Monday, August 3, 2015

Accident? Maybe. I Doubt It. I Guess We'll See.

The picture says it all.
I was getting ready to crack a carefully measured Pale grist and...
Well, I don't really know what happened but I looked and saw the heart of my beer on the floor.
I have to admit I wasn't really perturbed by this.  I mean the grain is a bit 'dirty' anyway being malted on an open floor at a malt house somewhere.
So I swept it up and weighed the total to see how much I lost.
As it turns out, I lost only about 1.6 ounces of the total.
I added a pinch of this and a pinch of that and made up the loss.
The variance from the recipe percentages will be negligible.
I made beer twice this weekend and my fermentation vault door will only shut when a large 6.5 gallon carboy and a 6 gallon carboy are inside.
Nothing more.
So on Sunday I made a short batch of Pale (5.2 gallons) so I could fit both in the same fridge.
I prepared a starter for the Amber I made on Saturday and used about 2/3 of it for the beer.
This left about12 ounces of good California Ale yeast (combined with a bit of saved Amber wort) to be started for the Pale I made on Sunday.
The beer started well and I can't wait to see if scraping spilled grain off of my garage floor will become a great tasting Pale Ale.
I pledge to be honest with the results.

Good Beer To You.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Late To The Party

No.  I'm not talking about lagging behind on a busy social calendar.
I'm promoting my wife's blog.
If you're a runner, or you like Disney, or both, you might tune in to Late To The Party.
It's a regular discussion of tips, tricks and happenings at the intersection of the two most passionate interests of the love of my life.
On to beer.
I'm planning an Amber for this weekend.  Jenny loves it more than I do so I need to keep plenty of it around.
I checked my log and was surprised to find that I just made it on June 1st.
I only have four bottles left.
That probably says something bad about my level of consumption.
Good Beer To You.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Getting Re-Supplied

I'm planning several beers for the remainder of the Summer and on through the holiday season so this weekend I stocked up on raw materials. 
I want to make a Bock, an Octoberfest, an Altbier, English Pales and, of course my whole line of American Ales.  Blonde, Pale, Amber, Brown, Stout and Steam Beer.  An English IPA and a Porter will likely make an appearance as well.
I've got 21 grains and 5 yeasts.  I will need a couple of ounces of hops here and there but that will be a minimal expense.  I already have a couple of pounds of my core hops.  Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Citra, Northern Brewer, Magnum, Glacier, Amarillo and Hallertauer.  A half pound of Kent Goldings and Saaz will round me out for the cool brewing season. 
I should be able to make a dozen batches with what I've got here and that will take nearly 6 months.  The savings will be felt in the price per pound of grain.
I'm excited.
The IPA is almost finished and ready to be packaged.  I think I'll keg it up later this week.
The other batch is in bottles on the right in this photo.
Good Beer To You.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

What Happened To All My Beer?

I drank a good deal of it, of course.
But I gave a substantial amount away too.
It's OK, I'm glad to do it.  Particularly so if it leads me to a like minded soul who also can't stop thinking about doing this professionally.
Craft is still on the rise.  The market is still there and going strong.
Still, it's not a big deal.
I have a good job.
I'm not unhappy. Etc, etc.
Anyway I decided to make another IPA today, even though I just made one two weeks ago.
 I have been working on this recipe for a few months now.  I mean my IPA was technically correct, I guess.
I won a couple of medals with it.  But it wasn't really very good.
I want an IPA that people gush over.  My old one wasn't it.
So I re-thought the recipe and came up with this.
It's better.  But it still needs work.
One thing I found was that using London ESB yeast improved it a bit.  I tried the same grist with 1056 and it wasn't as good so I went back to 1098.  Now I want to mess with the hops to arrive at a new, more appealing flavor..
Don't pay attention to the Cascade at the start.  I needed some hop oils to keep the foam down for a few minutes before the main bittering addition.  But I did want to account for the effect on the finished beer.
I had all the other hops and decided to give this blend a try.
We'll see, in a few2 weeks, how the two batches compare.
In case you're wondering, the Bohemian Pilsener was a success.
 The beer is delicious and I'll make it again.  But not for a while.  There are several others I want to make before Winter.
I still want to make a Bock, a Belgian Blonde and an Altbier.
Unfortunately, I have a few household objectives to achieve while I try to get these beers made.
I got the lower deck painted before we went on vacation but another deck awaits and the job is mine to do.
And that deck now has hop bines wrapped around it.

My hops are a disappointment.

No cones this year.
Second year in a row.
I guess I need more study on this too.
Good Beer To You.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bohemian Pilsener

I decided to try a new style today.
I have enjoyed a few Bohemian Pilseners and  happen to have a few ounces of aging Chech Saaz so I decided to use it up and make one.
I hit the mash well at 155 degrees.  It lost only one degree after an hour.
This beer can stand a longer boil to drive off DMS (Di-Methyl-Sulfide).  I threw in a bit of hops at the start to attenuate the foam that occurs when un-hopped wort comes to a boil.
I hope this beer is good.  The Bohemian Lager yeast I'm using will need to work for about a month before I can  package the beer.

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.