Friday, May 14, 2010

Birthday Celebration - Southern Star Style

Since I'm now officially "old", I figured the best way to celebrate this sad eventuality was to check-off another brewery on my "bucket list". It just so happened Southern Star Brewery in Conroe, TX announced they were brewing an 18 bbl (approximately 558 gallons) batch of elusive "brown" wort and giving it away to homebrewers on May 1st! Since my birthday was just 12 hours post-delivery of this sweet barley malt, how could I resist?

The plan was, shall we say, simple - Leave San Antonio by 7:30am to arrive in the boonies, I mean Conroe, by 11:30am. The mysterious "brown" wort was said to arrive by 12:30pm, but there are inherent "obligations" that must be taken care of when visiting a brewery, such as:
  1. Thou shalt sample any and all beer made available by the brewery...unless thine stomach is gluten intolerant....or thou not likest anything except "fruit" beer.

  2. Thou shalt purchase a souvenir pint glass...and thoroughly protect it so your significant other doesn't "accidentally" break it...and blame you for not better protecting the glass.

  3. Thou shalt walk around the brewery unattended and attempt to touch as many shiny stainless parts as possible...similar to a dog visiting a new dogpark.

  4. Thou shalt hold thine bladder as long as possible...since the restroom is typically a well frequented port-a-poddy sitting in the hot sun....fermenting at high krausen.

After our obligations were met, we lined up to receive the cooled, aerated wort around 12:15pm. I couldn't help but notice 95% of the 100+ homebrewer turnout were carrying glass carboys. For those not familiar with a glass carboy, it's a large glass cylinder with a narrow mouth opening. Full of wort, they weigh around 50 lbs and, being glass, are quite slippery when wet. Needless to say, I expected to see at least one spectacular carboy explosion...But, fortunately, there were none since the head brewer loaned out his keg dolly to transport the carboys.

Around 12:30pm my early b-day present arrived - a skip and a hop to the front of the wort waiting line. You see, the brewery had to search for a funnel to fit in the small-ish mouth of the glass carboys. I, on the other hand, avoid glass like the Plague and brought two 3 gallon kegs to fill. Why two 3 gallon kegs instead of a single 5 gallon keg? Because I needed to keep the 3 gallon kegs cold in my rolling kegerator until we arrived back in San Antonio 36 hours later. Come on, silly, keep up with the story.

Happy b-day!

The rest is history...Well, at l
east what I recall from that day. And, not from over-indulging either; it's actually a simple case of early onset alzheimer's disease...Now, what was I saying again? Ah, yes, God is good...


883# Rahr Pale Ale
110# Simpsons Brown
110# Simpsons Cara 30-37
75# Wyermann Munich II
12# Briess Cherrywood Smoked Malt

1 hr mash (152F), 1 hr Boil

Hops Schedule:

60 3.5# Palisade
20 1.45 # Palisade
10 .5# Nugget
0 3# Sterling

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