Monday, December 12, 2011

Tina's Irish Not So Red: Tasting

I brewed an irish red awhile back and just got around to doing a tasting for here. It came out really good, I except it came out brown instead of red. The lovibond on roasted barley I used was alot darker than what was specified in the recipe. I adjusted for it but not enough, Next time I will pull it back a little more. Overall I am very happy with this beer. The roasted character might turn off non-craft beers drinkers but this is still one of the better beers I've ever brewed.

Appearance – A clear reddish brown and a creamy off white head. Lots of lacing on the glass even though the head dissipates a minute or two.

Smell – A slight malty aroma.

Taste – A balance of malt and roast. Just barely any hop taste there, just enough to balance the crystal malt. Very happy with this even though it came out more roasty than it was supposed to.

Mouthfeel – A dry medium bodied beer. The roast sits in the back of your mouth after you swallow. A  slight prickle from the medium-low carbonation.

Brewing Notes -  Tina's Irish Red Ale

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My First Pelicle and A Cucumber Wheat

This post is updates on several beers, first this previous post  when I brewed an American Wheat half of which is destined for cucumbers. Well the time has come! I racked it onto about 3 pounds or so of peeled and sliced cucumbers. I'll give it a week or two depending on the taste and then bottle it. Should be delicious if it tastes like I imagine it will.

The other update is I finally have my first pelicle and I spy a second one on the way. My dark Cherry Saison has formed a nice whitish pelicle and my Rye Farmhouse Saison has some white dots floating around which I am sure is the start of one. The Rye Saison had fermentation issues and had a bubblegum taste, hopefully this will diminish with time and with the Brettanomyces working on it.

Brewing Notes - American Cucumber Wheat, Dark Cherry Saison, Rye Farmhouse Saison

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Simple White Bread

I baked up a very simple white bread tonight. Ive been reading alot on The Fresh Loaf and plan on baking more often. This bread included only four ingredients and took little effort to make. Knead them together and let rise until its doubled. Knead it down again and let rise again. Then just bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes and we are done.

3 cups of flour
1 1/8 cup of water
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of yeast

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tasting: Dueling Wits

I brewed my Session by Session Witbier and split the batch half on strawberries and left the other half alone. I bottled them last week and the are already carbonated.  I will check back in a couple weeks to see if they matured anymore in the bottle. Both came out lighter than the picture looks, coming as you could wish for using extract. The teaspoon of whole wheat flour I added into the brew kettle as advised in Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing added a nice haze customary to Wits. Overall the strawberry version is my definite favorite. 

Appearance – Both have nice creamy white heads, the unfruited version staying and the fruited beer loses its head after a minute or two. Probably because of oils  in the fruit.

Smell – The nose on the unfruited version has a yeasty wheat aroma. The berried version is a yeasty berry.

Taste – This is where I wish I could of found indian coriander instead of the normal grocery store variety I used, it comes through with a celery taste instead of the bright citrus taste I hoped for. Still tastes like it should, I am just not a big fan of coriander. The strawberry beer is came out exactly as I had hoped, a bright berry, slightly tart taste with a biscuit yeasty background.

Mouthfeel – Light body with medium carbonation, but they should carbonate a little more hopefully. Dry and leaves the mouth wanting more, perfect for a summer beer.

Brewing Notes -  Session by Session Witbier

American Cucumber Wheat

I've had the ingredients sitting there for awhile but hadn't gotten around to brewing it until today. I've been really wanting to play with different fruit and vegetable additions. This thread on homebrewtalk sparked my interest in using Cucumbers in an American Wheat. Sounds like it would of been perfect on a hot summer day but should still be enjoyable now. I plan on putting a portion of the batch onto cucumbers, another gallon or two onto mangos and maybe keeping a gallon without fruit.
This batch also was almost entirely all grain with only a pound of extract used. I may try an all grain batch next, I always thought I couldn't really do all grain on my stove but this has changed my opinion.
The grain bill was very simple this time and I've decided to keep my future grain bills as simple as possible.

