Friday, December 12, 2014

Vanilla Bourbon Porter - Home Brew

  • SRM Color : 
  • Brewer: Custom by Beers By Russ
  • The Recipie:
    • 6.6 lb. Porter Malt Extract
    • 8 oz. Crushed Muntons Black Patent Malt Grain
    • 8 oz. Crushed Muntons Black Chocolate Malt Grain
    • 8 oz. Crushed Briess Wheat Malt Grain
    • 8 oz. Crushed Briess Crystal 90 Malt Grain Malt Grain
    • 1 oz. Chinook Hops - Bittering
    • 1 oz. Mount Hood Hops - Finishing
    • 5 oz. Priming Sugar
    • 1 vial White Labs Irish Ale yeast
    • 2 Vanilia Beans
    • 1 pint Maker's Mark Burboun
    • 1 oz. Pure Vanilla Extract
    • 1 tsp. Irish Moss
  • The Stats:
    • Original Gravity: 1.055
    • Final Gravity: 1.012
    • ABV: 6.1%
  • The Brewing Process
  • Brewer's Description:  Styled from Boulevards Bully! Porter and adding some vanilla Bean and Makers Mark Bourbon. I split and scraped the vanillia bean into the burboun and let it soak for a week before adding to the secondary.
  • Recommended Glassware: Stout Glass
  • Russ' rating: 9/10
  • With the brew: Being Bad
  • Comments: This one is very tasty! I used the suggested liquid yeast from White Labs, and may never go back to dry. It made a huge difference in the taste of the brew! This one pours with a wonderful malty nose and a hint of the bourbon. The head consisted of average ( 0.5mm - 0.7mm ) bubbles that dissipated to a nice caramel ring at the top of the beer. The flavor was slightly hoppy with a vanilla and oak taste in the front but is smoothed to a rich malty flavor after a moment. Next time I may add more vanilla beans. And there will definitely be a next time! 
Do you agree? Do you think I completely missed on this one? Feel free to leave a comment below, give me a +1, or "Like" my post!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Nut Brown Ale - Homebrew

  • SRM Color : 20
  • Brewer: Kit from: Homebrew  Pro Shoppe
  • The Recipie:
    • 3.3 lb. Briess Golden Light Malt Extract
    • 2 lb. Amber Dry Malt Extract
    • 12 oz. Crushed Briess Crystal 60L Malt
    • 1 oz. Crushed Briess Chocolate Malt
    • 1 oz. Willamette Hops - Bittering
    • 1 oz. Willamette Hops - Finishing
    • 5 oz. Priming Sugar
    • 1 sachet Muntons Yeast
  • The Stats:
    • Original Gravity: 1.040 - 1.045
    • Final Gravity: 1.010 0 1.012
    • ABV: 4.0%
  • The Brewing Process
  • Brewer's Description:  Nut Brown Ale Recipe Kit Slightly sweet, full malt flavor with a nutty caramel finish. Styled after Newcastle's Nut Brown Ale
  • Recommended Glassware: Tiku
  • Russ' rating: 8 of 10
  • With the brew: You can't be punk forever
  • Comments: This one has a much better head than the previous beers. I used the full 5 oz. of priming sugar and it is almost too much for a standard "half-and-half" pour. There is a much maltier taste to this one and the nose is more balanced with the hop, malt, yeast profile. The head at pour is about 1.5 fingers, and while it settles a bit it lasts the entire beer. There is a better balance of sweet malt and bitter hops, and I am very pleased with this brew. 
Do you agree? Do you think I completely missed on this one? Feel free to leave a comment below, give me a +1, or "Like" my post!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Irish Red Ale - Homebrew

