Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Homebrewing Year in Review - Jeff

Following suit with Tom's post, I decided to roll up and summarize my homebrewing experience for 2010 for a post.  This year was the first year that I brewed all my beers all-grain (made the conversion to AG mid-2009) and I graduated from bottling with the purchase of a keg setup (mid-2010).  While my numbers were down from last year (25 batches in 2009), Lug Wrench Brewing turns One year old after the the New Year - another great milestone.
  • Number of Batches Made: 19
    • Number of Beer Batches: 18
    • Number of Cider Batches: 1
  • Number of Gallons Made: 107 gallons
  • Most popular beer style: American Pale Ale (3 batches)
  • First Brew Day of the Year: January 10, 2010 (Irish Red)
  • Last Brew Day of the Year: December 11, 2010 (Ranger IPA Clone)
  • Homebrew Competition Medals Earned: 4 Medals - Gold, South Shore Brewoff (Irish Red); Silver, Dominion Cup (Dunkelweizen); Bronze, Boston Homebrew Comp (Dragon's Milk); Bronze, South Shore Brewoff (American Pale Ale).
  • Average ABV Across Batches: 5.7%
  • Number of 'Cloned' Beers Brewed: 3 (Rouge's Shakespeare Stout, De Struise's Pannepot, New Belgium's Ranger IPA)
  • Favorite Brew: Foreign Export Stout - mainly because we got the chance to collaborate with Mike T. over at The Mad Fermentation for this beer.
  • Least Favorite Brew: Brown Porter - the brew day was fine, but the results were very bland.
  • Approximate amout of grain used: 196.5 lbs
    • Most popular base malt: Pilsner malt (51 lbs)
    • Most popular specialty malt: Munich malt (7.6 lbs)
  • Approximate amount of hops used in 2010: 2.25 lbs
    • Most popular hop: Williamette (12.1 oz)
  • Biggest Equipment Upgrade: Dual gauge CO2 regulator and kegging setup
From both Tom and I, we hope everyone has a wonderful and rewarding New Year.  Look forward to some exciting changes to Lug Wrench in the coming year!



"The church is near, but the road is icy.  The bar is far away, but I will walk carefully."
-Russian Proverb

2010 Homebrewing Year In Review - Tom

I have documented "brewing year in review" posts for the past couple of years on another blog and I always found them to be a nice way to reflect on the year.  As such, I figured I could continue the trend with some random 2010 brewing stats and facts at Lug Wrench Brewing Company.  I believe Jeff plans on following suit, so our audience can get a feel for what we have been up to for the past year.

  • Number of Batches Made - 23
  • Number of Gallons Made - 155
  • First Brew Day - 1/3/2010
  • Last Brew Day - 12/18/2010
  • Number of Beer Batches - 19
  • Number of Wine Batches - 2
  • Number of Cider Batches - 1
  • Number of Mead Batches - 1
  • Homebrew Competitions Medals Earned - None
  • Batch with Highest Alcohol - 14.1% - Pinot Noir kit
  • Batch with Lowest Alcohol - 4.3% - BAM! - Jolly Pumpkin Bam Bier clone
  • Average Alcohol Across Batches - 6.1%
  • Number of "Cloned" Commercial Beer Batches - 5
  • Favorite Brew - OMG IPA (wonderful IPA with layered "juicy" hops that had just a hint of the cedar wood it was aged on)
  • Worst Brew - In The Not So Pale Belgian Pale Ale (unremarkable beer that did not have any memorable qualities and part of the keg was dumped to make room for another beer.)
  • Favorite Name - Tornado Warning IPA (I was brewing the IPA when my wife called to say there was a tornado warning in town.  The name paired well with the hoppy nature of the beer.)
  • Approximate Amount of Grain used in 2010 - 334 pounds (average of 17.6 lbs/brew)
  • Approximate Amount of Hops used in 2010 - 85.15 ounces (average of 4.48 oz/brew)
  • Biggest Equipment Upgrade - Tool-box mounted wort pump
  • Most Rewarding Aspect of Brewing - Maintaining this blog with my brother for almost a year.  It is great way to share a hobby with each other, even from a distance of more than 500 miles. 

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Dinner - Cooking With Beer

Hopefully, everyone has had the chance to get a break from the daily grind and enjoy the holiday season.  And while the snow here on the eastern seaboard is a day late of being a White Christmas, it's a welcome sign of the season.

