Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Belgian Pale Ale

Now that I had brewed a beer at my new location with my new system, a citra amarillo IPA, I wanted to shift back to Belgian brewing. The problems with my first brew were small and I felt ready, as well as excited, to get more experience with brewing Belgians. I figured I would start by trying to make an easy drinking Belgian pale ale, similar to the one I brewed with Ron Bradley at Moon Under Water, but with more traditional ingredients, and a lower, more traditional hopping rate. After that was done I would move on to brewing a Belgian tripel, a style I've been thinking about a lot recently. Both these beers would also benefit from controlled fermentations to keep the flavours of the Belgian yeast in check as well as reducing potential off-tastes, so it would be a great opportunity to try out my newly wired fermentation chamber.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Citra Amarillo IPA

I've been away from this blog for ages, due to a move to a new "basement" breweries and a broken internet connection at the new locale, but no more excuses, I'm back. Although this blog has been quiet I have been brewing some over the past couple weeks, and I've been busy upgrading some of my brew equipment, so I'll have to play catch up with my posting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Basement Brewing at Moon Under Water

This past Sunday I spent a great day brewing at Victoria's newest brewpub, Moon Under Water. Don, Ron, and Bonnie Bradley, the proprietors of Moon, were good enough to allow me into the inner sanctum of the pub to help out with a bit of brewing. Ron and myself spent the day labouring over the incredible nano-brew rig (55L batches) constructed in entirety by Don (the elder Bradley), a contraption that just about any homebrewer would kill for.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Review - Jolly Pumpkin Weizen Bam

Its been awhile since I've posted a beer review, but during a quick trip to the Cook St. Liquor Village to buy my roommate a replacement beer after a recent party, I found myself walking out with Weizen Bam, from Jolly Pumpkin. For myself, of course.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Home Brewing at Hoyne - First BrewVic Meeting in the Books

The past weekend's inaugural meeting of BrewVic is all done and was a great success. Thanks to the hospitality of Sean Hoyne we were able to conduct the meeting at the brand-new, soon-to-be-pumping-out-stellar-beer Hoyne Brewing in Rock Bay. My brew system, as well as that of Dave and Dan from Beer On The Rock were in action for all to see. My brew system is somewhat ghetto compared to the boys' rig, so people could see a couple different takes on home brewing.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Brewday - Russian Imperial Stout

After making an oatmeal stout I wanted to up the ante a little and brew a new Russian Imperial stout. Last year's RIS the Beard of Zeus was well received, although it didn't do as well in competition as I had hoped. I have, however, noticed that in recent months it seems to have improved and perhaps it merely needed some aging to improve its standing. Whatever the case, I wanted to move in a different direction with my newest Imperial. I wanted to scale back the raisiny, plum-like flavours of the Beard and emphasise more rum and chocloate. I also wanted a bigger hop presence and a bigger beer in general, something that cracked the 10% abv mark at a bare minimum.

Monday, October 31, 2011

BrewVic Homebrewing Club - Inaugural Meeting

The first meeting of the new (and to my knowledge only) homebrew group in Victoria, BrewVic, is on the horizon, kicking off this Saturday, November 5th at 10 am. BrewVic is centred in the beer capital of Canada, Victoria, BC, but the VIC in the name stands for Vancouver Island, Cascadia, showing its close connection to the Island as a whole and to the region of Cascadia.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brewday - Oatmeal Stout

I've been away from brewing now for a few weeks and thats allowed me to catch up on bottling and think about what direction I want to move in next. Overall I think I want to focus on improving my techniques and methods in order to have greater control over the brewing process, which will hopefully allow me to make better beer. I decided I wanted to make an oatmeal stout (to be followed by a Russian Imperial stout) and I discussed in one of my last posts the new method I wanted to try involving steeping, as opposed to mashing, the dark grains. I also decided to try a mashout, as my efficiency has been less than expected in my last few batches, something I mainly blame on the temperature in the grain bed dropping too low during the sparge.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Belgian IPA Step Three - The Blend

Probably one of the best ever brew days today, and no brewing was actually done, blending rather was the order of the day. With the help of my two somewhat capable assistants Arlo and Dave, my Belgian Tripel and India Pale Ale were blended to create a Belgian IPA.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Process - Steeping Dark Grains

