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Avery Brewing Company

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A great day at Vail.

I love photography. I have been shooting with a pretty nice point and shoot but there is only so much you can do with one. I think a DSLR maybe in my very near future.

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What is brewing.. a lot!

A whole bunch going on in my world of beer! At work (Pug Ryan’s) our big tanks are all full and we are almost caught up with this crazy awesome summer demand. Since the new 45bbl tanks are doing their part we as brewers now have some room to play once again! All of our 15 bbl fermenters are full of specialty brews! On the way; Munich Dunkel, Brain Teaser Barley Wine, Vanilla Stout, and Helles Bock which we busted out the decoction mash on! Many will debate the usefulness of a decoction mash now-a-day but I believe it still serves a certain propose, you would not believe the smell of the mash! It is going to be something very special, a certain malty and caramel flavor that you could never achieve otherwise. We also still have some Kicked up Kolsch around, making for a great summer session beer out on the deck!

Brew festivals have been awesome this summer including the Summit of Bluegrass and Blues that we hosted here at Marina Park in Dillon on an idealistic mountain summer day! I will be at the Denver Brew Fest this Friday pouring some delicious brews! See you out there!

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Apfelwein (Apple Wine)

This is a very simple thing to make that is also delicious.

I am brewing several specialty batches for all my friends coming up for Snowball Music Festival in early March. Tonight I started the apfelwein.

Supplies:

- 5 gallon fermenter

- 5 gallons of apple juice with no preservatives, with the exception of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). I used Tree Top, it is only pasteurized.

- A packet of chardonnay/wine yeast of your preference. I used an acid reducing yeast that ferments slightly fruity.

- 1-2 lbs sugar depending on how strong you want it. Naturally apple juice will ferment to about 6.5%. Corn sugar(dextrose) or white sugar(sucrose) works just fine.

- A funnel is helpful

Directions

I boiled 1 gallon of juice and added my 1.5 lbs of sugar to it for sanitation. This is my first apple wine but from what I have read boiling the juice will cause a haze from pectin proteins from the cell walls, this is purely cosmetic and I don’t mind it personally. You can add a pectic enzyme if you want to boil and prevent the haze. Plenty of people just throw the sugar into a half empty juice container and shake it up and then throw it in the fermenter. Alright sorry I am making this harder than it is, back to the easy stuff. Put 4 gallons in the fermenter and pitch your yeast. Put the last gallon in and let it rip for a month, no need to transfer to a secondary vessel. Carbonate by bottle conditioning or force carbonation in a 5 gallon keg. Enjoy!

I think the yeast I used is going to leave more residual sugars that I want, I remember very dry apple wine in Germany, but I’m sure my friends at snowball will enjoy it! If you do make a dry batch you can always add a splash of 7up or sprite to sweeten it up.

Here is where I got most of my info. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/adding-cinnamon-sticks-hard-cider-275045/

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Mountain Life!!

I have been busy getting settled in the mountains. Lots of fun and lots of work. Brewing here has its ups and downs, as you always run into with a new location and setup. I have a lot of fun stuff on the horizon which will help me streamline my home brewing big time. I now have a gas burner and an 8 gallon kettle, although I have not used it yet, and a kegerator on the way!! That will make the boys in the living room very happy indeed!

I have brewed two beers up here now, a Belgian blonde ale, and a Scottish ale. Very excited for both of these brews! The Belgian will be very similar to Leffe, very easy drinking but also flavorful from the Belgian yeast (WLP530 Abbey Ale). The Scottish I just transferred to secondary tonight, it has a very subtle smokey flavor from .2 lbs of peat smoked malt and also an addition of brown sugar. The blonde will be around 7% and the Scottish around 8%. Some advantages of brewing here: VERY cold water for my wort chiller, snow outside for cooling my side boil (although my new burner will eliminate this) and of course very clean fresh water from the tap.