Recently, I have to admit that I have been caught up in the 'cooking with beer' concept.  Most of this has been driven by listening to Sean Paxton on The Brewing Network's The Homebrewed Chef.  While there is a pleasant novelty of using beer as an ingredient, the impetus has forced me to get my basic cooking skills in order to accommodate some of Sean's recipes.  Who knew there was a foodie in me? 

With our house playing host to family for Christmas, it gave me the perfect opportunity to try out several new recipes as part of our holiday feast.  With the meal being a success, I figured I would post the beer-related recipes here for two reasons. The first was in the chance the experience cajoles a reader to give the recipes a try.  The second reason, which is a bit more selfish but probably the real driver, was write down the recipe and notes so I can refer back to them sometime in the future.

In either case, if you are interested, certainly check out Sean Paxton's website or give him a listen on The Homebrewed Chef.

Dubbel Candied Yams
(Discussed on the 12/16/10 episode of THC)
These came out awesome, although with all the sugars in the dish, we had to keep them away from the diabetic who was at the table.
  • 2.5 lbs Yams (peeled and cut in 1" disks)
  • 750 ml bottle of La Trappe Dubbel
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup of local wildflower honey (thanks again Bil)
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla are called for in the original recipe, but they slipped my mind during the mad dash to get everything on the table.
Mix the dubbel, sugar, honey (and spices) and bring them to a simmer.  Once the syrup is simmering, add in the cut yams and return to a boil and cover.  Cook yams for 35 minutes.  Remove the lid and cook down for another 10-20 minutes to thicken the syrup.  Serve warm.

Barleywine Marinated Rib Roast
(Taken directly from Sean's recipe)
This was the centerpiece of the meal and a favorite amongst those at the table.  I was a little concerned it might come out a little too rare, but it came out perfect.
  • 8 lbs Rib Roast
  • 1 bottle of Anchor Old Foghorn
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 lbs kosher salt
Wash the roast in cold water then pat dry with paper towel.  Place in a roasting pan and pour the bottle barleywine over the top of the meat and cover.  Every 30 minutes for the next two hours, baste the meat with the barelywine.  Preheat the oven to 250 F.  Place the meat on a roasting rack and insert digital meat thermometer probe.  Rub the meat down with mix of 2 tbsp salt & 2 tbsp pepper.  Then coat the top of the roast with 1/2" of kosher salt. 

Place meat in the oven and cook until the internal temperature rises up to 120F (~4 hrs).  Remove the roast from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes.  Raise the temp of the oven to 500 F.  Scrap off salt layer and place meat back in hot oven for another 10 minutes to brown and caramelize the outside of the roast.  Remove the meat and let rest for another 20 minutes before carving.  The final internal temp of the meat was 141 F when carving.

In addition to the above, I also prepared the barleywine sauce as described in Sean's recipe.  However, when it got to the table, the result was too bitter to palate (probably reduced it down too much) and I pulled it from the meal to be replaced with a traditional au jus.

Horseradish Ale Sauce
(Taken directly from Sean's recipe)
Another good hit.  There is a bit of a citrus tang from the IPA that complements the horseradish kick.  This was made the night before and while primarily made to accompany the beef, it was also used as a dip with crackers.
  • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 cup of homebrewed IPA (New Belgium's Ranger IPA clone)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp all-purpose flour
Add horseradish, beer, salt, sour cream, mayo, and pepper and whisk together.  The initial mixture came out too liquidy, so I whisked in 2-3 tbsp of flour to thicken.  Refrigerate until use.

Roasted Garlic IPA Mashed Potatoes
(Taken directly from Sean's recipe).
Because there were some people at the table who were not garlic fans, we made the garlic cream sauce the night before and then folded it into half the mash potatoes that were to be served.  The result was good, but there was no noticeable IPA/citrus character - just good garlic mashed potatoes.
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 2-4 tbsp homebrewed IPA (New Belgium's Ranger IPA clone)
  • kosher salt and pepper
Cut the top 1/4 - 1/5 of each garlic head, exposing the cloves within.  Dosed each head with olive oil, a sprig of thyme, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Wrapped each head up in a square of foil and roasted them in the oven (pre-heated to 300 F) for 30-40 minutes.  After roasting, pull the heads out and let cool for 5 minutes.  Squeeze out all of the cloves into a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.

