Single Hop Series #4: Summit IPA

Dangerous Man is proud to released their fourth IPA in their Single Hop Series: the Summit IPA.

sip sip siparoo

sip sip siparoo

The single hop series is meant to showcase distinctive qualities of individual hops using beer as a control. The malt and yeast do not change, and the fermentation controls are kept as similar as possible, and the hop additions are kept at the same time to emphasize how different hops actually are. Differing oil contents, high or low alpha and beta acids, and crop year and harvest time all play a huge role in hop flavors that express themselves in beer. By making this single hops series, customers and brewers can get a better understanding of the hops that they are using.

Summit hops are one of the few commercial semi-dwarf hops available. Dwarf hops are grown on low trellis systems, a system that has been played with by hop growers for a long period of time but which has gained momentum in that past 20 years. Instead of the tall maypole structures that hops are typically grown on, low trellis hops are grown on 9 ft. tall trellis’ that are often used in the wine and apple growing worlds. Low trellis systems are being studied as to whether they lower production costs without affecting quality standards of the hops.

According to a study done in Oregon on the utilization of conventional and dwarf hop varieties on low and tall trellises, low trellises cut down on labor during the hop season by cutting down stringing and training of the hops, cut the need to arch the hops, and required no handpicking during harvesting. Instead of being trained to follow the string upwards, conventional hops are instead “tricked” into growing along the horizontal path provided by the trellis. This is done by cutting of the very tip of the plant (apical meristem) which produces growth hormones and instead promotes lateral stem formation. It turned out the yield of conventional hops on the low trellis is lower than conventional hops on tall trellises to widely variable degree, some as high as 80% and some as low as 26%. It looks as if the effectiveness of low trellis systems on conventional hops is dependent on the hop variety and the place. Research is continuing to see if the reduction in cost makes up for the reduced yield of the conventional hops on the low trellis.

Dwarf hops, such as the Summit used in Dangerous Man’s IPA, were bred specifically to be grown on low trellis systems and act differently than conventional hops. They do not need to be trimmed on the top as conventional hops do, and they space themselves out to have more uniform hop growth from top to bottom. All true dwarf varieties are controlled by the English Hop Association as much of the initial research originated over in England, though private breeding from the American Dwarf Hop Association has been licensed and practiced within the United States. The Summit hops used in Dangerous Man’s Single Hop IPA was sourced from the American Dwarf Hops Association and grown in Yakima, Washington.

Summit hops have huge oil contents and a ridiculous amount of alpha acids. This makes them a unique hop for flavor and aroma, but very practical for bittering. The higher the alpha acid is on a hop, the less you need to utilize during the bittering addition to achieve similar affects. The high oil contents of the myrcene, humulene, caryophyllene create the powerful citrus fruit notes found in the nose, and produce a resinous quality in the draw of the beer itself. This hop is stated to be currently handpicked, though there is the possibility that the trellis picking equipment has been purchased and is being used, and for the only dwarf variety, low-trellis hop grown in Yakima, it is very popular!

Dangerous Man’s Single Hop Series #4: Summit IPA is distinct, bright, and earthy. Strong pine and earth notes come from the oily Summit hops as expressions of citrus and fur trees jump from the glass for a refreshing and earthly aroma. The draw is medium bodied that ends with a pleasant and lasting bitterness. An amazing example of how distinctly hops effect each individual brew.

Barrel-Aged Beer

Recently, Dangerous Man Brewing Company was offered the opportunity to barrel-age their Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout in a Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel. This beer was presented in the VIP tent of the Winter Beer Dabbler and made a definite impression. We thought we’d give you some background to barrel-aged beer, some history, some process, and in all honesty, some longing to a beer poured and gone.

Before the use of stainless steel tanks, most modern fermentations wine and beer took place in/on wood. When wet, wood expands and creates a water-tight seal making it the go to product for transporting or holding wet goods. Coopers, masters of barrel-making, cut the wood into staves of particular size and length, use heat to bend the staves, bind them with wooden or metal hoops, and fill them with water so that the wood expands to create a seal.  Barrels were very useful for holding a variety of goods in a world before pallets, shrink wrap, and complex metallurgy.

