Dubbel Barrel? (I can’t believe I did it) Meeting Recap

Cool, so we had ourselves a little meetup. It was lightly attended but it was pretty damned good. We had visitors and a decision was made with regard to a group brew.

First, Stephanie Krause stopped by representing Mile High Swappers. They are a group that gets individual “makers,” as it were, together to trade homemade or home grown products. She mentioned a lot of tasty treats that were up for grabs and it seems like our beers and wines might be very welcome there. The swaps are scheduled monthly and limited to a certain number of attendees so we will have to pay attention to when they are happening. This is pretty cool and who knows what kind of DIY relationships might come out of our involvement. I mean, it is not like we don’t have enough hobbies, right?

Troy Casey from AC Golden was invited out and he braved the rain to treat us to some of the beers that they are brewing up in the tiny 30bbl system (heh) out in the depths of the Golden brewery. What a thing! We got to try their Wild Ale that had fresh pressed Chardonnay juice added. There were quite a few oohs and ahhs over this for sure. I am a sucker for sour ales that are combined with Chardonnay somehow. Juice or barrels, there is something about the quality of the grape that blends really nicely with a brightly sour beer. He also brought a bottle of their saison that had been inoculated with Brettanomyces. This gave an already drinkable beer a nice refreshing semi-sour funk that is tough to complain about. Body was slightly stripped but, in my mind, not to its detriment at all. Troy also had quite a bit to say about AC Golden’s intent and inner workings that was really fun to hear about. Thanks go out to him and he seemed open to being a good contact for information and questions.

We have a barrel. It is a Buffalo Trace barrel that Bess acquired and I think I am going to find a place for it at my new pad. The whiskey that came from it was quite pleasant. I am thinking back on it and trying to remember the profile. People mentioned nuts like almond and hazelnut foremost. There was a real nice undercurrent of fruit. I got dried fruit and a number of you suggested cherry as well. The vanilla was present but subdued. I think the vanilla took a backseat to the big almond presence. It almost reminded me of an almond extract-y flavor in a weird way. In all, a great whiskey that would work well on it’s own or mixed with flavors that will highlight that nutty sweetness.

Wow, digression… So what we decided to do after a bit of discussion, is that a dubbel should fill this barrel and that that dubbel should sit on cherries for a while. I will drop a few basic recipes below and you can take a gander and we can decide on a final recipe for both all-grain and extract brewers. I am not sure of what the limits are to the colorado cherry season but I would like to have these beers out of primary fermentation and into the barrel by mid-August. If we cannot get decent cherries at that point we will have to reevaluate and see what we can come up with. Take a look and give me some recipe feedback.

My old basic dubbel:
6# tub of medium LME
1# DME (light to amber or whatever you have hanging around)
.5-1# Dark candy sugar at 15 minutes left of boil. (You could use about a half cup to a cup of the dark candi syrup that is now available but I am guessing on that one as I have never used the stuff. I have heard that you need to go easy on it as it is way more potent than the dark crystal sugar)

.5# Special B
.5# Biscuit
.25# Dark Crystal Malt (100-120L)

1oz noble hop at 45mins
1oz noble hop at about 5mins. I used Saaz for this the few times I made a dubbel. Seemed the right thing to do.

Belgian Abbey yeast from any provider.

Northern Brewer’s Kits:
all-grain
extract
Yeah, yeah, I am clipping their recipes. I can justify that in a few ways, talk to me about it later. Regardless, these seem to be good jumping off points for the beer.

I am thinking that my grain bill would be 8# of light malt and 2# of munich plus a similar specialty bill as I posted with my old extract recipe. Let me know what you think. Also, if there are extract brewers that are interested in trying their hand at an all-grain batch, get in touch and I can probably set something up with you and we can brew on my system.

Well, that is about all, I suppose. Thanks to Justin at Star Bar for offering us the space and reaching out to Troy. Also thanks to Tara and Brian for letting us hang around on their shift. I will see you all soon.

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Locked-out-of-the-house blog and our next meeting.

So now is a good time to update as, for various reasons, I am locked out of my house. I am standing in my garage. I had that key. Anyway, we have a meeting on Wednesday (7/13) and I just found out that Justin who owns the the Star Bar has set up a bit of a meet and greet for us. Troy Casey from AC Golden Brewing Company is going to stop by and we are going to able to find out what is happening out in the secret corners and deep caverns of the Coors brewery. I am pretty excited.

I am sure I don’t have to tell you but AC Golden is pretty slick. They are the home of Colorado Native Lager among other things. Recently, at the Star Bar, AC Golden put some of their clandestine products on display. There was a Saison, a hefty Imperial Stout, and a wild ale finished on merlot grapes. They showed very well and across the board were quite tasty. I wish I had some more notes but well, it was a Friday night at the Star Bar. They usually end a certain way. So like I said before, this is pretty exciting and as our first guest from a brewery, let’s make Troy feel welcome. 7pm at 2137 Larimer Street, Denver CO 80202. Be there! It might be time to pick our next few club beers too. I will finally be finished packing and moving and I want to start brewing regularly again so I need some ideas.

Also, Jeff Washenberger, my brother and one of our members just sent me his idea for the club crest. What do you think? I kind of love it. For cartoon fun, visit Jeff’s fledgling webcomic at www.naked-famous.com

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Brew-In cancelled. Crappy.

So we discussed having a brew-in at the Rackhouse with Great Divide as our July meeting. Well, now we are not doing that. Shitty. For whatever reason, the idea was shot down at some point in the finalization process and now we are left without a meeting. I have extended some feelers for possibilities. I think that we may just be doing a regular meeting and as the details are hammered out I will let you know.

