Monday, March 9, 2015

Pale For The Keg

My supervisor jacked my schedule this week and I have to work Saturday.  But the silver lining is that I have Monday off and thus, a day to make beer.
I'm going to try one more time, to make one of my old leaky kegs work.  Right now I have to pressurize the beer too much just to get a tight seal.  Then the beer develops carbonic acid, which does not taste good.
Anyway, I cleaned it up and applied a good deal of Keg Lube so it's ready to go.
All I have to do is make a good beer to put in it.
The Pale I'm making today is going well.

I hit the mash well and I feel like the beer will hit all the essential parameters within a point or two.
If the kegging goes well I'm going to finally convert this fridge into a kegerator.
 The draft tower for the top isn't more than $100 and I already have the CO2 set up.
I have been using picnic taps for several years now and I want to make the leap toward being able to get right out of the car in my brewery (I mean) garage and get a beer as I go into the house.
This fridge fits two kegs so I'd like to get a 2 faucet draft tower. 
If these kegs do not hold pressure well I'm going to buy a couple of commercial kegs with Sanke fittings.

 Good Beer To You

Sunday, March 1, 2015


I bottled my re-invented IPA today and it tasted really good.  I can't wait for it to condition so I can drink it.
There was a bit of trub so I only got 5.2 gallons in the bottles.
Yesterday I finally brewed Moose Highland, my alleged Goose Island IPA clone.
It's a good beer but doesn't really taste like Goose Island.
And with a fresh starter of London ESB yeast, it's fermenting vigorously at 69.5 degrees.
This should yield enough IPA to get me into the Summer months.
Right now I've got  lots off beer at my house.

Irish Red,
a nearly 2-year-old Hefeweizen,
Steam Beer,
two English Pales,
a Stout,
and six bottles of American Pale.
My beer room runneth over.
I had every intention of entering Homebrew Extravaganza, in Memphis, again this year.  But at the last minute I decided I couldn't afford it.
I hope it was a success again this year, as it always has been.  I miss the fellowship and support of my homebrew friends down there.
Time now to clean the garage, I mean the brewery, and my warm weather fermenting chamber.
Next, I'm going to make a Pale for the keg.
Good Beer To You.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bitter Valentine

Despite the title, yesterday was wonderful at my house.  Steak, asparagus, chocolate covered strawberries and a nice sparkling wine followed by a liter of Amber.
But I'm making an IPA today and I need a clever name.
I'm not sure about Bitter Valentine but that's what it's going to be.
 The brewery is cold.  Arctic air has covered Nashville so problems with hoses freezing and kettle cleaning will persist.  No worries.
This is a completely new IPA.  The old recipe was OK, decent I guess.  But I really want to make one that shines, so I started from scratch.  Here's the recipe.
 A couple of new grains but new hops too.  I'm switching from California Ale yeast to London ESB to give it more of a British groove.
I hit the mash temp well and only lost one degree by the end of it.  150 was the target.  I want this beer to be a little thinner.  I increased the boil to 70 minutes to drive off DMS.
 I'd like to fill a couple of spots in the beer room with IPA to round out my available inventory.

Next I'll make Moose Highland, my Goose Island IPA clone.
Good beer to you.

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Year, Fresh Beer

The holiday season and a couple of illnesses have kept me from brewing regularly these last months.
But I'm back with a weekday to myself making a Stout to appease my wife.

 She loves this beer so it's good to have plenty available.
This version will be a bit different than the last one.  I'm changing up the finishing hops a bit to use up some Columbus and Chinook.
I'd also like to get a large entry together for the Memphis beer competition.  It's one of the oldest beer clubs in the nation and the competition is always good.
As I've often said, it's the score sheets I'm after. 
Comments from good judges are usually the best way to better beer.  I hope to show up down there to volunteer but my job might make me unable to fully commit.
My brewery project went nowhere in 2014.  It's not dead.  Just on hold.
I, again, apologize for the record time between posts.  I endeavor to be a more regular blogger.
Good beer to you.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ordinary Bitter. The Working Man's Beer.

Today I made and English Pale called Ordinary Bitter.  This is one of my favorite beers because it is so flavorful while delivering a lot less alcohol.
The grist barely filled the hopper on my mill.  Most of my beers use more grain.
 The base grain is the Maris Otter variety.  This grain really makes the difference in the flavor of this pale.  And don't assume this beer is bitter like an IPA.  The IBUs in this beer are lower than my regular American Pale Ale.  I'm really into this beer.  My wife loves it too.
I cleaned more of those 1/2 liter bottles yesterday.
They were really dirty.  But a little OxyClean and new gaskets will revive them.
I also needed to clean the fermentation vault. A dash of bleach and some elbow grease gave it a new look.
I'm not sure if I'm more impressed with the fact that this old fridge still works or that the 10-year-old temperature controller still works.
Good Beer To You.

Friday, July 18, 2014

New Blonde and an IPA

I did not win the competition at Tennessee Brew Works last month.
I was happy for the people who did, though. They had all sorts of issues that day. Their burner caught fire in the wrong place and they had to use a camping stove to finish an extract boil. I never did get the chance to find out what the judges liked or disliked about my entry.
I put a new Blonde on tap yesterday. This beer will get our house through a few weeks of evening beers until I can get a Fall beer made.
 Today I bottled an IPA.
I had prepared a case of 22oz bombers and a case of regular 12oz bottles when I realized I only have 20 caps in the house.
So I decided it was time to start using some of these beautiful 1/2 liter flip-tops me neighbor gave me earlier this year.
They came to me in nice wooden cases with a package of new gaskets.
I hope the beer I put in them tastes as good as these Euro-bottles look.
Good Beer To You

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Contests and Shame

First the shame part.
Sorry, dear readers (all 5 of you) that I've not posted in months.  I once again vow to redouble my efforts toward sharing the happenings of my obsession with making great beer.
Like the American Amber I made today.
Please forgive my bragging but I did a good job on this beer.  I'm not as happy with the efficiency I got but the gravity and color are good.
It's starting up in the temperature controlled vault (cleaned yesterday) and should be in good shape for the next 7 days or so.
On to the competition.
My search for information and like minded individuals to help me get my brewery project going has yielded a friendship with one of the proprietors of a local brewery.  I have mentioned Christian Spears of Tennessee Brew Works in this blog before.  If you are in (or are coming to) Nashville, head over to 809 Ewing Ave and try out their beer.  It's the real deal and they're good people.
Anyway, Christian called and asked if I was interested in being part of their first annual beer competition.  Since I make lots of beer I thought that this would be a good deal.  I mean I've always got at least 5 beers around the house that I think might get a medal.
But the catch was that the beer had to be made at the brewery on national home brew day, May 3rd.
Christian was also nice enough to bring their delivery van to Bellevue to get me and my stuff so I would not have to rent a truck to get it there.
Plus, the entry fee was only $10 and included a couple of TBW's beers.  What a deal.
So I set up in the shade, made beer, and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon complete with a Polka band.  They even played the Hogan's Heroes theme.  My brother would be jealous.
The beer is ready but needs to be cold conditioned for a couple of weeks before I send it to be judged.
I hope the finishing hops I used blend into the background a bit more by then.  It's a good Pale right now but needs to smooth out a bit.
On a side note.  Happy anniversary to my wife Jennifer.  I am happy because of her.
Here is a photo from our wedding day.
That's Father Valentine Handwerker on the left.

Good Beer To You.