SEARCH
Find us elsewhere
On Tap at the Farmhouse

Tap 1: American IPA

Tap 2: American IPA

Tap 3: Jasmine Radler

Primary: Marzen, Flanders Red, Saison

Secondary: Brux Farmhouse, Hoppy American Red, Pilsner, Fresh Hop Pale Ale

Upcoming: Standard Bitter, Gose, Breakfast Stout

Events

 

Come thirsty! We are bringing four kegs and a CASK!

Public tasting & voting! Raleigh Brewing Company - Saturday, December 14 2013 at 5pm

 

Sunday
Jul062014

Brew Day: Fresh Hop Pale Ale with Three Horses Cascade

You know your brewing culture is strong when you don’t live in the Yakima Valley and hop farms start springing up all around you.

That’s been the case for a while now in North Carolina, so I’m not making any heady projections here, but it’s nice to know you can head out into the country and find bursting hop trellises with owners eager to sell you a heavy sack of hours-old cones.

Our state isn’t an ideal hop climate. It’s hot, humid, and sunny, and we have a variety of creatures that’ll happily foul up a crop of hops. However, some varieties seem to do well, especially Cascade, that classic American bundle of grapefruit and rose.

That’s what we ended up with in this pale ale. Our friend Bryan mentioned that a local hop farm, Three Horse Hops, was harvesting its first batch of Cascade of the year. The harvest happened to come basically 1 day before our next planned brew day, so clearly we needed to add a fresh hop pale ale to the roster.

Three Horses is a gorgeous farm with a variety of tasty hops---from Chinook to Zeus to Nugget---so I’m eager for the season’s upcoming harvests.

Lara captured our trip to Three Horses rather wellThis particular pale ale is a little different than what we usually brew. The grain bill is for the marzen we serve at our Oktoberfest party each fall. With the marzen being the brew day’s first priority, this pale would have to settle for a slightly breadier, nuttier grain bill than we like for most hop-forward beers. Clearly this is perfectly fine, though.

We used our entire allotment---1 pound---during late additions, so we’ll likely dry hop with dried leaves from the homebrew store unless we luck out and Three Horses has more to offer in 2-3 weeks.

And one final note about fresh hops. They retain a bunch of moisture. If you’re using them, plan for two things: (1) use roughly 4 times as many fresh cones as you would pelletized hops to get the same effect (ie, 1 oz. pellets = 4 oz. fresh cones), and (2) plan for those fresh hops to suck up a lot of wort. Calculate ahead so you won’t be stuck with 3.5 gallons of beer in the end.

I’m excited to taste this beer. Notes to come as soon as the beer’s ready.

Target Numbers
Batch: 6 gallons
Grains: 12.8 lbs.
Water: 13 gallons
SRM: 8.5
IBU: 35.5
OG: 1.048
FG: 1.010
ABV: 5.0%

Grains
7.25 lbs. Pilsner
2.50 lbs. Vienna
1.20 lbs. Munich light
1.10 lbs. Caramunich
0.75 lbs. CaraPils

Hops
1.00 lbs. Three Horses Cascade (6.6% AA)
1.30 oz. Centennial pellets (9.9% AA)
1.00 oz. Cascade whole leaf (6.6% AA)*

Water
13 gallons (2:1 RO water/Durham well water)

Yeast
Wyeast 1056 (American Ale)

Extras
1 Whirlfloc tablet
0.5 tsp. yeast nutrient

Mash (60 minutes)
Saccharification: 153°F
Mash out: 168°F
Sparge: 168°F

Boil (60 minutes)
30: 1.3 oz. Centennial
10: 4.0 oz. Cascade
05: 4.0 oz. Cascade
00: 8.0 oz. Cascade

Fermentation
Pitch: 70°F
Primary: 73°F (14 days)
Secondary: 73°F (5 days with 1.0 oz. whole leaf Cascade)

* Assuming we don’t end up with another sack of fresh hops, we’ll dry hop with dried Cascade leaves.

Tuesday
Jul012014

Brew Day: Red IPA

Lara and I mashed a double batch last weekend, half of which will become a young blending beer for our homebrew club’s Flanders red ale and half of which is here, transforming into a rich, malty, pungent IPA.

It seemed like a fun contrast to take half of our Flanders batch and brain it with some particularly offensive American hops. If nothing else, we’ll finish this keg before the first bottle of Flanders is even ready to drink.

