Friday, May 27, 2005

 

Coast-to-coast connections

I got a personal message on the MoreBeer forum from a member in California asking me to brew an Irish Stout for his buddy that's getting married. I hope I can help him out - would be cool to make a connection and friend on the west coast. Besides... Another opportunity to brew? Heck yeah!

I'm down in Atlanta... been drinking some good beer. Had the "Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout" from someplace out in Colorado, been sipping on the "Oatmeal Porter" from Asheville NC's Highland Brewing Co, and am going out to the Buckhead Backlots tonight to drink some beer and watch Star Wars Episode III. Tomorrow is Shrimp & Beer at my fraternity, however I fear it will be keg upon keg of Miller Light... *groan*. At least on Sunday we're going to the 5 Seasons brewpub...


 

HOWTO make your own Guinness popsicle

Or, as the Brits are calling it - the Guinness Ice Lolly

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

 

RIP OAVIP

After the meeting on Friday, I promised myself that I would use my counter-pressure filler to bottle some of the Oak Aged Vanilla Imperial Porter. Jerry Carney was adamant that the First State Brewers should submit it to a contest or something, and I really wanted to be able to give out a few to people (Donna's grandmother, etc).

So I went and sanitized a case of bottles, figuring I'd bottle about 18 or so with a few extras.

I managed to get 9. Not because beer went everywhere during this inaugural use of the CPBF (and it did, probably about 6 oz all over my countertop and backsplash), and not because I stopped early (there was nothing left in the keg), but because my friends and family hit it so hard Friday thru Sunday.

I'm not complaining - I think it is fantastic that people love it so much. And I will definitely be brewing it again here very very soon, since it takes about 2.5 months to age out. Should be interesting brewing it all-grain instead of minimash, as I did the first go-round.

But it still makes me sad that there is no more kegged OAVIP for now... and I will have to ration my bottles. I will count my blessings if I can ever recreate it.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

 

Another week draws to an end...

Good meeting friday. I'm glad so many people made it... we had a good time. Hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves since our only order of business was... drinking. I showed off my refractometer, we kicked the keg of Scotch Ale, and I put on the Oak Aged Vanilla Imperial Porter - And people were sucking it down even though it was warm and foamy. That stuff is just amazing.

I brewed a scotch ale on Saturday - Took a while for the yeast to kick in and start fermenting it (It was yeast from a previous batch that was in the fridge for 5 days), but its going like mad right now.

I lined up my next 5 beers, I think. I've still got a Hefeweizen extract kit to brew one of these days, but the next 5 I drew up recipes for are:



Depending on when my 14 gallon kettle gets here, the Amarillo Pale Ale might be a 10 gallon batch.... speaking of which I need to catch up and get those pumps from him I bought back at the Belgian beer tasting at State Line... I don't have much interest in trying to lift a kettle with 12 gallons of scalding hot wort in it.

Off to Atlanta this weekend for Memorial Day. I'll be going to the first big Alumni Event since my fraternity chapter was allowed back on campus - Shrimp & Beer. Granted, its alot of really nasty beer that I normally wouldn't drink (Miller Lite), but hey... Its college. I haven't actually been back on Georgia Tech's campus for some time. Should be interesting. We're also going to meet some friends at the Five Seasons brewpub, which totally rocks. I recommend anyone passing thru Atlanta to check it out.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

 

9,000 year old beer

Dogfish Head brewer Sam Calagione recently brewed what's considered to be the oldest fermentable beverage.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

 

And another meeting comes...

Scott told me I should probably remind you all that THIS FRIDAY is the May meeting, and it'll be at my house. I've got plenty of food planned... and of course w/ the kegerator at our disposal I've also got plenty of beer. I think I might actually try to bottle the remainder of my keg of Pale Ale with the counter pressure bottle filler and make way for my Rogue Dead Guy Ale clone.... which would be cold and ready for consumption Friday. Ugh. That means throwing more bottles into my bleach bucket tonight so I can sanitize and fill them tomorrow or Thursday...

