The FISHBROOK POND BREWING COMPANY was established in the fall of 2002 to support the mountaineers atop Mount Erebus. Conditions on the mountaintop are oftentimes quite severe, and a fresh-brewed ale can oftentimes be the difference between life and thirst.
FISHBROOK POND BREWING COMPANY history 2002 - 2007
.:: 2008 RYE KNOT WETHOP? JAMAICA PLAIN IPA ::.
(Newton, September 17, 2008) #22. RYE KNOT WETHOP JPA, Jamaica Pond Ale is my #22nd brew overall, #1 brewed totally at home. Good brewing party. Quarter & Big Nude assisted in the brewing, Big Nude, Spil & Doc provided some excellent live tunage. Some inspiring guitar playing on Willow Street. Started with a recipe called WEST COAST IPA from stRAnge bREw in Marlboro Mass. Not no more. Became a pretty much 'kitchen sink' brew. Some rye was added to the kettle at the outset. Sherry & Matt provided hops (variety unknown - perhaps cascade, wild guess) harvested from their garden in Jamaica Plain, and it was in the kettle within 48 hours. The yeasties were hard at work shortly thereafter. A deep dark lookin' brew....
(September 25, 2008) Although the yeasties had pretty much done their work in 3 days, we racked to secondary about a week later, and stuffed as much Jamaica Plain wethops and ½ oz Cascade whole hops as we could fit. About ½ oz of each I'm guessing. Tasted it as well - smells excellent and tastes like it's gonna be a goodun. Very young beer, but very hoppy. Hey, it's an IPA...
(October 5, 2008) Jeff & I bottled this on 10/5, and I tasted a bottle 2 weeks later. Carbonated nicely, but very bitter. I'll try another in 2 weeks...
(November 1, 2008) Tasting this after having tasted several world class beers at the Cambridge Brewing Company with the Quarterback is somewhat unfair. Tastin' just fine though, perhaps a bit too much carbonation for my taste. The glass had too many bubbles stickin' on the inside, but a decent head and lacing. (Perhaps that's all fluff. It's the taste I tell ya!) Jeff & I talked about the process - the total unknown was the Jamaica Plain hops and how to use them. We used them as aromatic hops (late in the boil) and in combination with cascade whole hops for dry-hopping. So nothing extreme there. The added rye was also an unknown. Anyhoo, at this junction, a drinkable IPA, though not outstanding in my opinion.
(November 9, 2008) This one's smoothed out a bit fer sure. A fine, drinkable brew. Dry comes to mind - maybe more malt next time around to offset the generous hoppage. But tasty & hoppy.
(December 13, 2008) The last of my RYE NOT was drunk tonight. Tasted pretty OK. Twas not a keeper, pedestrian brew. -- JB
BREWED: September 17, 2008 [1.075 SG] BOTTLED: October 5, 2008 RACKED to SECONDARY: September 25, 2008 [1.014 FG] BARLEY: 2oz Rye, 8oz Crystal, 2oz Black, 4lb Mount Mellick light, 2lb light DME HOPS: 2oz Northern Brewer, 2oz Jamaica Plain wethop, 1oz Cascade DRYHOP: ½ oz Jamaica Plain wethop, ½ oz Cascade whole hop
.:: 2008 no... No... NOT PUNKINROCK ALE ::.
(October 3, 2008) #23. Big Nude baked the pumpkin. He, Matt & I brewed the swill then bottled it 2 weeks later. The pumpkin was pulled from the wort a tad early, so maybe that's why Big Nude described this one as "pumpkin light". Or perhaps the pumpkin was 'light'. (We couldn't wait for the 1000-pounder from the Big E.) Not quite as robust as in years past, but tasty nonetheless. I wanna do a pumpkin stout.... (November 9, 2008) Only tasted a bottle since, and it was rounding out nicely.
BREWED: October 3, 2008 BOTTLED: October 17, 2008 BARLEY: caramel malt 80, 2-row malt HOPS: cluster, cascade OTHER: 10lb baked pumpkin, 2 vanilla beans, p-pie spice
.:: 2008 BLUE NOTE ALE 2008::.
