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Welcome Back: Heal the Bay IPA

The season for our beloved Heal the Bay IPA returns! Heal the Bay IPA first made waves last summer as the third in our series of Custom IPAs; bringing awareness and raising funds for its eponymous Santa Monica, CA-based non-profit. Met with critical acclaim, Heal the Bay IPA is the ideal summer IPA -- light-to-medium in body and bursting with bright, tropical, and citrus notes.

At 6.8% abv., Heal the Bay IPA joins our lineup of hoppy India Pale Ales as a balanced and quaff-able tribute to southern hemisphere and west-coast hop varietals. A harmonious amalgamation of Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, Citra, Centennial, and El Dorado brings juicy fruits forward with a structured malt backbone. Heal the Bay IPA will make a believer out of the most resistant of hop-lovers and will surely be one of our poolside brews all summer long. 

Heal the Bay IPA returns to The Pub at Golden Road today, April 24th at 5pm on draught and growler fill before it rolls out to draught accounts across the southland. We implore you to join us on Saturday, April 26th in Santa Monica for Heal the Bay's Earth Day Celebration where members of our team will help tidy up the Santa Monica Bay. We will then make our way to the following restaurants who will be tapping the very first kegs of Heal the Bay: 

The Lobster | 1602 Ocean Ave. 
Big Dean's Ocean Front Cafe | 1615 Ocean Front Walk 
The Albright | 258 Santa Monica Pier 
Ristorante Al Mare | 250 Santa Monica Pier 
Del Frisco's Grille | 1551 Ocean Ave. 
Loews Hotel Santa Monica | 1700 Ocean Ave. 

Four-pack cans of Heal the Bay IPA will hit retailers in Early May featuring our new 100% recycled chip-board packaging design; the latest in our effort to increase eco-awareness and sustainability in our business practices. Heal the Bay IPA will retail at $11.99/ 4-pk with a portion of proceeds benefiting Heal The Bay. Additionally, $1 from every pint sold at our Pub will also go towards the cause. For more information on how to get involved with Heal the Bay, visit their website: www.healthebay.org

Stay tuned all summer long for more details on how Golden Road plans to help Heal the Bay!



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Week 05: Ninety-Nine Problems but a Beer Ain't One

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Week 05: Ninety-Nine Problems but a Beer Ain't One

Fermentation: What to do when your homebrew ferments at too high of a temperature

 
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Adam asks: I just bottled off a homebrew I made (my 3rd batch) and it seems a little boozy. Is there anyway to improve the flavor of this beer or do I need to dump it out?
— This week's question comes from Adam K. from Redondo Beach, CA.
 

Temperature control is a crucial part of the fermentation process. Often times, when a beer ferments at too high of a temperature, certain off-flavors or an increase in alcohol levels can occur. When a beer is described as too hot, this generally means a warming, boozy flavor. If there are no other signs of glaring off-flavors (such as infection or high levels of diacetyl for example), then a brew (while not ideal) can still be consumed. 

When fermenting at home without much temperature control, it's important to always take note of the ambient temperature of the room your fermenters are in. During the peak of fermentation, temperatures can rise between 7-10 degrees. Avoid fermenting at too high of a temperature so that yeast won't produce such high alcohol content or estery off-flavors. Very high temperatures can also halt fermentation completely. Depending on what your recipe calls for, you can take precautionary measures by selecting yeast strains that do well in warmer situations to get that clean and properly attenuated brew. 

There is one option that we would recommend if you are on a quest to save a hot batch. Bottled beer can be conditioned over time, which can help mellow out a boozy brew. Make sure that you are properly storing your bottles in a cool, dry place. Assuming that you have properly carbonated your brew and have experience bottling, conditioning can help alleviate some of the heat, but will most likely not "fix" your hot brew completely. We recommend this for many styles that can withstand some age -- obviously, not a good idea for hoppier brews such as IPAs that should be consumed as soon as possible. 

Got a question you'd like answered? Have any pro-tips you live by? Feel free to share them in the comments section of e-mail frances@goldenroad.la! 

