Last Saturday, we were lucky enough to brew a beer with John Holzer. Yep, that John Holzer. Some of you may recognize him from such things as New Brew Thursday and the NBT Brewing homebrew podcast where his alter ego “J-Holz” schools us noobs on how to homebrew like a boss. Seriously folks, he knows his shit. His homebrew set-up is the stuff of legends.
We have previously brewed with John before for our NBTeabag Pale Ale that is made with Irish Breakfast and Earl Grey tea and after fermentation we added pineapple sage and basil and citrus peel. We came over to record a podcast with them and the group of us ended-up killing the keg because it was so tasty. We wanted to make this beer again for the party we are hosting in March to celebrate our marriage with everyone local and John was kind enough to brew the beer with us again. The final beer will be around 5%ABV.
The beer is essentially a pale ale recipe with citra (or citra-like) hops and the tea added to the last few minutes of the boil (essentially at flame-out) and steeped for about 15 minutes. We made a 10 gallon batch this time so we could split it evenly with John. We used 4o bags of Earl Grey and 40 bags of Irish Breakfast to lend a delightful tea aroma to the beer. After the beer ferments the herbs and citrus peel gets added to bring more aroma and spice. The beer blooms into a fruity, light, citrusy, summery beer that is so drinkable and pleasant. It’s like sitting in a rocking chair on your patio in the spring time when suddenly a butterfly lands on you and simultaneously you find 20 bucks in your pocket.
Spending the day in essence watching John command his brew system while sipping some of John’s delicious homebrew was quite fun. We did experience a stuck mash that caused us to dump the first grain batch, but overall everything went really smooth. I enjoyed the fact that John has his own milling machine and we could mill the grains in his driveway. We finished the day with a terrific-smelling wort ready to be fermented and continue it’s journey along the homebrew highway to my mouth.