Saturday, December 24, 2011

Double your fun.

In my usual last minute frenzy to brew some beer for Christmas gifts, I tried a new trick to increase output. The night before, I boiled 5 gallons of water to sterilize it, then let it cool overnight. In the morning, I split it into two carboys and put them outside.

Now, for the afternoon brew session, I did a double strength five gallon batch so I could split it into the carboys of cold water, which has the added benefit and decreasing the amount of time and water I use to cool the wort. I got the wort down below 100 degrees, then poured it into the 60 degree water. In the time I usually spend making 5 gallons of beer, I made 10. Twice as much to beer to gift and/or drink.

I wouldn't recommend doing this for a high gravity beer, but for a Cascadian Pale Ale like I usually make, this experiment worked great.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

579 Beers on the Wall...

...You take 36 down, then fall on the ground...

Our recent trip to the BENELUX countries was one of the most amazing beer experiences of my life. Belgians, especially, appreciate and take pride in their beer, and we were the fortunate to be able to sample many of them. Actually, between the three of us, we tasted over three dozen! One beer cafe in Brugge had a beer menu with over 500 beers in it (see above). Here's what we had:

St Feuillien tripel 7/7
duchesse de Bourgogne 7/7
Steen brugge blond 7/7
De konick 7/6
La trappe trippel 7/4
Rodenbach 6/30
Rochefort 10 6/30
Westmalle dubble 6/30
Cantillon gueze 7/1
Cantillon kriek 7/1
Cantillion raspberry 7/1
Rodenbach grand cru 7/1
Westmalle tripel 7/2
Orval 7/2
De dolle brouwers te esen overbear 7/7
De struise browers te veurne pannepot 7/7
Grimbergen bruin 7/7
chimay tripel 7/7
De halve maan bruges zot 7/8
De halve maan bruges zot dubbel 7/8
De halve maan straffe hendrik tripel 7/8
De halve maan straffe hendrik quadrupel 7/8
Wittekerke rose 7/9
Quintine blonde 7/9
Anker golden carolus hopsinjoor 7/9
Westvleteren donker 8 7/9
Achel brune 7/9
Delirium tremens 7/9
Petrus oud bruin 7/9
St bernardus abt 12 7/9
La chouffe blonde 7/9
Ichtegem's grand cru 7/9
Chimay quadrupel 7/10
Leffe blond 7/10

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Home brewing cheat sheet

Recently, Mix Magaizine did a feature on my homebrew setup. It was flattering, and possibly overstated my expertise, but at any rate, it prompted a lot of questions from homebrewer friends. As well as a little bit of ridicule.

In response to one friend's request for advice, I sent an email with an oversimplified checklist for a brew day. This presumes that you have equipment and ingredients and are ready to go, but maybe a little nervous about where to start if it's your first time. Here goes...

1. Print your recipe out, maybe print this list, too.
2. Lay out all equipment and ingredients
3. Get your water boiling. Use 2 pots if you are going to steep grains or if your stove is slow like mine
4. Using a smack pack of yeast? Smack it.
5. Clean everything that needs to be cleaned, sanitize now.
6. Steeping grains go in when water is at 140 or so. Extract goes in when it's up to boiling
7. When extract is in and you add the first hops, write times on your recipe for hop additions, use a timer even
8. Be ready to cool your wort, get or borrow a wort chiller if you don't have one
9. When it's cooled, strain the hops out into a bucket
10. Pour into carboy
11. Aerate
12. Add yeast, put on a airlock. Check tomorrow
13. Clean up

Saturday, October 16, 2010

2010 Hop Harvest

The hops are picked, dried and bagged. Here's the tally (in dry ounces):

Nugget: 1.4 oz
Centennial: 5 oz
Chinook: 3.6 oz
Magnum: 1.25 oz
Cascade: 11.65 oz

This is season #2 for my hop plants, and with the cooler than average summer we had this year, I think it was worse than season #1 which is crazy. But there's always next year!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Evolution of a Recipe

Today, I am taking another stab at my 40 minute IPA. The first batch I ever brewed was Amarillo by Morning, a pale ale made with extract and grain that used exclusively Amarillo hops. Over time, I have repeated and tweaked that recipe, mostly in the direction of making it stronger and more hoppy, hence the "Accidental IPA." Most recently, I tried a partial mash version, which was the best yet, though the first 40 min IPA was pretty great, a cleaner crisper version. Today, I'm giving the 40 minute another shot, and am using the time between hop additions to review the different directions this recipe can go.

I like making something over and over until I understand it, so below are 4 different versions of a beer I have made a dozen times now. All were made with Wyeast 1056. Someday, I'll try an all grain version, but for now, my kitchen will do fine.

Amarillo by Morning, OG 1.054 IBU's 44
6 lbs Light DME
8 oz Crystal 60
8 oz Cara/Pils
60 min 1 oz Amarillo
20 min 1 oz Amarillo
5 min 1 oz Amarillo
1 min 1 oz Amarillo
This turned out pretty good, a solid and aromatic pale ale.

Accidental IPA OG 1.062 IBU's 68
6 lbs Light DME
15 oz Crystal 60
12 oz Cara/Pils
60 min 1 oz Zeus
40 min 1 oz Zues
20 min 1 oz Amarillo
5 min 1 oz Amarillo
This was a little bitter for my taste, but was a good strong IPA.

40 Minute Accidental IPA, fermented on top of the first Accidental's yeast cake
This was a major success, made it for my brother's wedding and it went fast
OG 1.068, 67.5 IBU's
7 lbs Light DME
8 oz Crystal 60
8 oz Cara/Pils
40 min 2 oz Zeus
20 min 1 oz Chinook
5 min 1 oz Amarillo
1 min 1 oz Amarillo
This was the best year to date. Clean and crisp, even at close to 7%, it was easy to drink and the Amarillo gave it a great nose.

Partial Mash Accidental IPA
1 lb honey Malt
1 lb Crystal 60, malt was mashed for 60 min at 150-155
6 lbs Extract
60 min 1 oz Chinook
40 min 1 oz Chinook
20 min 1 oz Amarillo
5 min 1 oz Amarillo
after 7 days, added 2 oz Amarillo to fermenter
Considerably more body and maltiness than any of the others, this was also a great success. Well balanced and on the stronger, more bitter end of the spectrum.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

OLCC and DOJ Cancel OR State Fair Homebrew Competition

This is heinous.

According to Connie Bradley, Fair manager, "The issue has to do with the judging. Judges are considered the public, and we cannot have the public tasting amateur wine or beer."

Umm, last I knew the State Fair's HBC was a BJCP sanctioned event. This means that the "public" isn't really judging beers; beer judges are judging beer. Beer judges who know their shit. Beer judges who have to take a rigorous exam to get their credentials. Beer judges who don't confuse a terminal gravity ipa, for example, with a mcmenamins hammerhead.

Maybe the BJCP is no longer part of the State Fair, which would lend some credence to Ms. Bradley's comments. But if I'm write, she's a moron.