Tuesday, September 24, 2013

From our brewery with love!

Hi there!,

A couple a weeks ago we got a funny request from one of Dos Amigos' Homebrewing staff, his girlfriend and sister will both celebrate their birthday in October and he wanted to present them with the gift of beer!

Of course, we couldn't say no to Randall nor to the request of brewing!

The challenge was simple, we needed to brew a beer mild enough to match the average Costa Rican palate, with enough flavor to differentiate from local beer and that expressed love!

First of all, we needed some references, local beer bitterness averages around 20 IBU, so we knew we required a beer near or below the 20 IBU.

We also wanted to add some extra flavor but avoid adding fruit to it, honestly, we haven´t mastered that type of brewing.... yet!

After several discussion and proposal, we decided to brew a wheat beer with orange! According to several internet forums, coriander seed are also nice to have and we decided to add another secret ingredient (you need to visit us and share a beer with us to find it out)!

And so, our brewing started!

These are the main ingredientes, we followed a typical Wheat beer recipe for our grain bill

 It's all about the technique! Doesn't matter if you are alone or you have an extra hand there is no excuse for not brewing!

Low and slow will do the trick on this one, it finally set at 67°

When making homebrew, have a homebrew! Thanks Charlie (any beer lover know who Charlie P. is!)  for this quote it definitelly changed my life!

After 1 hour mashing, we got nice wort ready for vorlauf and sparge!

First of 6 required, if you homebrew... you know what I mean! :-)

Time to collect the wort!

Personally... I love the color! I believe we are going to be a bit darker than a blond ale but it is still golden and beautiful!

Houston, rolling boil achieved! The hot break is over and it is time to add our hops, in this particular brew, we only used 1oz of cascade @60min and tha was it... there wasn't much action in this one! Except for the last 5min when the orange peel and coriander was added!

After chilling it, it was time to move it to the fermenter, as you might have notice in previous post, this is prefered way to move the beer from the pot to the fermenter, we use the autosiphon but, in this case, due to the amount of orange peel, we ended dumping it in the strainer!

Once done we added our yeast and let it rest, in our future post, we'll let you know how it turn out!



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Our gorwing edge: Beer nachos!!!

Hi there,

Encourage by our friend and chef Chandler Tomayco (http://thechefwithredshoes.wordpress.com/) and "our growing edge" initiative (http://bunnyeatsdesign.com/our-growing-edge/) we continue to document our  experiences while cooking with our home brewed beer, today... Beer Nachos!!
Brewing is a demanding task, it requires 5 hours of continue monitoring of times, temperatures, cleaning, sanitization and other stuff that can really put you to work.

Of course, this makes us hungry!

Inspired by Our Growing Edge, let me share a very simple, yet delicious recipe for beer nachos! The only ingredient you won't be able to buy in the store is the beer we use!

These are the ingredients:

Nacho chips (which ever you prefer)
Ground beef
Ground beans (I use the ones in a can)
Olive oil
Spices to your like!

Now, here is what you need to do:

1. Pico de Gallo
Use the tomatoes, onions, lemons and Cilantro to make a wonderful pico de gallo!
2. Guacamole!
 Use the avocados to make a guacamole, add a bit of lemon to prevent browning!

3. Preparing the meat
In a skillet start browning the ground beef with a little bit of olive oil and garlic.
Once the beef if brown add half glass of Dos Amigos Ayote Spiced Ale and let it reduce a little bit, watch out the seasoning, don't go heave on the salt

 After a few minutes add the beans to the meat and mix everything together

 4. Assembly!
Lay the nacho chips on a large plate and top them with the meat and beans mixture!
 Cover with guacamole
 Then lay the Pico de Gallo
 And finally decorate with Natilla!

Finally, enjoy with a cold glass fo Dos Amigos Ayote Spiced Ale!

Hope you like our recipe!



Seasonal brew: Spiced Ale with "Ayote"??

Hi there fellow brewers or beer lovers!

It's been a while since our last post, time goes by really fast and we get so busy that we forget to update our blog but, luckly we never forget to brew!

