Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Xmas Beer (2011)

The holidays! Well i'm not much of a holiday person but when given the opportunity to make a holiday beer I suddenly became excited. So with a new found appreciation for being in a holiday spirit I began to formulate a recipe for a holiday beer. With no prior knowledge of this new landscape I completely "winged" it with a little help from "Brewing Classic Styles".

The recipe is as follows:

Xmas 2011 Recipe
Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G): 2.4
Total Grain (lb): 3.500
Total Hops (oz): 0.92
Original Gravity (OG): 1.051 (°P): 12.6
Final Gravity (FG): 1.013 (°P): 3.3
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.01 %
Colour (SRM): 27.3 (EBC): 53.8
Bitterness (IBU): 45.2 (Average)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 70
Boil Time (Minutes): 90

Grain Bill
3.000 lb Liquid Malt Extract - Light (85.71%)
0.250 lb Black Patent (7.14%)
0.250 lb Crystal 80 (7.14%)

Hop Bill
0.42 oz Magnum Pellet (12.5% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)
0.50 oz Magnum Pellet (12.5% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)

Misc Bill

Single step Infusion at 151°F for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 73°F with Danstar Nottingham

The beer tastes great but has some really low carbonation, The alcohol comes on a small note with the nutmeg and cinnamon coming right at the tip of the tongue. But with time this should wrap up the holiday season on a high note!


Let's face it we all have a "Ego"! The size of of your ego will vary from time too time and it will vary on how an drinks you have consumed during the day and for some who are influencing you at the time!

My latest request was a beer for a friend who needed help, one of the great things of Facebook is that it will allow you to peak into the drinking habits of others. One night while on that randomness of a website one of my dear friends was spotted drinking a Bud Light (oh dear)! I quickly protested and demanded she thew that can way, after probing and thorough questioning I finally was able to button down the source of her drinking habits and I took on the brewing challenge of brewing her own beer (small batch).

The recipe is as follows:

"Ego Ale"

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G): 2.4
Total Grain (lb): 4.224
Total Hops (oz): 1.00
Original Gravity (OG): 1.064 (°P): 15.7
Final Gravity (FG): 1.016 (°P): 4.1
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 6.29 %
Colour (SRM): 7.1 (EBC): 14.0
Bitterness (IBU): 16.9 (Average)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 70
Boil Time (Minutes): 60

Grain Bill
3.984 lb Liquid Malt Extract - Light (94.32%)
0.240 lb Crystal 15 (5.68%)

Hop Bill
0.20 oz Willamette Pellet (7.1% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (0.1 oz/Gal)
0.80 oz Styrian Golding Pellet (4.4% Alpha) @ 5 Minutes (Boil) (0.3 oz/Gal)

Misc Bill

Single step Infusion at 151°F for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 70°F with Danstar Nottingham

The smell comes through with a faint floating smell of strawberries and finishes with a small hop finish, the beer has a great golden ale color and finishes smooth on the tongue.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Contract Brewing (Friend Requests)

For over a year now, I inevitably always here the same over and over, "hey can you make this for me"? Probably so but why? Though I have never replied with that answer (I'm jus way to nice to say no). More often than not I find myself completing these requests but now I hav found mself education my friends who request one of my beers. Whenever I see one of my kick ball friends of fellow co-workers drinking a mass market beer wth no flavor/taste I cringe the very moment that golden liquid hits their lips.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

When good ideas (beer) go horribly wrong...

About 6 weeks ago while watching a few (YouTube) videos I came across a video discussing using other types of liquids to use in extract beers or in the grain bill for mashing and other purposes. Later on I watched a video using watermelon in the process instead of using water for the mash/boil process, at the time of the video I was very skeptical of using anything but water. But for fun and only risking 1 gallon on the process I decided to take a risk but with a twist. I thought of the videos on YouTube and watched people used pretty much anything they could extract juice (watermelon, oranges etc) so i decided to use cucumbers (why not?). The recipe is as follows (below)

Grains: 8.5 lbs Dingemans Belgian Pils 1.6L
.5 lbs Gambrinus Honey Malt 28L
Boiled Cucumber peeled and pressed for juice

Hops: 1 oz German Tradition 6.9% AA 60 min

Yeast: Nottingham

Tasting Notes: It's well interesting...well it's horrible and when i say horrible i mean it, i completely misjudged the taste of cucumber in beer, and well i am conceding that this was a first run of the idea, confidence is not high on this one!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Who was the first???

During my early thoughts of starting a brewery or even home brewing, I thought too myself how fun is this going to be? And initially I was skeptical just because of the entire bloody math that is involved into brewing (period). One fault of mine is that when I get involved in a hobby or for that matter anything that involves my hands or body, I tend to invest (research) time that should not be invested in a project. But nevertheless the wheels were in motion when I really began home brewing and the obsession with yeast, proteins, nutrients became to take over my daily thoughts. I would find myself at Wal-Mart looking at a plastic tote and asking “how could I use that for my brewery?” With that being said I was asked by a local brewer “why do I want to get into the beer business?” I replied why not, it seems to be the America dream, creating a product with your own two hands! To my surprise the response I received was less than impressive, but it did force me to ask a simple question.

Who can I look up too in the brewing industry as a mentor/trail blazer? Sure Garrett Oliver is with Brooklyn Brewery but who else is there? And who was the first? After about a month of library research and numerous phone calls to Oshkosh, Wisconsin I found the first. Joseph Nigl opened people’s Brewing of Oshkosh, WI on May 11, 1911 at the time his idea was too setup a brewery of 15,000. But that was not too be due to a lack of beer flowing in the state.