For the most part, the barrel world was reserved for spirits and fermenting wine, while much of the beer world was using large foedres to ferment and wooden firkins or casks to distribute and carbonate. Because of the short carbonation times on the beers in the casks and firkins, they are and were consumed quite quickly, lending slight wood flavors to the beer and most likely just increasing the thickness of the beer’s draw. Much of the strong wood flavors that we often associate with wines, such as oaked chardonnay, were not present in the beer world as carbonation was hard to hold, and I don’t think there’s a person in the world who enjoys flat beer.

Barrel-aging seems to be a relatively new trend in the beer world, as stronger stouts, porters, and barley wines find pleasant aging and oxidation when sitting on barrels. Barrel aging helps to lend tannins and vanillins to beers, both drying them out and adding distinctive vanilla tones. Because each barrel is charred on the inside, to sanitize the barrel and insure a huge amount of the liquid inside isn’t soaked into the wood, there are often elements of toasted wood imparted into the beers. Large alcohol beers are put into barrels as over time alcohol and water evaporate out of the barrel in process dubbed, “the angel’s share.” Through time and evaporation, beers that started out with large alcohol contents and are quite hot to consume, mellow out, become softer, more-rounded, and become more complex in flavor.

Virgin barrels are rarely used in the beer world, as they are more expensive and tend to give too much “woody” flavors. Instead, whiskey, wine, and other spirit barrels, are re-purposed as beer aging barrels. This creates unique taste blends of the original beer, the unique flavor of the woods itself, and remnants of whatever liquid was previously held in the barrel. If you search in the beer world today, you’ll find beer aged on whiskey, port, wine, tequila, Tabasco, brandy, and any other sort barrel that has held spirit to age on. Beer is made for the barrel, so different styles of beer are now being made dependent on what kind of barrel the brewery has purchased. You’ll often find sours in wine barrels, stouts in whiskey and brandy barrels, belgians in liqueur barrels, and weird amalgamations in just about everything else.

Often barrels are used for several years before they become inoculated with wild yeasts and bacteria, such as brettanomyces and lactobacillus. Once a barrel is infected there is nothing you can do to remove these somewhat problem yeasts. Instead, brewers can purposefully sour and funk their beer by aging them in these barrels and allowing the bacteria and yeast to consumer whatever leftover sugars are left in the beer. The bacteria and yeast can consume sugars typical beer yeast can’t, allowing beers to gain more alcohol content, become drying, and gain a flavor complexity that can’t be found when fermenting with a typical brewer’s yeast. Sour programs are starting up all over the country, and have become one of the more popular styles in the beer world.

Dangerous Man’s Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout (ICMS) aged on Wild Turkey oak barrel, was fanatastic! The large chocolate additions in the ICMS became balanced by the rich vanilla and bourbon flavors imparted by the wood and whiskey, respectively. Further additions of cocao nibs were added to the barrel to round out the original chocolate flavor. Due to the angel’s share and the natural oxidative nature of wood, the beer gained a rounder, fuller draw than it’s original style and mellowed out the heat of the huge ABV beer. This was a very limited run beer, and we’re sad to have seen it gone, but we hoped to give you an idea of what it was all about. Included below are some pictures of us filling and maintaining this barrel, with fingers crossed, hopefully we’ll see another one soon!

Check out some pictures of Keigan and John preparing the barrel below!

Keigan flushing and filling the barrel with water to ensure that it seals.

Keigan flushing and filling the barrel with water to ensure that it seals.

Keigan and John adding cacao nibs to the barrel for further chocolate flavor.

Keigan and John adding cacao nibs to the barrel for further chocolate flavor.

Keigan hammering the bung into place.

Keigan pounding on that bung.

The barrel carbonating. This purges out any leftover oxygen in the barrel.

The barrel carbonating. This purges out any leftover oxygen in the barrel.

The barrels resting place; tucked quietly away with the firkins.

The barrel’s resting place; tucked quietly away with the firkins.