UPDATE- My First Pelicle and A Cucumber Wheat

Batch Size: 5 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 4.1
Anticipated IBU: 22.8
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.047
3 lb Wheat Malt
4 lb Two Row
1 lb Wheat DME

.5  oz Warrior (16.7%) @ 60 min

Dry Nottingham Ale

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blending Ciders

I was given a gallon of good cider from a local farm, unfortunately it already Potassium Sorbate added before I got it. I had already a gallon of a very dry cider sitting oak chips that I wasn't entirely happy with, so I decided to blend the two together.

My wife really likes the Woodchuck Seasonal Fall Cider, Which is a sweet cider with cinnamon and nutmeg, aged on oak. So I took one gallon of the two and added a small amount of those spices. I hadn't checked on the carboys until a week after I blended the ciders not expecting any fermentation because of the preservative. I happened to glance at them while bottling some mead earlier and saw what looks fermentation, not alot but it definitely seems to be there. There seems to be more in the non-spiced carboy but that is probably just an effect of the spices. So I will these sit and see what happens, the question is if I would be able to bottle these carbonated instead of flat as I was previously planning. A test of some sort to see if the yeast are active will have to be done.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tina's Irish Red Ale

A friend requested I brew an Irish red up for her. So here it is, a nice Irish Red Ale based off Jamil's recipe. Everytime I read or use another one of Jamil's recipes it keeps reminding me to pick up his book Brewing Classic Styles. This beer has a simple malt bill that I decreased the amounts of special grains and added some Dextrine malt. The reason is because his recipes are made for 6 gallon batchs and I'm brewing a 5 gallon batch. I added the Dextrine malt because I've had issues with my beer coming out thin lately. 

Batch Size: 5 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 4.7
Anticipated IBU: 18.9
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.045

3 lbs Extra Light DME
4 lb American 2 Row
4 oz Roasted Barley
4.5 oz Crystal Malt 120
4.5 oz Crystal Malt 40
5 oz Dextrine Malt

.15  oz Warrior (16.7%) @ 50 min
1 oz Northern Brewer (9.3%) @ 60 min

Dry Nottingham Ale

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Citra Cream Ale

I've been brewing alot of darker beers and wanted to brew something up light, refreshing and something that would help convert BMC drinkers. A cream ale is what was needed! A  packet of Citra hops had been sitting in my fridge for awhile and it seemed the right time to use it. I would be able to use only Citra since a cream ale doesn't need high IBU's, which would let me taste what exactly Citra brings to the party. I followed Jamil's Cream recipe with a little modification, I used 2 pounds of Maris Otter and a pound of 6 Row.

Batch Size: 5 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 4.7
Anticipated IBU: 18.9
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.045

4 lbs Extra Light DME
1 lb Table Sugar
1 lb American 6 Row
2 lbs Maris Otter
1 lb Flaked Maize

.5 oz Citra (13%) @ 60 min
.25 oz Citra (13%) @ 5 min

Safbrew US-05

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Session By Session Witbier

Alot of my friends drink Bluemoon. I've introduced some of them to Hoegaarden which was well received. This beer should be enjoyed by all. I decided to brew session strength so that I could get that grey/white color instead of the darker witbiers that come from extract. I also didn't want an alcohol bomb. I couldn't find indian coriander and just used orange from the grocery store. I wish I used marmalade instead which I read about right before the brew session. A tablespoon of wheat flour was added to the boil to get a permanent haze. The bittering hops were a combination of hops I had left in my fridge that needed to be used and I added a small portion of Amarillo to put a different dimension of citrus into the beer. Safbrew T-58 was pitched and should work well within the style, but what it may add well be seen. I've heard mostly pepper/spicy and or a slight fruityness, but also some banana/cloves like a Hefeweisen. Hopefully this fermentation will stay on the Belgian side and not like a German wheat.

