Category Archives: General Post

Barn Hammer’s Beers

Barn Hammer

It’s been a while since I’ve followed up with the folks over at Barn Hammer to see how they are doing. They are still in the midst of construction and so I wasn’t able to pop down there to talk to them. I hope to be able to once things have calmed down.  It should mean the space is looking closer to completion, that they are closer to being ready to brew, and that they are less stressed.

One of the things that has happened since I last spoke to Barn Hammer is that they’ve officially announced their core beers.  It’s been a fun time watching them tweet about them over the past weeks and seeing the fantastically designed logos.  So, while this isn’t a full and complete update on Barn Hammer, I wanted to make sure that you are up to date.

While I don’t know much about the particular versions of these beers being produced by Barn Hammer, I’ll give you an idea of the style. Overall I am pretty excited to give them all a try.

BH - Lousy Beatnik

First up we have the Lousy Beatnik Kellerbier. Also known as a Zwickelbier it is a German style that is typically not clarified or pasteurized.  The term Kellerbier literally translates to “Cellar Beer” referring to the cool lagering temperatures.  The origins of this style date back to the Middle Ages.  Compared to more traditional lagers, Kellerbiers tend to contain more of their original yeast. Essentially this is a German Lager.

 

BH - Granpas Sweater

A variation of the Stout style that developed in the late 1800s. Some brewers in England would throw a handful of oatmeal in to their grist and call it a “healthy” oatmeal stout for marketing

Generally, between an Irish Stout and a Sweet Stout on for sweetness, there are numerous varieties which can go from very dry to quite sweet. Level of bitterness also varies in this style.

The use of oatmeal can create a silky mouthfeel and richness of body, while a large amount of oatmeal can result in a fairly intense, almost oily mouthfeel.

BH - Sneak Belgique

A 400-year-old Belgian style of beer that died out in the 1950s and was later reviewed by Hoegaarden. This style has grown in popularity due to its ability to carry some nice spice and fruit notes and its refreshing nature. Typically, a bit of peppery notes, perfumy coriander and citrusy notes.

This style is overall a refreshing, elegant, tasty, moderate strength wheat based ale.

BH - Saturday Night Lumberjack

This fourth beer, which reads Pale Ale, has recently been updated, though not with such a beautiful picture, to be a Double IPA.  Brian, the brewmaster, decided to try making this as a double IPA and it was a hit. So, they decided to make that as their fourth beer instead of this Pale Ale.

The style, a Double IPA, is a beer that is an American craft beer invention that began in the 1990s. The adjective “Double” really doesn’t mean anything other than this beer is stronger than a regular IPA. You will see “Imperial” used quite regularly as well. It’s the same style.

The style should be intensely hoppy and fairly strong with an IBU (international bitterness unit) range of 60-120, an ABV of between 7.5% and 10% with a lighter colour. Drinkability of the style is important and it should be well balanced with strong malt backbone and residual sweetness.

7th stab red aleThe fifth and final beer has been announced and it is a red ale.  The beer is called “Seventh Stab” red ale because it literally was their seventh stab at making a red ale.  I know in speaking with the brewmaster Brian Westcott, that it was tough to get it tasting how they wanted while still being “red enough.  At the end of the day, they got the right balance and so, 7th try is the charm.

While not indicated, the style is most likely that of an Irish Red Ale.  While Ireland has a strong brewing tradition, the Irish Red Ale is really a variation on the English Bitter with less hopping and a bit more roasted malt added for colour and sweetness.

This style of beer is easy-drinking with subtle flavours of caramel, toffee and a bit of a grainy texture on the palate. There are certain versions of this style that will emphasize the caramel and sweetness of the malt  moreso than others.  It’s important to mention that there are many variations that exist within this style.  While a more traditional style will have less of a hop profile, there is an emerging version in the craft beer scene that is more hop forward with a higher ABV.

To end this post, Barn Hammer also has some Merchandise available should you wish to pick some up and support them as they build their brewery. You can represent a new craft brewery around town in a nice T-shirt or toque.

BH - Merch

Each of the items is $25 including tax and they are accepting cash or cheque right now.  If you’d like something, you can contact them here.

