Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cascade Hop Harvest

So my cascade hops decided to produce hop leafs. It was very exciting to see them grow. They looked like they couldn't grow any larger and were opening up slightly and were somewhat dry to touch. So Jenny went to town and plucked the first batch.

I just ripped out some windows in the front of the house, so I saved some screens. There is one on top and bottom. The light puts off just enough heat that you can feel a temp difference near the hops and there is about a foot of air below them. This is on my back porch, so it's somewhat of a controlled enfironment. Next year I will be more technical about drying.

Two Hearted River Ale

One ounce of Centennial Leaf hops added to Secondary, 9/1/08.

Homebrew support group.....

First IPA on my homebrew list. New for this batch is the utilization of hop leaves rather than plugs. For equipment I also upgraded the drain valve to suck the last 2 gallons out as well as a hop screen (sink drain screen, stainless and only $5)

I found the recipe on and I was able to follow it closeley except I made a change to the yeast.

1 lb briess caramel 40

3.13 lbs gold malt syrup @ 60 min

6.00 lbs gold malt syrup @ 15 min

1 oz centennial hops @ 60 min

1 oz centennial hops @ 20 min

2 oz centennial hops @ 5 min

1 oz centennial hops @ secondary

us-05 dry yeast

After 18 hours, I've got fermentation, but the temp is up around 75/76 and the krysen is rather minimal, so I put some frozen jugs around it to try to lower the temp. I wish I had a keg tub I could put it in, that would make it easy to lower the temp.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Murphy's Stout

This beer was requested by Jenny many moons ago and I finally got around to brewing it. The recipe was simple that I got out of a Clone Beer book, but I had to make modifications due to availability of hops and my own inventory.

1/2 lb chocolate malt
7 oz roasted barley
4 oz 55L British crystal malt

6 lb British light malt extract
1/2 lb cane sugar
1 oz U.K. challenger

1/4 oz East Kent Goldings
1 tsp Irish moss

Safale S-04 (first time using this)

1-1/4 cup DME

Original gravity measured out at 1.050

Prior to brew day, I took my Sanke keg one step further by adding a weldless valve to the bottom for draining. It took most of the day to install it since I went back and forth to 3 different stores. But when I add the thermometer bulkhead I'll know what to buy right away.

There is a weld seam I had to be above so that I could seal the fittings. After draining the wort on brew day there was about 2 gallons below the fitting. So most of it came out when I tipped the keg, but I ended up siphoning the rest out, not that fun. So I'm looking at adding a bazooka T and a Sanke adapter from Northerbrewer. What do you guys think about this vs a false bottom? With a false bottom, I'm concerned that while still in extract brewing, I'll get malt stuck on the bottom and have some burning issues.

More brew day pix...

Fermentation started the next morning, this picture is about 18 hours later. The temperature is high, 78 deg, so i'm going to throw it in the basement after I'm done with this post. I started with a blow off tube and it looks like I could have gotten by with a regular air lock, The Kraeusen didn't make it to the top during the peak of activity.

Monday, July 14, 2008

One Fourth Tap

Here is the first of four beer taps to exit my fridge. I spent some time measuring and spacing out for 4 taps. They will be on 4" centers. So there is an even spread on the door and they won't be too close together. I initially wanted to drill a 7/8 dia hole, but all I could find for under $10 was a 1" hole saw. I could have bought a 7/8 but it would have cost $25 by buying the parts separately, same manufacturer too. Anyways, 1" worked just fine. I sanitized all the parts while I punched the hole. I went with 5' x 3/16" ID tubing. The first pour was a bit foamy. The second was beautiful. So, now I need 3 more shanks, 2 more faucets, and all the other little hardware pieces. I'm stoked on this latest feature to the brew fridge. Now I want a nice bar to stick it in. I guess I will have to move... As far as tap handles, I'm undecided if I'll buy the 6" std round pub handles, or if I'll buy the brass inserts and make my own. The later sounds like a lot of work. I think I'll start with the $3 el cheapo black stubby handles. The first beer to get hooked up is the Belgian Dubble, and thus I will need to brew another belgian beer because that keg will be gone very soon now... I need to brew very soon

Brew Pot

I recently acquired a half barrel and thus had to buy another power tool; a 4.5" dia wheel grinder to cut the top off. It worked awesome! I threw a 5 gal bucket on the top as my circle template, put the stainless wheel on, and started grinding. Not only was it fun to build homebrew equipment, it also had an added bonus of irritating my neighbors.

I intend on installing a thermometer and a shutoff valve at the bottom, one step closer to all grain brewing.

Cascade Hops

Here is my first and only hop plant that survived this year. 3 other rhizomes didn't make it unfortunately. Looking closer at the image you will see that there is one main bine and a bunch of branches. The main bine is about shoulder height right now. It's been chilling at this height for about 2 weeks now with slower vertical growth, but a lot of horizontal growth. I think the roots may have hit the clay bowl that I had dug out. As long as it gets growth it's all good. The second bine started taking off as well and a third just started coming up too. No flowers buds yet. I'm hoping I'll be able to harvest for one batch this year. If not, it was fun raising this year

Update 8/3/08

I lengthend the pole by about 1.5' and ran a line over to the garage this weekend. The tallest vine is now I'm guessing about 10' and there are 3 or 4 about 3' shorter.

It also has some flowering on the upper half of the plant.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rain Barrel Brown

So here's my first blog. I hope you enjoy...

I brewed A Bourbon Barrel Brown ale 6/22/08. New experiments on this brew were brewing in the garage. It was awesome because it thunderstormed most of the time and I would have lost my batch if I would have brewed in the yard. I also added DME at different stages during the boil, 4lbs at 60 min and 3 lbs at 30 min. This will be the first time I use oak chips in the secondary and plan to have them in for 7 days.

Here's the recipe I went with:

Steeped for 30 minutes:
4 oz crystal 60L
5 oz crystal 80L
4 oz roasted barley
8 oz choclate malt

7 lbs light DME

1 oz Galena pellets 60 min
1 oz Sterling pellets 10 min

wyeast 1272 am ale II

1 oz Oak chips steamed and soaking in Maker's Mark for 4 weeks

A picture of brew day:

So I pitched the yeast at 5:00 Sun, by Monday morning it was fermenting well and looked like this:

When I got home after work, I had to scramble to put a blow tube on. That's two batches in a row doing this. I think I'm going to start with blow off tubes from now on.

Transfered from primary to secondary tonight, 07/02/08. The Fermenting was very quick and brutal, it only lasted 3 days, visually. The white moldy looking crap was in there for two days. When I see that I usually transfer. Does anyone know what that's called? It looks undesirable to me, so I usually transfer at 14 days, or when that white crap shows up. So I added the ounce of oak chips that had soaked in Maker's Mark since 06/02/08 along with the Maker's Mark.