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Week 04: Ninety-Nine Problems But a Beer Ain't One

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Week 04: Ninety-Nine Problems But a Beer Ain't One

Getting Started: Where to buy equipment and gear

 
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Calen asks: I’m trying to get started in homebrewing, but I don’t know where to shop for equipment and ingredients...help!
— This week we're answering a question sent in by Calen G., from Burbank, Ca...
 

Our first tip for the aspiring homebrewer is to find a supply shop near you. After you’ve read a little more about getting started (ie: read the Palmer book), take some time to visit your local shop and explore the different methods and gear you are interested in. Homebrewing is an investment, but with good research, you can easily find ways to cut costs by finding great deals in shop and online -- or even building things out yourself. 

For the Los Angeles area, here are a few homebrew supply shops we recommend.

  • The Home Wine, Beer, and Cheesemaking Shop in Woodland Hills is a local favorite and is the meeting grounds of The Maltose Falcons -- America’s oldest home brew club!
  • Eagle Rock Home Brewing Supply is the closest shop to our brewery herein Atwater Village. Located just a few miles away, Eagle Rock is also owned by the folks over at Culver City Home Brewing Supply for those in need on the west side of Los Angeles.
  • South Bay Brewing Supply in Torrance has our friends in the South Bay covered. While only a handful of years old, this shop’s very popular and is just minutes away from the area’s best breweries.

Other resources:

  • MoreBeer is a great online store that also happens to have a showroom/shop in Riverside, CA. Keep an eye on their annual sales for great deals on equipment.
  • Northern Brewer is an industry standard has a wide variety of gear, cleaners, and brewing ingredients.

Our tips?

There are always people trying to get rid of things on Craigslist. Often people who have either given up on the hobby or decided to upgrade their brewing systems. Additionally, we’re big fans of Homebrew Finds -- follow them on Facebook and Twitter to take advantage of some great deals.

Did we leave out your favorite Los Angeles-area shop? Leave us a note in our comments section!  Got a question you'd like answered? Have any pro-tips you live by? Feel free to share them in the comments section of e-mail frances@goldenroad.la! 

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Week 03: Ninety-Nine Problems But a Beer Ain't One

Sanitation is Key: Three Methods to Keeping Things Clean

 
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Golden Road’s Quality Assurance Manager Cris Carter drops some sanitation advice on us this week for our third installation of this series. When first learning to homebrew, you will notice that sanitation is one of the most important things to learn and practice whether you are a beginning extract brewer or a seasoned veteran. But what types of measures are necessary to create a sanitized brewing environment? What other agents can you use if you don’t have easy access to products or a home brew supply store? We first must delve into the three ways to keep things clean. This is only the first in what will be a handful of posts dedicated to sanitation. 

When brewing at home, there are three cleaning methods you should know:

I. Mechanical: Do you see dirt and residue on your kettle, fermenters, and equipment? Cleaning things mechanically is the good ole’ fashioned physical method. Scrub those carboys well and make sure you don’t have any dirt stuck to the surface of your gear. A little elbow-grease goes a long way in the cleaning process.

II. Chemical: A crucial part of sanitation isn't just making sure you don’t visually see dirt. Chemically treating your equipment with an alkaline material such as Powdered Brewing Wash (PBW) or a mild detergent like Oxiclean goes hand in hand with the mechanical cleaning method. These agents can help loosen and break down dirt and residue found on fermenter walls for example. 

III. Thermal: Heat things up. Heating water to 175 degrees for 5-10 minutes is enough to kill mirco-organisms, active yeast, and bacteria. Boil that spoon, sterilize that ball valve -- don’t skip out on this step if you have any doubt that your equipment may not be clean. In need of sterilizing bottles and small items? The heat from your dishwasher is also a great tool. 

