November 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Little bottling, little drinking

Tonight I racked over my still unnamed IPA and added the Willamette dry hops to both carboys. I had a taste and was really pleased with the flavor. This is going to be a great IPA. There were a few things about the brew day that I forgot to outline:

Step mashed - I used a step mash instead of a single infusion mash. I did this for more practical reasons of just questioning the amount of water that I could add to the mashtun with that volume of grain. The first step was 135 for 30 min and the second step was 150 for another 30 min. Finally, because we were not able to get up to 168 for mashout (short on room in the mashtun) and because it was so cold out, we sparged out with near boiling water. All day we were losing temp on water because of the extreme man cold that we brave for beer.

Finally I broke out some of the Tripel Nipple that I have been aging since January. It's great. I am really pleased how this beer turned out. It's a little intense on the tongue, but the banana and spices really make this a great example of a tripel. I need to dial down the carbonation a bit, but the recipe is spot on. I am going to need to do this one again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ted's Mint Stout Tasting

On his way through this summer, Ted and I exchanged a few brews. I have been through a few of them (and really liked all so far!), but was saving the Mint Stout for a rainy day. Well in CNY, rainy days quickly turn into snowy days, so Nick and I tasted the mint stout after our brew day this weekend.

I was impressed with the brew. I am not sure I would be able to handle 5 gallons of it (good thing he only made a 1 gallon batch), but it was tasty nonetheless. Ted really hits the mark on his brews (unlike MNB), but if I had to make a suggestion, it would be to tone down the carbonation just a little.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

I've been through the desert on a beer with no name

...It felt good to be out of the snow. While we are still unsure about the name of this IPA, for now it's a poe-boy because we used our free hops from Red Hook for it! It's a great tour if you get the chance and you're in Portsmouth, I recommend it.

As you can see from the picture above, it was actually cold out for our brew day. This is man brewing conditions, not like those in Georgia where 55f is a cold brew night. We got to brew out the Carharts already!

This was an IPA with a lot of hops and about 55lbs of grain involved. There were some adjustments to the recipe that was indicated earlier. First off, it was German Tetinang, not Galana that we had to brew with so we went a little heavier on the Northern Brewer. In the end, we were able to get very near our intended IBU's.

Now when it came to how to distribute the hops over two 10 gallon batches of beer, Nick had a pretty crazy idea to help us brew and cool in a timely manner. First off, please note that we take and mix all of the batches when we put them into our fermentation buckets.

Now Nick's idea was simple - We have bittering hops and flavor hops. The flavor/aroma hops do not need to boil for the full 60 min, nor does the wort that gets those hops. So, we have one 10 gallon keggle for bittering that boils the full 60 min, and the second one boils with all the late hops additions. While we cool the flavor/aroma keggle, the bittering keggle is on the second leg of it's boil. By the time we are done with the flavor/aroma keggle, the bittering one is ready to cool.

I racked my brain for a way to make this not an acceptable method, but it seems pretty logical. I am interested to hear some feedback, if I get ambitious, I may make a diagram for this.

So, quick recap - The keggle on the left has all the bittering hops additions. The keggle on the right has all the aroma and flavor hops additions and only boils for 1/2 hr. In the end, they are all mixed together.

Overall it was a great brew day. We missed out on our volume and didn't take any mashing/sparging readings, but we were well over our mark on gravity (1.066, instead of 1.057) so I think in the end, we were right where we wanted to be. The beer was a nice straw color, so we will see how it settles out.

We also did a tasting of Ted's Mint Stout. I will be posting up a video later this week to get everyone through turkey day.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Back to brewing!

Finally, we are going to brew this weekend! Because Nick and I are so low on brew and because I was able to come across some free high alpha acid hops while on brew tour, we are making an American IPA. I picked up the grains last night and I am going to be rocking the starter tonight.

This is currently a namless IPA, but I am sure Nick and I will come up with something good.

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 20.00 gal
Boil Size: 22.89 gal
Estimated OG: 1.057 SG
Estimated Color: 8.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 98.4 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes


50.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) 91.32 %
2.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L 3.65 %
1.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L 2.74 %
1.25 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine 2.28 %
5.00 oz Galena [13.00 %] (90 min) 59.8 IBU
2.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (45 min) 13.4 IBU
2.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (30 min) 11.2 IBU
2.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (20 min) 8.9 IBU
2.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (15 min) 4.7 IBU
2.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (1 min) 0.4 IBU

1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [SYeast-Ale

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 54.75 lb
Single Infusion, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
75 min Mash In Add 17.11 gal of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 10.95 gal of water at 200.2 F 168.0 F

I am still up in the air about weather or not we're going to fly sparge or batch sparge. It will be a game time decision.