Brews Brothers Vol. 2

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Tonight, April 18th at Barley Brothers Stadium, The Parallel 49 Brews Bros Vol. 2 Launch Party is happening.  This event will be starting at 6 pm. Come down and say hello. I’ll be there.

All 12 beers from this collaboration pack will be on tap down at the Stadium location of Barley Brothers (Pembina Highway location).  As this is a launch party for the collaboration pack, it means we will be seeing this 12 pack show up in liquor marts here in Manitoba.  The list price is $29.99 ($5 cheaper than last year) and more details about quantities at Liquormart locations can be found here. The 12 pack will be arriving on April 20th.

If you’re wondering, “what beers are going to be in this 12 pack?” or “what will I get to try on the 18th?” Well, here is your answer:

Axe and Barrel – Paranoid (Oat Wild Pilsner)
Not your typical beer. Start with an Imperial Pilsner recipe, throw in some rice and Sorachi Ace hops, add Sake yeast and Brettanomyces clausenii, and just for good measure put in some oak spirals aged in Chardonnay and Sake. Don’t forget to finish it with lager yeast. Seem too complicated? No comment.
IBU: 68
ABV: 8.5%
Doan Brothers – Thunderstruck (Sticke Alt)
With origins in Northern Germany, this dark cool fermented ale has been turned up to 11 with some chocolate malt notes and a prominent noble dry hop. Continental Pilsner malt ensures a refined and highly drinkable beer that is deceptively strong.
IBU: 43
ABV: 6.0%
Barkerville – Run for the Hills (Golden Strong Ale)
A traditional Golden Strong Ale. Spicy and fruity yeast derived notes add a rush of Belgian character to this golden elixir. A healthy addition of sugar to the pale malt base results in a deceptively light body for a higher alcohol beer.
IBU: 31
ABV: 8.0%
Fernie Ridge – Spirit in the Sky (Havana Club Stout)
Inspired by Export Stouts and rum, the dark crystal malts and touch of molasses serve to remind the drinker of the later. Oak spirals aged in Havana Club 7-year old rum add another level of complexity to this surprisingly smooth drinking dark tawny ale.
IBU: 30
ABV: 6.5%
Bridge – Bat Outta Hell (Dark Helles Bock)
A Helles Bock that would infuriate any German beer traditionalist. A core of Continental pale malts book-ended with a touch of black malt to give it an imposing colour and a hearty dose of Hallertau Blanc hops to add a bright gooseberry aroma. A fruity malty lager that is surprisingly dark.
IBU: 28
ABV: 6.3%
Four Winds – The Boys Are Back in Town (Nectar-Face)
The love-child of Jerkface 9000 and Nectarous we’ve been waiting for. A wheat malt base kettle soured a la Four Winds, and late hopped with Mosaic and Ahtanum hops in the Parallel 49 style. A true marriage of techniques and ingredients results is a pungent dry-hopped sour.
IBU: 12
ABV: 6.0%
Cannery – Gimme Shelter (Apple IPA)
A snakebite inspired beer, using a witbier base fermented with a Saison yeast. Spicy yeast and floral citrus notes sit atop a light apple tinged wheat malt base. Dry hopped with Motueka and Citra because… well… why not?
IBU: 22
ABV: 7.0%
Hearthstone – Sympathy for the Devil (Black I.P.A.)
A rustic and uncomplicated Black IPA. Simcoe hops are made for a beer like this. A moderate malty base, a touch of Roasted Barley flavour, and a restrained ABV make this a beer you’ll be coming back to again and again.
IBU: 52
ABV: 6.5%
Category 12 – Comfortably Numb (Rye Old Ale)
A rich and malty ale with a substantial rye note was fermented with Brettanomyces lambicus to add a cherry funk. This all-malt beer uses earthy hops to balance. This beer doesn’t hide its alcohol or the spicy cherry character that it developed.
IBU: 44
ABV: 8.9%
Moody Ales – Purple Haze (Black Currant Sour)
Playing off of the woodsy resinous flavour of Black Currants, this American sour wheat ale hints at the summer to come. Brace yourself for this tart fruity treat that has perhaps the most stunning colour of any beer we’ve ever seen.
IBU: 8
ABV: 8.0%
Crannog – Suspect Device (Gruit)
A gruit spiced with organic heather flowers, juniper and dry “hopped” with fresh ginger. This mild rye ale focuses on the spicy ginger and juniper, reserving the heather for a background note to support the rich organic Munich malt base. Maybe hops aren’t necessary in every beer.
IBU: 0
ABV: 5.5%
Strange Fellows – People Are Strange (Hoppy Saison)
A classic Saison with a dose of rye malt to throw in some complexity. Taking advantage of the fruity herbal aroma of Opal hops and the spicy pepper notes from the farmhouse yeast. This is sure to be a thirst quencher.
IBU: 32
ABV: 6.5%

