Single Hop IPA: Glacier

The single hop series is back! This time it features the popular Glacier variety renowned in the brewing world for it’s dual purpose bittering and aroma qualities.

A new variety in the brewing world, the Glacier hop was released to market in 2000 from Washington State University. As with anything, the beer world does not sit still, especially when new flavors, hardier varieties, and better quality can be produced from what already is on hand. Hops are a great example of how the American beer movement continues forward, as more and more hops are being developed in Western United States on the great hop farms. Through intensive crossbreeding, American hops have take a center stage in the beer movement as the ever popular American India Pale Ale continues to dominate the craft beer market. Movements are a conglomerate moving forward, as a whole beer moves forward through it’s parts, mainly hops, yeast, malt, and the consumer.

When breeding hops researchers have to start out with a purpose that they are aiming for. Glacier has a fairly intensive pedigree behind it, which includes such hop staples as Brewer’s Gold, Northern Brewer, East Kent Goldings, and Bullion. All of these were crossbred for specific purposes for their utilization in brewing. Characteristics such as aroma quality, aroma type, alpha acid content, bittering potential, and disease resistance are all important qualities that are thought through when hops are being bred. Often, dual usage hops are important for newer strains as they have more potential use for a brewer and will then out compete other hop varieties. As with everything, hops are a business and as a business there is a quite a bit of competition.

Only 14 years old, Glacier is still new in the brewing world. With high yields it will continue to find it’s way into the kettle. Dangerous Man utilized the Glacier hop in several different ways within the kettle. First Wort Hopping and subsequent additions added the crisp bitterness this hop is known for, while later additions including 15 minutes downward provided for aroma and hop flavor. These additions help to instill the hops presence within the beer. Finally, the beer is dry hopped by adding hops directly to the fermenter. This brings a greater hop aroma to the beer and just a tinch of bitterness, as well as the grassy presence American IPAs are known for.

That’s the Single Hop IPA: Glacier. So long folks!

Nitrogen Tap Systems

Over this summer, Dangerous Man has installed a nitrogen tap to continue to diversify it’s beer lineups. We’ve noticed a trend on people asking, “what does nitro mean,” “what does nitro do to a beer,””what’s the difference between a ‘nitro’ beer and a ‘regular’ beer?”

We thought we’d take the time to explain some of the nuances of Nitro beer, so let’s delve in.

Nitro Taps

Nitro Taps

As with a lot of beer history and style expectations, the nitro styling has origins in the United Kingdom. Before stainless steel, or other metals were used for holding beer, beer was held in wooden casks. Carbonation happened from a mixture of pulling the beer before it was fully fermented into the cask, ‘krausening’ old beer with young beer and then transferring into the cask, or adding sugar and fresh yeast to each cask. The wooden casks themselves could not hold the pressure for long periods of time, so they were usually drunk quickly, young, and flat. These beers would have a softer, less carbonated feel from the casks lack of ability to hold pressure and to some it became intrinsic to the style of British, Scottish, and Irish beer. To this day organizations such as CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ales, rally for fresh cask beer in the old stylings that were displaced by the Pilsner takeover after World War II. Beer pushed by Nitrogen and carbonated with Nitrogen/Carbon Dioxide mixtures can be included in the CAMRA organizations styles of serving that hinder the old cask way.

Nitrogen stepped in with the advent of steel for the brewing, fermentation, and storage of beer. Pubs in the Old World mostly had un-refridgerated beer storage allowing for the re-fermentation necessary for carbonation and because refrigeration was costly without electricity. These pubs and bars began to utilize refrigerators and coolers and began the new products that could be used in them. This meant steel kegs that were either naturally carbonated or force carbonated above the previously-used cask levels, which could not keep a pressure for a long time. Customers noticed a difference in the carbonation levels and how it affected the beers they were familiar with. Some for the positive, some not so much. Nitrogen “carbonation” was then introduced to imitate the Old World style and presentation of beer as casks made their way out of popularity.