Peated Scottish Ale

Try to miss this!

Try to miss this!

Scotland has a very intense and long tradition of brewing, and as with their accent, it is muddled, convoluted, and might be the most beautiful thing in the world. Evidence of brewing has been found in Scotland as early as the 4th millenium BC, and as new groups moved into, conquered, and established cultures in the British Isles, especially Scotland, brewing practices and ingredients have become more varied and complex. This established cultural styles and brews, including ales using heather, bog myrtle, and other local ingredients particular to Scotland. These ingredients were used before the advent of hops and their utilization in the brewing industry. 

Most of the Scottish ales we think of today are throwbacks to styles that have fallen out of popularity due to the influx of pale lagers, industry conglomeration, and lack of popular demand. Scottish ales are maltier than their English equivalents, and as some have speculated, this is because of the lack of hop growing fields in Scotland proper, due to the cooler weather. Hops had to be imported in Scotland and as the rise of Industrialization and the wars that followed, hops became very expensive to bring over.

There was a trade-off to the cooler, northern climate, as Scottish brewers were able to brew year-round in the days before refrigeration and temperature control. England’s summer would be too warm to ferment properly, so they would import Scottish ales. The individualistic breweries of Scotland became world renowned and were a large inspiration to the individualistic stylings of Belgian breweries we’ve become familiar with today.  With the creation of proper refrigeration, England’s brewing practices could continue year-round, and with their hop fields, they could hop their beer to a cheaper and larger degree thus preserving it longer as it traveled around the world. This was a huge loss to Scotland, whose breweries never seem to recover and have waned down to a handful in the entire nation. 

As of the 20th Century, Scottish Ales have been designated by their cost per barrel which is a general indicator of alcohol content. 60-, 70-, 80-, 90-, and 100-shilling are all popular designations of Scotch and Scottish ales and are indicative of their strength, and sometimes their color, though this fashion seems to have disappeared, or at least ignored in the United States. Within the more recent beer guidelines there is a designation between Scottish and Scotch ales, the former being lighter in alcohol while the latter generally applies to style dubbed as “wee heavy”. Wee Heavy’s are barleywine-esque in style and have recieved the name of “Scotch” to differentiate them from other Scottish ale styles. In general for Scotch ales, the lower the alcohol content, the darker the beer. This most likely came from using larger amounts of caramel or colored malts to give the beer flavor and some sweetness while the sugar-rich base malts were scaled back to control alcohol content.

Breweries could also have used first runnings for base malts (generally pale malts such as Golden Promise, grown in Scotland) for larger alcohol beers, topped off the mash with caramel malts for flavor and used the second-runnings, or sparge, as their lower alcohol content beers. This would create stronger, lighter beers and milder, darker beers.

There is often confusion surrounding the presence of peat, or peat flavor, in Scottish style ales. Peat is a mass of partially decayed vegetation that is used as a fuel source around the world, and in particular Scotland, Ireland, and the Britain. Scotch whiskys, especially Islays, often have a peat presence from peat-kilned malts as Scotland is rich in peat bogs and peat-rich moors. Peat, as a flavor in Scottish ales, is typically restrained and generally not from peated malts themselves, but rather from water sources running from peat-rich areas, from flavors thrown off from the cold-fermenting ale yeast, and from Maillard reactions from longer boils in the kettle which the Scottish. Longer boils can add a richer color to the beer without adding further caramel malts.

That being said, it is very hard for American brewers to have water sources running through peat, and it is often the wandering day dream of Scotland and their wonderful moors and purple-heather hills that has us use peated malt to fulfill our highland fantasies.

Dangerous Man Brewing is more than excited to present our Peated Scottish Ale! Soft, toffee-brown in color, this beer is malt forward and features the Scottish grown malt, Golden Promise. Body and Caramel malts help to thicken the draw of this beer and give a rounded caramel and toffee sweetness. There is undertone of peat on both the nose and in the flavor that plays with the East Kent Goldings and Fuggles hop bitterness and earthiness. A cold-fermenting Scottish Ale yeast rounds out this Scottish-inspired brew by emphasizing malt flavors over ale yeast esters, creating a sweetness rather than a pronounced fruitiness that characterizes their English beer counterparts.