In a medium pan, combine the butter, cream, 2 sprigs of thyme and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove thyme sprigs and add in garlic paste.  Simmer for 3 more minutes while stirring to break up garlic.  Remove from heat and season with salt, paper, and IPA.  Placed the cream sauce in the fridge until use, when about half the mixture was folded into mash potatoes.

*   *   *

From both Tom and I, we hope everyone had a splendid holiday and have plans for a wonderful New Year.



"It is not 'just beer', it is a noble and ancient beverage which, like wine, food, and television advertising, can be extraordinarily good or unmercifully bad."
-Stephan Beaumont

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lug Wrench Brew: Midnight Wheat, Wheat Wine Braggot

Jeff and I took the opportunity to brew our fifth collaborative beer while he was down visiting for Thanksgiving.  As mentioned in our Mason Dixon Line Mead post, we had a unique opportunity to utilize some Rhode Island wildflower honey from a friend of Jeff's and we wanted to make something special with it (thanks again Bil!).  The honey's aroma and flavor were fascinating and complex with hints of lavender and some herbs like mint.  When deciding on what recipe to brew, we ended up making a play on the ubiquitous honey wheat style that has gained favor as a "gateway" beer in the American craft beer segment.  However, true to our collaborative brew goals, we wanted it to be a much bigger beer that could be aged over time.  In the end, we decided on brewing a Wheat Wine with honey, or a Wheat Wine Braggot.

Officially, a braggot is a derivative of mead, or honey wine.  As one would expect, braggots are a hybrid between beer and mead with fermentables coming from both the honey as well as malted grains.  Some sources state that a minimum of 50 percent of the fermentables have to come from honey to be called a braggot (ours is about 20 percent), but other sources state that only 25 percent need to come from the honey.  Our recipe is right on the latter edge.

When formulating the recipe, Jeff was fortunate to interact with Sean Paxton, The Homebrew Chef, via email, to get some guidance and suggestions on brewing a great wheat wine.  Using Sean's feedback, the base wheat wine recipe was put together.  As Jeff and I discussed the beer, the decision to bolster the recipe with honey came afterwards.  Originally, the honey addition was must smaller (1-2 lbs) and was included primarily bump up the gravity in the beer.   However, we really liked the thought of what flavors honey would bring to recipe.  In the end, the honey addition continued to be increased until we ended up with what is printed below.  All of this was decided upon before we actually had the RI wildflower honey in hand, and once we were able to taste the raw honey's complexity, we knew we made the right decision.   

During any large family gathering, like this Thanksgiving, finding time for Jeff and I to brew together is always a challenge.  In this case, we brewed the wheat wine late in the night after all the kids were put to bed, resulting in another post-midnight brew session (hence the beer's name).  The braggot has just been bottled and it is cloudy like many beers with a significant amount of wheat (this despite cold stabilization and fining with gelatin).  The collaborative brew has a complex flavor and I am excited to see what a little aging will do to it.

The recipe and notes for the beer are listed below and I will update the notes as the beer continues to age.



Midnight Wheat, Wheat Wine Braggot

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Fermentables (Lbs): 24.6
OG: 1.101 (target: 1.108)
FG: 1.021
SRM: 12
IBU: 60 (Rager)
ABV: 10.8%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 61%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

8.10 lbs Maris Otter Malt
5.70 lbs White Wheat Malt
1.80 lbs Torrified Wheat
0.90 lbs Caramel Wheat Malt (46 L)
0.30 lbs Caramunich Malt (56 L)
4.80 lbs RI Wildflower Honey
3.00 lbs Dried Malt Extract
0.50 lbs Rice Hulls

1.90 oz Perle Pellet Hops (7.5% AA) at 60 minutes
0.60 oz Williamette Pellet Hops (5.6% AA) at 15 minutes
0.60 oz Tradition Pellet Hops (5.6% AA) at 15 minutes

1.0 Tab Whirlfloc at 15 minutes
1.0 gram Chalk in mash
1.0 gram Calcium Chloride in mash
3.0 grams Baking Soda in mash
1.0 gram Chalk in boil
1.0 gram Calcium Chloride in boil
32 drops of Foam Control in the boil

30 grams – Safale US05, Dry Yeast

Mash Schedule
60 min at 153°F
Batch sparged to get 8 gallons in brew kettle

Brewed on 11/23/10 by the Wallace Brothers. Fifth collaborative session brew.

