Tuesday, December 4, 2012

GABF and Partigyle

Sorry about being MIA! Since I have loaded up the taps with beer, there hasn't been much room for new brews and brew news (clever, eh?). We took another trip up to Odell Brewing in Fort Collins to again taste Muddy Huddy on tap with a large group of friends. I can't say enough of how great Odell has been throughout the whole ProAm process and the multiple visits to the brewery! Here is a picture of the baby, the inspiration, the stout...Huddy:

He had a good time on our last trip up there. It was only fitting that he get a photo! I'm sure he will enjoy it years down the road.

The GABF was in October and it was a great time. We went down early for the awards ceremony, which was HUGE. It was great to see entire theater fit for 5,000 people almost full. Muddy Huddy didn't earn any medals, but it was cool to see all of the other breweries and the beers that earned them top spots! I stopped by the ProAm booth while at the GABF to taste Muddy Huddy once again! It was fun to taste the beers from the hundreds of breweries there.

Well, that was GABF in a nutshell.

Next up, I'm brewing an imperial version of Muddy Huddy next weekend....called King Huddy. I hope it will be around 11-12% ABV.  It will be part of a partigyle brew, with the second beer being a breakfast stout...literally. Flavors of smoky bacon, maple, coffee, and biscuits will come through on this one. It will be interesting.

For those of you that don't know what a partigyle mash/brew is, it is a mash that results in 2 or more beers. The first beer that is produced is from a higher gravity wort that is taken from the "first runnings" of the mash. Basically, taking the wort that is produced in the mash and draining it into the brew kettle with minimal rinsing  (sparging) of the grain. This results in a high gravity wort. The second beer is from the "second runnings" of the mash. Therefore, there is less sugar in the mash after the first runnings and sparging is often necessary. This results in a lower gravity wort in the brew kettle. Therefore, the first beer can be a higher alcohol brew and the second can be a lower alcohol or even a session beer. This also allows you to create two very different beers from the same mash. Things such as hops added and yeast used can be changed between the two beers from the same mash! I will also be adding additional specialty grains to the mash before collecting the second runnings to give the beer a different flavor (smoke and coffee). It could go very well...or very badly. Nonetheless, the process will be exciting and it will be fun to experiment with this facet of brewing. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Trip to Odell and the Latest

As many of you know (see previous posts), Muddy Huddy was chosen to be brewed by Odell Brewing Co. for an entry into the Great American Beer Festival. At the beginning of August, I drove up to the brewery and brewed my beer on their brewery. It was an absolutely awesome experience and a really fun day....really makes me want to open my own brewery soon.

Started out with over 500 lbs. of malt!
Here is the system I brewed on, can make about 8 barrels (252 gallons)  of beer on it (we made about 6)

Muddy Huddy mash!

Morning sun coming into the brewery...beautiful, right?

Well, one month later, we took a family trip to Odell to try the finished product. It came out pretty good!  A little lower in alcohol, 5.9% vs. 7.5% that I brewed. All and all, it is very tasty and we'll be taking another trip up with friends to sample it again.

Tap Room beer list...that's right...uhhuh

I actually wrote the description for Muddy Huddy

Cam is so psyched
Wonderful wife..she doesn't like stouts, but said she liked this one!

Cam is really impressed with the brewery...

The day after the brewery visit, I brewed up two beers. The first was a Saison that will have 20 pounds of Colorado Western slope peaches added to it at the end of fermentation. The other beer was a wet-hopped harvest ale that was made with fresh hops from the backyard and Micah's yard. I had mostly Chinooks and Micah had CTZ. It will be a lighter beer at 4.6%, but it should have a good wet-hopped taste and aroma.These beers will be the first of the Harvest Series brewed each fall.

Had to hire workers for the harvest (Olivia loves the smell...while drinking a Muddy Huddy, how fitting!)

The Hop Harvest:

The fresh, wet hops thrown into the last part of the boil.

So, this is the time of year where I want to have nothing but autumn seasonal beers on tap. I have the Oktoberfest lagering until October. The saison and wet-hopped ale will take two more of the taps in 2 weeks. I will most likely still have Bellamy Amber on tap at that time too. I also worked up an Imperial Pumpkin ale recipe tonight! Although, I don't have enough fermentors! Space will free up in a couple of weeks and maybe I can brew it then. Have fun sipping your favorite fall seasonal craft brews...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Brewing with Dad

This past Saturday, I brewed with my Dad! Along with my Mom, they are the newest residents to Colorado! We're extremely excited that they now live here. We brewed a Belgian Blond that will be around 5% ABV and will have a bunch of noble hop aroma and spiciness. We also brewed my first rye beer, a Rye Pale Ale. I used about 30% Rye in the mash and it was heavily late-hopped with American will finish up around 5.5% ABV. The wort had a slight taste of rye bread that I think will pair nicely with the hops. Both brews are bubbling away as I write this.  We did manage to wreck some parts of the brewery with a melted sight-glass and burnt temperature probe...those can be easily replaced though. The beer is going to be great and it was really nice to have my Dad go through an almost 12 hour brewday with me, learning what I am so passionate about!

Dad manning the spray bottle to prevent the boilover! Hi, Mom! (in the reflection)

Here is a tiny glimpse of the project I undertook the day after I had knee surgery and was laid up. I etched my brewery glassware with the Lowell Brewing logo..too much? I'll post a clearer picture at another time, but this one was neat with the reflection bouncing off some Vernalis at dinner the other night.

I also have to get on planning my Oktoberfest brew since it will have to lager for 2 months after fermentation. I think I have the recipe about figured out. And, who knows, maybe I"ll brew a pumpkin ale this year in the spirit of autumn...if this blazing inferno of a summer ever passes!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Muddy Huddy is going to the GABF!!!