Hoist to the heavens, and be free of Kings.

Drink local, drink Dangerous!

Belgian Table Beer

Table beer, or tafelbier in its native Flemish, is another example of how much the world of beer has changed since World War II. With the mid-20th century rise of pilsners and soda, much of the beer world has a taken a back seat to large conglomerates producing massive quantities of either tasteless or cloying beverages. Before the world was soaked in tar, and the rise of industry became the driving force for transportation, there was the need for local breweries who made particular types of beer, often noted to a specific region or place, that helped safely quench the thirst of the people around them. While a bit of a generalization, as cobblestone and dirt roads existed and sea trade routes were invaluable for the exchange of culture, the world of beer remained fairly local as long transportation routes and lack of refrigeration meant spoiled beer. Spoiled beer is bad beer, drink local. Kind of reminds you of somewhere, doesn’t it?

With the scene set above, Belgian table beers are older world beers with low-alcohol contents that have strong expressions of Belgian yeast character and often wild yeasts such as brettanomyces or bacteria such as lactobacillus.. High esters and phenols helped make up for a thin body from a small mash and add a great deal of flavor without adding large amounts of hops. These beers were the general thirst quenchers of the day as their low-alcohol content made them particularly easy to drink while ensuring that the consumer didn’t get a strong buzz or become inebriated. True to Belgian-style, yeast was almost definitely left in the bottle and is rich in B-vitamins, essential to cell metabolism and energy production in the body. With an intake rich sugars and B-vitamins, a table beer was a perfect working drink often consumed in lunches and even as far as to be put into Belgian schools for children’s consumption until the soda sugar-bombs began to replace them after the 1970’s. Belgian table beers generally range from 1%-4% ABV  and have become more popular as the smaller, more local beer industry gets more of the recognition it deserves.

Dangerous Man Brewing’s Belgian Table beer is true to both American and Belgian styles. It’s ABV sits at 4.3% generally making it higher than typical Belgian Table beers, which is true to the American beer industries style, while it contains a diverse grouping of ingredients true to Belgian ingenuity and lack of conformity. Belgian beers in particular are over-generalized in style, as even with styles there is a range of ingredients, flavors, and traditions, for example, the Belgian tafelbier is defined only by its lower alcohol content and the use of Belgian yeast strain. Dangerous Man’s Belgian Table Beer has many of the typical Belgian yeast notes — cloves, banana, spice, and the fragrant fruits. It is a simple beer, complex in flavor, convivial in attitude. Come enjoy the easy life.

Drink local, drink Dangerous.

Black IPA

Just in time for our Anniversary weekend! Dangerous Man Brewing Company is happy to present our Black IPA!!

Finally got one of the Danger himself.

Finally got one of the Danger himself.

Black IPA’s are a relatively new American style that comes from introducing heavily kilned malts into the mash. Malting is an integral process to the brewing industry, as it prepares the grains in specific manners to be manipulated for certain styles and flavors of beer. Barley grains are made to germinate by being soaked in water which releases the proper enzymes to turn the starches into sugars. The sugars are the necessary component in the brewing process as they are what the yeast feast on to produce ethanol. After germination is stopped, malt is kilned in a specific manner to achieve a flavor profile, whether it is bready, roasty, caramel, toffee, etc.

In the beginning malts were dried over fires lending all malts a smokey taste. With the invention of drum roaster, malts began to be roasted in a more efficient manner that also subdued and eventually eliminated the smokey profile. Since all malts were initially fire roasted, they were generally all brown malts that didn’t have enough sugar content to produce larger alcohol beers. With more efficient malting methods malts got both paler and darker, allowing brewers to use less kilned malts for the body of the beer and then use darker malts to provide color and further flavor. This is an exact example of Dangerous Man’s Black IPA.

