Sunday, October 16, 2016

OK, so I've bottled both batches -- I did indeed brew a Chinook saison along with an English bitter. The bitter needs some age I think, it tasted a bit green the other night, but the saison -- which I bottled earlier today -- has some serious potential. It is very dry and has a pleasant peppery spiciness in the nose and in the flavor.  Oddly, I don't notice any telltale signs of Chinook hops. The English ale might end up a bit boring. I'm thinking both beer could have benefited from some dry hopping. Both beers have to site a few more weeks before any too serious judgement is made about them. I now have four cases of beer conditioning. I think I'll take another break from brewing until it gets to be winter and then maybe I'll brew an altbier.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The stove has been fixed for weeks, but I have not brewed a beer...until tonight. I toyed with the idea of brewing a saison, but I've been busy with work and other things and it didn't happen. A lot of fresh homegrown Chinook hops could be coming my way and still had an ample quantity from the previous I brewed an English IPA this evening. Everything went pretty well. The fermentatbles included two cans of Munton's Maris Otter LME, a pound of Weyermann CaraRed malt, about six or seven ounces of torrefied wheat and five ounces of corn sugar. I used an ounce of Chinook pellets for bittering and a quarter pound of my friend Eric Keeley's homegrown Chinook hops were steeped at the end of the boil. They were last year's crop, dried and stored in the freezer. They still smelled great, not cheesy or anything. Lots of resin. I'm using American hops, but I'm calling the beer an English IPA because I used Maris Otter malt extract and I pitched Wyeast London Ale III which is a very temperature forgiving English ale yeast. The optimal fermentation range for this yeast is 64F-74F. As I type this the wort is currently about 85F. I'm hoping my Brewjacket immersion chiller will bring the temperature down to at least 74F before fermentation really starts rocking. It's really too warm to brew a "normal" ale right now. The outside temperature is in the 80s and my tap water I use for chilling is in the 70s. I suppose I should of stuck with my idea to brew a saison-type ale. Has anyone ever brewed a saison with Chinook hops? Nevermind, this guy has and it seems like it turned out pretty good. Damn.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The stove is fixed! I repaired the receptacle that was damaged and the 10-inch burner on my electric stove is back in action. I tested it today by cooking some pinto beans for a couple hours and the burner did not quit. I plan to go to the  homebrew store tomorrow to pick up ingredients for a saison.

I'm celebrating the repaired stove with a glass of Control ALT Delete, the altbier I brewed a few months ago. It was fermented in my BrewJacket with great results! This altbier is probably the cleanest beer that I have brewed. There are absolutely no off-flavors. The carbonation is a touch high, but there are no off-flavors. In my opinion, the perfect alt should be clean and bitter in the finish with a solid body but a somewhat dry finish. I think I nailed that with this beer. The aroma is slightly hop-accented, but not out of the specifics for the style. (I used Spalter hops.) Although the carbonation seems a bit too bright, I do think it accentuates the hop bitterness, which I like. On to the homebrew shop!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Well, my red ale turned out okay, but I'm having stovetop issues. I think that all my years of brewing are taking a toll on my electric stove. I'm trying to decide if I want to go induction or just continue taking a break from the hobby. I seem to have less and less time these days. I don't even cook as much as I used to do. I blame it on being in a new job and being on the road most of the week which is a new lifestyle for me.

So, the Eastchester Red, the last beer I brewed is a little off the mark in terms of bitterness. This is no doubt due to the burner quitting on me during the boil. I'm not sure exactly at what point the burner quit, but I'm guessing I boiled my hops for 35 minutes instead of 60. That said, the beer is not a complete disaster. It is a bit of a malt-forward beer but the bitterness does balance it just enough. The use of amber malt really seems to have added the coffee character that some people describe along with a profoundly robust and deep caramel malt flavor. The other thing I've noticed with this batch is that the carbonation takes a while to integrate into the beer. I have to chill the bottles for several days in the back of fridge to the carbonation to calm down, but it is eventually perfect. The batch before this one was an alt and that is holding up quite well, although it seems a little plain, as it is not quite as bitter as I would or that malt forward. A very balanced, if not boring beer, but one with no other flaws and very clean.

