Aug 25 2010

Kiwi Beer?

Last week at work we ended up with about 50 or so left over kiwis. (It’s for a project we’re working on, don’t ask – besides, we can’t tell yet anyways.) Needless to say, there was a surplus of leftover fruit. So I nabbed a bag and figured I would do what instinctively came first – try to ferment them into alcohol. So I made up a one gallon batch of beer wort (nothing special, just an ale) and added in 10 sliced up kiwis for the last 5 minutes of the boil, just enough time I figure to sterilize them. Then I let them steep for about an hour before removing them. I have no idea how this is going to turn out. I tasted a bit of the wort and it didn’t taste like kiwis, but it did have hints of the sourness. Because of the sugars in the fruit, the expected ABV on this bad boy is 15%. I didn’t have any yeast that could withstand that amount of alcohol at the time, so it should be more around the 12% mark. It’s been a day since I pitched the yeast, and I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an active fermentation before – bubbles like crazy. Very curious to how this will turn out.

Aug 8 2010

Special Project Series #1: Doritos Style Ale

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Flash Developer by trade at Firstborn. While working on my last project, I came up with a neat idea. For every project I worked on, I would make a special beer that somehow relates to that project, and upon site launch, the team would celebrate with these unique custom home brews. I recently finished and launched my first project that I decided to do this for. (Actually, it was weeks ago but only recently have we gotten the PR approval to talk about it.)

The first beer in what I am calling the ‘Special Project Series’ was for Doritos. Though the ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Firstborn created the homepage for, for which I was lead developer on (as well as lead brewer). At first, I had thought about putting actual Doritos into the beer – but that sounds disgusting. I think while cheese and beer pair well together, putting cheese in beer is not a good idea. So instead, I decided to use ingredients that are similar to Doritos.

Since Doritos are corn tortillas, it made sense to add flaked corn into the mash as an adjunct. And since Doritos are deemed a pretty American snack, I also wanted an American barley, so I went with American 6-Row. I also added some Briess Special Roast, which is supposed to impart biscuit and bread-like toasty flavors. For my hops, I went for different hops that had characteristics of Doritos, so I picked ones described as peppery and spicy. The exact hops I chose were Yakima Magnum Pellet Hops (Intensely spicy (black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg), Simcoe Hop Pellets (mahogany/walnut wood aroma), and Argentine Cascade Pellet Hops (spicy, peppery, and herbal lemon grass). Lastly, for choice of yeast I went with Wyeast Belgian Saison, which is used for farmhouse style ales. I also threw in a few peppercorns into the boil.

In the end, it came out pretty damn good. One day after the project launched, I sat down with most of the main team for the project (Jen, our art director, Jason our producer, Francis our Technical Director, and Roushey one of the supporting developers) and we all had a bottle. The beer came out dry, and it did in fact have toasty bread-like flavors. It didn’t seem as spicy as I thought it would, but it was still good. And everyone seemed to really dig it, and that was the most important part. However, picking a beer for Doritos seemed pretty easy. My next/current project, however, might be a little more tricky…

Note: There are some process photos on flickr.

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