Just looking at my page views and I just hit the ten thousand mark... maybe someone other than my mum actually reads what I write? Anyways, I digress. Lately I've been thinking a lot about how to improve my beer. I definitely believe that there is no substitute for experience. Resources like books, the internet, and other brewers can teach you a lot, but there is nothing like rolling up your sleeves and doin' some brewin' for becoming a better brewer. Nonetheless, I feel that now the way to continue to progress my brewing is not so much through increasingly outlandish recipes (although those will be coming), as through looking at my procedures, trying new techniques, and likely adding more complexity to what I am doing.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saison du Sam (Blackberry Saison)

Its good to bet back to brewing what might be my favourite style of beer, the saison. The saison is a beer traditionally made in the french-speaking region of Belgium for the workers bringing in the harvest.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Build Day - Immersion Chiller

This one has been a ridiculously long time coming. After nearly destroying my tub and spending countless hours swirling the brewpot around and recirculating cold water, I finally got down to making an immersion chiller. This turned out to be a bit of a comedy of errors requiring several additional visits to the plumbing supply store, but in the end I got 'er done and am so far pretty happy with the results. But, first things first.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Brewday - Fresh Hop IPA (Single Malt, Single Hop)

Although I've talked about making a fresh hopped IPA for ages, I had no plans to brew this one until the day before it happened. My intention for the weekend was to brew a Belgian tripel for my blended Belgian IPA, something I had been planning for several weeks. However, after a day spent helping with the hop harvest, I was convinced by Terry the hop grower that I should brew a fresh hopped IPA while the hops were, well... fresh. It also occurred to me that local malter Mike Doehnel had given me twenty odd pounds of his Munich malt for experimentation, so this seemed the perfect opportunity to do a single malt, single hop IPA. (Apologies to local brewer Michael Lewis, I was half way through this brew before I realised this was the exact same beer he had just made. Sorry Mike.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blended Belgian IPA - Step Two, Belgian Tripel

I had planned to brew a Belgian tripel this weekend, but with the girlfriend out of town and two and an half pounds of fresh hops in my fridge from my day of hop pickin, I figured what the hell I'd brew an IPA as well. Two brews in one day was not something I'd attempted before, and despite some minor setbacks it went off smoothly over a course of about 11 hours. I actually brewed the Tripel second, but seeing as all I've talked about lately is hops and IPAs, I figured I'd mix it up a bit and save the IPA for the next post.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hop Pickin' at the Boormans'

This weekend I made the journey out to the Boorman's residence by Mount Doug for a session of hop picking. The Cascade hops were in full swing when I arrived and after some acrobatic vine cutting we were able to get the hops down and ready to harvest.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blended Belgian IPA - Step One, India Pale Ale

After tasting Uncharted, the Belgian IPA from Lighthouse, I decided to try my hand at a similar brew. Uncharted is a blended beer, a combination of an IPA and a Belgian tripel, and I was impressed with it enough to try my hand at a similar concoction. The first part would be an IPA, next week I will brew the tripel, and at some point in the future blend the beers before bottling them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

India Brown Ale

Carmelising the sugar
Finally, at long last, I am back to home brewing. Between moving back to Victoria and starting the new job at Phillips, it has taken me a bit longer than I would have liked to get back in the brewing saddle, but this Sunday, after an awesome Beerfest, I was able to roll up my sleeves and get Basement Breweries back into production.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review - Lighthouse Uncharted Belgian IPA

If I'm going to be totally honest, the beers produced by Lighthouse haven't always been my favourite. For years they produced a basic, dependable line-up with some quality offerings such as Race Rocks and Keepers Stout. But they seemed reluctant to experiment much, as they watched breweries like Phillips grab bigger and bigger shares of the market with dependable every day beers AND experimental, exciting ones. Rumour has it it was this unwillingness to experiment that led Jason Meyer and the other Driftwood boys to split from Lighthouse and start their own brewery (although the appeal of one's own operation must have been part of the siren's song). Since then Lighthouse has made an effort to try to move in new directions through its Big Flavour Series sold in 650 ml bombers, while maintaining its mainstay beers in more traditional bottles and cans. Not all of these new products have been successful in this reviewer's opinion, particularly the atrocious Shipwrecked, a 10% Triple IPA that tasted like equal parts ethanol and paint thinner. Others have been fabulous, such as Deckhand, which remains my favourite local saison to date, and that includes the quality saisons that have been brewed by Driftwood.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Review - Driftwood Twenty Pounder

This was supposed to be a post about my return to the world of homebrewing, chronicling my newest creation, an India Brown Ale that I have been pondering for many months. Unfortunately, my time in the bush has led me to forget many important elements of normal society, and not just those relating to personal hygiene. Indeed, the fact that homebrew shops are closed on Sunday escaped me until Brewday (Sunday) was at hand, and now the India Brown will have to wait.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Basement Brewer is Back with Big News