After the mash and sparge was complete, we added the 3 lbs of DME because our pre-boil gravity was lower than expected.

Aeration was accomplished via an aquarium pump and diffusion stone, run for 20 minutes.

Yeast was pitched at 64 F and fermentation started within 12 hours.  Fermentation was allowed to ramp as high as 70 degrees after the first 48 hours to help the beer attenuate.

12/12/10 - Dropped the beer to lager temperature (~40 F) to help clear it.

12/15/10 - Added 3 tsp of gelatin clarifier in one cup of 140 F water to the cold beer to help clear it.

12/21/10 - Bottled with 4 Muntons carb tabs per bottle.  SRM is approximately 12 (I love this beer math iPhone app that does color approximation).  Appearance is a hazy golden-honey color.  Smells yeasty with some caramel and a bit of clove.  Flavor is complex and warming with a firm bitterness in the middle and a notable fruit/citrus flavor in the end.  No detectable hot alcohols.

2/27/11 - Samples of Midnight Wheat were submitted to the 2011 Boston Homebrew Competition, where the beer was awarded a bronze medal in the Fruit/Speciality/Wood-Aged/Smoked category.

4/18/11 - Wrote an article on the Midnight Mini-Wheats, a version of this beer that I tried to brew by dramatically lowering the ABV.

4/22/11 - Midnight Wheat scored a 41.5 in the first round of the 2011 NHC and advanced to the Mini-Best of Show.  It did not medal or go onto the second round of the NHC.  Best competition score I have received to date.

10/9/11 - Brewed a new double batch of Midnight Wheat with Kenny.  Hoping it turns out as good as the first batch.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pintley - Personal Beer Recommendation Community

I just discovered Pintley and I am very intrigued.  Pintley is an online community of craft beer lovers that exists to provide users with custom tailored beer recommendations.  Pintley takes user-entered beer ratings and uses an algorithm to compare information (style, alcohol by volume (ABV), international bitterness units (IBU), etc.) on the beers the user liked to come up with recommended beers the user might light to try.  Each beer is rated on a one to five pint glass scale, which ranges from "strongly dislike" to "loved it."  There is also a thumbs down rating, which means never recommend this beer again.  The more beers a user rates, the more specific Pintley's recommendation list becomes.

Pintley also provides access to an online community and forum.  A user can enter tasting notes on a specific beer, as well as rating the beers appearance, aroma, taste, texture, drinkability, and value.  These tasting notes and ratings are available to other members of the community, based on a given user's privacy settings.  Users can also "friend" other users and follow their ratings, recommendations, favorites, and wish lists.  Pintley allows easy posting on Facebook and Twitter and provides easy access to its functionality through its iPhone app.

I am interested in Pintley because it focuses on my beer interests.  By recommending beer that I might like to try, it offers me a service that other beer rating sites do not.  I am far more interested in a site that helps me figure out what six-pack to buy at a bottle shop than how many points a specific beer has earned from an online community.  That being said, I have not had an opportunity to use Pintley's recommendations yet, but I am excited to see how they turn out.

For more information, visit Pintley's site or listen to an interview with the site's founders on The Brewing Network.  If you do decide to join, you can follow my account with the user name: LugWrench.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Homebrew Equipment Repair: Propane Burner

When I converted over to all-grain brewing about a year and a half ago, I was generously given a collection of second hand equipment by both my brother and members of my local homebrew club (RIFT). Several of these pieces have been upgraded and retired, but a few are still part of my brewing process. One of these in particular was my turkey fryer-esque propane burner.  Up until a few days ago, that piece of equipment was looking like it was quickly being destined for the obsolete list.

I should point out that the house we live in does not have a garage, or for that matter, much outdoor storage. As such, the propane burner tended to remain out in the elements where corrosion was able to tighten its grip. While the aesthetics of some rust was a non-issue to me, the corrosion of the burner head was becoming a problem. Instead of the efficient (and clean) blue flames, the burner had degraded into the inefficient, oxygen-starved orange flame. It not only burns excess propane, but it also kicks out a boat-load of soot and grime that coats the underside of all the kettles. Not ideal.