On another note, I would like to congratulate Joel (the picture was taken at a MNB brew night)from Monday Night Brewery was recently elected 4th ward dog catcher. With his political prowess, I am sure he will be moving up the ranks to city-wide dog catcher in no time!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Little Bottling, little kegging

While I have not been brewing much in the recent past, I have been aging a few brews. The first was my melomel that I brewed earlier this year. It's been aging for three months in secondary and ended off with a FG or 1.026. It's pretty sweet, so I topped it off with a few pints of water so that the sugar would get cut a little.
I had a few tastes and I have to say, it's pretty good. I am carbonating and hope that they carbonation gives a little bite to offset the sweetness.
The second project was the bottling of the Christmas Ale. I decided on a name and made up labels using Bottle Your Brand. They were fast and the price was decent. The thing that I liked was that they have a template for your label so you don't have to use one of the generic ones that they have. Once I get a picture of one of my bottles, I'll be sure to post it up.
Finally, I am trying out Word Press as my blogging utility. I am playing around with it now to see what I think of it, but if your interested in taking a look, please feel free to check it out at Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

DARE...To stand up and say something!

I sat on this for a few months now, but I have to say something. The recent scuttlebutt about lowing the drinking age has opened the door to an important conversation about alcohol and the youth. As a homebrewer and as a relatively recent graduate of college, I have a unique perspective on this issue. I would like to take few minutes to let you know how I feel and open this up to response.

First off, what happens at 21 that makes someone so different? In this country, an “underage” person who is 20 years old is treated the same way as an underage person that is 17 years old. Both can drive and both are under the required age of 21 years. However, one of them is going to be giving free reign to buy and consume alcohol in 12 months where the other is still four years away from that important date.

It’s my opinion that we are creating young adults, that are going to be exposed to alcohol on a regular basis after their 21st birthday, that are not prepared to socially consume alcohol. These kids one day are hiding from police at house parties, binge drinking for a buzz, and treating alcohol like a drug used by junkies. The next day we open the flood gates and they can go out to a liquor store and buy any kind of booze or beer their heart desires.

Furthermore, everyone these new legal adults know people that are still under age. If a 21 year old buys alcohol for their 20 year old friend, they are serving alcohol to a minor. Besides not preparing these new adults for their professional careers, we’re setting them up to be criminals by the very system we perpetuate.

Now somewhere along the line, owning an establishment that serves alcohol became a despicable drug dealer instead of a go-getter entrepreneur. These business owners are presumed guilty if an underage person enters their establishment and buys alcohol with a fake ID. Never mind that when an underage person enters a bar under false pretense they are trespassing, it’s still the fault of the bar owner. This is just crazy. To take it a step further, if a bar is closed down due to under age alcohol violations in NYS, the next bar owner has to deal with the fines and violations as if it happened while they owned the property…but I digress.

Sadly bar owners are treated like drug dealers and thugs, while they instead create a safe, monitored alcohol consuming environment. Not like house parties, keggers, field shindigs and boat parties that are havens for alcohol related death, rape and just general tomfoolery. A bar has groups of adults, bouncers and the bar owner, that are all there with the job of keeping things in order. This compared to a house party where there is no one to limit access to alcohol or monitor someone who has had too much to drink.

Finally, I don’t think that the drinking age is the problem. To me, the demonization of alcohol is the real problem. We take kids, tell them it’s bad and horrible for 20 years, 11 months and then bang…suddenly its everywhere and it’s your right to drink as much or as little as you want. I’ve seen it at the colleges; I’ve seen it in the high schools. We’re not preparing young people to be adults. They treat alcohol as a drug where the only intent is to get fucked up. If an adult wanted to teach their child about alcohol consumption in a controlled environment, they would be labeled a horrible, irresponsible parent.

The treatment of alcohol in our current society (in regards to underage drinking) is eerily similar to the conditions that led to prohibition. Mothers fueled with righteous indignation screaming louder than the masses calling for further and further control of alcohol because it’s ruining our society and killing young people. MADD, SADD and every other ADD related group was always focused on fighting drinking and driving. The laws are now incredibly strict and police take the offense very seriously. So why are they continuing to push for further punishment of alcohol related offenses? Perhaps they should shorten things up from Against Drunk Driving to Against Drinking.

This is not a healthy balance and we are not preparing young adults for adulthood (in fact I would go so far as to call it a hypocrisy, but that’s just me). The key is not to keep them from alcohol, it’s to teach them to say no. If we can’t do that, we’re never going to be able to keep them from wanting it.

Ah, glad I got that off my chest. Cheers.

For more information, check out David Hanson Ph.D

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A quick note on football

First off, sorry I have been lagging on my brewing. It's been a slow going since the fourth, but things will get better. I am getting ready to bottle my Christmas Ale and I may have found a great name for the brew. More to come on that...

But first a quick thought on football. I have been and always will be a die-hard 49ers fan. I grew up wanting to be Joe Montana. Last night I saw my niners come two yards shy of beating the 6-3 Cardinals. It sucked. But one thing I will take away from that game is that they believed that they could and should win. For the first time in a long time, they played with some heart and some dignity.

It's been a long road for the 49ers and we're far from out of the woods, but Singletary has brought some old school values to the team. I hope they make the right decision and hire him.

Now to bring this back to beer, here is a lesson to all you kids; don't do interviews on national television when you are hammered.

Now I know that Joe has a legitimate drinking problem and has since been through treatment, but it does not lessen the hilarity of this clip one bit IMO.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote 4 Beer

I know it's a bit geeky for the beer medium, but be sure to get out and vote. We as homebrewers need to become a voting block, vote for your rights and your freedoms. There were times when homebrew was illegal, we need to become a united voice to make sure that that or prohibition never happens again.