Hello my fellow brewing heroes!
The big news of the day is that I should be brewing up my first 15 bbl (472.5 gallon) pro batch this Tuesday! Hopefully the yeast shows up from White Labs tomorrow. My homegirl Sarah has assured me it will. She also managed to bump up delivery time on my specialty WLP 560 Classic Saison Blend from 1/21 to 1/7. She must owe somebody in the lab a favor now.
Regardless, White Labs is great. I love how much they support The Brewing Network, how good they are to our local homebrew stores like U Bottle It, and I think in general they’re top notch. If they had a Wyeast 3711 French Saison equivalent we could be exclusive.
White Labs loving aside, it’s both exciting and a little nerve-racking to formulate a recipe for a nearly 500 gallon batch. I tend to try new things rather aggressively at home because I know the world will not crumble if the batch doesn’t work out. At 100 times the scale, I find myself wanting to play it a little safer.
For recipe formulation help I’ve been drinking Saison Dupont, North Coast Le Merle, and Clyde & I’s Pumpkin Saison this evening. I’ve deduced a beer shouldn’t be in green bottles and I don’t particularly like Caramunich in a Saison. Also that Clyde and I make delicious beer. All things I knew before.
Anyway, barring any objections I’ve settled on a starting gravity of 1.057 with 2-row, Vienna, Red Wheat, Rye, Honey Malt, & Corn Sugar. The hops are tentatively scheduled to be Liberty, Ahtanum, & Citra. I may have to get down on both knees and beg to get the Citra addition approved. I’ll also have to break into my freshly acquired 11lb brick of Liberty and make sure it rocks the party like I rock the party.
In other Saison news, 12/25 Dank Dog is at 1.013 and 1/1 Ahtanum Dog Gone is at 1.020. The fact that Dank Dog got down to 1.015 in 5 days made me uber confident about the turnaround time of my choice of 560 Saison yeast. Now I’m slightly nervous that I probably need 4 or 5 more points out of it when it’s 12 days in. Fortunately we oxygenate and pitch super fresh with the correct quantity of yeast on the pro level. The for real Dog Gone 560 Saison should finish out in time for it’s January 26th launch. Fingers crossed. 😀
Meanwhile, I’ve picked out a badass lineup of kegs & bottles for Big Dog’s Winterfest on January 26th. If trying my new beer isn’t enough for you, the crazy high Beer Advocate ratings of every monster beer we’re bringing in should seal the deal. I would challenge any beer lover to show up at Winterfest and complain about the quality of the lineup. We’re looking to absolutely crush it these days at Big Dog’s.
Beyond crushing it, I do have some fun things that have happened around the brewery. One thing that I thought was crazy was one of our big 30 bbl fermentation tanks kept cooling even after being shut off. This is Sam spraying the solenoid that he suspects is frozen, with hot water:
Here’s the pilot batch of What’s My Name DIPA cozy in its chest freezer & converted keg fermentor:
And here’s the pile of NZ hops – 8oz Nelson Sauvin & 2.5oz Riwaka as they were waiting to be loaded into a keg of Holy Cow Original Pale Ale:
It turns out breaking open a keg and loading a big pile of hops into it is much harder than one realizes. This picture just barely sums up the difficulties:
Finally, my humbling story for the day is one of magic and beer on the walk in cooler ceiling. One of our older beer pumps went bad so I was tasked with changing it out. I was pretty successful in the entire endeavor of changing out the pump and was quite pleased with myself.
However, I went to pour the air through the tap and nothing was coming out. I went back to the cooler. Oops, I had the inputs to the beer pump switched. Let me just switch those….holy crap there’s beer everywhere! I was on top of everything except unhooking the coupler from the keg. Fun times. Here’s Sierra Nevada Torpedo dripping from the ceiling:
Funnier still was the fact that nobody seemed too concerned about the situation. So I hosed off the ceiling and walls and mopped up as best I could. It was the end of the day so I left this note:
I’ve heard no complaints so far. So we move on! The hush hush news about the pilot system is we’re considering an Imperial Red Hydrant English Brown Ale & a Belgo Dirty Dog IPA. Never mind the fun collaborations we’re looking to do with the various members of the beer community.
Speaking of the beer community and collaborations, Hooked On Hops is doing fun things with videos & having non-craft beer ladies (blasted on wine) review popular beers! You can find the 3rd edition of those good times here.
Alright, the humble hero is out.