Posts Tagged ‘Cow Thieves Brewery’

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The Cow Thieves Porter

April 29, 2013

porter

You know it’s a pretty good sign to continue with a hobby when each and every time you give it a go, the outcome is the best to date. Long live the Cow Thieves Brewery!

Our porter, donned with one of my favorite labels to date (a little original Bonnie and Clyde if you ask me), came out so delicious and drinkable that I’m reluctant to bring it up. The issue of course, is once you start making beer (or anything for that matter) that exceeds your expectations its always a little harder to give them out as gifts. So for those who end up with a few, consider yourselves the lucky ones. I had been worried, despite our initial pre-bottling tasting that the end result might have been a bit heavier than I was hoping for. Turns out, we nailed the balance between those malty flavors I love in a porter without suffering from pallet overload. Amazing!
sorachi

The only shame of it all, is that our Sorachi Ace hopped pale ale is getting a lot less attention, despite the fact that it’s pretty damn delicious on it’s own. The aroma of the Sorachi Ace is spot on and the flavors themselves are perfectly balanced as well. This is a great spring time cookout beer, one in which I plan on drinking quite a bit of the next few weeks.

Speaking of the next few weeks…

It’s prime brewing season for us, so we’re already getting back to the drawing board on what to go for next. We loved our Saisons last spring so we might bring a variation back into the fold, but we’re open to your suggestions as well. What kind of beer should we make next? Any favorites we can use as inspiration?

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Cow Thieves Customization

April 15, 2013

beercaps

Bottling day at the Cow Thieves Brewery has become quite the impressive feat of efficiency. My guess is we’ve got our system down to a rate of around 10 bottles a minute for filling and 20 bottles a minute for capping without making much of a mess at all. Of course I say “much of a mess” because I tend to lose focus at least once per batch, overfilling a bottle or two here and there. But maybe this is just my sub-conscious way of screwing up so we have some product to try. And try we did…

As excited as I was to make a porter, I was a bit nervous about how it would turn out. It was like nothing we had tried making before and I’ve had a lot of not so delicious porters. Add that to the somewhat out of seasonality (pointed out so nicely by Nobler Dan on Facebook), it wasn’t clear if we’d be calling this one a success. But if the taste profile before bottling is any indication of how this one turned out, we are all in for a treat. Amazing flavors, great balance, and even a lightness that I wasn’t expecting has got this brew in the early lead for best ever by the Cow Thieves crew. We tried our pale ale as well, and the Sorachi Ace hops really shine through; so pumped to have found them.

But the hit of the day was by far the use of our custom caps from the team over at BottleMark. I bought these suckers a long time ago but we finally had the batch to use them. They look so amazing on the bottle and I’m excited to bring our beer making skills to the next level. Considering how easy and cost-effective these guys make custom caps, I can see myself getting pretty carried away with this moving forward. Thinking there needs to be a reader generated cap in the near future…any takers?

 

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Porter and Enzymes

March 26, 2013

photo(140)

It’s been over three months since the last time we brewed and Larry and I both agree: we can’t let that happen again. For one, we were on a nice little routine where I think we had sort of optimized the process a bit so this time we were a bit out of sync. But more importantly, I just absolutely love our brewing Sundays and I really friggin’ missed it. The good news is, this ridiculously long-lasting winter has made our “out of seasonality” a bit easier to catch up with and I’m really excited to see how our Porter and Pale Ale (with Sorachi Ace hops) turn out. Black and tans anyone?

I was particularly excited about the Porter after deciding on a malted barley blend that included some “chocolate malt”. My original thought on this malt as its own sort of varietal was a bit off actually. In fact, just like my affinity for bourbon aging, the key here is an element of heating. Not so much charring in this case; rather the chocolate malt is a more traditional malted barley that has been kilned at a fairly high temperature. This results in a “caramelization” of flavors bringing out the “vanillas” and “caramels” that we love in our Porters. But this high heat kilning has another interesting result as well.

The process of malting barley for fermentation purposes is all about the generation of enzymes. These enzymes act to convert the starch component of the barley to simple sugar molecules that are then digested by the yeast in the mixture. Of course, we know all about the yeast digesting sugar and producing alcohol, but those sugars have to come from somewhere. The amount of enzymes available for this conversion along with the flavor components of the barley itself help impart certain end notes in the product (let’s say beer in this case). So let’s bring it back to the “chocolate malt”. The kilning process actually degrades all of the enzymes. This means, our Porter mash must rely on some component of “pale malt” for the necessary enzymes to get fermentation. 

