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Pale Ales, Hefeweizens, and IPAs! Oh my!

So, it's been a while since I've posted anything in this blog. In fact, it's been nearly 5 months. This has mostly been due to the birth of my new son, Aaron, who was born on June 2, 2011. He's four months old now and I'm just coming out of the new parent/new job fog enough to be able to start catching up on the incredible back log of things that I would like to do, like update this blog. One thing that hasn't lagged though, is my actual brewing. Even though (up until today), I hadn't updated the site at all since May, I've been brewing right along. I've brewed the Propagation Pale Ale again, I've brewed a new recipe, the Heisenberg Hefeweizen (more on this in a minute), and, just this last weekend, I brewed another new recipe, the Neuralizer Imperial IPA. Also in the mean time, the parti-gyle brewfest I had in May in which I brewed the Limbic Libation Barleywine and the Aftershock Amber Lager, has resulted in some of the better beers I've ever made. The Limbic Libation, even in the five short conditioning months it's had since brewing, turned out so smooth and so balanced, that I'm definitely going to enter it into competition next year. The Aftershock, after three months of lagering, has really turned into a dangerously delicious beer. Everyone who's tried it has loved it, and my buddy Ken says that he, "...could drink irresponsible amounts of this."

Overall, it's been a very successful brewing year so far. The move to all-grain brewing has proven to be very rewarding and a lot more fun than the traditional extract/partial mash brewing I was doing before. Now, I'm going to be pushing the envelope on past recipes, as well as brewing new recipes to test the limits of all-grain brewing. Next up, I think, will be the Dark Matter Doppelbock, re-conceived as an all-grain brew complete with decoction mashing. I'm looking forward to that one. Now a little more on the Heisenberg.

The Results are In!

My brewing buddy Ken and I decided that we'd throw caution to the wind and submit a few of our beers to the biggest homebrew competition in the United States, the National Homebrew Competition, hosted by the American Homebrewer's Association. The competition starts with regional, first round competitions of up to 650 entries per judging center, then the winners from each category of those rounds move on to the final round, which is being held in San Diego, CA on June 6th.

I decided to enter my Cacao Idaeus, Fall Down Brown, and Dark Matter Doppelbock this year, even though none of them turned out the way I wanted them to. I thought it would be interesting to get professional feedback, and that it would be awesome to get some accolades for what my friends call, great beer (and I think so too).

The HUGE Brew

As I said in my last post, yesterday was National Homebrew Day, which was marked by homebrewers brewing in households all over the nation on the same day. Most of these brews were coordinated by the American Homebrewers Association and involved predetermined recipes that were posted on their website. But, I didn't want to brew any of those recipes, since I like making my own beer. :) So, I decided to brew the biggest beer that I could think of to both mark this event, and to commemorate my soon-to-be-born baby boy (4 weeks away! OMG!). Since this will be our second child, and two kids is exponentially more difficult than one, I decided to brew an exponentially harder beer to make, which of course meant brewing TWO beers using a brewing technique called parti-gyle! The parti-gyle technique involves making two beers from the same base grain: a strong beer from the first runnings, and a lighter beer from the second runnings. So, I created a new Barleywine recipe using this technique that is made without sparging (just draining the mash from the grain bed), which yields a pure and intensely malty flavor from the grain, followed by a Dark Amber Lager made from the second runnings (steeping and rinsing of the grain bed). The beers are named the Limbic Libation Barleywine and the Aftershock Amber Lager.

Big Brew Saturday - National Homebrew Day

This Saturday, May 7th, is National Homebrew Day. In observance, I'm going to do a very big brew, the biggest I've ever done. I'll be doing a parti-gyle brew, which involves making two beers from one batch of grain. This process will take around 9 hours, so I'll need some support. If you happen to be in the bay area and are interested in joining me/helping me out/drinking my other beers, I'd love to have the company.

Propagation Pale Ale Brewed!

Last Tuesday, I took a personal day and used my time to brew my second all-grain batch of beer, the Propagation Pale Ale. It was really a lot of fun, though it took a lot longer than I thought it would.

Welcome to Grey Matter

Welcome to my new website for my homebrewing operation, Grey Matter Brewing. My name is Ari Berman, and I've been brewing beer for about 4.5 years. I live north of San Francisco, CA, and I brew out of my garage, like most homebrewers. I'm a Neuroscientist by day, and super-ninja brewer by night. The name of my brewing operation should be obvious, Grey Matter being one of the two major anatomical tissue types in the brain. Also, since I'm an uber-geek, my beer naming scheme is almost always rooted in some science topic. So, read the descriptions in the Beers section of the website.