If you have any ideas or big things that you want to try or places that you would like to visit, let me know. We can try to make them all happen. Unfortunately, we need to brainstorm and activate ideas because it seems to me that with a dynamic group like ours, just sitting around drinking might not be the most sustainable thing in the world. Let’s do something different in the next couple of meetings. As much as I would like it to be my idea, I am open to doing just about anything beer related. Leave your comments, or hit the twitter page @DenverHBC.

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So yeah. What is a saison anyway?

This week is our saison tasting or is it Saison? I honestly do not know a ton about them so I went ahead and did a little research so I could talk lucidly about them. Saisons are not my favorite beer in the world generally so this brewing assignment put me a little out of my normal brewing retinue. Of course I have had Saison Dupont and other Belgian and French varieties (are French saisons automatically biere de gardes?) and a whole load of American varieties. I took a shot at what I thought might make a good saison and was actually kind of surprised. It was nice, a bit tart, refreshing as it was at the very low end of the ABV spectrum and light and fizzy in the mouth.

So saison means “season” in French, that much I remember from 4 years of French class. It looks as if they fall into the category of beers that were brewed at a specific time of the year in preparation for a particular situation. In this case, it was to give to farmhands during the summer harvest. From wikipedia and other sources, it was suggested that they were brewed in the winter for the following summer. Also, farmhands were allotted up to five liters a day. Rad. Had to keep it low-alcohol and refreshing or your workers would not get shit done, I suppose. Other sources suggest that it was also a common household beer that was consumed in the home around this time of year as well. Well, that sounds just about right now that things are getting warmer out.

The beer itself as paraphrased from the BJCP specifications should meet the following general criteria: generally fruity with a little bit of spice. Tartness and slight sourness is not uncommon (good because mine is quite tart and I like it that way) The malts are generally pilsner malt heavy and other grains can be in there. I used a little wheat malt in mine on top of a basic 2-row pale. It should be a bit cloudy with that lovely belgian head. My head is not fine enough and it is not lacing at all.

I opted not to use spices in mine but it is acceptable and common. Pepper, coriander and other similar spices are used. Hopping should be light to medium. I used Citra in mine since I am currently having a slight love affair with the hop and it left the beer with even more fruit on top of a very slight bitterness.

Well, that is what I know. I also know that the style is one of the more broadly contested and argued styles. They really can run the gamut of colors and flavors. I think that this is part of the Belgian varieties and especially in beers that were household staples. Since this is named for a time of year with a personal touch from each individual brewer, it is really hard to fit the label specifically. Sorry homebrewers, we may have to continue to make ours our own way to actually keep tradition alive.

Cheers all. See you on Wednesday night at 7pm at the Rackhouse Pub.

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Great beer making kit special at living social today!

Well, well, well. Look at that. The Brew Hut, those fine fellows that started Dry Dock Brewing and the guys that fleshed out my early brewing system are having a rad sale on a new brewing kit. Pick one up for you, a new brewer, or you know, maybe you could get it for me. Go here and check it out

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Saisons!

Hey all. Time to check in and I had a chance while on a plane back from New Orleans. There was drinking for sure and a few beers to be had but this is better left for another day.

As far as the club is concerned, we are still moving along but as we come into June, there are a few changes in the works. Due to a scheduling conflict and some transitions that are taking place at the Rackhouse Pub, We have to move our meeting to Wednesday June 8. This is the second Wednesday of the month. We figured that we would stick with Wednesday and since it is the week of Memorial Day it seemed OK to move it to the following week. Got it?

Due to the changes at the Rackhouse as well as the changing of the seasons we will be changing venues and we are attempting to secure new digs but I would love to hear some suggestions and ideas for new places to have our meetings. This is going to be critical. Let’s get together on this one. We do want to have one last fling at the Rackhouse and Chris Rippe has suggested that we have a brew-in in the parking lot. Sounds like a good time to me. What I will need to know is: How many folks are willing to bring burner set-ups down on a Saturday and brew some beer? I am game and I know that a few others have already signed on. I want to get a solid commitment to make this feasible. If we can put it together, and I know Chris as well as I think I do, it will be a rad time. I am going to be bugging you through facebook in the next few days to see what we can come up with.

Another event has been suggested. Scott Sibley has brought up a homebrew contest for charity. This seems like a good thing to do and I hope we can do a few things to entice brewers to come together for a good cause. Let us know what you want to do Scott!

Well, this turbulence sucks so I am going to sign off as my bowels are clenching and terror is digging deep. Get your saisons together and I will see you on the 8th of June.
-Chris

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The next meeting is coming up!

Hey all! The next DenverHBC meeting is coming up. May 4 at the Rackhouse Pub. It will be Fraoch night. Interesting.

What else is going on? Not much that I can think of off the top of my head. Sourfest is coming up which is pretty exciting. My brew schedule is crazy and I am out of kegs and space to put them. I have no beerfest to talk about this month which is lame. I was going to go to Hombrews For The Environment but I had to work late and wussed out and went and drank wine closer to home. Bleh… I guess this month has been kind of a wash for me and beer. I suppose it has to happen from time to time.

On the other side, next month is looking up! I am off to Seattle at the beginning of May and am looking forward to trying some beers that are normally out of reach for me. I do like to sip beers on the water. Any good suggestions? I have a few that I like from out there but I would love to find a few things that I haven’t had.

Cool, I will see you all next week.

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