Parallel 49 will also be sending us Gypsy Tears and Jerkface 9000 in 473ml cans and a dry-hopped sour ale called Bodhisattva. Keep your eyes to the Liquor Marts new listing page.

It also looks like Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will be doing the Coast to Coaster again and there are a couple of new breweries on board for this event. Fuggles & Warlock from BC as well as a German Pilsner and a French Schwartz Beer.  Keep your eyes open for this.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Happy New Beers Eve

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Happy New Beers Eve!

If you loved beer, living in the United States between 1920 and 1933 was an incredibly sad time.  During this time prohibition had been in effect and it was illegal for any form of alcohol to be sold or consumed.

While we did have prohibition in Canada, which began in most provinces between 1916-1918, it was more short lived.  Most of the provinces had repealed their prohibition laws to allow for some sort of sale of alcohol by 1923. Many repealed their laws in 1918. Here in Manitoba, we kept the prohibition law on the books until 1923.

In Manitoba after 1923 there remained a fairly restrictive liquor act in effect until 1956. The act allowed only for the purchase of 24 quarts a week or 72 quarts of beer per month. Liquor could only be consumed at home and it was illegal to barter or transport alcohol. 10 rate payers could also stop the establishment of a licensed premise or a beer vendor and as we know Steinbach remained dry until 2008.

You can see a pretty interesting run down of liquor laws in Manitoba here.

Prince Edward Island kept prohibition on the books the longest. Their law remained in effect until 1948!

But why is it New Beers Eve? Well the beginning of the end started with the passing of the Cullen-Harrison Act on March 22nd, 1933. This legislation enacted the 21st amendment to the US Constitution which repealed the 18th amendment which had enacted prohibition. The 18th amendment had been in effect since January 17th, 1920.

Take a look at this newspaper page from the Chattanooga News from January 14th, 1920.

The legislation came into effect on April 7th, and so April 6th became an unofficial holiday in the United States, New Beers Eve. It’s said that upon signing the legislation Franklin D. Roosevelt said “I think this would be a good time for beer”.

This act also legalized the sale in the United States of beer with an alcohol content of 3.2%(by weight) and wine with a similarly low alcohol content.  With this percentage the argument was that it was too low to be intoxicating. Still it did allow for states to have some control over their sale of alcohol. In fact many states remained dry for years with the last one dropping prohibition in 1966. To this day there are still some dry counties which prohibit the sale of alcohol. You can see where liquor laws stand now in states here.

And so, on the first New Beers Eve, April 6th, 1933, people lined up outside of breweries and taverns, who could legally open their doors at Midnight on April 7th, to enjoy their first legal beer in many years.  Franklin D. Roosevelt even took part in the celebrations and is said to have had a wagon drawn by Clydesdale horses bring beer up to the white house on April 7th, 1933. New Beers Eve also precedes another unofficial holiday, National Beer Day, which of course is every April 7th.

So, enjoy your day and enjoy your eve, let’s help our neighbors to the south celebrate the end of their prohibition. After all, those of us in Manitoba had 10 more years of beer then they did.

One Year In

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It has been just over a year since I started blogging about the beer scene here in Manitoba. It’s been a really interesting and informative year. I’ve met so many passionate people who – while we don’t always agree – I’ve grown to respect immensely.

There are a few key things I didn’t know I’d learn when I started blogging; a journey that’s only made me more interested in beer, brewing and the future of beer in Manitoba.