Originally my plan was to replace the entire propane burner setup when someone pointed me to a great spare parts website. ‘Why not just change out the burner head?’ Why not? What a great idea!  It made perfect sense: $17 for a new part vs. $68 for a whole new assembly.  So after a little searching, this is what I found:

Boyce, LA
BC-BG12High Pressure Cast Iron Fry Burner$17.00

Of course all the corrosion meant removing the old burner head was a challenge as the fixation bolt holding the burner to the frame was severely rusted over. In the end, a good pair of vise grips and some banging with a hammer allowed me to torque off the bold head, releasing the corroded part. With the new part installed, the problem was all fixed – no more orange fire and kettles covered with soot.

There was one frustrating watch-out I did come across. For some reason, these ‘Made in America’ turkey-fryer burner heads accept only metric bolts. I was scratching my head with angst when none of my existing bolts would fit. It took a drive to Home Depot with the burner head in had to find out that the part was tapped with a metric set. Go figure…



“My people must drink beer.”
-Frederick the Great

Monday, December 13, 2010

Poll: What is your ideal beer to pair with an autumnal feast?

Similar to what has been done for all our prior blog polls, this post takes a moment to memorilize the results we recieved on our most recent blog poll.  The readers' responses to the question "What is your ideal beer to pair with an autumnal feast?" are presented below.

Total Votes: 25

There isn't a real stand out based on these results - IPA's and Porters would seem to be the front-runners, but not by enough to make them stand out.  Perhaps people have a kaleidoscope of preferrences for what to serve this time of year.  I am very curious what the individual voters in the 'Other' category had in mind.

As mentioned in some of the prior posts, Tom and I were able to share the Thanksgiving table this year down in Virginia.  We both decided to look pick our own 'Thanksgiving Feast' beer, and we both independantly chose beers that would fall into the 'Belgian Ales' category above.  Tom picked up a bottle of the Saint Louis Brewery's Schlafly Grand Cru, a belgian golden strong ale, while I went with a bottle of Goose Island's Sofie, a golden saison-style beer with wild yeast.  Both are great beers.

Let us know your thoughts, either as a comment or an email.  And if your reading this, we've put up our next poll, which awaits your response.



"Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer."
-Henry Lawson

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lug Wrench Brew: Mason Dixon Line Mead

Jeff and and his family were able to join us down here in Virginia for Thanksgiving again this year.  Once we knew this visit was a possibility, we began planning another collaborative brews.  After deciding on brewing a Wheat Wine Braggot (the details of which will be posted soon), we began sourcing the honey we would need for the brew.  In addition to fitting in a brew session, we decided to try something different - making mead.  The only question was if we were able to get enough honey for both the braggot and the mead.

Mead is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water.  Some people believe that it is the world's oldest alcoholic beverage.  It is also the root of the word honeymoon, as newly married couples would drink mead for a month to bring fertility and happiness (and hang-overs).

As part of the search to find the honey we needed, we decided it would be fitting (and a pretty cool backstory) if we sourced half the honey from Rhode Island and the other half from here in Virginia - a true Mason Dixon Line Mead.  Seeing how honey is flavored strongly by the raw materials the bees have to work with, the idea was to make a mead from honey from Rhode Island and from Virginia.  The mead could highlight some of the differences between our respective residences.  For the Rhode Island contribution, Jeff talked to a homebrew buddy in RI who is also an beekeeper with one or two hives.  After discussing the project, Jeff's friend agreed to contribute several pounds of Rhode Island honey (thanks Bil!).
The Rhode Island honey was a wild flower honey because it did not come from one particular source of flowers, but from whatever plants grew in the region near the hives.  The honey was unfiltered, giving it a cloudy appearance.  Its aroma was fascinating and complex with an amazing floral bouquet with hints of lavender and some herbs like mint.  The Rhode Island honey's flavor was equally complex, featuring several herbal flavors, including cinnamon and mint.

For the Virginia contribution, I was able to find a clover honey that is packaged nearby in Berryville, Virginia.  The clover honey was a bit more of a 'commercial' product, as it was filtered and clearly labeled.  It smelled and tasted much as one would expect from a store-bought honey, which is to say it was good, but uncomplex.  The honey had a warming flavor, but mostly it was just sweet.  I was amazed at how different the two honeys were when compared side-to-side.  It will be interesting to see what flavors and aromas come through in the final mead.

