Monthly Archives: February 2015

Brewing Batch 41 with Bröeders in Buenos Aires

Bushido (gypsy) Brewery is on the move again! Welcome to Buenos Aires!

Craft beer (known as “cerveza artesanal” in Spanish) is in its infancy here in Buenos Aires (“BA”), which is an exciting time to be a part of the scene. But that also means there aren’t any BOP places I can utilize to brew. (It also means, as I will come to realize, that there’s a lot of bad craft beer here. More on that in a future post.) Anyway, how am I going to brew here? Easy: I’ll make friends with the local brewers.

My first destination is Bröeders Artesanal. I read about these guys before I came to BA and was excited to meet them before I even got here. They are a really small operation, started as home brewers, then partnered with a chef from New Orleans to do a closed door experience called Bröeders Beer Night, which has since evolved into the hit Cajun gastropub called NOLA. Can you say I want to go to there?

I visit NOLA for the first time right after they reopen from their summer vacation. The food and the beer get my approval (which is a big deal because as I mentioned there is a lot of bad craft beer in BA) and I quickly become a regular. Upon meeting the Bröeders brothers, Francisco and Marcelo, we get along and setup our first brew date. Marcelo teaches a brewing crash course on the weekends a few times a month. We agree to collaborate on the beer for the next class and I’m in charge of the recipe.

Bröeders and Bushido are cut from similar cloth. When faced with the choice of “more or less?” we both say “more, more!” and we both prefer our beers strong. (Fuerte, por favor!) After many years of having only Quilmes to drink (the Budweiser of Argentina) the palette of Argentineans is still adjusting to “strong beer styles” like IPA. In order to appeal to the market Bröeders can’t make their IPA as bitter as the beer they personally like to drink, and their public offering takes that into consideration.

So for our brew day Marcelo wants to indulge our personal tastes and says “let’s make a really hoppy IPA.” Sí, señor! We agree to do an 80 IBU black IPA using some imported Magnum hops Marcelo’s managed to get his hands on.

It’s Saturday morning – brew day – and I’m over at Marcelo’s place at 8:30 AM. We’re brewing on their old nanobrewery equipment, where Bröeders got their start, on the roof above NOLA. The folks taking the class arrive and we get going.

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A nanobrewery on the roof.

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Inside the Bröeders nanobrewery.

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The mash.

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The brewers.

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Magnum hops for bittering.

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Lautering.

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The Bröeders logo.

Upon taking a refractometer reading of the wort from the first runnings it’s clear we’ve made a mistake somewhere. The gravity of the wort we’ve collected is too low. After a conversation we decide to proceed with a lower volume batch to preserve the current gravity and adjust the hop additions to accommodate.

Later we get to talking and we figure out what we missed: we didn’t measure our base malt to confirm the amount we had. We both assumed there was 10 kg in the bag. If we had 1 or 2 kg less that would definitely account for the unexpectedly low gravity. We should have measured. Always measure. A good reminder for us and a good lesson for the class, too.

That mistake aside, I feel confident that this black IPA will turn out pretty tasty. We’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out, but meanwhile the recipe is on our Brewtoad page so you can brew it yourself!

And remember: always measure all your ingredients. ^_^

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Brewing Batch 40 in Los Angeles

I think I know how to fix the problems from batch 39.

The schedule for this batch is going to be tight, because I just barely have time to brew again and keg this batch before I leave Los Angeles. I will only get to drink a little bit of it myself, but I don’t care, I really want to brew again, get a better handle on this equipment, and do a better job of hitting my recipe’s target values than last time.

For starters, I’ve adjusted the efficiency of my mash based on the results from the last batch. I also adjusted the boil off rate of the kettle so I’ll start with a higher pre-boil volume today to hit my target post-boil five gallons.

Now, to adjust for the fact that the whole brewery setup is on an incline, which is skewing the volume measurements, I measure the water volume that goes into the HLT by first pouring into a separate container on level ground so I start with a correct measurement. Then I transfer into the HLT. In terms of measuring liquid volume to transfer from the HLT to the mash tun all I have to deal with are deltas, which aren’t affected by the incline of the sights.

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To measure the actual pre-boil wort volume I wedge a piece of wood under the kettle and with a level I adjust the wood and the kettle such that the kettle is level. Then I read the volume from the sight.

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I’m looking forward to kegging and tasting this batch before I leave LA!

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