Monday, September 29, 2008

Batch #16 - UFO Hefe Again

Brew Date: 9/28/08
Recipe: Same as before.
Yeast is washed 3333 from batch #8.

OG: 1045 <-- low. I may not have mixed the wort and water thoroughly before taking a sample.

Notes: Yum.

11/2/08: 1015 (keg)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Last of the Strawberry Blonde

I bottled the last of the Strawberry Blonde keg this morning yielding 10 bottles which are now stashed in the beer fridge. This recipe was a big hit and we will definitely make it again. The beer was a bit cloudy, even after being in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I'm not sure why - perhaps it needs to sit in secondary even longer or could really benefit from a good cold-break after the boil.

A note about the Kolsch: We killed the first batch at Foamstock. Neither of us were a big fan of it even though there was nothing wrong with it. The second batch is in the fridge now and although it has a better initial taste, the aftertaste is crappy - very green tasting or possibly some other issue. I'm going to let it sit another week and try it again. Even at its best, this recipe just isn't clicking and I don't plan on making it again.

If you want to try the Strawberry Blonde you better stop by soon - I don't see those 10 bottles surviving long around here.

Batch #15 - Super Secret Recipe

Brew Date: 9/27/08

OG: 1072

That's all I'm saying for now.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What's Happening?

We've been doing so much stuff lately and I have slacked on updates.

We attempted to attend Gonzofest, but when we pulled up there were hundreds of people in line. We were on a bit if schedule so we decided to skip it this year. We went to Brewer's Alley in Frederick instead and had some good beer there.

FOAMStock was last weekend. The three of us had a great time trying lots of different homebrews, watching the bands, and camping out. I got pretty good feedback on my Kolsch and we met lots of cool people.

I was supposed to brew this week but I've been under the weather. As soon as I catch up on all my other chores I'll be brewing up a super-secret recipe and shortly after that another UFO clone.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Begun the Clone Wars Have

All the beers in the stash right now are clone recipes, or at least started out that way, but batch #14 will be the last new one for a while.

It is time to let these batches duke it out for supremacy.

For the next few months, I'll be re-brewing the clone recipes that we liked, tweaking them, making them my own until they are made of only Awesome and Win.

The first re-brew will be the Harpoon UFO Hefewiezen clone. This beer was delicious and I have no plans to change the recipe right now. I just want to see if I can actually reproduce it or if it was some kind of fluke (please no). The beer was so good, it drove a friend of mine insane and he is going to start homebrewing so he can make it for himself. Although it is a shame that he has lost his mind, it is awesome because more beer is always awesome.

Batch #14 - Alt Style Amber Ale

Brew Date: 9/9/2008
Steep -
1# Pilsner Malt
1# Munich Malt

Boil -
6# Light LME (90)
1oz Mt. Hood Hops (5.6% 90)
2oz Spalt Hops (2% 15)
Irish Moss (15)

Wyeast 1007 (starter)

Target FG: 1015

Note: Alaskan Amber clone.

9/27: 1014 (secondary)
10/15: Bad hydro reading (1017 wtf?) (keg) - Tastes good.
11/19: Beer is AWESOME. Great recipe!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Keep On Brewin'

The UFO Clone was so delicious and I squeezed the last of the keg into two bottles this morning. It didn't last long as everyone that tried it really liked it. Right now that recipe has a high probability of winning the Clone Wars and becoming a regular on tap here. Of course, its just the first one...

The Kolsch is good too, but still a little green. I rushed it so that I could give it away for a friend's party today. However, we might get lucky and get it back. Due to the tropical storm that is pounding our area right now, I am hearing the party has low attendance and that keg might make its way back to the fridge. I have my fingers crossed. In another week that beer will be really good I think.

The Strawberry Blonde hit the fridge today and I'll start carbing it up tomorrow. We are very excited and can't wait for next weekend to come so we can get in to it.

I have a couple of batches to brew early this week, so I'm getting starters and stuff going this weekend. Busy busy busy.

Update: We got the whole keg of homebrew back. Although we tried our best (we ended up attending the party in question), we could not kill the half keg of Miller Light that blocked our path to the Kolsch so it is back in our fridge.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Let's Make A Starter

There is a lot of conflicting information on the Toobs about starters and when/if you need them. I use them when I have a wort with a gravity over 1050 because all the pitching rate charts say you should pitch more than an activator pack provides.

Here is how I make a starter:

Smack that pack!

Boil 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of light DME for 10 minutes.

Chill. Keep it covered because your fridge really needs to be cleaned out.

Clean and sanitize all your junk. #2 stopper, thermometer, funnel, scissors, airlock, that bottle you got from your Uncle Rod.

Drink a Flying Dog while continuing to chill.

When the starter wort is chilled to 75 degrees or so, pour it in that bottle you got from your Uncle Rod.

Pitch the yeast into the starter wort.

Shake shake shake your booty.

Airlock and let it ferment for a day or so. Krausen can come and go fast, so you might miss it.

When fermentation slows, or the morning of brew day, throw the starter in the fridge.

Mow the grass, do all your chores, and then brew up your batch.

When you are ready to pitch, you should see a nice big yeast cake at the bottom of that bottle your Uncle Rod gave you. Decant most of the evil starter beer off the cake, shake up what is left and pitch it into your wort.

Enjoy fermentation fireworks.

Batch #13 - Saison

Brew Date: 8/31/08
Steep -
8oz Flaked Maize
5oz Belgian Aromatic Malt
3oz Belgian Biscuit Malt

60 minute boil -
9# Light LME
12oz Belgian Clear Candi Sugar
1.5oz Willamette Hops (4.6%)

.25oz Willamette Hops (15 minutes)
.25oz Saaz Hops (3.4% 15 minutes)

.25oz Saaz Hops (2 minutes)

Wyeast 2463 Forbidden Fruit Yeast (Starter)

OG: 1072
Target FG: 1018

Notes: This started out as an Ommegang Hennepin clone recipe, but I couldn't get the exact ingredients. I boiled the hops loose and planned on siphoning the wort to the primary, however the hop solids didn't settle out very well and the wort was too thick to siphon. As a result, everything went to the primary with no straining. Fermentation was strong less in under 15 hours with krausen in the blow-off tube, as expected with high gravity and a big starter.

9/17: 1023 (secondary). Beer smells and tastes awesome.
10/9:1022 (keg) Still tastes great. Can't wait to drink this one.