Blog Archive

Monday, June 6, 2016

Texas Tea - The Official R.O.T.R. Cigar Beer

As a home brewer, one of the things I value most is that a well thought out great tasting beer brings people together.  The same is true with motorcycles.  I have been riding motorcycles for more than ten years which is about four more years than I have been home brewing.  In that time, I have met a lot of great people who share my passion for brewing and a lot great people who share my passion for riding but until about three years ago, I hadn't met anyone show shared both.  

About three years ago, I was chatting with a colleague and we figured out that we each liked to ride Harley Davidson motorcycles.  Not too long after that discovery I was invited to hang out with him and some of his friends to have a few beers and watch the ROT Rally parade come into downtown Austin, a ROT Rally tradition every motorcycle riders should see or take part in at least once in their lifetime.  Not sure what I was getting into, I accepted the invitation,  went and had a great time.   What I didn't know is that this was my official introduction to a group of motorcycle riders called "Republic of Texas Riders" or R.O.T.R. for short and I was being "evaluated" to see if I fit in with the group.  Apparently I met the requirements for acceptance into the group:
  • Old? - Check
  • Likes beer? Hello, I am a home brewer - Check
  • Has a bike? 2009 Ultra Classic  - Check
  • Smokes Cigars - Check
  • Didn't get anyone into trouble - Check
The rest is as they say history.  We have done several long rides together and I would now consider each of the R.O.T.R. members a brother.  As you can imagine, each of our rides has involved home brew of sometime.  Usually packed in the saddle bags to enjoy during our traditional evening cigars after a long day on two wheels.  Well one thing leads to another and one of the members of the group who used to home brew many years ago decided to bite the bullet again and get back into brewing after a few years on hiatus.  

Of course, like many home brewers, he jumped in with both feet again.  Did one, maybe two extract batches and made the switch to all grain.  So, after his second all grain batch we decided it was time to do a joint brewing project.  What we decided to brew is an Imperial Stout reaching about 10.2% AVB. 

Because I have an all electric system, he brought his gas fired system made up of a kettle and two coolers over to my place (a.k.a. Deafdog Brewing).  He was to brew a 5 gallon batch and I would do and 11 gallon batch.  After primary fermentation both beers would be blended together and added to a Garrison Brothers Bourbon Barrel.  I picked up barrel #3780 after helping the distillery bottle the single barrel bourbon that came out of the barrel.  Once in the barrel, we are planning on leaving it for about two months.  I'll will have the honor of checking the beer on occasion which I'll do on two week increments to make sure the beer does not get too much from the barrel and so I can determine when the beer is done.  

Once complete, the beer will be aptly named "Texas Tea - The Official R.O.T.R. Cigar Beer".  That name is both a call out to how most will be enjoyed and a play on the Beverly Hillbillies them song. 

"Come and listen to my story about a man named Jed, A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed, And then one day he was shootin at some food,  And up through the ground come a bubblin crude.  Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea".

The call out seemed to be a fitting one given how dark this beer is going to be.  So what's in this beer?  In preparation for brew day I created two separate recipes.   One for the 5 gallon and one for the 11 gallon.  Because of the brewing equipment I used DME in the 11 gallon but you could easily remove this and add back more base grain to achieve the desired original gravity.   

Once this thing has aged and is pulled out of the barrel it will be a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. It will likely pick up an additional 2-4% ABV in the barrel.  This varies quite a bit based on how wet the barrel is, the size of the barrel, the proof of the spirit etc.  I will estimate in the middle at 3% and will probably not send it into the lab for testing and verification.  Estimated is good enough for our rides.  NOTE: this is not a beer you want to drink while on the ride.  One bottle is usually enough but sometimes two is in order.  We do this after the day if over and we're parked at the cabin/hotel for the night.  I would suggest you do the same if you try to replicate this recipe.

For your convenience, I've placed links to download the Beersmith recipes, the recipes in plain text and a few pictures of the process.   Please let me know if you decide to make this or if you have questions by commenting on this article.  I will respond to every question as best I can.

