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Harvest Time

Posted by Ed Godek on January 9, 2010 at 10:21 PM Comments comments (1)

I just racked over 2 batches into secondary fermenters.  One was an Irish Red (tastes like Smithwick's), and a Belgian Pale Ale.  I decided to save the yeast, so I harvested about 1 pint from each batch.  I basically poured the sludge from the bottom of the primary fermenter into a sterilized mason jar, put the lid on loosely, labeled it and stuck it in the fridge.  I hope it stays for a while.

 

Also, the Belgian Pale Ale had a bit of a bubblegum taste, which is a flavor compund generated by some belgian yeasts....

 

I know, a boring blog, but its all I've got right now!

A Beery Nice Night

Posted by Ed Godek on December 20, 2009 at 9:43 AM Comments comments (1)

I went out this past Friday into NYC to met up with my best men, Jim and Darius (aka Coqbyrne).  We were celebrating Darius' birthday, but really all of our birthdays, since we aren't always able to make it out together 3 times a year.

 

Anyway, we met up at Grand Central, and headed west to the Pony Bar (www.theponybar.com).  Heard is was a good craft beer purveyor, and that was very true! They had a LOT on tap, including 2 cask ales.  Flying Dog must have cut a deal with them, because they had at least 4 selections from that brewery.  All pints were $5, except a few imperials and barleywines which were $5 for an 8oz glass.  We had (in no particular order or amount):

  • Dogfish Head 60min IPA
  • Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter (8oz) 
  • Shipyard Prelude Special Ale
  • Troeg's Dead Reckoning Porter
  • Flying Dog Road Dog Porter
  • Ithaca Nut Brown Ale
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
  • Weyerbacher's Hop Infusion IPA (cask)

Obviously, we passed a few glasses around so we all got a taste.  They poured everything right, and their taps are clean.  We ended up with a few of these beers because the place was so loud, the bartender didn't exactly catch our order right.  We really didn't care.  The cask ale was a little flat, but I kind of expected that, since casks don't tend to hold carbonation well.  I have to figure out how to make one for my brother's wedding.  Good thing that is 1.5 yrs away!

 

We were thinking of eating there, but there weren't many tables, and the only way to get one would be to fight it out with neighboring groups when someone decided to leave.  Being elder statesmen in the world of bars and beer, and having the wisdom that no seat in any bar is worth a battle, we decided to go across the street to Hallo, Berlin! (www.halloberlinrestaurant.com) for dinner.  We've been there before, and know they have good beer and good food.  It was also quiet enough for us to talk (which is something the 3 of us do very well together).  We opted for a pitcher of Koestritzer Black Lager, which, for some reason, excited our waitress.  Not many people order it, but it is her favorite.  It was good, and it went well with our selections of rouladen, spaetzle, potato panckaes, red cabbage, some kind of soup, green beans, cucumber salad, meatballs, and assorted Wursts.  All this for around $100 with tip!

 

After we ate and BS-ed a while, we headed back to the Pony Bar for another round (don't remember exactly what we had).  It was even more crowded and loud, so we opted to head back towards Port Authority and we stopped at the NY Film Center Cafe, which was quiet and elegant.  They played all different movies on their flat-screens, and the walls were painted with the logos of every major movie studio from years gone past.  We had a scotch (and bourbon), and ended the night with a Blue Point Toasted Lager, one of my favorites.

 

Then, we headed home by train and bus.  As I rode home, I thought about how much fun I had with those guys. Even though the main focus of this blog is beer, that was merely the backdrop to the true story:  three friends who have managed to stay in touch and remain close from high school through college, marriage and parenthood.  The topics and frequencies of our conversations and outings may have changed, but if is obvious that we are in it for the long haul, and that our freindships will always remain.  Oh, and by the way, beer has ALWAYS been the backdrop to this story!

Seasonal Brewing

Posted by Ed Godek on November 28, 2009 at 9:18 PM Comments comments (0)

Since the weather outside is frightful (!), I have decided to concentrate on simple extract batches, while looking at yeasts and specialty grains.  First up is a Belgian Chocolate Dubbel for Christmas, followed by a Cherry Stout for New Year's, and finally an Irish red for Nick's Birthday. 

 

The Dubbel has a lot of specialty grains, like German Munich, Chocolate Malt and Caravienne.  I ended up a little light on hops, because I ordered Hallertau Select instead of regular Hallertau.  The difference is 1.5% Alpha Acids vs. 5%.  Therefore, the sweetnes may overpower any bitterness or hoppy flavors.... We'll see.  I am also using a White Labs Belgian Ale yeast I have never used before.

 

For the Stout, I added some flaked barley, which should add to the body and create a creamier head.

 

The Irish Red is pretty standard.  I have changed the amounts of roastd barley, and I am hoping to get the right red color and good malty tones.  I will of course update my progress....

