NZ Union Jack Brew Day and The Trouble With Cat Brewers

I’ve been scheming about it for months. Just salivating at the thought of cloning my new favorite IPA, but replacing the American tried and true with gorgeous New Zealand hops. Today was finally the day! I woke up, pounded my chest, and chugged an Amp energy drink. An amazing IPA was going to be brewed today!

Then I actually started trying to brew it. First I thought my digital thermometer was reading a little high, so I dropped my glass floating thermometer in to check. Dropped being the problematic part. This is why we can’t have nice things. Goodbye 5 gallons of RO water and tiny glass shards of broken measurement dreams.

No worries. I had enough RO & distilled to cover the mash. I just had to run to the store for RO water for sparging while I was mashing. I bet that sentence reads nicely for non-brewers. Anyway, life was still good.

Then during the mash, as I was stirring the grain, I noticed a sizeable hole in my bag. Mind you I’ve been overdue for a new bag. They’ve just been backordered at Austin Homebrew and I hadn’t bugged Heather at U Bottle It to stock them. Regardless, there was a hole. A dozen or so grains were floating around in my pot. Less than ideal. Boiling grain could lead to some astringent grainy flavors. Now I was making Husky Jack. I fished them out as best I could.

At some point I also sloshed wort onto my flip flop. Come to think of it, my foot and flip flop are still sticky. It’s a hard knock life.

However, my favorite moment of the brew day was when I was cooling the wort in the bathtub (with 64lbs of ice from the Breeze Right In). My usually trusty co-brewer, Sapphire, rolls in and proceeds to piss on the very towel my feet are on in front of the tub. People talk about Citra & Simcoe hops having a cat piss aroma but we here at Go Big Or Go Home believe in using only the freshest actual cat piss. It’s a wonder I don’t have suspicious chunks floating in all my beer given the cavalier attitude of my assistant. She couldn’t be reached for comment at the time of this post.

All in all, Husky Jack brew day went pretty well though. The wort tasted great, I got about 5 gallons at 1.072 (1.070 was aim), and generally I felt like I did all the necessary things to make legit beer. Oh, White Labs 002 flocs so well that I ended up accidentally dumping my stir bar into the bucket with the yeast. See you in a few weeks stir bar!

For anyone interested, the recipe for Firestone Walker Union Jack was given out on Brewing Network’s Can You Brew It. I followed that with a few minor changes. My Munich was Great Western organic (15-25L), I used organic crystal 15 in place of Caramalt, & I used Riwaka to replace Cascade & a Motueka/Wataku mix to replace Centennial. I also added an ounce of Galaxy at flameout and bittered with Southern Cross. Practically the same beer. 😛

That’s my Wild Dubbel. I bottled the tamer version a few days ago and named it Throw Up The Dub Dubbel. A reference to one of my favorite Westside Connection songs.

Wow! My furry co-brewer just knocked over my beer in reckless pursuit of a bug. I’d fire her if she weren’t union. Oh well. I suppose every homebrew blogger needs a little beer in his keyboard and mouse to be legit.

Anyway, I thought the wildness might have been starting to settle out but as you can see, that party is in full effect.

Oddly enough, 2 days in the bottle left The Agnostic Tripel tasting much better. I’m really excited about that beer now. The Nelson Pale, now called I Am Nelson, is nice too. There may be an S on my homebrewing chest before you know it.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll leave you with a fun fact I learned today: a refractometer doesn’t read gravity correctly on finished beer. When I acquired this handy tool I thought I was done with breaking glass hydrometers. It turns out that is not the case. It is quite handy before any alcohol gets involved though. In the beer I mean. 🙂

Proost y’all!

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2 thoughts on “NZ Union Jack Brew Day and The Trouble With Cat Brewers

  1. Writing is superb. Comical, witty, great read. Reminded me of the time my roommates new puppy crapped right in the apartment walkway that led from our stove to the wort-cooling area. Nothing quite like a ruined sock with 5 gallons of steaming sugar water in your hands. Sounded all too familiar.

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