It’s been a long time since I last did anything here. To be fair, it is kind of difficult to fit a blog into a real life. However, I have a free moment or two right now so I might as well update on my recent brewing quests.

Before, say, a month ago, the last time I had brewed was back in April. Redoing the basement really threw that off (and will get a blog post of its own once I take some “after” pictures). One of my coworkers recently got into brewing, and we knew some others who brewed as well, and talking with him about it really reinvigorated my spirits. So we planned a day for everyone to get together and brew, which seemed like a great idea, and everyone was psyched for it. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I didn’t make it over to brew with them, but I still set up shop and brewed on my own – brewing with them in spirit, in a sense.

The beer I brewed was a black session IPA. I don’t want to argue semantics over whether a black IPA is technically an IPA or if it should be called something else, like Cascadian Dark Ale, because I don’t care. If it is a deliciously hoppy beer, it can hold the IPA moniker in my book. I made a pretty standard grain bill, available here if you’re interested, and tossed in some Midnight Wheat to give it a little more body, as well as some pitch black color. The midnight wheat is actually what gave me the idea to do the black IPA, since my last attempt at one added way too much complexity (black malts and different chocolate malts, etc. I talked about it here) and turned the beer into a stout. It is being commercially used in the new Shock Top End of the World, which is an awful beer. I also used a new, proprietary hop blend called Falconer’s Flight Seven Seas, which combines the seven major “C” hops – Centennial, Cascade, Columbus, Chinook, Citra, Crystal, and Challenger (to be honest, I had to look the last two up) – to create the hop equivalent of Voltron. I haven’t tasted it yet, but it smelled amazing. The other guys used the same hops, and theirs just got bottled this week as well, so we will be able to compare.

It’s also worth mentioning that this was my first time switching to a proper all grain brewing setup. I had done the brew in a bag method up until then, and it had served its purpose well, but it limited my production of bigger beers. I was due for the upgrade, so I got a cooler for $21 from Target and ordered the valve kit for $27 along with a screen filter from Northern Brewer. Overall, a good deal, especially considering the stuff from NB was purchased with a gift certificate I won completely randomly. I have been having issues with hitting my efficiency, but that is another story altogether.

At the end of the day, what I realized is how much fun brewing is as a hobby. Sure, it is time consuming, but where else can the rewards you reap be so delicious? I enjoy making things, and being able to give my friends a bottle when they come over and say, “Yeah, I brewed that,” is very satisfying. I was so psyched about brewing, I bought more ingredients that week to make another beer, which I will save for its own post since I have dragged this one out for a while.

This beer is still a week away from being ready to drink, but I will be sure to update with how it turned out. I have a great name chosen for it, and if I can get the design I want, it will have an awesome label too!