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Boone
02-19-10, 07:19 PM
Posted this awhile back on our other site (http://www.thenoosphere.com) and thought there might be a few here interested in homebrewing. I've taken a little break from the batch described below, but am going to brew 2 batches this weekend, a brown ale with some chocolate overtones and a british bitter.


As anyone who knows me or who's read my blog (http://www.thenoosphere.com/blog.php?b=7) knows, I'm an avid homebrewer.

Due to work challenges, it's been 3-4 months since I made beer, in fact, the last batch I made, I gave away to a friend who was having a large party. So this weekend, unburdened by work or other obligations, decided it was time to brew one of my favorites, Bourbon Barrel Vanilla Porter. This is a very dark, sweet, delicious beer. Some might call it a 'chick beer'. Me? I just call it amazing. It's so good that every time I make it, it's a challenge to keep a significant part of it for myself as friends demand their tribute. You take a really solid Porter recipe. While the beer base itself ferments, you take a pint or so of Maker's Mark Bourbon, scrape about 5 fresh vanilla beans into it, add some charred oak cubes, and let sit for 2 or 3 weeks. About 2 weeks before the Porter's ready to be kegged or bottled, you add the bourbon/vanilla/oak mixture.

The result? Amazingness.

For those of you unfamiliar with homebrewing, I thought you might enjoy a little pictorial synopsis. I don't want to minimize the 'science' involved, but I won't dwell on some of the technical stuff. I believe beer-making is more art than science :) It's a little bit more complicated than I may convey, but not a lot more, and the 'science' involved is easy to learn. So without further ado....

http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 001.jpg

Step one in this recipe is toasting a small portion of the grain bill. The toastiness of just a pound or so of grain adds a 'baked bread' flavor and smell to the final product.


http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 002.jpg

Next, after heating a calculated volume of water (in this case 5 gallons) to a precise temperature, the grain bill is added to the 'mashtun' (as you'll find out, beermakers have a language steeped in tradition and all their own). In this case, it's a big ol' grain bill totalling 17 lbs of grain, and my 'mashtun' is nothing more than a 10 gallon coleman cooler outfitted with a screen at the bottom and a spigot. There are lots of 'mashtun' types available all over the internet. The water temp has to be fairly precise, as the chemical activity of the mash is very temperature-dependent. Different temps = different beer styles. You also have to take into account how much the cool of the mashtun itself and the temperature of the grain will drop your water temperature. Luckily, there are easy internet tools to help make those calculations simple.


http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 003.jpg

Now we add our properly heated water and stir up the 'mash'. The lid goes on and we wait patiently for at least 60 minutes while chemistry does it's beautiful thing.


http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 004.jpg
http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 005.jpg

After our hour is up, we begin the process of 'vorlaufing'. To vorlauf is to gently drain the beer from the mashtun into a container, and pour it continuously back into the mashtun. The grain bed acts as a giant filter to strain out the larger particles from what's going to become your beer. You keep pouring the 'wort' (your virgin beer) into the mashtun until what's draining is relatively clear without particles. Then it's ready to begin draining the wort into your brewpot.


http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 007.jpg

Once you have cleared your wort and begin draining the wort into your brewpot, it's time to 'sparge'. Sparging is the process of rinsing the grains as the wort drains. You rinse the grains with water that's (again) in a precise temperature range (generally 165 - 175 degrees) in order to stop all enzymatic activity. It kinds of 'freezes' all activity within the wort. I have a little contraption with spinning arms that rinses the grains with another 4 gallons or so of hot water from another Coleman cooler. You drain and rinse simultaneously until about 7 gallons or so of 'wort' is produced. Since this is a Porter, my wort came out very dark. If I were making a lager, it might look almost like water or lemonade, just depends on the style and the grainbill.


http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 010.jpg

Now my brewpot, filled with wort, goes on a turkey frying burner (or some other type of propane cooker) and is heated to boiling. Once it's boiling, recipes usually call for the addition of bittering hops. A discussion of hops would be an entire thread, but they are relatives of the marijuana family, and that may account for the obsession I have with smelling them prior to tossing a handfull of green pellets into the boiling wort. They smell amazing, and have antibiotic qualities, one of the reasons they put a huge amount of hops in an 'IPA' (that helped beer survive the trip from England to India in the old days).


http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 013.jpg

Wort is generally vigorously boiled for at least 60 minutes. One of the rules of beer is that it's critical once the boil is done to cool it quickly and get your yeast into the wort. I've never had a contaminated beer, but if you don't get your yeast into cooled wort quickly, it's possible for wild yeasts or other bacteria to start growing. So 20 minutes before my wort boil is done, I put my copper-coiled wort chiller into the boiling wort. That sanitizes it completely.


http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 014.jpg

10 or 15 minutes before the boil is over, I put another ounce or so of hops into the wort. These are called aromatic hops, because it primarily impacts the smell of the finished beer, an important element. You can also add irish moss or other 'clarifying agents' to make your beer more visually attractive.


http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 016.jpg

At the end of the boil, a garden hose connected to the wort chiller is turned on, and over about 30 minutes, the wort is rapidly cooled. Once cool, the beer is poured into a sanitized funnel into the primary fermenter called a carboy (this one is glass, my preference, but you can also use plastic versions). Active beer yeast (a key ingredient as there are many types for many styles of beer) is then added to the mix.


http://www.thenoosphere.com/jhj/pics/beer 017.jpg

Finally, a one-way valve is placed into the carboy. The beer then takes a dark nap for 1-2 weeks (I use my bedroom closet - and yes, the wife really loves this!). During the first 24 hours, the beer will begin to ferment vigorously (and when I say 'vigorously', think boiling water). In fact, it'll likely be so vigorous that I'll have to insert a 'blowoff tube' to keep the whole thing from exploding into a gigantic beer mess. In a week or two, obvious fermentation stops and it's time to transfer the beer to a new, sanitized 'secondary' for final fermentation. This step leaves a lot of the junk called trub (hops, grains, yeast, etc..) behind and makes the beer a lot cleaner and ready for bottling/kegging. The secondary stage is where the magic will happen with this brew, because it's there that I'll add a wonderful mixture of vanilla, bourbon, and oak to complete the final taste of the beer.

Hope you enjoyed my little tour of homebrewing.

I'll be glad to share the final product - you'll just need to get in touch with me for a sample. :)

Sarge
02-19-10, 08:52 PM
Interesting.

Better watch for them thar revenuers:)

Boone
02-20-10, 12:31 PM
I don't know what the standard is for 'really brewing', but yeah, I have been homebrewing for about 5 years. I actually got turned onto it by Raub at an ES tailgate. He'd made an extract wheat beer ('Dunkelweisen') and I took a sip from a bottle and said 'you MADE this?'. Next thing I know, he's hooking me up with all the info I needed to get started. I started with extract kits like him, but quickly moved on to all-grain, which I find truly cool (to make something delicious from water, grain, hops, and yeast and not much else).

I remember you got a dream job awhile back - I was envious. Honestly, if I had any guts I'd go out and get my real brewmaster credentials and try to open my own brew pub. That's kind of a fantasy of mine.

I know there are some really 'big' beers out there although I've not tried many of them. They usually call them 'barleywine' once they get up in the 15% and above alcohol range, and yeah, it's common for them to take a year minimum to be ready to drink. I have hung out on www.northernbrewer.com 's forums some especially early on when I was still worryinging about screwing up the process, but I'll check out the site you linked - thanks!

Lanky Livingston
02-22-10, 09:52 PM
This is way cool, Boone. Once I get back to DC and my townhouse, I want to give my own home-brew a try. Hopefully you can help me out once I get to that point.

Also, I third the love for vanilla porters, as well as bourbon porters. Delish!

Boone
02-22-10, 09:53 PM
I'll be glad to Lanky - it's like a religion really, when you find someone ripe for converting, you gotta step up :)

Boone
03-18-10, 10:36 PM
Don't mind at all brother :)

As much as I love beer, I rarely try a 'new' one, mostly just because I don't often find myself in places where they are readily available. May have to try out some of those though...

Boone
03-19-10, 09:14 PM
'only '18.2%'

Holy cow!

Lanky Livingston
03-19-10, 11:30 PM
I am really starting to LOVE IPAs and have always loved browns and stouts. I would love to know what anyone else has.

If you love IPAs, you gotta try Dogfishhead's 90 Minute Imperial IPA. Its by far my favorite beer, so delicious.

Boone
04-09-10, 06:38 PM
I took a little homebrewing break for about 6-8 months. That vacation coincided with the site here getting hot and heavy and requiring a fair amount of work, as well as real work requiring a fair amount of work. Not to mention, I've shed 30 lbs over that same period and gotten back into shape.

About 6 weeks ago, I brewed my first batch in a long while. I did a British Bitter all-grain recipe. I jokingly named it 'Bitter Lesbian' because my wife saw the yeast starter jug on the counter (labeled 'LESB' for 'London Extra Special Bitter', the name of the yeast type I was using) and asked 'what's that jug with lesbian on it for?'. Bitter Lesbian was born. Not that there's anything wrong with it. I have more than a few lesbian friends, and none of them are bitter btw :)

I just kegged this stuff. Wow. I make some damn good beer. You'd pony up cash for this in a brewpub and not think twice about ordering 5 or 6 refills. I'm a living testament to the fact that making your own beer is not only easy, but you can really make some really amazing brews with nothing more than water, grain, hops, and yeast.

I even purchased a special glass to drink mine with. Wish I could share it via the interwebs.


http://www.bgobsession.com/jhj/mine.jpg

Neophyte
04-09-10, 08:10 PM
That looks like some damn good stuff, sir!

SabreAce33
04-09-10, 10:31 PM
Neat stuff Boone. I'd love to get into brewing, I'm a huge beer dork, but I don't have the time as it stands now. This thread now has me wishing I had an Old Rasputin cold rather than the hard cider I'm drinking for lack of better choices...

Skinsfan1311
04-16-10, 06:59 AM
Raub tried to talk me into it as well, back when he was selling his gear. I should've taken him up on it:(

When the youngest son moves out, I'll have the room and will definitely bounce a kazillion questions off of you.

Have you ever kegged your homebrew?

Mike

If you like IPA's, the next time your in town, you should grab a sixer of Heavy Seas Loose Cannon. I think that they use something like 3lbs of hops per bbl.

I just tapped a keg of it a couple of weeks ago....

riggins44
04-16-10, 12:00 PM
Boone...have you ever branched out and tried making wine?

Skinsfan1311
04-16-10, 12:21 PM
Stone just tapped their 2008 Imperial Russian Stout..excited to have that tonight..

today's special is our double dry hopped IPA...SO good.

and yesterday while I was at the brewery 2 guys were arguing (sort of) about beer leftovers "damnit we have 8 cases still" and so the one guy sees me and goes "give mike a case" Paulaner Original Munich..good German Lager..:)

:chug3:

You have the best benefits, ever!

Boone
04-16-10, 02:54 PM
Have you ever kegged your homebrew?


Yeah...I moved from bottling with regular bottles, to bottling with 20 oz 'Grolsch'-type bottles (much, much easier), to finally kegging in soda kegs. Just having to sanitize a single container is so much easier. The other nice thing is that you can 'force carb' your beer in 10 minutes and it's ready to drink vs. having to wait 10 days for bottled beer to carbonate. Just a lot easier. Only downside is I can't give it as gifts much anymore since it won't keep long once out of the keg.


Boone...have you ever branched out and tried making wine?

Nope, although the equipment is basically interchangeable. Northern Brewer sells lots of wine kits also. One of these days I'll give it a try. I'm not a big wine guy, but everyone else I know is :)

Elephant
04-22-10, 06:12 AM
Sometimes, although rarely, I regret my decision to quit drinking. When the beer fad began, during year of working in a wine bar, and the smell of a glass of scotch every now and again, I miss a drink. This thread has my mouth watering. As I drink my morning coffee, Cheers! :pint:

Neophyte
07-03-10, 10:13 PM
Bottling a Rye beer tonight. Hoping it ends up as good as it smells...

