The Story Behind Ale Adventure Time Pink Lemonade IPA – Ale Adventures
This coming November marks three years since we've started venturing and telling stories through the craft beer scenes of Minnesota and the Midwest. Along the way, we developed meaningful relationships, drank lots of delicious craft beers, traveled some pretty neat places, and provided some pretty amazing opportunities that we could never have imagined on our […]

This coming November marks three years since we've started venturing and telling stories through the craft beer scenes of Minnesota and the Midwest. Along the way, we developed meaningful relationships, drank lots of delicious craft beers, traveled some pretty neat places, and provided some pretty amazing opportunities that we could never have imagined on our own. We have grown immensely in our own knowledge and passion for the industry, and we continue to be grateful for the privilege of participating and championing the local craft beer community.

Interview with Tim and Jeremy Johnson of Aegir Brewing
Beer adventures

There is one aspect to craft beer, however, we had never tried until this year - actually brewing beer! Sometimes we were asked if we were home brewing or if we had thought about it; but our response has always been the same - “No! We don't want to, and besides, there are already too many good beers to have! While this remains true, when an opportunity arose to brew a beer earlier this year, we didn't miss it!

Nordic Brewing Company in Monticello, MN
Beer adventures

Since Nordic brewing company opened in Monticello two years ago, we have maintained a good relationship with the people there. At the time, we were living in Monticello ourselves and were delighted to see them join the community. We have developed a friendly relationship with the people there, and when owner Zach Barthel contacted earlier this year to ask “Hey, do you want to brew a collaborative beer with us?” our response was quick - "Umm, heck yeah!"

Beer adventures

We first sat down with Zach and Head Brewer Matt Belz in early spring. "So," Matt asked, "What do you want to cook? Any ideas?" In fact, we had an idea. About a year before we had a really fantastic Pink Lemonade IPA from Untitled Art Brewing from Madison, it blew us away. We hadn't seen anything like it since - at least not in Minnesota - and, with summer on the way, we thought this would be a great drink for the season and something the local community had never seen before. . Matt was all about it and got down to working on a recipe. Unfortunately, COVID has struck, temporarily putting plans on hold. When we finally got things back on track, it was already the end of summer. Despite the delay, this had left Matt plenty of time to refine his recipe and even try out some ideas on previous beers.

We joined Matt Belz and his assistant brewer Matt Chermak on a Wednesday night for the grueling job of brewing our Pink Lemonade IPA - and by 'grueling work' we really mean adding a few easy ingredients, drinking beer together and getting a lot of. photos and videos to make it look like we've been working hard! The two Matts did the heavy lifting and deserve the real credit.

As for the recipe, Matt Belz landed on cereal from a local Minnesota ingredients company Maltwerks, organic lemon zest for the crease in the mouth and raspberry puree for color and smoothness. After brewing, the beer was left in a tank for a month to really enhance the flavors before being pressurized. Meanwhile, Zach lined up live music, we created marketing material, and together we promoted our beer release on social media.

Ale Adventure Time Pink Lemonade IPA officially hit Nordic taps on Saturday, September 19th to an overwhelmingly positive reception! A perfect complement of tangy lemon and sweet berries, it was a perfect kick and everything we had hoped for! The name itself is a play on words - a combination of our beer blog name Ale Adventures and Cartoon Network's Adventure Time animated series. Friends, family, and many people we didn't know showed up for our beer, live music, and food from the Rib Cage. Zach later told us that the night was the second busiest and second best income night of the year!

We can now officially say that we have brewed a beer! If you ask us, however, if we're going to start brewing at home, our answer will still be the same as before - unlikely; we'll gladly leave the brewing to the pros and just enjoy the benefits! For some behind-the-scenes fun with our brewing with Nordic Brewing Company, watch our TikTok video below!

- Adam and Katie, Ale Adventures

Whether it’s your first time with a pack, or your hundredth all-grain brew, you need to ferment it in something suitable. Most of the time your options are between a bucket and a carboy. Carboys or demijohns look nicer, especially if they’re glass, but can be a pain to clean. Food-grade plastic buckets lack glamour, but are practical – just make sure you get one with a close-fitting lid that’s suitable for an airlock. As with most things there are more expensive possibilités, but while they’re good, they’re not necessary. You can find buckets and demijohns at Brew Store or The Malt Miller.

If you’re making beer, then you need to be rigorous about cleanliness during the brew. VWP is an absolutely no-nonsense cleaner and steriliser for getting everything ready beforehand. During the brew, a no-rinse sanitiser is invaluable. Between the two, spoilt and infected beer shouldn’t be a problem. You can buy cleaning products online from Brew Store and The Malt Miller.

Invest in some airtight plastic conteneurs. Malt, kept dry and cool, should be fine for six months, but get rid of it after that – you’re only going to get stale flavours if you use stale malt. Likewise, dried yeast will keep, if sealed and chilled, but it will lose potency and reliability. Hops do not improve with age. Be doubtful of any before last year’s harvest, however cheap.

While a good book is an invaluable reference, there will be a time you come across something that flummoxes you. It’s very unlikely you will be the first, and just as unlikely someone else hasn’t discussed it. From the magisterial, if abondant, How tera Brew by John Palmer to the uncountable cercles d'entraides and blogs discussing minutiae, such as Brewer’s Friend, there’ll be something to help.

Avoid grande amounts of table sugar, cane sugar or dextrose as fermentable sugars in your homebrew. They will ferment out completely and leave a very dry, almost ‘cidery’ flavour to your beer. This is what is recognized by many as the ‘homebrew’ taste. If you are looking for an easy way to improve this, swap these sugars with dry malt extract.