Batch Size: 5.5 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 4.7
Anticipated IBU: 17.3
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.039

 2 lbs Extra Light DME
2 lbs Wheat Dme @ 15 min
8 oz  Table Sugar
1 lb Red Wheat
3 oz Munich Malt
8 oz Flaked Oats
3 oz Torrified Wheat

.75 oz Hallertauer (4.8%) @ 60 min
.15 oz Williamette(4.6%) @ 60 min
.25 oz Spalt(.2.6%) @ 60 min
.50 oz Amarillo(8.5%) @ 15 min
.50 oz Spalt(2.6%) @ 5 min

Safbrew T-58

.25 oz Orange Peel @ 5 min
.25 Crushed Coriander Seed @ 5 min
.25 oz Orange Peel @ 0 min

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dark Cherry Saison

I racked my first Saison into secondary to let some bubblegum off flavors that dominated it hopefully clear off. But before I did that I brewed up another beer to put on the yeast cake, a Dark Cherry Saison. I still had a couple pounds of tart cherries I had picked and frozen earlier in the summer and though they would be interesting with a roasty and smoky malt bill. Also this beer is very much in the traditional saison idea as with farmhouse ales they would use what they had on hand. I am very excited to taste this beer which should be a complex beer perfect for cold winter nights.
 After transferring the wort onto the yeast cake fermentation took off after a couple hours. I put the cherries into primary at flameout because the flavors would meld more with the beer itself and would  not just be a cherry beer. 

UPDATE- My First Pelicle and A Cucumber Wheat
Batch Size: 4 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 16.1
Anticipated IBU: 27.5
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.047

 3 lbs Light DME
4 oz Chocolate Malt
4 oz Torrified Wheat
4 oz Flaked Oats
10 oz Table Sugar
4 oz Smoked Malt

.75 oz Northern Brewer (9.6%) @ 45 min
.25 oz Northern Brewer(9.6%) @ 5 min
.25 oz Strisslespalt (2.3%) @ 5 min

White Labs American Farmhouse Blend WLP670  Yeast cake

Friday, October 7, 2011

Modern Sahti

After reading an article in BYO, a section in Radical Brewing and then listening to a Basic Brewing podcast featuring Finnish Style Juniper beers, I was hooked. I attempted to formulate a modern Sahti recipe. Something that could be enjoyed with our modern palate, not wanting something to offputting. Traditionally Sahti is not boiled during the brewing process, but I decided to boil it but only did a 30 minute boil. The only thing I wish I had done looking back is pitch a little Brett with the yeast. I pitched Safale S-33. I felt its qualities would lend itself to how the original Sahti yeast behaves. Sahti brewers uses a special bread yeast that is fast fermenting, stays cloudy, and has some estery overtones somewhere between a Hefeweisen and a Belgian.
Now somehow my Beersmith file is missing. So my notes are gone. So I can give you what I remember. The malt bill was 4oz of the Applewood Smoked Malt, 8 or more ounces of Flaked Rye, a small amount of Crystal 120 and 4 to 6 ounces of Chocolate Malt. 3 pounds of extra light DME were used in the boil. I really wish I had the notes on this brew. I used .3 ounce of Northen Brewer hops at 30 minutes and a .5 ounce of uncrushed juniper berries for the last  5 minutes of the mash. Then another .5 ounce of crushed juniper berries 10 minutes from the end of the boil. This was only a 3 gallon batch. Hopefully the juniper won't be overbearing, that is the main thing I am worried about.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hoppy Spaghetti Wheat Beer

This thread on Homebrewtalk had stuck out in my mind and I tried a batch to see how it went. I followed the mashing instruction in the thread. Basically you simmer the pasta for a hour then mash like normal with the other grains. I did a 30 minute boil with this beer as I had already brewed one beer that night and SWMBO was hurrying me out the door. I tasted the water after simmering the pasta and it had a sweet taste to it. I'm excited to see how this turns out. 