Jugband McGillicuddy
07-04-10, 11:45 AM
Mike, I can say for sure that John "really brews." I've tasted some of his handiwork, and it is, quite simply, the elixir of the gods. :)

Boone
07-04-10, 11:47 AM
Curious how that comes out Bob - neither brewed nor, to my knowledge, ever tasted a rye beer. Sounds interesting! We drank a keg of 'Caribou Slobber', nice ale that's been sitting in my closet for months, during our beach trip. I am not brew-less. Guess I need to get busy!

Lanky Livingston
07-20-10, 11:26 PM
Boone, I will be in the Asheville area on Friday through Wednesday; where can I purchase your lovely ales? :)

fansince62
07-21-10, 12:41 PM
Fella I worked with in the military recently retired and was hired as President of the Beer Institute! what a deal!!!

Boone
07-21-10, 07:00 PM
Boone, I will be in the Asheville area on Friday through Wednesday; where can I purchase your lovely ales? :)

That's my personal dream you're talking there... :)

Boone
11-08-10, 07:23 PM
Damn.
I'm off work for a week.
If only I'd known :)

Boone
12-30-10, 09:12 PM
so tomorrow I am going to go overboard. I mean like bottom of the ocean, build Atlantis and fight Posideon.

I have a keg of Stone Ruination Double IPA http://www.stonebrew.com/ruin/
I have a 1/6 keg of Arrogant Bastard http://www.stonebrew.com/arrogantbastard/
Two 2 litre growlers of our Imperial Russian Stout http://www.stonebrew.com/irs/

more 30 packs of bud light then you can shake a stick at
and liquor..

I plan on having almost 50 people at my pad...should I be nervous? NAAAH!! I'll be too drunk.

Sounds like quite a party :)

I sadly don't have any homebrew ready for tomorrow night, but I will be brewing tomorrow, a coffee porter I have been thinking about making for awhile. Ordered some special espresso beans for the finishing touch which I will cold brew and add before kegging.

Lanky Livingston
04-01-11, 01:27 PM
Ha, Mikes last two posts in this thread were on 1/4/11 and 4/1/11. Yes, I am amused by the small things.

Boone
04-01-11, 06:56 PM
I'll check it out Mike, thanks for the heads-up :)

Boone
04-01-11, 07:11 PM
I think I'm going to have to make that happen one of these days. Besides, SD is one of my favorites places :)

China
07-20-11, 10:05 AM
Boone, don't move to Alaska:

Alaska Villages Outlaw Yeast, Sugar (http://www.bgobsession.com/showthread.php?t=12693&page=3)

In most communities, you can buy yeast and sugar at the grocery store. But not in Alaska, says the Anchorage Daily News, where some villages have outlawed both alcohol and supplies to brew it at home. Conceived as a way to regulate alcoholism, a sheriff recently arrested a man after finding yeast in his home. The man says he was simply going to bake some bread. The Daily News says police are so used to the bread answer that they have a special line of questioning for those who claim to be bakers: “We’ll ask the questions, ‘How much yeast does it take to bake a loaf of bread,’ and you’ll get an answer like, ‘Oh, a cup’....I mean, it takes like a tablespoon, so that makes no sense.”

Click on the link for the rest

Boone
07-23-11, 09:16 PM
I just drank 2 Silva stouts. it is green flash's double stout aged 15 months in a bourbon barrel before serving. it was amazing...and what was best is at the fest they had a cigar stand and I smoked a nice full bodied cigar with it while looking at 80 degrees of pure sunshine and no clouds.

and I swear all I could think was "I know some people on BGO who would really love this"

Hell, even I would smoke a stogie for a taste or two of a 'Silva Stout' :)

Neophyte
07-28-11, 01:36 PM
Took a couple of days off here at the end of July, partly for brewing. Today I am doing a batch of my White Nipple Wit with a single decoction mash.

Lanky Livingston
07-28-11, 03:16 PM
I don't know, but it reminds me of one of the top-10 movie quotes of all time from "Ten Things I Hate About You:"

"What is it with this chick, does she have beer-flavored nipples?"

Neophyte
07-28-11, 03:57 PM
whats in a white nipple wit?

Mike, I use 3 different grains (Great Western 2 Row, Maris Otter 2 Row and unmalted Wheat). It is lightly hopped with Tettnang and spiced just a bit with Coriander and Bitter Orange Peel. I ferment it with Wyest Labs 3463 Forbidden Fruit.

It is in the same family with Blue Moon and Shocktop if you are trying to place a commercial equivalent (although I like mine better).

Neophyte
07-28-11, 04:26 PM
Well, judging from how fast the first batch went missing, people think it pretty damn good (although I might not be the most objective guy in the world). I premiered it back in late April and I am down to 11 bottles out of over 2 full cases. I know that doesn't sound like a lot but I have 6 different styles in the house right now and always some of everything with me to every get together. I bring home some each of the other 5 but almost never bring back a Whitel Nipple. I had only planned to brew it once this year.

Got to try Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous the other night for the first time. Pretty good stuff.

Goaldeje
07-28-11, 04:48 PM
Yes, but do you ship?

:D

Boone
08-13-11, 03:29 PM
It's been 6 months or more since I've made beer.

What the hell is wrong with me? (Nevermind: that's a topic for another time, believe me)

Tomorrow, I change that.

I'm brewing a lager. Not just any lager - Oktoberfest. I'll do an all-grain brew session, then transfer my filled carboy into a 55 degree fridge. After a transfer to a secondary carboy in a couple weeks, it'll go back into the fridge until, well, at least October. Probably leave it for an extra month so technically it'll be 'November' or 'December-fest' :) With lagers, the key is 'patience'. The longer it stays in cold storage the more amazing the taste.

Yum.

Neophyte
08-14-11, 06:37 PM
I have a batch of my White Nipple Wit nearly ready to go in the bottles here.

I can tell you why you haven't brewed lately Boone...too damn hot! I nearly died brewing the wit a couple weeks ago.

Neophyte
10-23-11, 05:53 PM
Brewing a Hazelnut Brown today.

Dough in 155F...

Neophyte
01-14-12, 12:19 PM
Brewing my Two Penny Honey Pale today (Boone can vouch for this one!).

Goaldeje
01-14-12, 04:23 PM
I will send you at least 4 pennies for a case!

Neophyte
01-14-12, 06:18 PM
Hey now...I'm easy, not cheap.

Ax
02-03-12, 11:49 AM
So, for a guy like me, who's beginning to flirt with the idea, would it be best to order one of the less expensive starter kits online and try a one night stand?

If so, any recommendations?

riggins44
02-03-12, 01:00 PM
Didn't get chance to brew anything for Super Bowl. The St. George's Brewery is about 1/2 mile from my house. Will go there and get some IPA for Sunday.

St. George's also hosts a group of homebrewers.

Ax
02-03-12, 01:00 PM
what kind of beer are you looking to make?
Not really sure. Never had enough money to be too picky when I drank more. Through the years I've been pretty plain with my choices. Bud Lite, Miller Lite, Corona Lite, is what I do most now. Only tried a few dark beers, and never liked any. When I would splurge, it would be Molson, Beck's, Moosehead. Don't know a malt from a pilsner.

I guess, something as close to my listed likes as possible.

Maybe you could recommend a couple bottled brands to point me in another direction. Something available in Fredneck, MD.

Ax
02-03-12, 01:12 PM
first safe beer i would try that is really a hoppy beer but considered a pale would be sierra nevada pale ale. green label...standard amongst anyone who drinks craft beer.

id try yuengling (sp) and thats a good pils.
You'll need to educate me brother.

Are the beers I mentioned "hoppy" bears?

Is there a starter kit you know of that let's you select the type you get with the initial order?

I have been told about yingyangs (sp) before, so I might have to try one. But I don't take pils anymore. :)

Boone
02-03-12, 06:17 PM
If you want to try making your own, go to www.northernbrewer.com and order an extract kit. You can make great beer on your stovetop. There's a little investment in equipment starting out but you can use plastic buckets and set up won't cost much.

Neophyte
02-04-12, 10:51 AM
Ax,

I would recommend either going the Northerbrewer route that Boone suggested or looking around your local area for a home brew supply shop. Looks to me like you have one in the area call The Flying Barrel (http://www.flyingbarrel.com/). While having a local place certainly isn't necessary, my local place has been a huge help in my brewing adventures.

You probably want to start with an Ale. Most of what you listed as stuff you drink are lagers but those will require the ability to control the temperature of things more as it is fermenting. I would probably look at doing a Pale Ale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_ale) of some sort. Bass is pretty much the prototypical pale ale. Sierra Nevada makes a great American pale ale that is available almost anywhere now.

Ax
02-04-12, 12:39 PM
Thank you, Mike, Boone, and Neo.

While I'm sure it is a better set up, the beginners kit on the northernbrewer site looked a little more involved than the smaller 2gl set up on www.mrbeer.com.

With that one I thought, if I found home brewing wasn't my cup of tea, I'd at least have a spectacular looking plastic keg to save pennies in. :new_idea:

Sounds like you guys use actual grains and hops, verses an extract for your wort. I'm sure that opens many more avenues.

But, like I said, I'm just flirtin' right now. Possibly a one night stand. Not looking to marry the little wench.

Any and all of your input is greatly appreciated.

Neophyte
02-04-12, 01:55 PM
I actually still do 3 recipes that are extract brews. Makes damn good beer and it is faster than a full all grain mash. One of them (the very first beer I ever made, in fact) uses a hopped extract and I can do a 5 gallon batch in about 30 minutes in my kitchen.

Neophyte
02-23-12, 01:28 PM
Designing a Mint Chocolate Stout to maybe brew this weekend. I mean, the weather is going to be so nice and all...

Neophyte
03-23-12, 04:18 PM
Brewing a German Märzen tomorrow...

Lanky Livingston
03-23-12, 04:41 PM
Neo may be the only one to appreciate this, but the new Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale is awesome. I love it! However the new Shiner Spring Brew Dortmunder....Blech.

Neophyte
03-23-12, 05:07 PM
Shiner is brewing an ale! Wow. I'll have to give it a go.

Boone
03-23-12, 06:57 PM
Almost a year now without brewing. I'm a lost soul...

Neophyte
03-23-12, 08:08 PM
Dude... you need to fix that. You bare a great deal of the responsibility for getting both me and Bishop into this (he and I are brewing together tomorrow, he is doing a Chicory black lager) so you can't just stop. :)

Lanky Livingston
03-24-12, 11:38 AM
Shiner is brewing an ale! Wow. I'll have to give it a go.

I'm surprised this is Tue first you're hearing of it, they're advertising it big time down here.
Posted via BGO Mobile Device

Neophyte
03-24-12, 11:23 PM
This was taken today in Bishop's garage (he posts over at The Noosphere for those of you who can't place the name) after we finished brewing. This me with the "beer fridge". Bet you wish you had one of these, huh? ;)

The carboy on the top shelf has his Dixie Chicory Black lager in it and the carboy on the bottom is my Märzen. We will let those ferment for the next couple of weeks then transfer to a secondary for lagering. I'll leave the Märzen there to lager most of the summer and bottle in late August or early September so it is ready to drink in that all important Oktoberfest time frame.

Boone
03-25-12, 12:54 AM
Wow - very nice :cheers: I haven't done a lager in a couple years although I'm all set up for one. I may have to get off my ass and get back to it. How cool to have a great friend to brew with...has to add to the fun of it.

Neophyte
03-25-12, 09:18 AM
This is my first lager. In 3 and half years of brewing all I have done are ales to this point.

And yeah, pretty cool to be able to get together and brew, although we haven't done it in over a year despite only being 25 minutes apart. We spent a good bit of time yesterday trying to figure out how do a road trip to your neck of the woods for a brewing intervention. ;)

Elephant
06-16-12, 07:53 AM
http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&productId=564600


Sometimes I wish I still drank!