Had this been a standalone red IPA, I would have made different decisions with the malt bill, specifically cutting back on Special B, adding some rye, and using Vienna as the sole base malt. That’s minor stuff, though. When you have the wort, you roll with it.

Given the richness of the grain bill, we wanted to pick hops that could stand up to the big bready, plummy, toffee-like flavors coming out of the mash. We opted for Chinook’s rough-hewn resin and spice for most of our kettle additions, finishing with the classic grapefruit bomb Centennial and Summit’s earthy shot of scallion and citrus.

Some folks really object to Summit because it can impart onion and garlic flavors. I get it, but I enjoy a pungent, earthy IPA provided it doesn’t lead with onions, and in moderation Summit helps capture that “damp forest floor” thing I want.

Here's to drinking undergrowth.Red IPA in the foreground kettle, Flanders red in the background

Target Numbers
Batch: 5.5 gallons
Grains: 12.00 lb.
SRM: 14.5
IBU: 40
OG: 1.057
FG: 1.010
ABV: 6.0%

Grain Bill
4.00 lb. 2-row pale
4.00 lb. Vienna
2.00 lb. Munich light
0.50 lb. Caramunich
0.50 lb. Aromatic
0.50 lb. Special B
0.50 lb. Wheat

Hops
3.00 oz. Chinook (13% AA)
1.60 oz. Centennial (9% AA)
1.60 oz. Summit (17% AA)

Yeast
Wyeast 1272 (American Ale 2)

Water
12.5 gallons RO water and Durham well water (75% RO/25% Durham)

Extras
1 Whirlfloc tablet
0.5 tsp. yeast nutrient
0.5 tsp. gypsum

Mash (60 minutes)
Saccharification: 153°F
Mash Out: 169°F
Fly Sparge: 169°F

Boil (60 minutes)
30: 0.70 oz. Chinook
10: 1.00 oz. Chinook
05: 1.00 oz. Chinook,
00: 1.00 oz. Centennial, 1.00 oz. Summit

Fermentation
Pitch: 67°F
Primary: 73°F
Secondary: 73°F (dry hopped with 0.60 oz. Centennial, 0.60 oz. Summit, and 0.30 oz. Chinook for 6 days)He's old as hell and, dammit, he likes brew days

Sunday
Jun292014

Flanders Red: Brewing the Young Beer

Our homebrew club’s baby, a barrel-aged Flanders red ale, is nearly a year old now. After so many months of impatient waiting, it’s finally time to plan for bottling, and the first step is to brew a young Flanders red for blending.

Several members of the club did just that. We need only about 20 gallons for blending, so a handful of club members brewed 5 gallon batches that we’ll ferment at home and bring to bottling day in July.

This is essentially the same recipe as we brewed last summer--a rich, complex malt bill plus aged hops plus Wyeast’s Roselaire blend.

Bottling day is at the end of July, so we should have just enough time for these young batches to ferment out. We’re aiming for a 70/30 blend of old/new, accounting for loss during barrel aging and conventional wisdom about blending ratios.

As we’ll see in the bottling post to come next month, that’s not as easy as it sounds---both the blending and carbonating and the process of bottling that much wild beer. But we have some smart brewers in this club and a serious assist from a certain homebrewer who hails from the DC area, so all should be good.

Target Numbers
Batch: 5.5 gallons
Grains: 12.00 lb.
SRM: 14.5
IBU: 11.5
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.010
ABV: 5.7%

Grain Bill
4.00 lb. 2-row pale
4.00 lb. Vienna
2.00 lb. Munich light
0.50 lb. Caramunich
0.50 lb. Aromatic
0.50 lb. Special B
0.50 lb. Wheat

Hops
1.00 oz. Aged Saaz (4.0% AA)

Yeast
Wyeast 3763 (Roselaire)

Water
12.5 gallons RO water and Durham well water (75% RO/25% Durham)

Extras
1 Whirlfloc tablet
0.5 tsp. yeast nutrient
0.5 tsp. gypsum

Mash (60 minutes)
Saccharification: 153°F
Mash Out: 169°F
Fly Sparge: 169°F

Boil (60 minutes)
60: 1.00 oz. Saaz

Fermentation
Pitch: 75°F
Primary: 75°F

Previous Posts

Part 1: Group Brew Day
Part 2: Barrel Aging Begins
Part 3: 10-Month Tasting 

 

Tuesday
Jun242014

DIY Hop Spider, or Something I Should Have Done in 2009

Funny how it took me this many years of homebrewing and dozens of batches of IPAs to get around to building a hop spider.