Batch Size: 3 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 9.1
Anticipated IBU: 23.5
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.046

 3 lbs Light DME
1.25 lbs Wheat Spaghetti
8 oz Table Sugar
1 oz Flaked Oats

1 oz Whole Leaf Cascade (5.5%) @ 30 min
.5 oz Whole Leaf Centennial (10%) @ 15 min
.5 oz Amarillo Gold Pellets (8.5%) @ 10 min
.5 oz Whole Leaf Centennial (10%) @ 5 min
.5 oz Amarillo Gold Pellets (8.5%) @ 0 min

Safale US-05

Applewood Smoked Porter

I decided to do another dark beer but wasn't sure what I wanted to do. A porter sounded good and I had recently purchased some Applewood Smoked Grains and I decided to do a smoked porter. Just chewing on the grains it was a nice smooth sweet smokey flavor that should work well with the roasty flavors in the beer. The main issue I had was trying to figure out how much smoked grain to use, not wanting it to be overbearing but still wanting it to be noticeable. It came out to 27.6 percent of the whole grain bill.

Batch Size: 3 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 30.5
Anticipated IBU: 34.2
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.046

3 lbs Amber DME
3.2 oz Special Roast
3.2 oz Biscuit Malt
3.2 Special B Malt
5 oz Chocolate Malt
1.5 lbs Applewood Smoked Malt

1 oz Cluster (7%) @ 60 min

Safale US-05 (Slurry repitched from a previous beer)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rye Farmhouse Saison

This should turn out slightly funky and refreshing. Just a blonde ale malt bill with flaked rye and White Labs new American Farmhouse Blend with Brett should add the complexity and refreshing beer I'm looking for. I plan on putting a another beer on the yeast cake after this is done. Eventually I will start pitching the dregs from bottled sours and build up the bugs. I figure I can evolve this into a house sour.
I also tried out a new hop. Strisselspalt is a french hop that seems little used but comes highly recommended.

UPDATE- My First Pelicle and A Cucumber Wheat

Batch Size: 3 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 9.1
Anticipated IBU: 23.5
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.046

2 lbs Amber LME
.5 lb Wheat DME
1 lb Light DME
4 oz Flaked Rye
4 oz Table Sugar
5 oz Honey Malt
2 oz Biscuit Malt

.75 oz Strisslespalt(4%) @ 5 min
.35 oz Centennial(10%) @ 60 min

White Labs American Farmhouse Blend WLP670

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Choco Porter

I found an old bottle of my milk stout and it renewed my interest in brewing a dark beer. After exploring the possibilities I settled on a Chocolate Porter. So this is my attempt at that.
The end product didn't come out as dark as a porter should be and looking back I should of used some roasted barley along with the chocolate malt. The chocolate aroma was amazing coming off the wort as I transferred it to the fermenter.

Batch Size: 3 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 20.7
Anticipated IBU: 26.1
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.046

4 lbs Amber LME
4 oz Chocolate Malt
1 oz Caramel Malt
2.5 oz Flaked Oats
8 oz Maris Otter
1 oz Torrified Wheat

.5 oz Hallertauer(4.8%) @ 45 min
.25 oz Centennial(10%) @ 60 min

Safale US-05

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rumpkin Update

I racked the Rumpkin Clone off the trub and into a clean carboy. I put a miniscule amount of table sugar into the new carboy that way the yeast would let off some C02 and protect it from oxidizing. I also added Sailor Jerry's Spiced Rum along with medium toasted french oak chips. I would of prefered cubes but couldn't find them at Liquor Barn and didn't have time to make the journey out to My Old Kentucky Homebrew. The oak chips will add another layer of complexity and some amount of  floral almost spiciness, plus the added mouthfeel and tannins is a welcome addition.
The flat warm beer seemed thin without carbonation to change the mouthfeel. Now the uncarbonated warm beer already had a slight alochol burn from the final gravity of 1.009 which brings the beer itself out to 8%  Abv. After the rum addition my Rumpkin clone should come out to about 10.5% Abv. I am thinking about pitching champagne yeast to make sure the bottles carbonate.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Slightly Smaller Rumpkin Clone