Beersmith 2.0 Recipe Downloads: 
Texas Tea 11 Gallon Beersmith Recipe
Texas Tea 5 Gallon Beersmith Recipe

Texas Tea - Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 5G
Brewer: Brian Stevenson
Asst Brewer: Bryan Lane
Style: Imperial Stout
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 6.30 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.30 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 4.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.095 SG
Estimated Color: 63.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 69.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 76.9 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                                                   %/IBU         
10 lbs 11.0 oz   Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)                        66.3 %        
1 lbs                  Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)                               6.2 %         
11.0 oz              Black Malt (Bairds) (600.0 SRM)                       4.3 %         
11.0 oz              Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM)                              4.3 %         
5.0 oz                Brown Malt (65.0 SRM)                                     1.9 %         
5.0 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 75 (Bairds)                    1.9 %         
5.0 oz                Special B Malt (180.0 SRM)                              1.9 %         
2.0 oz                Carafa III (525.0 SRM)                                       0.8 %         
2 lbs                  Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM)                     12.4 %        
1.00 oz              Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 90.0 min                   59.6 IBUs     
1.00 oz              East Kent Goldings (EKG) [7.00 %] - Steep     10.2 IBUs     
1.0 pkg              Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007)             

Mash Schedule: 155.0 F for 75 Mins


DO NOT ADD CORN SUGAR (DEXTROSE) TO THE BOIL.  Begin dosing the corn sugar after 2 days of fermentation.  Follow this schedule: 

Day 1 - Let beer ferment
Day 2 - Let beer ferment
Day 3 - 9.5 oz - Mixed with Just over 1/2 pint of water and boiled for 15 mins
Day 4 - 9.5 oz - Mixed with Just over 1/2 pint of water and boiled for 15 mins
Day 5 - 9.5 oz - Mixed with Just over 1/2 pint of water and boiled for 15 mins
Day 6 - 9.5 oz - Mixed with Just over 1/2 pint of water and boiled for 15 mins

Texas Tea - Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 11G
Brewer: Brian Stevenson
Asst Brewer: Bryan Lane
Style: Imperial Stout
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 13.20 gal
Post Boil Volume: 11.70 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 11.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 10.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.099 SG
Estimated Color: 63.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 68.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 77.7 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                                                  %/IBU         
18 lbs                Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)                      52.3 %        
2 lbs 2.0 oz       Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)                             6.2 %         
1 lbs 8.0 oz       Black Malt (Bairds) (600.0 SRM)                      4.4 %         
1 lbs 8.0 oz       Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM)                             4.4 %         
11.0 oz              Brown Malt (65.0 SRM)                                    2.0 %         
11.0 oz              Caramel/Crystal Malt - 75 (Bairds)                   2.0 %         
11.0 oz              Special B Malt (180.0 SRM)                             2.0 %         
4.0 oz                Carafa III (525.0 SRM)                                     0.7 %         
4 lbs                  Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)                            11.6 %        
5 lbs                  Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM)                    14.5 %        
2.25 oz              Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 90.0 min                  58.8 IBUs     
2.25 oz              East Kent Goldings (EKG) [7.00 %] - Steep    9.7 IBUs      
2.2 pkg              Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007)          

Mash Schedule: 155.0 F for 75 Mins

DO NOT ADD CORN SUGAR (DEXTROSE) TO THE BOIL.  Begin dosing the corn sugar after 2 days of fermentation.  Follow this schedule: 

Day 1 - Let beer ferment
Day 2 - Let beer ferment
Day 3 - 20 oz - Mixed with Just over 1 1/4 pint of water and boiled for 15 mins
Day 4 - 20 oz - Mixed with Just over 1 1/4 pint of water and boiled for 15 mins
Day 5 - 20 oz - Mixed with Just over 1 1/4 pint of water and boiled for 15 mins
Day 6 - 20 oz - Mixed with Just over 1 1/4 pint of water and boiled for 15 mins




Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Keezer For Sale - $300 obo

I have a "keezer" for sale.  As you can see in the photos it is a deep freeze that has been modified and turned into a kegerator.  Measurements are in pictures below.  $300 obo although it's going to be close.   Still way cheaper than a single tap kegerator even after you purchase what is needed.   I can be contacted at bstevenson72 @ gmail dot com.

What is has: 

  • Party Lights w/Remote control
    • Allows multiple colors or can change colors
  • Stainless Steel Top
  • Johnson Controls A419 temperature controller.  (Keeps freezer from freezing.  Maintains temp at what ever you want) 
  • Hand built Tap Tower that will accept 4 tap handles 
    • NOTE: The tower is cooled so your beer always stays cold
  •  Stainless Steel Drip Tray
  • Stainless Steel Back Splash
  • Accommodates many keg combinations
    • Homebrew - (4) Tapped Kegs & 2 extra kegs conditioning
    • Store bought Kegs - (4) Sixtels (5 gallon kegs great for craft beer variety)
    • Store bought Kegs - (2) Large Kegs (Would still need 4 tap handles to plug holes) 
  • On heavy duty lockable casters to allow to easy movement
What you'll need (You can buy all this at Austin Home Brew Supply or SoCo Homebrew Supply):

  • Co2 Tank
  • Manifold for your keg configuration
  • Beer line

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A homebrewers dream - Jester King Barrel Project

Living in Austin Texas does have it's advantages. We have great live music venues, a great economy, lots of great employers, some of the best BBQ in the world, a growing beer scene many cities would be envious to have and one of the best sour beer breweries in our back yard called Jester King.