At long last I am back. The summer was a little slow in stretches, with very few fires in the province to keep me occupied, but two tours to Alberta and a late deployment to Ontario managed to pass the time. Now I am back in Victoria, and ready to revive Basement Breweries once again. Look for another Homebrew Shindig in the future, once me and some of my cohorts can brew enough beer. Also I will still be posting reviews, but now my homebrew efforts will resume, so look for many future posts on all my fermentation adventures. Also, a local homebrew group is starting up, something I'm very excited to see grow into a great resource for new, veteran, and aspiring homebrewers around Victoria, so look here for info on that.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review - Russian River Redemption

This could be my last post for awhile. I've just been told that I'll soon be headed to Ontario, to help fight the forest fires that have been raging there this summer. I'll be staying in a bush camp a long way from anywhere, so drinking new beer, never mind writing new posts, could prove difficult. I will be back however, and by the time my pull in the East is done, it will be time to head back to Victoria, and to return to my brewing equipment, the new beer group, and yes, this blog. But this is not a blog about my comings and goings as a wildfire fighter, so on to the beer.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review - Russian River Damnation

I find that sometimes when I've amassed a collection of difficult to find beers, there are often one or two that tend to sit around longer than the others, waiting to be tasted. It is not that I imagine they will be inferior, rather it is their perceived quality that persuades me to wait for that perfect moment. So it has been with the beers I collected from Russian River, a brewery in Santa Rosa, California, just north of San Francisco. Many consider Russian River to be among the very best micro-breweries in the US, a brewery that creates beers of nearly mythic reputation, such as Pliny the Elder, a beer some say is the greatest IPA ever brewed. This stellar reputation has caused me to hold off on trying Damnation, but no longer, the time is at hand.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review - Brasserie d' Achouffe McChouffe

I'm having a bit of a hard time getting excited about writing yet another review. This has nothing to do with the beer in question, but more about my eagerness to get back to some homebrewing action. One more month of firefighting to go and I'll be back in the saddle, can't wait.

Today's beer in question certainly has a fine pedigree. The Brasserie d'Achouffe produces Houblon Chouffe, a beer considered by some to be the best Belgian IPA around. McChouffe is an even more unorthodox brew than Houblon, and is described as a "Scottish Abbey Ale." Get your mind around that one.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review - Stone Cali-Belgie IPA

A "style" of beer that has been of great interest to me lately is the Belgian-IPA. One of the most exciting things about this type of beer is that it hasn't been formalised yet into an official style with official guidelines and parameters. Because of this it is being currently defined by brewers as they continue to brew beers of this type. An interesting example of this style is Stone Brewing's Cali-Belgie IPA. It is actually the same beer as another of their offerings, the excellent Stone IPA, but fermented with a strain of Belgian yeast.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review Green Flash Le Freak

I first cast eyes on Le Freak from San Diego's Green Flash Brewing Co. during a recent visit to the fine Cook Street Liquor Village. It looked like everything I dream of. Described as an "American Imperial IPA meets Belgian Tripel," this sounded like a beer to satisfy the hop monster inside me as well as one to quench my cravings for fruit and spice that only a Belgian beer can conjure. When the guy behind the counter sang its praises calling it an "IPA first and a Belgian second" I was stoked for the hop tsunami that would soon be unleashed on my tastebuds.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Review - Upright Brewing Seven

Over the past several months I have written a number of reviews of beers from Upright Brewing out of Portland, Oregon. Overall, I have found their beers to be interesting, unique and of high quality. The fact that their house yeast strain, Wyeast 3711, is one of my favourites, the same yeast I have used in a number of beers including Disheveled Dwarf and The Harvester, has only made me enjoy them all the more. As their beers have been such a treat in the past I was looking forward to reviewing Seven, the last of Upright's offerings I had yet to write about.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review - Brew Like a Monk

I recently finished Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus, one of the books I picked up at the amazing Powell's Books in Portland, the largest independent book store in the world. Belgian-style beers are increasingly becoming an interest of mine and I bought this book hoping to learn something about Trappist and Abbey-style beers, which are a section of the Belgian brewing tradition I know next to nothing about.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Review - Boulevard Brewing Tank 7

