Current Update – 4/5/16

In this exciting update:

  1. Cram-Ale – From here to…
  2. Firestone Walker Venice visit
  3. MT Wit over time.
  4. WheatStout Additions.
  5. Site Update.

Also – No pictures in this one – Sorry!


Well, this is exciting. The Norther-English style brown ale we brewed up for this years annual Cramfest (SEE CRAM-ALE)was entered into the Los Angeles County Fair for competition. I am happy to report that the beer placed 3rd overall – quite a feat considering all manners of ‘Brown Ale’ are under one catagory, not just North English varities. Yes, the beer, aptly titled “Fellowship Of The Cram”, placed just being ‘Black and Mild’, an English Mild, and ‘Southern Brown’, which was a – you guessed it – Southern English Brown ale. If points were given out for original naming, we certainly would have fun… if anyone knew what a Cram-fest was. And, in case you are curious, its merely an annual birthday party for a good friend who happens to be known as Crammond. And, yes, he hosts his own jubilee entitled Cram-Fest. Narcissistic? Maybe. Incredibly fun? Definitely.

On that note, I went to pour a victory glass of Fellowship from the keg upon hearing the news, and much like clockwork the keg kicked, leaving me with about 1/2 a glass of foam. Cram Ale came and went, just like Cram fest.

Firestone Walker Venice visit

My wife and I headed off to Venice beach the other day to hit up the new Firestone Walker Venice pub spot. Just like the Buellton spot, they dont brew on site at this location either. I was pleased to see that the menu choices were different though – they seemed to be more catered towards the LA crowd. Meaning, much more vegetarian and vegan friendly fair. Quite nice since I cut meat from my diet almost 8 years ago. No longer will I have to order a Margherita pizza while drinking down Easy Jack or Velvet Merlin – This time I had some cauliflower street tacos. And, there were many more options as well.

As for the beer – It was the standard runnings from Firestone. Mostly good things. They had a few limited production casks on tap. Some sours and barrel aged stuff. They did have my favorite beer of thiers on tap though, Unfiltered DBA. Its like their flagship DBA, but its much more complex in the finish. Its truly an amazing beer, but something they cant bottle for reasons unknown to me.

MT Wit over time

My buddy Conrad and I brewed a Wit beer a while back. SEE WIT-BIER

The process had a few flaws and the finished product left a lot to be desired. It happens! I kegged the beer and left it in kegerator for months. In fact, its been in there for nearly 4 months now. In May and June when I tried it, I did not like it. Same thing for July 4th. I finally tried it one last time before making the decision to bottle some of it up for Conrad to taste(I havent seen him in a while). I was pleasantly surprised at how much better it tasted! The harsh bitter bite seemed to dissappear and the coriander/grapefruit additions really started to come through. Dont get me wrong, we still had created a flawed beer – it did, afterall come out with barely half the raw wheat extracton it was supposed to have, and about 60 percent of the fermentation efficiency as a result. But, overall, its not bad. Sure, this beer should have been done in a month, not four, but I still consider it a learning experience. Go MT Wit!

WheatStout Additions. 

The Wheat Stout I brewed last month (SEE HERE) finally had fermented down enough to add the additional flavorings, or adjuncts, into it. The beer is a nice smooth 5.6% ABV. It had a nice roastyness to it but a silky smooth body from the oats and wheat. During the beginning of week two of fermentation I made up a vodka solution of Cacao nibs, raw vanilla bean, and a couple of ounces of oak barrel stave bits. I let these soak covered in juuuuust enough vodka to keep all the bad bugs at bay. When the beer hit terminal gravity I dumped the mixture right into the primary fermentation(Secondary fermentation vessels are for weenies). While the chocolate/vanilla vodka went right into the beer, I did pour the oak chips into a muslin bag before adding. After a week I’m going to give it a taste. If the oak levels are nice and what I like I’ll pull them out. If they need more time, I’ll do nothing and try again in another week.

The vodka level was so low that it should have a negligable effect on the ABV levels. We’re talking maybe 4 ounces in a 5.5 gallon batch, or merely just over a half a percent of the total volume is vodka. Cant wait to try this one in another couple weeks. Patience is a virtue.

Site Update. 

Lastly, I’ve decided to update the look of this blog. I dont actually read the Blog itself in the standard view that the rest of the world(all 3 of you) sees it. I never really realized that after the first two or three posts it ends; which leaves all the previous posts i’ve made other invisible and just a cryptic “MONTH” archive is shown, which does indeed show the months of the year but not what was made IN the months unless you click on a month, which then takes you to a page that lists that months posts. Which, depending on what is going on could be 5 things or maybe just 1 or 2. I’m going to try to change it so you can have a simple index that shows everything. I might even break it down into Brewing recipe/day posts and other goings-on situations… We’ll see what happens when creativity strikes. Anyway, until next time – brew on!