After reading about Avery's Rumpkin I knew that I was going to brew my version of it for a fall beer. Rumpkin is an imperial pumpkin beer. Its aged on Gosling's Rum barrels for 6 months, coming out to intense 13.2 ABV. I decided to make it slightly smaller as I wasn't going to age it for 6 months and I wanted it ready to drink as soon as possible. I baked the pumpkin pie mix at 350 degrees for an hour, then mashed it in with the rest of the grains at 155 degrees. (Well as close to 155 as I can hold with this electric stove)
The pumpkin was prespiced and if the beer needs more spice I'll add it when I add the spiced rum later. I plan on using Kraken or Sailor Jerry's Spiced Rum. 

Batch Size: 3 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 14.6
Anticipated IBU: 24.1
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.070

3oz of Maris Otter
3oz of Flaked Oats
2oz of Crystal 120
8oz of Brown Sugar
1lb of Honey @ 5 min
4lb of Canned Pumpkin Pie
3.5lb of Amber LME

.50oz Cluster (7.00%) @ 60 min
.25oz Cluster (7.00%) @ 30 min

Safale US-05

Monday, August 22, 2011

Four (Well Three) Spent Grain Bread

After brewing my Four Grain Ale, I took the spent grains and made bread. I should have started this a long time ago! It was fantastic, we had friends over and both loaves were gone before the end of the night.
 This the recipe I used and probably will continue to use. It makes me want to brew more because everytime you brew the bread will come out different. From what I've read the only grains you want to stay away from are really dark roasty grains.

Spent Grain Bread
1 cup Warm Water
3 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
3 cups Spent Grain
1 pkg dry Bakers Yeast
1 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 to 3 1/2 cups Flour

Combine sugar and yeast with warm water. Add salt, oil, spent grain, and 1 cup of the flour. Mix well. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough.

Knead well, cover, and let rise for several hours (until doubled). Punch down and shape into two loaves. Place on a greased baking sheet, cover, and let rise until doubled.

Bake at 425 degrees F. for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F. and bake for 10 more minutes or until nicely browned.

Four Grain Ale

Last night I brewed what I call a Four Grain Ale. I used Oats, Wheat, Rye, and Barley. I based the recipe off some rye recipes. It came out to a nice mellow 1.046 original gravity, I wasn't aiming for anything to  high in alcohol. I attempted to brew this as a partial mash and comparing with my Beersmith notes It looks like I hit about 70 percent efficiency.I added a majority of the extract in late to keep the color light.

Batch Size: 2.75 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 10.8
Anticipated IBU: 29.4
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.046

1.5 lbs of Amber liquid Extract @ 60min
2 lbs of Amber Liquid Extract @ 30min
4 oz of Flaked Oats
4 oz of Flaked Rye
4 oz of Torrified Wheat

.25oz Cluster (7.50%) @ 60 min
.25 oz Cascade (5.50%) @ 30 min
.25oz Cluster (7.50%) @ 15 min

.25 oz Cascade (5.50%) @ 10 min

Safale US-05

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Waxing Bottle Tops

I bottled the peach mead that had been sitting in a carboy in my closet for 6 months now. I decided to add an extra flare and dip the top of these bottles in wax. After researching the topic I found there was two different ways to do it. Either premade wax balls you can buy in hobby stores or mixing your own using crayons and hot glue gun gluesticks. This thread was very helpful.   The ratios he stated gave me a basic guideline to go off but I found some experimentation was necessary, I think partly because I used the cheapest crayons available to me. I attempted to use a double boiler to melt the wax/glue but it was too slow and wasn't really working. I ended finding the easiest method was to heat the oven.
Once liquid the process is very straight forward. Dip the bottle and slowly rotate it while the wax cools.  I am very happy with how the bottles turned out, the only worry I have is that the wax will not be too brittle.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sweet Potato English Ale