(October 4, 2008) #24. BLUE NOTE ALE ... This has become Emil's favorite, and like the Admiral, always a good move. He won the drawing for a free brew, strings attached being a 'short presentation' by someone unknown. And dragging a few friends in to listen. Turned out to be a finance guy (what an inopportune time to try and sell this shit!) who was okay. Bored us for 10 minutes and paid for our beer.
Claudio, Emil & I brewed, Claudio altering the recipe a bit with more Centennial hops late in the boil. This nice kid from not so long ago (first time I've seen him in many years) knows his brew. Not only that, he's a good dude as well. His papa should be very proud. Emil (the Maestro) bottled this a few days ago and I look forward to tasting it.
(November 1, 2008) On Claudio's call, we upped the late Centennial hops. Good call! An excellent IPA, nicely balanced with some extra hop explosion. Not like the Dogfish Head the original recipe was approximatin', but a fine IPA indeed. AMEN. Tastin' it now after the RYE NOT IPA, it is superior.
(November 9, 2008) Had a couple o' these tonight. Drinkin' one as we speak. A fine brew, a very fine brew. Dogfish I think uses different hops than we did, and of course their process can't be imitated. Better for us as brewing should be a creative process. Take some guidelines and tweak to yer tastebuds I say. Anyhoo, this is one fine brew. BRAVO to Maestro Emilian and Claudio! We done good!
BREWED: October 4, 2008 BOTTLED: October 27, 2008 BARLEY: CaraMunich, Carapils, Caramel & CaraVienna HOPS: Columbus & +Centennial. Dry-hopped with Centennial.
.:: 2008 SCUMBY'S HOPPIN' ABORIGINAL STOUT 2008 ::.
(October 23, 2008) #25. Quarter & I manned the kettle for this one - a basic dry stout with some smoked malt and extra hops. Nothing too over the top. I screwed up on the yeast (1084 Irish Ale yeast) - it didn't ignite, I pitched it anyways, nuttin' happened fer 3 days... So that Sunday I peddled my butt fast as I could to Modern Brewer and bought some dry yeast (Muntons Active Brewing Yeast) and re-pitched. Dem suckers' doin' a feeding frenzy as we speak. After Modern Brewer had a nice day o' drinkin' at Redbones & Charlies Beer Garden with Peru & MD. And a rickety ride home. But the brew is safe.
(November 9, 2008) Racked this to secondary today. And tasted it. Oooohhhh my... This gonna be a fine one. Super fine. Dry hopped it with 20g of Palisades fresh whole hops. Which smelled fantastic. My worry is that the brew seemed good to go - it had carbonated a bit (to the point cask ales do) and tasted like a fine stout should. No worry? Dry hopping it and bottle-conditioning it could be overkill. We'll soon see.
(Thanksgiving, November 27, 2008) Bottled this fine fine superfine stout today. Spent this day in Monk-like solitude, thankful for the decent life my folks and friends gave me and especially the fine brew that will carbonate (in the bottle) in a week but maybe doesn't need to. Tasted just excellent. Nice hoppy aroma (but not extreme) so I'm thankful for that - turned out to be a good call. Dryhopping is kinda like the Admiral - always a classy move.
(December 6, 2008) The first field test was on this Saturday afternoon on Wachusett Mountain. Weasel, Sandy, Quarter & I hiked the Bicentennial Trail to the High Meadow to Echo Lake. And cracked open the first bottle of Aboriginal there. Strong hop aroma (from the Palisades dryhop) makes this one a bit different from yer average dry stout. Tastes excellent though, no complaints from the mountaineers. (December 8, 2008) Tasting a bottle in less severe conditions tonight. Just in from the 15°f cold snap, this stout is hittin' the spot. Hoppy fo' sho' but a roasty full body of malt evens it out. (February 18, 2009) Enjoyed one of the last known bottles of this hoppy stout. Flawed for the dry stout style, way too hoppy for that. Rounded out pretty nicely though. I'm givin' it a B- overall, but it's tastin' better and better as time passes. When I brew this again, I'll skip the dry-hop.