This is the time of the year in which we approach a very special date, specially for my dear friend, college, CSO, CFO and Sanitation Engineer Solson, we are getting close to Thanksgiving! Being Solson away from US, we need to do our best to bring a little of this beautiful tradition to CR (despite that fact that we cooks a wonderful turkey, no complains!). So, we try to brew a pumpkin ale that warms our hearts and makes us proud!.

Last year we brew a descent pumpkin ale, speaking the truth it was really good but now that we have more experience we decided to take some risks and do a twist from the original recipe and decide to use Ayote instead of canned pumpkin pure!

The "Ayote" or Cucurbita argyrosperma, also the Japanese pie pumpkin or pipian or cushaw pumpkin, is a species of winter squash originally from the south of Mexico This annual herbaceous plant is cultivated in the Americas for its nutritional value: its flowers, shoots, and fruits are all harvested, but it is cultivated most of all for its seeds which are used for sauces. It was formerly known as Cucurbita mixta.

It is a Cucurbita species, with pumpkin varieties that are commonly cultivated in the United States as part of the Eastern Agricultural Complex and Mexico south to Costa Rica. Of all the cultivated Cucurbita species, it is found outside of the Americas the least. It originated in Mesoamerica and its wild ancestor is Cucurbita sororia. It is also closely related to Cucurbita kellyana and Cucurbita palmeri.

With this much similarities, we couldn't miss our target! 

And so... here is what is we did (I have only a few pics... sorry about that)

First of all we had to cook the ayote, so we slow roast it for about 6 hours, seeds included!

Another important twiste we did to the recipe was our base beer, traditionally, you use a pale ale base with means that you target to get a amber - light tan color beer but, we decided to add a little more malt flavor and use a brown ale based, this would provide a sweet malt base for the body provided by the ayote and better support to the spices.

We disolved the ayote puree in the strike water and then added the grains... note to my self: this is a bit messy to clean up

We mashes at a medium temperature of 67C (dropped down to 67C about 6mins after the picture was taken and hold the temperature for the rest of the hour!
 Once the mash was done.... well, you know the rest of the process, boil, add hops and spicess cool it down, get it in the fermenter and the yeast and pray to Gambrinus! hahaha

Final product: an awesome brown color, with well rounded spice flavor, not overwhelming the bitter provided by the single hop added at the beginning of the boil. This beer finished to condition about 1 month after it was bottled, it is way better that the one we tried 15 days after being bottle, we are really happy with it and we are looking forward to replicate it soon!

See you again soon!!!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Getting ready for our anniversary!!!

A little bit more than a year ago, I knew very little about beers, I knew there were divided into Ales and Lagers and that Stout were black as night but not much more; of course I love to drink them but wasn't quite interested in understanding how they were produce.
On 2012 the 1st Festival de Cerveza Artesanal was an eye opener!!! with enough luck to find out about it on the right time and with the support of my lovely wife, I got a couple of tickets and along with my wife and my 4 months old daughter we headed into the new world developing in Costa Rica.

I was amazed to look at all the different kinds of beers being showed off and presented by many different brewers, it was hard to believe that someone in Costa Rica was home-brewing such delicious beer!
After paying close attention to the different speakers and listening closely to they presentations the possibility of gaining the knowledge and the materials required to make our own beer was now right in front of us.
After having a quick chat with Chema we didn't hesitate to sign up for this "Cachuita Amber Ale" beer brewing class; it is one of most exciting experiences ever, just to realize that you are transforming grains, water, hops and yeast into your own beer is a feeling you'll keep for the rest of your life!
Having take very accurate notes of the training, I started collecting all the equipments needed to start home brewing:
  • A large pot
  • Cooler (that was modify to serve as mash tun)
  • Some PVC to build our filter
  • The brewing kit from TicoBirra 
  • A mill
  • A gas burner
  • All the grains, hops and yeast required to replicate the Chema's Cahuita Amber Ale
 With every thing in place and ready I called my best friend Solson and had the following conversation (at least a very close memory from a year ago):
Adrian: Hi Sols!
Solson: Hi bro
Adrian: Dude, what are you doing next Saturday?
Solson: Nothing, why?
Adrian: Want to brew some beer?
Solson: yeap!! I'll be there!!!

