NHC 2011 Day 2 – A Marathon, Not a Sprint!

On June 18, 2011, in Homebrewing, Travel, by Mark Ranes
The CVBG Crew the NHC Club Night

The CVBG Crew the NHC Club Night

Day 2 of NHC 2011 brought several new, amazing beers to my lips.  In my first session, I had the opportunity to taste Firestone Walker’s Saucerful of Secrets, a dark Belgian ale that has been mellowing in bourbon barrels for three years.  It was incredibly smooth and even with its high ABV, very very drinkable, even at 9:20 in the morning:)  I also enjoyed a Firestone Walker double IPA, some Pliny the Elder and another Russian River IPA, Hop 2 It, which uses a new still unnamed experimental hop.  Today I attended the following sessions:

Cooking with Beer with Sean Paxton, The Homebrew Chef

Historical Extreme Beers with Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing

Pragmatic Brewing with Denny Conn

The White Labs Hangover Kit!

The White Labs Hangover Kit!

The highlight of the day was Vinnie Cilurzo’s keynote address.  It was captivating hearing about the early days of his brewing career – the struggles and successes, and then the development of the Russian River Brewing we all know today.  On top of it all, Vinnie is a down to earth, humble man.

Tonight’s social event was the annual Club Night, where homebrew clubs from across the nation offer their best homebrews out to NHC attendees.  The best ale I had tonight was Nathan Smith’s double IPA, from the DOZE booth – a big, spicy IPA, but dry and lacking the overpowering sweetness that too many IIPAs have.

We enjoyed Club Night for about an hour and a half and then retired to our room for some much needed sleep:)

Yum!  Firestone Walker's Saucerful Of Secrets - at 9:20 am

Yum! Firestone Walker's Saucerful Of Secrets - at 9:20 am

Oh, yea!  This is going to be good!

Oh, yea! This is going to be good!

Vinnie Cilurzo giving the 2011 NHC Keynote

Vinnie Cilurzo giving the 2011 NHC Keynote

Vinnie Cilurzo, Mark and Steve

Vinnie Cilurzo, Mark and Steve

I'll Have What He's Having!

I'll Have What He's Having!

Steve and Maggie Supporting Dust Bowl Brewing

Steve and Maggie Supporting Dust Bowl Brewing

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Yeast for a Year!

Yeast for a Year!

So today was a Charlie Sheen day at NHC.  Winning!

At tonight’s Pro Brewers night, the lovely Mrs. Lazy Brewer won a year’s worth of yeast from White Labs!  There were twelve certificates, each good for two vials of White Labs yeast!  Two raffle tickets were called, with no one responding and the third call was her ticket!  Life is good:)

Today I attended the following breakout sessions:

Brewing on a Budget with Chris Graham of MoreBeer

Hop Boil Chemistry with Colin Kaminski of Downtown Joe’s in Napa

Choosing the Right Yeast with Chris White of White Labs

Brenda and her (my:) Yeast!

Brenda and her (my:) Yeast!

All the sessions were good, but I really enjoyed the brew nerdiness of the hop chemistry and yeast sessions.  Very good info:)

On a sad note, the Town and Country Resort Hotel shooed the gourmet food trucks off their property.  Seems like a money grab move to capture the conference attendees food dollars.  Very very uncool…

The Hospitality Suite Brew Board, beers 17-30

The Hospitality Suite Brew Board, beers 17-30

30 handles at the Hospitality Suite

30 handles at the Hospitality Suite

The Three Beerscateers!  Onf for all and all for beer!

The Three Beerscateers! Onf for all and all for beer!

The conference opening toast!

The conference opening toast!

My Twitter beer buddy @BrettGlenna

My Twitter beer buddy @BrettGlenna

What the hell? A line for the mens room?

What the hell? A line for the mens room?

Incredible Hospitality Room Portable Cold Box with 30 handles!

Incredible Hospitality Room Portable Cold Box with 30 handles!

The Floor of Pro Brewers Night

The Floor of Pro Brewers Night

Me, Vinnie Cilurzo, a big-assed bottle of Temptation and Steve

Me, Vinnie Cilurzo, a big-assed bottle of Temptation and Steve

Mark, Maggie, Steve and Brenda

Mark, Maggie, Steve and Brenda

Mr. & Mrs. Lazy Brewer

Mr. & Mrs. Lazy Brewer

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Conference Flyer

2011 NHC Conference Flyer

Yesterday was a travel day to the 2011 National Homebrewers Conference in San Diego.  The drive was long, but uneventful, other than me just about dozing off while driving in Fresno.  I haven’t had an issue staying awake while driving for probably 25 years, but this morning I was just wiped out.  Brenda took over the driving from Fresno to Bakersfield, and while I didn’t actually sleep, I drifted on the edge of consciousness for about an hour and a half.  We got to the Town and Country Resort Hotel, the conference host, just before 3 o’clock, checked in, went and picked up our NHC registration materials, beer schwag and three lovely bottles of ale:)  Shortly after that we were enjoying our first complimentary ales from the conference hospitality room.  We visited with Steve and Maggie for a bit and then decided to head out to check out Green Flash Brewing’s new tasting room.  This will also be their future brew house in the coming months.