:uhoh:

Goaldeje
06-16-12, 09:08 AM
That's it! That's what she got me! Good God it was horrible. I think you have defiled this thread by posting that in here...

Sent from my ADR6325 using Tapatalk 2

Neophyte
06-16-12, 09:19 AM
Today I brew Yeti Bullocks IPA, this years seasonal haunt brew.

Lanky Livingston
06-18-12, 09:07 AM
Today I brew Yeti Bullocks IPA, this years seasonal haunt brew.

Oh man, sounds delicious! Making any trips to Houson anytime soon? :D

I tasted a ton of craft brews in Colorado, and took pictures of them all. I am tinkering with the idea of making a collage out of them, but if not, I'll post the individual pictures (probably in another thread).

My top 5 IPAs from the trip:

Bristol Brewing Company's Compass IPA (Boulder, CO)
Aspen Brewing Company's Independence Pass Ale (Aspen, CO)
Wynkoop Brewing Company's Mile HI.P.A. (Denver, CO)
Great Divide Brewing Company's Rumble oak-aged IPA (Denver, CO)
Bull & Bush Brewing Company's Man Beer (Denver, CO)

Lanky Livingston
06-18-12, 11:13 AM
Great divide does a chocolate oak aged yeti stout thats amazeballs!
Posted via BGO Mobile Device

I tasted the Yeti, it was definitely delicious!

Lump Beefrock
06-21-12, 11:38 PM
This is a great thread. I've always wanted to invest in learning to brew beer but I've never made the jump. Most of my time is spent consuming beer. Here's my beer talk:

My, hands down, favorite brewery is Ayinger. Every beer I've ever had from them is top-notch. My watering hole has Celebrator (Dopplebock) on tap and never runs out of "100-year-beer" (actually called Jahrhundert Bier) in the bottle. 100 year beer is the brewery's centennial celebration brew and is a lager. I tend to rotate from celebrator in the fall/winter to Jahrhundert Bier in the summer/spring--mostly as a first choice when I pull up a seat. Their eisbook is also good.


Jever makes a great Pilsner that I really love. It goes down light and clean but has loads of flavor. I always take a deep inhale and smell it before every sip and it smells like... uh... a REALLY close cousin of cannabis (not that I'd know, or anything:whoknows:). :betterwink2:

Lanky Livingston
06-22-12, 07:41 AM
Bull & Bush Brewery in Denver made the first Pilsner I've ever really "liked." I forget the name, but it was very hoppy. :)

Goaldeje
06-22-12, 08:19 AM
Just had a really nice honey pilsner last night at the Wild Wolf Brewery in Nellysford. Neo, next time you go to Culpeper, set aside a half day to come see me, there are three excellent breweries within half an hour of my house we could visit.

Anyone else is welcome to do the same, by the way. My treat*!

*i will purchase samples of any beer you want, flights or solos, after that, you're on your own. ;)

Lump Beefrock
06-22-12, 08:57 PM
Lumpy, where you from?
Posted via BGO Mobile Device

I live in Hampton Roads, VA.

My watering hole. (http://www.biergarden.com/) check out their beer list, if you've got time :D

Great family owned place. Everyone calls the owner "Dad." Truly, the only establishment that I would miss in my area if I were to move.

While it's not my favorite beer, This place has boasted selling the largest quantity of Aventinus, in the world, at one point. (or something along those lines)


edit: Altbarisch dunkel by Ayinger is also goo. I want one NOAW

Neophyte
10-04-12, 09:15 PM
Bottling the Märzen I have had lagering in Bishop's fridge since March...

And it is damn pretty, if I do say so myself.

Lanky Livingston
10-05-12, 09:10 AM
Makin' me jealous, Neo! If I go crazy and decide to drive up to Arlington for the O's game tonight, think I can crash and have a bottle or two? :D

Boone
11-10-12, 10:44 AM
Stone 9th Anniversary Ale
Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA
Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
Stone 16th Anniversary IPA
---
2008 Double Bastard Ale
2009 Double Bastard Ale
2010 Double Bastard Ale
2011 Double Bastard Ale
2012 Double Bastard Ale
---
2008 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
2009 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
2011 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
2012 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
---
2008 Stone Imperial Russian Stout
2009 Stone Imperial Russian Stout
2010 Stone Imperial Russian Stout
2011 Stone Imperial Russian Stout
2012 Stone Imperial Russian Stout

thats the tap list at Stone today...oh man, I feel like a kid in a candy store!

I have never had a Black IPA, nor a true Barleywine. I need to expand my horizons and brew some...

Boone
11-10-12, 01:56 PM
Finally got off my ass and I'm going to brew today after almost a year since my last homebrew. I'm changing jobs in about a month, and one of the things I've committed myself to is getting back to some of the things I really love. Homebrewing is one of those.

Going to make a Chocolate Stout and bottle (I usually keg my beers) this one as a Christmas gift for family. Lots of beer lovers in my clan as the kids have all grown up. The recipe is really a darker version of a 'milk stout' with the addition of Cacao nibs (crushed pieces of real cocoa beans) in the secondary. Just enough time to get this made and bottled for Christmas.

As I said in a Facebook post, nothing says 'I love Jesus' like a homebrewed Chocolate Stout :)

Boone
11-10-12, 10:27 PM
Chocolate Stout is in my bedroom closet, blow off tube in place. Soon, my slumber will be interrupted with the blub-blub-blub of fermentation. It's a beautiful thing :)

Neophyte
11-11-12, 01:13 AM
I have never had a Black IPA, nor a true Barleywine. I need to expand my horizons and brew some...

After we get moved, the first thing I am brewing is my black IPA. It's the best beer I have made to date. Several friends have pushed me to enter it in beer competitions.

Boone
11-11-12, 07:49 PM
Would love to have that recipe Bob.

Here's my chocolate stout in the primary.

http://www.bgobsession.com/images/chocolatestout.jpg

She (yes, beers have a gender :)) has already started bubbling away. In a couple more hours, it will literally be a roiling boil of a fermentation. I may upload a video snippet here as those who don't homebrew would not believe how violently wort ferments unless you saw it with your own eyes. This is a milk stout although I added a couple of lbs of grain to boost the 'oomph'. It already looks all the world like chocolate milk. Next Sunday, I'll move to secondary and add about 4 ounces of crushed cocoa beans. That's when the magic happens.

Recipe: http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/allgrain/AG-ChocolateMilkStout.pdf

Snydershrugged
11-11-12, 08:13 PM
Learning to home brew has always been on my bucket list, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some Christmas gifts!

Boone
11-11-12, 08:18 PM
I recommend them a lot, but the best way to get started is with an extract kit - I highly recommend Northern Brewer (www.northernbrewer.com) - since they don't require a lot of equipment. You can make some really great beer even as beginner. If you get the urge, try one of their extract kits with 'specialty grains' - kind of an intermediate between a pure extract kit and all-grain.

I'm an all-grain guy, just because I'm a purist and love the idea of starting with nothing more than grain, hops, water, and yeast and making something special out of it. But you can make damn good beer with nothing but extract kits - in fact, some folks never go beyond that. Another good way to start is find your local homebrew supply store - I guarantee you they do free demos or low cost classes, a really good way to get started.

Snydershrugged
11-12-12, 09:26 AM
Thanks a ton for the resource! Are you actually in Boone NC these days? (from your handle.) I have a brother in law in Banner Elk who brews too. Maybe we could someday set up a brew party once I get set up?



I recommend them a lot, but the best way to get started is with an extract kit - I highly recommend Northern Brewer (www.northernbrewer.com) - since they don't require a lot of equipment. You can make some really great beer even as beginner. If you get the urge, try one of their extract kits with 'specialty grains' - kind of an intermediate between a pure extract kit and all-grain.

I'm an all-grain guy, just because I'm a purist and love the idea of starting with nothing more than grain, hops, water, and yeast and making something special out of it. But you can make damn good beer with nothing but extract kits - in fact, some folks never go beyond that. Another good way to start is find your local homebrew supply store - I guarantee you they do free demos or low cost classes, a really good way to get started.

Lanky Livingston
11-12-12, 10:13 AM
I have never had a Black IPA, nor a true Barleywine. I need to expand my horizons and brew some...

I recently tried Black IPAs for the first time, and they're delicious. I tried the Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet BIPA, which was amazing. Its like a stout and an IPA had a baby.

Boone
11-17-12, 05:59 PM
Moving my Chocolate Stout to secondary tomorrow. Have been soaking some crushed cocoa beans in about 300mls of Stoly Vodka for several days. That'll get added to the mix tomorrow too. Really looking forward to seeing how this one comes out.

Later this evening, will brew a favorite of mine - a single hop english style bitter that has loads of Fuggle hops in it. It's a great recipe. Funny story - the first time I made it, I had a yeast starter going and because I was making several starters, labelled that one 'LESB' for 'London Extra Special Bitter', the name of the yeast. My wife, who obviously is not a homebrewer saw it and said - why did you write LESBIAN on that jug in the kitchen.

So, this particular beer, I lovingly call 'Bitter Lesbian' :) (with all due respect to any bitter lesbians out there!)

Neophyte
11-18-12, 12:36 AM
So, this particular beer, I lovingly call 'Bitter Lesbian' :) (with all due respect to any bitter lesbians out there!)

One of the most classic names for a beer I have ever heard. Seriously jealous I didn't come up with it first.

Elephant
11-18-12, 12:45 AM
So, this particular beer, I lovingly call 'Bitter Lesbian' :) (with all due respect to any bitter lesbians out there!)

Just call it Rosie O'Donnel!

Boone
11-22-12, 04:06 PM
Moved my Chocolate Stout to secondary this week and added about 400mls Stoli vodka and the 4 oz of crushed cocoa beans that have been soaking in it for a week. Smelled amazing.

Lanky Livingston
11-25-12, 11:01 AM
Moved my Chocolate Stout to secondary this week and added about 400mls Stoli vodka and the 4 oz of crushed cocoa beans that have been soaking in it for a week. Smelled amazing.

Vodka, huh? Interesting. I'd kill for a taste!

Elephant
11-25-12, 12:31 PM
Boone, are you creating this brew for a BGO Tailgate at the Dallas game to end the season?

Boone
12-08-12, 05:31 PM
Vodka is just to sterilize the beans (although it will obviously add a little alcohol to the mix as well) :)

I have 3 brews in various stages of completion in my closet (15 gallons total):

Chocolate Stout (as previously described)
Single-Hop British Bitter (this is the brew I call 'Bitter Lesbian')
Brickwarmer Red Ale (a holiday ale that I'll add some orange peel to in secondary)

I usually keg my beers as it is SO much easier a process than bottling. But this year I will be bottling in plastic PET bottles, labelling, and giving some of it as gifts to family (lots of beer lovers in my clan).

I've already designed the 'Bitter Lesbian' label :)

Boone
12-08-12, 05:33 PM
And if I were to somehow find a way to the Dallas game, particularly if it means something, I would almost assuredly bring some brews with me for any friends that might show up :)

McD5
12-08-12, 06:17 PM
I love that label. And it's now official.....if the Cowboys game has any playoff implications, it should be our first ever BGO tailgate.

Boone
12-08-12, 07:18 PM
Free RG3 t-shirt to the member who correctly identifies the bitter lesbian pictured :)

Goaldeje
12-08-12, 07:36 PM
Rosie O' Donnell?

Boone
12-08-12, 07:37 PM
Ding! We have a winner :)

Boone
12-08-12, 07:50 PM
This may be the most perfect beer label ever. And I created it :) A shame I only brew for family and friends ....

Boone
12-08-12, 07:59 PM
As of today :) When I was a wee lad, I loved scary movies. My Dad christened me 'old weird John' for that reason. There may have been other reasons... That's why my personal blog over at The Noosphere is called 'The History of Weird'.

If I ever did have my own brewery, I suspect I'd have to go with that moniker just for sentimental reasons.