The impetus for finally doing this was another tool we bought recently: a plate chiller. They can be tough to clean, as they’re essentially a matrix of hiding places in which bacteria can flourish and hops can form clogs. You have to be diligent---flushing with caustic, rinsing with hot water, rinsing with sanitizer, and draining---so why not make the job easier at the outset?

Not that you need a plate chiller to justify such a small, affordable upgrade. I say do it no matter what your setup is.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how we did it.

Supplies
1 coupler (I went with 4” PVC, but do what works best for you)
1 hose clamp (make sure it fits the coupler)
1 nylon bag (I used a “brew in a bag” filter that was languishing in our brew room)
3 threaded rods (I went with 3/8", so the remaining supplies will match that diameter)
1 set of 3/8" nuts and washers to fit the threaded rods (6 of each)
1 3/8" spade drill bit (also matching the threaded rods)

Seriously, the hardest part is buying the supplies, a thing that is not hard at all.

Steps

1. We’ll be drilling holes in the coupler and threading the rods through them, so start by measuring equidistant points around the coupler. Three rods provide excellent stability, but I know some spiders use four. It’s up to you.

2. Carefully secure the coupler to a work table or another surface. You’re going to need a lot of force to bore through it.

3. Drill.

4. Place the threaded rods in the hole and secure with washers and nuts on each side of the coupler.

5. Use the hose clamp to secure the filter bag to the coupler.

Simple stuff for a tool that will contain most of your hop debris while giving them room to fully convert in the hot wort.

Success.

Monday
Jun092014

Brew Day: Brux Farmhouse Ale

Enter the approachable funk.

With this recipe, we want to create a wild blonde ale with a simple grain bill, primary fermentation with a Belgian yeast strain, and secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces bruxellensis.

The goal here being a Brett-kissed blonde ale or saison, something easily enjoyed even if you think wild and sour ales mean chewing goat hair or chugging acetone.

Also, we don’t spend enough time playing with Brett, so this is something of a course correction.

The grain bill is simply Maris Otter complemented by a little specialty malt here and there. We’re pitching a healthy slurry of Wyeast Ardennes (3522) and fermenting right around 69. The mash temperature (155°F) was higher than we’d normally choose for a blonde Belgian ale, but we want to ensure the wort has some complex sugars for the Brett to chew through after primary fermentation. Ardennes is a fairly hungry yeast, so we want to temper it somewhat.

Ten days in, we pitched a much smaller amount of the wild yeast in hopes of stressing it out a bit and getting that classic “mouthful of goat” Brett flavor. At this point, the gravity read 1.010, and the beer was definitely still a touch sweet, so it felt like time for the Brett to go to work.

In case you're wondering about the giant ice cube, it entered our brew day because I got distracted as we heated the strike water. We ended up going over the target temperature, and these totally fancy cocktail cubes come in handy when you need to shave a few degrees.

I’m guessing an early June brew day may yield a youngish final product in August or September, assuming 2-3 months for the Brett to make a pretty little mess of things, but we’ll obviously defer to the beer itself with occasional samples.

Target Numbers
Batch: 5 gallons
Grains: 10.15 lbs.
IBU: 21
SRM: 8
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.002
ABV: 6.5%

Grains
7.80 lb. Maris Otter
1.25 lb. Munich 9L
0.70 lb. Crystal 40L
0.40 lb. Carafoam

Hops
1.75 oz. Perle (7.2% AA)

Yeast
Primary: 400 mL Wyeast 3522 (Ardennes)
Secondary: 200 mL Wyeast 5112 (Brettanomyces bruxellensis)

Water
10 gallons (6 gallons reverse osmosis, 4 gallons well water)

Extras
0.5 tsp yeast nutrient
1 Whirlfloc tablet

Mash
Saccharification Rest: 155°F
Mash Out: 168°F
Fly Sparge: 168°F

Boil (90 minutes)
30: 0.75 oz. Perle
10: 1.00 oz. Perle

Fermentation
Primary Pitch: 65°F
Primary Fermentation: 69°F
Secondary Pitch: 69°F
Secondary Fermentation: 73°F

We may gently dry hop this beer before bottling late this summer or this fall. Updates to follow.