Thursday, December 18, 2008

A New Era in Brewing

School's out, for the witner break, at least. Now I have nothing to do. When not working, and between episodes of Arrested Developement, I've been thinking about the Christmas present I'm going to buy for myself: A 5 gallon soda keg! With all the trimmings, of course. No more tedious bottling of beers. No more tedious sanitation of each individual bottle. No sir, I will be kegging from now on, except for bottling a few beers from each batch, for aging purposes. Someday, if I'm feeling ambitious enough and the wallet allows, I may try aging beer in oak barrels. Although expensive, it seems like it would be a really interesting, and hopefully rewarding, experience.

On a somewhat irrelevant side note, I'm thinking about celebrating Hanukkah this year. Seems like it would be fun, but I've got no idea where to start. And I want to try not to offend anybody or blaspheme anything. I do enough of that already.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Damn you, ever-changing ale!

The budget ale I last wrote of is toying with my emotions. After sitting in my room for over a month, the flavor profile has changed yet again. The honey malt is definately there. The hops, luckily, have been toned down a bit. Don't get me wrong, I love hops, but they seemed to be too much for the malt profile of this one. Not so, it seems. I was just getting ready to dump it, too. Maybe not.

This is learning. This is also great. If this turns out to be even the tiniest bit drinkable, I may not have to buy any beer for the week! Although, I like to experiment and may have to pick up something new anyways. I say "if" because I am currently drinking it at room temperature, which is probably somewhere around 70 degrees. I put one in the fridge, so when I get home from work tonight, we'll see how things go.

Cheers, and happy brewing!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just a little off...

Finally opened the budget ale. I shouldn't have expected much, and didn't get much, satisfaction. Oh well, it only cost me three bucks. The honey, malty flavor described before has nearly disappeared, replaced by a hop bitterness. I like hops. I love hops. The problem is that there isn't enough of a malt backbone to it. Very dry in the initial taste, as well as in the finish. A bit of an aftertaste of honey, but not much.

Why, you ask? Here's what I think:
The less-than-specified amount of priming sugar I added was good for the first few days or week. After that, the yeast having been given a kick start and sugar high, went to work on the remaining malt. Maybe they weren't done in the first place. After all, it's been colder here recently so they may have slowed down. For the two or so weeks they lived in the bottles, they gobbled up the priming sugar and then gobbled up remaining fermentables. Damn, yeast, you are greedy. And probably fat.

So, the obvious solution is to blame it on the yeast. None of it was my fault, and I can do nothing wrong. The yeast, however, can cause me to fail. But me, I'm perfect...

There's always next time.
Cheers, brothers, and happy brewing!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A belated (but delicious) update

Bottled the budget brew a few days ago. This is true budget status. I was a little short on priming sugar, so I just used what I had and said "oh well". Give it two or three weeks, I'm sure it'll come out fine.

The biggest piece of news, however, is a very distinct change in flavor. In a previous post, I had mentioned a nice, malty character present in the beer. At bottling time, the honey malt was really showing through. And it was good. Very interesting to note the change; it happened so quickly that I was not expecting anything different. I have seen hop profile change quickly, but this is a first for malt profile changing on short notice (at least for me). Oh, learning, you are glorious. At least when I don't have to learn the hard way, that is.

Cheers, happy brewing...Le Chaim!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A New Brew

In secondary right now I have a cleanup/leftover/budget brew. At racking time it had a nice, malty flavor, with a bready, biscuity goodness. If I dare say so, it had a bit of the malty, biscuity flavor that is common in beers from New Belgium, especially Fat Tire. Is the secret in their malt? I don't know. One more week and it will be ready for bottling. We'll see what flavors come through at that time.

The "recipe" is as follows:

2-3 lbs Amber LME
.5 lbs Munich
.5 lbs Vitory(amber)
.5 lbs Honey malt

45 minute boil
.5 oz Cascade @ 45 min
.25 oz Cascade @ 30 min
.25 oz Amarillo @ 30 min
.25 oz Amarillo @ 15 min

~2.5 gallons of 1.040 wort
WLP-011 European Ale Yeast, past date, from the bargain bin.

Besides the cost of propane, and the malts, which I accounted for in other batches, this batch cost me 3 bucks, plus a little gas. Not bad, eh? That's what happens when you're strapped for cash and have an insatiable urge to brew.

Cheers, brothers, and happy brewing.

please allow me to introduce myself...

To begin with, I'm not really Jewish, unless heritage counts. I do, however, brew....beer, that is. I brew at home for enjoyment and practice in the pursuit of experience and knowledge to someday aid me in my quest to open my own brewery. If for nothing else, I would keep doing it because I enjoy the hands-on aspect and the freedom to create virtually any style that I want.

A few more things about myself:
I enjoy nearly all styles of beer, with tastes that often change with the seasons.
Right now, my preference lies with malty, full bodied beers. Hops are always welcome, but lots of aroma or bitterness is not necessary. When spring rolls around, hops will most likely come to the forefront of my cravings.
I advocate responsible drinking, while at the same time realizing that, sometimes, it's nice to cut loose.

Cheers, brothers.