|Posted by wyzazz on April 30, 2013 at 11:10 AM||comments (0)|
First off, my apologies for not posting and keeping this Blog updated with fresh content. Sometimes things get busy and a bit hectic for me and that keeps me from being able to post here as much as I'd like.
Now on to the good stuff! I picked up a new 100QT Stainless (25Gal) kettle from a reputable seller on Ebay (stereo345) for under $100.00 shipped to my door and couldn't wait to start punching holes in it. When it arrived I immediately unpacked it and the kids both jumped in to play with their "New Fort".
I let them play in the "New Fort" for a couple of days before putting in a bottom drain, whirlpool port, sightglass/thermowell & a mash recirc port in the lid. The kettle turned out pretty well, I dimpled and soldered all the fittings the same way I did previously in my keggle. Next it was time for a wet test. I fired up my 5500W Heatstick and went to town. I let the kettle sit overnight after heating the water and getting my boil-off rate just to be safe.
Everything went as planned and the kettle sat idle for a few weeks, but I had big plans for her maiden voyage... ...I picked up a used Red Wine Barrel from a local Winery and wanted to do a Homebrew Club Barrel Project. It was a bit awkward getting this thing in to the basement myself but it made it downstairs with no major issues.
The kids obviously didn't miss the opportunity to have a little photoshoot with the barrel. They have affectionately named it "The Cow".
We debated as a club as to what style we should age in the barrel and it was finally decided that a Belgian Tripel would be just the ticket, so now on to the brewday. Some brewed in the comforts of their own homes, and I had a few members of the Club out to brew at my place. Much Homebrew was consumed, good food was eaten, and everyone had a good time.
We are racking to the barrel in just a few weeks so I'll update with some pictures and commentary on that. Just one thing to note before I go, 50+ LBS of grain is a real pain to lift out of a kettle if you BIAB, there are plans for a hoist the next brewday!
|Posted by wyzazz on October 19, 2012 at 7:30 PM||comments (4)|
I've been itching to make a Mead for quite a while now and was just patiently waiting for a decent price on Honey to get started. A deal spotted on Homebrewfinds.com sealed the deal for me, for $2.75/lb shipped to my door I ordered 24lbs of Clover Honey and picked up the rest of my ingredients. The recipe is as follows:
Super Berry Melomel (Credit to Curt Stock for this recipe)
21 lbs Wildflower Honey
12 lbs Triple Berry Mix (Blackberries/Raspberries/Blueberries)
6 lbs Strawberries
96 oz Black Currant Juice (free of preservatives)
2.3 gal Water
3 tsp Yeast Energizer/Nutrient Blend (Fermaid-K and DAP)
10 g Lalvin Narbonne Yeast (71B-1122)
Approximate OG: 1.158
Target FG: 1.030 - 1.040
Estimated ABV: 15.8%
I started off by putting all the honey and juice in the sink with some hot water to make things easier to pour in to the fermenter.
Then I sanitized the fermenter, poured in the water, then poured in the honey.
Next I tossed in the Fruit and Black Currant Juice, there is a total of 18lbs of whole frozen fruit going in to this thing!
It was as I was adding the fruit that I started to get worried. This recipe is to yield a 5gal finished batch, logically I figured I might need a vessel larger than 5gal to hold everything so I purchased an 8gal bucket. Well as you can see, I filled it up to within 1/2" of the top!
I rehydrated 10g of Lavlin 71-B and tossed that in as well as the nutrient mix mentioned in the recipe above, then put my mixer on the drill and mixed everything up. After 60 seconds of O2 I sealed her up and tossed a blow-off tube on there. Tomorrow I'll have to mix it up again, re-oxygenate and add more nutrient mix, and again 24 hours later, and again 24 hours after that. I'm using a method of nutrient additions that was developed in the Wine Industry that some modern meadmakers use today to turn meads around relatively quickly, take a look at the below from Curt Stock on SNA.
Per Curt Stock on Staggered Nutrient Additions:
Staggered Nutrient Additions (SNA): I prefer to use Fermaid-K (yeast energizer) and diammonium phosphate or DAP (yeast nutrient) for adding the additional nutrient requirements of the yeast during fermentation. One teaspoon of Fermaid-K and two teaspoons DAP should be adequate for a 5 gallon batch. You can mix them together for a stock blend and add them using the following schedule:
- Add ¾ teaspoon yeast energizer/nutrient mix immediately after pitching yeast.
