Monday, October 29, 2012

Behind the Beers: Chai Milk Stout

The Chai Milk Stout is our 2nd best selling beer in the winter months.  Something about coming in from the cold, sitting in a warm pub and drinking a stout with tea-like spices in it that is comforting.

This was another recipe that was started by Chris Kennedy.  The Yak & Yeti has a house-made blend of chai spices for our Chai Tea that we sell.  You can get the tea hot or cold, but most prefer it hot.   Chai Tea traditionally is served with a little milk or cream, and so the idea for Chai Milk Stout was born.  There aren’t too many beers that use lactose (milk sugar) as far as ingredients, but the Milk Stout or Sweet Stout (as some call it) does contain lactose.   So, in our opinion, the absolutely best style of beer to put chai spices in is a milk stout.   At the GABF this year we saw a Chai Wheat and Chai Amber beer, but they didn’t compare to the well-matched Chai Milk Stout.

A quick side explanation of Sweet Stout.  What makes it sweet?  Adding more sugar?  Contrary to common sense, the more sugar one adds to the beer, the LESS sweet it will become.  The reason is that yeast loves sugar. It is it’s primary source of food.   The food is converted to mainly CO2 and alcohol.  So add more sugar and it gets consumed and turned into more alcohol, not sweetness.  Lactose (or milk sugar) is special in the fact that normal brewer’s yeast cannot metabolize it.  So instead of turning it into alcohol, it leaves it behind, leaving the beer slightly sweeter than other styles of beer, (example would be its close sibling Dry Stout).

One question that is most asked is how we get the spices into the beer.  The spice blend and the process are one of our trade-secrets, but I can tell you that it isn’t added in the boil, but rather in secondary to retain all the great spice flavors.  The recipe hasn’t changed much but I did add some oats to give the beer a larger foam head, as it was always collapsing before.  We also started getting better efficiency with the mash tun, so I scaled it back so that I wasn’t wasting so much grain.

At the GABF this year we poured this beer and it was probably the most popular of our beers.  People would come up to the booth after hearing recommendations from their friends “Do you still have the Chai Stout?,” they would ask.  Indeed we do.

If you haven’t had a pint for awhile, check it out and maybe you’ll appreciate the beer a little more knowing what’s Behind the Beer.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Behind the Beers: Namaste Pilsner

I’ve been pretty lame when it has been to blogging lately and want to give more information besides what beers I’m releasing.  In attempt to blog more, I thought I’d start a short series of posts that talk about our flagship beers and how they came to exist and why they are still on tap.

I’ll have to apologize that I may not know all the origins of these beers, but will at least give you it the story from my perspective. 

Namaste” roughly translates to “I bow to you” and is a traditional Indian/Nepalese greeting and parting gesture.  It is usually accompanied with hands pressed together and a bow, of course.  Chris Kennedy was my predecessor and I’m presuming he named this beer.  If I remember correctly, he started making this beer as a lager but at one point it changed to a Kolsch-style Ale.  It was a Kolsch when I came on board but the name was still Namaste Pilsner.

I had recently just graduated from the World Brewing Academy where I spent 5 weeks in Germany and was highly affectionate with classic German Lagers.  I had drank plenty of authentic pilsners during this time and longed for fresh examples in America.   So my dilemma was: (a) change the name to Namaste Kolsch and keep Chris’ recipe, or (b) do I keep the name, ditch the recipe completely, develop a Pilsner recipe and source a lager yeast?

Ultimately, I chose to keep the name and change the recipe to a Northern German-style pilsner with 100% Weyermann Pilsner malt and about 35IBU’s of Tettnager hops.  The yeast I sourced from Del Norte Brewing.  You may be telling me that DNB makes nothing but Mexican lagers and not German lagers.   All Mexican lagers are decedents of German lagers, where else did the yeast come from?   I like this yeast strain, it produces slightly more sulfur than other yeast strains and thus gives the lager more of bite/edge and accentuates the hops/bitterness.

The first batch which was made was submitted to the 2011 Colorado State Fair competition where it won a 3rd place medal in the Pilsner category.

The Namaste Pilsner remains the 2nd or 3rd best selling beer for us in the summer months.  If you haven’t had a pint for awhile, check it out and maybe you’ll appreciate the beer a little more knowing what’s Behind the Beer.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blueberry Tart

Sours at the Yak & Yeti? Well, not exactly.  I’ve been playing with acid malt and working some recipes that give tartness, not a true sour beer.  To explain, most sour beers have been inoculated with Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and other various bacteria to give the beer a sour edge. Just like blue cheese, some people adore it, others loath it, the same can be said for sour beers.

I don’t really want to deliberately infect my lines just to have one sour beer, so I tried to compromise and use a clean method for producing a lower pH beer and mixed with blueberries, we get Blueberry Tart.  Inspired by the pie-like dessert, this beer has malts similar to a brown ale but has a ton of blueberry puree added in the secondary.  Released on Wed Oct 18th at 4PM.  Some like them tart, others nart!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2012 GABF week special beer tappings

To help celebrate the Denver Beer Week, we are releasing 4 of our standard beers with a TWIST.

On Wednesday 10th, at 4PM:

  1. Roasted Lena – our jalapeno lena made by pre-roasting the peppers in our tandoori oven.  what a treat!
  2. Apple Cinnamon Ale – our GF Apple Ale with Cinnamomum_cassia aka real cinnamon bark in the keg.  still 100% Gluten-free!
  3. Blueberry Pie – our Victorian Wheat with 3lbs of blueberry puree added to each keg.  some like them purple!

Lastly when the Haunted Beer series tap opens up (probably friday) we’ll have the Oaked Himalayan IPA back on tap.

Come to the Yak and Yeti Brewpub to help us celebrate GABF and Denver Beer Week.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Collaboration: Saison Automne

It’s time to release another homebrew collaboration, this time with Scott Jackson.  Scott is an award-winning homebrewer and just recently was bestowed with the 2012 Colorado State Fair Best of Show!  The winning ale was a wheat wine aged in a 5gal mini barrel.   I had a chance to taste this beer on tap at Scott’s and it was worthy of the win, very delicious.

Scott proposed we brew his famous Saison Automne and release it this fall.   A fairly straight-forward imperial saison but with a few more specialty malts for flavor/color as well as homemade dark candy sugar which adds color and complexity.   I couldn’t repeat this beer even if I wanted, unless I got more yeast from Scott’s own Belgian yeast blend!  This beer comes in at 9.6%ABV and 31IBU’s. 

Released at 4PM on Oct 3rd, 2012.  Decide for yourself if this is a good saison, who knows it may be your new fall favorite.