Nitrogen is insoluble in beer thus making it useful for long and high pressure gas lines because it won’t further carbonate the beer. There’s a lot more at play with Nitrogen than people would normally suspect even though it has become tagged as the name for Nitrogen ‘styles’ of beer. Nitrogen taps are usually a mixture of 70% Nitrogen and 30% CO2, or the “Guinness Blend” which is the proprietary mixture of 75% Nitrogen and 25% CO2. This allows the beer to be carbonated, if being carbonated on that system, at a slower and lesser rate leaving it under-carbonated if it was to be poured on a regular tap. The Nitrogen is then used to push the beer without adding further carbonation out of a special tap that has a restrictor plate. This restrictor plate breaks the CO2 out of solution causing the the spectacular cascade of bubbles which helps to distinguish a “Nitro” beer. By having Nitrogen in the solution it also makes sure that the restrictor plate doesn’t turn the whole beer in just foam, as a regular CO2 carbonated beer would be want to do.

When poured, a Nitro beer has a thick, foamy head with CO2 bubbles cascading both down and upwards in a weird sense. Upon tasting the beer, you’ll notice a thicker and creamier feel that emphasizes the malt character in beer. This is usually the reason why stouts and porters, the more malty styles of ale, are pushed through Nitro taps when available. It’s becoming popular for different styles of beer, especially American IPA’s and Double IPA’s, to find their way into Nitro beer tap lines, though IPA’s have been served over in the UK on Nitro for quite some time. The restrictor plate seems to force out the more volatile hop aromas leaving a maltier nose to an otherwise very hopped beer. Bitterness is left intact though and it definitely creates a striking contrast from the smooth, creamy body provided by the restrictor plate.

Nitrogen taps are gaining in popularity in the United States. Before they were left mostly to American restaurants serving Guinness and other imported UK beers, but with the American fervor for innovation using old and in-place techniques. At any given brewery a nitro tap could spring up featuring one of it’s flagship beers and will be able to serve it in a different way.

Dangerous Man has a dedicated rotation for our Nitro tap. Pretty much any and all beers that we brew can be sent down into the cellar for the Nitrogen/CO2 mixed carbonation and often are. Over the past summer we’ve featured many IPAs, some Cream Ales, our Red Rooibos, even the Belgian Golden Strong, and the Titan of all our titans, the Chocolate Milk Stout. Typically there will be one keg of each style and will be poured until it’s gone. Each lasts about a week, typically, so make sure to check out our website to see what we have on tap each night!

Summer Beer Dabbler 2014

Holy hell it’s been a year! 

From the Dabbler with Love

From the Dabbler with Love

Last winter Dangerous Man Brewing won the Lord Dabbler’s Cup with gusto. Our paddle is hanging free in the taproom and we’ve been giving the honor of opening this years Summer Beer Dabbler with a special tapping. We spared no expense. Cue John Williams. 

This year Dangerous Man Brewing Company, Lord Dabbler’s Cup firmly gripped, will open up the ceremonies with a bourbon-barrel and cherry aged Chocolate Milk Stout served on Nitro. It’s big, boisterous, and limited. Half barrel limited. Sorry Grandma, your lawn will have to be mowed tomorrow limited. That’s right appendix, you’re staying in another day limited. Yeah, we’re talking holographic Charizard limited.

This half-crazed beer will be featured immediately at the Dabbler, so make sure to get some and get some fast. Lines will be long, so bring some friends to gab on with. Dangerous Man crew will be there in force and their booth will feature the regular Chocolate Milk Stout, House IPA, Cream Ale, and the Matchbox Coffee Porter. A solid lineup that shows our identity spectacularly. A blend of familiarity and edge; of Doomtree and Dre. 

We’ve got a few tips for all of you dabblers out there. Drink water, plenty of it. It’ll keep you moving throughout the day. Look at your options first, try what you want to remember and leave the heavy drinking for the last few hours. Be kind, clean, and courteous. Meet new people and find something you didn’t know about yourself; if you know yourself pretty well, grow. Remember this event is the spectacle of beer, revelations are nothing but imminent! 