  • SRM Color : 17
  • Brewer: Kit from: Homebrew  Pro Shoppe
  • The Recipie:
    • 3.3 lb. Briess Golden Light Malt Extract
    • 2 lb. Plain Light Dry Malt Extract
    • 12 oz. Crushed Briess Crystal 60L Malt
    • 1 oz. Crushed Briess Black Malt
    • 1 oz. Willamette Hops - Bittering
    • 1 oz. Willamette Hops - Finishing
    • 5 oz. Priming Sugar
    • 1 sachet Muntons Ale Yeast
  • The Stats:
    • Original Gravity: 1.040 - 1.045
    • Final Gravity: 1.008 - 1.012
    • ABV: 4.2%
  • The Brewing Process
  • Brewer's Description:  A smooth, medium bodied Red Ale with a great toffee finish. 
  • Recommended Glassware: Tiku
  • Russ' rating: 8 of 10
  • With the brew: The Local Irish Flavor
  • Comments: Pouring a darker ruby red than I had hoped for the beer head has an average ( 0.5mm - 0.7mm ) bubble size in the one finger head. After the pour the head settles quickly but leaves a faint lacing in the glass. The nose is malty and sweet, but the body is a bit lighter than I would like. I think next time I will add a bit more DME (Dry Malt Extract) to the boil.
Do you agree? Do you think I completely missed on this one? Feel free to leave a comment below, give me a +1, or "Like" my post!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Brewing Standard Time Line

I have what I think is a working time line. I will tweak this as I develop it better especially for my small kitchen and brewing space, adding tips and lessons in red.

  • 24 Hours before Boil day
    • Yeast starter if using dry yeast
  • Boil day
    • 2.5 Gallons of room temp filtered water in the brew pot.
    • Add grain bag
    • Steel grains until water temp is 170 degrees.
      • While steeping, fill and sanitize your fermentation vessel and other equipment
      • Don't forget to get a spray bottle of Starsan!
    • Remove grain bag
      • Makes great compost!
    • Bring to a boil
    • Remove from heat and all all fermentables (Malt, Honey, etc), Stir until completely dissolved
      • Letting liquid fermentables warm up before opening made this much easier. I dropped the entire container of LME in a pitcher of hot water and it poured out much easier
    • Return to heat and return to boiling temperature, stirring constantly.
    • When boiling begins add bittering hops
      • I use this time to filter 3.5 more gallons of water to top off with later on
    • 50 minutes later put the CLEAN wort chiller in the wort to allow it to come to a sterile temperature
    • 5 minutes later add the finishing hops
    • 5 minutes later (total 60 minute boil time) remove all hops and remove from heat
    • Bring temp down as rapidly as possible.
    • Pour into a sanitized fermentation vessel and top off with cool filtered water
    • Cover and let cool until wort is 70 degrees.
    • Take a gravity reading
    • Pitch Yeast
    • Seal and add Airlock
  • Racking day (Boil Day + 5-7 days)
    • Rack the beer into a secondary fermentation vessel
  • Bottling day (Boil day + 10-14 days)
    • When the beer has reached its finished gravity
    • Clean and sanitize 60 bottles and caps
    • Boil 4 cups of water and your priming sugar
    • Let priming solution cool and place in bottling bucket
    • Rack the beer into a bottling bucket on top of the priming solution
    • Bottle and cap the beer
  • Drinking day (Boiling day + 25-32 days)
    • Relax and have a home brew!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What is on deck?

Brewing Schedule pumped up in order to get stock ready for brewing "bigger" beers which take 4-6 weeks more to ferment, and as much as 6 months to age properly.
The next few weeks are busy:

October 5 Brew "Shenanigan Framework" Irish Red Ale
October 11 Brew un-named Nut Brown Ale
October 12 Rack Irish Red into secondary fermentation vessel
October 18 Rack Nut Brown into secondary fermentation vessel
October 19 Bottle Irish Red Ale
October 26 Bottle Nut Brown Ale
November 8 brew something else!

Batch 1 - Oatmeal Stout

My first batch!

I chose to start with an Oatmeal Stout because I read it was a good place to start. Easy to make and hard to do wrong, and tasty!

