## Saturday, May 19, 2012

### New Tricks

Not too long ago, after getting some pressure from my rye-fanatic roommate, I whipped up a Rye IPA, or RyePA if you're into that sort of thing.  It was a fun experiment.  Having never brewed with rye malt before I decided to start conservatively at 10% of the grist.  Here is what I came up with.

Grain:
70% 2-Row
10% Dark German Munich
10% German Rye Malt
5% Victory
5% Crystal 60° L

Hops:
13.2 AAU Nugget (60 min)
1 oz Mt Hood (30 min)
1 oz Mt Hood (5 min)

Yeast:
Wyeast 1332 - Northwest Ale

When toying with new ingredients I tend go overboard.  I eschew subtlety in favor of making damn sure I know how a certain malt or hop will affect the final quality of the beer.  With this Rye IPA I'm glad I found restraint.  The spiciness from the rye is present, but fairly subtle, and complimented nicely by the Mt Hood/Cascade hops and the slight fruitiness of yeast.  If anything, the rye could be more present in the final beer, and I think that I will bump it up to 15% on the next go around.

 Quite a full boil!
The bottom line: I landed really close to the pin with this recipe.  It's probably luck, but I may also be getting better at understanding how all the facets of recipe formulation fit together.  I will brew this beer again soon with two primary adjustments: more rye (offset by reducing the 2-Row, I would guess) and more hop bitterness.  Despite all the late hop additions, I would still like this beer to be more bitter.  To this end I suppose I could go one of two ways: by upping the bittering hops at 60 minutes and/or another addition around 45 minutes, or I could start treating my water with sulphates.  This second path would only up the perceived bitterness at risk of impairing the malt character, and thus I am a bit reluctant to try it.  However water treatment is still a missing dimension of my brewing--one that I'll have to start exploring sooner or later.

Until I figure all this out and come to a decision, I'm going to continue to explore obscure English ale styles.  Up next: Old Ale!  Filling that no-man's land between Brown Porter and English Barleywine.  There's 5 gallons of bitter about to go into a keg and that yeast cake will be prime to ferment out an 1.065 OG beer in no time!

## Monday, April 9, 2012

### Skynet is Almost Online

While doing the rounds on Ray Kurzweil's Singularity hype-site today, I came across a spiffy little news bit. Could this be what brings about our inescapable Matrix-esque demise? Even if it doesn't, the Computational Complexity course over in the CS department just got a little harder.

## Friday, March 23, 2012

### Out with the Old, In with the New

It is always saddening, at least on some level, to say goodbye to a batch of beer. When homebrewing, every batch of beer lives a unique, transient life. The beer changes day to day, grows, ages. One of the best aspects of the hobby, to me, is observing each of my ales trace out the arc of its life. Needless to day, I always feel a bit of sinking feeling when I draw the last pint from the keg.

Make no mistake, the sinking feeling is brief. I'm overly happy to see a good beer go, especially if it's been a particularly good batch. After all, I firmly believe that the best thing to do with beer is drink it. In this sense, the early kicking of the keg is an honorable fate for a good beer to meet. "...runners whom reknown outran, and the name that died before the man...."

Unfortunately, not all great beers pass so gracefully. For example, I still have a Porter on tap that I made in late 2011. It was one of the best beers I'd made to date, so good that I decided to take it off the tap in order to preserve it, to make it last forever. Then time passed, the Porter sailed way past its peak and it took a drastic dive off the deep end, turning into a funky, tart disappointment. Now I'm stuck drinking my way through 2.5 gallons of beer that doesn't really taste good and only reminds me of what it used to be.

So I suppose the moral of the story is to appreciate the fleeting moments. Don't try to hold onto something, not touching it until it withers and haunts you with memory and regret. Either that or the moral is that people need to get over here and help me humanely put this sad beer down so I can use that keg to start serving up the Mild I made two weeks ago. Good riddance!