Rob, Keigan, John, and Ramsey (growing, aren’t we!) used a pale malt for the body and included oats to thicken up the mouth feel. They then used Carafa III, a dehusked malt that provides color without adding acrid roasting flavors, and recent Patagonian malts to provide flavors of toffee, fig, coffee, and toast. Warrior, Chinook, Zythos, and Citra hops were added to the boil to provide large pine notes, citrus and tropical fruit, and a pleasant, firm bitterness. Chinook, Zythos, and Bravo were used to dry hop this beer twice over.

Big, bold, dark, and deep, the Black IPA is waiting for you at the Dangerous Man’s taproom. Drink local, drink Dangerous.

Firkins!

Guess what!? It’s our birthday week (technically anniversary, but we all know what it’s about). So in celebration we’ve decided to tap prepared firkins each day this week. Come taste a familiar beer in a new way!

The term ‘firkin’ is said to harken back to an old Dutch word, ‘vierdikikijn’, which in essence means 1/4, or fourth. In general, the measurement designation of ‘barrel’ was the general measurement of how any good was packaged in its largest quantity. There was no set measurement in gallons, pounds, liters, what-have-you. A firkin was a general measurement of a quarter barrel. In terms of beer, a barrel is established at 31.5 gallons meaning a firkin of beer is just around 8 gallons.

Firkins have a second meaning besides a unit of measurement. It is also a way of preparing beer for serving.

Firkins, if done properly,hold beer that is naturally carbonated by yeast instead of force carbonated by pressure and CO2. Generally, beer is pulled off when it’s a few gravity points away from being finished and put in the firkin with extra sugar and sometimes some fresh yeast. The firkin is then bunged so that none of the co2 produced from the yeast eating the sugar can escape, causing the beer to be naturally carbonated.

Often beer poured from firkins or casks have a softer carbonation and are served at a warmer temperature. This allows different, more subtle flavors to have a more pronounced presence in a beer. Firkins and casks are very popular over in the United Kingdom and have become more popular in the United States as we’ve started to take our beer a bit more seriously.

Come look for our specialty pours all week long!

Double India Pale Ale (IIPA)

Dangerous Man has made gracious tap space for the newly released Double India Pale Ale!

Coupla hosers.

Coupla hosers.

The Double or Imperial moniker is given to beer generally over 7.5%ABV to denote their alcoholic strength. If you’ve been paying attention to your local liquor store’s beer shelves or the taps at your favorite craft bar, you’ve definitely noticed an increase in larger – read beer with more alcohol – beers. Higher ABV beers are being viewed as having a more fuller flavor (this is not a true statement, but a perception) than average ABV beers such as your typical pale, amber, or pilsner due to their new demand in the United States market.

Larger beers have been a mainstay world wide, especially in Germany, Belgium, and the UK, but have been relatively absent in the United States due to prohibition, then to the prohibition of taste instilled by the United States macrobreweries. As more and more  consumers start to understand and appreciate craft, especially in the last five years, there has been a resurgence of larger beers. Breweries can feel comfortable charging their costs because a newer, more appreciative, market has begun to develop and purchase these products. It is understandable how larger beers have begun to be seen as having a more full or craft flavor as the new consumers have begun to flock to some of the more extravagant American-styles or American-style re-imaginations.

This is not to say large beers are not amazing, because clearly they are phenomenal! Heavier malt flavors strike through offering more examples of blending and balance, and also the potential for more hop usage to balance out some of the sweeter malt tones. The yeast then can blend all three together into a delightful symphony, but something with power, I’m thinking Rachmaninoff, elegance with some force.

Dangerous Man’s Double Imperial Pale Ale is a simple malt affair featuring a star-studded cast of hops. This beast contains Millenium, Columbus, Motueka, Zythos, Falconer’s Flight 7c’s, and Crystal hops in the kettle while Topaz, Citra, and Chinook were used as dry hops. This beer is a powerful contender; as beastly as Bane, as vicious as a Mr. K. Croc, as powerful as the almighty Solomon Grundy, and as noble as the Bat himself. We’re shooting the moon IBU-wise and delivering the killing joke of a beer. Come get the giggles over here; come laugh yourself away.

Drink local, drink Dangerous.