Theodore Mack, born in Alabama enlisted into the military after high school claimed that education was the foundation of all. He also attended The Ohio State University on a football scholarship and finally graduated from Marquette University. He also started postgraduate work at the University of Wisconsin in social work and worked for the Milwaukee county welfare department before moving to Pabst Brewing where he worked his way up the ladder in the industry.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cinnamon Coffee Porter

Finally...The day has come to crack open one of my most anticipated brews of the year a porter! There is something about a dark rich beer in the autumn months...apple pie, a good baseball game and beer in hand is what autumn brings.

I brewed this wonderful porter in late September with hopes that around this time that it would be ready to drink and share with family and friends. The beer is a true dark porter that I tinkered with just a bit. At the end of the boil i added three cinnamon sticks and finally two cups of a New England coffee staple (Dunkin Donuts) five days after primary fermentation.

Sweet notes of cinnamon and molasses first strike you on your initial taste while the ever present DD coffee bring you closer to the snowy New England coast. One thing i will change on the next batch is more cinnamon perhaps after the initial fermentation. But no regrets with this one!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hard Cider 1 (Tasting)

Finally after more than a month of waiting and waiting and more waiting I finally decided to crack open my very first hard cider, as a brewer I've never attempted a cider but I was willing to give it a go (on a small batch).

Tasting of the cider was shall we say eventful! I opened to bottles and the first notable thing was the clarity, very crisp clear looking sparkling cider. As usual I used coopers carb tabs instead of batch priming (just my preference). There is a noticeable sour after taste but it only hits you in the back end I attribute that to not proper back sweetening but I hope aging will help with that over time. All in all this batch looks very well I can't wait to share with friends and family this month!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tasty Wit

Another great beer from a regional brewery in Alexandria, VA Port City Brewery. They have a tremendous lineup of small craft beers that truly deliver a crisp, clean flavor for every pallet. The wit delivers a clean crisp taste along with a hint of coriander and orange as a finishing note, hopefully the brewery will grow with regional success and maybe one day we will be blessed with a selection of beers in the Peninsula one day!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Black Silk

During my most recent trip to Alexandria, VA to visit some family I stopped by the Port City Brewing Co. for a tour and tasting, they have been operational for nearly nine months and it doesn't show at all. With a great staff and facility and true knowledge of brewing these will definitely be a staple of beers in my fridge.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hard Cider 2

So after my first cider was completed i immediately began planning on my next "experimental batch", I learned patience is and will be the key with these ciders but with that I can take the time to learn more behind the fermentation and aging process. So this time I decided to splurge for some cider and this time i decided on using champagne yeast to complete the fermentation. One of the few things I can expect is a dryer finish so I will need to back sweeten the entire batch, but I did add some additions to boost the ABV and to "hopefully" add some flavor and/or taste...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Robust Porters

Porter....the definition could lead to many many debates on styles & variations of sorts. But for our mere discussion we simply consider it as a dark beer, and with that we have a multitude of flavors & profiles we can play with. With that said I'm doing tonight another take on "Vanilla Bean Coffee Porter" this time utilizing cinnamon as well.

Just as with any brew day a complete sterilization and deep cleaning of the brewing area is needed and well deserved, for this recipe I used a baseline extract recipe of steeping grans (Malts) and a single variety of Hops in two stages for flavor and bittering of the beer. And for fun I added a late addition of honey to "kick" up the alcohol (ABV) n the finished product, two weeks in the carboy and two or three week in the bottle before opening for a taste test....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hard Cider

So beyond my obsession of beer, I also have a obsession with liquids that require or stack up to heavy or even light fermentation...With that being said I embarked on a side project (or two, more to come on that) I'm always tweaking and attempting to learn something new. I recently joked to one of my fraternity brothers (proud brother of Sigma Pi) that I've done more reading now then I did in college (thanks JWU), I actually like going to the library and spending hours reading about yeasts and ancient monks and liquors and coffees that were used 80 years ago.

This has led me to Ciders, by no means do i plan to replicate the traditional ciders we see on our local shelves such as Woodchuck or Strongbow. I'm going to leap outside of the box with this one, I plan too make this one of my special bottles for the holidays and really bump up the (abv) alcohol levels to 6% maybe 8%. From all of the research that I have been able to compile it's very simple, pure apple juice (pasteurized or non) 100% with your choice of yeast (preferably champagne or Safale 04 or 05. And your traditional brewing airlock and store in a cool, dry place to let ferment.

When all is said and done I plan to share these with my special taste panel (Sunday Family Dinners) for a possible tweak of the recipe or begin a full volume of the recipe. I will update on the tasting and any tweaks!!!

FYI: Right to Left is the time Lapse of 1 week....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day One

It's amazing when a spark of inspiration can hit! When my wife suggested that I get a "real hobby" instead of playing video games after work or the gym i simply shrugged my shoulders and continued to play. And then that moment came of inspiration (call it lube or appeasement) to hand make something, that very moment a home brewer was born!

After four years of continual learning the process and recipe development my dreams of taking the next step of becoming a professional seems to be the next logical step, who doesn't want to do something they love everyday? So as I begin to take the necessary steps to investigate my dreams I will share my thoughts on the process and the cultural challenges I am sure to face in this upcoming venture....