Do not drive drunk. Get a ride home, eat some food and have a good time. We’ll see you in the taproom sometime soon! TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE! Check it out: http://beerdabbler.com/buy-tickets/ 

Drink local, drink Dangerous. 

Northern Pine Porter

What up all, it’s back. Blogging in style, hiding in the Dangerous Man basement as they racket upstairs. So let’s talk. Let’s talk beer and get on with it.

Porters have a long history in the English and American brewing world. They started out brown, they jumped to black, lost their name to stouts, found a popular reassurgance as the new kid in school but then we’re found to be less cool than their younger brother again. So what do we say about a style that really can’t find a way to explain itself in the modern world? We could wax on the past, but that really wouldn’t help explain the beer you’re caring to read about, the beer the Dangerous Man crew has brewed.

Northern Pine looking delicious!

Northern Pine looking delicious!

There is a distinctive shift in the brewing world of why a beer is made. Some are made for their flavor and the necessary profit generated off of them and some are made for a ulterior purpose than profitable return and these beers tend to be specially crafted. Their ideas are taken from popular culture, their ingredients from the strange, their styles link to their purpose, all for a goal. This is the pride and joy of brewing that goes above the happy rays that dance down on the brewing industry day in and out.

The Northern Pine Porter is one of these beers. Our brewers, Keigan, John, and Ramsey, combined their efforts with a Mr. John Buck who works with Northern Pine Longboards, a 100% skater-owned company of Minnesota. The idea was to create a beer that could be showcased in the Dangerous Man Taproom during a charity event put on by the Northern Pine Longboards company. This beer needed to have an edge, needed to feature wood, and needed to be held accountable to both companies high standards.

The Northern Pine Porter is a complex beer. It has notes of roast, oak, vanillins, an expressive and changing mouthfeel, and a crisp, fall finish. Oak chips were used during fermentation to lend their flavor and allow for a quick yeast flocculation. The yeast fermented quickly in this beer giving it a drier draw, which the oak steps in and adds plenty of body to. This provides a round, dry body which is not a common occurrence in the world of beer. Pine was considered for the beer but turned out to be to resinous of a wood to put into beer.

Poster

The charitable event will be held at Dangerous Man and will feature 8 local longboard craftsmen. 40% of each board sold will be donated to the individual’s choice charity. Two companies, Northern Pine run by Brian Williams and LongFellow Boards run by Jon Buck, will be featured at the event with their expert wares. Dangerous Man will also be donating a portion of every glass sold of Northern Pine Porter to a charity of their choice. Our first food truck, LuLu’s Cafe, will be out front selling food.

Dangerous Man will also feature several iterations of the Northern Pine Porter including our normal taps, Nitro taps, and infusion kegs dreamed up by our Head Brewer Keigan Knee. These infusion kegs feature a 4″ welded on port to regular 1/2 bbl kegs that make infusions easier and cleaner to do. The infusion will be Northern Pine Porter with oak chips infused with bourbon, which will be absolutely, withoutafirkingdoubt, delicious.

Life is good here at Dangerous Man. We’re happy to be blogging again.

Drink local, drink Dangerous!

Belgian Dark Strongs are an enigma of a style. They share certain characteristics with Belgian Quadruples while in many peoples minds they have a distinct separation. Traditional Trappist beer designations were based on initial gravity readings, for example, a gravity of 1.060 would be designated as 6, and a gravity of 1.080 would be designated as an 8. We can see these designations still with La Trappe Brewery’s beers. This helped to designate the stylings of Single, Dubbel, Tripel, and Quadruple. A Dubbel is twice the gravity of a single as, whereas a Triple is three times the gravity of a single. These days, a mix of secular and trappist breweries use these designations as well as their own, creating dynamic process of naming conventions.

