Thursday, March 30, 2006

 

The hopocalypse commeth...

I brewed my Double IPA tonight. Gravity came out at 1.087 - Woot! My hop scale has been acting a little wonky recently, so I am concerned it wasn't hopped as aggressively as I wanted, but it'll still be plenty hoppy. Despite recalibrating several times, I think my hop scale may be off... need to find some more intermediate weights to make sure that 50g is really 50g.

I also completed another project - my Crankandstein grain mill is now motorized. Wish I could post pictures for you all, but Donna brought the digital camera with her to Atlanta. I'll have to post it next week sometime once she's back. I used it tonight for the first time and I gotta tell you - it is the epitome of sweetness. It gives a much more consistent and perfect crush than my hand drill did. I spent $75 on a 1/3HP, 100 in-lb torque, 151 RPM reversable 120V motor from Herbach & Rademan over in Jersey. It arrived in perfect condition. The remainder of my motor-related parts I ordered from McMaster-Carr, those being a capacitor and spider couplings for about $25. All my hardware, lumber, and wiring accessories I picked up at Home Depot down at People's Plaza. I guess all told I spent another $120-130 to get the mill motorized, but considering the results I won't complain. And if you think about it, all of that junk is still a fraction of the cost of the original mill and well worth it.... it'll last me forever.

My yeast starter for Sunday's brew is already going strong. It'll probably be fermented out by tomorrow morning and I'll stick it in the fridge until Sunday's session of McBride's Strong Ale from Stewart's. If you attended the AHA ralley up at Iron Hill Wilmington last fall, you probably got a copy of the recipe from Ric Hoffman as part of your literature. I quickly squirreled the recipe away and waited for an opportunity to brew it. I'll probably split it between 2 3gal kegs, one with oak cubes and one with bourbon oak cubes... Why not?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

Delaware Barleywine Expo


Delaware Barleywine Expo

April 22, 2006

Stewart's Brewing Company will host the inaugural Delaware Barleywine Expo. Featuring five different Stewart's barleywines vintages, including 2 bourbon barrel aged versions. We will also host barleywines from:

Dogfish Head Brewing Company

Victory Brewing Company

Iron Hill Brewing Company

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company


Sunday, March 26, 2006

 

Put a fork in me...

Oktoberfest (& brewer) are DONE... two hours ago I pitched yeast into my second lager ever - a marzen / oktoberfest. I am completely exhausted - I am still trying to fight my way clear of this damn cold my plague carriers (preschool children) gave me... My throat hurts, my ears pop whenever I swallow, I taste foulness whenever I cough... sometimes so long and constant that I bring more than just phlegm up with it... yet I still managed to brew today. I'm nuts.

And I intend on brewing 2 more times before next Sunday. Wife and plague carriers are taking a trip to Atlanta to visit with the wife's side of the family for a week - So I will be alone to do my thing. I've got a few other projects lined up... more details (and pictures) to come once / if I get them completed.

I'm exhausted. Time to go suck down some more water and go to bed... the more rest I get, the better I'll (hopefully) feel.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

 

Quaffable quandry...

My second lager attempt is on deck - without having even sampled my first. I have a 3 qt yeast starter of WLP820 Oktoberfest / Marzen going right now, in preparation for(hopefully) brewing my Oktoberfest beer on Sunday. This time around I'm trying not to sweat the whole thing as much as I did with my Maibock, which we'll crack into during the May meeting at my place.

In addition I've got a Double IPA and a clone of Stewart's McBride's Strong Ale ready to brew. Originally I wanted to brew my 20 gallons of Black Honey Ale next weekend, but I think that's going to have to wait until April 15th just due to lack of Primary carboy space - I have to get the Oktoberfest brewed this weekend, and doing that shorts me enough room to do the full 20 gallons. Holding off and brewing the McBride's first will also give me the opportunity to really build up a good yeast count of WLP002 - more than enough to pitch into 20 gallons.

Good meeting this past friday... Jerry and Joyce always host a good meeting. Hope to see you all at the next one - It'll be at Hank's place, and his wife Anjou always makes some fantastic Indian food.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

 

!!! BEER ALERT !!!

Here's an email I got from John Biggins:

-----Forwarded Message-----
From: John B. Biggins
Sent: Mar 19, 2006 5:32 PM
Subject: Please post on blog or mass-email the group

!!! BEER ALERT !!!

