Posts Tagged With: aging beer
Over the weekend I had the incredible opportunity to visit some amazing craft breweries in Balitmore and Milton. Dogfish Head, and Heavy Seas. In my opinion they make some of the best craft beer on the market, and this trip was really special and very informative, I got to dry hop a firkin at heavy seas, and learn about the whole firkin process, and its history as well as taste some special brew pub exclusives at Dogfish as well as tour their facility.
Heavy Seas was the Initial stop on my whirlwind tour of the East Coast. A small but very capable brewing company, that appreciates the old world styles of making and aging beer, they are very concerned about small production, barrel aging and new firkin program. They are very involved in CAMRA or the campaign for real ale. As taken from their website
“CAMRA campaigns for real ale, real pubs and consumer rights. We are an independent, voluntary organisation with over 100,000 members and have been described as the most successful consumer group in Europe. CAMRA promotes good-quality real ale and pubs, as well as acting as the consumer’s champion in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry. We aim to:
- Protect and improve consumer rights
- Promote quality, choice and value for money
- Support the public house as a focus of community life
- Campaign for greater appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries as part of our national heritage and culture
- Seek improvements in all licensed premises and throughout the brewing industry
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is an independent, voluntary, consumer organisation which campaigns for real ale, real pubs and consumer rights.
Membership is open to all individuals although corporate entities such as breweries and pubs are not members; we currently have over 120,000 individual members.CAMRA is governed by a voluntary unpaid national executive, elected by the membership. We have a branch structure which means that all members can join a local CAMRA branch and campaign and socialise locally. There are around 200 branches covering the UK and many of the branches run local beer festivals, publish local newsletters and run social events to pubs and breweries.Although we are a volunteer-led organisation there is also a small professional staff of twenty five responsible for central campaigning, research, membership services, publishing, marketing and administration.CAMRA is financed through membership subscriptions, sales of products such as books and sweatshirts, and from the proceeds of beer festivals. We are a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee and our accounts are lodged annually with Companies House.”
The Gold Ale was one of my favorites !Nice, rich, complex and refreshingApprox 4.5% ABVDeep gold in color with floral and spicy hop aromas. Brewed with pale, carmel, and Munich malts balanced with Cascade, Centennial and Hersbrucker hops. Well rounded, fruity and complex. Pairs well with salads, mild cheeses and pulled pork BBQ. 2010 GABF Medal Winner ~ 2010 Gold Award, World Beer Cup
The Davy Jones Lager is a very interesting interpretation of a Lager. Spicy Its an imperial Lager, and moreover techincally a Cream Ale….Where you at Genny!!!!
Approx. 7% ABV
Fermented using lager yeast at ‘ale’ temperatures then slowly lowered down to ‘lager’, taking the yeast from the top down to the depths of Davy Jones’ locker.
After those great brews We took the tour with a glass of Marzen in hand. The Marzen was a traditional amber lager brewed with German spirit with toasty malt and a sweeter finish, with some horseradish cheese this was definitly a winner.
After the tour we had a great East Coast lunch, and were delightfully informed that we would be learning the history of the firkin, and then dry hopping and filling our own firkins !!!
So, What the Firk is a Firkin?
Firkin : definition:
A firkin is an old English unit of volume. The name is derived from the Middle Dutch word vierdekijn, which means fourth, i.e. a quarter of a full-size barrel.
Nor need you mind the serial ordeal
Of being watched from forty cellar holes
As if by eye pairs out of forty firkins.
— Robert Frost, “Directive”
For beer and ale a firkin is equal to nine imperial gallons, seventy-two pints, or a quarter of a barrel (40.91481 litres). Casks in this size (themselves called firkins) are the most common container for cask ale. A firkin is equal to half a kilderkin.
For wine the firkin had a larger size, namely a third of a tun. A tun being 210 gallons in the UK and 252 fluid gallons in the US, thus a wine firkin is about 318 l (318.226 or 317.975). It is also called tertian or, preferably, puncheon (in the US also shortened to pon).
The term firkin is currently used to refer to antique wooden buckets, usually with wood handle and lid, about 10 inches (250 mm) high and 10 inches in diameter (about 10l or 2-3 dry gallons in capacity), formerly used to store sugar and other items.
