Part 2 of The Longest Pint.
Still on track for a complete brewery update by the end of the year! With a couple of caveats. After some discussion with the local zoning and building inspectors, it turns out that I cannot, in fact, put a series of high-powered propane burners in my garage, due to lots of tedious and ultimately boring details about the construction of my home. I did, however, find a couple of used industrial clean room tables, which I have turned into an ersatz outdoor kitchen which is pretty damn cool when it isn’t eleventy billion Texas degrees outside. This outdoor kitchen is now the brewery. A few small additions to go, and it’ll be fully functional.
Shiny new burner!
This is the Edelmetall Bru burner from Northern Brewer. This burner is pretty and puts out roughly 1.5 metric fucktons of heat, which is so many BTUs that it’s on the verge of taking the venerable British Thermal Unit, which are well-behaved and wearing tweed, into the territory of American Thermal Units, which wear jeans, have tattoos and are more hotter. More hotter is more good.
But seriously, it boils 5 gallons in a very short time indeed.
Speaking of more hotter, the hops have done been harvested. The hop growth cycle was kinda weird, but they grew just fine in Dallas. The keys are soil drainage and watering. And because this is Texas, when I took the hops down I had to remove a locust the size of my index finger and had a medium-sized gecko scamper off down my bare leg when I disturbed its rest in the snarly top of a Comet hop bine. It was a gecko, and that makes me sad. Not because I dislike geckos, but because if it had been the more common Carolina Anole, I could have made endless Anole puns. Possibly, I’m only upset because I’m Anole retentive.
I’ve made the move to brewing on Propane, but still working on only one burner and one mash tun – the second burner is still to come.
The new setup has been tested in the making of a real-live gin-you-wine ginger beer, which is delicious and cloudy and will feature in its very own article!
Next in this series: The making of the beer.
Beer review: Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2018
Every year (which is to say, not every year, but most of the years in recent memory) Sierra Nevada does a collaboration with another brewery to create a simply awesome Oktoberfest. I cannot recall one that I haven’t liked. The collab this year is with Weihenstephaner, who makes simply awesome beers.
Weihenstephaner is the beer from Weihenstephan. The Benedictine Weihenstephan abbey founded the brewery in 1040, making this the oldest still-operating brewery in the world, and (fun fact) one of the few breweries that was founded before we brewers knew about yeast.
Weihenstephaner makes some amazing, outstanding lagers and hefeweizen, so it’s a bit funny to say – but if you try any of their beers, I recommend Korbinian (super awesome ultra heavy dark wheat beer) and Vitus (super awesome heavy light colored wheat beer), neither of which are their standard fare. Oh, don’t get me wrong – all their beers are great, except possibly for their non-alcoholic option, which I haven’t tried.
The Sierra Nevada – Weihenstephaner Oktoberfest beer for 2018 is a light-colored, malty elixir with just a hint of mineral bite from the water, some yeasty snap and a touch of noble character. Less malt chewiness than a lot of the 2018 examples you can find.
This one doesn’t go nearly as Over The Top as so many of the US-based offerings do, which taste like barley-based sweet teas whose closest exposure to hops was the brewers thinking strongly about the glories of lupulin while sidestepping the hop storage.
In short, this beer is good.