Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays

Just wanted to wish everyone a happy holidays. I will be brewing/racking/bottling next weekend on Saturday with a few friends, so if you're in the area stop by with some brew and enjoy one amongst fellow beer lovers. I'm not sure if it will turn into a mass-tasting but I can hope and dream, lol.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bottle king?

I ended up making pasta and bottling my blonde ale on Wednesday night with a little help from my main squeeze Suz. She did the washing and I did the setup and most of the actual racking to the bottles. We used an assortment of 12oz. and 22oz. bottles to get her done. I dunno but it seemed to be a little on the light side beer-wise. I thought 5 gallons would need a few more myself. We have bottle number one in the fridge and number two got gifted to our favorite craft beer bar in the H-town. If we get to stay home as planned on Christmas day we might do a little racking or bottling depending on our mood.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bottling time

I decided to hold off and bottle my blonde this Wednesday so Suz can partake in the proceedings. I think I will also move the IPA into the blonde's carboy to secondary for a while. Evidently I can still dry hop in-carboy with no issues so here's crossing my fingers to that one. Looks like a ready date of Christmas day or so.... might be a merry one after all

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's a little chilly

I moved my IPA up to the second floor in the condo since it gets pretty frigid down there at times. I think it will be a much better fermentation environment up there. It had me worried a bit, but it showed signs of life today when I got home from job #1.

I'm thinking last weeks project, the blonde ale, will spend this week in the carboy and get racked over to bottles quickly.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Brewing 'til three

I was up late last night brewing my next project: The Decimation IPA. Lots of hops and then more hops on top of that. Finished the cleanup around 3:30 AM. I messed up the hops schedule so I will have to play with it a bit and coax something out of it.

I also managed to rack my blonde ale and Raisinette into secondary carboys. The Raisinette was a rushed effort, I should have practiced some patience. The blonde went much smoother and with much less trub transfer.

I also made a terrible mistake in that I mixed and matched two different sanitizing agents. Note to self NEVER REPEAT!!!!! The results could have been disasterous.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rack 'em again

So I checked on my blonde and raisinette trappist today and I think both are ready to rack over to secondarys. The blonde ale finished it's fermentation time very quickly which is one of the reasons for me choosing it. All of the other brews I have made are gonna take awhile before they are drinkable. I have to talk to the guys at the LBS again to make sure but I beleive the Cherry-Poppin sits until January and the trappist is roughly the same. I talked to the guy who created the Decimator, my next IPA project, and he says two to three months in secondary and tertiary carboys......YIKES!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I guess I will start a list with a timeline of brews and when I make them

Lucky number seven:

Haystack Blonde Ale (part deux)
Brewed on 1/22/11
Racked to secondary on ???
Bottled on ???

Sixth brew:

Scotch Ale
Brewed on 1/13/11
Racked to secondary on ???
Bottled on ???

Fifth brew:

Cherry Poppin' Ale (second try)
Brewed on 1/1/11
Racked to secondary on 1/22/11
Bottled on ???

Fourth brewskie:

Decimation IPA (overly hopped American Style IPA)
Brewed on 12/4/10
Racked to secondary on 1/1/11
Racked to terciary on ?
Bottled on ?

Third brew:

Haystack blonde ale
Brewed on 11/26/10
Racked to secondary on 12/4/10
Bottled on 12/15/10

Second brew:

Raisinette Trappist
Brewed on 11/19/10
Racked to secondary on 12/4/10
Bottled on 1/22/11

First brew:

Cherry Poppin' Ale (strong Belgian Ale with cherries)
Brewed on 11/13/10
Racked to secondary on 11/26/10
Bottled on 1/1/11

last edit on 1/29/11

Birthday/Black Friday fun

So I went out on Friday to my Dad's to pick up my Birthday gift and do you know what it was? A gift certificate to my LBS. Super-sweet! So I headed out there to see what
could add to my homebrew kit. I settled on two recipes(a blonde ale and a huge hoppy IPA)and their ingredients along with a couple books on brewing and some bottles/caps. I get home and put all my new shiny stuff away for the time being since I wasn't sure when I going to brew. At a few minutes to 7PM, after I had finished racking my first brew attempt from two weeks earlier, I lay out the ingredients for the blonde and notice that I'm missing the grains. Where did they go? I check and double check everything that came in my box o' goods and the grains were nowhere to be found.

So I made a quick call to the LBS and found out that I had about an hour to get out there and pick up my grains or I would have to wait 'till the morrow. Anybody who knows me knows tomorrow is never an option!So I run out to the car and head back out to the brewstore. Fast forward two hours later and I turn the stove back on under my brewpot. My whole kit got to sit for the two hours in a warm vat of B Brite sanitizer while I was away, so that's a good thing. This was brew attempt number 3 and it was by far the most relaxed I have been while brewing. It felt nice to not be totally stressed during brewday.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A bit about me

So I guess I should give a lil info about myself and what made me decide to start brewing. I always "liked" beer but it wasn't until a few years ago that my passion for delicious beer started to take a firm hold. I found craft beers irresistable and couldn't try enough different varieties within a night. I would go to the largest of the liquor stores near me and just pick up random bottles or six packs to see what they were like. I had done something similar when I had worked for a huge beer distributorship near me years earlier.