BREWED: October 23, 2008 BOTTLED: November 27, 2008 FERMENTATION: October 27, 2008 yeast failure, re-pitched RACKED to SECONDARY: November 9, 2008 BARLEY: crystal, black roasted, roasted barley, smoked malt HOPS: cascade whole, amarillo, palisades whole (dryhop) DRYHOP: 20g palisades (11/9/08) MOUNTAIN: Wachusett Mountain (12/6/08)
.:: 2008 CRAFTY VETERAN EXPORT STOUT ::.
(Veterans Day, November 11, 2008) #26. Just got done brewing Crafty Veteran Export Stout. Being a vet myself (War on Drugs, winning side) it was inevitable! (Terrorist fist-bumps all around.) Similar to SCUMBY'S HOPPIN' ABORIGINAL STOUT, but upped the grain bill quite a bit. Dark crystal replaced the crystal and some biscuit was added. Upped the hops as well. Perle whole hops in mid-boil in addition to the cascade whole hops & amarillo aromatic. An extra ½lb or so of extract (7.3lb) will give this baby a little extra kick. The style is called Export Stout, or Foreign Stout. Muntons Active Brewing Yeast takes the mound.
Brewing with whole hops is pretty labor intensive - most breweries go with pellets and they taste great. But I think it's worth the effort. There is a difference when good fresh whole hops are used. But you gots to break 'em up by hand, a coupla ounces or more, and it is time consuming. Anyone who's broken up an ounce o' weed (back in the day) knows whereof I speak. (Cannabis sativa is a biological cousin of Humulus lupulus.) They are dried flowers, buds, and must be loosened to release their full potential. But an enjoyable task that brings back memories of the '60s, the new drug of choice.... So literally a 'handmade' brew. The amarillo hops (added at the end of the boil) were pellet.
An hour later those ravenous yeasties were feastin' on the ample spread before them. Pretty amazin'. And by morning the airlock was overflowing with trub. Good thing I left it in the bathtub overnight. (Note to self....) Had a feeling this would be a feeding frenzy. Blowoff! Cleaned the airlock and replaced it a coupla hours later 'fore I left for work. Let the volcano breathe for awhile. With this much flowing out I'm thinking nothing's gettin' in and contaminating the wort. I's a hopin'... This evening, 24 hours later, they're still going strong, a bubble a second or more.
(Thanksgiving, November 27, 2008) After bottling the Scumby Aboriginal Stout, the Crafty Veteran was racked to secondary. White Oak cubes from Minnesota were deposited in the carboy and sprayed with stout. Dis what da package said: "Sta Vin fire-toasted oak cubes. Made from high quality White Oak from Minnesota, seasoned for 3 years and fire-toasted by hand." No FG reading. Gonna be fairly strong though. Strong enough to defend itself.
(December 28, 2008) Bottled the Crafty this afternoon. And tasted a pint of the uncarbonated swill. Not too bad at all. A bit of apple cider - maybe the oak chips? We'll see soon enough I guess. Couldn't let the oak chips go - they smelled so fine, reakin' of stout. So, after a little research, I stored 'em fer later use in some Makers Mark Bourbon. Never sanitized the first time around so who knows. De learnin' process so I'm told... Perhaps, in a future brew, where appropriate, these woodies will bring some conceptual continuity to the kettle. And some whiskey element as well.
IN THE FIELD...
(January 10, 2009) First taste of the Crafty this afternoon. Devo & Jen were bottling in the brewery when called upon to (up and beyond the call of duty) taste the very fresh Stout. Word is: tasted pretty damn excellent. Coffee-Chocolate flavors abound, and a woody (OAKY!) flavor is present. What we wuz hopin' for...
(February 17, 2009) On my late Dad's b-day I raised a pint (or 2) in his honor. Al wasn't a beer guy, he preferred a Whiskey & soda or something along those lines. But, as an NBC Sports cameraman back in the 40s & 50s, on West coast trips, he hauled back some legendary microbrews for his boys in NY. Filled the trunk with cases of Coors... True story. The 2008 CRAFTY VETERAN EXPORT STOUT is very tasty - the oak chips made their mark on this potent stout.