Since my water is so pure here in the mountains, that is lacking mineral deposits, it is necessary for me to make a small addition of bicarbonate to my mash and sparge water when doing darker SRM (Standard Reference Method) brews in order for it to come out as smooth as possible. I use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). It doesn’t take much, for my Scottish ale which has a calculated SRM of 18 I only had to use 5.5g in 6.8 gallons of mash and sparge water. You can read all about this here if you are interested in taking your all grain to the next level.

Normally I would be bottling the blonde now but I am going to wait another 2 weeks for my kegerator, then it will only take 2 days to force carbonate and no time will be lost. I will be posting all about that build as it happens. Plus I can clean all the 5 gallon kegs at work, it will be a significant improvement over bottling.

I had to flush a lot of beautiful American ale yeast (A-56) down the drain at work today, made me very sad. Next time I will be bringing in some jars to bring some home. Working at a brewery is awesome, I am learning a ton and also have tons of resources at my fingertips; yeast, free kegs, and lots of brewer friends, just to name a few. I’ll do a post about work sometime soon, it is very cool with our expansion going on.

That is all for tonight, Workaholics is on soon! Beer reviews, kegerator build, and a post about my work all coming soon!

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Brewing for money, recommendations from the Great American Beer Festival, hop plants, and a peanut butter brew!

A lot has happened in my world of beer, wow!! I got a commercial brewing job up in Summit County at a place called Pug Ryan’s in Dillion, CO!!!! I went to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. I planted some hop plants! I brewed a peanut butter brown ale.

I will be Dave Simmon’s assistant brewer up at Pug Ryan’s in Dillon, CO, if your in the area stop by for a beer and steak or look for our stuff on tap on the ski slopes!!  We are currently doing construction to triple our brew capacity and get beer on the shelves regionally. This will free up some smaller tanks as well allowing us to do more specialty brews. We are hopping to get some bombers out there on the shelves in addition to our canned regulars. Really good stuff!!

The Great American Beer Festival was a blast! I got in the members session Saturday afternoon and got to meet some brewers and try some awesome stuff. I tried so many 1 oz samples I can’t tell you how much I had but I can name a few of the best for sure. I talked to Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head briefly and got him to congratulate me on breaking into the industry.

Namaste was a very good brew by Dogfish Head, a Belgian white brewed with the typical dried orange peel and coriander but with an addition of lemon grass as well. I have some lemon grass in my yard I was wondering if it would be good for brewing and now I know! Very good. Another great brew by them was URKontinent, a brew made in partnership with Google. Slight maltiness, nice spice accents from Australian Wattleseed, toasted Amaranth from South America for some earthy roastiness, Rooibos (tea) from Africa, Myrica Gale from Europe, and Hive Plex Honey from California to smooth it all out. I think the tea and honey really balance the spices out and make this a very interesting beer. It can only be found on tap at the Dogfish Head other than the GABF, but if you can get it drink it damn it! Ingredients were picked from around the world using Google programs, watch the video on the link for more info. My personal favorite on the day was a peanut butter beer from Blue Moon, inspired me to brew some this week myself! Other notable beers were Lucky Bucket’s Sour out of La Vista Nebraska, not typically a fan of sours but this was well done indeed. Notable brewery was Prism brewery.  They like to do interesting things, adding new ingredients and keeping it fresh - respect for that!

I got some hop plants from The Windsor Gardener in Windsor, Co near Ft. Collins. It was a really cool place with a brew shop called High Hops and lots of locally grown hops for sale. I got three plants; Fuggal, Cascade, and Northern Brewer. I am keeping my fingers crossed for them to come up nice and healthy in the spring!

Because I liked Blue Moon’s peanut butter beer so much I brewed a batch myself. It wasn’t exactly like peanut butter but more of a roasted nut flavor sort of like trail mix or something. I used some natural peanut butter and took all the oil off the top that I could before brewing. I added peanut butter throughout the boil from 50-10 minutes. I also skimmed all the oil that I could off the top of the wort once it was cooled to pitching temp.  It smelled nice and roasted, we shall see!

I also had a close encounter with some moose while fishing in Rocky Mountain Natl. park. I thought I was dead meat at first but got some great moose pics.

