B-Day Labels #10 Mango Madness #2


This is follow up to Mango Madness.

This time around I had more mango, I also added 3-4 perfectly ripe peaches, and I left the pulp and pits in the mango (it was only in the fermenter for 2 weeks, I removed the peach pits but did not peel them).

The results was more mango, but also, over time, a bitterness from the pulp (or more like an astringency).  This turns out to be a good thing.  I brought the keg to Beer Stock shortly after kegging, and people loved it, and most said “Needs more Hops.”

Not a surprise at a NW Homebrew Event.  But in reality, what was happening was the mango cloyingness was overwhelming the 50 IBUs already there.  As the CO2 has taken effect and the astringency kicked in, it has balanced better.  I still might crank up the IBUs 5 more anyway.   Also the efficiency of the grist was way off (1052 instead of 1060) and that may be adding to the sweetness.  When I racked from secondary, before adding Mango,  it was thickkkkkkkk.

The picture on the label seems to be a screen shot from some flash game I could not find.  I did use a new trick.  Word seems to be struggling with all the Word Art (the CPU spikes when I move the labels as it renders everything).  I create one document with the word art, and just one label.  I then paste it into another, “As a Picture.”  then I use that picture to make 6 labels.  The second document is does not cause all the CPU loading.


Hopville.com recipe:  http://hopville.com/recipe/841437/american-ipa-recipes/mango-madness-2


B-Day Labels #9 Mango Madness #1

You know when you name a beer “#1” to begin with, you are planning #2…

This beer was specific for Anh.  Years ago Anh spent some time in Florida.  She is crazy for mangos,  While there she befriended a mango farmer who made a deal to sell her Mangos direct every year.  So every year Anh and Mark get over 100 Mangos.  Their kitchen, which is quite large, becomes overwhelmed with Mango.

Anh wanted a Mango beer.  So off the heals of the Princess Peach Pale Ale I made my standard IPA and added the Mango.  As Anh had mangos get overripe she would cut them and freeze them.  At some point Mark dropped off a ziplock or two of frozen mango.

I did not really weigh it going in, but I did fill a large sauce pan and hold the fruit at 160-170, though it got to 180.  The problem was I forgot to account for the 12 hours it would take to defrost the Mango.

Since I knew I was making more than one mango beer, I bottled the whole batch, or really had my minions bottle it for me.

The End result was very nice.  Interestingly, if the beer is cold, you do not get much Mango aroma or flavor, but let it warm, and it really comes in.

The Label was based on a photo from their kitchen this year:


Hopville recipe:  http://hopville.com/recipe/711844/american-ipa-recipes/mango-madness-pale-ale

B-Day Label #11 Experimental Hop 946 #homebrew

One of the members of my local home brew club, Tom Schmidlin  had a batch of “brewer’s cuts” in his deep freeze. These are samples (1 cubic foot or so) of hops that growers send to pro brewers to test the seasons hops.  These cuts were left over form 2009 or 2010.  Tom asked me what kind of hops I would like.  I rattled off a list of, oh, about 10.  He replied back to the effect, “Hey Jerk, this is for sharing, not for hogging, pick one!”  Then he admitted he had a cut of “experimental hops.”

I was like, “why didn’t you say so in the first place?”  That had my name all over it.

Each year, hop growers grow a number of experimental hops.  These are hybrids, or tweaks of existing hops.  Most never see a second season, and this is likely one of them.  All we know about the hops are the measurements written in sharpie on the wrapper.  Speaking of which, when Tom brought a bunch of the cuts to a meeting, it looked like a very poorly hidden drug deal, handing out brown paper satchels to other members…

Tom indicated to expect that Alpha and Beta values had dropped by 25%.

The measurements:

alpha (5.4 less 25%)

Beta (5.6 less 25%).

The package also said:

Hops:  Burlotee, 0-313-30, Bale #6, 9-18-10, Exp, Lot 946 “RS”

I decied made a pale ale, 100% from the hops, like my Cascade Ale, to explore the hop. However to get the IBUs up I used a lot of hops:  50gms at 60, 20, 5. That is a lot of hops!  The amount of wort/beer sucked into those hops was heartbreaking.

The result:  to quote Mark:

Subject: The beer is delicious!
It’s great – perfect body and aroma, sweet flavor.

