Sunday, January 29, 2006


Another Brewing Weekend

This time it was 10 gallons of my Native Rage IPA - Although it is more of a Red Ale than a Pale Ale. I had to borrow a second mash tun from Jerry Carney (many thanks, man!) and it worked like a charm. I unfortunately still didn't sparge enough and boiled too much, so I came up a little short in the fermenters - like 9 gallons instead of 10. Bummed, but hey - them's the breaks. I honestly didn't have enough room in my kettle to sparge more ... I collected an extra 1.5 gallons and boiled it off on the stove, adding it back at 30 min... But it still wasn't enough. That Camp Chef burner can boil some damn water like no one's business.

Initial gravity was 1.071, so it'll be just as strong as last time. Yeast are in there chugging away right now. I am tempted to brew more of it since I've got the hops & stuff on hand... but I think I'll resist.

I've got 43 White Labs vials I intend on turning in soon to claim a Polo shirt for my wife as part of their Customer Club. I'd essentially have to double my amount if I wanted the next item, so screw that.

Next up - Another strong stout. Man, I just love dark beers. While I was over at Jerry's place I also grabbed his 25 gallon kettle (or whatever it is) so I could brew an uber-big batch of black honey ale... Donna has declared it the "house beer", so I need to make sure we have lots of it. We also seem to give alot of it away to friends and family.

Off to put my Maibock in a secondary and begin the lagering process... WOOT! Things went really well, I think - gives me hope for brewing an Oktoberfest in March.

Friday, January 27, 2006



Click here to help save the Brewmaster's Castle, a testament to DC's little-knowing brewing history.

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


New Beginnings

Well, yesterday I brewed my Maibock. It took a really long time (nearly 7 hours) and I got a huge amount of break material in the kettle - I'm guessing the bottom 2 gallons were nothing but break. With some careful valving I kept the stuff that got into the kettle to a minimum, but I only collected about 4.7 gallons @ 1.069 OG. Perhaps I should have added some make-up water. At any rate, the airlock downstairs isn't blubbing yet (WLP833 is a notorious slow-starter), but it does have positive pressure. My adventure into the world of lager brewing has begun.

I called our friends over at Twin Lakes Brewing up off Route 52 in Greenville. Turns out they are right around the corner from my place of work AND just a mile down the road from where Brandywine Brewing Co used to be. They aren't open and brewing yet, but the brewer said he would love to have us come for a tour, open or not. I think we need to take him up on that offer and we'll discuss at the meeting at Scott's.

FIRST MEETING OF 2006 THIS FRIDAY! Scott will be mailing out the newsletter soon with directions. See you all there!

Monday, January 09, 2006


Busy in beerland...

Man. I feel like I've been up to my eyeballs doing beer stuff recently, but not brewing - my last brew was New Years Eve (Amarillo Pale Ale). This weekend we emptied all the bottles from my garage by stripping the labels off them. We ended up with 4 cases of 12oz bottles and 10 22oz bottles. I actually came up with a good plan - concentrated solution of PBW in my brew kettle, and I could soak a case at a time. It had the added benefit of being able to re-heat the solution when it got cold AND my kettle is amazingly clean now! Of course - it took 5 hours. I was wiped on Saturday.

Sunday was time to move some of my beer in secondaries to kegs - I now have a keg of Oak Aged Vanilla porter carbonating as well as the keg of my Homegrown Pale Ale 2005. I'll wait another week or two before I keg my Abbey dubbel.

Tonight I moved my 10 gallons of Amarillo Pale Ale to secondaries w/ an ounce of Amarillo dry-hopping in each. I absolutely adore this recipe - and it smells fantastic. I think I am down to around 4 ounces of Amarillo, so I'll have to check with Joe if he can order me another pound. Joe at How Do You Brew? will cut you an amazing deal on hops if you buy a pound at a time. I got a pound of Columbus 14.6% from him for like $8. Woot!

I think tomorrow night I'll measure out the grains for my Maibock. My starter is essentially done fermenting, so now I am waiting for the yeast to flocculate so I can decant most of the liquid. With a 1 1/2 gallon starter, I should have LOTS of yeast to ferment 5 gallons of Maibock. I wish I could say that I had the "Relax, Don't Worry, Have A Homebrew" attitude towards my first endeavor into the world of Lager brewing, but I really don't - I've been a stress case for a week or so now. Once I prove to myself that I can brew a good lager, I think I won't worry so much.

I have also listed all the beers I have slated for the next 3-4 months, and wow - I've got alot planned. When I looked at the list, I couldn't believe what all I had "on deck" already - it doesn't leave much room for experimentation for a while. So far the list includes:

That right there will chew through nearly the first 1/2 of my alloted gallons for the year (92.5 gal), and I've already got recipes for the vast majority of them written up in Promash. It's nuts. I suspect I will not have any problem hitting the 200 gal mark again this year.

Well, its time to go to bed and dream of stainless steel brew sculptures and temperature-controlled conical fermenters. Cheers all!

Friday, January 06, 2006


Local Competition Opportunity...

Forwarded to us via Jerry Carney.... Dust off a couple of those special bottles you've been saving (or counter-pressure fill some from that keg you've got stashed away) and submit them for judging! Your beer could be the next big hit at the Manayunk Brew pub! Best beers will be brewed there and served to their customers!

Competition entry fees will be paid for by the club if you bring your brew to the meeting and everyone agrees to submit it! Take note of the applicable categories below.

