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Archive for March, 2010

Frontier Fiesta Beer – Success!

Posted by Jeff on March 30, 2010

Another year of Frontier Fiesta is in the books… thank God.

So, as luck would have it, my Frontier Fiesta Amber actually turned out really nice!  I guess it just needed a week to let the flavors meld a bit.  I’ll bet that after a week or two more it would have been even better, but this beer was born for a purpose… and it’s purpose was served.

Originally I thought the beer was thin and watery… but, once again, I have to remind myself that you can’t judge a beer immediately after fermentation!  It was a very nice smooth drinking beer.  Aroma was fairly neutral with some sweetness.  Visually, the beer was a murky amber orange color.  I think the yeast I used didn’t flocculate out very well, but whereas it was murky, I think the suspended yeast gave it a hint of character and mouthfeel.

As for the taste… I thought it was a fine beer.  Very unassuming and very crowd pleasing.  There wasn’t any residual sweetness (great for a beer you are drinking during a warm day at a BBQ cookoff) and the hops were just enough to keep the beer in balance, but not come through on the flavor too much.  There was a small hop bitterness lingering on the back of the tounge in the aftertaste that one person said was reminiscent of lime.

All in all, the beer was just what I wanted it to be.  A very easy drinking, well balanced crowd pleasing beer that you could enjoy multiple pints of.  I didn’t want to shock anyone with hops or blow their minds with caramel/toffee flavors.

Everyone who drank it (except the one guy who made the comment about the lime flavor) really enjoyed it!  Looks like I may keep that recipe on hand for future Frontier Fiestas!


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Jeff’s Pale Ale – Update

Posted by Jeff on March 22, 2010

I’ve decided to dub my pale ale just that… mine.  Jeff’s Pale Ale!  It’s not super catchy, but this pale ale is exactly what I want out of a pale, so it makes sense.

Ok, so I transferred off the carboy and into a keg today and poured a little sample for me…

Sweet baby Jesus this beer is good! 

First thing I get is the strong Cascade hops in the aroma.  I added an ounce to secondary and it REALLY came through nicely! 

Secondly, the tasting.  This beer is fan-freaking-tastic!  This is my idea of the perfect pale ale!  A very balanced and easy to drink beer with just the right amount of hop bitterness (not too much like some over-hopped commercial pale ales) from the Chinook hops (my favorite hop).  Coming in at a nice 5%ABV, this is one of the better beers I have right now.

Now… since my Fiesta amber came out so blah, I was thinking of bring this pale as a lifeline.  But after sampling it… I don’t know if I WANT to share with the masses!  Oh decisions… pride or greed…

In any case, I’ve brewed a damn good beer!  I definitely think I may bottle a few for competition.

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Frontier Fiesta Amber – Update

Posted by Jeff on March 22, 2010

Just kegged it tonight.  Going to try to carbonate it in 6 days.

Final gravity came out well… but this beer tastes really thin.  I’m not impressed at all.  Then again, 2 lbs of corn in the grain bill, a low mash temp and having to add water before fermentation to bring down the gravity all probably played a part in it.

Looks like it rings it at 6% ABV.

I’m debating whether or not to take it to Fiesta.  On the one hand, it’s fairly bland, so it may go over well with the masses.  On the other hand… it’s a piss poor representation of my brewing.  (So maybe I just bust it out around 1AM…)

I’ll carbonate it and check on it on Friday. 

On the plus side, this is the first beer I’ve made in my conical since replacing the gaskets (I had a bad off flavor coming from all of my conical fermented beers which I hypothesised was probably the 3 year old gaskets).  The beer came out withOUT the specific off-flavor I’ve been getting in my beers… so that’s good.

Here’s hoping… check back in a week and see how it went.

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Frontier Fiesta Amber

Posted by Jeff on March 10, 2010

In part 2 of my two week update, last weekend I brewed a beer for the upcoming Frontier Fiesta!

