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One man’s journey to create the perfect beer…

Archive for October, 2008

Next Up, Brown Ale

Posted by ebrius on October 15, 2008

I’m starting to run low on Pale Ales, so I am soon going to need a beer to replace it. My stout is far from drinkable on a regular basis, and I have a feeling the Christmas Ale is going to be the same way. The IPA will probably be drinkable, but I went a little overboard on the hops, and I don’t know how well it will pair with food. So, that brings me to my Brown Ale, this ale will have a rather low ABV (for my beers at least) of about 4.8 and an IBU of about 30, so it won’t be as hoppy or alcoholic as my other beers. If this one turns out good, I might start making alternating batches of this, and a revised version of my pale ale, to have for day to day drinking.

I’ve made some small revisions to recipe, mainly changed the hop bill around since I don’t know if I will be able to get a hold of Kent Goldings hops

5lb  Light Dry Malt Extract

1lb   Victory Malt
.25lb Chocolate Malt
.25lb Canadian Honey Malt
.25lb Crystal 20L
.25lb Crystal 40L
.25lb Crystal 60L
.25lb Crystal 80L

.5oz Northern Brewer @ 60
1oz  Fuggles         @ 30
.5oz Northern Brewer @ 10

Yeast:
White Labs English Ale WLP002

Expected:
OG:  1.050
FG:  1.013
IBU: 31
ABV: 4.8 %
SRM: 16
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Link: Interview with author John Palmer

Posted by ebrius on October 15, 2008

Beersmith has a short interview with the author of ‘How to Brew’, John Palmer up on their blog

I figured I’d point to this since ‘How to Brew’ was the first brewing book I ever bought or read, and is a great book for beginners. It’s available online for free. It is also carried by most homebrew stores, and a lot of online retailers, including amazon.com. If you are new to homebrewing, or just want to refresh your memory, I highly recommend picking up a copy.

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Brewin a Brown

Posted by ebrius on October 13, 2008

I’ve created a lot of different recipes, but most of these are hoppier beers that don’t have a very strong malt backbone. I’ve decided to change things up a bit and create a recipe for a brown ale. Brown ales usually fall somewhere between pale ales and porters, but I think this one will lean a little closer to a porter.

5lb  Light Dry Malt Extract

1lb   Victory Malt
.25lb Chocolate Malt
.25lb Canadian Honey Malt
.25lb Crystal 20L
.25lb Crystal 40L
.25lb Crystal 60L
.25lb Crystal 80L

.5oz Kent Goldings @ 60
1oz  Kent Goldings @ 30
.5oz Kent Goldings @ 10

Yeast:
White Labs English Ale WLP002

Expected:
OG:  1.050
FG:  1.013
IBU: 28
ABV: 4.8 %
SRM: 16

I’m not a big brown ale kinda guy, but I figured it would be an interesting style to try out and do something a little different.

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Another weekend, another homebrew

Posted by ebrius on October 12, 2008

Yesterday marks the fourth homebrew that I have brewed thus far. Overall, the brew went very well. I picked up some new equipment recently (kitchen scale, digital thermometer) and it was very useful. The only mistake that I made was that I forgot to add irish moss to the boil, so this one might be a little cloudy. But as long as it tastes good, cloudy beers really don’t bother me.

Instead of storing the beer in my basement I but it in my bedroom closet because my basement is getting a little cold to brew. I woke up this morning smelling hops, a mix of fruggles and cascade, very interesting, but I hope the beer doesn’t end up smelling like that, since it smelt more like spiced fruit, we’ll see how its going in two weeks when I add the extra hops.

Depending on how bad the smell gets or how much my roommates complain, this one might be going back down into the basement.

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Looking for a good Spring beer

Posted by ebrius on October 11, 2008

I’ve got plenty of time to perfect a recipe, but I’ve been trying to come up with a refreshing Summer-ish beer. I’m definitely thinking it will be a wheat beer, but the question is, what kind of fruit should I use? Raspberry beers are common enough, and I don’t want my beer to be common. I’m thinking either a chocolate cherry, or a peach mango, but like I said, I’ve got plenty of time to decide.

Edit: Maybe kiwi? I’m started to get excited about this beer, I might not be able to wait to brew this one.

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Review: Long Trail Double Bag

Posted by ebrius on October 11, 2008

For my second review, I will be looking at an interesting brew from Long Trail Brewing Company, Double Bag Ale:

Apperance: Pours with very little head that trails off after a couple of seconds. Color is a clear amber with no haze

Aroma: Very pleasant, malty aroma with a hints of fruits, slight hint of raisins.

Taste: Interesting, but in a good way. Strong malty backbone with the same fruity flavors detected in the smell. I could not isolate any of the hops in this brew. This beer finishes very clean with almost no aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, slightly syrupy feel. Light carbonation.

Overall, this is a very good beer that I would definitely drink again. It is an interesting strong ale with a 7.2 ABV that is not even noticeable. I am not usually a fan of low IBU strong ales, but I really liked this beer, I would love to try it on tap.