Home Brewing

Since I’ve begun blogging about beer I’ve also expanded my knowledge around home brewing with the assistance of a great many FANTASTIC home brewers.  I’ve gone from brewing from kits, to using extract, to all-grain brewing (a focus of an upcoming blog post). It’s been incredibly challenging and exciting at the same time. Having the opportunity to attend the Winnipeg Brew Bombers’ meetings, learn from those who have been brewing a lot longer than me, and get feedback on my beers has been such a boon.

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Having the opportunity to learn new techniques, brew with experienced brewers and try new things has helped me become more passionate about beer. Before I started blogging I was a huge Hophead, mostly leaning toward IPAs. Since I’ve started brewing more on my own and experimenting I’ve had what Dave Rudge calls “epiphany beers” that sparked a desire to brew new tasty treats, like a Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout (Coffee and spice infused milk stout) and now my first Gose (a salty sour beer).

Thank you to those of you who have helped me expand my beer horizons. There are many of you and I appreciate all the opportunities you’ve given me.

Beer Geeks

When I started writing, I had no idea how many beer geeks there are here in Manitoba. While we may be a small community compared to other provinces, the “craft beer enthusiasts” in Manitoba are certainly passionate. I’ve very much enjoyed the opportunity to engage with them in conversations about brewing beer, tasting beer, judging beer and straight up drinking beer.

Within this group of people are some certified BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) judges whose abilities I’ve grown to deeply respect. I’m openly envious of their talents and hope one day to join their ranks.

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Our beer community has some of the best people I’ve met and for that, I’m thankful.

Growth

I had hoped for – but did not expect to see – an exponential growth of demand in Manitoba for good beer. Well it arrived in force! Not only have we seen a massive growth in the number of craft beers being brought into the Liquor Marts, we’ve seen a surge of people looking to open breweries or brewpubs. At last count there are 16 people at the Manitoba Brewers Association meetings looking to open a new home for craft beers.

I’ve heard some people opine that beer is becoming “the new wine” with the variety of styles, breweries, and quality growing. The options available to Manitobans have become more diverse and with the expected openings of Peg Beer, Barn Hammer and Torque rapidly approaching, this Manitoba summer will feature a significant leap of local craft beer in our market.

What to expect from year two

One year into this blog and I’ve already had the opportunity to be involved in a lot of exciting growth in our beer scene. I’m very thankful for that.

But blog readers – you’re the ones I’m most thankful for. Without you, I’d be writing a diary of blog posts for myself to read. I appreciate your readership. Thank you.

So, what can you expect in the coming year?

  • I’ll continue to bring you information about new breweries: those that are nearly open, and those on the horizon
  • I’ll deliver details of special events and beer releases.
  • I’ll share my experiments in home brewing: things I learn, the mistakes I make…
  • I’ll tweet and blog about wider beer trends in general

This upcoming year will be exciting. When I began we were a year away from new breweries in Manitoba; now we are weeks or months away. I look forward to continuing to bring you all the best Manitoba brews news.

-Beer Winnipeg

Defining Craft Beer in Canada

Whenever I am talking to people about the virtues of craft beer there is invariably one question that I get asked: What is craft beer?  To answer that question we really need to look at what a craft brewery is.

This is a question that seems very difficult to answer right now.  While there are craft beer associations popping up across Canada (Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, and New Brunswick, Nova Scotia) they do not necessarily represent all of the local breweries in their area nor do they seem to offer a clear definition of what craft beer might be.

Provincial governments, who regulate liquor sales in their respective provinces, have no clear definition of craft beer in their legal frameworks.  Instead, what does exist are terms like “small brewery, microbrewery, macrobrewery and nanobrewery” in which sizes in hectolitres are used to determine the classification mostly for taxation purposes.  Even these definitions vary widely.  In Saskatchewan to be considered a small brewery you need to produce less than 5,000 HL, while in New Brunswick it is 1.5 Million HL.  The British Columbia craft beer association represents breweries that produce less than 160,000 HL each year (Source) while Ontario Crafter Brewers set their limit at 400,000 HL. (Source)

Yet none of this actually defines what craft beer actually is.  The Ontario Craft Brewers association gives a definition, similar to that of the US brewers’ association, to define what craft beer means to their members saying:

Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) are local and defined as:

SMALL – Most Ontario Craft Brewers are small and many are family-owned. The current maximum size of an Ontario Craft Brewer is 400,000 hectolitres of annual worldwide beer production.

