Sunday, January 25, 2009


Batch number one hundred sixty-five is this year's St. Patrick's Day Stout. I kept it simple. It was cold and wet, and the short brew day was a good way to ease back into the new year. I used an extract--Briess from 7 Bridges--and flavored it with a mix of chocolate, CaraMunich, and roasted barley. I should have included black malt, and it looks like I will have to touch it up at kegging time to get the color right. Regardless, I got 5 gallons at 1.040, just right for a dry stout. I used New Zealand Saaz hops, 42 grams for 60 minutes, or about 35-44 IBUs. I'm hoping for something on the lighter side with this one, and I used SF Lager yeast from White Labs (no. 810). The closet is a little cooler than normal and maybe I can get a run of days under 65ºF.

Today we also finished the last two bottles of no. 163, Harvest Ale. It was clean and fresh and bright despite over three months in the bottle! Points out the benefits of cleanliness and good sanitation. Or just plain luck. Either way I get some tasty brews.

a.d. VI Kal. Feb.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Last Call

Winterfest was laid to rest. We pulled the final draughts from the keg today and sucked them down greedily. I'd made a point to save a few pints for the annus novus and it was great to enjoy them on this bright, sunny day. It is winter in the State of Jefferson, but the skies are clear and the nearby hills are free of snow. We've had the cold, just not the moisture we need for snow. We like to ski here at French Street Brewery, so that is a discouraging thing.

The next important brew event is Nancy's St. Patrick's Day party. I bring a stout, of course, and my deadline for that brew is Groundhog Day. That time of year--the first week in February--is host to a number of traditions that mark, in some form or another, the halfway point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. Seems like a good time to cook up a hearty batch for a celebration that welcomes the coming spring. The pagan festival of Imbolc was the rootstock that Irish monastics and the Roman Church used to graft on the Feast of St. Brigid and Candlemas. So whatever your spiritual pleasures, St. Patrick's Day Stout is the next item on the FSB agenda.

a.d. IV Id. Feb.