Thursday, December 24, 2009


Christmas came early for me this year.  Santa (Athena) got me ingredients for a Russian Imperial Stout, Stone Ruination Clone, Barley Wine, and another Honey Brown Ale.  Athena also picked up a couple 1/2 gallon growlers for yeast starters and a new 5 gallon glass carboy for secondary fermentation.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Taste Test

Both beers came out great!  My chocolate oatmeal stout pours with a short, cream colored head that tends to settle a little early due to the cocoa powder added to the wort.  A brandy snifter is really the only way you can see the dark caramel color at the edges of the otherwise opaque brew.  It has a toasty, chocolatey aroma with very subtle hoppy undertones.  This beer taste just like it smells; slightly sweet at first from the roasted grains followed by a mild chocolate flavor.  The oats give a smooth mouthfeel making this high gravity stout almost too easy to drink. There is also a very satisfyingly bitter finish from the hops and cocoa that beckon you to take another sip.

Athena's honey brown ale has been the crowd favorite, and for good reason; I'll let her go into detail with her own review, but I'll still give a quick rundown.  It pours with a solid head typical of an English brown ale that keeps well throughout while drinking.  The roasted grains give it a slightly cloudy but deep caramel color through the center of a pint glass.  The aroma hops give it a citrusy bouquet and keep the bitterness to a minimum which lets the sweet malty taste of this beer shine through.  Athena used 2 cups of honey that really cut through the bitterness of the flavoring hops to make this beer my new favorite brown ale.  This one's a keeper and I'm sure we'll have a batch going year round.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Keezer Pics

Friday, December 18, 2009

Lots of updates

I've been really busy lately, so my chocolate oatmeal stout and Athena's honey brown ale have been sitting on secondary for three weeks or so.  In that time, I ordered the hardware/plumbing for the keezer and came up with a more conventional (cheaper) design and Athena even picked up her own Corny keg.

Keezer Hardware:
  • Perlick Stainless Faucets with handles (x3)
  • 4" Stainless Steel Shanks (x3)
  • CO2 and Beer Hoses (12' of each)
Lid Materials:
  • 3/4" Oak
  • 1/4" Furniture-grade Plywood
  • 2" Mold-resistant Styrofoam Insulation
  • Weather Stripping
I got to hang out with my dad for the better part of a Sunday afternoon building the lid and staining it.  Later that week I sealed it with a couple coats of polyurethane coating, installed the insulation, and got it mounted to the freezer.

Athena came home today with her keg and I got my drip tray and rubber shelf mats in the mail.  We siphoned both beers into their respective kegs, slowly brought the pressure up to 30PSI while aerating over the coarse of about 30 minutes, then let them chill while we went shopping for dinner.  We cooked up some rib eyes with mashed potatoes and sauteed veggies just in time for our beers to get cold and fizzy.

Nothing like a home cooked meal with a home brewed beer.