Homebrew et al.

Blog about trying to make beer, good beer.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Gravity Still Too High II

I checked the gravity on the Belligerent SOB and it was around 1.030, still way too high to transfter to secondary. While I had it opened I went ahead and disturbed (scooped up) the yeast cake at the bottom of the fermentor and shook the bucket up afterward. After 2 weeks, the gravity is still higher than I'd like (1.020, at least).

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bottled the APA today

I bottled the APA. In what was a troubling discovery at bottling time was that the gravity at bottling time was 4 points higher than at racking time (1.012-1.016). The Willamettes imparted a nice floral, perfumey aroma. Let's hope that subsides a little. The yeild was about 2 cases, exactly.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Racked & Dryhopped the APA

I racked and dryhopped the American Pale Ale (APA). The gravity at racking time was 1.012 which means the ABV is about 6%. I dryhopped with an ounce of leaf Willamette hops and you can see them floating at the top of the carboy. I hope that they can get incorporated throughout the whole beer.

I tasted this beer at transfer and I can't say I was thrilled about it. It wasn't bad but it was not all that great. Maybe it is just green and needs to develop a little more.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I tried some of my homebrews tonight. Pour 1 and 3 is the Special Bitter. It is a good session beer. And taste really good. I look forward to it developing in to a more fizzy drink. When I brew this again I hope to add more priming sugar to give it more bubble and more head, if possible. Pour 2 is the Wee heavy and it is developing into a nice caramel sipping beer. Wow. If he flavors develop as I hop the burnt caramel flavors will intensify leaving the ripe B-A-N-A-NN-A flavors behind. That would be great.

I am also considering going all grain. Don Osborn has a great page on how to convert an ice cooler into a mash/lauter tun and a nice diary of how he did his all grain beer. I saw this and thought, "I can do this; and save money, too."

Friday, January 13, 2006

Arrogant SOB

I brewed a very heavy Stone Brew clone. HBA's staff copied this very fine brew. I just hope I come close to the original.

It is a huge beer with 8 lbs of DME (4 amber/4wheat) and a huge grain bill. It uses three doses of high alpha hops (Magnum, Columbus, and Cenennial). Plus, I get to dryhop this beer with an ounce of Centennials. It is currently fermenting in the plastic bucket fermentor. Should be good!!

Bottled the "Malty" Boston Stock Ale

Bottled the malty stock Ale last night. The only outstanding thing about the bottling process this last time is that I abandonded the bottling bucket and used the autosiphon with the bottle filler attachment. While I still made a mess it was a big improvement to using the bottling bucket. The final gravity on this beer was 1.009 (abv ~5.2%). The yield on this batch was 40 twelve ounce bottles and 4 sixteen ounce Grolsch style bottles.

Chico says, "Yo quiero cerveza buena."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

First Beer

I kind of jumped the gun and opened one of the TSBs. It was not all that carbonated but it tasted like beer. It was surprisingly clear as I thought it would be more cloudy. I also chilled and opened one of the wee heavies and found that it was decent but there some stuff going on. First, it has a very fruity (banana and pear) flavor to it; meaning that I might have not aerated the beer enough. On the other had, fruity flavors are also desired in some styles. The fruity flavors are usually becuase of esters which are a byproduct of the fermentable sugars and the yeast. Second, it might be that these flavors will develop into more cheesy flavors which means I picked up some sort of infection along the way. Finally, I think it probably needs more time to mellow. Heavy brews (7% abv) usually need a lot of time to mellow. The flavors involved need time to meld together. I hope it is the third reason.

I also bought more whole leaf Willamette hops at HomeBrew Adventures (1 oz. about $1.50). The guys there let me crush different types fo leaf hops to figure out which aroma I liked the most. I am planning on dryhopping the American Pale Ale I made this last Friday. Maybe in a couple a week or two I'll transfer that brew.

Monday, January 09, 2006

American Pale Ale in the fermentor

7 lbs of Light DME
1/2 lb of Carapils
1/2 lb of Crystal 20
1.5 oz. Cascade Hops for Bittering
1 tsp Irish Moss
1 oz Willamette Hops for flavoring
1 oz Willamette Hops for aroma

This wort tasted pretty good before I added the yeast. A couple of things I did different was that I steeped the specialty grains for 30 minutes in about 1.5 gallons (heated to 165 F). After the 30 minutes I put the spent grains in a strainer and poured hot water (about 2 quarts) over them in a process I will call faux sparging. During the steep, I had mixed the DME into about 1.5 gallons of cold water. I merely dumped the DME into the hot wort in liquid form. I am not sure if this was better but it took some of the stress out of dumping that much DME into hot water.

I also added the Cascade boil at the initial boil then added flavoring Willamette hops 45 minutes into the boil then again 60 minutes into the boil. The last set of Willamette hops took the boil for 2 minutes and should provide a nice aroma. I am thinking of stopping by the local homebrew store (LHBS) to buy another ounce of hops to dryhop the beer once I transfer it to the conditioning vessel.

The original gravity was 1.058 (1/7/06). Should be a good beer.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bottled the Wee Heavy

I bottled the Wee Heavy last night. The FG was a bit on the high side (1.018) ; the a.b.v. is about 7%. I am still working on learning how to bottle. I picked up a new tip via the homebrew forums. This time I bottled over the dishwasher door. This makes for less sticky beer on the floor. The big mistake I made this time however was that I tightened the spicket too much and blew out the gasket. I had to speed bottle because the spicket was leaking all over the place. Hopefully I didn't pick up any nasties. The leaky spicket also made for a low yeild, a little less than 2 cases.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bottling Day and Transferred the malty ale

Today I bottled the Thomas Valley Special Bitter. The gravity at bottling time was 1.010 and the yeild was about 21 large (c. 22 ounce bottles) and 8 1/2 twelve ounce bottles.

I used a 3/4's cup of corn sugar for priming. I really disliked the bottling process. It is a very messy. I hope to streamline it in the future but I'm not sure how exactly I'll can make the process more efficient.

I also transferred the malty ale to a secondary, for conditioning. I dry hopped it with a 1/2 ounce of Saaz pelletized hops. The gravity of the malty ale at transfer time was 1.009, a very respectable gravity.