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Sunday
Nov232008

November – I’m late.

Our uninterrupted spinning around the celestial star has led us to the inevitable onset of November... well, it's almost December now but I've been meaning to attend to an update since November 2nd. One hour less of Daylight and I am now returning home from work amidst the cool wet wind and darkness of a Danish winter. The arrival of this eleventh month also ushers forth two unmistakable symbols of cultural triumph and/or decadence:
1. Election Day in the US – Obama wins and brings an intimation of hope to a certain segment of the global population.
2. Julebryg (Christmas Beers) in Denmark
3. The return of Murphy to Italy (and soon, another week, back to Denmark)
And, perhaps equally unforgettable, my first Thanksgiving not spent at home in Vermont with family and friends.
I’ll spare you three lone feed subscribers the emotional ramble about Thanksgiving, or the departure of my only fellow American Brewer friend (but it's ok, I saw him last night, and he's moving back in a week...), or of how much I despise spiced Christmas Ales…

Since last entry, I have released several new beers at Nørrebro Bryghus. Our Smashing Pumpkin Tripel, 8.4% abv and gently spiced with Allspice, is now being poured at the pub. I’m really glad that I went with my gut instinct on this and added just 30 grams of spice opposed to the 120 grams suggested by Will! Whew… this should be gone by the middle of this week.

Also pouring is a new batch of Golden Spike IPA (Ander’s name choice, not mine). I declare this as the best batch yet of the mighty Spike – 85 ibus, 5.7% abv, and wonderfully drinkable. I have also just brewed a new batch of American Pale Ale with Warrior, Chinook, Simcoe, and Cascade hops – this should replace the IPA in about two weeks. 6.4 % abv and 50 Ibus.

Still aging in a barrel with three strains of Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus is a Belgian Brune… which reminds me to inform everyone (yes, ALL of YOU few!) that I have secured a location for a new barrel aging operation just across the driveway from the Bryghus. According to my measurements, it should be able to hold approximately 25 x 250 L Wine/Spirit barrels. Oh sweet heavens… still attempting to source a relatively large number of inexpensive spent wine barrels. The sooner I retrieve, the sooner I begin the project. Also, having just brewed a Belgian Dubbel (with Raisins and Figs!), wouldn’t it be wonderful to have 250L aging away in a French Wine Barrel with some Lactobacillus? These barrel aged gems will be the source of much creative effort and experimentation for me - as will they also be released to the public in small quantities, bottle conditioned, and hand labeled. Some limited edition draft, as well, and one can also predict that there will be some blending of multiple barrels...

THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL STOUT

The guest brewer day with members of the Russian Imperial Stout Project was, not surprisingly, enjoyable and inspiring. Despite two stuck mashes and 3-4 hour run-offs, we managed to hit our target gravity. After the brewday, all of us brewers and special guests sampled great versions of the Imperial Stout style – Dark Lord, Speedway, as well as an early bottling of the Amager MurpHill Bourbon Barrel Imperial Rye Porter. Lovely.

After a lovely fermentation, from 28.7 Plato to 8 Plato in just 4 days, the beer has rested for four weeks and has now spent one week in its Port and Bordeaux homes. The consensus, between Murphy, myself, and several other tasters, is that the stainless version has a certain ‘edge’ to it that is more 'characteristic' of the style than the early oaked counterparts (think Yeti vs. Oaked Yeti). Thus, this beer may forego its prolonged stay in the barrels and be packaged sooner than I had imagined. Possibly even be able to serve one 30L as a “sneak preview” on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. More to come… Does anyone have a 10 or 15L keg they would be willing to loan for a week or two?

More to come soon. I promise.

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