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
    • 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

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!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Three Blind Mice Raspberry Imperial

  • SRM Color : 35
  • Brewer: Mother's Brewing Company
  • Brewer's Description: Three Blind Mice is inspired by our favorite qualities from English brown ales, German altbiers, and Irish reds. Mother’s trio of beer connoisseurs sipped away many a night, working to find this ideal combination. Mother’s beautiful brown beer is medium-bodied with caramel, toffee, and subtle chocolate malt flavors—all balanced by moderate hop notes and a clean, dry finish. Three Blind Mice combines components of several malty beers for the unique brown beer experience you've been missing. After lots of research to find the perfect styles for our base, the clear winners were the lighter body and caramel characters of Irish red ales, the soft chocolate and toffee flavors from English brown ales, and the hop component and balance of German altbiers. We used traditional elements from each beer style and added our own touch for one incredible brown beer.
  • Recommended Glassware: A Teku
  • Russ' rating: 8 of 10
  • With the brew: Return to Beer
  • Comments: Generally berry or fruit beers are mostly beer tasting with barely a hint of the color or taste of the accompanying flavor on the label. Three Blind Mice however has a bold berry taste that perfectly enhances the dark chocolaty notes and maltiness of the brew. Pouring much less viscous than I would expect from an Imperial, the beer forms a nice light tan head of average ( 0.5mm - 0.7mm ) bubbles. The nose is clearly an imperial beer but there is a very subtle hint of the raspberries. The flavor is raspberry forward and surprisingly sweet. The back of the tasting is all Imperial with heavy malty flavors and a lightly hoppy finish.

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, March 7, 2014

Wake Up Dead Nitro

  • SRM Color : 40
  • Brewer: Left Hand Brewing Co.
  • Brewer's Description: Super Smooth trifecta of cocoa, dried fruit, and licorice notes.
  • Recommended Glassware: A Teku
  • Russ' rating: 10 of 10
  • With the brew: The end of Winter
  • Comments: Imperial Stout brewed with the darkest roasted grains, and Left Hand Brewing Co.'s Wake Up Dead is paragon of the style. Adding the Nitro infusion has made for a superbly smooth and creamy experience. The "hard pour" makes for a thick and creamy tan head of smaller than average ( < 0.5mm ) bubbles that top the beer for most of the drinking experience...however that was never long in my trials. The nose is malty with hints of cocoa and roasted grains. The body of the beer is creamy and almost sweet with the hint of a hoppy bite paired with dates and raisin.

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, February 21, 2014

Even More Jesus

  • SRM Color : 40
  • Brewer: Evil Twin Brewing
  • Brewer's Description: A few times in the history of craft beer it has happened that a highly praised beer rises beyond mortal stardom into a higher godly league. Usually the recipe to make such heavenly drops is thick fudge-like body, pitch black color, amazingly overwhelming aromas of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits and muscovado sugar, obviously only made in limited amounts and most crucial of all - it must taste rare!
  • Recommended Glassware: A Teku
  • Russ' rating: 10/10
  • With the brew: If I Had a Heart
  • Comments:  What a terrific beer to find! It pours a dark thick stream with a dark caramel colored head of smaller than average ( < 0.5mm ) bubbles. The aroma id large and high above the glass. You can smell the dark roasted grain bill, and a malty sweetness that makes your mouth water long before it hits your palate. It has a thick mouthfeel but not sticky and residual. The flavor is just amazing. The dark roasted grains are the biggest flavor, but there is a thick sweetness like dried fruit that is constant and lasting. The final flavor at the end of the sip is a  hoppiness that clears the flavors and leaves you longing for more. Do NOT pass by this beer.

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!