INDEPENDENT – Locally-owned and is not significantly controlled by a beer company who does not qualify as an Ontario Craft Brewer.

TRADITIONAL – Pledge to brew traditional and innovative beers according to the

Ontario Craft Brewers’ Brewing Philosophy. The original Philosophy was signed on

April 12, 2006 and was updated in September 2013. It is set out below.

Ontario Craft Brewers must locate and run their primary breweries in Ontario, close to the markets and the communities they serve. The breweries are open to the public, other brewers and beer enthusiasts.

(Source, p. 2)

U.S. Brewers Association

Small – Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.

Independent – Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.

Traditional – A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

The following are some concepts related to craft beer and craft brewers:

  • Craft brewers are small brewers.
  • The hallmark of craft beer and craft brewers is innovation. Craft brewers interpret historic styles with unique twists and develop new styles that have no precedent.
  • Craft beer is generally made with traditional ingredients like malted barley; interesting and sometimes non-traditional ingredients are often added for distinctiveness.
  • Craft brewers tend to be very involved in their communities through philanthropy, product donations, volunteerism and sponsorship of events.
  • Craft brewers have distinctive, individualistic approaches to connecting with their customers.
  • Craft brewers maintain integrity by what they brew and their general independence, free from a substantial interest by a non-craft brewer.
  • The majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a craft brewer.

(Source)

This definition uses more than just the size of the brewery as a means of defining what craft beer actually is.  The US based brewers’ association lays out some concepts surrounding craft beer as well, which expand and start to develop a definition of craft beer – something I’d like to see replicated in Canada. Craft Brewers must meet these criteria in order to qualify to use the associations’ logo on their beer.

When we think of craft beer though, size isn’t what necessarily comes to mind.  Take Sierra Nevada for example in the United States.  Many would consider them to be a craft brewery, yet, they produce over 900,000 HL and so would not fall into the some of the size restrictions here in Canada.  What is important in respect to size limitation is that it be consistent.

With  Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABinBev) buying SABMiller to become the largest beer company in the world, I think it is important that craft beer be defined in a way that is consistent and recognizable and national.  Even more so, if we want this definition to mean something more and to protect what craft beer means and is, then this definition needs to be put into law.

This is where the conversation comes in.  There is no clear definition of craft beer that can be used Canada wide, yet, there is a great deal of opinion and anyone you ask will likely have their own way of defining craft beer.  www.hoptahouse.ca wrote an article similar to this one and cited a book from 1986 saying:

The term appears to have been coined by Vince Cottone, author of Good Beer Guide: Breweries and Pubs of the Pacific Northwest (Homestead Book Co., Seattle, 1986). Cottone had a very narrow definition in mind, saying that craft beers are produced by “a small brewery using traditional methods and ingredients to produce a handcrafted, uncompromised beer that is marketed locally.” Cottone’s definition was so strict that that he excluded pasteurized beers, as well as brewers that use malt extracts.

While this provides a good starting point for what craft beer is, it is incomplete, so I’d like to offer a definition of my own.  I want to stress that this is my opinion and I know there will be others that disagree or have a different definition.  Part of the problem I suppose, but here we go.

For me, craft beer is a locally owned brewery that produces handcrafted beers.  They are breweries who are making beer for the love of the craft, who are creative, experimental, and willing to try out of the box ideas.  A brewery that is not afraid to make a beer not everyone will like but will make beer that they want to drink.

This is an important conversation to have. With Manitobans buying 76.2 Million Litres of beer between May 2014 and May 2015, this is not a small market.  And yet, 81.5% of this market is dominated by the Macro-breweries represented mostly by ABinBev.  The market for Craft Beer has room to grow.

Yet we have seen craft breweries in Canada and elsewhere purchased by ABinBev as they try to get their foot into the craft beer market in an attempt to halt market share loss.   Canadian micro-breweries now have 4.2% of beer sales but have also grown by 19% in dollars and 12% in litres over the past year (Source). The problem is, does this include Goose Island (owned by ABinBev) and Mill Street (recently bought by ABinBev) and does that even matter?  Is non-craft beer “bad” beer?  Does being craft beer automatically make you good?  We also need to ask those questions when defining craft beer.

