I ran out of Illinois things to talk about.
So let’s talk about beer.
I’ve been homebrewing since last summer, but I’ve really stepped up my operation since quarantine happened.
As I think about what to brew next, considering creating my own recipe instead of following some existing guidelines, I’ve had so many ideas inspired by the Big Ten that it occurs to me that I’ve already brewed some Big Ten beers!
Are you on Untapp’d?
B1G Themed Beers I’ve Brewed
- I suppose last year’s Homecomingweizen counts, as I brewed this tasty beer for the express purpose of my fraternity drinking the entire 5-gallon batch over Homecoming weekend at Illinois. This was quite tasty for the first couple months, but not much beyond that. The same can’t be said of that weekend’s Illini game against Wisconsin.
- Brewed in preparation for the 2019 edition of the most storied rivalry in college athletics, NUTGERS RED ALE is the header image and was ready in time for the November 2nd ILLINUTGERS tilt. I first steeped Cara Brown Supreme malt and a small amount of chocolate barley in my water, then used light liquid malt extract and middle-of-the-road Northern Brewer hops. This was in line with the recipe I had for a nice red (some would even say Scarlet) ale...UNTIL I added 13 oz of PB2 peanut butter powder at flame-out and mixed it in before chilling the wort. A packet of Sachet yeast fermented it into a medium-bodied red ale with a distinct peanut flavor throughout. LET’S GET NUTTY. You bet your ass if football season happens I’m brewing this again.
- I took a bit of a hiatus until quarantine happened. At that point, brewing helped me deal with the emptiness of losing an Illini basketball season right at the precipice of glory. I brewed up Kofi Cockbeern Chocolate Stout to help me cope. I do not know where the original recipe has gone, but I deviated very little from it. This was a chocolate stout with lactose added for a smooth, sweet, milkshake-like quality. I used Wilbur cocoa powder from Lancaster County, PA (a favorite of my wife)...and also, when I was brewing, I realized I didn’t have any brewer’s yeast. So, technically, to recreate this beer exactly, you need two packets of Fleischmann’s Dry Active bread yeast. I do not recommend it for any other purpose. In spite of that, this one turned out pretty nice, sweet and smooth, a very thick and stout chocolate presence in the post that blocks you from eating other things because it’s pretty filling as it dunks itself down your throat.
- My next endeavor was an American Cream Ale that ended up tasting essentially like beer. I called it Regular Beer. It’s beer. No more and no less. The Iowa Hawkeyes of beer.
- My most recent brew to be finished was Orange & Brew Illinois, which started life as a witbier kit that required me to steep pale malt, wheat and oats into my strike water before adding dry and liquid wheat malt extract, CZ Saaz and Willamette hops and eventually pitched with Sachet yeast. I replaced some of the water with 3⁄4 gallon of fresh squeezed orange juice, and got the requisite orange peel and coriander by adding Penzey’s coriander and pulverizing three whole oranges into the brew. The point, you see, is orange. I had a bit of trouble siphoning this between containers, as small chunks of orange clogged my siphon, but eventually I ended up with a very orange-heavy witbier with the spice of coriander and the bitterness of the intact orange peel all present and accounted for. Of course you get the glory of the orange, but not without the bitterness of the peel. A perfect encapsulation of Illini fandom!
- I received a little 3L whiskey barrel as a wedding present. I’d been aging some whiskeys in there over the last few months with mixed results (much better for cheaper stuff honestly). Well, as I was brewing Kofi Cockbeern, I started to hear that Kofi Cockburn the man himself might declare for the draft. It was then that I decided to put some of the stout in my barrel to see if perhaps Kofi could benefit from a little more time for maturity and refinement and if perhaps a slightly more aged Kofi would be more suitable for the draught. I will be bottling Kofi Cockbeern With Another Year To Prepare For The Draught later in the year.
Ideas I’ve Had
Frankly, an interesting beer can come from a name. That’s how I came up with the concept of NUTGERS. Take something red, add nuts.
- Orange Blue Orange: Take that American Cream Ale and add orange juice and blueberries to it
- Hail To The Orange: Put a bunch of oranges and some vanilla into an imperial blonde ale and add lactose to create a dreamsicle type of situation
- Paul Chryst: An American lager that has ingredients and the great thing about ingredients is that when you put them all together, they make a beer.
- Hideous Flag Motif: This is just what I’ll call it when I figure out how to make a beer that tastes like Old Bay that doesn’t induce vomiting.
- Floyd of Rosedale: start with an amber, add bacon fat, hickory smoke and salt, and then only give it to Iowa fans
- Hoosier Football: This will be a more difficult one, because it’s going to need to start out sweet and more pleasant than you think is even possible, only to devolve into a bitter mess of entirely too much Cascade hops at the end and maybe some Malort aftertaste.
- Goldy: How can I brew a Belgian golden strong that is endearing to Minnesotans and somewhat unsettling to everyone else?
- Ohio State: no, actually, this is moonshine because you’re not playing the same game that the rest of us are
Y’all know me. You give me a good enough idea that seems achievable, I’ll brew some up.