The firkin (a firkin of water) is the base unit of mass in the humorous FFF System.
Basically a Firkin is a 9 gallon keg used to age beer, and also cask condition it. Cask condition meaning secondary fermentation takes place in the keg itself, and additionally it is desgined to pour and serve beer, without the use of additional Co2. This is part of the “campaign for real ale”, as this is the most ancient and first way of making beer prior to modern kegs.
Here is what we used…
10.5 gallons Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPAB
3oz. Maryland Citra Hops
3oz. Maryland Pallisade Hops
a pinch of dried lemon, lime, and orange peel
2 stems of eucalyptus wood
a bushel of lemon basil
…. This Post will continue soon!!! check back for the conclusion!!!!!
I Figured since the season was upon us, I should post this courtesy of http://www.fermentnation.com, great beer blog i just discovered . Going up to the coast this weekend, Look forward to a big post on Dogfish and Heavy Seas!!!!!
Still Recovering after my now famous “pumpkin day”, the day that I get all the Pumpkin Beers in my store, and then proceed to drink all of them in a row . I decided I’d write about this while it was fresh in my brain. Starting with the Woodchuck Fall cider I was very impressed, and in comparison to the pumpkin cider I say the Fall cider is a clear winner. The fall cider is spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon and aged in white American Oak. The pumpkin however was not that impressive it lacked flavor and as we know, pumpkin really doesn’t taste like anything, its the spices that make the pumpkin pie not the actual pumpkin itself . After the Ciders,
I Moved on to this years Dogfish Punk, Ill let Sam tell you about this one. And I must say, again this year they have outdone themselves once again . The spices were very well integrated , and the beer is very balanced and approachable.
Now Lets talk about the monsters, the biggest most pumpkiny beer on the market . The Southern Tier imperial Pumking is an impressive almost feast of a beer with huge pumpkin pie spices and aromas reminiscent of thanksgiving dinner, with some perceived sweetness from the spices i think. The beer would go perfect with some spicy cheeses, turkey dinners, and as a stand alone dessert or maybe poured over vanilla ice cream. As taken from the website “Pumking is an ode to Púca, a creature of Celtic folklore, who is both feared and respected by those who believe in it. Púca is said to waylay travelers throughout the night, tossing them on its back, and providing them the ride of their lives, from whichthey return forever changed! Brewed in the spirit of All Hallows Eve, a time of year when spirits can make contact with the physical world and when magic is most potent. Pour Pumking into a goblet and allow it’s alluring spirit to overflow. As spicy aromas present themselves, let its deep copper color entrance you as your journey into this mystical brew has just begun. As the first drops touch your tongue a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds making it difficult to escape. This beer is brewed with pagan spirit yet should be enjoyed responsibly.”
8.6% abv • 12.7ºL • Imperial Pumpkin Ale • 22 oz
Tasting them both side by side presented some interesting things. One, which is clear by the picture is color difference last years had lost some color over the past year (beer on left), and surprising enough last years beer was 9.0% abv where this years in 8.6%abv. Slight oxidation notes and some developed nutty and maraschino on the year old version, in addition brandy and port like aromas had developed. If you get a chance this is a must do. Lets talk about why you should age beer
Start with a high ABV (8% minimum) that is on the malty/sweet side (just like Pumking). The higher alcohol and lower hops content makes these beers less susceptible to funky smells and taste. Another thing that helps elude the curse is storing the beer at the proper temperature.You to keep the beer in the dark at constant cellar temperatures, 50° – 60° F. Spiking and dropping temperatures will spoil your beer, as does exposure to light, which breaks down a chemical in the hops into a chemical found in skunk spray. If you’ve ever had “skunky” beer, chances are it was exposed to light for too long or “lightstruck.” If you have a cellar or basement that maintains a fairly constant temperature, you’ve got it made. Otherwise, you’ll need to invest in a cellaring refrigerator or convert a fridge to operate at cellar temperatures. Which we had stored the pumpkin in a wine fridge at 55 degrees in the dark for the whole year. trust me aging your beer is worth it