December Brew Update
I’m having a hard time coming up with a good start to this update. It’s 7 PM on a Thursday evening, and per normal our brew day started at 6 AM today. Needless to say, We’re pretty tired; at least we didn’t pull another double brew day like Tuesday. As much fun as brewing can be, 15 hour days are 15 hour days no matter what you’re doing.
We’re doing a bit of catch up right now around ‘da Creek’. Unfortunatley, we didn’t get The Neshaminator, our malt forward 8.5% German wheat bock brewed with orange blossom honey, into the tank this year as earlier as we had hope. Fortunately, it does look like we’ll have that wrapped up and kegged just before Christmas so we hope you stop by for a growler fill to enjoy with family and friends over the holiday. From what we’ve been tasting in the tank, we’re really excited for how we think this beer is going to turn out. If you’re a fan of malty German bocks, but also don’t mind the character that German wheat beer yeast give styles like Hefeweizen and Dunkelweizen without those characteristics being to over the top, this beer is for you! It’s dark, rich, full-bodied, and does pack a punch for a beer that is dangerously tasty and easy to drink. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Think Tribute Tripel and how easy that beer goes down, but instead with notes of almonds, dried raisins, and chewy, bready goodness all with a hint of banana and spicy clove. We’re getting thirsty just thinking about it.
Today also marks a very special occasion for Neshaminy Creek Brewing….we officially breached the 1000 barrel mark in total production. Not to shabby considering we’ve only been open since June 1st of this year. Before we kicked things off earlier this year we thought it would be nice to get to 500 barrels in seven months, probably even a bit ambitious to say the least. Because of your support we crushed that goal and we only have you to thank for that. So, with all sincerity, thank you to everyone that has shown any amount of good will and support for this brewery this year as well as since day one. We wouldn’t be here with you. To say we’re totally blown away would be an understatement.
Not only have we caught up on brews for 2012, we’re now on schedule for our first seasonal release for 2013, Mudbank Milk Stout. Some of you may have had a chance to taste this beer during Philly Beer Week 2012. We brewed 15 barrels specifically for Beer Week festivities and we’re excited to be able to bring this brew to you again early next month. Mudbank is one of our favorite beers to make, and one of our favorites to drink as well. It’s everything we enjoy about stouts; it’s bready and biscuity with a great roasted note paired with a sweetness, body, and velvety mouthfeel imparted from the Lactose sugar we use in the brewing process. At 6.8% ABV it’s no slouch either.
Leon Russian Imperial Stout, aka the Smores Stout…..we get a lot of questions about this beer, and that probably has a lot to do with the fact that each 15 barrel batch is brewed with just under 50 pounds of handmade marshmallow fluff, 16 pounds of bittersweet bakers chocolate, and 30 pounds of crumbled graham crackers. When it’s young it’s a bitter chocolate bomb with a huge roasted, almost smokey note. When it gets a month or two under it’s belt the malt really shines and makes this beer even more enjoyable, in our humble opinion. Hard to believe, but this beer actually has 88 IBUs too, which is of course necessary to counter the massive amount of malt and sugar (from the marshmallow fluff) used in this brew. Some people say it tastes just like a campfire Smore, some say it doesn’t. Was that even our intention? Does that even really matter? We don’t know for sure, but when our good friend Kevin Romer brought the idea for this brew up in conversation it sounded like a beer that would not only taste great if done well, but a challenge to brew.
And a challenge it is.
Using nearly 50 pounds of marshmallow fluff, 16 pounds of bittersweet bakers chocolate, and 30 pounds of graham crackers presents a lot of brewing hurdles. For starters, store brand marshmallow fluff is injected with air so when you use store bought fluff good luck getting all the fluff to dissolve in the kettle during boil, even at 90 minutes in the kettle. On top of that, if you have a direct fire kettle like we do you have to melt down the chocolate before you put it in the boil otherwise you’re going to find giant burnt pieces of chocolate stuck to the bottle of the kettle after knockout. Lastly, getting around the fact that graham crackers act like giant spongy bricks when dumped directly into the kettle during the boil, not to mention they interact with the proteins already in the brew from the massive amount of barley used, well let’s just say, that’s just another hurdle that makes this beer special and a challenge to make. From the response we’ve seen so far we’d like to think people are enjoying the end result.
The next batch of Leon is slated for release in March of 2013, but for those of you that follow our Facebook page you probably got a glimpse of some Wild Turkey bourbon barrels that we’re filled with three week old Leon that we posted online earlier this week. We’re going to age those for six months, which looks to be right around the time Philly Beer Week 2013 is going down. Coincidence? Not really, but the timing did work out pretty well, no?
We’ve got a bunch of other cats that we’re going to let out of the bag soon; tons of interesting things we’re working on, not to mention the addition of a bottling line very soon. Thank you to everyone for your patience, support, and encouragement. We’re glad you’re enjoying all this hard work. Until next time…