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I certainly had my share of bier Maß at Hofbrauhaus in Munich during world cup matches but I wish I could be there for the harvest festivities! Some day for sure!

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Brew Day - Bag of Hair Morning Stout (name inspired by my coworkers, I know it’s an appetizing name but this is far from a commercial operation here, it’s an inside joke ok!)

At last I have brewed a stout (13D. Foreign Extra Stout)! I would have to say that stouts are certainly in my top 3 beer styles, it is tough to beat the smooth semi-sweet full body with roasted flavors and aromas, ahh so good!  Sometimes I feel that a stout or two is a perfectly acceptable replacement for lunch. Honestly it is supposed to supply you with a reasonable amount of nutrition in addition to caloric energy that can be accessed quickly in the form of un-fermented dextrin sugars and longer term energy in the form of carbs. The infamous irish stout marketing slogan ‘Guiness is good for you’ actually has a pretty good amount of truth to it.

This one felt good, I felt like I was in command of the processes and had a really good feel for what I was doing. I am starting to get a good feel for working with my improvised equipment. I changed my mashing process, adding hot water to the grain inside of my mash/lauter tun converted cooler and letting it mash in there instead of adding the grain to hot water in the brew pot. The mash stayed very well insulated and didn’t drop a single degree for 60 minutes, WAY BETTER! I got a mash efficiency of 77%, not bad for my second all-grain, huh? My first was 65%.. hah! Honestly I added more grain to the recipe expecting poor efficiency but now I just have a stronger stout. I also traded my 5-gal lauter tun cooler for a 10-gal, I hope Home Depot likes their new barley flavored water cooler! I did a side boil so I didn’t have to dilute my wort, damn granite ware brew pot only holds about 4 gallons safely, certainly a gas burner and nice brew pot are first in line on my list of upgrades. I used the local hops for bittering and US fuggle for aroma/flavoring.

To control my temperatures when adding water to the mash I used these nifty equations(Infusion Equations). I keep coming back to John Palmer’s ‘How to Brew’, it is a most excellent approach to brewing from a former engineer that has a deep understanding of the underlying concepts, chemistry, and physics of brewing. It is good to understand exactly what is going on, not just ‘do this because it works’, this will enable you to take creative freedom using your understanding. It will make you a much more powerful brewer. I think my next step will be developing a better understanding of pH and mineral content of water.  This rocky mountain tap water is pretty close to distilled water from what I have gathered, very clean and relatively neutral in pH. I need to call up some local breweries and see how they approach it.

About half of this stout will get an addition of coffee bean Vodka at bottling. See my other post about making that!

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Making Coffee Tincture

Here is a great way to make shitty vodka a lot better! I am using this for an addition to my Foreign Extra Stout that I recently brewed. I don’t think I will use all of it for that though, some will turn into homemade Kahlua and possibly White Russians from there.

Supplies:

  • 750 ml 80 or higher proof alcohol
  • .25-.5 lbs coffee beans

It is very simple, buy some beans that fit the flavor profile you are looking for; roasted, chocolate, caramel, earthy? Or just add your favorite morning grind. You will want .25-.5 lbs for a 750 ml of 80+ proof alcohol. I chose to crush mine with a mortar and pistol rather than grinding it or buying a grind, mostly to ensure freshness and partially to make filtering easier with less fine particles (or mostly because I am always looking for an excuse to use the mortar and pistol). Don’t worry about surface area, this isn’t a fast brew. Throw the vodka and crushed beans in a food safe container such as a glass mason jar, a quart jar was perfect for 750ml of vodka and beans. Alternatively you could mix a screwdriver or two and just throw the beans into the vodka bottle. The beans will quickly begin to seep darkness into the alcohol but let this sit for two weeks, after that filter it with a coffee filter or some metal mesh screens.

If you want to turn it into Kahlua boil 1.5 cups of water (or coffee) and slowly stir in 1.5-2lbs of sugar!! Yeah you know why mix drinks make you fat now. Let it cool to room temp once the sugar is added, then add coffee vodka, also add 2-4 tablespoons of vanilla extract to taste.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor.