Sunday, November 28, 2010

Getting Distracted

So it's been a while since my last update, but I have a pretty good reason.
Her name is Happy Hours and I've been taking her out every day I can.  I've still been brewing, but just haven't had a chance to write about it.

We're planning on making a "champagne" for New Years by force carbonating some box of wine and adding some raspberry extract.  Of course, we'll still have the honey brown and an IPA on tap.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First All-Grain

Finished building all the equipment I'll need:

  • Coleman 70 quart MLT

  • Copper Immersion Chiller

  • High Pressure Propane Burner

  • 52 quart Boil Kettle

I went with an easy recipe that I can taste test against a commercial brew: a Fat Tire clone.  I made a ton of mistakes, but learned so much.  Missed my strike water volume, overshot my temps, draining the MLT took longer than I thought it would, almost had a 5 gallon boilover, and my immersion chiller blew up.  It was exhausting and after it was all done had a huge mess on my hands, but I loved it.  This is what brewing is all about.  

The beer came out great.  It was spot on, and other than the head retention, was exactly the same as its commercial inspiration.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Going All-Grain

So I've been brewing extract for a few months, and I've spent over $40 just on little plastic buckets for the LME.  Our local home brew store lets you bring your own, but I always stop by on my way home from work and have to spend another $4 on a new one (or two if I'm doing a big beer). everything else in my life, I make a drastic correction to a solve a minor now I'm going all-grain.

I ordered a Coleman 70 quart cooler from Walmart and will pick up some CPVC and fittings for the manifold and spigot once I can make the measurements in the cooler.  I'll use all of that to build a mash lauter tun that can handle 10 gallon batches.  I also ordered a turkey fryer that comes with a 32 quart pot that should be perfect for a full 5 gallon boil.

Doing a 5 gallon boil will take some serious cooling power to get down to pitching temps, so I plan on building a copper immersion chiller.  Good thing it's my birthday...I can treat myself and not feel guilty. =)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Olde Dog New Trick

With my barleywine taking much longer than I thought it would to ferment, I've been a little worried about off-flavors due to a 6 week primary in a carboy.  I'll still bottle and age this batch, but I think I'll get a small conical for next time.  I probably could have taken it off primary earlier because my hydrometer read 1.005 at with an OG of 1.100, my alcohol content is a little north of 13% abv.  The taste test going into secondary was a little scary; the smell of alcohol overpowered the rest of the beer, but the taste was very smooth with a nice malty flavor with little aftertaste.  I'm dry hopping it right now, so hopefully the aroma changes to something a little more citrusy.  Once it's aged, that alcohol taste should subside and let the rest shine through.

Tonight Athena kegs her IRS (I'm dubbing it "The Taxman Cometh"), so I'll be posting the verdict soon....and we still have everything to make up the Stone Ruination clone, so I'll probably make the starter tonight and brew that up sometime this weekend. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Update: There is no update

It's been just over a month since my last post, so this is where I should list all the great beers I've brewed up, all the new stuff that was just racked to secondary, and all the plans we have for new ales....well, that would be the case, but my barley wine is still in primary fermentation and isn't anywhere close to being done!  I can't wait till this one is finally ready to will be epic.

Athena used my other carboy to make up a batch of Imperial Russian Stout (which is now sitting in secondary), and I still have everything to make a Stone Ruination my next update will be when those are kegged.

I had a Super Bowl Party yesterday and was hoping to have a few home brews on tap, but Athena and I went through a corny keg of her honey brown ale in about a week and the IRS was taking longer than we thought (first time brewing with Belgian Candi Sugar).  Not to worry though, because Tom came through with a quarter keg of Stone Arrogant Bastard and another of Stone Pale Ale.  I got to break out my new grill and BBQed up 16lbs of carne asada and adobada.  All in all, I'd say it was a success even without the homebrew.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Barley Wine (Olde Dog / New Trick)

Today I made up a batch of barley wine which I'm calling Olde Dog (New Trick) Barley Wine.  Until now, the strongest ale I've made is my Chocolate Oatmeal Stout which was only around 7% abv, so this is a big step up.  The recipe I'm using calls for 10lbs of LME and a pound of Belgian Candi Sugar.  It also requires a high gravity yeast as a 2 pint starter fermenting for at least 24 hours.

When we were putting everything away from the brewstore, one of the bags of candi sugar ripped open, so I put it in a ziplock freezer bag.  The other two got a little wet, so the sticker with the price got wet and came off.  For some reason, I just assumed the candi sugar was explicitly for the barley wine and put all 3 bags in...only to find out that both the Imperial Russian Stout and Stone Ruination Clone require a pound each!  So that means I put 3lbs of candi sugar into a 5 gallon batch of barley wine.  My OG was 1.100, and potential alcohol content is up around 10-12%.  Here is a video of fermentation on the second day:

Athena was a little bummed when she went to make her IRS and there was no candi sugar left, but we hadn't made the yeast starter for her batch yet so it all worked out.

Right now we have Athena's Honey Brown Ale in Secondary, Barley Wine in primary, and the IRS yeast starter almost 24 hours in.