Jester King is an authentic farmhouse brewery committed to making wild ales and spontaneously fermented beers that reflect the unique character of their location here in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.  That's how they describe themselves at   Their beer is known throughout the world. It does have a real sense of place and one of the reasons I like them so much is because their place is my place.  I live just minutes from their location.   That is why when I had the chance to participate in a barrel project with the Austin Zealots and Jester King I literally jumped at the opportunity.  Not only did I get the opportunity to participate, I am know the project coordinator.  I gave myself that title.  I believe the Zealots would use something more the likes of "Head Jester King Barrel Project Cat Herder."

As I mentioned, I have now been part of this project two years.  Coordinating such an even basically means that I have the task of making sure everyone shows up to pull their batch from last year and brews the latest recipe to go into the barrel where it will sit and enjoy the many benefits of the Jester King micro flora.  Each year the beer turns out great and this year was no different.

The basic premise for the barrel project is simple.  Eleven passionate brewers decide on a common style, brew 5 gallons of that style and then contribute their 5 gallons to the barrel on a pre-selected day.   Jester King then, purely out of their kindness and fondness for home brewers then manages the barrel in their barrel room for roughly the next year.  Once that year is over, we start all over with eleven more batches being brewed for the next refill of the barrel.  This is usually done with a different style..

The batch we brewed last year for the barrel I participated in was a Belgian Blonde.  After we racked each brewers freshly fermented beer into the barrel we then added a Pinot Nior wine kit with skins for a refermentation in the barrel.  This year, pulling the beer was a treat.  It has a very nice acidity level to it with virtually not brett character.  I think this actually plays very well with the presence of the Pinot grapes.  Most people commented that the beer didn't quite meet our expectation in terms of being more wine forward but over all it is a very good example.   The beer also has a light rose tint and has a fairly good head on it when poured.  Of course I, like most home brewers, am a tinkerer and can not leave well enough alone.

My portion of the batch has been spit.  One half I'm leaving as is as some what of a control.  Frankly after kegging and carbonating, it makes for a great everyday drinker coming in at roughly 6% ABV going into the barrel.  It is probably a tad bit higher because of the refermenation. The other half is going to be dry hop with Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand.  Those hops are described as adding a grape aroma and flavor to beer so I'm hoping they will go nicely with the addition of the Pinot Noir wine kit and might even bring those flavors out a bit.

Here are some picture from the Feb 2014 and 2015 empty and refill days at the brewery.  I would be remiss if I didn't give a huge shout out to the guys at Jester King.  They have treated us great each time and have done the homebrewing community here in Austin Texas a significant service.  As the title to this post indicates, what homebrewer doesn't dream about getting to rest their hand crafted beer in a world renowned brewery such as Jester King.  Thanks Guys!

Feb. 2014 Empty and Refill


Feb. 28, 2015 Empty and Refill



Barrel Project Part Duex

While I was brewing for the barrel project this year I just happened to brew an extra 5 gallons or so of a Belgian Golden. As the coordinator, I wanted to take extra beer to the event as back up just in case someone didn't brew or in case someone might have brewed some death sauce.   Good for me, I ended up with 5 "extra" gallons of beer....if there is such a thing.   So what to do?  

That's easy.  I have an empty barrel that has had a hard cider sitting in it for a while.  I wan't sure if the barrel was infected or not so I put 5 gallons of cider in it with some maltose to see if it went tart. Mainly I was checking for barrel character and making sure it didn't add anything overly acidic.  I'm not sure if that would have really been a good evaluation or not but I the cider turned out pretty good so I decided to use the barrel as a sour barrel.   I know, wanted to make sure it wasn't sour before I soured it.   That's because I wanted control of the bugs that are least I wanted to influence heavily rules that territory.   

So tonight (March 8, 2015) I racked the "extra" beer into that barrel. Before doing that though, I emptied about a quarter bottle (mostly dregs) of a Russian River Sanctification.  After racking the beer into the barrel, I realized that the barrel was slightly larger than the 5 gallons I had brewed so what better to add to the barrel than the very beer I pulled from the Jester King Barrel Project.  It didn't take much.  Mostly top off and consisted of adding about 3/4 gallon of that beer into the barrel.  I didn't get pictures of that part.  

My hope is that by adding both the Russian River and the Jester King'ish beers to the barrel, I will have something nice after a while.  We will see.  I'll provide an update to this post somewhere in the future once the bugs have had a chance to get acclimated to the environment and do their thing.  Until then, Cheers!