For the label I wanted to capture the experimental nature of the hops:



Hopville.com recipe:  http://hopville.com/recipe/775581/american-pale-ale-recipes/experimental-hop-946

Brewmate.net recipe:  http://www.brewmate.net/recipes/6esV1DqDoofNqmPyqPGz.xml

7 C’s IPA Anniversary Beer


As with my Accidental Imperial Stout this is my Anniversary Beer for Microsoft.

2 years ago, for 5 years, I brought 5 gallons of Nutcastle Brown, since it has chocolate malt in it.

Last year I brought my Accidental Imperial Stout with 6 oz. of chocolate nibs in it.

This time my MS voyage has hit 7 years, so I created this 7 c’s IPA.

This has 7 different “C” hops in it.  I had tasted Lumpoc’s C-Note and really liked it.  Researching a 7 C beer was trickier than I thought.   I was surprised that not many other people had done something with a spin on the name. My version is an IPA, but not an over the top bitter one, these hops mix together to form a moving balance from bitter to floral to spicy to citrus, with a nice malt backbone as it washes down. 

Finding all the C’s was tricky.  I have Cascade, I picked 3 more C’s (Centennial, Chinook, Cluster) of them at Larry’s Homebrew Supply on my way to Beerstock, and then 2 at Mountain Homebrew (Crystal, Columbus),   That left Citra or Challenger.  Before the brew weekend I was widowering and Working from home whilst my wife was running her fourth Ironman in 3 years, so running errands was tricky.  @beerymcgee had some Citra he was willing to share, but I found that Bob’s Homebrew had both Citra and Challenger in stock, and it was "on the way" to picking up Minion #4’s Bow from the Nock Point. 

I still did not know what which hop I wanted.  Citra is more "US" but I already had plenty of citrus going in…  Anyway I gave myself an hour to get there by 7pm when the store closed.  First issue was loading Minions in the van, down to 45 minutes.  Then I got stopped by construction (one lane), then traffic ( l love the 520 bridge), then the friggin’ bridge was up at Montlake.  I got to the store at 7:00 exactly, and they still let me in (thanks!).  Clearly the choice was made for me, and I got Challenger.

BTW that is not all of the homebrew stores in the Puget Sound region 🙂

I spent of lot of time trying to figure out how I could figure out how to balance the hops.  Rather than trying to craft a plan for the hops, I chose to stay with the theme of 7. I bittered with 21g (7×3) of cascade and Chinook  and added 7 g of each hop at 20 and 5 minutes and then dry hopped the rest of each package. My weights of the rest (dry hop) are highly suspect.

To say this had a bit of hop sludge would be like saying Germans drink a bit of beer.  I had to strain the wort to get all that goodness out.  I had pellets, whole hops, and plugs.  Each one of those has issues, I had them all.  On top of that I could not get a chance to rack before dry hopping, in the bucket they went.  On kegging day I racked to a carboy and I still got 2 inches of trub/hops at the bottom in an hour.

Even after kegging, it was still “thick” so I added isinglass to the keg.  This is not surprising, you can look at the recipe, it took 45 minutes just to enter all of the hops into Hopville.com.

I’ll be serving this tomorrow (10/7/2011) at work.

Hopville Recipe.

B-Day Label #8 Princess Peach Ale

This time I had a request from Ahn (Mark’s Wife):  Can you make the next one with Peach in it?  I could not say no!

That is of course, assuming I could find peaches.  Turns out there was a shortage.  More than one store was flummoxed when I could not find them in the store.  Finally I called the produce managers and they said they were out, and that the recent rain and cold has prevented the crop from coming in.  Also Apricots, which are often recommended for Peach Beers (supposedly gives more Peach Flavor), were out as well.

Finally I found 6 lbs. of frozen peaches from, again, Remlinger Farms the same local farm that I used for the Blackberry Wit.

In chatting with the local home brew club (Mt Si. Homebrew Club) about how to brew, there was a strong “Do not make a wheat beer and add fruit to it” request.  Luckily I had already thought about a Pale Ale, and I decided that an IPA would offer a nice bitterness against the peach, and allow me to dry hop if the peach did not come through.

