Jurassic Amber Ale Brew Day

On May 17, 2008, in Family and Friends, Food, Homebrewing, by Mark Ranes

Steve showed up ready to brew (but not ready to drink – he had an encounter last evening with the Blue Flame IPA he recently brewed) this morning and we had an uneventful brew session. Things just kind of played out like they should, with no issues. We mashed in right on target at 152 degrees and it just went like clockwork from then on. The aromas off of the 7 ounces of Columbus, Centennial and Cascade hops permeated the air throughout the boil and hinted at the final product this American Amber will be in 6-7 weeks.

Steve graciously offered to bring lunch. This guy now has a permanent place in my heart:) He brought beer soaked brats and the most amazing caramelized red peppers and onions. He also brought a fantastic red potato salad that kicked ass! Damn! This was some of the finest brew day grub I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Stephen was able to coordinate his family activities so that he arrived just in time for lunch – and an ale or two. Prior to lunch I was able to get some tonic into Steve to ease his discomfort. Last weekend I cleaned out the keggerator and found a keg of Double Tun Imperial Stout that I had completely forgotten about, that was originally brewed on 01/02/07. It was hiding in the very back of the keggerator and was a wonderful find. The Imperial Stout has hints of sherry and the flavors have melded together in the ways that only time can bring about (that is my number one rule of brewing – Time is your friend:) After a short cup of Double Tun Imperial Stout, Steve was miraculously cured and ready to face the day!

The lunch served to set an ale foundation and we enjoyed numerous ales as the day progressed. Steve brought a bomber of his version of the Blue Flame Imperial IPA (spot on to the recipe I’ve been brewing:) and a great inky black Stout that was enjoyed by all. A couple friends stopped by after a round of golf (in 100+ temps!) just as we were dropping the wort into carboys. They had several beers and enjoyed the brews on tap. The amber ale came in at about 14.5 brix – for an original gravity of about 1.058. One of my brewing faults is that I never seem to be ale to put out a session ale, so this is probably the closest I’ll come to this in the foreseeable future.

There were two unseen bonuses to the day! Steve brought his 5.5 month old Boston Terrier, Cooper, with him today as his wife Maggie was in the air, flying back from DC, so he was on dog sitting duty. I have never, ever, seen a more well behaved and adjusted pup as Cooper! He explored the back yard (and had an interesting face to face encounter with our territorial cat) and hung out in his kennel. Hopefully his presence doesn’t cause puppy envy in my family:) The final treat was the stout cupcakes I’d heard so much about on the Modesto Mashers forums. Steve and Maggie brought them to the AHA Big Brew Day at Barley & Wine on May 3. I brewed ten gallons of Old Man Bitter that day, here in Turlock, so I missed out on the stout cupcakes that everyone raved about! I was sooooo jazzed to give them try:) Imagine my joy when I heard Steve mention them, at my place!Stout Cupcakes - not!

You can drool by looking at their loveliness in this picture. Oh, wait – there’s nothing on the plate! Steve got all the way to Turlock and discovered that he had forgotten to bring them (I think this was caused by his encounter last night with the Blue Flame Imperial IPA:) Actually, I think the oversight was carefully planned so that he gets another invite to brew! Next time we’ll meet him at his car to check the inventory.

Steve hung out, and Brenda and I got to know him much better. What a guy (other than the cupcake thing:)! Aside from the heat, it was a great brew day, surrounded by like-minded friends, and in the end, we made beer:)

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