While there is great work being done by brewery associations in their respective provinces, and while a definition for craft beer is starting to become clearer in some provinces, without a nationwide definition and laws to support it, it’s hard to know what craft beer really is and whether what you are buying is what you think it is.  At least with the Ontario Craft Brewers and the American Brewers’ Association beers which meet their criteria and are members are identified right on the bottle.  Seeing something like this Canada wide that helps beer drinkers recognize beers as “craft beers” would be great, we just need to make sure the reason we are doing it is sound.

To conclude, I sent out a tweet asking for people to define what craft beer is to them. I didn’t get back many responses but I did get a few.  If you’d like to share how you view craft beer I’d be happy to add.  Still, I’d like to finish by sharing the definitions I did receive with you:

@ThousandThought – Going with: Locally owned and operated, committed to quality ingredients and practices, prioritizing craft before profit.

@colinkoop – Craft beer is brewed by an independently-owned brewery using natural high-quality ingredients. It is an artisanal product that can both adhere to style guidelines and bend them. Craft beer feeds back into its local economy and culture. It focuses on quality over quantity and profit. Craft brewers grow craft beer culture by respecting other craft breweries and embracing a collaborative/cooperative marketplace.

J.M. – Meticulously crafted, small batch beer. Often with particular flavours and themes not found in your typical macrobrewery.

M.S – A passion to explore the flavour and strength of different ingredients and different brewing methods.

@beerideas – Beer Ideas responded on his own blog. Check out his essay about craft beer here.

All Brew’d Up

As the last of my Spruce Tree IPA begins to dwindle down it comes time to brew once again.  This is my second batch since getting back into scratch brewing and I wanted to try another style of beer I really like.

Anyone who has followed this blog knows that Peak Organic White IPA got my top pick for the Craft Beer Advent Calendar last year.  I’ve had a number of White IPAs and it is definitely a style that I really enjoy.  I also like to be creative and try things I haven’t had before.  It’s why I got into home brewing, I wanted to try different things out, see what works and what doesn’t, and make beer I want to drink.  So, rather than the tradition orange and coriander combination oft found in White IPAs, I went with lemon and thyme.

I never did get around to posting an update to my Spruce Tree IPA.  It turned out really well.  I was very happy with it and the spruce definitely comes through. I’ve had the opportunity to share it with a number of people who I trust and overall the reception has been good. I do end up with a bit of cold haze in the beer and there are times when the spruce isn’t as strong as I’d like, but overall I am happy with it.  I did make a few of mistakes and I am trying to learn from this time.

First off, I didn’t treat my water.  For those who don’t know chlorine and chloromine are often found in city water.  It’s a way for them to ensure the water clean.  Chlorine boils off during the brew process, but chlormine does not and can interact with the proteins in your wort and make for a funky taste.  I lucked out on my Spruce IPA that I didn’t end up with a noticeable change with this interaction, but this time I treated my water to remove the chloromine.  This should improve this batch of beer.

The second mistake I made was not cold crashing.  I was new to doing this before I picked it back up and something I’ve recently learned is that you want to cool your beer down after the boil as quickly as possible.  This is a cold crash.  It also helps with the cold break to allow the particulate in your wort  to drop to the bottom so you don’t transfer it over to the fermenter resulting in a clearer beer.  As well, dimethyl sulfide is a compound which forms in wort when it is hot.  This is boiled off but if you don’t cool your beer quickly it can form again resulting in off flavours in the finished beer.   Again I was lucky to avoid any significant off flavours, but something I wanted to learn from and made sure I did on this batch.

The third (yes I made three) mistake I made was not considering the hop profiles.  I was so excited to get started I just grabbed a few hops not even considering how they might play with the spruce.  This time around I made sure to consider this and end up using Chinook hops from Prairie Gem Hops.

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Overall, I am quite pleased with this batch so far.  It smells really good and I’m hoping that the taste will be there at the end of the day as well.  As I am still new to this, I don’t mash.  So for this recipe I used extract.  I also ended up using pellitized hops for the knockout.