Neophyte
12-08-12, 09:58 PM
Love the brewery name and the label! That rocks, John. Even Rosie might laugh at it. ;)

Lanky Livingston
12-09-12, 12:20 AM
Damn, I read the thread before you offered the t shirt! Knew that was Rosie, lol. Almost made a comment about how it was a nice touch!
Posted via BGO Mobile Device

Boone
12-10-12, 10:33 PM
What 15 gallons of Christmas homebrew in your closet looks like.

Left rear - Chocolate Stout with crushed cocoa beans
Right rear - London Bitter
Front and center - Brickwarmer red ale (with fresh orange rind in secondary)

riggins44
12-11-12, 06:48 PM
I'm not sure about the brew in the pic. I am willing to come get the jugs and properly dispose of the contents. :thumbsup:

Neophyte
12-11-12, 08:37 PM
Dude....

So jealous.

Boone
12-11-12, 09:42 PM
Bottled the Chocolate Stout tonight and snuck a taste. It was good without sitting in the bottle for 2-3 weeks. It's going to be really good then.

And man do I hate bottling. So much work compared to kegging!

Boone
12-17-12, 10:26 PM
Drank a bottle of my chocolate stout just 6 days after bottling - already carbed and tasting very nice. Another 3-4 weeks it's really going to be nice. Btw Neo - using plastic Cooper's 740ml bottles with screwcaps and appears to work perfectly. I'll let you know once I've gotten feedback but looks like that is a winner so far.

Boone
12-24-12, 09:33 PM
The finished product...

Boone
12-25-12, 10:35 PM
How long ago did you brew? I've literally never had a 'bottle bomb'. Maybe yeast strains nowadays are more reliable, don't know. But it's a non-issue for me. I am very consistent in my methods though, and I think that's always a key.

Neophyte
12-26-12, 12:41 AM
I have had several "bottle bombs" here, Boone. Part of it is toying with my carbonation levels but I think part of it is the sterilization method I have used for my bottles for the last 2+ years. I run them through the dishwasher without soap on the Anti-Bacteria setting then use the extra heat setting during drying. I think repeated use of that process with the same bottles has weakened them over time. It is just a theory but I have mulled it over with Bishop and he agrees that is a likely culprit.

Boone
12-26-12, 12:46 AM
Well, I've not bottled for years and years, so I'm probably not super qualified to comment. I'm just saying I haven't personally had a problem. My initial experience with plastic Cooper bottles/screwcaps leads me to think this is the way to go. At least if I have one blow, I won't have to worry about glass shards.

Ax
01-07-13, 03:15 PM
WTF?

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/01/03/bull-testicle-beer-to-be-sold-later-this-month/

Lanky Livingston
02-07-13, 04:34 PM
Houston is absolutely killing it in the craft beer scene these days. Not sure how widely distributed some of these are, but Karbach, Southern Star, No Label, Saint Arnold, Bayou City are all fantastic. Karbach's Rodeo Clown is my second favorite IPA of all time!

Lanky Livingston
02-13-13, 12:32 PM
http://www.dogfish.com/store/glassware/dogfish-ipa-glass.htm

Lanky Livingston
02-14-13, 12:38 PM
Hopslam: How Big Beer is Trying to Stop a Craft Beer Revolution (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/02/08/hopslam-how-big-beer-is-trying-to-stop-a-craft-beer-revolution)

Good article about the state of craft beer in the US - I knew it was a small share, but 6%? Wow. Also, I didn't realize Sam Adams was still considered craft - isn't it based on production?

tshile
02-14-13, 12:41 PM
Yes, and Sam Adams keeps getting the limit raised.

Lanky Livingston
02-14-13, 12:54 PM
Yes, and Sam Adams keeps getting the limit raised.

Interesting. They quote Blue Moon as an example of a "crafty" beer, because it is made by MillerCoors and sold 2 million barrels last year. I'd think Sam Adams sold as much as Blue Moon, probably more, right? Maybe not...

tshile
02-14-13, 12:55 PM
That is a very interesting article Lanky - specifically about how shelf placement and how that works. I worked in a store when I was in highschool and we had to constantly redo the shelving systems because different companies were paying more for premium shelf space during certain times of the year.

it's amazing to me how being eye level makes your sales rate go up so high.

i'm going to make an effort to buy more micro/craft beers and get away from supporting the two that own 90% of the market.

tshile
02-14-13, 12:56 PM
Interesting. They quote Blue Moon as an example of a "crafty" beer, because it is made by MillerCoors and sold 2 million barrels last year. I'd think Sam Adams sold as much as Blue Moon, probably more, right? Maybe not...

To be fair I'm saying what I've been told. I don't actually know enough about it to really say for sure, but my understanding is that the definition of a micro/craft brewery keeps being changed and it's being changed by the ones that are on the threshold of crossing the line and losing their current status.

I imagine that's Sam Adams as well as a few others.

Lanky Livingston
02-14-13, 01:02 PM
To be fair I'm saying what I've been told. I don't actually know enough about it to really say for sure, but my understanding is that the definition of a micro/craft brewery keeps being changed and it's being changed by the ones that are on the threshold of crossing the line and losing their current status.

I imagine that's Sam Adams as well as a few others.

I think its one of those things that doesn't have a concrete definition, and its more of a culture. I'm sure the CEO of Anheuser-Busch doesn't taste the Budweiser every day, but that's just a guess. :)

I've heard the capacity definition before also.

tshile
02-14-13, 10:08 PM
Boone - do you do your primary fermentation in a 6+ gallon carboy and your secondary in a 5 gallon?

I'm trying to get some feedback on that. I have a 6 gallon carboy and my reading has told me that you need that for a primary or for dry hopping, but for a non dry hopping secondary you want 5 gal to limit headspace. Thoughts?

Boone
02-14-13, 10:18 PM
Yep! That's right tshile...For me, I don't sweat the 'headspace' thing. Supposedly, the less exposure to air (especially in secondary) the better, but I mostly just avoid shaking the carboys at any point. The better reason for a 6 gallon primary is just that this allows you to drain off 5 gallons into secondary and leave the 'drub' (the yeast, hops, and any grain that worked it's way into primary) behind. You'll be surprised at how much of the 6 gallons you can siphon off without getting any solids into your secondary. You can still dry hop in a 5 gallon - depending on how you do it, it's a non-issue. I have a little strainer thing that hangs down into secondary from a chain, and have also used new panty hose for that which works great.

tshile
02-14-13, 10:25 PM
ah panty hose actually sounds like a really easy way to make sure you keep everything out of the secondary.

yeah I keep reading that the headspace contributes to aerating the beer, which you don't want to do between fermenting stages, and it eventually makes the beer go stale quicker.

i'm thinking that, at this point (i'll be doing my first batch in not this weekend but next, to give you an idea) I have a lot more to worry about than headspace :)
i'll also drink two cases of beer long before I have to worry about it being stale :)

I've found, over the last few weeks, I know a lot more people that brew beer than I thought. So I find myself asking them all questions - the differences in answers are awesome. Fun to compare perspectives.

I can't wait till I'm all-grain brewing like your OP was. I showed my wife your post and she's excited and can't wait to get started.

Boone
02-14-13, 11:29 PM
Just remember the homebrewer's credo:

RSWAHAB

Relax, stop worrying, and have a homebrew :)

When you are starting out you will read so many opinions about how to keep from messing up your beer, many if them totally contradictory. I have never made a bad batch. Biggest thing is stick to the basic principles and keep everything clean. I tried a lot of sanitizing methods but let me save you a ton of time - buy starsan liquid. You can sanitize your carboys, equipment, and bottles with just a 1-2 minute soak and it doesn't require rinsing (yeast eats it) - awesome stuff.

tshile
02-14-13, 11:31 PM
Sweet! Thanks. Yeah the emphasis by everyone on cleaning has me a bit worried. I'll see if I can get some of that to make that step easier.

Boone
02-14-13, 11:46 PM
I am hardly obsessive about cleaning. I've never had an infection. It's pretty hard to screw it up - swear. One other key, once you get the basics down, try and do a 'starter' (basically, that's where you put your yeast in a 700-1000mls of sterilized wort and double or triple your yeast count in advance. Getting the wort cooled quickly and the yeast multiplying as soon as possible are both good things. It's easy to do and I can talk you through it when you're ready.

Lanky Livingston
02-14-13, 11:49 PM
My buddy uses a swimming pool...if you have access to one, it works great.
Posted via BGO Mobile Device

Boone
02-15-13, 12:05 AM
Uses a swimming poll for what Lank???

Boone
02-15-13, 12:07 AM
You probably mean to cool the wort.... The one piece of equipment I would invest in is a copper coil wort chiller you can hook to a garden hose...you can cool your wort in 30-40 minutes.

HOF44
02-15-13, 12:32 AM
I'd be getting one of these if it wasn't for the damn revenuers!!!

http://a248.e.akamai.net/origin-cdn.volusion.com/gzgkm.qmvrb/v/vspfiles/photos/PS8GK-2.jpg

Lanky Livingston
02-15-13, 12:54 AM
You probably mean to cool the wort.... The one piece of equipment I would invest in is a copper coil wort chiller you can hook to a garden hose...you can cool your wort in 30-40 minutes.


Yeah, sorry...to cool the wort. Jumped into the discussion out of turn, my bad. :)
Posted via BGO Mobile Device

tshile
02-15-13, 09:08 AM
I am hardly obsessive about cleaning. I've never had an infection. It's pretty hard to screw it up - swear. One other key, once you get the basics down, try and do a 'starter' (basically, that's where you put your yeast in a 700-1000mls of sterilized wort and double or triple your yeast count in advance. Getting the wort cooled quickly and the yeast multiplying as soon as possible are both good things. It's easy to do and I can talk you through it when you're ready.

Yeah. I'm going to do my first batch next weekend. This kit is showing up to my house today - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BU7CVM/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have a 7.5 gallon stainless steel pot showing up Tuesday. My office is actually directly above a HBS so I'm going to pick up a recipe kit next Tuesday when I'm up there, and I'll be ready to rock on the weekend.

My plan is to do an extract with steeping grain, doing just a primary fermentation and then bottling as my first go around. I've done it before with friends, I'm solely interested in making sure I can handle the basics on my own.

As long as that goes well I'm going to look into all grain brewing. I'm getting ready to start that section of the book today - so it depends on what all I learn about as to how soon I'll start.

I imagine I'm going to do another extract or two but try to do it with liquid yeast and a starter wort like you said.

By the time I've done two or three of those I imagine I'll be ready for the full-blown all grain brewing, at which point I'll invest in a copper chiller.

I'm asking for a 5 gal carboy for my birthday at the end of the month and a burner to use outside. :)

Boone
02-15-13, 02:26 PM
Chime in anytime you want Lanky!

Hey Travis, couple quick things. You can order unbelievably great kits online at www.northernbrewer.com . Can't recommend them highly enough, great kits and great customer service. You'll probably pay a little more but it's worth it. Just a suggestion.

I would also recommend ALWAYS transferring to a secondary carboy. It's the best way to get good, clean beer and leave all the primary fermentation garbage behind. The 3-2-1 rule (3 weeks in primary, 2 in secondary, and at least 1 in the bottle) is a good rule of thumb. You're going to be impatient with your first batch, but my experience is, to make a decent beer, you have to have 5 weeks.

Oh - and you may have better luck than I have, but I have just gotten to a point where I always use a blow-off tube for primary. I don't think I've ever had an initial fermentation that didn't end up pretty much blowing beer and foam (and lots of it) through my airlock. It's a big mess and you end up needing to insert a blowoff tube anyway, so I just do that by default now and would recommend that.

One of my favorite parts of homebrewing is seeing the violent initial fermentation stage. It is pretty impressive and I think most folks would be shocked to see the roiling action of beer in full fermentation. It's a beautiful thing :)

Lanky Livingston
02-15-13, 02:27 PM
Oh - and you may have better luck than I have, but I have just gotten to a point where I always use a blow-off tube for primary. I don't think I've ever had an initial fermentation that didn't end up pretty much blowing beer and foam (and lots of it) through my airlock. It's a big mess and you end up needing to insert a blowoff tube anyway, so I just do that by default now and would recommend that.

