Apologies for the delay since my last post. I recently switched jobs, and that has taken most of my focus until very recently. Over the past few weeks I've been able to devote some time to my beers, and here's where things stand:
1. Keezer: The keezer itself is awesome. The only mod I've had to do is that I switched out the large fan I had in there for a smaller computer fan, so it was quieter and drew less power.
Of the five beers I initially had in my Keezer, I only have two left. The Chocolate IPA (see below) and the Orange blossom mead aged on vanilla beans. My IPA kicked earlier this week, my Orange Wheat got bottled off, and my Oktoberfest donated to the office. I've recently racked the Wee Heavy out of its oak barrel and put it on draft, and I'll get a write-up on that soon. I also brewed a milk stout last weekend that's already on draft, and I'll have a write-up on that as well. The IPA just kicked, and I haven't replaced that yet.
2. Competition: This week is the deadline for the FOAM Cup, Tulsa's annual homebrew competition. I entered 3 beers last year, and my Caramel Cream ale bronze medaled. This year I've entered five beers:
a. Impudent Whelp IPA - essentially the same beer as the link, but a more recent version dry-hopped with Citra. This has become my house beer - I love my IPA, and it's well received by the people who try it.
b. Orange Wheat - a beer I made in June for a 4th of July party, which was a pretty standard American Wheat beer but with Cascade hops and the zest of two whole oranges at the end of the boil. It was a crowd pleaser, which is why I entered it even though it wasn't a very complex recipe.
c. BarleyWine - I need to get a write-up done for this beer, but it's a barleywine I made last year based on this recipe, which spent 4 months in my oak barrel. It's a crazy beer, around 13% ABV, thick and oaky and boozy.
d. Breakfast of Champions Stout - this beer has aged very well, and I'm proud of it. It might do very well.
e. Caramel Cream Ale - this year's version of the beer that medaled last year, with a different yeast. I'll probably make a third version of this beer sometime in the next few months, and I'll give it the writeup it deserves at that time.
3. Beers that didn't get a full write-up that I've brewed:
a) Chocolate IPA (mentioned above): I took the recipe for The Shinning and made a few tweaks - I dropped the roasted barley, but added 8oz of Caramel 120 and 8oz of Chocolate Rye to the grain bill. On the hop side, I used Chinook and Columbus in the boil, and dry-hopped with Simcoe. It's a weird beer. Just... weird. Has a nice hop flavor combination, but it's a bit heavy, and the spicyness from the Rye just doesn't quite fit. A fun, change of pace beer, but it's not one of my best.
b) Fresh Hop - my dad grew hops in his garden this year. We had Cascade, Columbus, and Centennial. I am still learning when to pick them, unfortunately. I used them as both boil and dry hops on a beer, and it did not turn out well. I think the dry hop is where I went really wrong - I threw whole fresh hops in the beer for two weeks (a normal dry-hopping time), but I think it was way too long as the hops were still moist from the vine. It extracted a very vegetal asparagus-like aroma and flavor, which I hate. I've moved this beer into an oak barrel to let it age, and I'll see if I can save it. Unfortunately the flavor and aroma just wasn't quite right, and I wonder if it's because I included hops that may not have been quite right? I honestly don't know.
4. Upcoming brews: I expect to brew quite a bit before it gets too cold - I've brewed the last two weekends, will definitely brew this weekend, and hope to get another couple batches in by the end of the year. I need an IPA to replace the one that kicked recently, I want to brew up an ESB, and I'd like to lager a Marzen over the winter.
I love creating these recipes, and I can't wait to see what I come up with next. I hope someone out there finds this interesting as well.