BREWED: November 11, 2008 BOTTLED: December 28, 2008 FERMENTATION: November 11, 2008 RACKED to SECONDARY: November 27, 2008 BARLEY: dark crystal, black roasted, roasted barley, smoked malt, bicuit HOPS: cascade whole, perle whole, amarillo YEAST: Muntons Active Brewing Yeast DRYHOP: 2.5oz White Oak cubes from Minnesota ABV 5%
.:: 2008 FISHBROOK PALE ALE ::.
(December 4, 2008) #27. American Pale Ale. O'Bomber-style! This is, I think, the 6th Fishbrook Pale Ale, the best of which may have been the Sherpa Ale. Pretty much your basic Cascade-hopped ale, but always pushing something else into the mix.
In my bathtub as we speak cause dem yeasties lookin' hungry. Need a blowoff tube - industry lingo for a tube that keeps the foam from goin' all over yer carpet when the yeasties go nuts! (Not takin' any chances since the Crafty Stout Incident.) Innerested in the Golden Promise malt - this is an expensive barley craved by Single Malt Scotch distillers like the Macallan. The new Magnum hops I just got smell heavenly. These are fresh and robust! They'll play a big role in this beer.
(December 13, 2008) Six kinds of Vibration Positive! Just sayin'. Friday the 13th falls on a Saturday this month. After tastin' the last of the RYE NOT and the early 2008 ABORIGINAL STOUT I was ready to rack this to the conditioning vessel. Dem yeasties were still hard at work so I stepped back.
(January 10, 2009) On this day we bottled this baby - Jen & Devo, bottlers extraordinaire, did mucho labor, bless their souls, and found a moment (between bottlin' & boozin') to finetune my new hand-cranked grain mill. Weasel & Sandy did some field testin'. Tasted kinda nondescript in it's pre-bottle youth, but promises to be ... beer!
OUT IN THE FIELD...
(February 19, 2009) This one stayed in primary 'til bottling. Turned out to be the best of the year. Simplicity rules. Been sippin' this one fer a week or so. Bobby Peru field-tested it, Quarter as well. Umma likin' this a lot - just what I was hopin' for. Very similar to the five FISHBROOK PALE ALES of the past. This brew is amber in color, fresh and light in flavor, well balanced. A good drinkin' beer. Yeah, this one's a keeper.
BREWED & SINGLE FERMENTATION: December 4, 2008 BOTTLED: January 10, 2009 BARLEY: Crystal 40, Pale Ale, Golden Promise HOPS: Magnum whole, Perle whole, Cascade whole, Cascade pellets YEAST: Safeale US05
.:: 2009 DAK WOODS PORTER ::.
(September 21, 2009) #29. To honor the 32nd Annual Oktoberfest at Fishbrook Pond, we brewed a hearty porter. Quarter, Big Nude & JB manned the kettle and soon after Dak Woods Porter was born. (Quarter coined the handle.) Loosely based on a recipe from the late-great local Concord Junction Brewery, the cauldron imbibed six varieties of barley, and was bittered with Williamette & Goldings hops. 'Twas deep & dark, full & flavorful to the nose, not unlike the dahhhk woods of the Adirondack at the midnight hour, in autumn, when one might find ones' bad self embarking on a journey to the unknown. On a well-trampled path that one can hardly see. To a lean-to on a lake where games of chance are enhanced by marvelous brews and spirits. (Or so I have read.)
Forgive me .... an Erebus flashback. The swimming went brewingly .... 'Scuse me, the brewing went swimmingly? All went smoothly, and our evening was enhanced by some fine brews. Brewing is intensive work, and staying hydrated is important. Big Nude brought our local favorite Harpoon IPA and Quarter brought some Boulder Mojo IPA. After the yeast was pitched, the brewers retired to John Harvard's Brewhouse for a little grub and a couple of their fine ales. I had the ESB and a new IPA that was excellent.