LOL. My buddy has a pretty funny story involving fermentation & a closet full of his wife's clothes. :)

tshile
02-15-13, 02:38 PM
the rack and fill kit that came with my order was broken because UPS is a **** company with **** drivers.

thanks UPS.

Lanky Livingston
02-15-13, 02:41 PM
the rack and fill kit that came with my order was broken because UPS is a **** company with **** drivers.

thanks UPS.

Sorry man. Nothing more disappointing than being excited about something and it shows up broken! That's the worst!

tshile
02-15-13, 03:13 PM
Yeah. It's a cheap part that's broken and one of the owners of the company I work for is just going to give me one of his. I may actually just buy my own, they're like $3. It's not worth sending the whole ****ing kit back over a $3 dollar part.

Lanky Livingston
02-15-13, 03:43 PM
Yeah. It's a cheap part that's broken and one of the owners of the company I work for is just going to give me one of his. I may actually just buy my own, they're like $3. It's not worth sending the whole ****ing kit back over a $3 dollar part.

The company you ordered it from may just send you a replacement part if its cheap. Worth asking about, anyway.

tshile
02-15-13, 03:46 PM
The company you ordered it from may just send you a replacement part if its cheap. Worth asking about, anyway.

You're right. I actually had already called them.

me - 'Hi, I ordered your kit from amazon and <blah blah blah>. I was hoping to just get a new rack and fill kit instead of dealing with returning the whole thing'

her - 'Let me look up your order'
<5 minutes go by>

her - 'Yeah, you ordered through Amazon so unfortunately you'll have to go through them'

*sigh* You couldn't gather that from my opening statement? the first thing I said was I ordered it through Amazon - because I thought that might be the case and I didn't want to waste my time.

I just left Amazon a nasty note on their 'rate our delivery' page. I'm assuming nothing will come of it. I'm not waiting 2 weeks in return/exchange hell over a $3 part.

I just wish I was there when UPS delivered it so I could yell at the bastard. They seriously just don't care about your stuff.

Boone
02-15-13, 04:05 PM
This is why I use Northern Brewer. They'd have sent you a new one no questions asked, and probably thrown in a nice gift certificate for your trouble :)

Lanky Livingston
02-15-13, 04:11 PM
I've actually had the opposite experience - UPS is great, but FedEx has always been terrible. Never had anything show up broken though.

tshile
02-15-13, 04:33 PM
This is why I use Northern Brewer. They'd have sent you a new one no questions asked, and probably thrown in a nice gift certificate for your trouble :)

I will definitely keep them in mind going forward.

they came up when I was looking for kits, I almost got one from them (before I started talking about here).

Neophyte
02-16-13, 10:06 AM
While I'm with Boone in my love of all things Northern Brewer, I also recommend finding your local Homebrew Shop and both giving them your custom (shop local!) and cultivating a relationship with the staff there. My local place is run by a guy who has been winning awards in homebrew competitions for 2 decades. He has seen and done it all. A 5 minute conversation with him or one of his staff members is usually better than 30 minutes with best books out there for me. While the gear they sell is often a bit more expensive than I could get from NB, their advice is free but invaluable so I try to buy some stuff there when I can just to help out the owner and to make sure they will continue to be there when I need them.

Today I am brewing for the first time in 11 months. Yeah! Doing a batch of my "house brew", Two Penny Honey Pale.

tshile
02-16-13, 02:54 PM
got the rest of the supplies and everything for the recipe. going to make this tomorrow - http://www.jaysbrewing.com/Amber.pdf

Neophyte
02-16-13, 02:58 PM
Is Jay's your local homebrew shop? The place looks brand new in the photos.

tshile
02-16-13, 03:05 PM
It's one of a few, it's the closest one to my house. The rest are about an hour away, give or take.

They've been in the area for 5 years, but apparently only at that location for a year.

I've only been in two shops, but this one seemed a bit less commercialized than the other I was in. Their malt extract is in barrels, unhopped, they had about 3 isles of grain bins with two rows on each side of the isles, a fridge full of hops and a fridge full of yeast.

The other place I was at had kits and everything was in cans and premeasured packages.

Their equipment is a bit pricey, but not outrageous. The recipe prices didn't seem too bad, but I don't have much to compare it to.

Boone
02-16-13, 04:23 PM
Great points Bob. Only thing I'll say about NB is that their kits, especially their extract and partial mash kits, are better than anything you're going to find at a local homebrew store. They are fantastic! And although I do frequent a homebrew store near me, they often can't provide specific ingredients called for in recipes, forcing me to 'substitute'. The resulting beer, although always good, is never quite what it would've been if I'd been able to follow the recipe exactly. But I do agree with you - and will add that you probably have a local homebrew group/club near you that does group brews. I have never taken the plunge on that, but I have heard great things about those kinds of groups in terms of being able to learn from folks that have been brewing for years, sometimes decades. And happy brewing Bob :cheers:

tshile
02-17-13, 03:14 PM
I should start my own thread and title it 'Death of a beer'

What a disappointing day for me.

To start off, what I used to measure gallons appears to not be correct but rather be 1/2 gallons. When I poured the post-boil wort into the fermenter I realized I had 1/2 the wort I expected. Checking with a 3rd device confirmed that instead of steeping and boiling 3 gallons with my specialty grains and extract I was doing it with 1 1/2 gallons.

So, when it went into the fermenter I had to scramble to boil, then cool, an additional 3 gallons to bring the total up to 5 gallons (this is in addition to the extra water I set aside at the start, which was supposed to be used to bring it up to 5 gallons)

On top of that, I hydrated my yeast then proofed it and I'm not sure it was alive. So... between not boiling the extract in the correct amount of water and the yeast not looking very lively I'm wondering if this thing will even ferment at this point.

The specific gravity at the time I pitched the yeast was 1.044, according to the recipe the target was 1.049.

We'll see if it even ferments. Half of me is hoping it doesn't so I can finally justify dumping it and starting over. I thought long and hard when I realized the water screw up and added the yeast issue to it, but decided not to. Rather, my wife convinced me not to. Not fermenting would convince me to dump it instead of getting new yeast and pitching it.

Very, very disappointing day. Even if it winds up being ok I'll be disappointed that it could have been better if I didn't make such simple mistakes on such fundamental parts of brewing :(

Oh well - it was my first time doing it and I definitely know where the screw-ups were. Looking forward to trying a second batch in a week or two after this has been dumped or moved to a secondary carboy.

edit; Oh and when I first started I dropped my floating thermometer and broke it. I had to ghetto-rig another thermometer to suspend so it was in the water w/o touching the bottom of the pot.

Boone
02-17-13, 04:22 PM
You clearly have yet to buy in to RSWAHAH :)



I should start my own thread and title it 'Death of a beer'

What a disappointing day for me.

To start off, what I used to measure gallons appears to not be correct but rather be 1/2 gallons. When I poured the post-boil wort into the fermenter I realized I had 1/2 the wort I expected. Checking with a 3rd device confirmed that instead of steeping and boiling 3 gallons with my specialty grains and extract I was doing it with 1 1/2 gallons.

Empty gallon milk jug. Believe it or not, although it does have an impact on the final beer (not necessarily good or bad, just different), your water to grain ratio isn't going to make or break your beer one way or the other. With extract kits you can dilute with water as it sounds like you did. With all-grain I typically shoot for about a 1.25 ratio of quarts/lbs of grain and I use an online mash calculator to figure out what the water temp should be going in to get the correct temp (by far the most important aspect).

I'm guessing your mistake won't make much difference.


On top of that, I hydrated my yeast then proofed it and I'm not sure it was alive. So... between not boiling the extract in the correct amount of water and the yeast not looking very lively I'm wondering if this thing will even ferment at this point.

I would get away from powdered yeast asap. Either use White Labs tubes

http://www.whitelabs.com/images/09-1003WLP001.jpg

or Wyeast smackpacks

http://foodnbeer.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/wyeast-smack-pack.jpg


The specific gravity at the time I pitched the yeast was 1.044, according to the recipe the target was 1.049.

I don't even measure specific gravity anymore. Again, you will likely be just fine. I'm not saying it's not important, just that if you follow a recipe closely, chances are you'll get close to your specific gravity. It's just another thing to 'worry' about. Don't. You'll be fine.


We'll see if it even ferments. Half of me is hoping it doesn't so I can finally justify dumping it and starting over. I thought long and hard when I realized the water screw up and added the yeast issue to it, but decided not to. Rather, my wife convinced me not to. Not fermenting would convince me to dump it instead of getting new yeast and pitching it.

The only reason it wouldn't ferment is if you didn't reconstitute your yeast properly. That's why it's better to take that out of the equation and use one of the yeasts I described above. Or even better, use one of those yeast types to make a starter. And dump your beer? Don't even think about it. Chances are, it will be just fine. The biggest factors in whether your beer will taste good are the quality of your ingredients and cleanliness. Start with good ingredients, and keep your equipment clean, you're quickly going to be impressing yourself.

tshile
02-17-13, 05:14 PM
You're right, I haven't bought in yet on RSWAHAH but I'm working on it :)
Not sure if you've figured this out about me yet or not, I'm bit of an over-reactionary person sometimes (lol),especially when I spend 6 hours doing something and I'm convinced I screwed it up. I do the same thing when I remodel rooms in my house... :)

You're right - I want to get into liquid yeast as soon as possible but my understanding was the dry yeast was a good way to do the first time or two just so you didn't have to mess with a starter wort.

Everything I read said make it as simple as possible the first time or two and they're right - there's a lot going on.

The good news is as soon as I got back from the gym I noticed fermentation has begun. I picked up some beer and now I'm relaxing after a hard days work :)

Hopefully it's good. If not screw it, I'll do better next time ;)

Neophyte
02-18-13, 07:02 PM
I have little doubt it will be fine, T. Trust me. If you could see the cluster**** some of my batches have started out as, you would be stunned that I still brew, much less drink what I brew. Heck, I messed up the batch I brewed on Saturday when I totally forgot that I needed to clean my wort chiller (it was covered in oxidation from months of no use) and ended up having to let the wort sit in the boil pot in my garage overnight to cool before I could pitch. I covered it and did the best I could but still...

And don't sweat missing your target OG. I'm usually off by just a little bit as well. You really didn't miss by much. I have had a couple of all grain batches end up off by .015 or more. Guess what? They still tasted great.

Boone doesn't have issues like this as all his beer is done perfectly but I can commiserate with you. ;)

Boone
02-18-13, 10:41 PM
Going to brew my first extract beer since I started back 5 years or more ago. Saw the kit on Northern Brewer for the 'White House Honey Ale' (supposedly the same recipe Obama has made for him). I can't find any common ground with the guy politically, but maybe I'll enjoy his beer. Besides, it came with a nice free Pint glass.

Boone
02-18-13, 10:44 PM
Boone doesn't have issues like this as all his beer is done perfectly but I can commiserate with you. ;)

All joking aside, of the 3 beers I made over the holidays, only one of them (in my estimation) was better than average - a Chocolate Stout I brewed. The other 2 - meh, certainly drinkable, but I could take or leave them. Not sure why, except that I did fudge some on the ingredients and messed with both recipes. Sometimes that creates a thing of beauty, sometimes you just mess up a good recipe :)

tshile
02-19-13, 10:34 AM
Yeah i'm interested to see how this turns out. I pitched the yeast at ~85 degrees because I was so incredibly frustrated at that point I just started getting sloppy. Over the first 36 hours the temp dropped to 68. My understanding is that pitching the yeast at too high of a temp results in a yeast orgry and lots of un-wanted things in your beer that can't be conditioned out. Furthermore, having such a temperature drop while fermenting can shock/kill the yeast, which results in awful beer.

So we'll see. I'm not concerned either way, I've written this one off as a fun experiment in not doing things right, and I am eagerly awaiting an opportunity to do the next one (which will be when this one is a week out from being bottled.)

