All @BigDogsBrewing All The Time: Saison, Winterfest, Holier Than Cow

Hello again my people! When I last left you there was some doubt about whether or not the Dog Gone Saison (my first pro brew) would be ready for Big Dog’s Winterfest. The following picture would lead you to believe it was ready (if you’re a pro brewer and/or think in Plato):

saison getting low

But unfortunately in the WLP560 Saison world where the beer is still cranking along at 2 Plato, it was most certainly not going to be in medal-winning form for the big festival. I was at peace with this for 3 reasons.

First, I want to start strong out of the gate as far as balancing beer quality with the reality of dealing with a business environment. I want the community to know that if I have any say, my voice will be a reliable advocate for making the best beer possible over all other concerns. If I put my brand on the line, then I’m behind it fully. I can live with people not liking my beer, but I need to know I did everything I could.

Secondly, releasing the beer when it’s ready allows us to have a separate event from Winterfest on Wednesday night! Given how much I love our little beer community and how heavily I’m invested in helping it grow, I relish getting a chance to talk to everybody about a new beer without the frantic pace of a beer festival in the way.

Finally, for the dozen or so of you that I know and were persistent I was more than happy to give you a small sample off of the fermentation tank last Saturday. Evidence of such was easy to find as there are already 5 Untappd check ins to a beer that hasn’t been released (or even cold-crashed & carbed up)! I’m sure management thinks I’m operating fast and loose, so come have 5 or 6 pints on Wednesday & leave with a growler to ease their troubled minds!

Speaking of Winterfest, it was a killer festival! I’m told it was Big Dog’s best grossing day in its entire history! I had a lot of fun and poured a ton of beer when I wasn’t busy giving exclusive 5 minute brewery tours. It was great to see so many good friends come out and have a good time.

Here’s a pic of some of the beer in the walk in pre-fest:

walk in pre fest

And here’s half of the keg & jockey box setup:

winterfest jockeys

Quite an endeavor my friends, but all a labor of love. I truly enjoyed every moment of it and can’t wait for Peace, Love & Hoppyness on 4/13!

Also, The I Love Beer Show strolled by (and heartily partook) in Winterfest. Click here for a solid 17 minutes (starting at 3:45) of your very own hero promoting Big Dog’s and being a silly beer drinking individual in general. The guys from the show were a lot of fun, definitely enjoyed the beer lineup, & I look forward to working with them in the future.

All in all, my first fest was a great time and I have to thank all of my people that came out and supported us. I look forward to sharing many pints over the years with all of you!

My quick Big Dog’s plug is that we bottled Rebel Red the other day and it should be hitting shelves all around town soon:

rebel red

Also, it’s no accident that Holier Than Cow Dry Hopped Pale #4 with Citra & Ahtanum is tapping tomorrow to (hopefully) last through Super Bowl weekend:

more holier

Ten ounces of Citra & eight of Ahtanum (plus how good it smelled when I spilled some on my shoe while transferring) says this will be the best one yet. I’m an 11 out of 10 on the excitement scale about trying it. That’s how I know it will be awesome.

Finally, my Little Spoon, Weston Barkley had a birthday recently. As many of you may know he is my brewer from another mother and I would eagerly lie in traffic for the big guy. While silly, I thought everybody might enjoy a couple pics from his bday evening:

spoons1

For some reason a second take was necessary:

spoons2

Regardless, if you’re a friend of mine then trust me when I say you’re a friend of his and vice versa. He’s killing it for Joseph James right now as evidenced by their new beers like Citra Rye Pale, started a new blog, and is probably the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He’s also helped me out time and time again as far as homebrewing, needing a ride home, & just being a rock solid cat I can count on. Show Weston love and buy him beer whenever you see him. He deserves it.

I also want to thank this beautiful Las Vegas beer community as a whole again. I can’t thank everybody enough and really look forward to hanging out Wednesday night.

Proost y’all!

My First Pro Brew and Updates On @BigDogsBrewing Life

Hello once again friends! My apologies for the infrequent updates. I’m often wiped after a day in the brewery. My body must still be adjusting to having to actually physically work for a living.

The obvious update that I’ve been putting off is letting everyone know how the Dog Gone Saison brew day went. It should come as no surprise that the ever ballsy Dave Otto and his trusty Head Keg Washer slash Saison Aficionado would knock it out without a hitch. No stuck mash with the rye & wheat. Hit our targets. A little dextrose in the open grant never hurt anybody. Good times were had.