Since I read a recipe that included it, I've wanted to brew something with sweet potatoes. I finally got around to it. I brewed a 2.75 gallon batch as I wasn't sure how it would turn out, also I've decided to start brewing smaller batches. I based the recipe off a english nut brown ale. This ended up coming out with a lot higher gravity than I expected, but since it was planned as a fall beer it should have time to mellow.
I diced the sweet potatoes into finger nail sized pieces and then roasted half in the oven for about 45 minutes at 450 degrees. Some ended up burning on the outside but that should just add to the flavor. I then mashed all the potatoes for about an hour at 155 degrees (At least as close to that temperature as I could maintain. I wish I had a gas stove.) I then separated the the potatoes and proceeded to boil the wort as normal. Hopefully the orange color comes through in the end. I am excited to taste the final product.

Sweet Potato Ale

Batch Size: 2.75 gallons
Anticipated SRM: 7.0
Anticipated IBU: 15
Wort Boil Time: 60
Original Gravity:  1.072

.5oz Biscuit Malt
.5oz Chocolate
.5oz Special B Malt
.5oz Special Roast
1.25oz Dark Brown Sugar
1oz Flaked Oats
1oz Sucrose
1oz Torrified Wheat
3lbs of Golden Light DME

.25oz Cluster (7.50%) @ 60 min
.25oz Willamette (5.50%) @ 20 min

WLP013 London Ale Yeast

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tasting Honey Pilsner Ale

I popped open one of the Honey Pilsner Bottles to do a proper tasting.

Appearance: It pours a nice blonde with a white one or two finger head that immediately diminishes into a small layer of foam. The ale keeps nice strong legs in the glass as you drink it.

Smell: A strong almost foral quality coming from the honey. No other real strong smells.

Mouthfeel: A smooth feel with a little bit of bite from the carbonation. 

Taste: An immediate strong honey taste that is followed by nice malt taste that seems to disappear the farther you get into the glass. I think next time I would pull back on the honey to let the hops and malt flavors come through more.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Its amazing what 20 dollars can buy.

I just bought all this for twenty dollars. Its a 6.5 gallon carboy, two 5 gallon carboys, ninety six 22oz bottles, Hydrometer, and various tubes, blowoff's, stoppers, etc. I am very satisfied with my purchase. Also included in the purchase are about 6 bottles with some sort of stout in them. I already threw one in the fridge and am going to try it later.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Graff Experiments and Kolsch update

I racked the Graff into two different 3 gallon carboys. One was left alone and the other was racked onto tart cherries. The cherries were fresh picked, frozen and thawed to break the cell walls. The Graff is a lot darker than I expected but I expect that is from the crystal 120. Within twelve hours a new krausen had formed on the on the carboy with the cherries.
At this point it seems like most fermentation on the Kolsch has slowed down almost entirely. Its pretty cloudy but also its very young still. Its got a nice color that should be a nice blonde color in the glass. In the picture below left to right; Normal Graff, Cherry Graff, Kolsch.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kolsch'ed up.

I brewed the Kolsch I've had waiting.

Wyeast Kolsch Yeast
3.3 lb Pilsen LME
2 lb Wheat DME
12 oz. Carapils
.25 oz of torrified wheat

2 and 2/3 oz of Willamette hops
1/3 oz of Cascade hops

Other than the changes to the ingredient list noted above, I followed the procedures included in the kit. Including the late addition of the DME to help ensure the light color. Unfortunately one of the side effects of a late night brew session is I forgot to get the gravity of the wort. The estimated OG is 1.042 to 1.046.
The carboy is sitting in a tub of cold water with ice added periodically and a fan pointed into it, Keeping the fermenting temperatures down in the recommended range for Kolsch. I plan on later racking half this batch onto raspberries and leaving the other half alone.