I went to the store yesterday and picked up a 5 gallon carboy for conditioning, a pump for my siphon, a wort chiller, and some other odds and ends.

At this point it's going to take 7-8 batches to break even equipment wise. Thankfully I'm not doing it to save money :)

Neophyte
02-19-13, 01:37 PM
One of the best beers I have brewed, my Rye Bones Summer Ale, I pitched and fermented hot. Like you, I was frustrated on how things had gone during the brew day and I was out of time so I just said "screw it!", pitched the yeast and let it rip. I was using SafeAle 05, a dry yeast that is really forgiving although works best in the 68 to 70 range. It fermented hot the whole time (upper 70s or 80 degrees) but the beer was great.

Oddly, I have made that same recipe twice more with much better temperature control both times and the beer has never been as good in the estimation of myself and several others.

tshile
02-25-13, 06:03 PM
quick update - i got that solution you recommended from northern brewer boone. i look forward to not having to use bleach :)

I've racked over to the conditioning carboy and it's starting to clear up. going from a orangish-borwn to a deep redish-brown, super excited.

i had some of my buddy's stuff he made a few weekends ago and it was absolutely delicious. i don't even know where you'd buy a beer that tastes that good, i feel like you'd have to go to a brewery much like you do for wine tasting.

Neophyte
02-26-13, 11:30 AM
Brewing my Jerked Porter last night in the garage with near tropical depression conditions going on outside. It was the most miserable brewing session I have ever undertaken but I was running out of time for keeping my yeast starter alive (I had planned to brew this last weekend but that fell through).

No clue what kind of faith I have in this batch. It will be interesting, to say that least.

Neophyte
03-01-13, 10:10 PM
Dropped the spices in my Jerked Porter tonight...man, does that beer smell good!

Boone
03-01-13, 10:12 PM
Explain the 'jerked' part please...

Boone
03-01-13, 10:14 PM
Btw...got my Madagascar vanilla beans today, will begin their soak in some high quality bourbon over the weekend for their eventual addition to a bourbon barrel vanilla porter :)

HOF44
03-01-13, 10:20 PM
Btw...got my Madagascar vanilla beans today, will begin their soak in some high quality bourbon over the weekend for their eventual addition to a bourbon barrel vanilla porter :)

Keep us updated on the process, I always wondered how you made that.

tshile
03-01-13, 10:50 PM
The amber is clearing up and taking on its future color. 2 weeks from bottling still :(

Picking up the Hoppiness is IPA ingredients tomorrow morning and making that.

Edit: assuming the store has all the hops I need. I'll have to bring a backup recipe in case they don't.

Boone
03-01-13, 11:33 PM
Hops are highly 'substituable' :) Here's a substitute chart if you can't find the exact hop type the recipe calls for http://www.brew365.com/hop_substitution_chart.php

Most homebrew stores will have a similar reference.

tshile
03-02-13, 09:01 AM
Hops are highly 'substituable' :) Here's a substitute chart if you can't find the exact hop type the recipe calls for http://www.brew365.com/hop_substitution_chart.php

Most homebrew stores will have a similar reference.
Oh wow. Thanks

Neophyte
03-02-13, 10:41 AM
Explain the 'jerked' part please...

I spice this porter with some of the traditional spices found in a good Caribbean Jerk. I have used a combination of Allspice, Black Pepper and Coriander for this brew for years. This time I added a bit of Nutmeg to it a well.

That is on top of using some 60L Caramel, Black Patent and Chocolate malts to get the base beer. I soak the spices in vodka for a couple of days while the beer goes through primary fermentation, then add the spices and let it ferment another couple of weeks.

Boone
03-02-13, 12:20 PM
Wow - sounds interesting ... Can't imagine the finished product but sounds amazing!

tshile
03-02-13, 12:43 PM
When I was transferring the recipe to my recipe book I was like wow this is a lot of stuff.
When I was checking out at the store in almost had a mini panic attack :)

Boone
03-02-13, 12:54 PM
I haven't 'gone there' yet, but as I get back into gardening, I'm going to try to grow my own hops. I've been told it's very easy.

tshile
03-02-13, 02:04 PM
Really? I thought you had to grow them like a vine and they get up to 20 feet?

Boone
03-02-13, 02:13 PM
They are like vines - when I said 'easy' I meant that they are grown from rhizomes and are perennial - they don't require much care.

Boone
03-02-13, 06:29 PM
I assume you use hop flowers for that Mike, vs. pellets? Sounds amazing... I am not a hop head, but I do enjoy a really intense IPA now and then.

Neophyte
03-02-13, 06:36 PM
I've thought about doing my own hops as well, Boone. I'm afraid our climate in Dallas is just too hot for it but I might try it anyway. Maybe something kinda neutral that I used in several different brews like Willamette.

tshile
03-02-13, 06:58 PM
Mission accomplished. Things went so much smoother. Only issue this time is I decided to drink and picked up a strong ipa, drank beer while making beer, and am now I am a cheap date. Whoops.

Boone
03-02-13, 07:11 PM
That was probably your problem the first go-round. You can't make beer without drinking beer.

Man law.

tshile
03-02-13, 07:20 PM
That's what I've been telling my wife! She just shook her head

Neophyte
03-02-13, 08:25 PM
That was probably your problem the first go-round. You can't make beer without drinking beer.

Man law.

True dis is.

Lanky Livingston
03-14-13, 08:53 AM
Our local craft-beer bar, which has already received national (http://houston.culturemap.com/newsdetail/12-07-12-big-beer-honors-hay-merchant-selected-as-a-chosen-bar-one-of-only-16-in-america/) acclaim (http://houston.culturemap.com/newsdetail/01-15-13-a-houston-favorite-a-surprise-make-national-best-beer-bars-list-flexing-texas-craft-beer-power/) is having its 1-year anniversary this weekend. The owner, a self-acclaimed "beer hoarder" is breaking out 26 special kegs for the event...which I will miss b/c I'm out of town for a wedding. FML! Check out this beer list!

Sixpoint Brewery 3Beans
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA 2012
Dogfish Head Midas Touch
Dogfish Head Noble Rot
Great Divide Old Ruffian Barley Wine
Stone Vertical Epic 08.08.08
Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10
Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11
Stone Saison Du BUFF
Jester King RU-55 (Cask)
Jester King El Cedro
Real Ale Scots Gone Wild
Karbach Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter 2012 (Batch #1)
Brooklyn Monster Ale 2008
Real Ale The Highlander 2012
Avery The Kaiser 2012
Harpoon Leviathan Quad 2011
Karbach Bourbon Barrel Aged Rodeo Clown (Cask)
Karbach Wine Barrel Aged Pumpkin (Cask)
Unibroue Trois Pistoles 2011
Sierra Nevada Ovila Quad With Sugar Plums
Victory Helios Ale
Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Real Ale Empire 2012
Harpoon Leviathan Czernobog
Southern Star Bourbon Barrel Aged Buried Hatchet 2010 (The WORLD’S VERY LAST BARREL of Batch #1.)

This might even warrant a trip down from Dallas, Neo!


EDIT: Nvm, I'm a moron - it was in February. D'oh!

tshile
03-21-13, 07:16 PM
and............ now i'm buying a kegerator.

there is just no end to this hobby

:)

Neophyte
03-23-13, 02:11 PM
So much no end, t, that later on in life when you build a house, you might just add a three car garage when you only have two cars just so you have space to brew. Not that I am speaking from experience or anything. :paranoid:

tshile
03-23-13, 03:38 PM
Hah.
Just picked up ingredients for a vanilla porter. Going to let this one age for a bit while I drink the others :)

McD5
03-23-13, 06:56 PM
I just ran across a crazy beer at a local pub, called World of Beer.

DogFish Head 120. The alcohol content is insane. Even more than other extreme beers like Samichlaus.

I recommend it....but wouldn't drink more than two in a row.

Boone
03-23-13, 06:57 PM
tshile - have you tried your first batch yet?

HOF44
03-23-13, 07:38 PM
If you get a chance to try this beer get it, it comes in 750ml bottles.

tshile
03-23-13, 11:11 PM
tshile - have you tried your first batch yet?

it's not ready. i got caught up on some things and bottled it on Wednesday.

the porter went really well, getting the hang of this. it smelled delicious going into the fermenter.

#98QBKiller
03-26-13, 10:40 AM
I just ran across a crazy beer at a local pub, called World of Beer.

DogFish Head 120. The alcohol content is insane. Even more than other extreme beers like Samichlaus.

I recommend it....but wouldn't drink more than two in a row.


Not sure if you've ever had their other beers but the Dogfish Head 60 minute is their staple beer and IMO, it's one of the best widely-available IPAs out there. Next time you make it to the DC area hit one of their Alehouses where they have a ton of great DFH brews on tap.

Lanky Livingston
03-26-13, 11:20 AM
I just ran across a crazy beer at a local pub, called World of Beer.

DogFish Head 120. The alcohol content is insane. Even more than other extreme beers like Samichlaus.

I recommend it....but wouldn't drink more than two in a row.


Not sure if you've ever had their other beers but the Dogfish Head 60 minute is their staple beer and IMO, it's one of the best widely-available IPAs out there. Next time you make it to the DC area hit one of their Alehouses where they have a ton of great DFH brews on tap.


The 90-minute Imperial is my favorite beer of all time; its perfection. They also have a 75-minute, which is just a blend of the 60-minute and 90-minute, which is also very good. The 90 & 75 are not that widely available though, you have to go to specialty stores for the most part. Whole Foods and stores of that ilk will often have the 90-minute.

The 120 was surprisingly sweet - tasted like I was drinking syrup!

Lanky Livingston
03-26-13, 11:51 AM
Its really a barleywine which is why its sweet

Green flash is going to invade with west coast style ipas soon
Posted via BGO Mobile Device

What is the differentiation between a regular beer and a barleywine, just ABV? Or is there another specification? Its made like an IPA (EDIT: referring to the 120-minute here), just hopped for much longer than most anything else.

Boone
03-26-13, 12:00 PM
I'm not sure of the technical requirements to be classified as a 'barley wine' but , yeah. generally it's a highly alcoholic 'big beer' that is aged for anywhere from 6 months to several years with complex favors that evolve over time.

Lanky Livingston
03-26-13, 12:34 PM
That was the striking thing about the 120-minute for me, it had very little hop flavor to it.

tshile
03-26-13, 03:24 PM
picked up my kegerator last night. guy didn't know what he was selling me. he built it out of his college mini fridge, and to be honest the fridge almost looks shot.

but I got a 5 lbs co2 tank, 2 sankey kegs (I know a lot of people don't like them, but I think I will), a low profile sankey coupler, and the faucet system.

Minus the fridge there's about 350$ worth of equipment there, and it's all in pretty good condition as far as I could tell. I got for $290 plus I got the fridge with it.

Even if the fridge breaks in the next 3 months I can buy a new one and still be ahead. I'm eventually going to go with a chest freezer system. I can reuse all this equipment for that. This shady fridge will due in the meantime. I'm hoping I can pick something up on black Friday for cheap. When I move over I can repurpose this fridge for fermenting lagers.

Boone
03-26-13, 03:32 PM
Kegging is awesome. Beyond how much simpler it is compared to bottling, my favorite advantage is being. Able to force-carb your beer instead of carbonating with sugar and being able to drink it immediately. Let me know if you are not familIar with how to do it and I'll walk you through it.

tshile
03-26-13, 03:53 PM
Yeah those are the two reasons I decided to go this route. I bottled my first batch and it wasn't the bottling that pissed me off - it was the cleaning the bottles that pissed me off.

I'm going to still bottle some of my beer because I want to be able to take it with me and kegging presents some interesting issues with that - still doable but not if you want to bring 3 or 4 beers over to watch a game with a friend.

