FBB's relocation to "The Villa" in North Park from the Hayes house in University Heights is finally complete and the brewery is in full operation once again (nothing could smell better). A bit of organization and a few new touches to the presentation of our brewing kitchen make for the best room in the house. For those fortunate enough to visit FBB in person we installed a much needed element any proud brewer must utilize to document current libations. It's official; we have a chalk board.
Our first experiment with fruit fermentation has begun with an Apfelwein, a German dry apple cider. As expected, basic components to this beverage include simple ingredients, but the end result is apparently unlike anything available for retail in the states; there is a lack of distinct sweetness compared to the more popular methods of cider making.
We're utilizing a champagne yeast for an extra dry cider which will also boost the ABV. I'm considering this our first moonshine due to our plan to bottle ferment some volume in a few one gallon jugs, the extensive fermentation time (best flavors by 6 months), leaving it in the garage, and the high potential for residual headaches.
Ein taxi bitte
Just taking a moment from moving into our new house (brewery) to finally write a little about our European lager.
The recipe came yet again from Charlie Papazian’s “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing” where it was titled “Heinestella Delight.” We only slighted altered the recipe this time by increasing the boiling hops (Perle) and finishing hops (Liberty) each by ½ ounce.
This was a beer that we put into secondary fermentation 15 days after brewing it. Notes only serve you well when you make them and thus I have no idea when we ended up bottling this beer or what the original gravity is because I was careless enough not to jot them down. So, it is anyone’s guess at the ABV (probably around 4%) and how long we ended up fermenting this beer. My memory does serve me fairly well on one point, however, and I recall that this one took a long time to carb up in the bottle. It has only gotten better with age. I am drinking one today, three and a half months after brew day.
It lives up to its namesake (Heineken + Stella Artois = Heinstella) in that it is crisp, clear and refreshing and has the characteristic lager yeast taste. It does not, however, have the slight yet pungent “skunkyness” that many people notice in a Heineken. I like it. I like it a lot and wish we had more of a back stock.
A few of us were chatting briefly at the local watering hole the other night about lagers. It got me thinking. I feel like there will be a movement amongst craft brewers to create interesting and unique tasting lagers. They have gotten a bad rap among beer connoisseurs historically. Strong ales and insanely hoppy IPA’s usually get all the attention and the higher ratings. Lagers may not be as overtly complex as a strong ale, for example, but there is complexity even if subtly so. I liken it to the subtle complexities in music and sometimes those are even more rewarding when discovered and appreciated.
It is time once again to get back into this brewing thing. -nhc