BrewZaPalooza 2013: The Brews

Last summer I got it in my head to throw a big party with a bunch of homebrew from our cellar and as many pizzas as I could stand to grill. I dubbed it BrewZaPalooza. It was so much fun that we decided to do it again this year, so now it’s officially an annual thing. This year we hosted 22 adults and 7 children. In another post I’ll go over the food menu, but here I’ll present the 8 homebrews that BrewZaPaloozers imbibed.

Two beers were in kegs, the “Hopeye” American IPA and the first Saison I’ve brewed. The others were in bombers (22 oz. amber bottles).

Hopeye, an American IPA

Hopeye, an American IPA

Hopeye IPA | OG: 1.045 FG: 1.005 ABV: 5.25%
Malts: Am. 2-row, Munich, Crystal 20L
Hops: Simcoe, Cascade, Citra
Yeast: WLP 001 (California Ale)
Hopeye is my ongoing quest to make my perfect American IPA (that is, perfect for me). For this version, I used Simcoe (60 min.), Cascade (10 min.), Citra (during cool down), Citra for a first dry hop, and Cascade for a second dry hop. So yeah, it’s hoppy in your nose, hoppy in your mouth, hoppy in your dreams.

Saison | OG: 1.064 FG: 1.003 ABV: 8.1%
Malts: Pilsener, Red Wheat, Vienna, Acid Malt
Hops: Styrian Goldings, Saaz
Misc.: Candi Sugar, Coriander Seed, Black Pepper, Orange Peel
Yeast: WLP 568 (Belgian Saison Blend)
This is the first Saison I’ve brewed, and it’s based on a recipe called Saison Été that Drew Beechum published in Zymurgy (May/June 2008). Based on the feedback from BrewZaPaloozers, this was the most popular homebrew of the evening. It’s going quickly, so I think I’ll brew it again this weekend.

Foreign Extra Stout | OG: 1.067 FG: 1.013 ABV: 7.2%
Malts: British Pale, Crystal 40L, Flaked Barley, Roasted Barley
Hops: Centennial, Cascade
Yeast: WLP 001 (California Ale)
This was the first beer I brewed this year (Jan. 7) and I’m letting most of it age until this fall. Every once in a while I open a bottle to see how it’s maturing. At first it was fairly roasty, but now it’s developing a bit of a dark chocolate flavor. My pal Fleeter—after much sampling and deliberating—declared this his favorite of the evening.

Chipotle Porter | OG: 1.058 FG: 1.011 ABV: 6.2%
Malts: British Pale, Brown, Crystal 40L, Chocolate
Hops: Northern Brewer
Misc.: Dried chipotles
Yeast: WLP 001 (California Ale)
This might be my personal favorite. I brewed it in February and at first I was disappointed that the chipotles weren’t more prominent. I remember years ago when I first learned about chipotles, and for a while everything I cooked had chipotles in it (just ask Juliana). I love the smoky flavor, and that’s starting to come through in this brown porter made with dried chipotles. The smokiness is subtle, and the porter is creamy and smooth. Hmmm, if I weren’t already drinking a Saison I might open one of these.

Maibock | OG: 1.076 FG: 1.016 ABV: 8.0%
Malts: Pilsener, Munich
Hops: Hallertau
Yeast: WLP 833 (German Bock)
Our friends Tiffany and Ben really loved this one, and all modesty aside, I can’t blame them. I brewed it in March and lagered it for a month, and I think it’s at its peak right now. I’ve been trying to think ahead and brew beers that I’m going to really enjoy at a particular time in the future, and the timing was great with this one.

Dunkelweizen | OG: 1.047 FG: 1.011 ABV: 4.8%
Malts: Wheat, Munich, Pilsener, Crystal 40L, Special B, Carafa
Hops: Hallertau
Yeast: WLP 300 (Hefeweizen)
This past winter/spring, Juliana and I took a “beer appreciation” course from Ron Smith in Indianapolis. Neither of us likes American wheat beers much (although the hoppy wheats that craft brewers are producing are an exception), but we discovered that we really like German and Belgian wheat beers. The yeast really makes the difference here as it produces banana esters and clove phenols that result in complex, delicious beers. My brother made an excellent Roggenbier, and as soon as Juliana tasted it she said “Hefeweizen!” This dark wheat beer really hits the spot.

Banana Hammock

Banana Hammock bottle label

Banana Hammock | OG: 1.049 FG: 1.005 ABV: 5.8%
Malts: Am. 2-row, Vienna, Cara-Pils
Hops: Saaz
Misc.: Coconut, Thai Basil
Yeast: WLP 300 (Hefeweizen)
My homebrew club, the Bloomington Hop Jockeys, has started a bi-monthly club competition called Iron Brewer. The officers pick three ingredients, and competitors must use at least two of those ingredients in a beer. The inaugural competition featured WLP 007 (English Dry Ale), coconut, and Thai basil. I made a 9-gallon wort and split it into two 4.5-gallon fermentors. For one, which I called Liz Lemongrass, I used all three ingredients plus lemongrass. That one ended up winning in a very close contest. For the other, which I envisioned as a German tourist in a thong on a Thai beach and so named Banana Hammock, I used the WLP 300 again for a banana and coconut combo.

Leipziger Gose | OG: 1.040 FG: 1.006 ABV: 4.5%
Malts: Wheat, Munich, Pilsener, Sauer, Melanoidin
Hops: Saaz
Misc.: Pink Sea Salt, Indian Coriander
Yeast: WLP 400 (Belgian Witbier) and lactobacillus
Did I say that the Chipotle Porter might be my favorite? The gose (pronouced goze-uh) is tart and slightly salty and incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day. I brewed this with a guy from my homebrew club who has a lot of experience brewing sour beers. It’s closely related to the Berliner Weisse and the Belgian Gueuze. The sourness is the result of fermenting with lactobacillus. This beer always takes people by surprise when they first drink it. I’m planning to make this many more times and experiment with different fruits in secondary fermentation.

So that’s the Brew part of BrewZaPalooza 2013. I’m pretty happy with my brewing so far, after 2 1/2 years, but like any craft it can take years to become really good. I enjoy trying to improve my process and techniques and coming up with new recipes. But what I love the most is sharing my homebrews with my friends and family.


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