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Need to homebrew

I haven’t done any homebrewing in a few months. It may actaully be the the longest stretch I have ever going without brewing since I started. I miss it. I want to do it. I need to decide on a beer to brew. The last time I brewed was the weekend after Thanksgiving where I did a take on a Rouge’s Dead Guy Ale. My buddy Pete came down from Colorado to help in the brewing. That beer finally got bottled yesterday so now I have open fermenters, open space, and a bit of open time to brew.

I have narrowed down my choices to be either an amber, pale ale, or I was also thinking a pilsner. As strange as all of those may sound together, those are the styles of beer that I have been digging recently. I was thinking about an English ale, as I have been on an English ale kick for the past few weeks, but decided against it as I am getting burnt out.

For my next batch(s) I am also not going to be brewing the standard 5 gallon batch, rather I am going to half it and brew more often. I generally don’t like to brew until I am almost out of my previous brew. The simple reasons for that are time and the lack of bottles. While I do have a nice set of new cases from bottling yesterday, I suspect that is going to be gone by the time my next brew is ready to go. I am also going to be a lone wolf (the Hangover anyone?) at the end of next month as my wife and my friends will be going tornado chasing for six weeks. Yeah. Sadly I do not get to join in that experiment as I am not a PhD or Masters student in the Texas Tech Atmospheric Science or Wind Engineering departments. So I need to cut it back on the homebrew so I don’t have cases upon case just sitting around my dog and I. I’ll get an update on what I decide when I decide it and as always I’ll post my recipe and brewing plan. Any other ideas on what I should brew.

5 Gallons

I love homebrewing. I love creating something of my own and possibly something that no one else have ever created. My only problem is that I hate making 5 gallon batches of homebrew purely because it is the standard. I think that I am going to start making some small batches in the range of 3 gallons. My reasons behind this are two fold. First is that I hate, hate, hate (did I mention I hate) bottling my homebrew. It is the most labor intensive part of the whole process and kegging would make everything so much simpler. Soon Nate, soon. 3 gallons is much quicker to bottle than what 5 gallons would be becasue when all is said an done, it is going to be half as much, or about a case worth of beer.

The second reason is that I get tired of drinking the same beer over and over. Maybe it is my beer review taste buds that crave something new, but I find that the two cases I get from 5 gallons sits around of a long time. Making smaller batches will help me clear stuff out and also give me the chance to brew more. The only real problem with brewing smaller batches is that it takes the same amount of work to brew a 20 gallon batch as it does a 3 gallon batch. I am ok with that since I am doing it for myself only. I’m not a competition brewery by any means and I still enjoy a good commercial beer on a normal basis.

Keg Cap Tap handle

After browsing the interwebs a bit today I found something pretty awesome, Keg Cap Tap handles. While I currently do not own a kegerator, I hope to once my wife and I get settled in a new place when we move back east this summer. My main reason is basically becasue I hate bottling homebrew. I really don’t have many intentions of putting commercial beer on tap. I have previously posted about other cool tap handles, but I really dig these ones.

Basically you can take the plastic lid that covers a keg opening and place it on these handles to let you know what you have on tap while also displaying the beer itself to everyone. Pretty awesome idea. The even have blank ones so that you can put your homebrew logo on there to display. In the end you get something pretty professional looking at a minimal costs. Most commercial tap handles run anywhere from $30-100 depending on the brew. These run just under $25 and I think they are totally worth it. Now I just need to keep these in mind when I get my system setup.

Back in action… and I need a bit of help

Sorry for the brief delay, but I am back from my vacation back on the east coast. I had a great time catching up with my wife and I’s friends and family. Also happened to enjoy many a good beer thanks to the Drafting Room. I also brought some homebrew back with me which everyone seemed to enjoy, except for the Dubbel. But I knew that it sucked, so I wasn’t bothered by that. Anyway the posting will be back to normal this week and will continue.

As for the help part of that title; this blog runs on WordPress, but I am not what you would call a “web guru.” I know enough to get by and setup what you see, but there are some things that I would love to change with this site. If you have any skills in digital graphics or with the WordPress/coding world, please comment on this post or send me something via the contact form. I would really appreciate it and I’ll even send you out a copy of the Beer Tasting Notes. Get in contact with me and I will fill you in on the details, but I don’t think that it would be anything that would be a big deal to change up.

My homebrew, a year in review

I didn’t do as much homebrewing as I would of liked to do this year. In total I did40 gallons worth of homebrew. That’s eight five gallon batches. Below is a list of the beers that I brewed up this year.

  • Imperial Porter
  • SB Birthday Beer (Amber wheat)
  • Irish Red
  • Belgian Dubbel
  • Belgian Tripel
  • Pumpkin Ale
  • Winter Warmer
  • Amber IPA

Some of those beers turned out better than others. I have to say that my darker beers are my better ones. That is probably I enjoy roasty flavors and it is easier to hide other flavors with them. My Irish Red and SB Birthday beer did not come out very well at all. The Irish Red was a victim of improper hopping. I switched the hops and the bittering component came out way to strong and dry. The SB Birthday beer was the victim of sitting in a fermenter for too long and also was in the sun for a bit of it. They were both drinkable, but not up to a decent standard.

My Belgian beer experiments went pretty good. The Dubbel needed a few more darker malts and I would change the yeast in it to something that would give off a bit more plum and dry fruit esters. Overall it tastedĀ  fine, it just needed to be a bit richer tasting. The Tripel was darn good. The malts and the yeast worked perfectly. It was well balanced and a good representation of a Tripel. There were a few too many hot alcohols in it which was caused by a higher than wanted fermentation temperature.

The Pumpkin Ale was a complete disaster. The stuck spargeĀ  left a ton of extra sugars and I didn’t think it out with extra water. With a lower than normal wort level and a high sugar level the beer ended up being 15% and too highly spiced. I can see it being a really good beer, it just needed to be brewed correctly. It is still drinkable, but edges on not being so.

My Winter Warmer is still bottle conditioning but it tastes wonderful. It is a bit more bitter than I wanted and next time I would take out some more Black Patent malt, as it gives off a ton of flavor. I called the beer a Winter Warmer, but in reality it is a stout. I left the option open to put spices in it, but I did not want to since the beer before it, the pumpkin ale, had more spice than I knew what to do it. All you need to do to make it a true Winter Warmer is add in a few spices and bam, you have it.

The Amber IPA is getting bottled this week, so we will see how that turns out. My real all star for this brew year was the Imperial Porter. It came in a 8% and had everything you could want in a porter. It was well balanced and you could not even detect an alcohol on the beer. I really like it, I wish I had more.

This next brew year I’m not sure what I want to make. I think next on my list is a simple American Amber. After that I have not idea. I am still looking into the colonial beer, but that is a ways off. We will see what this year brings, but I am excited as I am really honing in on my efficiency and turning out beer very close to what I want them to taste like.