Synchromesh Kölsch is here!

Fermented during Indianapolis’ finest time of the year, the Month of May, the newest offering from Barking Spiders Brewery is now pouring. Synchromesh Kölsch is a quenching summertime pleaser named in honor of our newest learning opportunity. Replacing the 5th gear set on the Volkswagen will almost certainly require a not insignificant portion of Synchromesh Kölsch.

Sand Digger Honey Wheat

If you ever find yourself stuck with undrinkable beer, like, oh, maybe Miller Lite, after, say, a visit from your in-laws, it turns out that it can still be useful. Apparently beer makes good bait for garden slugs.

If your wife’s stained glass hobby does not leave enough broken glass around the garage on which to impale unsuspecting bare feet, then homebrewing is a decent way to add to the broken glass content of your house. This batch’s casualty: my third hydrometer. I think I’m just going to either stop measuring the gravity of my beer, or use an antifreeze tester, ha! These questionably named BrewBalls look like a nice unbreakable alternative, but they are very expensive, and imprecise, at that.

With that introduction, the latest batch from Barking Spiders Brewery is conditioning: a wheat beer, modified slightly from past years’ recipes, including local Indiana honey. Who knows where in the world the rest of the grains came from, but I can attest that the honey is the real deal, made by nice, honest folks.

We’re looking forward to sharing this batch with friends and family during our upcoming short vacations this summer. I still need to convince myself about the safety of homebrew in relation to border crossings, but maybe some creative labeling can prevent any trouble.

I’m also looking forward to entering the final three remaining bottles from a previous batch, the Big Wide Smile Bourbon Barrel Porter, into the Indiana State Fair Brewer’s Cup competition. I’m intimidated by the fact that last year’s competition drew 559 homebrew entries, but it should still be fun just to enter.

Big Wide Smile

Big-Wide-SmileThe newest brew from our very own Barking Spiders Brewery, Big Wide Smile Bourbon Barrel Porter, is nearly ready to be enjoyed. I snuck a sample yesterday evening, and it’s carbonating nicely, and already nice and smooth, with exactly the bourbon nose that I have loved ever since having my first bourbon barrel aged beer from Bluegrass Brewing Co.

This recipe is based on Great Fermentations’ Porter Call Me A Taxi. To their recipe I added a few ounces of crushed unsweetened chocolate and a few ounces of whiskey barrel chips that I soaked in additional whiskey for a week. I fretted about where in the world I could find real whiskey barrel chips, but it turns out they’re very easy to get. Jack Daniel’s sells wood chips from their whiskey barrels all over the place, for use in barbecue grills and smokers. I obviously didn’t use a whole bag for the homebrew, so we’re going to have some nice smoky ‘cue in the next few months. I am thinking specifically of a pork tenderloin with a cherry sauce.


As a note for homebrewers wanting to brew with wood chips, be sure that your wood chips are fine enough. I was surprised to find that the chips continued to expand while they were in the carboy, and it was a close call with a few of the last chips trying to get them out of the narrow opening!

We’ll be ready with a nice warming brew when fall really kicks in and gets cold. This one clocks in at 11% AVB! It was not my intent for this batch to be quite so strong, but warm us it will. The only question now is what to brew next? Emily is lobbying for another dark brew. A vanilla porter would be a fun experiment. We’ll have a couple weeks to think about it!