this beer comes from the roasted grains. Finally, I would increase all of the finishing hops because I think this beer should really be over the top with citrus-y goodness in the finish.

Overall, though, I’m drinking the beer right now and it is completely drinkable. I think it just toes the line too closely to an American Stout, so those are the changes I would make to this recipe the next time around.

An update on Requiem’s Rollercoaster – the fermentation was strong enough to clog the airlock and cause a mini-explosion. Luckily, there was minimal beer loss and I quickly sanitized and changed out the airlock. Still cruising at around 61F, so another day or two and the fermentation is probably done.