Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Up And At 'Em!

Here's what I've been up to:

In The Fridge
Irish Stout (Extract)
American IPA (Extract)
Golden Ale (Partial Mash) - tastes very good, easy drinker

Up Next
DIPA (All Grain) - Bottle conditioning, tasted amazing before bottling!  Psyched for this one.
Pomegranite Saison (All Grain) - Bottle conditioning.  Smelled and tasted eh before bottling. We'll see.

Looking at doing a bitter Amber brew next.  I've been doing 1 gallon experimental batches until I get something I like, then I'll do a 5 gallon of it.  The DIPA has potential.  We'll see.  I definitely have an Imperial Stout and American Barleywine not too far behind.  Need one of those.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The "M" Word

Ok, so been pretty busy as of late.  I got engaged a few weekends ago and have been working with my bride to be on wedding stuff.  I miss brewing and need to brew another sometime soon.  Reason I bring up the wedding is I had an idea for a wedding favor.  I want to brew a Blood Orange Wheat beer and have the label list our names and date of the wedding for the 21+ crowd to enjoy.  So, since we're thinking a September 2012 wedding, I have a good long while to try and get good at this brew.  I also finished creating my homemade mash tun.  I replaced all of the brass parts I had original purchased with copper and stainless steel.  You would not believe how hard it was to find a 1/2" pipe tee in copper or stainless steel.  Found a stainless steel one online finally and had ordered it.  So, once I got back from my work trip last week, I finished putting together my mash tun with the new pieces.  So, as a recap.  I'm using a 50QT Coleman Extreme 5 rectangular cooler.  I took out the nozzle and replaced it with a 1/2" copper nipple, 1/2" ball valve, and 1/2" stainless steel tee (on the inside).  I left the original leak protector inside.  On the stainless tee I attached a 1/2" copper connector to both sides.  I also attached another 1/2" copper connect to the end of the ball valve.  Finally, I took a dishwasher hose, removed the plastic and added copper wire inside to prevent from crushing.  I secured it all with stainless steel hose clamps.  So, when all is said and done, I have a make shift mash tun.  After buying brass and then replacing, I could've just bought a real mash tun setup!  UGH!  So, I only have capabilities of partial mash right now since I only have a 5 QT pot and no propane burner.  I also would like to get into using yeast starters, but have yet to really dive into how they work and how to prepare them.  Only watched a few videos online.   I'm hesitant to start trialing my Blood Orange Wheat until I am at a full All Grain Setup.  I guess my train of thought is why try and get good at a brewing style (Partial Mash) if I'm going to be changing it soon anyway to All Grain.  I will be going to my local homebrew shop tonight to see the cost of some of the other pieces in my setup and maybe get a partial mash recipe to hold me over for now.  It's an expensive hobby to start, but once I have a full All Grain setup, it's just ingredients I need.  It will save a lot of money from buying beer.  5 Gallon batch of homebrew, depending on style obviously, is $40.  5 Gallons worth of local good beer is $60.  Saving some dough.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

First Homebrewing Blog

Ok, so you need to know a little about me.  I have been enjoying GOOD beer since I converted to the craft brew scene in November 2009.  I had always thought that home brewing was not for me because I enjoyed beer, but didn't think that brewing was what I wanted to try my hand at.  I was always a musician, and as a musician, you get very creative inspiration in bursts.  Well, it seems that after my musical project disbanded, I started researching brewing beer.  Turns out, I actually like the thought of being able to put my  creative twists on ideas for beer.  So, I had gotten my first home brew kit for my 28th birthday.  It is a True Brew home brew equipment kit with a fermenter, bottling bucket, and all of the hoses and accessories needed to begin extract brewing.  I also received a True Brew Irish Stout extract kit with my birthday gift.  So, naturally, I was excited to try it and I brewed my first beer.  I thought the process was much easier than expected, it just took time.  I let my stout ferment in the primary for 1 week and then bottled it.  Upon bottling, I brewed an IPA, recipe and ingredients were from a local home brew store.  I wanted an IPA to be able to see some of the brewing differences between a stout and an IPA.  This recipe seemed a little more involved, but not too much.  I brewed this batch and bought a secondary glass carboy fermenter with the intent of using the IPA for an extra week or 2 in the secondary.  I tried the stout about 2 weeks after the bottling and was getting a very watery / metallic taste.  I was slightly disappointed, but was not expecting much from my first brew.  I tried another bottle, a week later, the day before bottling my IPA.  It was better than the first bottle for sure, but still not anything to write home about.  I then bottled my IPA which had sat in my primary for 1 week and my secondary for 2.  Bottled and waiting for 3 weeks before trial, my IPA was looking good.  I got 48 12oz bottles of the stout out of that batch and 45 12oz bottles of the IPA in that batch.  For the IPA I bought a few extra tools.  I got the aforementioned secondary glass carboy, a metal strainer which I used from the glass carboy to the bottling bucket to avoid getting any sediment in the bottled brew, and some awesome new bottle sanitizers that squirt the liquid into the upside down bottle.  I definitely have to say that this has become a great hobby and, already, I have begun the conversion to all grain.  I figured, why get good at extract brewing, when my long run goal is all grain anyway.  I began building a mash tun.  I bought a 48QT rectangular cooler, from a youtube video I saw, and all of the brass fittings and accessories needed to build.  Upon building, I realized that the video was wrong to use brass as brass could have lead in it and is not he best to use for brewing.  I also used a galvanized wire to fit in the dishwasher hose I am using for the mash tun.  I read that galvanized wire is not good.  So, I bought copper wire and copper fittings to replace the galvanized wire and brass fittings.  Wish I knew sooner as I already spent the money on the brass and galvanized equipment as instructed in the video.  Guess I was mostly PO'd at myself for not researching first and just trusting the video.  Anyway, I could not find a copper pipe tee that was threaded on all three sides at local hardware stores.  So, I looked online and found nothing in copper.  I then searched for stainless steel 1/2 inch copper tee that was threaded and found 1 that looked like it was what I needed, so I ordered it.  It should come in next week.  So, my all grain mash tun will consist of a 48QT rectangular Coleman Extreme 5 cooler, a stainless steel dishwasher hose with copper wire inserted into it to avoid grain crushing, a stainless steel threaded tee, and all brass pipe fittings, nipple, and ball valve.  This is my first step to all grain.  Now I will need a bigger brew pot than my current stainless 5 gallon (maybe 8 or 10 gallon is what I'll get).  Then I will need a wort chiller and finally a propane burner.  I will eventually get a grain miller, but to start I will buy pre-milled grain until I can afford the miller / crusher.  So, this is where I stand currently.  I will send more updates as I get further along and brew again.  Time to enjoy some good brews from some loved breweries.  Cheers.