I'm familiar with force carbing but it's looking like it's quite a challenge with sankey kegs. With the Corny kegs it's relatively easy. I have whats called a low profile sankey coupler - http://www.amazon.com/Low-Profile-Sankey-Keg-Coupler/dp/B006IW80HY

There's no shutoff for the beer. You install the coupler and when you're ready to tap it you snap it down - CO2 starts flowing in immediately, and beer comes out when you open up the faucet.

So there's 3 routes I can go:
1 - force carb with the faucet hooked up. This isn't ideal but will work if all else fails
2 - Try to pick up a cap nut that fits the coupler on the beer-out side. I can cap it off, force carb, release the coupler, hook the beer line back up, re-tap the keg and be on my way.
3 - buy one of the sankey-to-corny-style-fittings like this http://www.williamsbrewing.com/SANKE-US-KEG-COUPLING-HEAD-P1897C118.aspx
But I can't use that in the current fridge because there isn't enough room. I could use it solely for force carbing, but it's the most expensive option.

I'm going to try for option 2. We'll see how it goes. I believe I can get a cap nut from home depot/lowes.

The only real issue I have with force carbing, from what I can tell from reading, is how to tell when you've effectively bled all the air out to start the process. I want all the air out, but I don't want to just waste a ton of CO2.

tshile
03-26-13, 07:02 PM
aw that asshole didn't use Teflon tape so the beer out barb is seized into the coupler.

Boone
03-26-13, 07:05 PM
Yeah those are the two reasons I decided to go this route. I bottled my first batch and it wasn't the bottling that pissed me off - it was the cleaning the bottles that pissed me off.

I'm going to still bottle some of my beer because I want to be able to take it with me and kegging presents some interesting issues with that - still doable but not if you want to bring 3 or 4 beers over to watch a game with a friend.

I'm familiar with force carbing but it's looking like it's quite a challenge with sankey kegs. With the Corny kegs it's relatively easy. I have whats called a low profile sankey coupler - http://www.amazon.com/Low-Profile-Sankey-Keg-Coupler/dp/B006IW80HY

There's no shutoff for the beer. You install the coupler and when you're ready to tap it you snap it down - CO2 starts flowing in immediately, and beer comes out when you open up the faucet.

So there's 3 routes I can go:
1 - force carb with the faucet hooked up. This isn't ideal but will work if all else fails
2 - Try to pick up a cap nut that fits the coupler on the beer-out side. I can cap it off, force carb, release the coupler, hook the beer line back up, re-tap the keg and be on my way.
3 - buy one of the sankey-to-corny-style-fittings like this http://www.williamsbrewing.com/SANKE-US-KEG-COUPLING-HEAD-P1897C118.aspx
But I can't use that in the current fridge because there isn't enough room. I could use it solely for force carbing, but it's the most expensive option.

I'm going to try for option 2. We'll see how it goes. I believe I can get a cap nut from home depot/lowes.

The only real issue I have with force carbing, from what I can tell from reading, is how to tell when you've effectively bled all the air out to start the process. I want all the air out, but I don't want to just waste a ton of CO2.

I have no experience with sankey kegs, so I won't even attempt to advise you there. But the air in the keg is a non-issue. First of all, CO2 is heavier than air, so if you turn on the CO2 attached to your keg, it's going to fill it up from the top to the bottom - essentially the CO2 just pushes the air out as it fills the container, then you siphon in your beer. Even if there's air in it, it's a non-issue (I told you before, you read enough you'll start to worry about everything :)). The C02 is forced into solution/dissolves into the beer, it's irrelevant if you've got a little air in there with it imho. Btw - if/when you do force carb (you don't have to do that, you could set the C02 to on and leave it for 7-10 days and it'll carbonate great that way - it's actually better in my experience to do that if you have the patience - force carbed beer always tastes a little 'new' and artificial to me) you want the beer very cold. The colder the beer, the easier it is for the CO2 to move into solution. It's the coolest thing, when you're 'rolling' a keg hooked up to CO2, it hums/vibrates as the CO2 is absorbed. Basically, you stop rolling when you don't feel that humming happening anymore. It's pretty cool :)

tshile
03-26-13, 07:30 PM
Sweet, thanks for the tips.

I just ordered all new lines, a new coupler *sigh*, and cleaning equipment for the kegs and the lines.

I probably could have gotten away without a new coupler, but I want to be able to clean this stuff appropriately, especially since it's used, and you can't clean it right if you can't take it apart.

tshile
03-27-13, 09:58 AM
So I decided to just buy a hose plug and cut a short (like 2 inch) section of hose, plug it, and connect it to the beer side when i'm force carbing.

I can't wait to tear these kegs apart and clean them this weekend. I ordered 8lbs of cleaner. I'm afraid to open them up before then, I'm sure it's quite disgusting in there...

Lanky Livingston
03-27-13, 10:20 AM
With 25 new breweries opening in 2012, Texas jumps onto list of Top 5 fastest growing beer-states, 3rd behind Calif (56) and Colo (29).

tshile
03-27-13, 10:22 AM
I'm curious what the cost of opening a brewery is in all the states.

I know VA is ridiculously expensive, it's something like 5k just in licensing fees and it takes forever to go through the process.

Compared to NC where I think it's like $300 for a license and takes like 2 weeks.

Neophyte
03-27-13, 03:20 PM
Texas is not the most brewery friendly state. I looked at it a couple of years ago and there are a number of hoops you have to jump through, although it is getting easier.

I'd like them to open up the regulations on nano-breweries like some other states have done so I could do that in my garage to supply a buddy who owns a bar and wants to put home-brew on tap.

Lanky Livingston
03-27-13, 04:14 PM
Texas is not the most brewery friendly state. I looked at it a couple of years ago and there are a number of hoops you have to jump through, although it is getting easier.

I'd like them to open up the regulations on nano-breweries like some other states have done so I could do that in my garage to supply a buddy who owns a bar and wants to put home-brew on tap.

Neo, have you been following the "Open the Taps" campaign? I know they just passed some legislation recently (as in yesterday, I believe) that loosens a lot of the restrictions on craft breweries. They can now sell beer at the breweries, among other things. Not sure if they passed anything in regards to starting a new one, but they may have.

Neophyte
03-28-13, 10:27 AM
Yeah, I have been following it, Lanky. And yeah, they are working at loosening things up here in Texas but that legislation was really aimed at currently operating breweries.

What I would like to see is legislation that makes the step from homebrewing to commercial brewing smaller. In NY, they have what they call nano-breweries where guys get 1 to 3 barrel systems and the produce and sell beer out of their garage. I doubt I will ever want to get into it to the point of opening a big craft brewery or even a brew pub but I could see myself running a nano-brewery in my garage where folks could come fill a growler or I produced enough to supply local restaurants or bars with kegs.

tshile
03-28-13, 10:39 AM
neo - at that point would you be crafting your own recipes (maybe you already do?) ?

tshile
03-28-13, 04:31 PM
so I have tasted the first batch. it's not really carbonated yet though. it's also awful. tastes like it's watered down like natty light, also tastes stale because it's not really carbonated.

so yeah, stale natty light. pretty awful. can't wait for the IPA to be ready, I have expectations that will actually taste like a beer.

Neophyte
03-28-13, 06:01 PM
neo - at that point would you be crafting your own recipes (maybe you already do?) ?

I already do my own, t. In fact, with the exception of the first batch of beer I ever brewed, I have always done my own recipes.

Boone
03-28-13, 07:12 PM
Don't give up on your first batch...uncarbed beer rarely tastes like the finished product. Generally if I sneak a taste when bottling and it's 'not bad' it turns into good beer in 3-4 weeks. If it tastes good uncarbed that's usually a sign it will be amazing.

tshile
03-28-13, 08:13 PM
Oh I'm not giving up. I've got an ipa I'm kegging this weekend that'll be ready next weekend and the porter will sit and age for a while. I'm just sneaking a bottle here and there. I actually tasted it a few days ago, and just tried another and it's finally got some head when it pours and it's not that bad.

I'll have plenty of beer, just have to wait a bit longer. If the bottles have to wait a few more weeks it won't bother me a bit. Just have to make it to next weekend :)

Favorite hobby ever at this point. I love watching it ferment.

tshile
03-28-13, 08:15 PM
I already do my own, t. In fact, with the exception of the first batch of beer I ever brewed, I have always done my own recipes.
When I get into all grain I'm hoping to go that route. I need to learn what does what better first. I have a... Mediocre pallet so I'm not sure how well it'll work out.

Do you stick to one general style of beer or are you able to whip up recipes of all types?

Neophyte
03-29-13, 09:44 AM
When I get into all grain I'm hoping to go that route. I need to learn what does what better first. I have a... Mediocre pallet so I'm not sure how well it'll work out.

Do you stick to one general style of beer or are you able to whip up recipes of all types?

I'm all over the place, sir. I have brewed everything from Rye Ales and Belgian Wits to Porters and Stouts. Looking at my recipe list, I have 10 different beers I have brewed, however that doesn't account for changes I have made in the recipes to try and improve them.

Sometimes the change is as small as adding something to the boil instead of to the secondary fermentation (or vice versa) and sometimes it's as major as changing the yeast (or even using two different yeasts together).

I also do a lot of research into the style I want to brew before I start a new recipe so even when making up my own it isn't just about throwing whatever looks or sounds good into the mash. I usually try to stick to the style guidelines to a close degree.

Boone
03-29-13, 09:59 AM
I'll give you a tip - Northern Brewer's online store sells great all-grain kits, but even if you don't want to spend the extra $$, you can see the recipe right online and replicate their great kits at discount costs. I will tell you that, my product is almost always better when I use their kits, only because many of their kits contain specialty grains/ingredients that are hard to find at your LHBS. But it's really nice to have access to their recipes.

tshile
03-29-13, 01:21 PM
Thanks guys!

tshile
04-02-13, 10:09 PM
The first batch is finally carbonated enough and it's... Surprisingly not bad, as almost everyone said. It still needs more time to settle, it's too hard to pour and not get a little sediment in the glass screwing up the flavor a bit.

It will most certainly do as a between kegs beer while the new keg is carbonation.

Boone
04-02-13, 10:22 PM
Did you move it from a primary to a secondary carboy? I've never had any noticeable sediment - that's why I ask?

tshile
04-02-13, 10:26 PM
Yeah. I think it's yeast, not sediment.

Boone
04-02-13, 10:42 PM
A little yeast is normal - a number of tricks during the process to reduce the amount of trub/sediment...one of which is to make sure your carboy has completely settled before transferring to a secondary or bottling bucket. You can also add fining agents - I use Irish Moss, adding a couple tablespoons of it to the last 10 minutes of the boil. Seems to help as well.

tshile
04-05-13, 07:15 PM
The Ipa is delicious.

Neophyte
04-20-13, 08:51 AM
Busy day here...bottling 5 gallons of Jerked Porter and getting the mash ready for 5 gallons of Marzen, then this afternoon I will brew a batch of my Black Sun Cascadian Dark (black IPA). Making up for lost time.

tshile
04-20-13, 02:14 PM
That sounds like a lot of work :)

Goaldeje
04-20-13, 02:37 PM
Busy day here...bottling 5 gallons of Jerked Porter and getting the mash ready for 5 gallons of Marzen, then this afternoon I will brew a batch of my Black Sun Cascadian Dark (black IPA). Making up for lost time.

Ya know, Neo, I think it may be time for you to visit your folks. They miss you. Always a good time to visit home.

And you know where a great resting and refueling area is? Waynesboro. Yep, home of several first quality gas stations that also offer (kinda) fresh made coffee. In fact, I would be happy to serve you that coffee myself.

Now... What could you do for me in return? Hmmmmm...

Neophyte
04-20-13, 03:27 PM
Just started a third beer...Bishop is over showing off his new gear which we used for my two and now he is starting on his Vienna Blood (Vienna lager, think Negro Modelo only better).

Yeah, we are bad ass.

Neophyte
04-21-13, 07:35 AM
First mashin at 0815.

By 1730 we had three beers brewed (one with a 75 minute boil and one with a 90 minute boil!) and a 4th bottles. All cleanup complete.

I call that a good day's work.