- Add ¾ teaspoon yeast energizer/nutrient mix 24 hours after fermentation begins.
- Add ¾ teaspoon yeast energizer/nutrient mix 48 hours after fermentation begins.
- Add ¾ teaspoon yeast energizer/nutrient mix after 30% of the sugar has been depleted.
|Posted by wyzazz on September 25, 2012 at 2:40 PM||comments (1)|
I recently had a Brewday at my place and had a few friends (Mike, Jeff & Chris) over to make a batch of beer as well. Since I'd just harvested and dried a very hearty old school variety of hop called Canadian Red Vine, I figured I'd make a nice hoppy pale ale and use that in the finish to decide if I liked the flavor that it lent to the beer. I've heard the aroma/flavor compounds to be described as Strawberries & Cherries but I've yet to do anything but smell the cones and I seem to get a Grapefruity aroma from them.
I should mention that I picked up this Canadian Red Vine rhizome from a fellow Homebrewer named Bob Bero, he's very knowledgable when it comes to hops and even makes a Hop Candy that some of you might be familiar with. If you're a Hophead pick some up at your local Homebrew Shop or online at your favorite Homebrew Retail Store, it's good stuff!
To start this 45 degree early morning brewday off I filled my kettle with my strike water and heated up the grill to start some breakfast. My Brewing Compadre's arrived shortly thereafter and began to setup their equipment as well. There was plenty of Sausage, Bacon, Eggs, Toast, Doughnuts, Hashbrowns & Coffee to go around. Once the sun started to make it's appearance and warm things up we began to sample eachother's homebrews and continued on with the brewday. Brewing went well for me on the newish electric BIAB setup and was fairly uneventful, I lost around a gallon of wort to the hops but I guess that's why I started making 6 gallon batches a while back. Below is the recipe I used and a few pictures from the Brewday. I'll update with some tasting notes as the beer finishes up in the next couple of weeks, I'm hoping that the Red Vine adds something special to the beer.
Batch Size 6 Gallons
Mash @ 148F
9.4 Gallons of RODI Water
.5tsp of Phosphoric Acid
.5tsp of Calcium Chloride
.5tsp of Calcium Sunfate (Gypsum)
9.96lbs Brewers Malt 2-Row
1lb White Wheat
.5lb Victory Malt
.75oz Cascade 5%AA @ 60min
.75oz Cascade 5%AA @ 30min
1.25oz Cascade 5%AA @10min
3oz Canadian Red Vine (Homegrown) @0min (15min Whirlpool/Hot Stand)
2 Sachet's Safale S-04 & 30sec of O2
The Electric Rig heating strike water.
Breakfast is served!
Chris playing with his "Sack".
|Posted by wyzazz on September 11, 2012 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
I'd like to start off by apologizing for not updating this as often as I should, life sometimes gets in the way and with Birthdays, Weddings, Work and my Daughter Starting School things have been hectic. So I thought I'd throw out a Beer Review of one of my absolute favorite beers to keep things "fresh". And leave you with the promise of documenting my Harvest Ale Brewday in a couple of weeks. Hope you enjoy!
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Appearance - Pours a Deep Cloudy Amberish, almost Brown color with a Tight Tan head.
Smell - Slight Vinegar and Cherries with a lingering Sweet scent.
Taste - Cinnamon & Clove Spicy notes and a refreshing acidic bite, moving on to a fruity aftertaste. A nice light Sourness from the Brettanomyces that balances the other flavors in the beer nicely.
Mouthfeel - Light and Clean, with an Apple Cider type of feel.
Overall - This is the best Flanders style of beer I've ever tasted, it's just complex enough to keep you entertained but not so much so that you can't just sit back and enjoy the beer for what it is. The sourness is on the lower end of the scale as is the acetic character so it's a great introduction to sour beers.
|Posted by wyzazz on June 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM||comments (0)|
Let me start off by saying that I was skeptical about the Chugger Pump when it arrived, I was used to using an LG 3-MD-HC that was a monster when compared to the size of the Chugger Pump. I pulled it out of the box immediately after it arrived and couldn't believe how small it was!
I outfitted the pump with some Stainless Steel fittings, and built a little wooden enclosure for it to use on my next Brewday, I wanted to see if this pump would live up to the reputation I'd seen it gather over the past 2 years!
I recirculated my mash and during mash-out as I normally would, everything was going very well! No issues priming the pump, the flow rate was great, everything was fantastic!