DAK WOODS BOTTLING
(Oktober 6, 2009) Bottling day, biked out to Natick via Washington St. (16) to the South Natick Dam and onwards to the brewery. A real scenic ride, 'specially this time of year. About 12 miles. The leaves are turning and I watched an egret (?) fishing from the dam overflow. Dammit. Anyways, got there a bit early and things went pretty smoothly until the bottle brigade arrived. Bernie arrived first, Quarter & Big Nude a bit later. Something was .... wrong. Or at least not quite right. Then I knew: THEY"D BEEN DRINKING AND WERE PERHAPS ..... DRUNK! Mine goodness!(Then again I might be mistaken, 'cause I'd been drinkin' a bit meself, and may have been hallucinatin'. These things happen.)
Actually, this bottling crew was not unlike the Big Red Machine. They did the job directly, whilst pounding Porters like pros. And a fine porter it is. DAK WOODS PORTER is all that I'd hoped: a full-bodied malty brew, with enough hoppage to keep things away from the sweet side. A balanced ale.
Anyhoos, the field test is imminent: The 32nd Oktoberfest at Fishbrook Pond. SeaQuest Out.
DAK WOODS FIELD TEST
(Oktober 8, 2009) Sho' nuff, a tough crowd awaited, atop Mt. Erebus, the much anticipated arrival of homebrewed suds on the mountaintop. And after some suspicious sips .... they approved! This porter was excellent. Very well balanced, full-bodied with a nice hoppy overtone. BEER! It's a modern miracle. No question, a fine brew. A coupla cases were enjoyed upon the mountaintop. Field tested. Mountain approved.
BREWED: September 21, 2009 BOTTLED: Oktober 6, 2009 FIELD TEST: Oktober 8, 2009: 32nd Mt. Erebus Oktoberfest BARLEY: Carastan, Chocolate, Victory, Black, Caramel 80, Wheat. HOPS: Williamette & Goldings YEAST: Wyeast 1056 American Ale
.:: 2009 FISHBROOK POND HEFEWEIZEN ::.
(March 21, 2009) #28. The Directors' Choice. Emil & I brewed this one on March 21st, on the second day of Spring. Emil bottled it on April 9th, solo! HERO. First time we've brewed this style. Wheat, and especially the yeast give it a distictive taste. A taste Emilian found distasteful. There is no fruit or spice added, yet there are trademark banana and clove notes - a tart and refreshing brew.
OUT IN THE FIELD...
(April 12, 2009) Mountaineers Kate, Big Nude, Peru & JB tackled the High Peaks on this day. Ike was the goal, and Pierce sat in front. Winter conditions, more than that, White Mountain winter conditions - winds at upwards of 50mph and temps around 10°. The field test would not be on the summit today. However beer once agains saves the day. As our water had froze, the Hefeweizen stood strong. Got down below treeline and enjoyed a little tied-me-over s the Maz might say. Nice brew.
.:: 2009 IKE & Pierce Expedition ::.
(April 12, 2009) PERU: mt eisenhower. we'd all been here plenty of times. we were turned back about 400 feet from the top on sunday though by high winds and almost whiteout conditions. southern presidential range. about 3 feet of snow up high. and snow squalls.
Big Nude & Kate: Here we are on Ike on a "sunny" day-- according to the forcast. The average windspeed was 45-60 gusting up to 75 MPH on Washington (a few peaks away). The temperature at our elevation was 10 degrees. Kate says "The wind knocked the stuffin' out of me." Because of the harsh and "iffy" conditions we did not bag Ike.........So as not to leave empty handed we made a dash to the top of Mt Pierce.
JB We summited Pierce, but Ike was not to be. It was a good call. I was having trouble seeing to the next cairn at the point we bailed. Then again we coulda been featured in the next edition of "Not Without Peril." (A fresh batch o' frozen fools.) Nonetheless, it was an epic trip. Amongst my all-timers. The conditions were scatterbrained, as usual in the Presidentials. Overdressed and sweatin' on the steady wooded climb towards Pierce, then gale-force winds above treeline. What a rush! Stabelicers or Yak-tracks were the way to go on the packed ice up Crawford Path.
Once out in the open, it was winter conditions. It was snowing upward on the mountain, first time I've experienced that. The wind was brutal, almost knocked me off my feet. As luck would have it, I was well-dressed for the occasion. Stayed warm throughout except for my face and eyes when we were exposed to the wind. And my hands when taking photos. Keep moving and you'll stay warm, says I.
