I Was Really Curious About the 7-Spoke Stout…..
Hi all - as you all hopefully know by now, we have a beer on tap! Our "7 Spoke Stout" is just starting to show up around town. Expect to see it around more in the coming weeks! When we know it's going to be somewhere, we'll update Facebook so you'll know where to take your friends to buy them beers and convince them to join! Once again, we'd like to thank everyone over at Northwest Brewing Company - without their help, the beer wouldn't have been brewed commercially and it wouldn't be available around town. Thanks again and again!
Anyhow, David Flynn (you know, the guy that won the competition and HIS recipe is the 7 Spoke Stout!) was kind enough to answer some questions about stouts and beer in general. To coincide with the wide release of the stout, here is that interview!
July 30th, 2012
Tim Dery: How did you hear about Flying Bike?
David Flynn: Fellow member Cam Bruce told me about it and I was instantly sold. I liked the idea of being part of the Thirsty 300, and I’ll continue to be extremely thirsty until we open. Membership matters people!!
TD: How many years have you been brewing?
DF: Outside of an attempted batch in college…I’ve been brewing for 2 years.
TD: What are your favorite hop and malt?
DF: I’ll go Cascade for hops. As boring as that may be for some, it is still delicious! Plus, I’m nerdy enough to grow them in my backyard so I appreciate them growing for me and my black thumb. As for malt, Cara-Munich or something close to that.
TD: What is your favorite beer style to brew? Favorite recipe? Favorite to drink?
DF: I’m still new enough to brewing that I really just try to do something new each time. The only brew that I’ve done more than once is my Pale Ale, which is attempting to be a gateway beer of sorts. I love drinking IPA’s, although I lean towards some of the less ludicrous IPA’s that are still balanced. At some point the IBU’s are just lost on me.
TD: What is your favorite piece of brewing equipment?
DF: I really like my Igloo Mash Tun because I made it with a little help from the good people at Home Depot. BeerSmith is a close second if that counts as equipment.
TD: Can you tell us how your winning recipe came to be?
DF: I went to Malt & Vine and picked up my favorite Stout’ish beers. I put those in my belly! I did some reading on the world wide web and also listened to some podcasts and looked at clones of those beers. Maui Brewing had an interview on Basic Brewing that was really helpful, and the BeerSmith podcast had a Stout episode. I considered color, malt flavors, hops, and the big one with these stout guys was head. I came away from that research with a Stout recipe that had 15+ ingredients. Then I picked up Brewing Classic Styles which helped me edit that down to 4 grains and 2 hops. It came out with a lot more coffee flavor than I thought it would (original recipe had me adding brewed coffee, good thing I cut that) and a little less hop. Really tasty though, I hope everyone likes it.
(Ed. note - Astute mathematicians may be saying "Four grains + two hops = 6 ingredients, not 7! What gives?" We are aware of this. 7-Spoke Stout sounded better! Technically, if you count the water and the yeast, we've got 8 ingredients, but with all the arguing in politics these days, let's agree to enjoy the beer and not be so pedantic!)
TD: What were your impressions of working in a production brewery?
DF: Hard Labor! Clearing out the mash tun should be an event on Biggest Loser. I was in a full on flop sweat! It was really fun though. Greg (Fleehart, the head brewer) was great and really just let me jump right in with his team. Initially I was just shocked with the scale of things - walking in and seeing a pallet of grain, all for this beer. 1,100 pounds of grain, 10 pounds of hops, 525 gallons into the boil, and a big fat bucket of yeast into the fermenter. It was a great day but I was tuckered out!
TD: What was the coolest part of making your beer on a larger scale?
DF: Once you get over the scale of things, it is fun to see that the same principals used at home are in place. You see all of these pumps, big metal vessels and hoses but they are just like our buckets and carboys at home. You get to the point where you just go “oh, I get it, that’s how you lauter for a thousand pounds of grain”.
TD: What surprised you about brewing in a production facility?
DF: It is a huge team effort and harder work than I thought. Greg had two assistant brewers and the whole crew worked nonstop all day. Brewing, checking on fermentation, doing all of the measurements, handling inventory, working with delivery drivers, and getting taps set in the tasting room. Lots of driving the forklift too. They did it all.
TD: What beer will you make next?
DF: Just yesterday I did a beer I call AK 47, a hybrid Amber Kolsch with 47 IBU…maybe that makes it an Indian Amber Kolsch hybrid but that would screw up the cool name. It was pretty tasty when it went into the carboy.