I was able to start trying this beer just 15 days after being brewed. It was in primary for 4 days, secondary on dry hop for 4 days, and now in the keg carbonating for 7. It’s possible this beer … Continue reading
When Mike told me about his mill table, I thought it was neat but I dismissed the idea of making one myself. While visiting another brewer friend I saw his mill, and asked if he would mind sharing some details of the project. As I’ve found with most home brewers he was very willing to share details and helpful links. At both times it didn’t seem necessary at that time. Then I used mike’s mill at the bow bog brewing party and really liked how it worked. It was very nice to be able to just dump in the grain and crank it up. Not that hand cranking is difficult, but it would save me a little time and manual labor. Once I took inventory of the required parts, I realized that I could build this with minimal investment. I had the mill, a motor and I had a shelving unit I could use as the stand. It appeared all I was going to need to buy would be some sheaves (pulleys), a belt, a shim, and some miscellaneous hardware and lumber.
These are some long, long, long over due tasting notes of my first saison. As I mentioned in the brewing notes, I feel close to this style due to my heritage, having a small farm, and the open interpretation that is allowed with this style. Saisons are an interesting style. The saison style originates in the farm houses of Wallonia and was made with fresh hops, grains, a variety of adjuncts, and spices varying from farm to farm. It was the beer served to the farm hands and was likely a lower abv and had mixed fermentation. From my understanding the style has only a few strong requirements, high carbonation, very low FG, moderate yeast esters and phenols. The style is way more wide open than the BJCB guidelines suggest. I’ve enjoyed examples hopper, much lighter and darker, as well as much lower and higher ABV. Not to mention versions with brett or other mixed fermentations. Some of the best ones I’ve had have been brett fermented. Continue reading
Looking back through my brewing logs, I’ve never brewed two batches as close together as I did these past two. I’m of the school of thought that the best way to get good at something is to do it often. It was nice to have my brewing process fresh in my mind when approaching this brew night. The last batch a hoppy pale ale is just off dry hops as I write this brew day up. This batch is a rebrew of the english mild I brewed last summer. The first time I brewed this, I made a biab beer. Taking a very simple approach and not worrying about it. This might have been one of the better batches I brewed last year. This time I have a slightly different target. I’ve been asked a few times if it is possible to make an NA beer, so I’m trying to brew a very low abv beer, and make it as close as I can to Non Alcoholic Beer(NA). I figured it makes the most sense to start with a flavorful low abv beer. Research (googling) and turned up anecdotal stories, but no well documented first hand experiences with abv testing. I found two approaches to making NA beer, heating the beer to evaporate the alcohol, or freezing the beer to concentrate the alcohol and sugars leaving behind low alcohol beer ice. There are issues with either approach. Heat and Oxygen are known to damage beer. However I can’t think of a way to achieve the goal of low abv beer w/out exposing the beer to these factors. If someone has done this and has found a reliable way to do it with good results please let me know.
It’s been a while since I’ve brewed at home and it feels longer since I’ve brewed a good beer. I’ve felt either rushed, distracted, or otherwise I screwed up my last few batches. Coincidence or not, I also haven’t brewed a really hoppy pale ale in some time. I won’t go into the details here, I’ve already shared one failure on Facebook. Lets just say I could really use a win. Early this year I decided I was going to try to dial in my brewing, calling it the year of calibration. I am trying to both harden my brewing process, and add process controls. That way I can know how specifically I brewed a beer, which will allow me to reproduce success, and improve upon the beer in future batches. I haven’t been terribly consistent with either process or equipment in my last few batches. I think I’ve made my last major changes for a while, and my hope is that I can take this beer, evaluate it, access the recipe and brewing process, then brew it again making only slight changes to the process.
When Brew Free or Die announced a Dynamic Duo club competition I knew two things: that I was in, and I’d be brewing with my buddy Mike. What wasn’t immediately obvious was what we’d be brewing, but I did have a hunch. This fall Mike brewed a very tasty version of Mike McDole’s famous recipe, Janet’s Brown, A hoppy american brown ale. I have just brewed a not so tasty american brown ale (story for another day), and both of us agree the style is quite enjoyable. The club competition is named Dynamic duo. Brew a 1.040-1.050 beer, using only two hops, two malts, no adjuncts, no spices, etc. With that in mind, I tried to reworked the Janet’s Brown ale recipe down to just two malts, two hops, and bring the gravity down. Continue reading
This is a quick review of a really quick read. I like to check out any brewing book that crosses my path in the hopes of unearthing something new. I spotted this book, Brewing Mad Easy (2nd edition) by Joe … Continue reading
Sorry, yet another book review, the good news is I am on track for my reading goal. The Audacity of hops is not my typical read, I usually read brewing focused books. This book is about the rise of craft … Continue reading
I’m a bit of a beer/brewing book collector, I have a Library of twenty or so books, and my amazon wish list is sure to have a few brewing books on it. I have recipe books, basic brewing books, advanced technique books, scientific books, historical brewing books, books about starting a brewing businesses, the list goes on. I have so many unread, that I made a goal for 2014 not to purchase any more books until I’ve gotten through the backlog. Fortunately I preordered this book back in March of 2013 so it doesn’t count as failing against that goal. When this book finally arrived I did not expect to pick it up for some time, or do what I did, read it cover to cover in a week. Continue reading
For 2013 I set achievable goals, and I believe I met all but one. Not too bad, but I played it fairly safe with the goals. 2014 will be more of the same, attainable goals, focused on quality and consistency. … Continue reading