A Blog about Thijs de Vries

A blog

Transit Brewfest '09

Yesterday me and some friends who brew had a get together and got to sample each others beer. All in all we had 4 brewers total hanging out. I let people sample my coffee brown ale and my German oat ale. I’m afraid the oat ale has gone sour and I will probably be dumping it (though my housemate likes it, I may let him drink it). The coffee brown came out really well, but still needs a bit of carbonation. The aroma definitely smells like coffee. I feel the next time around I will add 2 ounces of roasted barley to give it a bit more bitterness and roastiness. I will probably try mashing it at a higher temperature too to make it a more full beer.

Joe and Meg brought over a blood orange Hefeweizen. The orange really helped compliment the wheat portion of the beer. The color was a nice light orange. There were little bits of orange zest which I thought was really cool (though may scare the wimpier beer drinkers out there). I am tempted to brew a wheat beer soon since summer is around the corner but since I already have three beers in the fermentors, I will probably wait till I’m down to one beer (not including beers that take forever to age). I’m trying to get in the habit of brewing in accordance to how much I drink. I have found that I go through long periods of not brewing and than brew several batches in a row.

Logan brought over his coffee stout and two of his ciders. Logan’s coffee stout, just like my coffee brown, does not use actual coffee but has grains that are malted and kilned to have coffee like aroma and flavor. His beer is well aged and tastes very interesting though it is hard to taste the coffee portion of the beer. It is a testament to his sanitation skills that the beer is still good considering it was brewed some time in October. The first cider we tried from Logan had a very sweet taste to it and had a bit of a spicyness to it. I found the cider very enjoyable but I seemed to be in the minority since Joe and Logan liked a drier cider. The second cider we tried was a more well aged cider. Logan had put oak in the secondary while brewing it. This gave it a somewhat strong oak taste. Though I enjoyed the first cider more, this one was definitely more drinkable and better for a summer cider.

We also tried some Berkshire Brewing Company bourbon barrel aged porter. The best way to describe this beer is a less sour version of a sour brown which is also much more oaky. Between this beer and Logan’s cider, we were given a lesson on how oak imparts flavor in booze. I think it may be fun to do an authentic barrel aged beer but for the average homebrewer, adding oak chips will probably do the job (and maybe a bit of lactic bacteria if you wanna bit of a sour tinge).

During the process of the brewfest, I brewed an all-grain batch of the Northern Brewers American Amber Ale. I was hoping to get more non brewers who were interested in the hobby but not many showed up. The brew process went smoothly and I have brewed this kit before. It makes a nice summer ale and tastes great if you like hops but is still palatable for people who are afraid of IPAs.