Man, all of this is getting me thirsty. What about you? Well, just a few weeks more and the next level of appreciation can begin.

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And the mustard winner is…

October 26, 2012

Despite a valiant attempt by Nobler Mark Alu to continue his winning streak, it was simply not meant to be. Because after hours of algorithm data mashing and wild blogosphere forecasting of who would be the winner of the third Nobler giveaway, one name remained, carefully chosen by Microsoft excel’s RANDBETWEEN function. Congrats to Mike Mangone, you may now collect your mustard. I hope you’ve prepared your speech!

As for the rest of the Cow Thievery taking place these days, this weekend marks the unveiling of our new set of labels for the two delicious wheat beers we bottled just a few weeks ago. I’m looking forward to tasting both now that they are fully carbonated!

For those of you dressing up like sexy pirates or styling like Gangnam for Halloween, I hope you have a great time and drink well. And by drink well, I mean hopefully you avoid the candy corn vodka. If you have better drinks in mind and are looking to continue the pumpkin beer theme but are getting a little sick of the typical offerings, here is a great post from Serious Drinks on a few unusual spins on this fall favorite.

Have a great weekend and congrats again to Mike!

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Cow Thieves Quality and Efficiency

October 17, 2012

This past Sunday was bottling day and damn am I excited for our wheat beers. With the help of the priming sugar, the beer will carbonate in the bottle and barring any blow outs (we’ve only had a few to date), we should have another solid haul of 100 beers to enjoy. Bottling day has always been one of my favorite parts of the process; besides the excitement from filling and capping, the taste testing component to filling has become somewhat of a tradition. A glug straight from the bucket is the Cow Thieves way…

And this time around I really couldn’t believe how delicious the un-carbonated beer was. I ended up drinking a whole glass of our lemongrass wheat varietal with my lunch. So if we passed the room temperature, un-carbonated taste test, I think we are in good shape for the final product!

Also kind of exciting is how efficient we are becoming. It may sound silly, but this time around we were almost completely mess free. The only mix-ups occurred when I chose to talk instead of paying attention (I probably had too much coffee) and when I started raving about our new-found speed. (Never over promise!) But you can’t blame me for being excited that our timed capping speed has made it to 12 bottles/min. We have a long way to go to meet some industrial processes running 1200/min but we’re taking baby steps. After all, I was the guy who accidentally drank bleach during our batching production…

In other news, I’m finally making another batch of Cow Thieves Mustard. Check back in late this week or next for a chance to win one in the next Nobler giveaway!

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Cow Thieves Witbier Eliminates Anxiety

September 24, 2012

“The coriander may potentiate the anxiolytic effects of the alcohol..”

Orange Peel, Coriander, and Lemongrass

So the Cow Thieves Brewery was up and running again this weekend pumping out two batches of Witbier. Turns out we are getting quite efficient in brewing as we’ve got multiple pots on multiple burners and only once did one of us almost die: a little mishap where our sterilization solution was mistaken for water…

This time around, we decided to use subtle flavor additions as our variable change. In the first batch we used a somewhat straightforward mix of orange and coriander and for the second, a little pungent lemongrass. I’m really curious to see how the lemongrass shines through because the acidity I associate with the stuff for cooking, is one of my favorite flavor profiles. The coriander and orange peel blend is a riff off of some more common wheat beers like a Blue Moon and considering (according to their wikipedia page) the coriander adds some extra anti-anxiety punch to the alcohol (see awesome quote above), I’m anticipating a few fantastic evenings, sipping on our brew, without a care in the world.

Who knows, maybe this is the beer that finally gets me to sit still!

 

 

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And the winner is…

August 28, 2012

Mark Alu!

In what seems like one of the most controversial decisions since the infamous 2009 Lights Resolve victory over the Canon Logic, it is true, one of the founding Noblers has indeed won the Cow Thieves Saison prize pack.  But no matter how many of you claim foul, there are two things I know for sure: (1) You can’t argue with the validity of Microsoft Excel’s “randbetween” function” and (2) Mark is one lucky dude. Cause this beer is delicious.

So let this be motivation for you all for the next giveaway. Because they are only getting better from here!

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