One of the items I brought back from my trip to Portland was Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale from Boulevard Brewing. It is so-named because when the brewery was experimenting with farmhouse beers, the right combination of ingredients came together in tank 7, a piece of equipment known for being highly tempermental.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Beer Scene in 100 Mile - Stormriders Rookie Party

As my enlightened colleagues and I had just returned from Northern Alberta and were faced with an unprecedented six days off work, we knew it was time for this year's instalment of the always legendary Stormriders Rookie Party. With eight rookies on the crew this year the possibilities for a truly epic event were staggering, so myself and the other returning members of the Stormriders sat down to plan our most ambitious rookie party to date.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review - Driftwood Belle Royale

After spending the past month wading through swamps and being devoured by horseflies the size of hummingbirds its nice to be back in Victoria. Upon my return I was happy to see that Driftwood has again brought out their Belgian cherry ale, Belle Royale. Last year I missed its release so I was pretty excited to pick up a bottle on my first evening back on the good ol' Island. Similar to the fantastic Spring Rite that Driftwood recently released, it's difficult to categorise Belle Royale. Driftwood describes it as a "strong Belgian-inspired ale" that is made with sour Morello cherries. Reviews I read of it from last year were impressive, so I definitely had some expectations as I popped the top and poured my first glass.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review - Rochefort 10

Building on my last review of the abbey-style Guldenberg, I recently was able to sample and review Rochefort 10, from the Trappist brewery of the same name in Southern Belgian. Rochefort is one of the eight official Trappist monastery breweries and has been brewing beer since the end of the 16th century. They produce three beers: 6, 8, and 10. The alcoholic strength of these beers roughly corresponds to the numbers, a holdover from the days before highly accurate alcohol calculation.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review - De Ranke Guldenberg

With the biggest Canucks game in nearly two decades looming, I find myself in the unlikely location of Fort McMurray, fighting one of the biggest wildfires in Canadian history. It's a funny world sometimes. Unfortunately for me, the rig camp I'm staying in that houses 6000 workers is completely dry on penalty of expulsion. Fortunately for the reader I have a couple of reviews saved up for such an occasion.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Victoria CAMRA home brewing competition

The results for the CAMRA home brew contest in Victoria are in at last. It seems there were far more entries than expected (nearly 200) and thus judging took longer than originally planned. The results for all 14 categories are now final, but it appears the Best in Show winners and winners of the Phillips Showcase have not yet been decided, so stay tuned. The contest attracted attention from across the country and the ribbons were mostly dominated by members of some of the big homebrew clubs such as Vanbrewers, ALES, and the Cowtown Yeast Wranglers. I didn't recognise too many local names among the winners, but I did notice fellow beer blogger Ian Lloyd from left4beer won a silver in the Amber Lagers category, and local malter Mike Doehnel took the Gold for Belgian Ales. Congrats guys! It also came as a pleasant surprise that yours truly the Basement Brewer took home a pair of silver medals. The Half Pounder won for India Pale Ales and The Harvester for Belgian Ales. This is a real honour considering the amount of quality entries this contest received. Thanks to all the guys from CAMRA who worked hard to make this event happen, I promise to help out next year if I'm not fighting fire!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review - Driftwood Spring Rite

I apologise for the long delay since my last post, but all my attentions for the past couple of weeks have been focused on fighting the Slave Lake fire in Northern Alberta. I've finally got a few days off now and I'm back on the good ol' Island for a bit of r and r. One of the bonuses of getting down here is finally being able to try Driftwood's new concoction I've been hearing so much about, Spring Rite.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review - Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere Farmhouse Ale 4.5% abv

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales is one of an increasing number of breweries in America focusing on old world styles and old world methods with an American twist. Similar to US breweries such as Russian River, Upright, and Ommegang, Jolly Pumpkin uses brewing techniques that were almost unheard of on this side of the Atlantic not so long ago. Among these methods are open fermentation, allowing for the potential for wild yeasts to alter the character of the beer, long maturation in oak casks as opposed to stainless steel tanks to create complexity of flavour, and natural carbonation in the bottle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beer Scene in 100 Mile - Jake's Pub and Grill

I'd like to begin my series of posts on the beer scene in 100 Mile House, where I am working for the summer, with the one and only Jake's Pub and Grill, located in the heart of downtown 100 Mile on highway 97. Jake's is a welcoming sort of place that is always

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vancouver Home Brewing Competition Results

The results are in for the 2011 VanBrewer Awards and it looks like it was a hotly contested event. With a grand prize of $3000, plus having your beer brewed by Russell Brewing it received a lot of attention, with over 320 entries from all across the country.

