Saturday, May 28, 2011

Branding completish!

Das bier smecht gut!
So I've mentioned our attempt at branding the B111 undertaken by Sarah. She finished a while ago and I've been here and there, waiting till I brewed again so I could have time to discuss it. Here we are! We did two sets of brews a-la Goose Island (well, they do more) and Boulevard. Check out the first series:
Look at the side of the label! 
These are beers we would like to offer as seasonal releases: Rye of the Tiger (Red Rye Saison)-Fall, Velvet Onyx (Robust Vanilla Porter)-Winter, Barley Ann Blonde (Belgian Blonde)-Spring, EyeWitNess (Summer).
For descriptions visit OUR WEBSITE.
Cool, huh?
If you didn't catch the side of the label, CHECK IT!
All of the beer names on the labels were painstakingly hand drawn by Sarah, then magically touched up via the Adobe suites. The labels were then printed out and cut out by hand...PAINSTAKINGLY. Those little ones on the sides were a bitch. We aren't sure how feasible this is to do on a large scale, but damn, it looks cool!

Next we have the higher end Belgian series. Some of these are based on a seasonal approach, like the Saisons Noir and Blanche, but some are not, like the Grudge Fuck and others. First Blanche and Noir! You can find recipes for these in earlier posts as well. I think I explained the concept behind them, but if not, I'll rehash quickly. I wanted these beers to pair with the turbulent weather of Spring. Noir would be a big black saison to have on a cold, wet night. Blanche would be a white/blonde saison that would be great on a warm day during spring. We didn't get to it, but they would be packaged together in some kind of cool box that uses alternating black and white design. I hope to make this a reality some day. Grudge Fuck is the beginning of an artistic series relating to either music or literature. It comes from an indie/pop/alt-country mastermind Joe Pernice. Please, please check out their tunes and his book. Oh yeah...he's an author too. The song is an epic ode to "one last touch". Ever since we started brewing, we wanted to name a beer this. I love the idea of pairing something "vulgar" with something beautiful-hence the simple, elegant script on the label. The song does this extremely well. Please find it and check it out. This is the only beer that hasn't been brewed yet, but its on the books for this winter. It will be a Belgian Dubbel/maybe/Dark Strong. Either way it will big, bold, Belgian, and absolutely beautiful. 

As with all the beers, we've tried to include some sort of tag-line and interesting description that is a little fun and smart at the same time. This is harder than it looks, believe it or not. I guess we succeeded? Also notice the little glass icons and the soft, textured B111 logo underneath all the text. Its the little things people! I love it when beer companies let their hair down and describe their beers with some flair.

Well, I could go on and on, but I've got other posts and other thingies to write. Any questions about anything, please feel free to contact us.

Currently Reading: The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass & Brewing Better Beer by Gordon Strong
Currently Listening: In Your Honor by Foo Fighters

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Impaler! a Lavatorily-Aged Pale

Hi friend/friends. Long time no update. That's what happens when you go back to work. A month ago I took the leap into brewing beers with Brettanomyces, and it is either a burden or a blessing depending on which side of the camp you pitch your tent. Some of the dudes at the Home Brewery are convinced its crazy/retarded and others think its crazy-awesome. Why retarded? Well these little yeasts have a tendency to get anywhere and everywhere so every beer that comes in contact with it ends up with the brett properties. Good if you make Belgian beers, like me, bad if you wanna make any other style of beer that isn't supposed to have brett characteristics. So...there is a thin line. And indeed, it is the awesomeness potential in brett beers that makes it worth it. What are those characteristics? Go get some Orval, Saison Brett by Boulevard, Cantillon, Petrus or Jolly Pumpkin Beers.

My approach is to heed the advice of the experts and devote a whole new set of soft equipment to whatever comes in contact to the beer once the yeast are working. I got a little worried at the expense, then I remembered that I was brewing an aged pale. It will be ready in 48 weeks. Plenty of time to get a separate bottling bucket and tubes.

Skipping the history of these beers and other sciencey shit that I don't quite understand yet, I'll just tell you to go read Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow. He gives a sweet rundown on tons of Belgian-bretted beers that include Lambics and Flanders Reds and Browns. After speaking to other beer people whenever I can, I have discovered that these types of beers (commonly referred to as "sours") are either loved or hated. Me-I love 'em. The only problem I foresaw was space issues. One must not forget that the B111 covers a deceptive 800 square feet. Not a lot of room to have a big jar of beer sitting for an entire year in a relatively vibration free (important evidently) spot. But like a lot of things, I thought, "Eh, fuck it!"

So its a pretty simple recipe for what we are calling the "Impaler":

1. Belgian Pils 11 lbs
2.  Cara Pils 1.25 lbs
Hops: Amount Time IBUs %Alpha Acid
1. Kent Goldings 1.5oz 60 minutes 22
Mash Schedule:
Dough in at 122F hold for 20 minutes. 
Raise to 145F for 40 minutes. 
Raise to 162F for 30 minutes. 
Raise to 169F for 10 minutes. 
Sparge with 176F. 
Pre boil gravity-1.046
Post boil gravity-1.054

I decided to go with 90 seconds of pure O2 to get fermentation going and promote some acid development. Lemme tell ya, that baby got a going! Good thing I used a blow off tube. I also tossed in about an ounce of medium toast French Oak Chips that had been boiled for 15 minutes AFTER sitting in a light lager for 2 weeks to reduce some of the intensity. The plan being I will use the wood in other beers and it will transfer the little beasties to those beers. Cool! 

I'll let you guys know how it comes out in a year. 

Currently Reading: Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus
Currently Listening: Tears Roll Down by Tears for Fears