My eyes and thighs are still sore 2 days after, but this trip goes into the books as a classic. A taste of life. Fruit for the soul.
OUT IN LEFT FIELD...way back... WAY BACK...
(April 25, 2009) The 32nd Annual Erebus Directors' Meeting. Perhaps the Fishbrook Pond Hefeweizen blended in amongst the many fine ales and whisky served up on this fine occasion. The bold & brave Johnny Mudd torqued one up on Sunday mornin' - God-fearin' gentleman that he is. An excellent time as usual. Ready for the mountains now...
.:: 2009 MONADNOCK ::.
(June 13, 2009) Quarter and I quickly schemed a hike on this beautiful 62° day. The usual late start had us hitting trailhead on Mt. Monadnock at around 4:30pm, not a bad bet on this well-heeled mountain. Hoofed the White Dot Trail to the less peopled White Cross Trail, and took White Dot on descent. There's some climbing here that'll get yer heart a thumpin', some beautiful cliff face to tackle if you're so inclined. A good one to start the season (as I have in some recent years) as it's short in miles and will get those mountain legs workin'. Incredible big rocky summit as well. We were attacked by black flies on the way down especially. Dem suckers really suck. But they couldn't rain on our parade. That would happen on the drive home. No fooling. Nice mountain. The homebrewed Fishbrook Pond Hefeweizen rehydrated us at the summit. And a tasty Tremont Patriot Pale on the way down. Then it was onto the Elm City Brewing Company in Keene for Courtney's 15th b-day celebration and some updates on the lives and loves of the Jonas Brothers. The Kolsch was excellent and the Smoked Porter was good.
BREWED: March 21, 2009 BOTTLED: April 9, 2009 BARLEY: Wheat malt, 2-row malt, Munich HOPS: Hallertaur YEAST: Wyeast #3068 Weihenstephan Wheat Yeast MOUNTAINS: Pierce & Eisenhower, Monadnock, NH
.:: 2009 PUNKINROCK ALE ::.
(October 5, 2009) #30. Big Nude & Matt brewed the most excellent traditional Punkinrock Ale at Barleycorns. The Big Nudes' baked 4 small sugar pumpkins and kettled them forthright. And clevered them in the re-write. (Sorry, my book humor just ain't makin' it.) Anyways, I missed out on the brewing, but remain determined to make the bottling. (And drinking.)
(October 23, 2009) Always a fine fandango bottling homebrews at Barleycorns. Big Nude, Kate, Matty & I shared the workload, filling, capping, wiping, labeling. And (of course) sampling another fine Pumpkin Ale that Mike & Matt brewed about 3 weeks ago. When my bike pulled into the station, Mike & Kate were going full tilt. Matt arrived on his 'hoss' some 15 minutes later. Then it was nose to the grindstone. A bottling crew the likes of which has rarely been seen. One for the ages. (OK, I'm through now.)
And not fer nuthin', but this is really a fine brew. Fresh pumpkin and keep dem spices in de background I says. We did a little blind taste test of Pumpkin Ales at the Robinwood the other night, and the Dogfish bested the Southern Tier Imperial and Shipyard. All were too spicy for my taste. The Southern Tier, highly-touted and topping out at 10%, was very different. Would like to see our homebrew compared to this mix. And Smutty, which I haven't tried this year yet. Well, there's a plan.
Jamie brought us a spent-grain-spent-pumpkin pie that was really tasty. (On top of that he publishes the superfine Yankee Brew News.) A good dude. Cheers!
PUNKINROCK FIELD TEST
(October 24, 2009) The 17th Annual Pumpkin Carving Party, rain or shine, probably rain as is tradition, will test the fortitude of this fine brew. Reports forthcoming. "I'll go tally the votes."
BREWED: October 5, 2009 BOTTLED: October 23, 2009 BARLEY: caramel malt 80, 2-row malt HOPS: cluster, cascade OTHER: 10lb baked sugar pumpkin, 2 vanilla beans, p-pie spice