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.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Sorry it's been a while but Winter is here and I am trying to make beer as often as possible.
I'm fermenting in the downstairs bath so I can fill up my beer room and ultimately keep the fridge well stocked with well made beer.

I've brewed about every week since the beginning of the year.
My fridge is swelling with beer.
But I'm concerned with my Oktoberfest.  I made it twice this Fall. and recently have had a side by side tasting of both versions.

Don't let the different names throw you off.  Eric's was first.  
I turned the yeast around for a second batch the day after I bottled it.
I tasted both a few days ago and can find no significant differences between them.
These beers are decent.  Just not great.
Don't misunderstand.  They're both a pretty good representation of the Oktoberfest style. 
Both have a good drinkability. 
But my standards are pretty high and this beer isn't the greatest. 
I put this beer in a Memphis competition so I guess we'll see what the judges say.

Good Beer To You.