Here’s the most gorgeous mash I’ve ever seen. And likely will ever see:

dog gone mash

Here’s me adding my bittering addition of Liberty hops:

liberty addition

Here’s a pic of the Citra bag before I broke into it for the flameout addition. As you can see I tend to add a little flair to the brewery:

citra bag

Anyway, January 9th was a wonderful day and all was right with the world. The next day I walked into the brewery and found this:

saison yeastsplosion

My little yeast crew was rocking the party! I was such a proud father! All was well.

However, as of yesterday we were only down to 3.6 Plato (1.014). Dog Gone has cranked along consistently for 11 days now and we need to have it ready for Big Dog’s Winterfest on Saturday. It’s going to be tight. Everybody keep Dog Gone Saison in your thoughts and prayers as it ferments its way through these difficult and rushed times.

The good news is I think it tastes great whenever I pull a sample off the tank. Banana, bubblegum, heavy spice, melon, & earthiness stage a friendly assault on my pallet. It’s young, it’s Belgian, and it takes its sweet time.

In other news, it turns out I’m not the only beer lover that would like to see Nelson Sauvin hops in the Holy Cow Pale Ale. We blew the keg in a little over 3 days. Here’s the aftermath of getting the hops out of the keg:

holier aftermath

Here’s the next version with a half pound of Citra & half pound of Cascade getting loaded up:

holier 2

And I’m proud to announce it’s serving beautifully at the Draft House as of Saturday morning:

holy cow

I’m sure you’re itching to know how the pilot program at Big Dog’s is progressing as well. The semi-good news is the first batch has been kegged:

bitter sweet

As you can see What’s My Name Dog has been re-named Bitter Sweet Dog. It was going to be called Bitter As Balls because that was Dave’s first reaction when he tried a sample, but it also crapped out at 1.021 and carries a legit amount of front end sweetness. I would describe the flavor ride as: smells great, tastes a little sweet, and holy crap that’s a lingering bitterness. We’re on the fence about serving it at Winterfest.

In the pilot program’s defense, here’s a shot of the ceiling falling in on it after a pipe in the ceiling froze:

attack on pilot batch

Massive office damage due to freezing conditions is enough for me to excuse any wrongdoing on my part for not making a killer DIPA. Speaking of disastrous pilot brews, Clyde and I had a little trouble with our Imperial Red Hydrant yesterday. If it turns out delicious then we meant to do a 4 hour boil. Otherwise it’s a prime candidate for turning into a Flanders sour project.

In other news, my homebrew saisons Dank Dog & Dog Gone Ahtanum seemed to have reached their terminal resting places at 1.013 & 1.014 respectively. A little high, but we’ll see how they taste when I bottle them up this week.

I also want to give a shout out to Iron Fist Brewing in Vista, CA. Their head brewer Chris Klein dropped in and hooked us up with a case of beer goodness, shirts, stickers, etc. Good dude, good beer, and definitely worth checking out. The Hop Dog 500 forklift is proudly rocking an Iron Fist sticker and we’re happy to show love to another small & innovative brewery.

I feel that I also should mention that much of my week will be consumed by Big Dog’s Winterfest preparations. We should have a pretty awesome and large lineup of good beer and good times can be had by all from 2-9 pm on Saturday January 26th. I’ll likely be working and not partaking too heavily, but please feel free to say hi. Shaved head, unkempt beard, big smile, 6 foot, 260 pounds. You can’t miss me.

Finally, I want to send out a big thank you to the Las Vegas craft beer community that has made me feel wholeheartedly embraced in my short time here.

I’m all about working to create an even better community and everybody I meet seems on board. From my fellow homebrewers, to our bottling volunteers, to my friends at Hooked On Hops, to the guys that come out and support me and try our wild dry hopped beers just because I ask them to. I just want to say that you guys are invaluable to me and a couple of you know first hand that if you need anything I’m a shirt off my back kind of guy. 🙂

Be well and recruit a DD y’all. Hero out.

@BigDogsBrewing Dog Gone Saison and exclusive Nelson dry hopped Pale

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:

malfunctioning tanks

Here’s the pilot batch of What’s My Name DIPA cozy in its chest freezer & converted keg fermentor:

pilot

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:

nelson dh

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:

dry hop keg

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:

torpedo on 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:

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.

Proost y’all!

Pilot program is flying, Dank Dog update, and I got engaged!

Hi my brewing brothers and sisters!

I’m proud to say the first totally unplanned and off the cuff 12 gallon pilot batch at Big Dog’s has been brewed! Clyde brought the Sabco in, we picked up my chest freezer for fermenting, and on the path to brewing glory we were!

sabco with pro tools

One of the great things about homebrewing in a pro brewery is there is no shortage of handy tools to troubleshoot things like forgotten hop bags or a stuck mash.