I went into the homebrew shop without a recipe, so I decided to browse some of their shop recipes.  I wanted something with an OG in the mid 40’s and something that everyone would like.  Also, since I only had about 4 weeks until Fiesta, I wanted the beer to have a low enough OG that a long ferment/aging process wouldn’t be needed. 

I came across one for a “Texas Bock”, which looked like it was trying to mimic Shiner Bock.  I know Shiner is a crowd pleaser, so I thought that would be a good place to start.  Unfortunately, since Fiesta is less than a month away, I didn’t have time to make it as a lager, so I figured I’d try it as an ale.  At the very least, it should be interesting!  Here’s the recipe:

Frontier Fiesta Amber
5 Gallons, 60 Min Boil
Est. OG – 1.045
4.5 lbs – Two Row Pale Malt
2.0 lbs – Flaked Maize
2.0 lbs – Munich (light) – 9L
0.5 lb – CaraVienne – 25L
0.5 lb – Medium Crystal – 55L
.025 lb – Carafa II (uncrushed – added to mash in sparge only)
1.0 oz. – Tettnanger – 60 min
0.5 oz. – Crystal – 30 min
0.5 oz – Crystal  – 1 min

Yeast: White Labs WLP011 – European Ale

Mash: Single Infusion – 150F for 60 min
Originally I was calling this a brown ale, as the Carafa II was supposed to add enough color to darken it.  The homebrew shop employee advised me not to crush it, however, after my mash was complete, I really don’t think I got much of any color (or any flavor) from the uncrushed Carafa.  Next time I may try at least a light crush. 

Once again, I had trouble with my OG.  This time I overshot (somehow).  I came in around 1.048-1.050… and that was after I added water to the post-boil.  Like I said, I had hoped for 1.045, but what can you do.  I did mash low, so that should help fermentability.

I don’t think I’ve ever used European Ale yeast before… and I’ve never brewed with corn.  So I’m interested to see how this one turns out.  Worst case scenario, I’ll bring it out later in the evening at Fiesta when everyone is getting drunk and won’t know the difference anyways…


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Pale Ale

Posted by Jeff on March 10, 2010

In an unprecidented move, I actually brewed two weekends in a row!  Free time is a glorious thing…

So, for the first analysis… two weeks ago, I brewed an American Pale Ale.  As the weather is starting to warm here, I like to have a crisp and refressing beer on tap.  None fits the bill better than a nice pale ale!  The recipe is a clone of one of my favorites, BJ’s Brewhouse – Piranha Pale Ale.  I got the recipe from someone who claims to have brewed for BJ’s in the past.  Last time I brewed it it was pretty fantastic, so I’m looking forward to having it on tap again.  Here’s the recipe (this is the recipe I made, which is a little different than what I have written down as the actual clone… due to availability of ingredients when I bought them):

BJ’s Brewhouse – PIRANHA PALE ALE Clone
5 Gallons, 60 min Boil, All-Grain
Est O.G. – 1.052
8 lb. – Two Row Pale Malt
1 lb. – Wheat Malt – German (LHBS was out of Domestic Wheat)
0.5 lb – British Medium Crystal – 55L (recipe calls for 60)
0.5 lb – Light Crystal – 10L (recipe calls for 15)
0.75 oz. – Chinook – 60 min
0.75 oz. – Chinook – 30 min
1.0 oz. – Cascade – 10 min
1.0 oz. – Cascade – Dry Hop

Yeast: White Labs WLP001 – California Ale

Mash: Single-Infusion at 154F for 60 min.

Brew day went well.  Ended up a little low on the OG though, at 1.049.  Mashed a little low too, at 149F, which should make the beer more fermentable so it will end up dryer.  May knock the hops out of balance, but I think it will be alright.  

It’s two weeks into fermentation and smelling great!  I’ll be transferring to secondary and dry hopping this weekend.  I’ll update after. 


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