Posts Tagged ‘Doug Faynor’

Capitol Brewers

Monday, May 4th, 2009

capitol_kh_725061Saturday night I went to my first meeting of the Capitol Brewers, and I wish I had had a camera with me. Capitol Brewers is a homebrew club in Salem. So why would I want a camera? Were the people there so attractive that I’d like to take a picture? Well here’s some perspective on why I needed a camera.

For awhile I’d been flirting with the idea of attending a meeting and had finally broke down and got the address from Doug Faynor at Homebrew Heaven. Doug had told me the meetings are potluck style, and people usually bring some beer also, but not to worry since I wasn’t a member and was just checking it out. I thought I’d be cool though and bring my new CPB stout for people to try… See what I did wrong there? I thought I’d be cool…. Anyway I showed up with a sixer and was told the meeting was downstairs and that the beer went around the corner. Well once I got around the corner my jaw dropped.

Capitol Brewers were the ones who put on the Homebrew Classic at the Oregon Gardens Brew Fest. They did the prizes, handled the bottles and storage, did the administrative work for it, and provided several judges for the event. As they were the ones in charge of storing the bottles before the competition they were also in charge of storing the leftover full bottles afterwords. So when I walked around that corner with my measly sixer there were like 7 or 8 good size coolers full to the tops with beer. So much for bringing beer for people to try eh? Not only did they have the coolers though, but when I turned around I noticed a bar at the opposite end every square inch taken up with beer bottles.

Now tell me, is there a greater form of nirvana for a beer lover then entering a room full of homebrew, in like 26 different categories and like 150 styles mind you, and being told to feel free to sample and drink all you’d like? I mean it was like being a kid in a candy shop. I just read and reread the category list trying to decide what style I wanted first. After I’d decided I bounced around and sampled three different styles, only filling my glass full once (with my own Bombay CPB). Then there was the meeting, bla bla bla, and then more beer!

So what was the general impression of the club, other then they had alot of beer at that meeting? The club didn’t seem very organized or structured. In fact it mostly just seemed like a hangout for brewers. This could be because with all the samples people kept drifting out of the room for more beer though. I had a good time discussing brewing, and relearned an important thing about brewing. You’ll never find someone who knows everything, and even then, just cause it works for them doesn’t make it right for you. In fact I couldn’t find anyone with experience in the kind of funky beers I like to brew. The people were knowledgeable and friendly though, and I had alot of fun sharing a few beers with them. At $24 dollars a year in dues I may just end up joining for the camaraderie.

Since I forgot my camera, please enjoy this video of beer bottle dominoes

Oh yeah,

In case my mother or someone reads this post I did stay sober. After all I was on a bike, and drinking too much would have been bad news with only two wheels to balance.

A Fresh Perspective

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

beerunfail

Yesterday I talked about my inability to brew gruit, Turns out I may have spoken too soon.

Today’s post is late, but that could be a good thing. Instead of updating my blog before meeting up with Dan I decided to swing by Homebrew Heaven and the library. The reason why I was heading out to the beer shop wasn’t to get my ingredients for the Reese’s Stout. Instead I went bringing beer. I brought Dug a bottle of Rose Red, and Witches Brew Gruit. I plan on entering my Rose Red in a homebrew competition in April and needed help understanding the categories.

Even though it wasn’t even noon Doug and I opened the gruit and he poured two glasses while I discussed the problems I was having with it. Turns out the gruit may not be a “bad” beer

per say. As I tried to explain how horrible it was to him he just nodded and sipped. Then he proceeded to explain that although he had no experience with gruits that the problem might lie in my particular beer being extremely susceptible to infection, so there goes my oxidation theory. I guess I was hoping for a magic answer that was an easy fix. Also he said that the sour flavor wasn’t a bad thing. Turns out Doug likes sour beers like lambics, and from a sour beer stance this beer is different, but drinkable.

This idea intrigued me, so I started sipping on my glass. Turns out that if you sip on it, instead of drinking it, it really isn’t too bad. Don’t get me wrong, I still think my gruit failed. It doesn’t taste even close to how I wanted it. But I’m no longer looking at this beer as a complete failure. Even though I’m not a lambic fan (and this actually isn’t a real lambic), and I won’t brew this in the same way again, I don’t think I’ll dump all this now.

Only one thing remains. Anyone brave enough to try it?

I Can’t Brew Gruits

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

beerfailMy gruit finished carbonating last week, and it looks like I have five more gallons of meat marinade. I skipped putting it in my small carboy to clear and just siphoned right off the yeast cake in the six gallon carboy, and straight into the bottling bucket. I also pulled a glass for sampling and testing the final gravity. The FG came out just around 1.01, and the sample tasted awesome. Thinking everything was gravy I added the priming sugar and bottled. I even went as far as to sanitize my caps, something I don’t usually do. Needless to say I was excited to have this batch turn out.

Two weeks later I popped the top on one of the ones from the reused cap experiment. It was flat. Apparently some of the caps didn’t reseal like I’d hoped. I decided to try it anyway to see how it tasted. It tasted exactly like the last batch. It had an herbal flavor, but there was such an overpowering sweet/tart flavor that I could barely swallow. This bottle didn’t seal properly though right? Maybe it was a case of the same infection that I thought had taken my last batch. I reached into the other case and grabbed one that used a brand new cap and popped the top. This hiss told me it sealed which was exciting, so I poured it in a glass. Turns out this one tasted the same. In fact they all did.

Somewhere along the line this recipe keeps going south. I sent out a couple of inquiries, and am waiting to hear back from another brewer who’s done gruits before. Right now it appears that something in the beer is causing it to oxidize like crazy. You think it’d be easy to tell since oxidation has a unique flavor, but the problem is, if this is oxidation it’s so strong, and unplanned for, that it’s ridiculous. Hopefully I can figure out what’s up soon though, because the flavors it has when it comes out of the carboy are awesome, and it is a brew I really want to succeed.

If anyone out there has any experience brewing gruits and can give me advice I’d appreciate it. When I swing by Homebrew Heaven to talk to Doug I’ll also check with him to see what he thinks.