Boone
04-21-13, 07:33 PM
Had the makings of a White House ale in the house for a month now - been too busy with getting my house/yard in shape, and working on my own fitness level to brew. Maybe next weekend. Brew it Neo!

tshile
04-25-13, 09:16 AM
The IPA keg is finally kicked. Can't decide if it took too long or went too quick - for the most part I was the only one drinking it, so.... not quite sure :)

Refilling the C02 and putting the vanilla porter under pressure tonight. Should be ready by the time I get back from the draft day party, which is excellent.

Currently looking at this recipe, I want a summer beer but I'm not quite sure I want to go full-bore into the wheat category. I like wheat beers but... just not sure:
http://byo.com/american-amber-pale-ale/item/128-american-blonde-ale-style-profile

The extract recipe is all the way at the bottom, most of the page is an explanation on blondes.

I need to get back to brewing so these things can age while I drink from the keg.

Boone
04-25-13, 09:21 AM
Northern Brewer has a great wheat beer kit called Dunkelweissen I highly recommend.

tshile
04-25-13, 09:40 AM
hmmmmmmmm that does look good ;)

tshile
05-05-13, 08:31 AM
Taking a page out of Neo's book today, well two thirds of a page anyways :) making 2 different batches.

One is a blood orange hefeweisen. Apparently the oranges add flavor and the inside of the peels act as a bittering agent - http://beer47.com/2009/03/homebrewing-blood-orange-hefeweizen/

The other is a blonde ale. They'll be ready just in time for summer.

tshile
05-05-13, 02:10 PM
Ugh things were going to well then I put something on my triple scale hydrometer and broke it. I barely touched it. Oh well. :(

The blood orange and peel tea looks awesome though!

Neophyte
05-11-13, 10:46 AM
Mash in - 158F

11 lbs - Maris Otter Pale Malt
2 lbs - Rye Malt
1/2 lb - Carafoam

Lanky Livingston
05-11-13, 10:59 AM
I'm just not a wheat beer fan. There's a few I can drink...just not a fan.
Posted via BGO Mobile Device

Boone
05-11-13, 02:09 PM
Making my White House honey ale tomorrow. Been years since I did an extract beer (this is actually a partial mash brew) but looks like a good recipe.

Boone
05-12-13, 01:57 PM
Carboy/Wort in the closet. I'd forgotten just how easy extract/partial mash brewing is...at least compared to all-grain. Looking forward to seeing if Mr. Obama knows his homebrew - this recipe is the exact one he has his White House brewers do for him. Pretty standard ale with the addition of honey at the end of the brew. Also uses Fuggle hops which are one of my favorite varieties. Brewed this one in time to be ready for a week at the beach.

Neophyte
05-13-13, 09:15 AM
Carboy/Wort in the closet. I'd forgotten just how easy extract/partial mash brewing is...at least compared to all-grain. Looking forward to seeing if Mr. Obama knows his homebrew - this recipe is the exact one he has his White House brewers do for him. Pretty standard ale with the addition of honey at the end of the brew. Also uses Fuggle hops which are one of my favorite varieties. Brewed this one in time to be ready for a week at the beach.

I have been using honey at flame out in my Two Penny Pale Ale from day one of that recipe. After 4 and a half years of brewing it is still my personal favorite of my brews and is my "house" beer. It too is an extract as it's creation dates back to the days before I had the gear or knowledge to do all grain brewing. I have tried converting the recipe to all grain twice and neither time was it quite right so I have given up and decided to just stay with the extract recipe. At least for now. Might be time to do another batch of it, in fact.

And yeah, John, Fuggles is great. One of my favorite hops as well. I should use it more.

tshile
05-13-13, 10:21 AM
So instead of doing primary fermenter for 5-6 days, racking to secondary, I've been doing primary for 2-3 weeks. I let them sit in my basement, so fermentation is a bit slower (~65 degrees), and this allows it to clear up significantly before I move it straight to a keg, or to a secondary for ageing/further conditioning.

But I have a problem, I need some insight from you neo/boone. I did a blood orange hefeweisen, which means I chopped up blood oranges and put them into the primary fermenter. The normal process assumes racking to a secondary in ~1 week, which by default removes the blood oranges from the beer.

I'm concerned about leaving those oranges in there for 2-3 weeks and having them rot/grow bacteria/etc in the beer. I'm thinking about racking it this week just to remove them. Would you suggest that? Is leaving those non-fermentables (in this case fruit) in there for too long a bad idea?

Boone
05-13-13, 12:54 PM
I suspect you can leave them without a problem. One thing I've done in the past when adding oranges is to give them a quick soak in starsan, then cut them with knife also cleaned with starsan just in case they have any bacteria on the outside. Chances are you'll be fine though.

Lanky Livingston
05-13-13, 01:25 PM
What's the advantages or disadvantages of skipping secondary fermentation?

Boone
05-13-13, 01:45 PM
Huge disadvantage in skipping it is that moving to secondary helps leave a lot of the trub behind - hops debris. dead yeast, etc..

tshile
05-13-13, 05:07 PM
What's the advantages or disadvantages of skipping secondary fermentation?

Well you don't want to skip the stage, it lets a lot of stuff fall out you don't want in your beer.

There's just some debate as to whether or not it's worth moving to a new container for the secondary stage. Some say the impact of leaving it on the trub is not worth the added risk of contaminating it.

Cleaning/sanitizing is easy. I still, for the most part, move it to a secondary container I just wait 2-3 weeks.

Its not really 'secondary fermentation', it just gets called that. Fermentation is over at that point. It's more conditioning/ageing.

Neophyte
05-13-13, 06:10 PM
I'm with Boone. I think you are fine.

I have never used his Starsan technique though. If I am adding something like fruit or spices to my fermentation I have always soaked it in vodka for a day or so. I have no doubt his method would work just as well though.

I have all but given up on racking to a secondary fermentation vessel unless I am doing a lager that has to sit in the carboy at low temps for a couple of months. In addition to the possibility of contamination, there is some research I have read that indicates that leaving the beer on the trub might be beneficial in that it allows the yeast to clean up stuff that causes off flavors.

I do still rack to secondary when I need to add something though.

Boone
05-13-13, 06:24 PM
Well, remember the credo brother - RSWAHAHB (relax, stop worrying, and have a home brew). I have probably made 50 batches in my homebrewing career and never had the slightest hint of contamination (and that's using exclusively StarSan soaks, nothing more. Use basic cleaning techniques and I almost guarantee it won't ever be an issue for you.

Interesting about leaving the wort on the trub Bob. The big advantage to moving it is simply mechanical - you're always going to reduce the amount of solids in your wort and have a clearer beer with no sediment. I have never had to follow the 'leave the last 1/4" of beer in the bottle rule' simply because there IS no sediment. I like that, but agree with Bob there are lots of methods to get great beer. I've actually read that leaving wort on a lot of trub can CAUSE off flavors. Truth is (and I think you are already discovering this), stake out any particular position when it comes to making beer and you'll find equally compelling evidence to support not just your view, but the exact opposite of your view :) Hence, the credo... On soaking additions in Star San, I would only recommend that for things like oranges where you're trying to sanitize the OUTSIDE of the addition material, I wouldn't try it with things like cut fruit. I also use the vodka technique for things like vanilla beans, or other secondary additions.

Btw - I have seen on several occasions that moving wort to a secondary re-starts fermentation (not like the primary ferment, but noticeable activity in the air lock).

Neophyte
05-13-13, 11:33 PM
Yeah, John, it was interesting. I will have to see if I can find that information again and share. I don't want to give anyone the idea that the article was pushing for brewers to not use a secondary. It made very clear there were trade offs on both side and you are absolutely right about beer sitting on the trub for too long causing issues. The article was clear about that too.

And yes, I too have seen where moving the wort will jump start a stalled fermentation.

tshile
05-31-13, 08:52 AM
I learned an important lesson last night.

Make sure your carboy handle is tight enough.

Definitely dropped a 5 gallon glass carboy on a cement floor full of sanitizing solution. Was not fun.

HOF44
05-31-13, 12:48 PM
Definitely dropped a 5 gallon glass carboy on a cement floor full of sanitizing solution. Was not fun.

Well that sucks! Could have been worse though, could have been full of beer.

Lanky Livingston
05-31-13, 12:49 PM
I learned an important lesson last night.

Make sure your carboy handle is tight enough.

Definitely dropped a 5 gallon glass carboy on a cement floor full of sanitizing solution. Was not fun.


Well that sucks! Could have been worse though, could have been full of beer.

You know, I was just wondering how a cement floor was full of sanitizing solution. I'm an idiot sometimes, LOL.

tshile
05-31-13, 12:51 PM
Hah! Yeah not the best phrasing I suppose :)

tshile
06-03-13, 09:18 PM
the blonde ale is delicious

Boone
06-05-13, 10:04 PM
Bottled my White House honey ale this evening. Snuck a taste and it was very good. In my experience any beer that is tasty pre-carbonation is going to be really good after a couple weeks in the bottle.

Btw - recommend Coopers bottles - brown plastic 740ml bottles with screw on plastic caps. Work great and so much easier than glass bottles and cappers.

Boone
06-06-13, 12:38 PM
Starting a new beach tradition - going to do a brew every year just for the beachtrip, with appropriate commemorative label :) Just cranked out this years (for context, the name of the house we rent every year is 'Wave Watcher').

Boone
06-19-13, 06:54 PM
600

Final product...beer for the family beach trip. Made everything except the plastic bottles. And damn is it good!

Lanky Livingston
06-19-13, 07:10 PM
Label looks awesome, John! Is there any disadvantage to using the plastic bottles over glass?

Boone
06-19-13, 08:34 PM
I never would've thought to use plastic bottles with screw on caps until I heard about Cooper's bottles (as seen above). They are dark colored (important because beer doesn't like bright light) and they work great. I see zero difference between standard glass and these bottles - beer carbs perfectly in them, you can reuse them, they won't break - just all around superior. They also come in 25 oz (740ml) bottles so you cut your bottling time in half, and no need to use caps and cappers which are a pain in the ass imho. And the plastic bottles are a cinch to apply labels to - I just print them on laserjet paper, cut them out, and apply with milk which is a perfect natural glue. Really a great product.

tshile
06-24-13, 05:38 PM
Did you squeeze the air out before bottling?

Boone
06-24-13, 11:11 PM
No - bottled just like you would with glass bottles - leave a little head space and put on the screw on caps. I seriously would never use bottles again. So much easier.

tshile
06-29-13, 10:47 AM
making the white house honey porter and the hopiness is an ipa today.

tshile
07-01-13, 03:44 PM
Couple of things
1 - White House released a video on their brewing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZGqgDQhr20
l o l. why are they topping off their beer after fermentation with water in the conditioning phase?

2 - the whole transfer to condition phase
If you remember I said I was experimenting with leaving in the fermentor? Yeah that experiment is over. 5 days and straight to the conditioning car boys. It puts **** in the beer that gives me terrible gas and also makes it really cloudy no matter what, so forget that. Maybe I was doing something wrong, otherwise those people that advised that don't know wtf they're talking about.

Boone
07-01-13, 03:58 PM
Just a tip, if you place
and tags around video links (or click on the 'Insert Video' button in the quick reply toolbar) it'll embed video so it can be watched directly from the post.

Most extract recipes call for adding water in the primary after the boil, but I've never heard of doing it later on. Kind of odd but don't guess it would effect the quality or taste...

tshile
07-01-13, 04:04 PM
Thanks for the edit Boone :)

I've never seen a 5 gallon carboy fill up that high on a 5 gallon batch, so it would appear to me they're watering it down.

tshile
07-03-13, 07:00 PM
The blood orange hefeweisen is frekin awesome! And ready just in time for the family bbq tomorrow :)

Boone
07-03-13, 08:10 PM
That sounds outrageously good - it's a lot of fun sharing your creations with family and friends, isn't it? Have fun!

Neophyte
07-28-13, 12:07 PM
Brewing some White Nipple Wit today...