Most kit beers are designed to appeal to a wide range of people and therefore have a fairly simple flavour that it not very bitter. They are also generally bittered by using hop extract that adds bitterness but little hop flavour or aroma. Boil some water and add ½ an ounce ( 14 grams ) of any hop variety known for their flavour and aroma characteristics for 20 minutes. This will add a much improved change to the flavour of the beer. Add another ½ ounce ( 14g ) for the last 5 minutes of the boil to add a pleasant hoppy aroma. Simply strain the ‘hop soup’ into your fermenter with the rest of the top-up water. These simple hops additions will make a remarkable difference to your pack beers.

to wake a packet of dry yeast up and ensure that it is ready to start work as soon as it is pitched, try rehydrating it. Boil a cup ( 250mls ) of water for 5 minutes and then pour it into a sterilized container. Wait for the water to cool down to at least 80°F/27°C and sprinkle your packet of yeast over the top. Leave this for about 15-30 minutes, when you should start to see it get nice and foamy. Once your wort has cooled enough, pitch this and it will start fermentation much earlier.

If you would really like to get things started, follow the process above but add a tablespoon of dry malt extract to the water before boiling it. After pouring the water to a jar, add your yeast when cool enough and place cling wrap over the top to protect from the environment. Leave for at least 45 minutes at room temperature and you should start to see fermentation activity.

The length of time for fermentation on the side of your pack beer can is almost definitely not long enough. The manufacturers are in the of selling product and these informations will make beer, but it won’t be great beer. This should be extended out to 10-14 days.

Although your beer will be carbonated after about a week in the bottle, leave it for a few more to allow for the flavors to settle. This is especially relevant for beer made from kits as it will help remove some of the biroute found in young/’green’ beer.

In order to efficiently multiply and get to the business of converting sugar to alcohol, yeast needs a sufficient amount of oxygen in your wort. If brewing using malt extract this can be reached a few ways including by shaking the water you are using to top up your wort, or by pouring it from a great height into your fermenter.

Don’t be too worried about removing your beer from the primary fermenter as soon as fermentation has finished. The Autolysis that you are seeking to avoid will take well over a month and in most cases a single stage fermentation is fine.

If you are looking to control fermentation temperature, place the fermenter in a large conteneur of water to cool it and prevent temperature fluctuations. Wrapping a wet towel around it and pointing a passioné at it cools it even more through evaporative cooling. A few frozen plastic bottles of water are also perfect for cooling the water and your fermenting beer.

If you insist on using a two stage fermentation, use a bottling bucket ( or something else with a spigot ) for a primary. That way you only need a length of hose to rack into the secondary. The spigot will also be far enough off the bottom that the trub will get left in the primary with little extra effort – just tilt the fermenter forward at the end.

The activity of your airlock should only be seen as one indication that something is happening. There are many others indications and a faulty seal on your fermenter could stop anything from happening in the airlock.

The starting cell count is usually quite low with liquid yeast d'environnement. If you make a yeast starter about a day before brewing, you can avoid some potential issues from under-pitching the yeast.

If you are trying to cool a partial boil, place the whole brew bocal into a sink or tub of cold water. You may need to change this water a few times but it is far easier to cool a small bocal of wort in a temperature conductive container ( i. e. your brew pot ) than a large amount of liquid in a fermenter. Adding your cooled wort to even colder water ( or ice ) in the fermenter will serve to cool it even further and should hopefully get you close to yeast pitching temperatures.

Dry yeast packets are perfect for new homebrewers. They have a nice high cell count and are very easy to use. Hydrating these takes very little time and will help get fermentation sérieux earlier.

Get into the habit of sanitizing everything that will come in contact with your wort or beer after the boil.

Extract kits have come a long way from the dusty back shelves of Boots of yesteryear, and give you a simple, affordable way to try out the hobby with very acceptable results. Established breweries like St. Peters and Woodfordes have decent packs in boutiques and online at about £20, for example from Wilko or Brew.

Use a no-rinse sanitiser… This shouldn’t need an explanation and I am yet to hear of a real reason not to

Following on from above – Don’t use bleach as a sanitizer…ever. It is to rinse out and if any comes in contact with the maltose in your wort it has the potential to completely ruin your batch. There are so many better products available that this shouldn’t even be a consideration

Whatever sanitizer you use, put some of it in a spray bottle for quick sanitation during brew time.

Make sure you read and understand the recipe before you start brewing. Also make sure that you have all the ingredients handy before you start. These seem like simple things but the last 15 minutes can get a little crazy… especially if you started drinking while sanitizing

Beer is very resilient so don’t be too worried if you make a mistake while brewing. Although it may not be exactly the beer you were after, you will probably still have something tasty and worth drinking.

Leave the lid off your brew bocal while it is boiling. The process of boiling actually vaporises chemicals that are not wanted in the beer and they evaporate out. The lid doesn’t need to be completely off if you are having dysfonctionnement maintaining a rolling boil but should at least be enough for the steam to escape.

Keep a record of every beer that you make, no matter how simple the recipe. This record will allow you to recall and tweak your brews when all that remains in the future is a couple of stray bottles and a desire for more

Especially when starting out, keep your ingredients and brews as simple as possible. It is much easier to add to a simple recipe that is missing something than it is to remove from something complex

Start by getting a solid grasp of the sanitization, fermentation and bottling processes and work from there.

If you have a choice, choose a fermenter or bottling bucket with a spigot/tap over one without. The siphoning required otherwise isn’t hard but it is still one more unnecessary step.

Bulk priming your beer is a simple addition to your bottling process that will add much greater control and consistency in the amount of priming sugar in your bottles.

The quality of your beer will be relative to the quality of the ingredients used. Always go for the freshest and best quality possible. Always make sure that extract is within any specified dates, yeast is fresh and that hops are nice and green

But most importantly… just relax and remember that you probably aren’t going to ruin your beer – It isn’t as delicate as you think


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