Anyway, the batch we brewed is tentatively named What’s My Name Dog. It consists of a relatively clean base of 2-row, C-70, & Munich 10 and was viciously bombarded with over a pound of hops. I feel pretty safe posting the hop schedule since nobody will ever be able to round up this collection of hops again, including us.

whatsmynamedoghops

If for some reason you don’t see this monstrosity pouring on tap at the Draft House or at our Winterfest event on January 26th, it’s because it turned out subpar…or was so great that we drank it all ourselves.

In other news, Dank Dog Saison (a homebrew adventure) is down to 1.015 in 5 days and just got hit with a healthy dose of Columbus & Liberty dry hops. As you can see it’s rocking out with its heat belt.

dank dog

I tried mashing without a bag and then pouring the entire mash into a bottling bucket with the bag in it. I was hoping to up my efficiency a little, but only came in at around 68%.

sparge

Oh, and I got a new chest freezer! Although it’s currently being used in the pilot program, so it’s no longer full of delicious homebrew as pictured.

freezer

I’ve got starter wort cooling as we speak to whip up another batch on WLP 560 Classic Saison, so that’ll either be a New Year’s Eve or Day misadventure. Hopefully U Bottle It will be open when I get off work.

The other big brewery news is that we bottled Red Hydrant & Dirty Dog IPA on Wednesday for a launch at Sam’s Club. I only have one pic of the aftermath from that hectic day. HUGE thanks to Weston Barkley of Joseph James for coming and helping!

bottling mess

Otherwise the big news of the week is that my girlfriend and I got engaged! The wedding is likely a little ways off (when we can afford it), but we are happy and healthy and loving life! Here was the scene I came home to on Thursday:

rachel proposal

Good times indeed! Alright, I leave you with a couple pics of other random brewery life like my buddies at Joseph James graining out:

wes and justin

Our head brewer Dave Otto playing the drums:

dave drums

And Sam’s lovely collection of beer excrement on the floor:

yummy

Be well and prosper y’all!

Update with many pics of @BigDogsBrewing life!

Hi brewing friends!

Given that it’s been a month since my last post, I should probably drop an update. Life has been good my friends. I’m enjoying my time at the brewery and being a brewing human being in general. My homebrewing has certainly slowed down greatly, but I’ve got pics of pro brewing for you instead.

Here’s a look at our brewery from on top of the walk in cooler:

brewery up topSo far most of my time has been spent filling kegs, cleaning kegs, troubleshooting why the keg washer isn’t working properly, graining out, cleaning lines, & just generally being the most baller guest tap manager our establishment has ever had. I’ve also done a fair amount of labeling the past couple of days (although this is Sam doing it while I was dry hopping the IPA):

sam labels

And here’s my big pile of labeled Dirty Dog’s:

dirty casesOther fun things included the removal of Sled Dog Imperial Stout from the Maker’s Mark Bourbon barrels:

sled dog bourbon

And trying to grain out a stuck mash batch of Sled Dog:

stuck mash grain out

My Mom was also in town to say hi and run the Vegas marathon:

mom at bd

Other than that, we did have an awesome time down at Pizza Port’s Strong Ale Festival in Carlsbad. Our War Dog DIPA was tap 31 and my lady & I promoted the hell out of it because War Dog’s Simcoe & Citra make it a real bad mutha:

strong fest

I was shocked to see how small, open, & close to the action Pizza Port Carlsbad had its brewery:

pizza port

And their employees were wonderful for after-partying:

pizza port crew

Wild mustaches are definitely taking over out in the San Diego area. My scraggly brewer’s beard felt a little out of place.

But ok, back to homebrewing. Tonight I kegged up Hay Gurl II: My Boyfriend Brett Is Back, my 2nd attempt at a rough 3 Floyds Gumballhead clone, and my strange Farmhouse concoction that blended Wyeast 3333 kristalweizen with White Labs 538 Saison Blend. All of them smelled quite tasty and I look forward to them carbing up. Tomorrow I’ll keg my Clean Dog IPA & my Farmhouse Oktoberfest with Citra dry hop. Gotta keep rocking that specialty category!

I’ll also be brewing up my home version of Dog Gone/Dank Dog Saison soon. It’ll be 71.5% 2-row, 11.9% White Wheat, 7.9% Vienna, 2.7% Honey malt, & 6% corn sugar on White Labs 560 Classic Saison Blend. Heavy Liberty in flavor & aroma with big Columbus at flameout. I acquired a Heat Belt to run it at 75-80. If I turn it around quickly enough it’ll be helpful R&D for the 15bbl batch of Dog Gone Saison we’ll be brewing to release at Big Dog’s Winterfest on January 26th.