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Two Goals, One Beer

Posted by ebrius on October 10, 2008

I’ve been wanting to brew a fruit beer for a while. I wanted something bitter, but still with plenty of flavor. I was looking at different fruits, primarily raspberries and blackberries. My first thought was to create a raspberry wheat beer that would be perfect for the summer. However, I tried a couple of fruit beers that had raspberries in them, and they just didn’t fit right with me. I was reminded of a blackberry infused vodka I made a while back, and while the blackberries themselves were amazing, the vodka it self left a lot to be desired. The vodka absorbed the sweetness in the berries so there wasn’t the puckering bitterness I was looking for. This led me to design a porter that was bitter enough to bring out the blackberry bitterness. This leads me into my second goal, about 4 months ago I was given a couple oz of hops at the American Craft Beer Fest, and I have been wanting to use these for a while. They are Hallertau hops, which should go well as flavoring and aroma hops in this beer.

6lb   Light Dry Malt Extract
1lb   Crystal 80L
.5lb  Chocolate Malt
.25lb Black Patent
.25lb CaraPils

1oz   Galena    @ 60
1.5oz Hallertau @ 30
.5oz  Hallertau @ 10

Other:
1 Can Oregon Blackberry Puree (49 oz.) into Secondary

Yeast:
Wyeast American Ale II 1272

Priming Sugar:
TBD

OG:  1.057
FG:  1.014
ABV: ~5.5%
IBU: ~70
SRM: 30

I’m hoping to have this beer turn out a lot like Southern Tier’s Raspberry Porter, but a little fuller, and obviously with blackberries instead of raspberries.

Now that I think about it, I might add a little bit of real chocolate to the brew to see if that does anything interesting.

EDIT: Made a few changes to the grain bill

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Big Barleywine

Posted by ebrius on October 10, 2008

I’ve been toying with making a barley wine for some time now. The main thing that has been holding me back is that I will need to either put aside one of my carboys for at least 3 months, or get a new one. One thing I am thinking of doing is getting a small oak cask and using that as a secondary, the only problem with that is they run about $100 for the size I would want. But anyway, here is the recipe I’ve crafted so far, if the numbers don’t make much sense, that is because its going to be 3.5ish gallon batch and not the normal 5 gallons.

5lb   Wheat Dry Malt Extract
5lb   Light Dry Malt Extract

.5lb  Crystal 120L
.5lb  CaraPils
.25lb Honey Malt
.25lb Crystal 220L (Special B)

1oz   Columbus        @ 60
.5oz  Northern Brewer @ 30
1oz   Kent Goldings   @ DH
.5oz  Northern Brewer @ DH

Yeast:
Wyeast Trappist High Gravity 3787 or
White Labs Super High Gravity WLP099
White Labs California Ale WLP001 or
White Labs Dry English Ale WLP007

Priming Sugar:
TBD

OG:  1.134
FG:  1.038
ABV: ~12.5%
IBU: ~80
SRM: 19

I’m looking for some advice on this beer, mainly from anyone who has aged in oak. Was it worth it? Would an unused oak case add too much ‘oakiness’ to the beer?

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New Fezziwig Ale, Take 2

Posted by ebrius on October 9, 2008

While I still have the taste fresh in my mind, I figured that I would draw up a second draft of my Christmas Ale, even though this won’t be brewed for probably a year or so:

8lb   Dry Light Malt Extract

.75lb CaraPils
.5lb  Canadian Honey Malt
.5lb  Crystal Malt (80-L)
.25lb Crystal Malt (120-L)

.5oz  Cascade    @ 60
.5oz  Chinook    @ 60
.5oz  Chinook    @ 30
.5oz  Willamette @ 30
.5oz  Willamette @ 10
1oz   Willamette @ DH

All Steeped for 30 minutes after flame out
1 oz Ginger, Grated
3 Oranges, Peeled and Quartered
5 Cinnamon Sticks
3 Whole Nutmegs
4 Whole Cloves

Other:
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 15

Yeast:
Wyeast American Ale II 1272

Priming Sugar:
TBD

OG:  1.076, FG: 1.019, ABV: 7.7%
IBU: ~55
SRM: 12

Edit: I decided to take out the two pounds of honey and replace it completely with DME, this raises the ABV a little bit, which then lowers the IBUs, color stays about the same

Edit 2: I’m thinking of adding a little vanilla to this, or maybe oak age it to try something a little different.

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Update: New Fezziwig Ale

Posted by ebrius on October 9, 2008

I moved my Christmas Ale into the secondary last night, and I have to say, the results from the beer are interesting.
1) Its darker then i would have wanted, its more of a dark brown and I would have liked more of an amber color. Next time I will probably not use any Black Pentant (or less then .5lb) and use a light DME as a base instead of a dark DME.
2) The aroma is amazing, it smells like Christmas. The combination of the Chinook and Willamette hops with the spices is heavenly.
3) The taste, and I know it hasn’t aged yet, is OK. Next time I will definitely add some more hops for bittering, maybe .5oz of Cascade or so. I’ll probably use more cinnamon, and maybe cut the ginger.

All that being said, I am very pleased with this beer so far, it got down to the exact gravity I wanted (1.020), and the beer was surprising clean, its amazing how much of a difference liquid yeast makes over dry yeast.

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