Tasted and Bottled. Blueberry and Honey Pilsner

I have bottled all of the Honey Pilsner ale into both bombers and 12oz bottles. It came out to a final gravity of 1.012. This makes it an estimated 4.61% abv.
We also tasted the blueberry wine I bottled awhile back and it tastes complex and smooth, with a very fruity blush wine taste. The only thing I am not happy with, is a sulfur taste. But hopefully that will fade with time.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Brandon O's Graff (For the most part)

 Every attempt I've made at straight cider using juice, sugar and yeast came out thin and dry. Not at all like commercial sweet ciders. This is supposed to be sweet and have body like Strongbow or Woodchuck. Perfect for my significant other and other friends who don't care for beer.
I brewed up a 5 gallon batch following Brandon O's recipe as stated here. The only difference is I used 1.25 Oz of torrified wheat and just amber DME as it was all I had on hand. I used Crystal 120L as suggested in the recipe as I used cheaper juice. Cascade hops were selected as they seemed to go well with cider flavors.

I kept some of the yeast cake from my Honey Pilsner Ale and repitched it into this. The yeast is Safale US-05. After 12 hours the airlock would bubble every 5 seconds or so. Upon pitching the yeast the final gravity of the wort was 1.062. The only thing I am worried about is its currently fermenting at around 70 degrees. I really need to figure out a way to control fermentation temperatures, I'd prefer lower temperatures so no off flavors develop. I have high hopes for this cider.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Honey Pilsner into Secondary

Normally I don't rack beer into a secondary but I'd rather use my 5 gallon brewing bucket for primary than a carboy, and I plan on brewing a Kolsch in the next week.I also wanted to try gelatin finings on this batch to see how it did with clearing beer. I warmed a tablespoon of finings up in near boiling water and mixed it with the wort as it went into the carboy.
The wort smelled really good as it was being transferred. Malty with a citrus peachy on top of that, some of that coming from hops and I think some from the Safale US-05. From what I've read it can sometimes add a peachy aroma.  I saved some of the yeast cake and stored that away for later. Over all I'm excited about getting this into bottle and will bottle it as soon as its cleared up, which will hopefully only take a week or so.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Blueberry Wine Bottled

 I bottled my blueberry wine last night. After racking if off fruit it ended up only filling up a half gallon carboy which in turn ended up up only being 5 12 oz bottles. Unfortunately I did not take the initial gravity so there is no way to get the alcohol content, but there is a definite burn when we tasted it a couple weeks ago. Aging will hopefully diminish that burn and bring the blueberry/fruity taste out more.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kolsch and Tasting Glasses

I have the ingredients for a Kolsch which will be brewed as soon as the honey pilsner ale is out of primary. Its a brewers best kit which I've heard good things about and a Wyeast kolsch smack pack.
I also picked up 4 Budweiser nickle beers glasses today. Still looking up more information on their history but they make perfect tasting glasses.  (Business card inserted in there for reference)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Honey Pilsner Ale

This did not go as planned but I think it benefited from the changes. It originally was a Patersbier Kit from Northen Brewer. I followed the recipe but used a different yeast.  I have substituted the Belgian yeast for Safale US-05 American Ale yeast. It is supposed to very clean American Ale with crisp finish which should go well with the Pilsner malt.
Everything went expected on the brew day except the gravity was low when the yeast was pitched. It was reading about 1.035 and not the 1.047 that Northern Brewer suggests. A krausen didn't form for about 24 hours and even now there is no real activity in the airlock. I decided to add 2 pounds of honey I had leftover from making mead to boost the gravity of this beer. After entering the recipe into a calculator I came up with a predicted gravity of 1.048. The honey was added about 36 hours after pitching the yeast. Over all I am satisfied with the addition of honey, as it should meld well with all the other ingredients.

Safale US-05 American Ale Yeast
0.5 lbs CaraPils
6 lbs Pilsen malt extract syrup
2 lbs of Clover honey

1 oz Tradition hops (60 min)
0.5 oz Saaz hops (10 min)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

After a long break.

