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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kegerator Upgraded!

The kegerator has been upgraded! 

Added a 2nd keg and tapper handle.

Love it! Also chilled mugs and backup beer.

Belgian Wit Ale


Malt Base: 6lbs Weizen (wheat) malt extract

Specialty Grains: 4oz flaked wheat, 4oz aromatic grain, 4oz cara-pils grain

Hops: 5HBU's Willamette (bittering) hops, 1/4oz Saaz (finishing) hops

Extra additives: 1Tbs coriander seeds, 1oz bitter orange peel

Yeast: Liquid Wyeast #3944

Results: This brew made for an interesting evening. Two grains (cracked) plus whole grains steeped made the house smell amazing. I found it interesting this kit contained much smaller packets of hops than usual. Near the end of the boil I added cracked coriander seeds and bitter orange peel. The coriander smelled very interesting; should be flavorful. This was the first brew I have done containing liquid yeast - 100 billion cells!

Here are all of my ingredients assembled.

Stovetop setup ready to boil

First we crack the grains, then add the flaked wheat (do not crack). 

Bring the water to a boil, then take off heat and steep grains 20 mins in muslim bag.

Next we add the malt extract (sugar is food for yeast).

Stir up malt to dissolve, then return to a boil. Add hops, stir 45 mins.

Here are the coriander seeds and orange peel ready for 10 min boil.

The finished wort, ready for cooling.

The cooled wort is poured through a strainer into the fermenter bucket and tap water added to reach 5gal mark. Note the hops and other sediment in the strainer and near the drain.

Wyeast is activated by breaking inner tablet and shaking. Let sit 3-6 hours until swollen. 100 billion cells!

Add Wyeast to wort in fermenter.

Store in 70degree garage under blanket away from sunlight.

Finished Product!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Charlie Brown Ale

Charlie Brown Ale

English Brown Ales were designed for generous consumption by manual laborers. A whole days nutrition in a bottle. This American version is a little darker than most English versions. 
Malt Base: 
6 lbs. Northwestern's Amber Malt Extract
Specialty Grains: 6 oz. Crystal & 4 oz. Chocolate
Hops: 10 HBU Galena (bittering) & .5 oz. Cascade (finishing)
Yeast: Ale 

Results: Another great evening of brewing. This brew appears lovely so far, I'm hoping it will be an agreeable substitute for an Oktoberfest for me, because I am not equipped with cold space to lager my beer. Yet. A rich brown color with delicate chocolate aroma; the Galena hops smell awesome! Should be somewhat similar to Newcastle. I accidentally returned the water to a boil for a few mins after adding the grains. Got out my Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian. Seems some people prefer to boil their grains. Go figure. Charlie argues not to boil for less haze and less astringent taste, but says both go away with ageing. 

And here is the final product!

Wisenheimer Wheat Ale

Wisenheimer Wheat Ale

A straw colored Wheat style ale with a crisp hoppy finish. Lighter bodied and easy drinking make this a favorite summertime beer. 
Malt Base: 6 lbs. Northwestern's Wheat Malt Extract 
Hops: 8 HBU Willamette (bittering) & .5 oz Cascade (finishing) 
Yeast: Ale 

Time in Fermenter: Ongoing (target - 3-4 weeks)

Results: I actually made a double batch of this brew, which is 10 gallons total. I bought two kits and used four gallons of water in a five gallon kettle. After adding the 12lbs total of malt extract the kettle was about to overflow! Crap. So I brought out me next-biggest kettle (maybe 2gal max) and split the boil up into two batches. I mixed those two batches back together into two fermenters and pitched the yeast. 

I will report back with updates on this one. 

Peak Pale Ale - Extract Kit, Partial Boil

Good example of an American style Pale Ale. Medium bodied light colored ale with a definite spicey hop character. The best characteristic about Peak Pale Ale is its simple drinkability. 
Malt Base: 6 lbs. Northwestern's Gold Malt Extract 
Specialty Grains: 8 oz. Crystal & 4 oz. Carapils 
Hops: 10 HBU Target (bittering) & .5 oz. Willamette (finishing) 
Yeast: Ale 

Time in Fermenter: One week
Allowed to age and pressurize in keg ~few days

Results: Notice I only allowed this batch to sit in the fermenter for one week. I have learned that with ales, the fermentation is done after a few days and the beer can be kegged shortly after. Since I ran out of Novice Gold, we are kegging the Peak Pale a bit quicker than we may sometimes allow. More time allows clarity and refinement of taste. This beer is definitely hoppy and easy to drink. I have my kegerator temperature dialed in now as well as the carbonation and man am I having fun! 

This Peak Pale Ale required me to crack grains and steep them in the water bringing the malt extract to a boil. Then I add hops, boil for 45 mins, add the finishing hops and boil five more minutes.

Novice Gold Ale

Novice Gold Ale
Time in primary fermenter - 2 weeks
Allowed to age and pressurize in keg ~1 week

Description: Not too bitter, not too sweet with just enough cascade to leave you wanting more.
Malt Base: 6 lbs. Northwestern's Gold Malt Extract
Hops: 5 HBU's Cascade (bittering)
Yeast: Ale

Results: The boil went great, fermentation was simple. Tastes very good! Sweet taste with fresh hops. Slight caramel taste. I am amazed at how well this turned out for my first brew. Cleared up after another week in the keg, after which is was shortly all gone! Even though it was called "novice" I would happily brew this again. It was much more simple because there were no grains to steep before boiling and only one round of hops. It limits the different types of beer you can make but the taste was great.

My Personal Kegerator now with Four Taps!

Here's a picture of my kegerator as it looked when I first built it. 20lb C02 tank with double gauge, single output regulator. Five gal Corney keg leads to a dispenser handle through the door of the fridge.

Here are a couple pictures after it was expanded to TWO taps. The third keg is cold conditioning. Also some frosty mugs up top in the freezer! Notice the selection of bottles has improved slightly hehe.

Soon I will have pics up as it looks currently with four tap handles. The freezer is now filled with hops. 

Setting up for the first brew

I finally got into my new hobby of home beer brewing thanks to my local shop brewngrow.com. I got a basic kit for $65 and my first ingredient kit for $20.

Basic brewers kit
I ended up coming back and buying materials to set up a corney kegerator in garage! Hooray for homebrew!

Intro and Purpose

Welcome! This blog is simply for the purpose of allowing me to record my home brewing experiments. We will keep track of recipes, ingredients, and observations along with pictures and anything else I find interesting. I also use Twitter and FaceBook so follow me there!