For simplicity I also decided to use a LME ( Liquid Malt Extract ) and grain kit.

I bought the kit from my local Home Brew shop Homebrew Pro Shoppe

***Note, I lost this batch. It never completely got carbonated, and it had a sour apple taste that made it undrinkable. I believe that the culprit was bacterial from the process I used to remove the labels from the bottle not rinsing completely.

The contents of the kit are below:
- 2x 3.3lb Briess Traditional Dark Malt Extract
-1lb Flaked Oats
-4oz. Briess Crushed Crystal 60 Malt
-8oz. Muntons Crushed Roasted Barley
-1oz. Kent Goldings Hopps ( bittering )
-1oz. Fuggle Hopps( finishing )
-5oz. Priming Sugar
-1 sachet Muntons Ale Yeast

Step 1
One day before brew day I started a Yeast Starter to make sure the yeast was viable.

-Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and added 5 oz of DME( Dry alt Extract ). Boil for 10 min.
-Cool the solution to 80 degrees and pitch the yeast.
-Let stand in a cool dry place for 24 hours.

Things I learned:
- Put the container in a secondary container in case your yeast bubbles over the top! In my case I used an Erlenmeyer flask and covered it in foil I had cleaned with Star-san, and then placed the flask in a mixing bowl.









Step 2
-Pour two gallons of drinking water into a 5 gallon stainless steel pot. Place the grain and oatmeal in a grain steeping bag, and place in the pot.
-Heat the water to 170 degrees while allowing the grain to steep.
-At 170 degrees, remove the grain bag and allow to drain. I have heard not to squeeze the bag so I did not but I am not sure if this is because it may burst or because it affected the taste or chemistry of the beer.
-Put the pot back on the heat and bring to a rolling boil.


Step 3
-Clean and sanitize your wort chiller( optional equipment )
-Once you have a full rolling boil, remove the pot from the heat and add the LME.
-STIR WELL BEFORE PLACING BACK ON THE STOVE. If you dont you may scorch the LME and ruin your beer and your pot!
-Return to heat and bring back to a full boil.
-Check your watch and note the time.
-Add the Bittering Hops.
-Do not leave your pot. Stir frequently and do not allow it to boil over. Do not use the lid of the pot.
-At the 45 minute mark, you can place your wort chiller into the pot to make sure it is sanitized by the boil. Make sure the ends of the hose are in the sink in case there is any water left from the previous brew day. It will be pushed out and it will be hot!
-Boil for 55 minutes.
-Add the finishing Hops.
-Boil for 5 more minutes.
-Total boil is 60 minutes.
-Remove from heat and remove the hops.

Step 4
-Cool the wort to 80 degrees. You can do this with an ice bath or a wort chiller ( pictured ). The faster you can chill the wort the less opportunity for contamination.
-Once the wort is cool, pour it into your primary fermentation vessel and top off the wort to 5 gallons with clean water.
-Take a hydrometer reading and record it. For this beer it was 1.051.
-Pitch the yeast.
-Shake the wort for several minutes to aerate and disperse the yeast.
-Seal your fermentation vessel and insert the air lock.
-Place the wort in a dark place and let it bubble for a week.
-Clean and stow all of your brewing equipment.





Notes on the fermentation process
The airlock should start to bubble in a few hours and continue for a few days. Don't worry if it slows or even stops, as the process is still going on.

Resist the urge to open the vessel and check it. Trust the beer!


A week later and its time to move the brew to the secondary fermentation vessel.

This took about 30 minutes but was pretty easy and made little mess.

Let the brew sit in the secondary vessel until it reaches its finished gravity.

In this case it was 1.020. Perfect!










After a week in the secondary fermentation vessel, it was time to bottle. I used 3.5 oz of priming sugar boiled for 10 minutes in 2 cups of water. I let the priming sugar solution cool and then racked the beer into the bottling bucket. This is just like the fermentation vessel, but has a spigot on the bottom that you attach your bottling gear to.