Tips: 

  • Using a chemical agent or base detergent raises the pH and helps kill or inhibit bacteria. However, it is important to rinse these agents well as to not leave any chemical cleaner behind. 
  • If you do not have access to a cleaning agent such as Star San, you can use citric acid or vinegar (acetic acid) -- once again, just be sure to rinse well after soaking as to neutralize the pH. 
  • Bleach is an effective cleaning agent when used in the mildest of solutions, but can often have a lingering aroma. Using bleach also increases your odds of acquiring an undesirable chlorophenolic off-flavor. 
  • In a pinch but want to avoid using bleach? Iodine or Betadine used in the appropriate concentration are effective, tasteless, and widely available at your local drugstore. 
  • A spray bottle filled with (cheap) vodka is a handy tool to sanitize small items and surfaces such as the top of your fermenters, racking valve, etc. Vodka used as a mist is mild enough to not leave a distinct flavor or odor. 
  • Case in point: Sanitize EVERYTHING. (Yes...EVERYTHING -- from the hydrometer you're inserting into your fermenter to take a reading to the spoon you're using in your kettle. Absolutely, positively, everything.)

This is only the first in what will be a handful of posts dedicated to sanitation. Got a question you'd like answered? Have any pro-tips you live by? Feel free to share them in the comments section of e-mail frances@goldenroad.la! 

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Week 02: Ninety-Nine Problems But a Beer Ain't One

Getting started: Four Different Ways to Brew at Home

 
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This week we will discuss how to get started in homebrewing. Many of you have probably seen various homebrewing kits at local retail stores; the most popular one being the Mr. Beer Kit that you can virtually find everywhere. Beer kits are the simplest way to brew a beer, but two of the main components in beer (malts and hops) are already pre-made and ready to use. While simple, this method is often considered a novelty above anything else and limits the brewer on the use of ingredients and range of flavors. To those really looking to dive into brewing it yourself, here is a brief description of various homebrewing methods to help you find the right level for you. Visit your local homebrew shop or try one online to help you get started. 

I. Extract Brewing: Extract brewing is the most basic level of brewing at home and is the most popular with the beginning brewer. In this method, the process of mashing grains is removed and is replaced with a ready-made liquid malt extract. This extract is a highly concentrated form of wort made on an industrial scale. In extract brewing, hops are added as the wort boils. The wort is cooled, yeast is pitched, and transferred into fermenters.

II. Partial Mash: Partial Mash brewing lies between entry-level extract brewing and transitioning to all-grain. This intermediate method uses liquid malt extract and supplements it with specialty grains that are needed to bump the fermentable sugars to the right level. This is achieved by boiling the wort and adding a grain bag containing the grains you need for your recipe. This option is useful for brewers who are not yet ready to convert to the all-grain method and is helpful for those who are yet to make the investment in a more elaborate homebrew system.

III. Brew in a Bag: Brew in a Bag falls under the all-grain umbrella as it moves you from using a concentrated malt extract to creating your own wort. Using a grain bag in your brew pot, much like the partial mash method, BIAB requires little equipment and is particularly efficient for those brewing on their kitchen stove-top. Once the wort is created (mashed in via a steeping method), the grain bag is removed and the wort is treated in the traditional fashion (adding the hops, cooling the wort, and adding yeast before putting it away to ferment). This is an ideal method for those with space limitations but who want more control of their recipes. 

IV. All-Grain: Brewing in the all-grain method is the staple of the advanced homebrewer. In this method, milled grains are mashed in via the infusion method. This is a more complex method that requires more equipment, a developed recipe, and much more attention to detail. The mashing process is accomplished by heating water to specific target temperatures and mixing in your grains (making sure to leave your mash to convert all those wonderful sugars). After 45 minutes, sparge your mash with additional hot water to extract the sweet magical wort. The rest of the process follows similarly to the ones above -- bringing the wort back to a boil, adding your hops, cooling, then adding yeast. For a guide on what tools you will need to brew all-agrain, reference this. Highly recommended: Using a beer recipe software to help you understand how to develop your own recipes (i.e: BeerSmith). 

Already a seasoned brewer? How did you get your start? Stay tuned until next week for more homebrew tips and troubleshooting. Happy Brewing!

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