As I got to the last10 minutes of my boil I turned on the pump for a minute to sanitize my plate chiller & then turned it off again to await chilling duties. Once my boil was over I kicked the hose on for my plate chiller and turned on the pump once again, my wort was recirculating and my temps were dropping as expected. Then 10 minutes later disaster struck... ...the pump died and I had to resort to my buddy's immersion chiller to finish chilling my wort!!! The pump overheated and was too hot to even touch! I was very disheartened, I couldn't believe this brand new pump had kicked the bucket after it's first use. I unplugged it and put it away and made a mental note to email Chugger Pumps in the morning to see how I might be able to get this pump back up and running.
This is where the review of Chugger Pumps really begins, I emailed them using the Contact Form on the website and explained what happened as best I could. Within 30 minutes I had an email from Mike at Chugger Pumps asking for my Ship To Address, he would be sending a replacement out immediately! I couldn't believe it, I was sent a FREE pump that broke and Mike was willing to replace it for FREE without even a second thought!!! Now that Ladies and Gents is customer service at it's best!!!!
I'm happy to report that I have since recieved the new Chugger Pump (it only took one day to get to me) and completed a brewday with it. It has exceeded my expectations for a pump this size, and Chugger Pump's customer service has nothing less than a glowing 5-star rating from me! The flowrate is more than adequate for brewing 12 gallon batches and the pump has no issues with priming or moving boiling liquids around the brewhouse.
In short, if you're looking for a pump I have no problems recommending Chugger Pumps! Thanks a million for the great service and for taking care of the customer!
|Posted by wyzazz on June 4, 2012 at 11:35 AM||comments (2)|
First I need to issue a little disclaimer: DO NOT attempt to store wort that has not been pressure canned, a standard Water Bath Canner will NOT work for preserving wort. If you use wort that has not been properly canned/sterilized you could potentially get botulism and die!
Now that we have that settled, let's get in to the process. First off you'll need a Pressure Canner and some Canning Jars, Rings, and Lids.
I use 2-Row Brewers Malt to make my starters and shoot for a 1.030 - 1.040 wort, to do this I use 1.5lbs of grain, 2tsp of yeast nutrient, and 2 gallons of water. This yields approximately 1.75 gallons of finished wort and fills 7qt jars which is just perfect for my Pressure Canner.
To start off, first crush your grain. You can see here that I use my fancy Corona Flour Mill that I've modified a bit for crushing grain.
Next, bring your 2 gallons of water up to 155F or so and add your crushed grain in a steeping bag.
Keep checking your mash temperature to ensure that you stay within the 148-160F range, this small volume of water/grain won't hold it's temperature very well
Once you've mashed for around 60 minutes begin heating your mash and pull the grain bag at 168F. I bring my mash to a boil to percipitate a little break material and then cool it in the kid's swimming pool so I can pour it in to the canning jars.
Here is what the jars look like after they have been filled, allow around 1.5-2 inches of headspace in the jars so they don't boil over.
Then put a lid on each of the jars and put the ring on, leave the ring loose enough that expanding gasses can escape the jars while you are pressure canning them.
Follow the instructions for your canner to add water and the jars, mine calls for 3 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar (to eliminate water rings on the jars) and begin heating your starters.
Secure the lid on your canner and wait for steam to begin escaping the vent hole on top.
Now add your pressure relief weight to the vent hole and bring the pressure up to 15PSI. Hold 15PSI for 15 minutes to sterilize your precious starter wort.
Once finished you can kill the heat on your burner and let the pressure drop on the canner. Do NOT remove the pressure relief weight or unlock the lid to your canner yet, wait until the pressure has dropped to 0 PSI!!!
Once you can remove the lid from the canner, using some thick gloves go ahead and pull the jars out of the canner. Be careful they are very HOT! You should note that the color of the canned starter is much darker than it was originally.
Leave the jars alone to sit and seal for a couple of hours before moving them around too much. If the safety seal button does not pop in on one of the jars then you can give it another round in the pressure canner, discard it, or use it right away.
Pressure canning starter wort is an easy way to have starter wort ready at a moments notice, I like the convenience of just shaking up a jar and pouring it in to the vessel on my stirplate without having to boil up some DME and water.
On several occasions I've poured more hot water on a spent mash and pulled 1.020 or so wort off after a brewday and canned that after boiling it down to 1.030. It's a good way to get everything you can out of your grain.