Recipe:

5.25lbs pale malt extract
2.5lbs wheat malt extract

2oz dried chinook hops (Praire Gem, 60 minutes)

5 oz dextrose (30 minutes)
whirfloc tab (30 minutes)

1/2 oz dried lemon peel (5 minutes)
1 oz fresh thyme (5 minutes)

Centennial (knock-out)
Willamette (knock-out)

wyeast 3787 (High gravity trappist yeast)

Now I just play the waiting game.  I’ll let you know how this one turns out.

-Beer Winnipeg

Summer Time – Brew Time

Well, I’ve been pretty terrible.  With May and June being absolutely crazy at work and having to also try to fit in time working on my Master’s Thesis, I’ve neglected this blog far too much.  I’m sorry.  I have more free time now so I will try to get back into the groove.  That begins today.

With this free time I’ve decided to try my hand once more at home brewing.  One of my favorite beers I’ve had was a Spruce IPA that was put out by Half Pints a couple of years back.  It was tasty and I really loved the spruce.  It also happens that Picaroon’s does a “Christmas tree IPA” which is very similar.  So, I decided to try my hand at this.

The recipe I used is as follows:

2kg light malt extract
1lb Crystal Grain
2lb Two Row Pale grain
1 oz Nothern Brewer hops (bittering)
1 oz Cascade Hops (flavouring)
1/2 oz Williamette Hops (flavouring)
1/2 oz Goldings hops (finishing)
1/2 oz Godlings hops (dry hopping)
1/2 oz Williamette Hops (dry hopping)
American Ale yeast
1 1/2 cups of fresh spruce tips – Added with bittering hops at beginning of boil.

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So far everything is coming along nicely.  I’ve got it in the secondary to allow for some clarifying and aging as well as the dry-hop part of the process.  I ended up with less than I expected.  Using a new pale I must have mis-measured and have 20 litres instead of 23.  Will see what impact that has.  You learn from your mistakes and I’ve certainly made sure I will not do that again.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.  It’s been quite a long time since I’ve brewed from scratch and I’m excited to getting back into it.  I’ve already started working on the recipe for my next beer,

A new year, a new blog – What to expect

Welcome to Beer Winnipeg.  I wasn’t sure that I would want to run my blog talking about different styles of beers and reviewing them.  Having had the Craft Beer advent calendar gave me the opportunity and then the confidence to do so.  So, welcome, to Beer Winnipeg.

The goal of this site will be to discuss a variety of things.  First and foremost I will post reviews about beers.  The reviews will contain the following information.

  • Beer name, location, and style of beer.
  • Description of the style, origins and information about the brewery.
  • Rating of the beer based on the following:
    • Appearance (Body, Colour, Head, Retention) (%5)
    • Smell (20%)
    • Taste (45%)
    • Mouth feel (Light, Medium, Heavy, Smooth, Coarse) (10%)
    • Overall (20%)
    • Do I like it (Yes or No) and why.

I like to be detailed and provide information about the brewery as well as the style of beer.  For me, knowing about the brewery allows for me to understand the concept of the beer a bit better and helps me appreciate it a bit more.

The rating scale is not my own, I have taken the scoring system from the site Beer Advocate as I felt it provide the most opportunity to rate beer effectively based on various notes.  I added into the rating the last section of do I like it.  This is completely subjective but I will tell you why I like it or not and hopefully these details will help you decide if it is a beer that you would like.

Secondly, I hope to talk about the state of beer here in Winnipeg and Manitoba.  We are far behind the rest of Canada when it comes to craft beer and the ability for craft breweries to shine.  I will talk about the breweries we have as well as any news that is beer related here in Manitoba.  For example, the Craft Beer action committee created by the Minister of Liquor and Gaming.  I will report on what news comes from this.

Thirdly, I hope to do some profiles on breweries.  Hopefully I can visit them, but I will profile some strong Canadian breweries as well as up and comers in the craft beer world.

Finally, I’ll likely be talking about anything that is craft beer related especially if it happens to be here in Winnipeg!

Beer is one of those beverages that is so simple yet incredibly complex.  The ability to shift ingredients and great a completely unique flavour is amazing to me.  My hope is that by following this blog you will gain an understanding about the many different styles of beer and an appreciation for their complexities.  If you already like beer I hope you would find my reviews useful.

Thanks for following along.

-Beer Winnipeg.