Part of me would like to brew again, but I just don't trust my stove anymore, and I'm having a difficult time finding parts for it. Another part of me wants to go ahead and try induction. I should probably just fix the damn stove.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

I brewed a red ale last Thursday as I said I would, but the recipe changed. This happens sometimes. I get to the homebrew shop and realize I have forgotten my notes and make it up as I go based on the ingredients I can find. In this case, I decided to go with two cans of Munton's Maris Otter liquid malt extract, along with one pound of Weyermann CaraAroma and one pound of Torrefied Wheat. I stuck with the Wyeast 1318. I did a partial mash with these grains and added one ounce of Willamette pellets for bittering along with copious amounts of homegrown Chinook hops. I added these whole hops towards the end of the boil since I was unsure of their bitterness. I added ounce ounce of the Chinooks at 5 minutes left in the boil and steeped four ounces as the wort chilled for about 35 minutes. I expect this beer to a fairly full body with a moderate to intense hop aroma and flavor without being very bitter. Active fermentation started about 72 hours after pitching the yeast. I  chilled the wort down to 77 degrees but the tap water I added to top off the fermenter was so cold that it brought the temperature of the wort down to 58 which I felt was too warm cold for the yeast. I chilled the yeast packet in my fridge for about and hour and a half and checked the temperature of the packet with my infrared thermometer it was 65, about the wort was 62 and I went ahead and pitched. It took about two days for the temperature to raise to 68. It eventually rose to 72, at which point I decided to put the fermenter in my BrewJacket to prevent the temperature from rising outside of the recommended range for the yeast. Since then, I've been impressed at how hard the fan on the immersion chiller has run to hold the temperature at 72. My guess is that yeast is very active and generating a lot of heat.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I opened my freezer today and realized I have several ounces of Chinook hops from my friend Eric Keeley, so the next beer I brew will be a hoppy red ale. My love for hoppy reds started with a few different beers. The first hoppy red ale I encountered was either Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River or St. Rogue Red (and it's hoppier version Santa's Private Reserve) from Rogue. I spent a lot of time several years ago trying to craft a clone of St. Rogue Red and I have to say I got pretty close. I made water adjustments and found pretty much all the same grains that Rogue used at the time (this was about 10 years ago.) Some of those grains are no longer available now, not to mention that the recipe has changed. Later on I came across a beer called Panama Red brewed by Flossmoor Brewing Co. in Flossmoor, Illinois but I think the recipe has changed as it has only 28 IBUs of bitterness. I remember it being very hoppy several years and a couple brewmasters ago. I really like Chinook hops in a red ale. The flavor of these hops tends to marry well with caramel, roasted and toasty malts. I'm not sure if Chinooks are in Panama Red but I know they're used in Jamaica Red and St. Rogue Red. So the next beer I brew will be a hoppy red ale with homegrown hops. Here's the partial mash recipe I will be using for this hoppy red:

  • One 3.3 lb can of Briess LME
  • Three pounds of Munich malt
  • One pound of Briess 120L crystal malt
  • 12 HBUs of Chinook hops for 60 minutes
  • 36 HBUs of Chinook hops steeped for 30 minutes
  • Ferment at 68F with Wyeast 1318

Monday, January 18, 2016

Control Alt Delete Bottled

I work with computers, so when I make an Altbier, I usually name it Control ALT Delete. I just finished bottling my latest Altbier. This time it is simply the Brewer's Best Altbier kit, except I substituted an ounce of Magnum hops (12% AA) instead of Willamette to up the IBUs and fermented with Wyeast 1010. I did a primary ferment for seven days at 65F and a secondary ferment at 55F for 20 days. At bottling time this evening the beer exhibited a very pleasant clean, malty nose with very subtle hints of Hersbrucker with a fairly assertive bitterness. The caramel malt mingles well with the peppery hop. I'm quite pleased so far. I might try my hand at more northern interpretation of the style (darker) or I might do a French country ale.