Scotch ale coming up on Saturday (provided I'm not too hungover)... And this one I'm going out on my own a little recipe-wise, and I'll be adding a couple ounces of oak in the secondary for additional depth. Not 4 ounces like my OAVIP, but 2. I may also brew my last remaining extract kit, a hefeweizen on Sunday. I need a good lawn-mowin' beer for summer.

I'm dying for my two belgians to be ready... but I think I'll drag them out when Scott and Marty do, although the strong dark belgian has at least another 4 months and the tripel probably has 2. Hell, I might just save them for fall and winter.

Found out one of the guys I work with is a recent addition to the homebrewing community - I'm going to see if I can get him to come to the meeting this friday. I think he might commute from Minnesota, however he might stay over weekends sometime. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

 

Bottled

Bottled my Light Scottish ale yesterday. Turned out quite a bit darker than I wanted - the "approximate color" box in Beersmith is not accurate (at least, on my computer monitor).
I know, "Light" refers to alcohol in this case. I wanted light and lite both. Alcohol-wise it's about 2.6% or so, which is what I was after for a summer beer.

Friday, May 13, 2005

 
OK, so our illustrious president *IS* coming to the next meeting (different Scott and I got my lines crossed), as are several other people I already heard from. I'm just a huge ninny that had a really rough week, and yesterday afternoon was all doom & gloom. I should have just had a beer and relaxed.

We'll have lots of fun at the next meeting. Lots of fun, food, and foam (hopefully the latter in just enough quantities to cover the top of our pints). :-)

Again, apologies for a bipolar moment.
-G

Thursday, May 12, 2005

 

Finally, I can add my $.02

To keep it short - if I had only known the magic of a yeast starter!

My Chocolate-Raspberry Stout could have had a lot more life to it. But, this Light Scottish Ale 60/- is rockin'!

 

Weird

I normally wait for the next meeting with eager anticipation, especially the week preceeding. This time I actually have more of an impending feeling of disappointment. I am probably getting way ahead of myself, and it may turn out just fine, but the fact that the Delaware Brewfest falls on the same night fills me with dread - Not to mention the fact that our own president isn't coming to attend that instead... I know its unfair, but I'm not sure what kind of omen that is nor how it fortells the future.

I think another reason is that it is my birthday - and I really wanted it to be fun. Having everyone over, drinking some homebrew, relaxing... and for some reason I've already deemed it a failure because of all my insecurities and this damned brewfest.

For a historical perspective, let me give you some background - I joined the club in April of last year - I hosted the July meeting, and 5 people from the club came. The previous meeting had nearly 10. Most of those that came left around 9:30 or 10... in their defense, they all had very valid reasons, but I still didn't know how to take it. I then waited a while and decided to host the December meeting. Again, probably a very stupid move because of the holidays - 4 people came. Regardless of the reasons, I have developed this "3 strikes, you're out" mentality - Very defeatist and petty, but it is my raw honest feeling. Is there something about my house that keeps people away, or are they just my very poor choices for hosting months? Does my beer suck? Do I smell? I just don't know.

I could bare my soul more and talk about a difficult youth, never being a popular kid, having parties that only a few fellow nerdy people came to, and the rest, but a 33 year old man should be able to get past all that childhood crap and just be an adult about it. I will at the very least have my wife, my best friend, and my parents in attendance, so I guess the rest is all gravy.

Bring it on. If **I** pour it and they *DON'T* come, their loss and more for me. (If you lost the reference, hover over the brewfest link or click on it, and check the website.)

Stupid brewfest. Stupid insecurities.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

 

take off, eh

'Sea of Beer' shuts down Canadian Highway.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

 

When it rains...

It pours. I've got beer b-day gifts coming out my ears, and I'm loving it. My parents have ordered me some Vent-matic faucets for my kegerator, I've got my 14 gallon kettle ordered, my sisters have given me $75 in gift certificates to Beer, Beer & More Beer, and my in-laws got me that rockin' refractometer.

