Posts Tagged Yeast

The Brew Has Landed

Ninkasi Ground Control“Houston, we have a problem.” That problem is that more breweries don’t take drastic measures in brewing their beer like the crazies/nerds at Ninkasi just took. Recently, they combined two of my favorite things into one grand event: beer and space. These guys decided, “Sure, our beer is good…but we want to send something to space.” So, they loaded some yeast onto a rocket that was bound for space. According to Space.com, on October 23, 2014 a successful launch from Spaceport America in New Mexico saw 4 vials of brewer’s yeast experience about 4 minutes of weightlessness. Ninkasi incorporated some of the ale yeast from that trip to space into its newest offering: Ninkasi Ground Control Imperial Stout.

Ninkasi Ground Control_topThis beer pours like motor oil: thick, black and sludgy. It had a cap of tan sudsy head that streaked down the glass a bit. Chocolate and faint coffee and bourbon aromas were about all that made it out of the glass on the smell. Strong chocolaty bitterness came through on the taste. Super thick mouthfeel with little carbonation, though more than most other stouts I have had, to break it up made it a bit syrupy. Flavors of star anise came through in the middle, with a little nuttiness fading back to the bittersweet chocolate on the finish.

Although I really wanted this beer to be 5-worthy, due to its long journey to a place near and dear to my heart, alas it was just a little lacking:

3

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So Good It’s CRAZY!

IMG_1944I haven’t had any brews from Left Coast before, but this one set my mind a-spinnin’. This here is 1 pint, 6 fluid ounces of pure Belgian goodness. It pours a deep, dark orange, which reminds me of fall (even though we’re beginning our hot summer season where I live). The head is pretty fizzy and dissipates rather quickly, which is to be expected of somewhat effervescent Belgian-style beers. This helps give it a lively feel, not unlike that of a saison, in my opinion. The first whiff brought out the sourness characteristic of these beers, with strong yeast character and some sweetness. It actually reminds me a little of the “beer” I have attempted to make on the journey I talk about on here so much.

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The taste brought forward all the sourness this beer has to bear, which isn’t to say that it’s bad; some might find it off-putting, but I think it makes a beer more interesting and gives it more for the drinker to discover as they work their way through it. This beer, though, could hardly be called “work,” as it is surprisingly easy drinking, despite its 11.8% abv. After the sourness came the yeast. These little critters imbued this beer with so much taste, it was almost unexpected. Almost. It finished sour, with a touch of sweetness toward the end that was quite pleasant.

Overall, this beer is a fine example of a Belgian-style tripel.

I would rate this beer:

5

 

 

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Day 2 Brew 1- Concocting the Brew

We finally got our stuff together and actually brewed beer yesterday! We hauled all the stuff in, arranged it around the kitchen and started mixing together the ingredients. We started by boiling 2 gallons of water in the 5-gallon brew kettle, then adding the grains to steep. This is probably the best smelling part of this whole process. It had a very hearty, grainy, earthy smell. Smelled awesome.

Grain steepingThe grains came pre-smashed, else we would have had to roll them with a rolling pin or beer bottle (an actual suggestion from the directions from the folks at Midwest.) We found out only after the water came to a boil that the kit did not come with a thermometer (wtf?) and also that we were supposed to keep it at a temperature no hotter than 155.IMG_1463

So, after a quick trip to the store for specifically calibrated equipment, we took some measurements and had to let it cool down and hope we didn’t burn our grains. After removing the grain bag and bringing it to a boil (again) on the stove, we removed it from the heat and added our liquid malt. Once the malt was all stirred in and dissolved, it was back to the heat to boil again, this time for a whole hour. This changed the smell a bit from a grainy, earthy smell to a slightly sweeter grainy, earthy smell. The only thing to break up this hour of waiting was adding the hops part way through, as directed by the instructions. We then had to cool it down to about 80 degrees as quickly as possible, so we used the chiller ring and ran hose water through it in the back yard (totally sanitary).

ChillinThis done, we then transferred the whole mess to one of the buckets provided in the kit, called the primary fermenter,  and placed it in our custom-built beer resting vestibule (read: closet) to sit and ferment for the next 2 weeks. I just hope the temperature stays constant and cool enough, as it gets pretty hot in this house. This closet, though, is pretty much in the dead center of the house, so I don’t think we could have gotten it in a better insulated spot.

beer resting vestibuleThis will probably be the longest two weeks of my life. Then, we transfer it to a glass carboy (think Sparkletts container) to siphon it into the bottling bucket to mix it with the priming sugar and carbonate. More on that in the next step!

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