Posts Tagged ‘homebrew’

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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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Like Watching Bourbon Age

April 5, 2013

photo(1)Just a few weeks into the aging process, I’ve had a number of Night Cap guests send me updates on the status of their mason jar bourbon. I myself have filled a number of jars tweaking a few variables here and there to see if I can start to perfect the process a bit. Turns out the hardest part of aging moonshine into bourbon on your own is waiting. I tend to shake my jars every day to encourage the charred chips to interact with the liquid, thinking in my head this is speeding up the process. It’s really just me being impatient however…so looking forward to drinking it…

But so far without a doubt the best update came from two of my favorite friends, Gilly and Joe, in the form of this instagram (pictured above). Love this picture! And glad they’ve been keeping watchful eyes on their bourbon as well.

We’ve got a few other exciting things coming up over the next few weeks starting with a beer-ful weekend of bottling our latest Cow Thieves and hitting up Beer for Beasts tomorrow. Plus, it’s been too long since we’ve had a giveaway here at the Nobler, so check back next week to get in on the action. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

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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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Hop is King!

February 7, 2013

hops

Despite the fact that I tend to ramble on and on about the NY distillation scene, I think it’s important to remember it was the craft brewers that really got this resurgence started. Similar legislation changes have been opening the doors for the “small” batch brewers and they haven’t disappointed; without a doubt, a few of my favorite beers are made in NY (including Cow Thieves). So when a Cow Thief cousin (thanks Sandra) sent me this Kickstarter Campaign, it’s pretty easy to see why I got all jazzed up.

As the campaign describes, Hops were one of the original specialty crops in New York taking advantage of the optimal soil and climate conditions. That was until (like so many related industry stories) Prohibition and in this situation a widespread case of mildew almost completely decimated the business. Farmers switched to other crops and dairy production leaving a hole in the locally available hop sourcing channel. That’s where Condzella Hops comes in. They saw the opportunity and potential partnerships building in the local craft brewing scene and began their own hop farming initiative just a few years ago.

Now they are looking to take their efforts to the next level. They are looking to procure a fairly expensive hop harvesting machine and are looking for help in raising the necessary funds. I think what makes their request a bit more special however, is the real mission behind the machine. They envision a symbiotic relationship between farmers and brewers sharing in the benefits of this community resource bringing efficiency back to the New York Hop Industry. Or as they say, HOP IS KING!

Check them out here on the Kickerstarter page to help support the cause and you can also follow them along at their Facebook page here. I wish them the best of luck and hope someday soon we can make a special brew of cow thieves with their hops in honor of their success!

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Nobler Holiday Gift Guide – Bottle Caps!

December 6, 2012

bottlecap

On the second day of the Holiday Gift Guide, your Nobler gives to thee…

Awesome, customizable bottle caps for your favorite home-brewer. Being the proud co-founder of the Cow Thieves Brewery myself, I imagine it might be difficult to figure out the right gift for the brewer in your life. You might not feel comfortable picking up specific ingredients, and while a gift certificate to their favorite brew shop might be appreciated, the folks at Bottle Mark give you the opportunity to give a truly customizable component to the beer making production; a component that is often overlooked.

The bottle cap, is almost always boring and basic. But with this gift you can provide something that definitely sets your homemade beers apart. I’ve got a batch of these cow thieves caps on the way that I’m pretty pumped about and at 12 cents a cap, the ability to customize from batch to batch is pretty exceptional.

And as an extra special bonus round on the gift guide, we still have a number of our stylish, comfortable, and bad-ass Cow Thieves Brewery t-shirts available for sale. At only $10 it’s hard to imagine a better way to feel impressive…who wouldn’t want to showcase the original Cow Thieves on their chest! But seriously, if you want one (or five) just sign up below! And if you missed yesterday’s first gift guide post, check it out here…

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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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