The mead is happily fermenting away and will probably keep doing so for the next month.  I am excited to see what flavors and aromas come through in the final mead and to see if one honey dominates the overall flavor profile.  If one does, I hope it is the Rhode Island wild flower honey, as it was something truly unique.



Mason Dixon Line Mead, Dry Mead

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Fermentabales (Lbs): 11.75
OG: 1.070
SRM: ~7
IBU: 0
Brewhouse Efficiency: N/A
Wort Boil Time: N/A

5.5 lbs Gunter's Pure Clover Honey - Berryville, VA
6.25 lbs Wild Flower Honey - Rhode Island

1 tsp Yeast Energizer
2 tsp Yeast Nutrient
4 g Potassium bicarbonate

10 g – Lalvin D47 dry white wine yeast

Created on 11/28/10 by the Wallace Brothers. Sixth collaborative session brew.

Mixed honey without heating.  Added nutrients with the following schedule (25% upon mixing honey, 25% 24 hours after fermentation started, 25% 48 hours after fermentation started, and 25% 72 hours after fermentation started.  Fermenting at 70 F.

12/18/10 - S.G. 1.000.  Color is crystal clear straw.  Nose has a bit of an herbal quality and alcohol.  Flavor and nose have a lot of the RI honey character, which is herbal and a bit minty.  Flavor also has some hot alcohol.

4/18/11 - S.G. 0.999.  Bottled.  Mead is crystal clear and the same pale straw color.  Aroma has a faint herbal character, which is slightly medicinal.  Flavor has a honey back flavor, with a medicinal front end.

6/27/11 - Mason Dixon Line Mead featured in a homemade cheese and homemade beer/mead pairing, which is captured here.

4/8/13 - Samples of the Mason Dixon Line Mead were entered into the 2013 Ocean State Homebrew Competition where the mead placed 1st in the Traditional Mead category (although there were only two entries in the category).

4/11/13 - Tasting notes collected on the blog here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nanobrewery Interviews: Baying Hound Aleworks (Part 2)

While most of us have toyed with the thought of starting up a nanbrewery, others have taken the plunge.  To find out more about who these people are and what makes them do what they do, Jeff and I embarked on a series of interviews with regional nanobreweries to get their stories.

Baying Hound Aleworks
Rockville, MD

In the second part of our interview with Baying Hound Aleworks, we conclude our conversation with Paul Rinehart.  Paul founded Baying Hound Aleworks in the summer of 2010 and it just officially opened earlier this month.  Baying Hound Aleworks beer can be found in Montgomery County, MD.

* * *

Lug Wrench (LW): If you were speaking to an individual who is considering the prospect of opening their own nanobrewery, what advice would you give them?

Paul Rinehart (PR): Be patient but don't let the government slack.  The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) can take up to 90 days to even look at your paperwork.  Do your research regarding local jurisdictions.  I get a lot of people asking if they could do it out of their basement and they seem a bit disappointed when I tell them they can't, not legally at least.  My first location got turned down by the TTB because it was a shared space, so I found an affordable warehouse.  Also, keep in mind, that the TTB and even some state agencies require you to have a physical location, so be prepared to pay up to 3 months of rent without being able to bring in any revenue.

LW: What's the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started the brewery?

PR: Interviews and tours.  I love it when people come by the brewery, some just want to talk shop, while others just want to see what a nanobrewery looks like.

LW: Your website has a number of recipes that are prepared with or would go well with beer.  Can you provide us with more information about your interest in pairing beer with food?

PR: I have a culinary background, I've worked in a few area restaurants, some of which did a lot of beer dinners.  A few years ago, a friend of mine and I did a pod cast called Better Beer Food.  We only did two seasons but it was a great experience and really made me think about food and beer pairings.  I took that a step further with my beer, I designed it to go with food.

LW: Is there anything else you think our readers might enjoy learning about you or your brewery?

PR: I'm a really nice person and I love to talk.  I hate drinking alone, so come for a tasting one of these days.  Baying Hound Aleworks is the only manufacturing brewery in Montgomery County, it is also the smallest brewery overall.  The only other breweries in the county are all brew pubs or restaurants.

LW: Many of our readers are homebrewers and love to hear about new recipes.  Could you provide us with a recipe you think may be of interest?  It can be a recipe from your current brewery, one from your homebrewing past, or even one you always wanted to try, but never got around to doing.  Anything goes.