Here’s a pic of my 2nd Best Of Show winning Purring Kitten Session IPA (which has been requested on http://www.homebrewtalk.com):

IMAG1011

So anyway, brewing life is good. My buddy Clyde is going to let us borrow his Sabco Brew Magic to whip up 10 gallon R&D batches. Expect fun tastings at Big Dog’s once we get going with that program. Also, we’re going to start doing exclusive one keg dry hoppings of some of our staples like the Holy Cow Original Pale Ale. Expect to see a Nelson Sauvin dry hopped version on tap pretty soon!

Otherwise I just keep plugging along. Being a pro definitely has its perks. Here’s the super fresh sample of Joseph James Hop Box DIPA I got the other day when I stopped by to deliver some Citra hops:

hop box

And because I believe in strongly representing where you’ve come from, here’s our forklift at work – The Hop Dog 500 with its new Brewing Network sticker:

hop dog

Alright friends, time to wind my bad brewing self down. Be well and prosper and expect more frequent updates.

Proost y’all!

My First Week @BigDogsBrewing and Other Homebrewing Fun

Hello brewing friends! I thought it might be nice to post an update on how my first 3 days of working at Big Dogs have been, not to mention my other brewing misadventures.

First I must include that today’s liquid inspiration is Sierra Nevada & Russian River’s Brux. This is my 3rd time having it and the last 2 times this ‘domesticated wild ale’ has been pretty nice. I was driven to try it again by comments made on the most recent Brewing Network Sunday Session. While they were answering a listener’s question I found out the primary yeast is Wyeast 3711 French Saison (also known as one of my absolute favorites) and it’s bottled with Brett B & Safbrew T58 (a spicy Belgian-style dry yeast). Not only did knowing all of the above warrant another crack at it, but I’d imagine it’s not the worst beer in the world to harvest dregs from. At any rate, it’s a lovely beer and worth the $16 to give it a try.

This week I worked roughly three 7 hour days in the brewery at Big Dogs and let me say that so far it has been a pleasure. Everybody has been very friendly and willing to help. Sam, the Packaging Director, gets a special shout out for having infinite patience with me as I get my bearings.

Monday was all out keg cleaning day. Thankfully, Big Dogs has a wonderful automated machine so the real trick is just listening for the cleaning cycle to be done while you’re cleaning other things (like the tops of kegs). This task can be slightly more difficult when your head brewer decides he’s going to jam out on his drum set for 20 minutes, but it’s all good in the hood. You can’t have a keg parade without a band.

I didn’t count the number of kegs I ran through, but I pretty much hit it hard from 9am to 3pm without stopping for lunch. We did blow a hose off and shoot caustic cleaning solution everywhere before I got started, which I thought was a fitting introduction to the brewing world. I’ve found that we use some pretty nasty chemicals on the professional side and caution is the name of the game.

On Tuesday morning I tried to assist Sam with filtering the Leglifter Light, which mostly involved peppering him with questions and occasionally closing a valve or two. Below are our various filters.

The rest of the day was filled with odds and ends things like cleaning out the mill room, moving some kegs in cold storage, other random cleaning, etc.

Wednesday was when the powers that be decided to sick me on cleaning the bar’s draught lines. Not only did I unhook serving tanks and push cleaning & sanitizing solution through all the lines, but they also had me break down all the Perlick faucets and scrub the gunk out of them. Breaking down & scrubbing the faucets made me laugh because that was the filmed demonstration on the Cicerone exam. Needless to say, I could up my score on that portion of the test considerably now.

I managed to get through cleaning the lines on 3 of the 8 serving tanks and then it was time to ‘grain out’, also known as the special bonding (and back building) rendezvous between Assistant Brewer and mash tun. I’ve found Big Dogs to have the most enjoyable mash tun for graining out (of the 3 I’ve done) because it doesn’t have any rakes in the way. They also have the nicest tools for getting the job done. I wouldn’t trade their hoe for the world.

Anyway, the batch I was graining out was Balls Of Holly which I’m told is a local favorite in the way of holiday seasonals. All the dates that went into the mash (by way of the open grant) weren’t nearly as bad to get out as I expected them to be. All in all, it was a good day. Oh, and I got insta-trained on the forklift (AKA The Hop Dog 500). The Hop Dog can be a little temperamental about how its wheels are pointed and its steering can get a little loose, but I could tell that we’ll be friends. We’ll quite likely cause some minor damage together from time to time, but no sense crying over unspilled milk.