Review - Upright Brewing Six 6.7%abv

Time for my first review from the bush. Before I get started I should probably mention there may be some limitations to my reviews now that my existence consists of working as a wildfire fighter and living in a van. It's entirely possible, for instance, that my glassware may not be as clean as would be ideal, so if I mention a beer's quickly collapsing head, take it with a grain of salt. If I start to talk about overpowering aromas of diesel fuel and wood smoke, well... it's probably not the beer's fault. With that being said, let's get onto the review.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Basement Brewer takes a turn for the Hundred Mile

100 Mile Fire Base
As much as I've enjoyed the off-season this year, all good things must come to an end. The weather is finally starting to warm and that means that time is at hand: fire season. It's time again to return to my job battling the blazes as a wildfire fighter stationed in the town of 100 Mile House, five hours north of Vancouver.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Review - Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout

Southern Tier Brewing is not known for their mellow beers. They are purveyors of numerous "Imperial" beers, meaning usually more malt, more alcohol and more hops. Perhaps their most famous brew is their Unearthly Imperial India Pale Ale, a beer that is incredibly drinkable considering its staggering alcohol percentage. Continuing in this tradition is the Imperial Choklat Stout, made with actual bittersweet Belgian chocolate.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trip to Portland aka "Beervana"

My trip to Portland over the long weekend began with a ferry ride to Anacortes, Washington State, then a cruise south down the I-5. We stopped for diesel along the way at a place that appeared to not even be a town, just a gas station and convienience store on the side of the road. When I went inside to grab a drink I was blown away by the contents of the beer fridge. Sierra Nevada? New Belgium? Deschutes? All for under 10 bucks... in this place? Are you kidding me? Apparently not. Welcome to south of the  border.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Vancouver Home Brewing Competition 2011

I've never entered a brewing competition before, but with both the Vancouver and Victoria competitions on the horizon I figured it was about time. The Vancouver brew-up is first with the deadline on April 27th, so I packed up some Basement Breweries beers and shipped them off to the big smoke. My main reason for entering is for the input I'll receive on my beers from qualified judges. I'm not so worried about the actual competition aspect of it, but I should probably mention the grand prize, as it is pretty sweet. The winners of each of the 23 categories will go on to compete for the Golden Stag Award. Apart from ridiculous bragging rights this award carries the honour of having your beer brewed by Russell Brewing in both bottle and on tap, as well as a $3000 cash prize! Next up is the Victoria Brewing contest where the winner gets their beer brewed by Phillips Brewing, but before I think about that, I'm off to Portland in the morning for a little "research" expedition to the beer capital of the universe. I guess life ain't so bad really.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review - Elysian Bete Blanche Tripel - 7.5%abv

If I owned a brewery, I'd probably want it to be a lot like Elysian Brewing. Based in Seattle, Elysian has been turning out amazing beer since 1996. The Wise ESB and The Immortal IPA are favourites of mine, and their unusual Avatar Jasmine IPA, made with actual jasmine flowers, is definitely worth a try. Not only do I love Elysian's beer, but their marketing is awesome too. Their branding revolves around mythology, the brewery's name itself referring to the Elysian Fields, an ancient Greek afterlife reserved for the heroic. Most of their beer names follow this trend, but not so with their Spring seasonal tripel, Bete Blanche. This beer's name seems to be a twist on the French expresion bete noir, meaning something dangerous or fearful.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Brewday - Hop Treader India Red Ale

The hat of the Hop Treader
When hops are processed nowadays they are kiln-dried and then stuffed into large cloth bags using hydraulic presses. It was not always so, however. A century ago hops were gathered and brought into an oast house, a multi-storied structure with a wood or coal-fired kiln at the bottom. The floors were perforated to allow the hops to dry, after which they were cooled and prepared for transportation. Enter the Hop Treader. Wearing a massive hat to keep hop particles out of his eyes, nose, and mouth, he would climb into a sack that reached above his head into which hops would be poured from above. The Hop Treader's job was to literally tread the hops into the sack, called a pocket, with his feet, pressing in as many as possible before the pocket was transported to market. It is to these hard working and little known labourers that this beer is dedicated as this is the third and last of my blue-collar series of beers.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review - Upright Brewing Four 4.5%abv