American craft brewers have taken these styles and continued to expand their definitions. Belgian breweries tend to get locked into style and product and maintain those brew standards for the life of the brewery, changing only out of financial necessity. American breweries find themselves with a bit more freedom with their product, and regularly have seasonal varieties, one-offs, and generally special brews allowing them to play with flavor profiles and recipes. Designations such as Dubbel, Dark Strong, Tripels, etc. are often thrown into the mix and stretch the definitions of styles already set in place. This “stretching” then streches customer and expert expectations of styles creating the dynamic definition process beer is constantly undergoing. One very popular product tends to change defined styles, which is something that can often be seen in the beer world.

The Belgian Dark Strong style generally indicates that it is stronger in alcohol content than Tripels and is darker than the typical golden color. It is definitely a sibling with the Belgian Golden Strong, both of which are very similar to their counterparts, the Tripel and the Quadrupel. The alcohol content of Belgian Dark Strongs are generally over 8% and they have large fig, plum, and dried cherry fruit notes. Spicey phenols from the Belgian yeasts compliment the sweeter malt flavors. A slight alcohol warmth should be present, but generally blends into the malt bill.

Dangerous Man’s Belgian Dark Strong is dark russet in color, and has pleasant toffee, caramel, and rye spice on the nose. It’s draw is a little over medium-bodied and the sweet malt tones are clipped by the bittering hop presence. Notes of toffee, caramel, plums, and figs are present in this beer, as well as a dry, spicey note. As the beer warms, new flavors emerge for a increasingly complex beer.

Smoked Porter

Dangerous Man’s Smoked Porter has come online!

All malts used to be smoked. Green malt, after it’s been soaked in water and begins to germinate, is kilned to stop the germination process and to add specific flavor components. In old times this kilning had to be accomplished through wood fires. Until the invention of coke, a fuel source created from coals and petroleum products that has a high carbon content, wood fires were all that was to dry malt besides sunlight, which took much longer and did allow for some barley to germinate ultimately losing part of the grain yield. So all malt used to be smoked, leading to a smoke presence in just about every beer up until the 1600’s with the patent of coke in Great Britain.

Today, smoked malts tend to be regional and highlight specific wood qualities or styles. Weyermann is known for the oaked-smoked malts, as well as Baird’s and Simpson’s for their peated malts. There are relatively few commercial providers of smoked malt, limiting many brewery options to the malts available. This is in no way diminishes a brewer’s creativity with beer, as these malts can be paired with many styles and other grains for new flavor dynamics– from bold and smoky, to subtle and enhancing.

Wood consists of three polymers: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. When burned, these different polymers are released as volatiles, each with specific flavor compounds that they can imbue onto the product being smoked. It is claimed that lignin is where the best flavor compounds are found and is generally reached when the burn temperature is around 400 degrees Celsius. Wood smoke is generally placed on top of coals or another fuel source to reduce large flames and control temperature, thus giving the malt consistent flavors. The flavor compounds stick to the water on the malt and are absorbed into the grain itself. When the water evaporates off it also takes along with it other volatile compounds, such as acetic acid (vinegar), that would produce off-flavors in the beer.

Smoking malts, or fish or sausage or even… hops!, is a relatively simple process. To smoke anything you need to use hardwoods, as softwoods such as pines and firs release an ugly tasting gases called terpenes. The dried hardwood, either wetted or left dry based on preference and intent, is palced over a fuel source, begins to smolder, and releases smoke. This smoke is directed towards a bed where the malt is resting, after having passed through several screens to catch any ash traveling along with it. This description is generally for a homebrewer or commercial brewer smoking their own malts, larger maltsters use their specific woods to dry green malt completely and make ready for sale, whereas the description above is to be used on already dried malt purchased from a distributor. Either way, the process and intent are very similar, to give the beer a delightful and delicious smoky presence.

Dangerous Man’s Smoked Porter is a blend of the rustic and the delicate. The aroma is sweet and smokey, reminiscent of Midwest campfires and bitter chocolate nibs. Full bodied, this porter is a balance of chocolate, roast, and beechwood-smoke which adds hints of vanillins to the flavor; a savory and thoughtful pint.

