Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brewing Lots of Beer, Union Labs & Testing and Infusion Brewing Company!

Scottish Export 80 Single Infusion
Happy Tuesday people!  Last night I kegged up three different beers.  Lets just say I have been extremely busy with brewing lately and I probably need to wait for a while until I brew more.  But then again I love brewing and see no problem with having 50+ gallons of beer in my basement at any given time.  My wife on the other hand....well we negotiated that 3 beers a week is too much, so I'm going to try and keep it to one.  Which will probably turn into one every other week being that I am running low on grain.  Can't wait for the next group buy.  Let me tell you.
Cream Ale and Saison at David's
I think I may have became a bit overzealous in my quest to brew every style in the Brewing Classic Styles book.  So much so that I spent just about every day a few weeks ago brewing.  Bear with me because I'm about to go through a few beers I made over the course of a week and a half last month.  First I brewed my Amber Ale.  (Recipe Here)  Which is nearing the borderline of the style at 38 IBUs.  But I love a good hop flavor to mix in with the malt.  This turned out beautifully.  And really clear and clean.  I was extremely surprised at how great the beer looked too.  I think the low amount of hops and the clean fermenting 1056 yeast helped out quite a bit.  Next I brewed a Cream Ale in a collaboration with my friend David.  We split a 10 gallon batch and I pitched some yeast I received for free as a sample from Cornhusker Beverage. (Recipe Here)  After this brew I learned some things about "hot side aeration" that now prevent me from sparging the way I did in the picture on the left.  But other than cringing while going back and looking at the distance from the mash tun to the kettle.  The brew day was great.  And the beers still turned out really nice.  (Now I use some laytex tubing from the cooler to the kettle to prevent hot side aeration.)
Union Labs & Testing Yeast
So Union Labs & Testing is a new yeast production facility up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  They make one strain of yeast as of yet, which is an "American Ale II" yeast.  I was given a pitch of this yeast as a sample from Jim at Cornhusker Beverage.  He said they will start carrying it and selling it at their homebrew shop.  I have since been back there and they do have it in stock for sale.  It is a little bit less money than Wyeast or White Labs.  If you feel like giving it a shot I'd say go for it.  The yeast attenuated and flocculated with no issues.  I tasted my Cream Ale last night and it tasted very clean and like a well fermented beer.  With a FG of 1.009 it did a little bit too good of a job, but that's okay I still stayed within style and ended up with a 5.51% Cream Ale.  I would rate the yeast as a good alternative if you want to try something different and save a buck.  I'm hoping to drop by there in September when my band plays at Lifelight Festival.  Maybe I can find out who to contact and get a tour.  That would be cool.
"Saison De Lawn"
The next beer I made was a Saison.  I wanted to stay in style but I really wanted to try out my new Nelson Sauvin hops I had received in the mail from Nikobrew.  So I figured it wouldn't be too crazy to use those instead and make a NZ Saison.  I named it "Saison De Lawn" (Recipe Here) and used 3711 French Saison yeast in it.  The beer fermented at 68 degrees during the entire fermentation and ended at 1.008 FG.  I kegged it up last night and tasted it.  I have to say, I cannot wait for this beer to carb up because it tastes phenomenal!  I am very excited about Nelson Sauvin hops and believe they are going to go in more of my beers in the future.  It has a nice white wine and grape taste that makes the saison very smooth to drink.
Finally I spent another brew day last Monday making a Scottish Export 80 (Recipe Here) which was my very first single infusion mash on a beer.  I also mashed in at 158 degrees which was maybe a bit high...but I listened to Jamil describe his methods in his podcast and he said he would mash fairly high on these beers to bring out the malty taste.  I stuck with a single hop on this one and went with three additions of EKGs.  After the boil I placed the beer in my fermentation chamber at 58 degrees.  It has fermented completely but I'm leaving it in there to make sure I don't get any esters from the Scottish Ale yeast.  I have read plenty of people having success with the yeast as long as it is fermented cool.  I have also heard horror stories of people fermenting with it at 70 degrees and ending up with nasty feet beer.  I don't like to drink nasty feet beer.  Just saying.
Tanks at Infusion Brewing Company
Lights made out of kegs.  Awesome!
Whoever their carpenter is, he needs a raise
The brewing system at Infusion
The other thing I wanted to talk about was my visit to Infusion Brewing Company in downtown Benson, Nebraska.  This is a new brewery set to open up in late August.  I was fortunate enough to get a tour with brewer Max Stewart.  He showed me around the place and let me get a sneak peek at what they're building over there. There's a lot of history behind the place, as it once was a butcher shop and will have a sort of built in meat market for people to enjoy sausages and deli style items with their beers once open.  They also recycled their brewing system and most of their tanks from a defunct brewery in the Old Market.  If you want to learn more about that there's a great article here where you can read on in more detail.  The place looked really cool and was larger on the inside than it looked from the outside.  They have two levels to work with (main floor and a basement with a sizeable cooler) and plenty of room to make lots of beer.  I can't wait until they open because Aaron and Max have been making great pilot batch beers already and bringing them out to festivals as a preview.  Everything they're doing is really exciting and I had to pick up my own Infusion t-shirt at Sunfest to wear and get the word out about this great new brewery.  I'll leave you until next week with some great pictures of the interior of the brewery.

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