Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Normal Sunday

I'm finally able to make beer on a Sunday again, after being banished to working weekends over a year ago.  The hard times hit our company and thankfully I managed to survive.

I'm making Stout once again.  But this year, in honor of my wife's obsession with everything pumpkin, I've decided to make this a Pumpkin/Holiday Stout.

It's basically her old stout with Pumpkin Spice, Nutmeg, and a Cinnamon stick.

College visits and home improvements have taken time from the brewing arts but still I have been able to make lots of my beer lately (Ambers, IPA's and Pales).   
Now it's time to have one ready for the holidays for the love of my life.
It's a near perfect fall day so I'm diving head first into the task.  Stout is a good Winter beer but I admit Jennifer is probably more interested in it than I am.
I mashed at 156 and added a teaspoon of pumpkin spice, a pinch of nutmeg and a cinnamon stick at 10 minutes and eased the hop schedule to create a thick dessert beer.
Adding spices to these beers is always tricky.  A pinch too much and you've got a sappy, thick glass of crap.  Too little and you get an off-tasting base beer.
We'll say a prayer to St. Arnold of Soissons asking for a good fermentation and a pleasant flavor.

Truthfully though, I may still have a couple of bottles of this left this time next year.  I tend to shelve these beers to see how they age.
But there are more specialty beers on the horizon for me.
I'd like to make an Oktoberfest cause' I guess, I do one about once a year.  
And Jenny wants a sour.  
This is another beer that can be tricky.  But, with the exception of some Vienna and  Munich malts, I have the grain.
Anyway, sorry for being a terribly infrequent blogger.  I'm grateful for the attention I get and I understand that a proper blogger makes an entry twice a week, not twice in two years.  I won't call it an excuse but I have been busy learning some new things at work and assisting my wife shooting videos for her Disney blog.
I resolve, once again, to be a better blogger, a better brewer and a better human.
Please be kind to others and, as always,
Good Beer To You.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Somewhat Sequestered

Not quarantined, thank God.  I love being at home but I couldn't stay here for weeks on end.
But life as I know it has been altered for a while.
Many of my co-workers and I have been doing the job out of our cars for a week now but today, the city is shutting all non-essential businesses down.  I work in TV news and I'm told that we are essential and may continue to do our best to serve the community.
We do not enter the building for any reason.  Equipment and instructions are ferried out to us in the parking lot.  There are Porta-Potties for us to use just outside the door.
Although I used lavaliere mics a few times last week I'll be taping a stick mic to a stick starting tomorrow.  We edit video outdoors on a laptop.
Still, I am thankful.
I am working.
Others are not.  I worry and pray for them all.
Nashville has many restaurants, hair salons, tattoo parlors and retail of every kind.
This kind of economic catastrophe will close many of these businesses for good.
Many will have life turned upside down.
We are doing what we can at our house.
Today, though, I really needed something normal.  I needed to check out for a while and just do something outside the coverage of this world calamity.

So I made beer.
I had just enough roasted and chocolate malts to make a Stout.
I don't drink this beer that much but Jenny likes it so we need to keep some in the beer room for her to have occasionally.
I recently finished a Dopplebock and a second batch of Celebration Clone.  The Dopplebock finished fairly sweet so I'll let it sit in the bottle for a couple of months to see if it comes in line with what I think it should taste like.
The Clone beer does not taste particularly similar to Sierra Celebration, but it is a good beer.
Double Heart will be packaged next.

I think this beer will be a good one.
The mash, boil, chill and pitch all went well.
In a few weeks maybe I'll be able to find somebody who needs a few bottles of this beer to ease the considerable burden that Coronavirus has thrust upon us all.

Good Beer To You, and prayers for you and your family too.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

A Clone For The Keg

As I mentioned in my last post we vacationed at Disney for a couple of days last month.
I found a beer stand at Disney Springs selling Sierra Nevada Celebration.  As I walked and sipped that day I wondered why I've ever drank anything else.  Perhaps it was the right beer at the right time for just the right frame of mind.  Maybe I was influenced by the fact that I was having a beer on vacation, which always makes it better.  But in my home brewer arrogance, I resolved to try to make it.
I found an old recipe online and started adding ingredients to the recipe formulation portion of Promash, which I have used for 15 years.  After adding a handful of acidulated malt and subbing a couple of ounces of C60 to make up a shortfall of C40, I'm mashing the following:
The mash looked good but the strike temperature came in short.  Really short.
I was shooting for 154 but hit it at 148 degrees.  The starting grav was long at 1.070 so this will be strong.
The lower mash temp might thin this beer out so I hope the Carapils Dextrine malt does it's job and keeps this one thick.
As I brewed I shot a little video and mashed it up with some I already had and added a bit of free music I found earlier on YouTube to commemorate the day.
My assistant was no help.  She just sat at the table as if she expected me to put a plate in front of her.
I'll evaluate the resulting beer in a few weeks.