It was at the distributorship that I found out about a man named Jim Koch and his delicious brand of Samuel Adams beers from the Boston Beer Company. They were fun, they were full bodied and they were bold. You name it and they made it. Everything from lagers that would make you drop your socks to Octoberfest brews that were good enough to win awards in Germany..... for Octoberfest beer. Quite the accomplishment for a simple down to earth guy who loves his product. I actually got a chance to meet Jim in 1999 and we got a chance to talk beer for roughly half an hour. It was one of the best conversations I've ever had and not just about beer, but beer dominated our discussion. The man loves and stands behind his product one hundred percent, nothing will get between him and making excellent beer. He is one of the three biggest influences on my brewing and what I want to accomplish as a brewer.

The next big influence on me was the Brewery Ommegang in upstate New York. My girl and I got a chance to visit the Copperstown, NY operation and we were in for a treat.
We spent an afternoon visiting and seeing the brewery and taste testing their various
brews and seasonal efforts. It was one sublime beer after another all of which were in the Belgian style of brewing. It was at the brewery that I first smelled the distinct and wonderful aroma of barley and hops and what makes beer smell the way it does. I was in heaven if only for a short while.

Dogfish Head Beers created by Sam Calagione would be the third member of my so-called
brewing troika.I had not had the pleasure of having any of their heavenly brews until about a year ago. I had gotten them mixed up with another fish sounding company who I wasn't enthusiastic about so I sort of refused to try their beer out of spite. So much for that great idea. I had been depriving myself of a quality beer, but I made up for that with a vengeance. In about a months time I sampled six or seven of their beers and was thoroughly sold on every single one. It was not until very recently that I sampled their 120 minute IPA
and was blown away by their behemoth of a beer.

So that's my story, what's yours?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Worrying wort

As a brewer do you ever stop worrying about your recently created wort? I have brewed two batches and both times I have worried myself silly wondering if my would-be-beer
is going to turn out ok. Both batches have taken 36 or so hours to show signs of fermentation.... and it has felt like years. I only hope that the waiting doesn't kill me, lol.

It all begins here

So I was having a discussion with my girlfriend a few months ago about jobs and finding one that you like or love, I had been discontent with my work for some time and it was beginning to show on me and my personality. In the middle of having Chinese food with my girl a few weeks ago it hit me like a ton of bricks........ why not make beer. Why not is right. Who doesn't like beer? Who wouldn't want to be responsible for bringing joy and fun to people (in moderation of course).

I looked into it and that weekend went out and picked up 5 books on the subject of homebrewing, making beer and even one on beer itself. A week later I trotted out to my local homebrew supply store in Freehold and was like a kid in a candy store gawking at products that ran the gambit from strange to outright weird. Not much time later I left the store with my beginner brew kit in tow along with a recipe and ingredients for my first brew. A strong Belgian ale with cherries was to be my test.

That weekend I waited until I had an empty house so that in case I failed miserably, only I would be witnessed to it. I had my ingredients, I had my recipe and I had the beginner brew advice from the store and from the books that I managed to read. It was time. I put my kettle on the stove and got to work soon noticing that it takes quite a bit of heat to warm 20qt of water. This was going to take awhile, lol.

Some four and a half stressful hours later I finished my cleanup and assessed the damage. Nothing broken, bent, scorched, melted or crying on the floor. Not bad. I was somehow expecting gremlins to get into my kitchen and run amok with my brewplan but I guess they were kept at bay, at least for the day. Now came the truly hard part: the waiting.

After 24 hours and without any signs of fermenting I started to get nervous, ok, really nervous. I went to work on Sunday afternoon hoping and praying for the beer gods to shine down on my maiden attempt on making happiness and joy in-a-bottle. Some 10 hours or so later I walked back into my home and was greeted with a happy three piece airlock on top of my fermenting bucket. Oh the relief. Oh the piece of mind. So much so that I got absolutely no sleep that night as I thought and worried about my fledgling batch of wort. That's non-fermented beer for the uninitiated.

Less than a week later I was back in the brew store getting more supplies, equipment and ingredients for batch number two. This one was going to be a Trappist ale with raisins ala Dogfishhead's Raisin d Etre, or so it said on the recipe sheet. Big, bold, and plenty of flavors is what I was aiming for. Hopefully I get at least one of the three. Worst comes to worst I get a great smelling house out of the effort.