Monday, August 29, 2011

Fresh hops...get your fresh hops here!

Just got back from awesome weekend wedding in Telluride (congrats Jon and Mary-Todd!) and we stopped by Rising Sun Farms in Paonia where Glen grows organic hops. Unfortunately, they were planning on harvesting the day we showed up and I couldn't grab any hops. I told them we'd swing back through on the way back to Boulder. The weekend went by too fast and we had a great time! We rolled into Paonia and the hop farm on Sunday (after some peach and pear picking) and saw that they had been trying to repair the harvester all weekend! Glen then graciously allowed us to go out and pick some fresh hops. We gathered about 2 pounds each of Chinook and Cascade through the clouds of mosquitoes (thanks, Phil, Erin, and Sally). I traded Glen some of my imperial saisons I brewed and after some good conversation we were on our way back to Boulder. When I got back, I vacuum sealed the hops and refrigerated them. I brewed 10 gallons of a Wet Hop Harvest Ale on Labor Day with the hops we picked in Paonia and threw in whatever I had in my hop garden at home. I've never brewed a wet-hopped ale, so I was excited for it. Here I am harvesting my Chinooks in the backyard. I got about a 1/2 pound of wet hops from the vines. This photo is from today, good color and final gravity on the harvest ale. It finished out around 1.010, right where I wanted it. Now time to throw some more hops in for dry hopping...although they will be wet maybe it is called wet hopping.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's next in the barrel?

I am putting this to a vote! The Big Townie Brown will be coming out of the oak barrel soon. I need to follow it with another big beer. Should I throw in an English Barleywine or Russian Imperial Stout? Both will be aged for 6 months or so.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The streets run golden with non-alcoholic beer

The NA beer experiment was a disaster! After several hours of work and trying to repair the horrible tasting brew...I surrendered. 5 gallons of the bitter swill went rushing down the side of my street. Not even sure the squirrels were interested in trying it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lowell Brewery has upgraded!

So, I know all of you have been waiting with bated breath to see what new piece of equipment we acquired at the home brewery. Well here it is! I picked up a double sliding door cooler, cleaned it up, and then threw in a...wait for stainless steel conical fermenter! So, I guess there is two new pieces of equipment. It is a 15 gallon fermentor and is great because it means I don't have to haul around huge carboys full of liquid anymore. My back thanks me too. One of the most exciting features of the cooler is the large sign that Jeff and my sister-in-law, Ashley got for me as a birthday present. My other sister-in-law, Abby, helped design it! It is amazing! I think it is the centerpiece of the brewhouse! As you can see above, 10 gallons of On Golden Blonde were bubbling in the fermenter and I kegged 5 gallons of it today and I am in the process of heating up the other 5 gallons to make a non-alcoholic portion. We'll see how that goes! It's hard to see in the photo above, but I replaced the thermostat of the cooler with a digital one which allows me to have more precise control of the fermentation temperature. I have another identical fermentor on order and will put it on the other side of the cooler. I'll be able to store about 100 bottles of homebrew as well as 4 kegs in there. The cooler is a beast! The 1/2 garage just got a little smaller!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I poured a little bit of the Saison from the tap, though a bit early. It was fantastic. Nice color, nice aroma and taste. It came out at 9.5% abv, so it is more of an imperial saison. I brewed 10 gallons of Blonde on Friday and it is bubbling away in the fermentor now. I increased the late hops from the last recipe, so hopefully that gives it a stronger late hop aroma.