I entered a home brew competition this past weekend with a handful of my beers. Out of that handful, I won 2 gold medals and a silver medal! Muddy Huddy (American Stout) and Mug (English Barleywine) won gold and Pops' Old Ale (English Old Ale) won silver! Very exciting stuff and it will give me some more decorations for the tap room. There was another tidbit of good news from the competition....

Muddy Huddy is headed to the Great American Beer Festival! 

Out of the almost 600 entries and subsequent gold medal winners, Odell Brewing Co. from Fort Collins, CO chose Muddy Huddy to brew at commercial scale and enter it into the Great American Beer Festival as a ProAm entry! Huge news. I'm extremely excited.  It is still undecided when I'll head up there to brew the beer at their brewery. I believe the beer will also be on tap at the brewery until it runs out as well as being served at the GABF. This is one of my favorite breweries in the state and I like everything they do there...from the brewery to the beers that come out of it. If I could have chosen one brewery to brew with in Colorado, they would be it...funny how it worked out.

Some information on the ProAm Competition:

GABF Pro-Am entries are brewed by professional craft brewers based on award-winning homebrew recipes from American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members. Homebrew recipes are scaled up and brewed at a craft brewery for submission into the competition.

Check out the's kind of a big deal:

I'll keep you posted, but this is hands-down the coolest thing that has ever happened to me with my brewing! Should be a great ride...really, really cool

Monday, April 30, 2012

And We're Back!

After a little hiatus from brewing, I was finally able to brew again this past weekend (thank you, wonderful wife)! I brewed up a Belgian Pale Ale (only my second Belgian beer) and an IPA. The BPA will be a toasty and biscuity beer with a slight Belgian yeast character and a bunch of late noble hop flavor and aroma. 34th St. IPA will be an easy-drinking (@ 5.5% ABV) IPA dry-hopped with Amarillo and Centennial hops. Here is the brewery in the early morning and the cooler at the end of the brew day with two 10 gallon fermentors full of soon-to-be beer!

Here's some brewing geekiness for you. This is the actual yeast culture I used to brew the Belgian Pale Ale...that's right, science is cool!

Before the brew day, I also installed some new burners that will make brewing a little faster. They are huge, 10 inches across and about 15 lbs. each. Cool.

And finally, my proudest accomplishment! Cameron Calloway Lowell....born February 28th, 2012! He is amazing and I love him more everyday. I don't usually throw my family life into this blog, but I think he is worth mentioning!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tap Room (a.k.a. the other half of my garage) gets a makeover!

Along with all of the pre-baby projects, I have also given the tap room a face lift. I replaced my old keezer with a bigger one. Each batch I brew is 10 gallons, or two kegs worth. Therefore, I can now serve four beers and also have a backup keg for each of those beers all in one keezer...for 8 total. Believe me, I have been trying to stock up all of those kegs before the baby arrives. I encased the new keezer in beetle kill pine from our own Grand County. I also added casters and a chalkboard front.

I love the natural blue stain and
grain of the beetle-kill pine

This was during an early morning brewday!

A glorious sight!

My incredible wife gave me a rack and fancy beer glasses for Christmas and I just got around to hanging all of them up. The ones on the top shelf are 20 oz. pub glasses and the hanging ones are 16 oz. tulip goblets. Eventually, I will get around to etching them with the Lowell Brewing Co. logo (as of now). For some reason, I think this would be a good kitchen table project when the baby arrives! Maybe I'm totally off.

Awesome glasses and rack

On Saturday, I also brewed another 20 gallons of beer to fill the final kegs. I brewed an English Old Ale for my father-in-law...rightfully named Pops' Old Ale. It should finish out around 8.5% ABV as a full-bodied, malty ale for those cold nights. Five gallons of this will live in the oak barrel for a while. I hope he likes it! The other beer that was brewed was inspired by Jeff called Vernalis Black Ale. It is a black ale that should bridge the winter and spring seasons. Not too roasty, more chocolatey, light-bodied, spicy Chinook hops, and a floral aroma. For those times when it is getting a little warmer, but you still want a winter beer without the heavy body. I'm excited about this one, it will be delicious.
Vernalis Black Ale on the left and Pops' Old Ale on the right!

The other project was moving Mug, the English Barleywine, out of the barrel and into a carboy for clarification. This fella topped out at around 10.8% ABV and will be a good sipper. This will go into the keg later this week! 

So, I know that was a lot, but I have been busy! Hopefully all of this brewing will keep the taps pouring for a good amount of time while we are busy with the new baby. The revamped tap room will entertain all of the guests that will be dropping by! As of now, I have an IPA, Blonde, and Amber on tap. In the next week or so, I'll add an English Barleywine, Black Ale, and Old ale to the mix. I should be good for a while. I'll check back soon...probably after the wee one arrives!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The American Beer Revival

This is a neat little clip showing the history of breweries in America...most notably, how the craft breweries have risen again! Support your local craft brewery.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hops and Dogs

I have seen a bunch of warnings about this lately and it is very important that all brewers know it. Don't let your pup near your hops!

There was a time, about a year ago, where Moxie (above) grabbed a single hop pellet that had dropped on the floor in the kitchen. Soon after, he began panting and didn't stop for several hours. I now realize, after the event, that the hops caused his body temperature to rise uncontrollably and I am lucky that he didn't ingest more. He turned out just fine, but brewers beware! Never store or dispose of your hops (even used) where the dog can get at them...that includes the compost bin. This also includes homegrown hops in the backyard. Let's try and keep our furry brewing buddies around (I'm talking canines, not humans)!