Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Taste Firestone Walker Ruby Tonight

By William Brand
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006 at 10:00 am in Uncategorized.

It’s not too late to jump on BART and Muni this afternoon (Wednesday, July 26, 2006 and drop in at the Toronado, 547 Haight St., in San Francisco for a taste of an unusual summer beer from Firestone-Walker, Paso Robles, CA.

Mark Cabrera, Northern California brand manager for Firestone-Walker says this will be Ruby’s only appearance in the Bay Area. The rest will be on tap at the brewery and at accounts on south.

Ruby is one of 10 special beers being made this year by head brewer Matt Brynildson and his crew with the help and using the recipe of Jim Cibak of Three Floyds, Hammond IN., to celebrate Firestone-Walker’s 10th anniversary. The whole range apparently’s going to be blended into a single beer and bottled this fall and released to the public.

Thanks to Mark, I got a chance to sample Ruby the other night at Pacific Coast Brewing, Oakland. No, they don’t have it in stock; Mark brought one of a handful of bottles filled at the brewery.

Ruby***+ is a beautiful beer: shimmering ruby color; very little foam. Toffee nose with a citrusy, hoppy background . Taste is silky, a bit sweet. but with drying hop notes and lots of alcohol in the background. This is truly an after dinner beer, fit for a foggy San Francisco evening.

Here are the notes on the beer from Matt Brynildson: Note the sophisticated, complex hopping.

Product Name: Ruby
Product Style: Summertime Barley Wine / Strong Ale

Malts: 100% English Grown and Malted Maris Otter (boiled for 4 hours to obtain this incredible ruby hue.)

Hops: Summit, Simcoe (pellets) Cascade and Glacier whole leaf (utilized in the lauter tun as a hop back) Summit, Centenial (Dry Hop)

OG: 28P
Color: 24L (Ruby Red)
IBU: 65
ABV: 11%

Product Description: Ruby is a high gravity Barley Wine and is the third beer brewed for our 10th Anniversary, strong ale brewing series. This beer is one of the 10 components that will make up our awesome commemorative beer which will be released in bottle format in late Sept / early Oct.

Ruby is billed as a Summertime Barley Wine. It is the brain child of Jim Cibak who is the Brewmaster of the notorious Three Floyd’s Brewing Company in Hammond Indiana, best known for brewing extreme, hoppy, high gravity beers such as Alpha King, Dreadnaught IPA, and Dark Lord Imperial Stout.

Jim traveled to the Central Coast and brewed this beer with me and the FW crew on May 12, 2006. Jim and I worked together for 4 years at the Chicago based Goose Island Brewing Company and have ever- since dreamed of getting together for a special brew.

A portion of the beer was set aside in 10 year old Bourbon Barrels to be blended into the 10th Anniversary brew… but we couldn’t help but release a small portion of this incredible brew now while it is young and fresh.

The beer was made with a massive 4400# grist bill containing 100% Maris Otter malt. The brew was boiled for 4 hours to obtain the high starting gravity and the beautiful ruby red color.

This warley wine was finished off in the brewhouse with the addition of a very important extra step. After finishing the brew and cleaning the brewhouse, we packed 200 pounds of whole leaf Cascade and Glacier hops into our 50bbl lauter tun. After whirl-pooling the wort, we ran the entire batch back into the hop packed lauter tun, utilizing it as a massive hop back prior to cooling it into the fermentation cellar!!!

You can’t even imagine how good the brewery smelled that day! The result is a beautifully flowery hop aroma and massive, yet balanced hop flavor. This deceptively strong brew is brimming with hop flavor and luscious malt richness. I couldn’t be more proud!

Cheers! Matt Brynildson

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