Thursday 27 June 2013

Home brew tasting flight

I started brewing my own beer late 2012 with a new friend of mine Dave. We call ourselves D & D Brewing Co. We have finally brewed enough beers to have our very own tasting flight comprised of entirely home brewed beers! We were very excited. Although probably super bias... here is my review of 3 of our favourite home brews to date. 

Starting from the right in the picture above. The "Oak aged 90 min MyPA" 

We started off, trying to clone one of our favourite beers from "dogfish head brewery" their 90 min IPA. This beer has a very sweet, thick malty ness, almost chocolate tasting, but with a very hoppy nose and wonderful bitter finish. This beer is unreal. It is boiled for 90 mins and is continuously hopped for the entire boil to achieve that amazing hoppy flavour. Then, it is dry hopped during fermentation with insane amounts of hops to give it that crazy aroma. 

Now onto our beer. We made 3 versions of the 90 min IPA. The first was an oak aged. In all honesty it tastes nothing like what we wanted, but is surprisingly awesome. It has a brilliant hoppy nose, with the addition of a little bit of oak. The malty ness isn't as pronounced as we would have hoped, but that was expected as we had some problems during there brew ;) overall this was a very pleasant beer to drink, no off flavours, very crisp and clean tasting with a nice hoppy bite. I enjoyed this beer very much and will be making it again. 

The beer on the far right, is the same beer, however it was not oak aged. So pretty much exactly the same, however no oak flavour or aroma, much more crisp, almost a slight apple flavour, in a good way, these beers came out to be about 7% ABV , so they have quite a decent warmth in the mouth as well! IBUs on these two is about 70. Honestly a beer I would drink every day. Sadly all 30 750mil bottles are gone. Only took like 2 weeks.. 

Finally, the beer in the middle. This one was just a sample of a beer we will be aging till the fall. It's an Imperial pumpkin pie ale. At 8.5% ABV, this beer is insanely awesome. It seriously tastes like a pumpkin pie. It's sweet, spicy, thick bodied, and has an awesome alcohol warmth, although the alcohol taste is quite hidden by all the spices. You can still tell its there. This is for sure a dessert beer. More than one might be a little much. We are really excited for this to age up nicely, we expect it to get a lot more body, and more of the alcohol taste will come through, balancing it out. 

Overall we have been really excited about all of the beers we have made so far, some have been a little crazy, the " Bloody Imperial pepper stout" has quite the story to go along with it, and almost one of my fingers, hence the name. It's and awesome hobby, I strongly recommend it to anyone who loves beer and loves the satisfaction of doing things them-self. 

Beer is just really cool.. I like it ;) 

Drink on friends, cheers. 

Thursday 20 June 2013

Espresso exctraction 101

I have come to discover, in my quest for the perfect shot of espresso, that there is just way too much info out there on the subject. It is very easy to get consused when first starting out. The company I work for has a very good training program, so for me it wasn’t too difficult. However for someone who finds all of their information on the internet, It is hard to weed through all of the confusing blogs, put out there by overcaffinated “home baristas”. Of course I am no professional myself, but the people a work for absolutely are, and I have learned alot from them. 

I have attempted to make explaining how to pull a perfect shot as simple as possible. Here is how I work things through my head everyday when I am pulling shots.

First, start by only worrying about getting the correct volume in the correct time. Which is 1.5 to 2 oz in 20 to 30 seconds. (for a double) Do this by only adjusting the grind. If your coffee is coming out too fast, make the grind FINER. If your coffee is coming out too slow, make the grind more COARSE. Whenever you adjust anything, temperature, dose, tamping pressure, always go back to this step, this is very important. 

If your shots look and taste like #2 (down below), DONT TOUCH. Magic is 
happening. ;)

If your shots look and taste like #1, but your volume is good, either your dose is too low, or your temp is too low. Adjust accordinly and taste. Continue till at #2 

If your shots look and taste like #3 and volume is good, then your dose is too high, or your temp is too high. 

There are MANY factors that can affect your coffee, age of the beans, roasting problems, weather outside... endless stupid things, other than always using the freshest possible coffee, you usually cannot do anything about these other factors. But you can control the dose, temp and grind size. 

So, all this as simple and short as possible. Assuming volume is always perfect .Over-extracted? Dose down, temp down. Underextracted? Dose up, temp up. Tastes and smells like sweet syrupy heaven? DRINK AND LEAVE BE.

In the end it all comes down to taste. Trust what your palate tells you. If you taste ashes, its probably too hot. If you taste lemon, its probably too cold! I believe if you follow these steps, and “follow your nose” you will figure it out sooner or later. I hope you enjoy your search for the perfect espresso as much as I do. Cheers.