BREWERS' OUTLET, the beverage distributor in Chadds Ford; Rte. 202

north of Wilmington just over the DE/PA border; is getting rid of an overstock of the SARANAC SEASON'S BEST line for a dirt f@#king cheap, $10.99/case.

This is a NUT BROWN LAGER style (straight up; no 'holiday' spicings or anything).

Back when I used to live in upstate NY, 10-12 years back, I used to

buy this every Christmas when it came out.

I am drinking a bottle right now, and yes!, it is definitely as good as it was and an absolute steal for the price that they are selling it for.

They must have at least 50 cases left (piled on display as soon as you walk in), so stop up when you get the chance ! ! !

-jb

http://www.saranac.com/whats_new/index.cfm

Season's Best released December 1, 2005

Made to celebrate the holidays, this rich, mellow nut brown lager is brewed with a special blend of domestic and Belgian malts for a delicate nut-like character, then aged longer than most American

Beers. Enjoy its full-bodied taste and signature hop aroma. Available

now while supplies last!
~~~~~~~~~~

From the desk of John B. Biggins

We've got provisions and lots of beer
The key word is survival on the New Frontier
- Donald Fagen


Monday, March 13, 2006

 

Brew, brew, brew...

Moving the Amarillo Pale Ale we brewed at How Do You Brew on March 4th to a secondary today. An ounce of dry hops, and it smells like heaven...

I also brewed that Indian Brown Ale clone with Brian Moore on Saturday. Had a really good time, and the beer is gonna be good I think. I found the temperature had risen to 74 degrees last night, but after a couple hours on the porch, I got it back down into the 69-70 range. We're going to drink it in late April... looking forward to it.

I also need to bottle and keg the 10 gallons of Choking Sun Stout... I was originally going to bring some to the meeting this friday, however I think I'll do the demo with iodophor sanitizer instead. Safer....

Next up:
* Oktoberfest
* Stewart's McBride's Strong Ale on Bourbon Cubes

Thursday, March 09, 2006

 

Gallery is back

OK guys. Did some work tonight and I managed to get our Gallery reinstalled. The installation wasn't too bad once I understood the requirements. I didn't bother updating us to Gallery 2 since that requires a database, and I didn't want to fool with it. Also, I figured recovering to the latest version of Gallery 1 would let us keep all our previously configured users and albums - which it did.

Formatting was a royal PITA - I had to redo all of the "tweaks" I did a few years ago to incorporate the header, sidebar, footer, and standard CSS styles for the site, which essentially means figuring it out all over again. I killed those brain cells off a few drained cornies ago... but we're 95% of the way there.

We've got tons of new stuff we can add "free" through GoDaddy. There are a few BLOG add-ons, but I'm not sure that we want to move it. This one works great. We also now have up to 10 MySQL databases - I guess at some point I'll have to learn MySQL syntax and how to access it via PHP... fun... :-
This weekend I'm brewing a clone of Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale from the September 2005 issue of Brew Your Own... should be good. I'm excited about it, and already have a 3 quart yeast starter of WLP005 British Ale fermented out and in the fridge downstairs in preparation for Saturday.

 

TurboTap works with nitrogenated stouts

Brad Jolicoeur emailed me this link to a nice beer dispensing product! Check out the cool video!

Turbo... Stout?!

Yes, it’s true. TurboTap works with nitrogenated stouts, too.

The same technology used to pour perfect lagers also works for pouring nitrogenated stouts (like Murphy's®) at lightening-fast speeds. As always, seeing is believing, so take a moment to view an uncut video clip that demonstrates stouts powered by TurboTap. You’ll witness a sub-two second pour followed by the customary “cascading” of the tiny nitrogen bubbles. These bubbles settle to form the signature creamy collar that stout drinkers crave.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

 

GoDaddy... is a go!

OK guys... so today / tonight we switched from the free hosting that Dan Brzoska's old company was (unknowingly) providing us to the legitimate world of paid hosting with GoDaddy. I have uploaded the website with some minor glitches, however it is 95% functional. Unfortunately our gallery is currently down... I need to figure out if we're even going to be able to use that same package on GoDaddy. Any way you look at it, I've got a copy of the pictures and the captions (I think), so it shouldn't be a long-term issue.

