Wooden Pickle Brewing: Summer of ’19

It’s been 50 years since the summer of ’69. Boy does time fly. Looking back, those might have been the best days of my life. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I wasn’t born until ’77, but Bryan Adams sure had the time of his life that summer. For sure.

A lot happened to Bryan that summer. At first, he was mostly just killing time on his mama’s porch, but since he was young and restless, he went out and bought his first real six-string guitar. I read somewhere that Bryan practiced so much his fingers even started bleeding. Sounds a bit much, I know… Anyway, soon afterwards, he formed a band with some guys from school. They did try really hard at one point, but then out of the blue, Jimmy decided to quit the band. Due to musical differences, allegedly. On top of that, Jody decided to get married all of a sudden, meaning that he had other priorities for the rest of the summer. Sadly, the band never regained the fire it once had.

What makes the whole story even more impressive is that Bryan Adams, having been born in November 1959, was only 9 years old at the time. Not sure if Jody was a classmate or not, but even being from the same school, meant he was too young to get married in my opinion. A bit confusing, but I suppose times were different back then.

Summer of ’19; a blog post about nothing

Just like Bryan in ‘69, I’ve kept busy this summer as well. Most of my projects however, seem to still be in the “ongoing” phase, so this post will mostly be a status update of separate/random issues. The most interesting beer related thing I did this summer was judging beers in the “Best Beer of Finland” competition. It was my first ever time judging. I will write about that separately once the results are published and I know exactly which beers I tasted, and how I scored them.

I brewed another imperial stout about a month ago, that is now aging. The main difference from the previous ones was the water treatment. I hope I did not overdo the salt additions, but knowing myself, I probably did. I’m not too worried though, because I purchased two additional 3 gallon kegs for storing, and I can always use it for blending if it tastes too mineral. I already have a previous batch with too much wood flavor that needs blending anyway. I will come back to this beer once it is ready to be tasted.

During the first day of judging in the Best Beer of Finland competition, I happened to be sitting at the same table as Yannick de Cocquéau, who was one of the international beer judges invited to judge in the competition. After having mentioned that I have a problem with my stouts, he suggested I take a bottle with me the following day for feedback, which I though was an excellent idea. Luckily I had one last bottle left of a batch I made late last year. Yannick, as well as the other judges that ended up tasting the beer, felt that there was basically nothing wrong with the beer. No water related issues for example. The main feedback I got was that it was very roasty, and as a result quite acidic, but that it was a preference thing and recipe related, not water related. This made me think that if my stouts are more roasty than commercial examples, even though I am brewing the same recipe, can it be due to differences in volumes? Does size really matter after all? Perhaps I need to scale down the roasted malts to get closer to what commercial breweries are producing. That may be my next attempt, if the last batch I did doesn’t come out as I am hoping.

The latest beer I brewed was a hoppy Pilsner with a 50/50 blend of Citra and Simcoe. Even though it is still fermenting, I entered it into this year’s KimitoKeiky homebrew competition. Hopefully it will be ready in time before the deadline of delivering the samples, which is at the end of August. The main price is getting the beer brewed on a commercial scale by Kimito Brewing, which would be quite awesome. Last year I placed second with a Belgian blonde ale with Nelson Sauvin hops. I will write more about this beer as well once it is ready and I know how it placed in the competition.

The black IPA I mentioned in my previous post, which at the time was still fermenting, came out brown as suspected. I wouldn’t call it a bad beer. It’s just a bit all over the place. Too much going on which muddles the flavors. I’m not pouring it down the drain, but I’m not re-brewing it ever again either.

The Belgian tripel I brewed a few months ago, that came out a bit boring and ended up with an FG of 1.018, I decided to pimp up with some bottle dregs. I made a small starter and added dregs from one bottle of Orval and one bottle of BrewDogs Funk X Punk. Not sure if the dregs from the Funk X Punk are alive or not, maybe the beer is pasteurized, but I suppose adding them did not hurt either way. I added the dregs a few weeks ago, but haven’t checked up on it yet.

I’ve been picking blueberries a lot lately. I live on the countryside, and most years my backyard is full of blueberries, but the year I decided I should make some sort of blueberry beer, blueberries are few and far between. I’ve managed to pick a total of 1.5 kg. I know, I’m not impressed by my performance either. I haven’t decided exactly what kind of blueberry beer to make, but most likely it will be some sort of farmhouse ale with Brett. The other option I’ve been considering is using a more neutral strain, perhaps even a lager yeast, and adding some Mosaic hops that might give some complementing blueberry-ish notes. Let’s cross that bridge when we get there.

Oh, and the local newspaper decided to write a piece about my homebrewing hobby in their summer issue. Once it came out, my mom’s first comment was that I have my usual face on in all of the pictures. Without having seen the pictures yet myself at the time, my response was that it is difficult for me to have any face on but my own. Once I saw the pictures, I knew what she meant. Apparently, I do have a face I make, once the camera comes out.