You can also use DME to make canned starter wort, I put 3oz of DME in each jar with a little yeast nutrient, fill them up with hot water and shake to dissolve the DME. Then put them in the Pressure Canner and follow the same procedure as above.
|Posted by wyzazz on April 24, 2012 at 7:25 AM||comments (0)|
BIAB stands for Brew In A Bag – it is an AllGrain brewing process pioneered by the Aussies. The concept is simple, requires a minimal investment inequipment (over extract brewing) & can produce great beer.
To make a beer using BIAB you will need a kettle large enough to hold all of the water needed to make the batch (strike water) as well as all of the grain needed for the batch. Usually a kettle with capacity 2.5-3X the size of your largest batch size will be a safe bet. If you do not have a kettle large enough you can sparge in a 5gal bucket or separate vessel. You can use the calculator found here to find out if your vessel is large enough to accomodate your grain bill and strike water. You will also need a bag made out of Polyester or Nylon Swiss Voile, this is a sheer curtain material that is extremely strong, durable and has a very fine mesh.
You can make your own bag or purchase one from an online vendor like this one. Ideally you will be able to fit your entire brew kettle inside your bag, I've also found that a "V" shaped bag with a taper towards the bottom is better for draining the wort from the bag.
My process for BIAB is very similar to anyone elses process for producing an All-Grain batch of beer.
Some things that were mentioned on the show that may make things easier for BIAB Brewing include:
Websites with info on BIAB
|Posted by wyzazz on April 9, 2012 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
We all know in the wonderful world of beer/drinking there are some weird traditions and holidays, let me introduce to yet another. Dyngus Day!
Dyngus Day is a Polish-American tradition that has it's roots as far back as 966. (Yes, that's 966AD not 1966!) It's kind of a Roman Catholic/Polish holiday that has morphed in to a bit of a crazy Post-Lenten, beer-drinking, hootin' hollerin' good time! The largest organized Dyngus Day celebration is currently in Buffalo, NY but there are celebrations all over the world today!
Check out the links below for more information on Dyngus Day. Cheers!
|Posted by wyzazz on February 23, 2012 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
Bell's Hopslam Ale Review
Bell's Hopslam Ale
American Double IPA
Appearance - Golden copper in color with a one finger rocky white head that quickly dissapates and clings to the sides of the glass. Perfectly crystal clear with lively carbonation.
Smell - Resiny pine and grapefruit with some floral and sweet honey notes.
Taste - The first taste is almost like a punch in the throat with a fist-full of hops, on subsequent sips you can begin to pick out the different flavors in the beer. It's super bright with a sharp sweetness from the alcohol, the hops come through from the first taste all the way to the last swallow down your throat. I get resiny pine and sharp grapefruit with some big tropical notes from the hops.
Mouthfeel - Medium body but still a very dry beer with only a lingering resiny bitterness from the hops in the aftertaste. Creamy and smooth to drink for a 10% beer, almost like chewing on a little piece of honeycomb.
Overall - This is my first time trying Hopslam (thanks to a good buddy that picked up a sixer for me) and I'll certainly be out looking for another sixer next year! It's intense and hoppy with a great honey charachter in the backbone, well worth the hype and definitely dangerously drinkable at 10%. If you can find this at your local bottle shop or watering hole, do yourself a favor and pick it up!
|Posted by wyzazz on January 30, 2012 at 8:15 PM||comments (0)|
Jay was kind enough to send me a couple of bottles of Boaks Two Blind Monks, it's truly a fantastic beer so I thought I'd throw up a quick review. --Thanks Jay!
Boaks Two Blind Monks
Belgian Style Amber Ale
Appearance - A hazy ruby red with good carbonation and little head retention. The beer looks very good in a tulip glass!
Smell - Light clove notes play off some slight passion fruit and deep sweet malt and caramel. The spiciness of the yeast comes through nicely.
Taste - Clove spiciness plays with the malt very nicely, giving way to some nice fruitiness as the beer dances toward the back of the palate.
Mouthfeel - It's got a nice vibrant feel thanks to the carbonation, it's a medium-bodied beer that almost feels very vibrant and alive when you take a sip. Very smooth and easy to drink.
Overall - This is a fantastic Belgian Amber Ale that is easy to drink with light spice note balanced with some fruitiness and deep set malt character. There is no one aspect of the beer that is overpowering or overdone. This is one of the best interpretations of Belgian-Style beers that I've had in a long time.