Another thing I've done is set up our 3 main email address for the site, contribute/contact/webmaster @ firststatebrewers.com... so our flier address is now functional again as are the other ones. I even got them working with my MS Outlook and rules set up to segregate those e-mails into folders. Now Scott and I just need to work out how to manage the newsletter distribution list, etc.

As a side note... we've got 497 e-mail accounts left and 50 e-mail forwards... so if you want a FirstStateBrewers.com e-mail account, please let me know - we've got plenty. I think I may have to set up garrett @ firststatebrewers.com while I'm at it...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

 

The Secret to Life

100 year old woman holds key to long life: drink beer!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

 

2006 Hurricane Blowoff Homebrew Competition

I just got this email, so I thought I should share! :-)
-----Forwarded Message-----
From: Patrick Fossett
Sent: Mar 5, 2006 12:40 PM

Subject: 2006 Hurricane Blowoff Homebrew Competition

Howdy and Please Participate in the 2006 Palm Beach Draughtsmen Hurricane Blowoff. This is a blanket email going to all homebrew clubs listed with the AHA. Info is contained in the word doc attachment enclosed. Entries can be registered and paid for via PayPal on our website http://www.palmbeachdraughtsmen.com

We are also attempting an international practical joke on our announcer during the awards ceremony. If you would be a good sport please name all your entries �Hello, my name is Dan Oliver and I�m an alcoholic.�

Good luck and Happy Brewing

Patrick Fossett
2006 Hurricane Blowoff Head Steward
Palm Beach Draughtsmen

Friday, March 03, 2006

 

All-grain Demo - Saturday March 4th.

Tomorrow (Saturday) at noon will be the all-grain demonstration at HDYB. I am actually getting there around 11am to unload and get the strike water heating. My intention is to be ready-to-go at noon with the mash-in. I may delay until 12:15 to give folks a chance to show up.

We will be brewing my Amarillo Pale Ale, and I am also bringing several gallons to share (whatever is left in my keg) so folks know what it is that we are brewing. I typed up some instructions I will use as well as printed a recipe sheet ... I made 15 copies, so the first 15 that show up and want them, they are yours (I expect the demand will be much less than that).

I think the good AG stuff will be over by around 1:30 or so... after that, its just boil, cool, and pitch.... but it will take until 4:30 or so and I doubt folks will hang around that long.

My car is packed with toys - Hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

 

Holy alpha acids...

OK. So, in response to my February 23rd post entitled "HopQuest"... I have formulated a recipe to be brewed at the end of March. Its name will be "Hopocalypse". I'm sure you can imagine the tap handle label graphics already...

The short of it is: 9 oz of hops for 5 gallons, around 1.080 OG and hopefully near 1.016 FG, for something near 8.5%ABV.

I'm trying hard to put most of the additions at the end (flavor and aroma) and in the secondary as dry hops. I feel pretty good about the hop bill, but am still struggling with the malt bill. Here's the hops totals (times and quantities are scattered):

3oz Columbus
2oz Amarillo
2oz Simcoe
1oz Centennial
1oz Chinook

About 2/3 of the hops are added during the last 15 minutes or during the dry hop. I tried to go a little easy on the bittering additions (MH, FWH, 60min, 45min, 30min) so I didn't blow out someone's tastebuds with bitterness alone. As it is, the Promash calculated IBUs are 120+... I had some Cascade thrown in there at one point, but I had that sudden "what's the point" moment and pulled them out in favor of more Columbus (I do have nearly a pound, afterall).

Malt bill so far is as follows:

10 lb Pale ale
6 lb Vienna
1 lb Crystal 10
2 oz Chocolate

I think I might need a darker crystal in there as well... Like I said, I'm struggling a little with what malt bill would build a backbone for all those hops.

I'm thinking of mashing around 149 so it is good and fermentable. I'd hate for it to finish high and the malt mask some of that hoppiness.

I am a little frightened. I think that is a good thing.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

 

Sweetness

And I'm not just talking about the picture. My gorgeous, loving, tolerant wife let me buy 15 pounds of buckwheat honey from Fruitwood Orchards up in New Jersey. That's enough honey for me to make roughly 40 gallons of our house "porter", the Sirius Black Honey Ale. I'll brew 20 gallons of it at the end of March with the borrowed equipment from Jerry Carney.





And now, a beer haiku:

My honey's sweetest
Wild, potent, gorgeous and dark
Buckwheat is good too

Heh. Thank god I'm not an literary major... I need to stick to engineering.