Best the Brewers
Thursday March 23, 2006
Manayunk Restaurant and Brewery

The 2nd annual Best the Brewer amateur/professional homebrew competition is looking for entrants. It is a BJCP sanctioned competition. This year submit beers brewed after November 2005 in the general categories: Pale ale; IPA; Brown Ale; Porter; Stout; Wheat; and spiced/vegetal specialty. Professional brewers that have agreed to homebrew as of 1/1/2006 come from Yards, Manayunk Brewery, Flying Fish, and Iron Hill. Prizes will be awarded for the winner of each of the 7 categories. Best of Show Beers (up to 3) that are from homebrewers, not professionals, will be brewed with the homebrewer at Manayunk Brewery and served at the restaurant.

Two 12 ounce bottles should be submitted by Saturday March 16th using the appropriate AHA submission form ( ) accompanied by a $5 entry fee payable to Tim Ackerson. Drop-off points for the competition are Home Sweet Homebrew, Keystone Homebrew and the Manayunk Restaurant and Brewery. Entrants can also be sent to Tim Ackerson, 101 W. Nippon St., Philadelphia, PA 19119.

There will also be a beer dinner along with the awards at the Manayunk Restaurant and Brewery on Thursday March 23rd. Full details about the dinner will be posted on .

For questions e-mail Tim Ackerson at or Chris Firey at . Hope to see everyone at the competition and dinner.


Jan 2006 @ Heavyweight Brewing

And now a short message from our friends over in Jersey at Heavyweight...

Happy New Year-

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrate. We think back on 2005 and appreciate the things that made it meaningful to be in the beer biz. Everybody has a silly Top list, so here's a few of ours:

> Fav beer: Saison Dupont
> Fav brewery: Ommegang (It just keeps getting better)
Philly's Yards is a close second -
(They make us proud and their beers are great).
> Fav brewpub: Brewer's Art (Great folks down in B'more)
Burlington Hearth in VT is another close second -
(Passionate people with great vision).
> Fav brewer: New England brewing legend, Todd Mott
> Fav character: Tom Peters (Monk's Cafe) -
(Tom always makes us feel happy to be in the biz).
> Fav bar/pub: Nancy's in Ardara, County Donegal, Ireland -
(Cop-out, but there's too many wonderful pubs in our area to single out one).
> Fav place to share a beer: Heavyweight's Open House

Speaking of that last one, we are hosting another infamous open house gathering on Sat., January 21th from 1-4 pm. We have our newest seasonal to share with you - Cinderbock Lager. We'll also have a few things in 750ml bottles for you to take away - Black Ocean Schwarz and perhaps some big bottle offerings of the Hammer and Lunacy. Sorry if this email reaches you in Salamanca or San Leandro, but do appreciate you being on our mailing list.

We will be out on the road and in New Haven at the Bru Room for the Conn. Real Ale Fest on Jan. 29th. February 9th is the second annual Heavyweight Ice Night at Barcade in Brooklyn. Paul and crew will be pouring 5 rare, ice-bocked beers including Cinderberg, Biere d'Ice, and other chilly offerings. If you haven't been to Barcade before, here's your excuse.

Thanks for making 2005 a great year for Heavyweight and for supporting
small breweries.

Tom and Peggy

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Brave New World

Well, I have dumped my Ommegang starter. I was too over-zealous in my approach, and should have started with a much smaller quantity of wort... 500mL is too much for even 3 large 750mL bottles. Next time I will actually try a different approach, and I will plan on it taking much longer to get to a pitchable volume - like 4-8 weeks, not 4-8 days. Lesson learned. I will not be dissuaded though - I shall reculture.

I have a large (1.5 gallon) starter of WLP833 German Bock yeast downstairs. I made the starter last night and am seeing the beginnings of activity tonight. I was really nervous about the long lag time, however after some research online I found that this strain is a notorious slow-starter. This will be my first ever "lager" beer, a Maibock, and I am more than anxious and a little nervous about how it will turn out. I'm probably psyching myself out a little. I also plan on brewing an Oktoberfest beer in March... so I'll use whatever I learn this time around to make improvements for that batch.

I have a new order from MoreBeer coming. My parents got me a gift certificate for $100, so I got a bunch of cool little gadgets and a couple of ingredients. I'll actually start bringing kegs to meetings in the future I think...

Next 3 batches are as follows (in order):

After that I have a huge laundy list of brews to get through during the first quarter of 2006, including:

And the list seems to be growing faster than my ability to remove items. Should be a great year.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Jan 1 rant

So you spend minutes of your precious life coming up with a password that is "Safe", that has numbers, symbols, letters (upper and lower) and all that other happy stuff and then suddenly you have a couple 750mLs of Ommegang and you can't seem to enter it correctly per keystroke, and Blogger won't let you post.

What a pain :-) kidding.

Actually, it might be more of a test to make sure that you're mentally capable of blogging something... in my case, I will fake it as much as I can.

No joke that I've drank alot of Ommegang tonight - I've got a starter of the dregs of 3 750mL bottles ont the stirplate at the moment. I say hurrah for a belgian beer that is best drunk at room temperature and ferments somewhere between 74 and 84 debrees. ROCK ON. Of course I am going to have a hell of a time fermenting that warm in these frigid Delaware winters, but oh well. There is also a very real possibility that the yeast is toast and I won't be able to reculture it at all. C'est la vie... That's why I am going to try to brew a couple gallon starter of WLP833 German Bock for a Maibock tomorrow.

I can't believe I'm supposed to be the FSB president for 2005. You all are crazy for trusting a guy brewing since father's day of 2004. Let's hope crazy is a good thing.

Well, after too much Ommegang and a pint of my delicious imperial Stout, I think it is time to just ring it. Have a fantastic new year, fellow brewers. May you batch OGs be high, FGs be low, and your tannins and unwanted cell counts be low.