The Art of Food

Posted by Ed Godek on November 22, 2009 at 4:18 PM Comments comments (0)

I had a really great time last night at Rutheny's Brook Street Gallery's 3rd Annual Art of Food event.  There was some amazing food, including probably the BEST ribs I have EVER eaten.  They were called Asian Wet Bones w/ Fiery Salsa, made by Peter and Selina Lavery.  I have to get that recipe.  They were rubbed and cool smoked for something like 5 hours.  They went very well with my Dunkelweizen.  Another favorite of mine was Asian Tacos....lettuce leaves stuffed with beef, onions and other goodies...truly delicious.

 

The weather was good, so Ian and I set up the beer section outside in the alley next to the gallery.  Ian had a fire going as well and he strung up some lights.  There were 3 homebrews to sample.  Ian had an amber ale, I had my Dunkel, and Tim (can't remember his last name) brought a Pete's Wicked Clone (which was MUCH better than my attempt at Pete's).  Many people were interested in our craft, and I enjoyed speaking about it to anyone who'd listen.  As luck would have it, each beer featured a different component of beer. The amber ale exemplified the best of hop character.  The Pete's clone, (a brown ale)  had really rich roasted malt tones.  And, as any good weizen, my Dunkelweizen really showed off the power of a good yeast.  As people tasted each beer, I would say things like, "You should smell a little grain, and then taste notes of grapefruit..." for Ian's Amber, and "You should taste a nice roasty caramel flavor first, with a mild bitter flavor in the finish" for the Pete's clone. I pointed out the the importance of balancing maltiness and hoppiness.  For my Dunkel, I pointed out the banana aroma, the spicy, citrusy flavors, and the fact that as a good German beer, I followed Reinheitsgabot (spelling?), and did not add any of those flavors.  One guy (rib-man Peter) tasted coriander!  Others couldn's smell the banana, and others tasted the apple (which faded, in my opinion).  I went on to explain that the strain of yeast used produced esters and other flavor compounds that added those flavors.  I said the Germans were able to compete with the Belgians by cultivating yeast as opposed to the Belgian tradition of adding everything you can think of to their beers. 

 

Jenn Rutheny was a great host, and if you are in Croton, check out her gallery.  She makes jewelry and holds classes there.  She displays local artists, who are amazing, and create wonderful images of life on the Hudson, from bald eagles, to the dam, to the railroad.

 

I mentioned to Jenn that I was interested in finding a space to hold a beer lecture series.  She graciously offered her gallery, so now I have to get working my research!  I would shoot for that in January.

 

I also talked with Michael Grant, owner of Black Cow Coffee, a very successful coffee house in town.  He told me to follow my dreams, draft up a business plan, and start raising funds....He said I need to set aside fear and just do it!  Maybe I will!

 

What a really good night!

Dunken for Apples?

Posted by Ed Godek on November 19, 2009 at 11:06 PM Comments comments (1)

I did a simple extract kit recipe for a Dunkelweizen to serve at Rutheny's Art of Food this weekend.  I kegged it today, and when I tasted it, I got an apple flavor.  Last year, AikiBrewer made a Kolsch that had a similar pear-like, apple-like flavor, which is uncommon for that style. He found that he had a bacterial infection (sounds worse than it is) of acetobacter.  This is the bacteria that converts wine into vinegar.  So, it is not true that wine that is aged too long turns into vinegar.  It only does so if it has that particular bateria.  Anyway, I am hoping that the German Wheat Beer yeast I used created the right compounds to get that fruity, apple like taste.  I had never used the Safbrew WB-06 before. 

 

I am chilling it tonight, and I will carbonate it tomorrow.  I hope it tastes good, because I will be really dissapointed and I will NOT go to the Art of Food.  I am planning on meeting Ian at 3PM to set up the kegs and then enjoy the evening.  I am really looking forward to this!  I have no idea how many homebrewers are coming, and I hope to taste every brew and hope to sample some tasty treats.  Exciting!  I got a little "non-artsy" artsy with my keg.  I wrapped 2 "lines" of duct tape around each keg and wrote in a not-so-fancy, purposely uneven font, "DUNKEN FOR APPLES", and "CROTONBREWING.WEBS.COM".  Hey, why not advertise?  Isn't that why artists show in a gallery?  To promote and sell?  I am promoting a little.  What I am promoting, other than a meaningless website, I don't know!

The Weird Beer

Posted by Ed Godek on October 30, 2009 at 10:02 PM Comments comments (0)