Fill the bottles to the top and when the stick is pulled out it is just about the right amount of beer.

Capping is laborious work and I am grateful that my wife volunteered to help! What would have been a 2 hour job was just under an hour.





I ended up with 48 bottles which I labeled and sat in a closed storage container to bottle condition in case I had any explode.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Beers By Russ is Changing!

I will continue to review commercial beers, but I have begun brewing my own and will use my blog to keep my Brewing journal.

If it helps encourage others, that is great!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Black Butte XXV Aged 1 Year

  • SRM Color : 70
  • Brewer: Deschutes Brewery
  • Brewer's Description:  Dates, figs and chocolate. Black currants, barrel-aged in bourbon casks. The result is an Imperial Porter with a tart berry and chocolate aroma with luscious layers of dried fruit, oak and vanilla. A fitting tribute to the 25th Anniversary of our flagship beer.
  • Recommended Glassware: Goblet
  • Russ' rating: 9.5 of 10
  • With the brew: Waiting
  • Comments: I waited a year to drink this one and I have to say it was totally worth it. Black Butte XXV pours a viscous almost oily black with little or no head at all. The aroma is malty sweet and carries a roasted note dipped in chocolate. The flavor is intense and up front. Rich roasted grains and a hint of coffee flavor, but fades as you swallow leaving no bitter aftertaste. Even with an ABV of %11.3 it is not at all alcohol forward. Exceptionally drinkable. I can hardly wait until next year when I can try it again.
Do you agree? Do you think I completely missed on this one? Feel free to leave a comment below, give me a +1, or "Like" my post!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Two Jokers Double-Wit

  • SRM Color : 13
  • Brewer: Boulevard
  • Brewer's Description: They say there are two sides to every story, and that’s certainly true of Two Jokers Double-Wit. On the one hand, it’s a revival of the classic Belgian “wit,” or “white” ale, with lactic fermentation providing a refreshing tartness. On the other hand, it’s a modern, uniquely American brew; big, flavorful, and spiced with cardamom, coriander, orange peel, lavender, and grains of paradise.
  • Recommended Glassware: A Tulip
  • Russ' rating: 8.5 of 10
  • With the brew: Wedding Present
  • Comments: Two Jokers pours an exceptionally bright golden color with a slight haze leaving a head of average size ( 0.5mm - 0.7mm ) bubbles. The aroma hits you even before you are done pouring the glass. It is spice forward with a floral nose and a slightly orange citrus scent. The flavor has a strong coriander character, a large floral middle, and a slightly astringent citrus finish that is very refreshing and would be great on a warm summer afternoon. 
Do you agree? Do you think I completely missed on this one? Feel free to leave a comment below, give me a +1, or "Like" my post!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Triporteur From Hell


  • SRM Color : 24
  • Brewer: Belgian Original Malt Bakery and Brewery ( BOM )
  • Brewer's Description: Triporteur From Hell is a dark beer brewed with hellish burned and roasted BOM malt. The beer reminds us of chocolate, caramel, recently brewed coffee and freshly baked bread. The wheat malt in the unfiltered beer can cause a slight cloudiness. The taste of Hell keeps evolving in the bottle.
  • Recommended Glassware: A Teku
  • Russ' rating: 6 of 10
  • With the brew: A Trip to Hell
  • Comments: I *love* Belgian Dark Ales. When I found this one with such a fun theme and packaging ( 6.66% ABV ), I was excited to try it. The beer pours darker and less viscous than I expected, and left a fine head of average ( 0.5mm - 0.7mm ) bubbles which settled to a light layer of foam lasting the entire glass. The aroma was not sweet at all but had an earthy quality I attribute to the yeast. The flavor was very earthy, almost dusty. There was no sweet malty character, or hoppy bite. Over all a very disappointing experience.
Do you agree? Do you think I completely missed on this one? Feel free to leave a comment below, give me a +1, or "Like" my post!