I've got over 3lbs of hops and 200lbs of grain - and after I brew 2 more batches, I will be completely out of keg space!!!! DO'H! You guys GOTTA come to the next meeting on May 20 and help me drain the ones in my kegerator.

On tap currently I have:


Batches that have been kegged and will be brewed/kegged soon:


That will completely exhaust my kegs. I loaned another 5 gallon keg to Marty Drinan, but I don't expect to get that back for a few months. I may also get some more kegs from a friend who's brother-in-law works for Pepsi, but that's not for sure either. And of course, hopefully some of these will be drank before the long-conditioning ones like the Scotch Ale ever leave the secondary fermenters, so that should free up some.

Its good to be in so much brew gear, brew supplies, and ... well... brew. Time to get busy and start drinkin' it! Or... ***shudder*** start bottling again.

Or maybe I just don't brew for the first few months of summer and do something else... Wow. Maybe there is something else to do other than brewing... I hadn't even thought of that.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

 

Saludos de Puerto Rico!

Hi, everyone, I am in Puerto Rico for the next couple days. Here is an article on the Catholic view of homebrewing (or at least National Homebrewer Day, which was yesterday) :

http://www.catholicexchange.com/vm/index.asp?vm_id=1&art_id=28398

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)

Friday, May 06, 2005

 

Exhausted

Its been a long week, both at work and otherwise. I am so glad its the weekend. And its also been a really long day - Aside from the 8 hour workday, I had an 8 hour brew day today. Don't ask why... let's just say that I've got to make sure I never do another 90 minute mash and almost 2 hour boil. But I've got some porter in the carboy, yeast is pitched, and hopefully I will be fermenting when I wake up tomorrow.

I was shooting for a gravity of 1.062, but I ended up with 1.074 - apparently I'm more efficient than the anticipated 75% (nearly 82%). Speaking of gravities - I got a really cool new toy for my b-day from Donna's folks - a refractometer w/ ATC. I did some spot checks against the hydrometer I've been using for a year now, and its in agreement - but with more accuracy. Its also not as big a pain to use (only takes a couple drops). Very very cool.

Hydrometer

I guess for this meeting at our place on May 20 I'll have plenty of new toys to show off to folks since the last - My 3 faucet tower, my counter-pressure bottle filler, the refractometer, my AG system - Now if only people would come. The past 2 meetings at my house, only about 4 people showed up. I can only hope this one will be better attended... consider it a b-day wish.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

 

God bless the belgians

8.37%ABV - That's what ProMash says my Strong Dark Belgian is at. Even though it is young, I snuck a sip of what was left over in my racking tube tonight and... I can't wait. In 3 or 4 months this should be just amazing. I kegged it tonight and it is now sitting comfortably next to my Abbey Tripel that's been aging since January. I mentioned some days back that our club should have a Battle of the Belgians sometime late this summer or fall since Scott and Marty also have Belgian-style beers in the works (Marty's is probably in a keg by now, Scott's may also be...)

I'm sick. I'm dying for a beer, but my sinuses can't take it. I've been sipping on water all day, hitting the head every 1-2 hours because of it, and I still feel like someone shoved wool and barb wire up my nostrils. All the Claritin, Sudafed, and vitimins apparently can't save me from pollen... At least I haven't gotten a sinus infection YET :-\ So since I can't drink beer, I've been doing activities I can enjoy - Like formulating recipes.

As much as I'm not a hophead, I can't wait to brew the "Native Rage IPA" and assault our club members with it. With 2oz of Warrior hops (14.6%AA), 2oz of Tomahawk hops (14.4%AA) and 1.5oz of Chinook hops (12.1%AA), the 100+ IBUs should do a sufficient job of scalping some taste buds. The synaptic attack of 7.5%ABV and (hopefully) blood red color should fit the motif quite well too. Truth be told, most of the IBUs come from a 75 minute boil of Warrior hops which have a (reportedly) smooth bitterness, so my intent isn't for this to be a "stunt beer"... But I don't intend on it taking prisoners, either.