Monthly Archives: December 2013

Homebrew: New Year IPA

Tomorrow it’s time for the last brewday of the year. We will be trying to get rid of some opened packages of 2012 hops, so the obvious choice for beer style is an Imperial IPA. We will be using our classic malt bill, with Pale Ale, Munich, Carapils and Crystal malt, coupled with a slight amount of cane sugar to dry out the beer since we’ll be using a low-attenuating yeast strain. For hops, we will be using our standard bittering hop Herkules, while for flavour and aroma we will be using Amarillo, Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin and Simcoe. We are aiming for 100+ theoretical IBUs. I like the use of English yeast strains in hop-forward beers, since they lend a slightly fruitiness that often complements the hoppiness. Since I have some Wyeast 1318 English Ale III slurry from a previous fermentation, we will be using it for this beer. Hoping to reach an FG of around 1.013-1.015 and an ABV of around 8.5-9%.

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Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

  • Brewery: Firestone Walker
  • Country: USA
  • Style: Black IPA
  • ABV: 8.3 %
  • Size: 650 ml
  • Bought from: Online
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

Next up for the evening is Firestone Walker’s Black Rye IPA, Wookey Jack. I’m a very big fan of Firestone Walker, and have loved practically every beer I’ve tried from them. They seem to be able to balance flavors fantastically, whilst still keeping their beers hop-forward and clean. The beer has been brewed with pale ale, rye, cararye, midnight wheat and black malt, while hopped with Magnum, Citra and Amarillo to 80 IBU. As with the majority of Firestone Walker beer, it has been fermented with an English yeast strain. We brewed a Black Rye IPA inspired by this beer earlier this autumn, and it will be really interesting to try the original! Cheers!

[easyreview title=”Firestone Walker Wookey Jack” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a very dark brown, almost black color, and a huge and fluffy tan-colored head is formed, that collapses slowly leaving drapes of lacing along the glass. Held against the light, you can see that the beer is crystal clear and that there are some ruby-like colors in the beer as well. A really nice appearance!” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is surprisingly light, with some roasted coffee and chocolate, together with some tropical fruits, citrus and resin. Compared to our own homebrewed Black Rye IPA, hopped with the same varieties, the hop aroma is much more muted. However, this beer is almost half a year old, and the beer was most likely much different fresh. Some slight notes of caramel, alcohol and spicy rye as well in the background. Not bad, but I must admit I’m slightly disappointed. It does get better as the beer warms up though, and I may have opened it a bit too cold. I had first planned on giving 3-3.5 points for the aroma, but when the beer gets warmer I must say it gets closer to a 4-4.5, with the aroma amplifying.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a slight roastiness and sweet caramel tones, giving off an impression of mocha. There is even a slight ashiness present. A fruity (its mostly mango and grapefruit) hoppiness then joins in, and the longer the beer lingers in the mouth, the more the flavor shifts into the pine and resin territory. Throughout there is a slight spiciness from the rye as well. The finish is semi-dry and the beer has a firm bitterness. The flavors balance well together, and whilst the aroma was a slight disappointment, the flavor certainly delivers. Not quite as roasty and heavy as Imperial Stouts usually are, and with the fruity hoppiness of a nice IPA, this Black IPA gives a great balance of both. The alcohol is hidden well behind the other flavors. Compared to our own homebrew, the flavor is cleaner and slightly less roasted.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-full body and a medium-high carbonation level. The texture is smooth, and the beer makes a great slow sipper because of the roastiness and bitterness.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall a very nice beer, that was quite similar to our homebrew. The combination of roasted tones and fruity hoppiness works very well here. I imagine this would be even better fresh, but this still features a nice range of hop tones. I must say that I’m a bigger fan of traditional IPAs, but here all the flavors worked very well together.”]

Homebrew: Ilkka’s Grainy Day

  • Brewery: Ilkka’s Homebrewery
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: Saison
  • ABV: 4.7 %
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: –
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer

Today it’s time to try a homebrewed Saison that I got from my colleague Ilkka. I’ve tried some really interesting beers from Ilkka before, and this one sounds very interesting on paper as well. The malt bill consists of pilsner malt, flaked spelt and flaked buckwheat. The original gravity was 1.042, while the final gravity is 1.004, giving it an ABV of 4.7%. It has been single hopped with Sorachi Ace to 25 IBU. I’m a bit skeptical towards Sorachi Ace, as I haven’t tried that many beers hopped with it that I’ve liked, but hopefully its hop aromas stay in the background in this beer. The beer has been fermented with Wyeast’s French Saison 3711 yeast, and also oak with some oak chips for 15 days. There seems to be a lot going on in this, and it will be very interesting to taste it! The beer was brewed in the end of May, so is approximately 7 months old.

