This kind of tour is the best kind – a tour of my home brewery. Joshua Bernstein, who has an awesome blog describing his adventures in beer and gastronomy in NYC, contacted me for giving a tour of my homebrew setup. Once a month, he travels with close to 30 people and visits various apartments transformed into breweries. The host must provide two beers for sampling and explain how the brewer got into making beer at home.
Joshua decided to head north into the Bronx and started with my place.
Here I am explaining the process of making my Chocolate Orange Cardamom Porter. Everybody had great questions and it was really good to meet everyone. Shown standing right in the window is Fritz, an avid homebrewer who has great blog worth reading. Mostly everyone one in the group had some form of homebrewing or were simply curious. Hopefully I was able to answer most of their questions.
To the right, the guests lined up and sampled the two brews I had on draft that day, the Porter and an American IPA. You cannot see it in the picture, but all of my brewing gear was setup in the kitchen since I was brewing later that day. Many had questions on different pieces of equipment and how they impact they brewing process.
All in all it was a great day. I got to meet some really cool people and I definitely will be going on one of Joshua’s tours in the future.
As it turned out, I was able brew up some beer after the group left. I realized that I hadn’t brewed a Belgian ale since last summer. Specifically, I brewed a Belgian Noel. These beers are typically made during the summer or fall in anticipation of winter’s arrival. This beer hardly fits to a style but is malty, somewhat higher in alcohol content and contains spices that remind one of Christmas and cold months. In this interpretation I used nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla beans and 1 quart of dried cherries! The wort smelled like apple cherry pie!
The recipe (5 gallon batch):
- 15 pounds of pale ale malt (Weyermann)
- 1 pound of Special B
- 1 pound Caramunich II
Mashed in at 154°F for one hour (1.3 qts per pound of grain). Raised temp to mashout – 168°F. Vourlafed and batch sparged.
Collected 6.25 gallons of 1.064 wort and began the boil:
- 1 oz of Chech Saaz at 60 minutes
- Whirfloc tablet and yeast nutrient at 15 minutes
- 1 pound of honey at 5 minutes
- 3 tsp of cinnamon at 5 minutes
- 1 tsp of allspice at 5 minutes
- 1/2 tsp of nutmeg at 5 minutes
- 1 quart of dried cherries at 5 minutes
- Seeds of one vanilla bean added at 5 minutes
Whirlpooled and cooled the wort to pitching temps of 65°F
Pitched a one liter starter of Wyeast 3787 – trappist high gravity. I stepped this starter at work from a small amount of yeast cells. The flask pictured above has about 240 billion yeast cells
FG: ??? Still fermenting!
Up next: some tastings from previous brews and competition news!