JAMA-KIN’ Me Crazy

Many things have been going on in brew world.  For that reason, this will be a triple post coming from Matt, John, and I.  Get ready! Are ya’ ready? Are ya’ ready?

*First up Matt “Vashidastampedo” Timmers with JAMA Red (Pictured Left).

JAMA Red is the third beer in a short, unabashedly chromographic list of beers Matt’s office (John A. Martin and Associates – JAMA) has contracted us to brew.  Under pressure of Matt being downsized, we concocted the recipe for this traditional Irish Red to save his job.

The actual brewing was smooth and efficient.  Worthy of noting is the distinct – not like “maybe I can taste LYCHEE in this Hefeweizen” distinct, but truly distinct – aroma of cocoa during the mash and boil.  The recipe is simple, containing only Maris Otter, crystal malts, and roasted barley.  Where the cocoa came from is a mystery, and we will definitely be looking for it in the next Red.

Perhaps more notable than the brewing is the journey to this beer’s resting place in the constant 70.5F accounting closet of Matt’s office.  JAMA is located in the Federal Reserve Bank of Los Angeles, under strict airport style security 24 hours a day.  Imagine trying to bring an opaque, un-openable container of undisclosed liquid onto your next Southwest flight.  Only through planning and graphically enhanced emails to the FRB police were we able to finagle a smooth transfer to the accounting closet.  Of course, we told them it was only water…

Less than 48 hours into JAMA Red’s life, the airlock has completely stopped bubbling.  Maybe we had a great pitching rate, great aeration, and primary fermentation might be complete.  Maybe something is wrong.  A quick gravity reading tomorrow will let us know if we need to pitch more yeast, pitch the beer into the sink, or relax and have a homebrew.  Stay tuned for the (exciting?) conclusion.

Thanks Matt I can’t wait to hear what happens next!  Next up we have John “Truth Bomb” Rockwell with the bottling of Snoopyberry Wheat.

After 10 to 14 days in primary fermentation at temperatures between 65 and 72, Snoopyberry was racked to the smaller carboy for some conditioning.  The krausen during primary never got very high and never threatened the blow off tube, but that’s not too surprising since the starting gravity was a modest 1038.

Snoopy stayed in secondary for about a week hovering around 50 degrees F to cold condition, which I read can help make a beer good. After the week was done it was on to bottling and kegging!

Most of the beer was kegged, pulled off 4 22oz bottles for Matt and Kip while the rest went into the 5 gal keg. I went back and forth between deciding to naturally carbonate using sugar or to force carbonate using the CO2 tank. In the end I was impatient and decided to force carbonate, which meant adding sugar straight into the bottles! We are crossing our fingers I measured correctly and no bottles explode and no bottles are flat. Hope for the best.

The beer is well on its way to being fully carbonated by now (5 days after kegging) and it is pretty easy to drink.  The light body and low alcohol (about 3.3% ABV) make for a session-able beer while the wheat adds a nice creamy smoothness.  In the end the berry’s impact left a little to be desired, aka any berry flavor at all would have been nice, but really what fun would it be if the beer turned out perfect the 1st time around.  Although… if I close my eyes and concentrate real hard I can taste the subtle berry flavor and hints of honey malt…Maybe.

So for now, full keg of easy drinking beer and visions of Snoopyberry 2 dancing in my head.

Thanks John.  Great update I can’t wait for the tasting debut. Finally, Pumpkin Stout and whats coming up next.

I racked the pumpkin beer last night (wednesday the 13th), which was very uneventful except for the tasting.  It’s always exciting to taste the beer at this point because it’s finally starting to taste like beer.  The beer is thick, the attenuation was not what I wanted, but it’s not bad either.  It’ll be about 4.5-5% ABV which is good.  I feel like all of my stouts have attenuated a little poorly (around 60-65%) so I should start accounting for this when next I brew this style.  The cinnamon comes through, but not too strongly.  I may back off a little more though just to make it more subtle.  The color is completely black and opaque…no flashlight will penetrate – perfect for Harvest Time.  I’m really excited to bottle/keg this one.  It has a very velvety texture that will be exiting to submit to a contest.

Next up, we bottle the next edition of Wedding Saison, we have to start planning for the Christmas Beers, and also come to a consensus about the next bRuinslayer.  I can’t wait.


About John Rockwell

John Rockwell is a co-founder of LA Ale Works and contributing writer to Bierkast. He has been home brewing for over seven years and is a certified BJCP judge, "Bring me your beer!".

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