February 2006

Monday, February 27, 2006

Needs Work

It has been about a week since I tapped my English Brown Ale and I must have done something wrong because there is no way that it is supposed to taste like this. First off it's watered down so all you get is a faint taste of beer. Second, it lacks many of the characteristics that a good ale should have, there is almost no hop flavor and a total lack of bitterness.

As far as the things that I did wrong to make this batch the way that it is, well I am not sure where to begin. First off I don't think that I cooked it long enough which would contribute to the watered down taste. The recipe called for brown sugar and since I forgot to add it in the cooking, I added it before the second fermentation. There were two reasons for this, first, I did not get much bubbling from the primary fermentation and I thought some sugars might help fire up the yeast and second, I read somewhere that you can do that if you boil the additive before adding to the brew.

Finally I have been having continuing problems with the CO2 system that I am using. It has already caused me to over carbonate some brews and under carbonate other, but nonetheless the same thing remains, they all wind up flat.

Needless to say, there are some aspects of my system that need to be improved, but like they say "That is why they play the game"

Sunday, February 19, 2006

All Grain

Saturday was my first introduction to the process of all grain brewing. I have to admit that I was really intimidated before I saw the system in action. I made some mental notes about the process and below is the process as I observed it:

Cracked not crushed grains
The grains should be cracked open, but not crushed. The best way to do this is to put the grains in zip-lock bag and cracked with a rolling pin.
1lb Grain-1qt water
Using a orange water jug (like the ones that they use in sports) all of the grains are added. The ratio of grain to water is one quart to every pound of grain.
152 degrees
The water needs to be brought to 152 degrees and added to the grains in the water jug. The temp is important because you want the grain to open up and produce sugar, but if the temp goes too far over 152, they will produce tannins which leads to a bad taste.
1 Hour
The grains should stay in the hot water for about an hour. This will allow the cracked grains to release into the water. If the jug is insulated that you are using, there should not be to much of a significant change in temp during the hour.
This is a weird word for basically washing the grains. You see, the grains have releasing the sugars as they would in the growth process. By trickling water over the grains, you are washing all of the sugars off of the grains in into your wort.
Using a modified spout on the jug, release the malt (the water that has been in the jug with the grains) into your boiling pot. It is helpful to have the boiling pot that you are going to cook your wort in on the heat already, this will make the cooking of the wort a little faster because you are not going to be trying to bring 5 gallons to a boil.
After all of these steps, you continue on with the process of home brewing as you normally would with extract. Since you included all of your grains in the "all grain" method, there is no need to do anything with the specialty grains (they are in the malt). Just boil for an hour, add your hops as the recipe calls for it, pitch, ferment, bottle and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

10 Ugly Men Fest in Rochester, maybe 4 years ago now. Justin, Miah, Poop, Squank, and Me. Posted by Picasa

Pugnacious Porter

Malt Extract: 3.5lbs John Bull Dark, 4lbs dry amber
Specialty Grain: 1lb 90-L Crystal malt, 3/4lb Choc. Malt
Bitter Hops: 2oz Northern Brewer (45min)
Flavoring Hops: 1oz Foggles (20min)
Finishing Hops: 1/2 oz Foggles (5min)
Misc: 1 hand full of anise seed (enough to cover the palm of your hand)
OG/FG: 1.055/1.015
Primary: 6 days 58-66F
Secondary: 15 days 58-66F

Notes: The black licorice flavor was a little strong, next time use a little less. It was a very dark and very strong brew. The taste was great!

I did let the specialty grains sit in water that was hotter than it was supposed to. The rule is that you are supposed to have the SG in the water for about 1/2 hr before the water reaches a boil. I did not notice much of a difference, but the flavor of this brew was strong so I doubt you would notice something like that.

It was a kicker of a brew, three beers and you are giddy.

Granddad Brown Ale

Malt Extract: 5lbs John Bull Light
Spec. Grain: 8oz 40-L Crystal Malt, 2oz Black Patent Malt
Bitter Hops: 1oz Saaz, 1/2 oz Hallertaver (45min)
Finishing Hops: 1/2 oz Hallertaver (5min)
Yeast: Whitebread Ale (liquid)
Primary: 7 days 55-61 degrees
Secondary: 10 Days 63 degrees
OG/FG: 1.040-1.050/1.008-1.014
Misc: Brown sugar boiled in with 1pt of water, introduced before secondary fermentation. Molasses is also something that can be added, preferable in the wart with the boil.

Notes: Late fermentation, it took about 32 hours to start fermenting, and I had to bring the brew to about 63F to get it moving. Temp increased to 66F and the fermentation picked up.

I think that the problems spawned from a bad pitch, I had not given the yeast enough time to wake up from the cold.

I introduced the brown sugar before the secondary fermentation (I forgot to add it during the primary), I would not recommend this as a normal practice because all of the additional activity will keep the brew from clearing up the way that you want.

Monday, February 13, 2006


This is my blog about home brewing. I am going to be using this blog as a way to log in my recipes and comments about home brewing. I am fairly new at the "home brewing scene" (about a year or so, maybe 12-15 batches under my belt), but I really enjoy it and I thought that a blog might be a good way to keep my information in order.

If other people read this, awesome, I hope it helps. If you know more than me, please feel free to comment. Cheers!