PR: I'm really tempted to use herbs de provance in a beer.  This is a recipe off the top of my head.  This contains some dried malt extract (DME) just to speed things up a bit.  Also, the recipe uses a no sparge technique.  6 gallon

Herbs De Provance Beer (6 gallon recipe)

  • 3 lbs White Wheat Malt
  • 1 lb 30L Crystal Malt
  • 2 lb Pale Malt
  • 2 lb Vienna Malt
  • 3 lbs Light Dried Malt Extract
  • 1 lb Flaked Wheat
  • 2 oz Saaz Hops (45 min)
  • 2 oz Saaz Hops (30 min)
  • 2 oz Saaz Hops (15 min)
  • 2 oz Herbs De Provence (last 15 minutes)
  • English ale yeast


  1. Bring the water up to about 160F.  Add the grains and hold at 160F for 30 minutes.
  2. Siphon off the wort into another pot and add the DME.  Allow the DME to dissolve then return it to the heat.  Bring to a boil.
  3. First 15 minutes, add the first hops.  Repeat at the 30 minute mark.  with 15 minutes left, add the remaining hops, the herbs and some Irish moss.
  4. I use a plate chiller myself, bring the temperature down to an appropriate pitching temperature.  Add the yeast.
  5. Let this ferment for about a week.  If using a conical you don't have to use a separate secondary.
  6. Prime with priming sugar, about 5 oz and bottle.  Allow it to condition for at least a week.  It is drinkable after a week but let it age for another week, it will be much better.
* * *

The prior installment of our interview with Paul can be found here.

We want to thank Paul for taking the opportunity to write to our readers.  It is very much appreciated.

If you want to find out more about Baying Hound Aleworks, check out their website, read an article about them in the Washington Post, or stop by the brewery and buy some of their beer.



Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Session #46: Unexpected Malt Discovery

Welcome to The Session – a collaboration of bloggers writing on a common beer-related topic.  For the month of December, Mike R. Lynch of Burgers and Brews chose "An Unexpected Discovery: Finding Great Beer in the Last Place You’d Look" as the collective topic to explore.  A round-up of all the blog posts will be posted in the near future.  You can read more about Beer Blogging Friday (“The Session”) over at the Brookston Beer Bulletin.

One of the things I love best about The Session topics is their breadth.  Mike's comments on the topic end with "Write about a beer experience that took you by surprise."  This statement got me thinking about one of Lug Wrench's favorite topics, homebrewing, and a strange place that I found some homebrewing ingredients.

A beautiful summer day in June of 2009 found my family taking a scenic drive through the Virginia countryside.  On our list of things to do were to enjoy a picnic lunch, stop at a couple of wineries, and tour two distilleries.  There are two operating distilleries in Central Virginia near my house and I had not visited either of them.  The second distillery was the real gem, and the most fun stop for me on our entire trip. I first saw mention of The Copper Fox Distillery on the Mad Fermentationist's blog.  Copper Fox is located in Sperryville, VA in an old apple processing facility.  The owner, Rick Wasmund, and his "Master of Malt" (Mom) operate the distillery and provide very personal and educational tours. They have an innovative aging process where they age the whiskey in contact with apple and cherry wood, which imparts an interesting color and taste to the whiskey. But, the coolest thing of all is that they malt their own barley.

Copper Fox uses 6-row barley as the sole ingredient in their whiskey.  They get the barley from one farmer, who lives about 3 hours from the brewery, and bring the raw grain directly into the distillery.  Then, during the cool times of the year, they soak the barley in giant vats and then lay it out on the floor of a special section of the building.  They let it germinate and then they kiln it right there on site, using apple and cherry wood.  This imparts the malt with a interesting smokey note that helps make the whiskey distinctive.  At the time, Rick thought they are the only distillery in North America that malted their own grain.

Rick was kind enough to send me home with a sample of this special malt.  The malt was a very special gift and it created a wonderful back story for the German-style rauchbier I made from it.  The story behind that beer made it far more memorable for me than other beers I have made since, so much so that I clearly recall it more than a year and a half later.  Something as simple as the gift of a raw ingredient by a generous distiller resulted in my unexpected beer discovery.

In short, the last place I ever expected to find good beer was from small Virginia distillery.


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