Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Homebrew

One man’s journey to create the perfect beer…

Discovered two things this weekend

Posted by ebrius on October 27, 2008

One, my stout tastes absolutely amazing when paired with an extra sharp cheddar.
Two, my Christmas Ale needs a lot more time to mellow. It basically tastes like ginger and cloves. Its not that bad per se, but it still needs a lot of time to develop. I hope it’s drinkable by Thanksgiving, because I believe it would go very good with some dark turkey meat. If the cloves and ginger don’t end up mellowing, I’ll probably limit the ginger in the next brew and drop the cloves.

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Brown or Barleywine?

Posted by ebrius on October 24, 2008

I need to figure out which one I want to brew next. On one hand, I like barleywines more the brown ales, but on the other hand, the barleywine will take at least 4 months to be drinkable, probably longer. If we say the barleywine will be ready in about 4 months, it won’t be drinkable until March/April, which, in my opinion, isn’t really the season for barleywine. I could of course just get another carboy and keep the barley wine in that for longer, and let it bottle age for a while. We’ll have to see, the brown will probably come next, and I’ll brew the barleywine some time around January or February.

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Review: Crazy Ivan Russian Imperial Stout

Posted by ebrius on October 22, 2008

My Stout has been aging for about three weeks now, so I figured it was time for a proper review, mostly so I remember how the recipe turned out, but also for anyone interested in replicating my success/failure.

Appearance) Dark as midnight with a small brown head. Head dissipated quickly.

Aroma) Coffee and chocolate, slight alcohol aroma, Slightly yeasty

Taste) Bam, chocolate and coffee, as with the odor, very little bitterness, actually, very sweet and almost chewy. Finishes with an alcohol taste and a sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel) Chewy and lightly carbonated. Very smooth.

Overall, I am very happy with this beer. Could use a little more bitterness. Next time I will probably add more bittering hops, and some aroma as well. I’ll stick with adding the coffee, but I might only do it in the primary. I’ll also make sure to use liquid yeast. Probably also some more black patent to make this a very strong and unique stout.

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Beer Batter

Posted by ebrius on October 21, 2008

Last night I decided to try a beer batter to follow up the delicious bread I made last Friday. Here is the recipe I used:

1 bottle (12 oz) of beer (once again, my Imperial Russian Stout)
1 cup flour
1 egg
Black Pepper, Paprika, Garlic Powder to taste.

I decided to use chicken. I coated a couple of fillets in flour and then coated them with the batter. I cooked them in a large skillet with olive oil. These turned out very good, crunchy and moist with a slight beer flavor. I’ll definitely do it again, but I’ll probably cut the recipe in half since I coated about half a pound of chicken and I had a lot of batter left over. Very tasty, but I probably won’t do it too often since it isn’t the healthiest recipe

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IPA into the secondary

Posted by ebrius on October 21, 2008

I was originally not going to move my IPA to a secondary, but I figured after I forgot to add Irish Moss it wouldn’t be a half bad idea. I moved it yesterday and added some Goldings hops to it. I tried a sample before I moved it and it tasted very good. Aroma was amazing and the bitterness was about were I wanted it. The flavor was a little weak, but it was a warm unaged beer, so I think it will get better. Next time I will probably add more flavoring hops.

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Into the bottle it goes

Posted by ebrius on October 20, 2008

Yesterday I bottled my Christmas Ale, it was in the primary for about 2 weeks, and in the secondary for 2 weeks. I was impressed with how much sediment fell out of it in the secondary. My stout had little to no sediment in the secondary, so I was surprised how much was in this one. It wasn’t a lot, but I’m sure it will help the clarity of the beer.

On to the beer. It was a dark amber color, smelt of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, with also a little piny smell from the hops. It had a medium body that was spicy and bitter, maybe a little more bitter then I would want. For being a beer with 8 ABV, there was little warmth to the beer, which I was actually hoping would be there. If it ages well, I think this will be a very very good beer.

I have to once again say how impressed I am with liquid yeast over dry yeast. This beer tastes so much cleaner then my other beers. There is still a slight yeast taste in my other beers, but this one has none. It also cleared better, and actually got down to the expected FG. I don’t think I will ever go back to dry yeast

Also, I originally said that I was going to prime with molasses, I decided to not risk it and I used brown sugar instead. I’d heard that the flavor that molasses imparts is not very pleasant

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Beer Bread

Posted by ebrius on October 19, 2008

As I posted before, I’ve started to delve into cooking with beer. For my first recipe I decided to tackle beer bread. Its a pretty straight forward recipe, just substitute beer for water.

This is the recipe I used:
4 cups flour
1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
12 oz beer (I used my Imperial Russian Stout)
2 tsp salt
2 eggs

Prep is simple, mix dry ingredients, then slowly whisk in wet ingredients. Mix well, knead if necessary, and pour into a standard 9 by 5 bread pan. Bake for about an hour at 375.

This recipe turned out very good, bread is thick and most. it had a slight coffee and malt flavor to it, the hop flavor was not present. The crust however was very thick and slightly burnt. Next time I might cook it at 350, or half an hour at 375 and then down to 350. Overall I was very happy with it, next time I might try using half or completely whole wheat dough.

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Revisiting the Barleywine

Posted by ebrius on October 17, 2008

I’ve been looking around for a nice oak cask to put this beer into and I’ve started to realize something, oak casks are expensive, for some reason I can’t find the cask that I found for $100, most are around $200+. But beyond that, I don’t want my beer to end up tasting like wood, and I have no real way to control the amount of oak flavor without switching containers. What I think I might do is get a smaller glass carboy and use that as a secondary. I’ll put some oak cubes in some cheese cloth and let it soak in there for about a week and then take it out. That will (hopefully) let me get the nice oak flavor without the hassles of dealing with a cask. I’ll probably end up soaking the cubes in bourbon or something in order to add a little extra flavor and sanitize the cubes.

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Beer and cooking

Posted by ebrius on October 16, 2008

Last night I was chatting with one of my roommates, and the topic of beer batter came up, (mainly because he was eating beer battered fish) and he was surprised that I had never made a beer batter before. I mean, it makes sense, I love beer, and I love to cook as well, so why not combine the two. I have often thought about what foods to put into my beers, and what foods beers would pair well with, but I have never really though about cooking with beer.

So this morning I decided to do a basic Google search on ‘beer batter’, and after digging a little deeper, I discovered the many different recipes and styles I could explore. I’ve done beer-in-the-butt chicken before, but I have always used a lighter beer, why not try something heavy and sweet, like the stout I have sitting in my closet? I’m sure it would go great in a stew, or even in a loaf of bread.

So I think I’m going to start focusing on cooking with my beer more then actually drinking it, since of course, the beer usually tastes the same each time you drink it, but who knows what it will taste like each time you cook with it.

Edit: You’ll also notice that I have created a new category, ‘cooking’. Any interesting recipes or insights I develop will be posted there

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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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