Good Beer To You

Saturday, December 28, 2019

This Hop Was a Flop, Maybe.

The Pale Ale I made with Cashmere hops disappoints me.
I'm not shy about bragging regarding my Pale but this substitution completely changed the character of the beer into a flavor profile I don't really like.  The beer reminds me of one of those really tart east coast IPAs.
I'm more of a traditionalist Pale dude.  Sierra Nevada Pale, Mirror Pond, etc.  So I'm not really digging this one.
But I think somebody might.

I'm going to draw a few growlers off the keg and give them to a couple of brewers and beer peeps I know to see what they think.
This beer might be a bust for me but could be something I make again for somebody else.
My palate is the end all, be all, but only for me.
Others might find this beer delicious.

In other news, I was on vacation for a week and managed to make beer twice and head down to Star Wars Land at Disney for a couple of days.
Today I packaged my 2nd and 3rd beers in as many weeks.  One of them is an Amber in the keg on the left, above.  The other two are an IPA I made on vacation and the Raspberry Porter I made a couple of weeks ago.

I'm trying to improve the IPA with a bit of Acidulated Malt.  I think the bitterness might be more defined and present.
The Porter was a try at something I had years ago.  I checked it last night.
Not bad but not great.  Drinkable.
I think more porter and less raspberry next time.
I'll let my Cursillo brothers sample this one for some feedback.
Happy Holidays! And, of course,...  Good Beer To You.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Raspberry Porter

A fruit beer,... sort of.
My wife and I went to a beer dinner at Bosco's in Memphis with some members of the beer club about 10 years ago.
Great food was served in courses and paired mostly with Bosco's beer.  But the dessert was paired with a Raspberry Porter made by my friend Jody Kane.
Maybe it was the food pairing, the other beers I'd had,...I don't know.  But I remember that beer to this day.
So I'm trying to make one.
A little chocolate malt, an ounce or two of black malt and some roast barley are the backbone of my attempt.
I'm using a raspberry puree split between the end of the boil and the bottling process to attain the fruit character.
I briefly thought about using real fruit in a secondary fermentation but I'm not all that confident handling it to be certain that no bacteria get in there and ruin the ferm.

My trusty stainless fermenter and a good pitch of California Ale yeast should do the job well.

Good Beer To You.

Sunday, November 24, 2019


Today I'm trying a new hop. 
It was on sale so I decided to try it out in my very successful Pale Ale.
The grist remains the same but the hop schedule is as follows.
I'm still throwing a little Amarillo in there for aroma but I'm excited to see how the flavor profile changes.  The 30 and 15 minute additions are what's important to me here.
I'll report the results in a few weeks.

Good Beer To You.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Oh Yeah. I Almost Forgot About This Blog

So its been a minute.  Two years, in fact.
But don't think I'm not making beer.  I've brewed about 50 times since my last post.
First lets catch up on some things.
The kegerator project went south on me.  After I painted the thing, got the holes drilled, installed the taps and poured about 3 kegs out of it, the compressor failed and it became junk.  Then, over the same weekend, my fermentation vault stopped too.  So I pushed both out to the front lawn and called the junk collector.

Now I'm looking toward my now 10-year-old dorm fridge to do the dispensing and thankfully, a friend donated an updated kitchen fridge to me.  I put a temperature controller on the side and started again.
There have been vacations and a life event or two during the last 24 months.
I renovated a couple of rooms in our house.  Learned a few things about flooring along the way.

I'm thinking about re-branding this blog.  After all, we've lived in Nashville for about 8 years now and it might be time to let the BCB domain go to somebody who'll use it in Memphis.  Lots of new breweries down there now.  I'm rooting for all of them.
Finally, today, I'm making an IPA that leans in the direction of Bells Two Hearted.
This is the third try at this beer.  It's a good beer.  It's still short of being a great beer.  Still working on it.
As always,...Good Beer To You