I brewed the Cascade IPA (My All Cascade Pale doubled for an IPA, plus Amarillo for fun) and left off the dry hops.  Now I split the batch for the BBR-BYO Experiment on Hydrating vs. Sprinkling Dry Yeast (no spoilers).  And I made about 5.5 gallons total.  When it came time to add the peaches I food processed the peaches and then put them in water and tried to hold the temp at 160-175 to kill anything, but not get pectin haze.  I think that worked.  I then racked both carboys to a bucket, overtop the peaches, which filled the bucket to inches from the top.  I then left on a surprise trip, and hoped the additional sugars did not blow the airlock Smile

When I racked 20 days later, there was lots of pulp (racking took forever) and the taste was not peachy, and frankly not great.

I let it sit for a week and planned on tasting to see if I wanted to dry hop, and go for an IPA only.  WOW the peach had really come out, and the hop nose has bloomed.  I bottled 52 bottles until it was looking a bit too pulpy, and I put the rest in a 2 litre bottle and carbed the bottle.

Now for the label, I wanted to avoid the obvious peach titles (Peach Fuzz, Peachy Keen, Georgia Peach, even though Mark and I met at Georgia Tech).  That’s when my wife hit on the great idea that Ahn’s and Mark’s Son is a Mario nut.  Clearly I had to made it about Princess Peach!  The rest was “easy.”  Here is the label:


In case the test does not read well:  Princess Peach Ale, “Better than eating a ‘shroom.”


Hopville link:  http://hopville.com/recipe/684066/american-ipa-recipes/prince-peach-pale-ale

Brewmate link: http://www.brewmate.net/recipes/2aDRqWnjaL8EJOiu1UeR.xml

B-Day Labels #7 Accidental Imperial Stout

At Microsoft (my day job) it is traditional to bring in X lbs. of M&M or chocolate where X is the number of years you’ve been there.  Over time people bring in a variety of forms of candy.  Last year I made a Brown Ale with Chocolate Malt in it. 

This year I started out with a sweet stout that I was going to add actual chocolate to.  But this was the first time with my Grain Mill and apparently I got the efficiency more than right.  When I was done I forgot to check the OG.  When I did, a few hours later, it was not 1046 like I had planned, but 1072.  Yikes!  This meant I had just under pitched the yeast and I had no more.

When I was able to get more, I found that it had fermented, but threw another pack of Nottingham in anyway.

Time for the chocolate.  I spent 30 minutes at PCC looking for chocolate nibs (chocolate in a more raw state), to discover that they did not have them (so glad I called ahead, grr).  I then sprinted to Whole Foods and found chocolate bens, nibs, and powder and far too many confusing things.  The differences is the the earlier in the processing the more the chocolate flavor you get is not what people expect for “chocolate".”  That is because it is very bitter (no sugar yet).   The trick here is I wanted a unit of 6 (for 6 years).  I decided to go for 6 ounces of nibs.  To balance that I wanted to add 6 Vanilla Beans, but then I saw the cost of whole vanilla beans (like $5 a bean) and decided that I could go with 6 inches!

After I fermented and racked to a secondary, I added the chocolate and the chopped bean (soaked in vodka to sterilize them).  I let it sit in secondary for several months.  When I first tasted it, I was expecting an over bitter beer and had bought lactose form Larry’s which will allow me to sweeten without the yeast fermenting it away.  And I tasted, and it was too sweet!

I brought it to Mt Si. Homebrew Club and it was agreed it need more bitterness.  I was ready to boil some hops to create more bitterness, but it was not needed.   I let it sit in the keg and get more carbonated (the CO2 will form carbonic acid).  Now it is perfect.

The real problem is I have yet to have a Friday at work where I can crack the keg and chat (as I do not plan to get any work done).

Ok the real problem is I have to stop “tasting” it Smile


For the label I wanted an image of a Russian bear slipping on banana (playing off of the style is now Russian Imperial Stout) but I could not find an image suitable.  I then looked for kings slipping and other things.  Finally I had to make a king/imperial banana:


The delivery was at a meal with prime rib.  I was in a meat coma for 4 hours!




B-Day Labels #6 DIPA

Evan, one of the local homebrewers In the Mt Si. Homebrew Club (and one of the authors of Brewmate) brought a double IPA to a meeting.  I fell in love with it.  I tried to clone his recipe.  While it was a great beer I did not succeed.  I will just have to try again!


For the label I was trying for a double vision theme, due to the high ABV (8.3%):



The main advantage of going with black and white is that I could quickly print at the library, and drop these off to Mark at the Gym in the pool area.  Oddly I got no questions in the café why I was dipping the labels in the coffee area milk and placing them on bottles…






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