As for my homebrewing, I’ve decided to launch 2 R&D projects that will hopefully someday be on tap at Big Dogs. I mentioned Dank Dog – the heavy Columbus Saison in my last post, but I’ve also decided to develop Clean Dog IPA (a lighter fruity answer to Big Dogs Dirty Dog IPA). The rough draft recipe for Dank Dog has been drawn up (50% 2-row, 25% pilsner, 12.5% vienna, 8.3% rye, 4.2% honey malt) and now I’m just waiting for the hops (Liberty & Columbus) to show up from Yakima Valley Hops. I also need to figure out how I’m going to ferment the beer warm enough.

Clean Dog IPA, on the other hand, got brewed today in its first iteration. The grain bill is 73% 2-row, 17.4% Vienna, 4.4% Carapils, 3.5% Crystal 15, and 1.7% Crystal 40. The hops are US Magnum for bittering, Liberty & Bravo for flavor and Bravo & Centennial at flameout. Given that the color came out rather dark & my efficiency was supposedly 58%, I’m wondering if the mill at the homebrew store wasn’t set quite right. I’ll have to investigate in the coming days.

My other recent brewing endeavor was a Pumpkin Saison at Clyde’s place on his badass Sabco.

He gets the lion’s share of the credit if the beer turns out incredible, but we did use my huge surplus of UK Pearl malt as the base. I believe he got the recipe and tips for dealing with the pumpkin on this Brewing Network Sunday Session. Putting the roasted pumpkin in a bag seemed to be the way to go.

Well, that’s all for now. Be well and prosper and of course come by and say hi if you find yourself in the Big Dogs neighborhood.

Proost y’all.

Working @BigDogsBrewing and Polaris and Pacific Jade Impressions

Big news again friends! Big news indeed. Ye olde humble homebrew blogger will be starting work at Big Dog’s Brewing Company on Monday! The gig is going to start out part time and the brewer, Dave Otto, assures me it won’t be glamorous, but it’s a huge step in the right direction and I can’t wait to get started! I’ve also cranked out my first post for Hooked On Hops and I’m sure you’ll enjoy that too! Hell, before you know it I might actually be ‘somebody’ in the beer community!

As you may be able to tell, I also got all my awards from the SNAFU competition! I almost feel like a real boy now! And I’m using too many exclamation points!!!

On a more ominous note, I realized as I was pitching a blend of Wyeast German Wheat 3333 and White Labs Belgian Saison Blend 568 into my latest homebrew batch, that I may be straying from the goal of total BJCP category domination. Regardless, I can’t wait to taste the mix of banana from the kristallweizen strain with the clove & funk from the saison blend. I also threw in some Chinook & Bravo hops because Ton Brewhouse has turned me on to that combo. It should be a big hot sexy farmhousey mess.

If you’ve been following along you know that I’ve also been doing some beers that heavily feature hops that intrigue me. If you made it out to the Brew’s Best festival at Lake Las Vegas you may have gotten a taste of my Polaris Double IPA. The aroma I pick up from shoving my nose into a 4oz bag of hops is certainly a little different than how the hops came out in the beer. While the hops give off A LOT of dank with a hint of orangey citrus in the background, the beer itself was pretty smooth and maybe even a little minty. At this juncture I view Polaris as a strong candidate for efficient & smooth bittering (assuming it were widely available), but wouldn’t recommend loading up on it late for flavor & aroma.

The other surprise in this hop featuring frenzy was the Pacific Jade Pale that Clyde & I brewed. We found the pepper & orange descriptors rather misleading based on our findings. We were picking up artificial grape, white pepper, earthy mushroom, a touch of citrus, & maybe a little white wine. You could barely tell we dry hopped with 6oz of hops. I was hoping to find something that could hold a candle to hops like Citra & Nelson Sauvin, but instead I found Pacific Jade to be a little understated and strange. It could be rather interesting in a lager. Anyway, we’ll see how the beer comes along as it carbonates.

Otherwise I’m just pumped to start cleaning kegs and graining out the mash tun at Big Dog’s on Monday! I’m going to start working on a project I call ‘Dank Dog’, which will be a saison with big late additions of Columbus (and possibly other danky hops). Apollo certainly hasn’t been ruled out.

While Dank Dog’s day in the sun may not be on the immediate horizon, I see the project being fun anyway. I’m leaning towards WLP565 Belgian Saison I, but haven’t ruled out WLP568 Saison Blend or WLP560 Classic Saison Blend (which I just ordered 3 vials of from Austin Homebrew). Maybe I’ll just load up on Columbus and try them all. I’m pretty sure I can find friends to help me drink all of that beer.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for now. Check out Mad Fermentationist & his buddy at Brew Science if you’re into fun with plating Brett strains and yeasty experiments in general.

Proost y’all.