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!

1st Attempt at Gumballhead Clone and Other Beerdonkulousness

I like to think of myself as a man of the masses. A people pleaser if you will. My blog post that gets the most views and by far the most search engine hits is the one on throwing together a 3 Floyds Gumballhead clone. Guard De Gumball has been bottled for 5 days now (and is plenty well carbed), so I thought I would share my impressions (and recipe).

First of all, I ran this beer on WLP072 French Ale yeast. I believe the clone called for WLP002 English Ale, or something similar. The wisdom of that choice is debatable. Interestingly enough, part of the reason I ended up using French Ale yeast was my friends at UBottleIt (my local homebrew store) have trouble getting rid of the Platinum aka seasonal yeast strains AND I like all things farmhouse related.

With all that said, I have a drinkable little beer on my hands here. It came in at 6.17% ABV (1.064-1.017). The original version is 5.6% ABV. The pleasant little grapefruity note of Amarillo is definitely in the mix, but not dominant. I suspect a cleaner yeast like WLP001 Cali Ale would allow the hops to shine considerably more.

It’s tough for me to put my finger on exactly how I feel about it otherwise. It feels a little bit like a beer torn between being an easy drinking late hopped pale & a pleasantly maltier style. I suspect it will meld together a little better once it’s been bottled for a couple weeks. Right now I’d give Guard De Gumball a 3 out of 5 bottle caps on Untappd (and I just did).

So far, I think my next attempt will be on WLP002 or 007 and I’ll dry hop a little bigger & longer. At any rate, here’s the recipe (and as you can see I’m more of a ‘convey the message’ guy than a ‘present things nicely’ guy):

Since we’re sampling 5 day old beer, I thought I’d update everyone on how the session IPAs were progressing as well. Session IPA 1 aka Purring Kitten is very promising. It has a gorgeous tangy grapefruity aroma, good body, & an interesting malty/bready taste with a lingering satay sauce finish (which I enjoy).

Session IPA 2 aka Snoozing Kitten is the same beer but with a blend of Munich malts in place of the Vienna in version 1, different hops at the same times & IBU levels, and WLP009 Australian Ale yeast in place of WLP006 Bedford British. So far Session 2 is not quite as good as the first attempt. The Vienna malt appears crucial. Session IPA 3 on WLP540 Abbey IV got bottled a couple days ago, so I’m waiting to sample it.

My other news to report is that I left the limes in too long for the Lime Saison. The samples taste like Mr. Clean’s fruity genitals now. Heather at UBottleIt was kind enough to give me an expired package of Wyeast 3278 Lambic Blend, so in that went! We’ll check back with Lime Saison in 6-12 months.

Speaking of wild things, the Belgian Dubbel wildin’ out with Jolly Pumpkin dregs smells great and looks wilder every time I check on it. I’ll probably bottle it up for the next competition, since I can’t sneak it in for the 10/20 SNAFU Memorial at this point.

I’m also working on putting together a collaborative hoppy beer with my fellow Las Vegas blogging Cicerones for the Montelago Beerfest on 11/10. Regardless of the results, Luis from Hooked On Hops & Aaron from The HopHead Report are good dudes, and you’ll probably enjoy their stuff as well. On that note, I’ll also be contributing for Hooked On Hops from time to time so go ahead and bookmark that shizzle!

Also, my most recent order from Amazon (using thebrewingnetwork.com affiliate link) was the new IPA book from Mitch Steele and a scale that measures grams much more accurately for my brewing salt additions. The IPA book was somewhat useful for some recipes and recipe formulation perspective, but unless you want to geek out on the history of the style, I wouldn’t bother. The scale should prove quite useful.

Finally, please feel free to shoot me an email or leave a message if you’d like any help/tips for preparing to take the Cicerone test. I’d be happy to oblige. Alright, time to enjoy my Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine over by the pool.

Proost y’all!

Cooking up a 3 Floyds Gumballhead Clone

12/20/2013 EDIT: If you’d like to see some of my more recent Gumball-esque efforts try here and here too.

I don’t often shoot for exactly cloning a beer, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gumballhead and BeerAdvocate rates it a 96. Plus I’ve never tried it!

In this case, I may end up looking to bend it a little to fit into the BJCP 6D American Wheat category (3 Floyds supposedly uses a UK yeast strain) and “clean American ale yeast” is the first thing mentioned in the style guidelines.

It’s also possible that I may brew 2 versions: the clone (as best I can make it) & the version to try to win my bad self an award in 6D.

In the course of my Homebrewtalk searching for a reasonable clone I found most recipes to be over 50% wheat: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3. While perusing those, someone mentioned there was good recipe guidance in Brewing With Wheat by Stan Hieronymous, a book I happen to own. Here’s what I found:

The page you can only read some of states that the grain bill is 25% wheat with English ale yeast. My other Homebrewtalk surfing on 3 Floyds’ house yeast strain led me to Wyeast 1968 London ESB. Then I checked with Mr. Malty and found that the White Labs equivalent is WLP002 English ale and the commercial origin is Fuller’s.

The problem with this knowledge being that I may end up brewing an American wheat beer with gorgeous American Amarillo & Simcoe hops and then not quite manage to squeeze into category 6D because of my English yeast. Maybe I’d enter it in American Wheat AND Specialty Ale to see where it would fly. I’d love to try a Belgian version as well. Brett too, of course. You know me.

The other problem being that I cannot come ANYWHERE close to holding this beer at 32 degrees for 3 weeks. I’ll either have to phone a friend or roll the dice at room temp/swamp coolered. I imagine all that lagering makes it come out quite a bit cleaner and clearer than I’ll be able to pull off. I can probably clear it with fining agents. But at my room temps of 70-75, a clone it shall not entirely be.

Regardless, here’s what I’ve got going on BeerSmith so far:

My Aromatic malt percentage is based on keeping the SRM (color) within the style guidelines. Brewing With Wheat says the beer comes out lighter than their hef too, so the lighter the better.

12/11/13 EDIT: I’ve recently tried Gumball-esque beers with more like 3 or 4 oz of Aromatic. You can find those recipes and discussion here.

There may still be some tweaks here and there. There’s a good Jamil Show on No Recipe Cloning, but no tasting with only recipes cloning is a little different ballgame.

With all that said, I thought it might be interesting to show how I end up throwing together clones and recipes similar to commercial beers I enjoy.

Sleep tight world!