[easyreview title=”Ilkka’s Grainy Day” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a brilliant golden yellow color, and there is just a slight amount of haze. A fluffy white head is formed as well, but it collapses quite quickly leaving some spots of lacing along the glass. A nice appearance!” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is surprisingly sweet, featuring a candy-like sweetness combined with some spicy yeast notes. Luckily I can’t detect any of the dill tones you can sometimes get from Sorachi Ace hops. There is a slight presence of citrus as well. A nice and quite ‘easy going’ aroma.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”At first the beer gives off a sweet impression, with an initial hit of honey-like graininess. Quickly however, the flavor becomes drier, more spicy and fruity, with typical yeast products. The beer features some lemon and citrus flavors as well, which works well with the spiciness. The beer finishes dry and with a slight bitterness. I’m unsure what the spelt and buckwheat brought to the beer, but there is something in the aftertaste I can’t really chart, and could be from the speciality grains. I like that the flavor isn’t overly spicy and yeasty, which some saisons seem to be, and rather there is quite a lot of fruitiness present as well. I also can’t really detect any oakiness, but I guess its subtleness adds to the whole experience.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is light and the carbonation level is medium high. The beer is very refreshing, and would be very suitable for a hot summer day. The spicy notes leave a slight bite, but otherwise a very nice drinkability.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Overall this was very nice beer! Especially for one being only 4.7%. I wouldn’t mind buying it from the supermarkets here in Finland. The spiciness, fruitiness and apparent sweetness work well together, while the dry finish and light body give it great drinkability. Thanks for the beer! Really looking forward to trying the other beers I got from Ilkka!”]

Beer and Food: Beer-brined Pulled Pork

Yesterday and today I prepared some pulled pork, which came out really well. The recipe was inspired by the one found in this blog post. I made some small modifications, the main being substituting some of the water in the brine solution with beer and apple juice. I chose Anchor Brekle’s Brown for the beer, as I thought the malty and slightly roasted flavors could work well with the meat. The meat was really tasty and juicy, and I recommend you try it out! It doesn’t require much work, but it requires quite a lot of time and patience. Here is the recipe and some pictures:

What you’ll need:

1 piece of pork shoulder

Dry Rub:

1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 dl brown sugar

Mix well and store in an air tight container.

Brine Solution:

1 dl salt
1 dl brown sugar
1 liter cold water
2 dl beer (e.g. dark and malty)
8 dl apple juice
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp dry rub mix

Add salt and sugar to the cold water and stir very well until they have completely dissolved. Add the dry rub and bay leaves to the beer and the apple juice, and stir well to combine. Combine and pour on the meat. The rest of the beer can be enjoyed by the chef.

Pork shoulder preparation:

Day 1: Rinse the pork shoulder and place in a large ziploc bag. Pour in the brine solution until the shoulder is completely covered. Close the bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (e.g. overnight).

Day 2: Remove the pork shoulder from brine solution, pat dry with paper towels, and place in baking pan. Pour dry rub generously onto the shoulder and massage it in. Place the baking pan uncovered in a 107 degree C oven. Insert a probe thermometer into the center or thickest part of the shoulder. Cook the shoulder until the inner temperature reaches 93 degrees C. It took over 9 hours for my 1 kg piece of meat to reach this temperature. When the shoulder has reached 93 degrees C, shut off the oven and let the roast cool for a couple of hours before removing from the oven. Place the meat on a large, clean work surface such as a cutting board, and remove the large sheet of crusted fat on the top. Pull apart with two forks, it will pull apart very easily. Enjoy (e.g. with bread and BBQ-sauce)!



The ingredients lined up.


The dry rub is mixed up.


Making the brine and marinating the chef.


Placing the meat in the brine.


Brining is carried out overnight in double ziploc bags.


The pork after a night in the brine.


A generous rubbing of the meat with the dry rub.


A plot of the inner meat temperature over time. It took over 9 hours to get the inner temperature up to 93C.


This is how the meat looked after taking it out of the oven.


Pulling the meat with two forks.


Eating the pulled pork with some bread, BBQ sauce and fried onions. I’m drinking a homebrewed Pale Ale with it, and it is an amazing combination.

Homebrew: Modern Pilsner

Yesterday I brewed up another batch of lager. This time I attempted an IPA-like beer, but the twist is that it will be fermented with a lager yeast and at low temperatures. The malt bill was simple, with Pilsner, CaraPils and Melanoidin malt. During the boil I single hopped with Centennial to around 60 IBU. After fermentation and lagering, I will add some random dry hops based on what opened packages I have in my freezer. I pitched a large starter of WLP800 Pilsner Lager yeast, and set the thermostat at 10C. The brewday went well, and I collected 19 liters of wort and hit an OG of 1.067. I mashed at low temoeratures (~63C) to produce an easily fermentable wort. This one should be interesting!

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