The more I read about Upright Brewing, the more I like them. Its not just that they specialise in one of my favourite styles, the saison, but it certainly helps. It also helps that many of their beers are made using (home brew geek warning) Wyeast's 3711 French Saison yeast, a strain that I love, and that I've been using a lot lately. Most of all, these guys seem to be the perfect fusion of the production of the commercial brewer and the innovation and freedom of the home brewer. Their four year-round beers are all unique and hard to define. Their 8 seasonal beers feature an oyster stout made with real oysters, an obscure German wheat beer made with salt and two different bacteria-soured versions of their beer Four, one made with cherries and the other with chili peppers. If I ever was to work in a brewery, I think I would want it to be just like this one. Upright's brewpub will be a definite stop on my upcoming trip to Portland, but enough about that, onto the beer.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Brewday - The Beard of Zeus Imperial Stout II

She's a full!
Next up for another brew is The Beard of Zeus Imperial Stout, which scored top marks at the Homebrew Shindig, along with The Half Pounder. The Beard is one of the biggest beers I've brewed, clocking in well over 9% abv last time around. I only wanted to tweak the recipe, as overall it was a damn good beer. I wouldn't mind reducing its sweetness slightly, so I went for a slightly cooler, longer mash to try to squeeze a bit more fermentable sugar out of the grain. I also upped the bittering hops slightly to bring it into better balance. It was kind of a pain cooking up the oats last time, so when I saw organic rolled oats in the new, neighbourhood hippy shop, I bought a bag. These can be used straight in the mash, without precooking.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Brewday - The Harvester Belgian Saison II

My mission to rebuild my homebrew stockpile after it was decimated at the Homebrew Shindig continues with a new batch of the Harvester Belgian Saison. I've pondered long and hard over how to change the recipe for this beer. (for all those of you who know me I'm sure you're shocked that I was agonising over the details of a beer recipe) At length I decided that the main thing I wanted to tweak was the aroma, so I zested a Seville orange and crushed some grains of paradise and threw these into the last few minutes of the boil. I also mashed slightly hotter to add some substance and hopefully take the edge off this beer's extreme dryness. I decided on a change to the grain bill as well, reducing the pilsner malt and upping the wheat malt. Upright Brewing's Four was the inspiration for this change, a simple saison I really enjoyed that uses a large amount of wheat to augment the barley in its recipe. I'll post my review of this fine beer in the near future.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tasting Notes from Basement Breweries

Now that the Hombrew Shindig is in the books I've had time to look at everyone's comments and general reaction toward many of my beers. In addition, I've been able to sit down with each beer available at the tasting and with the help of other people's comments, make my own decisions on how to alter, or not alter their recipes in the future. The following goes over all the beers from the Shindig and the direction I'd like to take them in.

Brewday - New Batch of Half Pounder

The hops for The Pounder
I just wanted to throw up a quick post about my latest brew, a new batch of The Half Pounder. Im pretty happy with this beer, and its not a recipe I want to tinker with too much. Basement Breweries recent Tasting Shindig confirmed this as The Half Pounder took top spot in the voting, tied with the Beard of Zeus. The party is actually a big reason for the newest batch of The Pounder, as due to its popularity that evening, supplies are running very short. One change I did make was using some of the bittering hops for first wort hopping, a technique I used once previously where some hops are added to the brewpot just as the sparge begins, which seals the hop flavour into the finished beer. Other than that its the same recipe of yet another batch of the beer I just can't make enough of. Here's to hops everyone.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Guest Reviewer - Beer in BC rates Pretty Things Jack D'Or

I'd like to introduce a guest reviewer today, Dave from Beer in BC, another local blogger who writes about our burgeoning craft beer scene. When I think of a beer blogger, I imagine a self-righteous prick, who likes nothing better than sticking his nose in the air and the sound of his own voice. (maybe I'm just imagining myself?) Whatever the case Dave doesn't fit this mold. A man of few words who spends much of his days demolishing buildings, the first time I met Dave he told me a can of beer is just as good as a bottle. Definitely not your typical beer geek. He was kind enough to put together the following review of Pretty Things Jack D'Or, and if you want to read my review of this unusual beer, you can read it on Beer in BC. All your's Dave.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review - Driftwood Naughty Hildegard Extra Special Bitter

The latest seasonal release from Driftwood Brewing, the popular Naughty Hildegard, hit stores this week and in some cases, quickly sold out. It is named for the 12th century Benedictine nun and abbess Hildegard von Bingen, who was famous for being a herbalist, mystic, musician, and natural healer. Hildegard's connection to beer comes from her writings, which contain the earliest known reference to the use of hops in beer, "(hops) when put in beer, stops putrification and lends longer durability."