Sunday, March 29, 2009

Batch #27 - Cream Ale

I don't know why they are called Cream Ales, as they are simply an ale version of an American Lager. I created this recipe from scratch based on the BJCP style guidelines.

My first solo Brew Day in a while went reasonably well, with the notable and serious exception of a very poor mash efficiency. Currently, I am blaming one of our thermometers (and myself of course). Our normal one was in use, so I used a backup and I suspect that it lied to me about my mash temperature. It could also be that my readings were in error.

That's the real problem - I don't know.

Anyway, if the mash was that weak we're going to end up with a pretty weak beer with a alcohol content of under 3%. This means that you could drink 5 of them and still land a Space Shuttle. Since I don't have a Space Shuttle, I've been trying to think of how to fix this beer and I had an idea:

Ice Beer. I can freeze out some of the water content which will concentrate both the taste and alcohol content of the beer. And, of course, the name of the beer writes itself:

Ice Cream Ale!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Batch #26 + St. Patty's Day

The best brew day ever! A bunch of people showed up to belatedly celebrate St. Patrick's Day and to help us finish off the batch #22 Irish Stout and brew batch #26.

We discovered two important things about the stout:
  1. Although very good right after being kegged, the stout is EXCELLENT after conditioning for several weeks.
  2. 5 gallons of stout does not go far at a St. Patty's Day party.

So beer was made, beer was consumed, darts were played and a good time was had. Thanks to everyone for coming out!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Beer Wars

This movie comes out in a few weeks - looks great! Check out the movie site.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two Brewmasters

Two brewmasters, one German and the other American, walk in to a bar (I'm assuming) and decide to brew the same beer. Each would use essentially the same recipe but use hops from their respective home countries. Also, and this is the cool part, they would each brew the beer in the others brewery.

The result, or rather half of it, is pictured to the left - Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse which was brewed at Brooklyn Brewery in New York by Hans-Peter Drexler.

The other half, which I am working on aquiring, is Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse and was brewed at Schneider in Germany by Garrett Oliver.

I found out about these beers after Headbrewer described tasting one of the versions on his blog. Since he is in Ireland, he can only find the version brewed at Schneider. As of yet, I can only find the version brewed at Brooklyn. If neither of us make any headway, perhaps we should think about setting up a trade. I wonder how much it costs to ship a bottle of beer to Ireland?

You can read more about each beer here and here.

New Kegs

Some new arrivals at the brewery including our new soon-to-be keggle #2. Like the Shamwow it was made in Germany which gives it extra cool-points.

Two keggles will allow us more flexibility, more efficiency on brew day, and the ability to brew 20 gallon batches if we desire. And we do desire.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Homebrew + BBQ = Win

Many of the homebrewers I have met are also in to BBQ. That's real BBQ, as in low and slow in a smoker.

I'm guessing this is because making great BBQ requires many of the same traits as making great homebrew - primarily the ability to slave over something for a long period of time while resisting the urge to consume it all as fast as possible.

I got in to smoking BBQ a few years ago. I didn't have a real smoker, but I modified my existing gas grill (a 10 year old hand-me-down Colman) and produced some pretty good results including a few Thanksgiving turkeys.

Today we retired that old grill (it was nearly impossible to cook on anymore it was so inconsistent) and replaced it with the beauty in the picture.

This is the grill I have been waiting for forever. Whoever designed it is a genius and I hope he or she is rich and happy. The left side is a very nice gas grill. The right side is a charcoal grill and a smoker with a side-firebox. It's every kind of grill you can have in one unit and it did NOT cost a fortune. Awesome.

Tonight I seasoned it for a few hours. Tomorrow we'll be smoking a pork shoulder (and drinking homebrew of course!)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Batch #25 - Irish Stout

A very busy week around here as we kegged the rest of the BW, racked and dry-hopped the Pilsener, and brewed another 15 gallons of Irish Stout.

We have two current issues we are thinking about:

1 - Water Bottle Neck. Specifically heating it. We spend a lot of time waiting for our HLT to hit our target temp. We're looking at a second keggle and burner so we can heat 30 gallons of water at a time instead of 15. We use around 25 gallons when we brew a 15 gallon batch.

2 - Lager Longer. We want to lager the Pilsener for longer than we can right now because it ties up our secondary carboys. We may start moving it to kegs earlier, lagering in the kegs for a while, and then moving the beer to clean kegs.