We set up all the equipment, read a couple hundred times the recipe and directions and with much excitement started brewing.
I can surely say it was a learning experience, we had issues with temperature control, boiling, cooling but, after about 6 hours we had our beer ready for the yeast to be added. After 2 very long weeks we bottle it and after another 2 very long weeks we were able to taste it.
Happily... it had a great flavor!... it also had a lot of alcohol in it (sorry... forgot to measure the gravity so, it will remain a mystery) but it tasted good! we enjoyed all of it and were convinced that we should continue brewing.
Now, almost a year after our first brew (June 10th, 2012) we decided to pay our respect to the guy to started us in this mystical and delicious brewing journey, our friend Chema and this is why, we decided to celebrate our anniversary brewing a special Amber Ale using Chema's Cahuitas recipe as base (we add our own modifications), we added a bit more Crystal Malt, used only Cascade hops,  and boiled for 90mins :-).
During this year, we've meet a lot of great new friends and rejoined with great old friends, home brewing has allowed us to enhance our friendship and that is why we are happy to share our brewing experiences with you, and now... the pictures!!!

Brew day, get every thing set up, clean and sanitize again and again :-)
 Mash tun set up, don't forget the filter!!!
 Strike water ready to hit the mash tun
 Can you recognize this? oh yeah!!!
 Our very cool CCO and Sanitation Engineer making sure we have a nice mash with no lumps of dry grains.

 Happy brewers!!! I know... I know we don't have a home brew but our honey porter was still conditioning and we needed to drink something!!
 Wort... sweet wort!!!

 Hot break almost done!!! let's get ready for hops!!!
 Really Randall, those green pellets that smell funny are Cascade hops!!! I swear!!
 Adding out 1st oz of Cascade hops!!!
 After 90 min boiling, it is time to use our chiller to cool the wort... look how much it has evaporated but, that is the tax you need to pay for a good home brew :-)

 Randall, make sure no one touches the beer!!!
 Working as a team!!! there is still a lot to be done before calling it for the day :-)

Thank you all for taking the time to look at our brews and our blog, we will try to set up a meeting to share this special brew with you, keep a close eye to your facebook calendar!!!

Happy brewing!!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Our growing edge.... beer burgers!!!

Encourage by our friend and chef Chandler Tomayco (http://thechefwithredshoes.wordpress.com/) and "our growing edge" initiative (http://bunnyeatsdesign.com/our-growing-edge/) we decided to document our interesting experience cooking with our home brewed beer.
It is almost a year (in June 10th 2013) that we started home-brewing; although our blog is not that old, we've being growing and exploring new recipes that turn out to be really good, at least for our family and friends.
One of the most interesting edges of beer brewing is, the ability to increase the friends/family reunions, in the best sense it can be said so, as your friends and family continue to visit you in order to help with "beer-quality-control" at some point, we all get hungry.
The natural step would be, to open a bag of chips and share them but.. what if we cook something? what if we cook something with our home-brew in it?
This might sound simple for anyone with a cooking background but, for someone with less than a year of beer-brewing experience and no cooking training (but very passionate for food!!!), it can be become into a very interesting challenge.
The first question that came into our mind: what to cook?, naturally, something that would pair up nicely with beer and, of course, our options, as beer lovers were pizza or burgers; we are completely aware that, for a professional chef, the options would be endless but for us those were, not only the only ones but the best ones, so, after a short debate, we decided to grill some great beer burgers!!
Here is the recipe we followed:

- 1kg lean ground beef
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
- Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Handful finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sause
- 1/2 bottle of Dos Amigos' Gambrinus Cacao Stout

Our stout has a medium body with awesome roasted coffee and chocolate flavors, (in our blog you can find, not only the highlights of the brewing but also a video review of it) we added home-roasted cacao nibs to the mash which can be nicely perceived in the aroma (I'll let you know when we brew more of it)
We mix all the ingredients the night before and let them rest. The next day, we light up the grill, formed the patties and grill them the best we could to a nice medium rare.
Beside having a tasty burger patty, we needed a really nice bun to hold it, we were lucky enough to have fresh, home baked pretzel buns, which were provided by one our friends.
This first attempt to cook with our beers was a great experience, we all enjoyed a huge burger with a delicious home-brew and we are looking forward to do this recipe again.
Hopefully, we'll share the experience again.

Thanks and happy brewing!!