Sorry about the long break in updates, We have been moving and other various life issues. So after settling into our new apartment I pulled the homebrew equipment out and bottled the milk stout. It smelled hoppier than I expected, but it will hopefully fade in the bottle.
I racked the 3 gallon peach mead into a fresh carboy with new fruit and some yeast energizer. I've also racked the tart cherry mead into a fresh carboy with some fresh cherries and yeast energizer.
After tasting samples from various carboys I've decided that the Whole foods cider is ready to be bottled as soon as I get some lactose to sweeten it back up, as it very dry currently. The cherry mead also seems ready to bottle within the next month and I'll probably do the peach mead at the same time.

I've changed the plan and I am no longer going to pitch Belgian yeast with the Patersbier  kit I have. I am going to just go with a clean fermenting American ale yeast. I am hoping to brew that tomorrow.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Milk Stout Started

This originally started as a Northern Brewer Dry Irish Stout kit and I added 1 pound of Lactose to sweeten it up. I just hope that one pound of sugar will be enough to get that sweet dessert style beer I'm hoping for.
The strong smell of coffee with a small touch of bitterness coming through from the hops filled the room during the whole boil. The wort was pitch black and had a gravity of 1.052 when the Wyeast 1056 American Ale smack pack was pitched. Within hours it was bubbling away.

-Northern Brewer Dry Irish Stout Kit
-Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast
-1 Lb of Lactose Sugar

This brewing session cemented the fact that I need a wort chiller before the next brew session, the old ice bath in the sink is not working well enough. I will probably DIY the wort chiller and save some money hopefully.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bottled and Kegged the Amber Ale

I tapped one of the mini kegs of American Amber Ale. I split the 5 gallon batch between two mini kegs and bottles. So at this point its been carbonating with priming sugar for a week and then force carbonated over night. It was a Brewers Best brand kit.
It poured a dark amber color and a small tan head that diminished after a couple minutes. The ale has a nice mild aroma with the hops really coming through more than anything else. Mouthfeel is thinner than I'd like and is on the bitter side with no real strong malt taste coming through. But the beer is definitely young at this point and I'm excited to see how it matures. Hopefully the malt will come through as it gets older and the bitterness will diminish.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Previously Fermenting

So this is what I had in carboy previous to this blog.

-A Peach Mead
-Blueberry Wine
-Orange/Tangerine Wine
-Apple Wine

The only one I am actually excited about is the peach mead. The orange and apple wine were the first things I ever brewed and they are thin rocket fuel with a sulfur taste. The blueberry definitely has the potential for greatness. It has a great berry taste but its rocket fuel with some sulfur in there too, so I plan on letting it age and mellow out. The mead was made from clover honey and frozen peaches picked from parents property. The peaches were pureed and still haven't settled out, but its been less than a month.

Whole Foods Cider

Having heard good things I ventured out to whole foods and bought a gallon of Apple Cider. It comes in a one gallon glass carboy and is a light muddy brown color. Already pasteurized and with no preservatives it makes it really easy, Just pitch the yeast and put an airlock on it. I used a Windsor Ale Yeast for the the faster turn around time and lower alcohol content versus wine or champagne yeast.

-One Gallon Whole Foods Cider
-Windsor Ale Yeast
-Petic Enzyme

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tart Cherry Mead

I put together a one gallon batch of tart cherry mead. Ive found myself more enamored with mead lately and am excited to see what happens with this. More juice came in the frozen cherry bags than I had anticipated, about a quarter of the carboy was filled with juice before the cherries were added, but this should just add to the taste hopefully. I went with the Lalvin D47 yeast as it seems to die out around 14% alcohol content and that should allow for sugar content without having to back sweeten. By the way hydrometer is out of commission so no hydrometer readings until I get a new one. Here is the recipe I put together. 

-2 Pounds 8 Ozs of frozen cherries
-3 Lbs of clover honey
-Lalvin D47 yeast.

I just warmed the honey till it was fluid enough to pour and put it on top of the cherries and juice in the carboy, then filled the rest up with spring water.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

American Amber

This is the first post and didn't document this batch as well as I should of. It is Brewer's Best American Amber. It was put into primary on March 19 and the primary fermentation seems to of slowed down at this point.