Friday, November 21, 2008

Press Releases

So...from time to time, you might start seeing press releases from Pike Brewing Co. Linda Stratton, from Pike emailed me and asked if I would post them and even though I have yet to have one (she is sending me a sampler of their beers) I feel that if I could help spread the word about craft beer, I should. I know I have at least 4 readers so if 4 people are informed about something, then I guess it worked. And if you've had any of Pikes beers, let me know your thoughts.


Pike Brewing Company Releases Pike Entire Wood-Aged Stout

Seattle, Washington November 20, 2008. Pike Entire is a blend of three beers: Pike's XXXXX Extra Stout, original gravity 10.73 / alcohol 7.00%; the same beer aged for more than half a year in oak Bourbon barrels; and an Imperial Stout original gravity 10.98 / alcohol 12%. The Entire blend contains 42.7% barrel aged beer and finishes at 9.5% alcohol. The taste is complex with velvety malt tones, a coffee aroma, and a palate and finish of bitter chocolate. The biscuity character of pale and crystal malts, along with roasted barley, is balanced by a generous amount of Yakima Valley Willamette, Goldings and Columbus hops in the boil; finished with even more Willamette and Goldings. Adding complexity are the underlying wood tones perfumed by the caramel sweetness of wood-aged Kentucky Bourbon.
Pike Entire was unveiled for the first time on November 8 at the Washington Beer Lover's (WABL) Third Anniversary Party in Seattle that featured 20 local "rare and hard to find" beers on draft. The next morning, Seattle P-I beer writer, Geoff Kaiser, commented: "this was everything I hoped it would be.... It had plenty of bourbon and oak character without being overwhelming and it still allowed the stout to do most of the work. Quite lovely, and easily my favorite of the night."
Until the 18th century, malt was "kilned" over wood fires making most beers dark brown or black, and contributing significantly to the pollution in cities like London. The use of coal allowed brewers a little more control, but it was not until coke, a bi-product of coal, was introduced as a fuel that pale malt could be made. Pale malt yielded more sugar than black malt. Because the Thames was polluted, soft water was drawn from wells, ideal for dark beers, but yielding unpleasant flavor to black beers unless they were blended with the paler beers made by country brewers who had access to hard water. These country brewers also bought dark beers from London and aged them in large oak casks. After aging they sold them back to the London brew pubs as highly desirable, "stale" (aged) beer. Home brew houses then began to blend the black, pale, and stale beers and the result became known as "three threads", a corruption of "three thirds." Ralph Harwood's Bell Brewhouse, one of London's original common brewers and was the first to market an already blended beer to other pubs, called "Entire". It is believed that he blended his own black beer with purchased pale and stale. Since it saved publicans the chore of blending their own three threads, it became an immediate success and the beer style of choice that was sold by London's train porters. Ultimately the style became known as Porter. As brewing moved away from the brew pub to common brewers, Harwood's creation became London's great contribution to beer. As the British Empire expanded, "Porter," later known as "Stout Porter," then simply "Stout," became the world's most widely distributed beer style. In order to brew a beer in keeping with the original style but still distinctly American, Pike acquired oak Bourbon barrels last year and filled them with Pike XXXXX Extra Stout in April 2008 to be blended back. Pike Head Brewer, Drew Cluley, describes the beer as "complex and chocolaty with a great vanilla wood overtone." On Monday, November 24, 2008, Pike Entire, in wax-dipped 22 oz. bottles, will be released. It will have very limited availabilty at the Pike Pub and in select bottle shops, primarily in the Seattle area. A few quarter-barrels will be released for sale on draft. The Pike Pub will tap its one and only quarter-barrel of Pike Entire on Friday, November 28.
The Pike Brewing Company is a family-owned gravity flow craft steam brewery and pub in the heart of Seattle next door to the entrance to historic Pike Place Public Market. Founded in 1989, it was one of the earliest American craft breweries to offer styles like Imperial Stout, IPA, and Barley Wine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Catching up

It's been a few weeks since I've last posted, but I haven't been able to brew since TAFTHBD so I haven't had much to write about. A few things have happend since then. Firts, my company laid off 1500 people in the first of 3 rounds of layoffs. Thankfully I was spared for now. Second, I tasted my first all-grain batch (American Brown Ale) the other night and I was very pleased. Great sweetness from the carmel malts, and just the right amount of bitterness I was looking for. The was some bready/malty flavors that I think came from the munich malt and it was a little darker than expected, but still great. Next time, I will leave out the munich and use some cara-pils for better body. This beer had good carbonation and head retention, just didn't have the prickly co2 bubbles in the drink itself. I'll post a proper review when I get a chance.3

Also, we're bottling up the APA from TAFTHBD this weekend. My friend is very excited since this is his first beer, and I am too since I only have to split it with one other person! More beer for me!

I posted a question on the tastybrew forum about when I should bottle my Winter ale. So, I will ask you, my readers, as well. I brewed this beer in early October and it's still in the carboy aging. Should I continue to age it in bulk in the carboy, or bottle now and let it sit until christmas? My plan is to age it until christmas regardless of where, but I'm curious to see if it is better to age all togther, or in seperate "batches" in each bottle. Let me know you're thoughts!


Monday, November 3, 2008

Teach a Friend to Home Brew Day - APA

TFTHBD was a good success, brewing wise at least. Only had one of my friends from work show up and my neighbor (who brews as well) came by for the afternoon. The day started pretty early (around 10:30 am) and we cracked open our first Pale Ale from Opa Opa. It was great beer, and get our creative juices flowing.

We chose an American Pale ale as our brew and decided to drink those types all day. The mash went well, although we were a little on the warm side (158) which I'm not too happy about, but thats what happens when you put the lid on, then go drink and don't check it for an hour! I tried to add our first hop addition as First Wort Hops (FWH) to prevent a boilover, but that really didn't work and I once again had a pretty big boilover. Hopefully it won't effect the IBU's too much. We hit our target gravity right on the money, 1.055. That made me happy because my first all-grain batch was a tad bit off the mark.

I used Magnum for the first time and I was very please. Very high alpha (ours were 13.5) and awesome aroma. The recipe is below.

Brewed - 11/1/08
H20/Grain ratio - 1.3
Mash Temp/Time - 158/60min
Pre-Boil Volume - 8.5 g
Post-Boil Volume - 6
OG - 1.055
IBU - 41
SRM - 7

11 lbs Two Row
.5 lbs Crystal 40l
.5 lbs Crystal 20l
.75 lbs Munich Light
.25 lbs Victory

.5 oz Magnum (13.5% AA - FWH)
1 oz Chinook (12% AA - 15 min)
.5 oz Cascade (6.6% AA - 10 min)
.5 oz Cascade (6.6% AA - DH)

Wyeast - 1056 American Ale

It is bubbling away pretty good right now, so I'm excited for this to be done. Tonight, I bottle my Brown ale. I took a reading last night and had a great fermentation, slightly more than I had planned though.