Vienna IPA

Dangerous Man is happy to present it’s Vienna IPA!

This amalgamation beer can be broken down into several segments so that we can figure out the intention of each ingredient. Unlike a lot of American IPAs, Dangerous Man’s Vienna IPA has a forward and complex malt bill that interacts and compliments the hops, instead of only bringing the hops forward. We’ll start with the base malt, move to the adjuncts, move to the other adjuncts, and then round this out with the hops.

The base malt of this beer is Vienna malt, which has it’s origins in Vienna, Germany. It is a malt kilned at slightly higher temperatures than pilsner malt giving it a more caramel complexion and imbibes a slightly red hue to the beer. By kilning at a higher temperature, the diastatic power of the malt (the ability of the “diastase” enzymes, alpha and beta amalyase, to break down complex starches into simple sugars in the mash), is lessened, though only slightly. This makes it an excellent malt to make a complete malt bill out of, or just use to strengthen the body, color, or particular flavor qualities of a beer. Vienna malt offers nutty, bready, and slight caramel flavors to beer.

Vienna malt, and lager, has a very complex history that involves several breweries in Germany, Austria, and Denmark, missions to the UK to secure malting techniques, and the great work of Louis Pasteur in the now worldwide principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation, and pasteurization. Anton Dreher used techniques learned and perfected in the UK to produce a lighter kilned malt that created a “bright” color in his lagers. After the isolation of pure-cultured, single-celled yeast was isolated at Carlsberg it began to be used all over Germany, helping to define that regions style and lagers all around the world. Vienna malt and yeast went hand-in-hand to create a very popular lager in its time. Unfortunately, the Vienna lager has fallen in disarray, and is often not produced in the region it hails from, but instead has transferred over Mexico with the immigration of Austrian brewers, and has a strong presence there still. For more information on this subject, read this post, “The Birth of Lager,” by famed beer expert Michael Jackson.

The Adjuncts 

The Vienna IPA also features the adjunct malts of Chateau CaraGold, Flaked Oats, and Golden Naked Oats. The Chateau CaraGold comes from Castle Malting of Belgium. It adds a striking golden color to the beer and emphasizes caramel flavors already present. This malt was used to enhance the color and visual depth of the Vienna IPA, giving it a pleasant appearance, as well as an impressionable malty quality.

Oats, in general, thicken the body of beer and create a creamy draw. Simpson’s golden naked oats act as a dehusked crystal malt that imparts a nutty flavor and thickens up the body of the beer. They are a unique malt and are similar to crystal rye and are often found in porters and stouts, though many American brewers find places for them in their beer. Generally, the golden naked oats are used on the lighter side as an adjunct because their dehusked nature can cause for a sticky and stuck mash, creating many headaches for brewers on brew days.

Okay dokey, part way through.

Grade B Maple Syrup 

Maple syrup was added during the boil of the Vienna IPA. Grade B maple syrup is harvested at the end of the harvest season, is generally located closer to the center of the tree, and has a darker color. It also has less sugary sweetness of typical Grade A maple syrup that we traditionally use for pancakes and every other breakfast food, and instead has a much stronger “maple tree” or “woody” punch. This flavor will blend in with the nutty notes of the Vienna base malt, and the berry and caramel notes from the Chateau CaraGold and Simpsons Golden Naked Oats, creating a beer with a very complex malt character whose subtleties lie in the interaction between grains and sugars.

Hops

We’ve reached the finish line of our Vienna IPA description: hops. This beer utilizes Warrior, Simcoe, Willamette, Crystal, and Chinook at various points in the boil, and some during dry hopping, to create a piney, earthy, and pungent aroma to this beer. These hops were chosen for their specific flavor and aroma qualities to best enhance the woody aspects of this beer.

Dangerous Man’s IPA  has a pronounced hop presence with distinctive earth and pine notes. Supported by a woodsy and woody malt nose, and very rounded draw. Wide, bitter, with a dry finish, this IPA is distinctive to Minnesota’s Midwestern roots and features.