Green Flash Brewing Tasting Room

Green Flash Brewing Tasting Room

While the Green Flash tasting room doesn’t actually serve food, on the evenings they are open, one of San Diego’s gourmet food trucks parks outside the tasting room and serves up incredible fare.  Tonights food truck was Devilicious.  We enjoyed lobster and cheese sandwiches, fabulous burgers, BBBLTs ( the extra Bs were for all the extra bacon they throw on the sandwiches), truffled parmesan fries and some Fried Yumminess (tonight’s rotating Fried Yumminess was deep fried cheeseburger and pickle balls:)  The ales at Green Flash were incredible.  I had a Hop Head Red, a Green Flash Imperial IPA, a West Coast IPA and a taste of something they call Palate Wrecker – another IIPA.  All in all, it was a great way to ease into a three day beer conference.

The opening toast for the 2011 National Homebrewers Conference takes place at 1:00 pm today.  After that, there are three breakout sessions, and at 8 o’clock, the Pro Brewers Night starts, where over 45 craft breweries will be providing unlimited pours of their best.  Additionaly, the conference organizers worked with many of the San Diego gourmet food trucks to provide a mobile “food court” each evening of the conference.  Yum!

Green Flash Tasting Room

Green Flash Tasting Room

Having two of my beers in the final round of the National Homebrew Competition will make Saturday night’s Grand Banquet (a beer dinner – go figure:) and National Homebrew Competition Award Ceremony a special event.  Cross your fingers for my Beanilla Porter and annual barleywine!

Fun times ahead!

Fried Yumminess!

Fried Yumminess!

Green Flash Imperial IPAs

Green Flash Imperial IPAs

Green Flash Ales

Green Flash Ales

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Black IPA

On December 23, 2009, in Family and Friends, Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes

Back in Black IPA Tap Handle

UPDATE! – I’d highly recommend using this updated version of the recipe.  It omits the Sinamar and uses both Carafa III and Debittered Belgian Black Malt for the dark color.

Batch 95

Before a recent Stockton Thunder game, I had the opportunity to enjoy a couple of Steve Altimari’s Black IPAs at Valley Brewing, in Stockton.  It was a big ‘ole IPA, bursting with a wonderful grapefruit finish from massive amounts of Amarillo hops, and dark as night.  Two of them made me really happy and set the tone for the evening:)

I contacted Steve on FaceBook and he was incredibly forthcoming about the hop bill, and how he darkened up the IPA, without adding the roastiness and astringency from dark grains.  The secret is to use Weyermann’s Sinamar, a proprietary extract of their roasted malt, Carafa, add some Magnum hops for bittering, and bunches or Simcoes and Amarillos for flavor and aroma.  What follows is a wide sweep at his recipe (I’m way too lazy to do the math from Steve’s info:) – with lots of late hops to add the grapefruit explosion.

I’m only five batches away from my centennial batch!

Back in Black IPA
14-C Imperial IPA
Brewers: Mark Ranes, Steve Hillestad
Brewer Focus: Maggie Curley
Date: 12/23/09

Size: 10.08 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 385.8 kcal per 16.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.086 (1.070 – 1.090)
Terminal Gravity: 1.022 (1.010 – 1.020)
Alcohol: 8.56% (7.5% – 10.0%)
Bitterness: 100.0 (60.0 – 120.0)

Ingredients:
15.0 lb Pale Malt(2-row)
15.0 lb Maris Otter Pale
1.0 lb Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt
1.0 lb Carastan
1.0 lb Carafa TYPE III- in the Sparge
2.0 oz Magnum (14.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60.0 min
2.0 oz Amarillo Gold (10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
2.0 oz Simcoe (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
4.0 oz (or more) Sinamar – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
2 Servomyces Yeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
2 ea Whirlfloc – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
3.0 oz Simcoe (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 1.0 min
3.0 oz Amarillo Gold (10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 1.0 min
2000 mL White Labs WLP001 California Ale
8.0 oz Amarillo Gold (10.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter

We’ll be brewing this up at Steve and Maggie’s place, on the Buford 3-10. Additionally, we’ll be fermenting in Steve’s kegmentor (or is that a fermeggle:), so we get 10 gallons of the same wort fermenting in one vessel.  We’ll dry hop with 8 ounces of new crop Amarillo pellet hops that are en-route from Hops Direct.

Black IPAs may simply be a trend, but I’m looking forward to this ale!

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