It started as a 60 schilling scottish ale extract batch I made for Halloween.  I let the roasted malt grains steep a long time at room temperature.  It turned out too dark for a scottish ale, so I started calling it a Scottish Stout Porter.  I let it condition in secondary fermentation for nearly 1 month.  I then kegged it last Sunday, chilled and carbonated it on Tuesday.  When I tasted it on Wednesday, I was shocked, appalled and disappointed.  I got the dreaded "Band-Aid" taste.  Plastic even.  The smell, the aftertase...YUCK.  Phenolic compounds that are akin to Anbesol are the culprit.  Could be chlorine?...NO, I don't use bleach for sanitizing.  Yeast?  Maybe, but it wasa very common yeast that I have used before.  COuld have been a bacterial infection....Maybe, I kept the secondary fermentor outside in the garage with a contractor bac over it.  I found that the waer lock was knocked off, probably by one of the kids.  Anyway, it won't kill anyone, it just imparts the off flavors.  I added a little vanilla extract to mask it.....no luck.  The next day, I had a consult with AikiBrewer at work, and, both being Chemical Engineers, decided that a little CO2 stripping might be the way.  I called up Kristi, asked her to pull th eplug on the fridge and increase the CO2 pressure.  When I got home, I bled off the CO2 and added more CO2, purged again, to be sprayed with some beer.  The strange thing about CO2 is that it becomes less soluble in aqueous media as the temperature rises.  CO2 can also "strip" volatile compunds, like flavors. Therefore, by pressurizing and warming, I used the CO2 to "collect" the bad flavors as the gas comes out of solution at the higher temps, and then they are removed when I bleed off the keg...repeat a few times, and hopefully the flavors are gone.  I added a LOT of cheap, imitation vanilla for good measure, chilled and carbonated.  We tasted it tonight, and it was actually VERY GOOD....The vanilla masked any remaining flavors.  I am drinking some right now...It is definitely servable for Halloween......I am calling it a vanilla stout...full bodied, a little sweet, and very vanilla.  Anyone in Croton tomorrow night?  COme Trick or Treating and you can judge this beer for yourself!

Gearing Up for the Holidays

Posted by Ed Godek on October 25, 2009 at 10:26 PM Comments comments (0)

After my Pete's Wicked Clone not being as good as I wanted, I am moving on to the Holidays.  The Holidays, for me, start with Halloween.  I just kegged my Scottish Stout Porter that I will be serving at our annual Halloween party.  It tastes good, with some coffee and chocolate notes.  How it takes to the carbonation will help me determine if it is a porter or a stout.  It will always be Scottish,  since I used a Scottish Ale yeast. 

 

Next up is a Dark Dunkelweizen I made for the Rutheny's Art of Food.  I have to come up with a snappy name for it and make up labels for the keg or growlers I bring to the Art of Food.  This will be my first public display, and I want to make a good impression.  Any leftovers will be served up with the Thanksgiving Turkey.

 

Now I have to decide what to make for Christmas........Stout?  Winter Warmer?  Porter?  Maybe a Roggen or a Patersbier.....I know, I said I was sticking with 3 styles and perfecting those....I can't help it, though.   Maybe in the spring when I go back to all grain.

Pete's is just OK

Posted by Ed Godek on October 20, 2009 at 8:29 PM Comments comments (0)

Not one of my best, but not one of my worst.  I thought it was a bit sweet.  Kristi and I drank most of it this weekend, with my father having a few glasses.  It didn't yield as much as it should because I had a carbonation problem.  Either my keg leaked or I was just stupid.  I left my keg in the fridge with the CO2 tank attached.  I carbonated at 17 PSI, and stored it initially at 30 PSI.  I tried a pitcher one night, which means I had to drop the pressure to 7 PSI.  I left it there, and the beer chilled, and the pressure dropped, and I lost my seal.  The regulator then attempted to maintain a 7 PSI pressure, and just evacuated.  Luckily, I have an attachment for the 16g CO2 cartidges, which allowed me to re-carbonate and pressurize.  I just had no way of measuring pressure.  So I made it too high and got a lot of foam this past weekend.  Oh well.  Maybe the scottish stout porter will work out better.  I will re-fill my tank and pay more attention!

Pete's Wicked is Ready!

Posted by Ed Godek on October 15, 2009 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I kegged and carbonated the Pete's Wicked Clone this week.  Tasted it yesterday, and it was pretty good!  It started out like Pete's, a little malty, a little sweet, but the finish was MUCH MORE HOPPY! Success in my book!  I will post the recipe in the forum. 

Pete's will be coming with me up to the Berkshire's this weekend, and I will probably not bring any home.

 

Next up is the scottish stout porter.  That will be carbonated next week and ready for our annual Halloween party.  I wanted to put the kegerator on the porch and hand out samples to parents of the trick-or-treaters in cups that have my web address on them.  Kristi had a point, though.  Sending people into the street with beer is irresponsible and I would have to disable the keg when we go trick or treating, so young hands don't get into it.  Can't believe that we can't trust others and have to be responsible for them nowadays....

Brewing Update

Posted by Ed Godek on October 8, 2009 at 8:22 PM Comments comments (0)

I have 2 brews in secondary:  My Pete's Wicked Clone and the Scottish Stout Porter.  I am planning on kegging up Pete's tomorrow night and chilling it all week for next weekend's trip to the Berkshires.  The Porter/Stout will be ready for our Annual Halloween Party.  I was thinking of dressing up as the St. Pauli Girl and dispensing it in cups saying "If you like this brew, visit crotonbrewing.webs.com" from the porch to parents of Trick or Treaters. What do you think, too "over-the-top"? 


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