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.