Hey folks, this post is kind of a random assortment of things going on at the brewery right now. Enjoy!
A Brief Update on our Milwaukie Brewery
Things are rapidly finishing up with construction at the new brewery. We are a little past our original completion date because of a couple of construction hiccups with our steam boiler, so our first brew is going to be pushed out a bit from what we originally thought. We were hoping to be brewing in less than three weeks! All of us are ready to jump onto the system as soon as it is ready.
Our new 30 barrel Metalcraft Fabrication brewhouse is beautiful, and is patiently waiting for us to put it to work. All of our fermentation and lagering tanks are getting piped and cleaned this week. Our first step, after a thorough cleaning, will be to move water through the whole system to make sure the piping goes where it is supposed to. Once we have everything calibrated, it will be time to brew! Look for the first beers off of the new system to be available in late December, and an update on how they are coming along as soon as we have anything to report. Our plan for the time being is to brew a one-off unfiltered lager (“New Milwaukie Lager,” of course!) as a calibration batch before starting to scale up recipes like Dry Stout, Pilsner, Woodlawn Pale and Session Brown. For you IPA fans, you’ll likely have to wait until early next year to see the first batch of Breakside IPA come out of the new place: our hop contracts on important varietals like Citra don’t go into effect until the first of January.
Two Strong Holiday Beers: Imperial Red and Imperial Stout
Even though we make a lot of different styles of beer at Breakside, I think that one of the areas where we tend to focus a little less is high gravity (ie high ABV) beer. So, it’s a little out of character for us to be releasing two ‘imperial’ beers over the next two weeks, but that’s exactly what we’re doing. Two weeks ago, we brewed our beer for this years Holiday Ale Fest, an Imperial Red Ale. We decided to brew a collaboration with our friends at Lompoc Brewing. Bryan Keilty from Lompoc, Ben, and I sat down, tasted through a few examples of the style, and designed a recipe which we are calling India Passion Elixir. For the recipe we decided to include a touch of flaked rye, as well as some dark wheat malt, for a nice spicy flavor. We also added a bit of wildfire honey to enhance the fruity malt character and fermentation esters. This is a very rich, complex honey that will add more depth to the finished beer. We wanted to have a hop character that was both simple and big. For this we used Centennial and Willamette hops from Yakima. Willamette hops work well with the spicy rye character, and the Centennials lend a clean bitterness and burst of the delicious pine and citrus character that we all love. This red ale is going to be VERY hoppy at 80 IBU, most of which coming from aroma additions. This will be a big, flavorful, hoppy beer perfect for the cold season. Look for it at the Festival and our tasting room at the end of next week.
Last week we also brewed a new recipe for an Russian Imperial Stout that I designed. This is a big, rich beer that will come in over 8% alcohol when it is done fermenting. We will be putting a portion of it into a Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel that currently has our Oatmeal Stout in it. Using the barrel the second time will lend more of the flavors of the oak and a more restrained bourbon flavor without contributing any alcohol. The barrel is going to add a lot of complexity to the finished beer.
The Imperial Stout recipe is a relatively simple recipe. The base is two very flavorful malts: Scottish Golden Promise and a bready American Munich. Three different specialty roasted malts were used to contribute the rich chocolate and roast characters: Scottish roasted barley, German debittered black malt, and American chocolate malt. I added some brown sugar for richness, as well as a flavor reminiscent of the caramelized sugar on top of creme brulee. We also boiled longer than we normally do, in hopes to enhance the rich roasty character. We are hoping that this beer finishes very complex and deep. It should be perfect for the wet, cold winter that looks to be headed our way.
A quick teaser…
We’re not just releasing ourselves to high octane seasonals over the next month. Keep an eye out for two experimental beers that Ben has been developing–one is our New Nordic Porter, a robust porter made with carraway, fennel pollen, dill pollen, and plums. This beer is inspired by the Scandinavian spirit aquavit and was made in collaboration with Jacob Grier, one of Portland’s top cocktail gurus. The other experimental beer is a Rosemary Winter Warmer made with hazelnuts and nutmeg. Writer Lucy Burningham is joining Ben in the brewhouse to develop this beer, which will coincide with the release of her new book Hop in the Saddle. All of the beers mentioned above will be available at some point in December…be sure to visit the pub and try one, or all, of them!