Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What is the plan?

We probably need to at least rack the Ommegang sometime this weekend.  Visible signs of fermentation have ended on the Ale we brewed last weekend.  What is on tap for the Beer Brothers?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Update me!

Holy shit, we're behind.

Where are we?  We bottled the Scotch Ale (final gravity was approx 1.019), using maple syrup (1.5 cups, with .5 cups water added, brought to a boil for a few minutes).

We brewed the Red Seal clone, and that has been racked into the secondary (gravity was about 1.010).

The Ommegang Abbey clone is still in the primary, and should probably be racked soon.

The non-traditional Ale that Andrew found on Homebrewtalk is in the primary, and is fermenting like crazy mad.  It's original gravity was 1.045, I believe. 

We had a large group sample our wares last weekend.  The Hibernation is a big hit, but there were also few of them in existence...I think there is one bottle left in my house, but Andrew claims to have some held in a secret cave, somewhere.  The coffee/pumpkin porter was also a big hit, and surprisingly, the Winter Belgian has nothing but fans.  Easy Plateau is drinking as well as it ever has, and the Rye is a delicious, fruit bomb of a beer.  Don't ask about the Saison.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Dubbel Recipe

I can't seem to get enough of any belgian style. Here is a straight forward dubbel that I'm looking forward to brewing.

10 lbs Belgian Pilsner
2 lbs Belgian Caramunich
1 lb Belgian Special B
.25 lbs Weyermann Carafa I

0.75 oz Styrian Goldings (Pellets, 6.00 %AA) boiled 60 min.
0.5 oz Hallertau Hersbruck (Pellets, 4.50 %AA) boiled 20 min.
0.5 oz Hallertau Hersbruck (Pellets, 4.50 %AA) boiled 5 min.

1 lb Dark Candi Syrup
1 vial White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale
Mashed 60 mins at 154.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yeastie Boys

So, I've done the reading and research and the time for yeast washing is upon us. I'm picking up the supplies today and we will give this a try when we rack our red seal clone(wyeast american ale II). I really like the fruitiness of this guy so it will be nice to have more around to make starters with.

I will most certainly post updates and let you all know how it goes

Ed Worts Haus Pale Ale

This is one of the most brewed beers over @ the forums. Lots and lots o' good feed back. Figured we'd give this one a try due to the rave reviews and the economical price tag.

8 lbs. 2-Row Pale Malt
2 lbs. Vienna Malt
0.5 lb. Crystal 10L Malt

1.0 oz Cascade 6.6% at 60 min.
0.5 oz. Cascade 6.6% at 30 min.
0.25 oz. Cascade 6.6% at 15 min.
0.25 oz. Cascade 6.6% at 5 min.

Single Infusion mash for 60 minutes at 152 degrees
Sparge w/ 175 degree water
Pitch Yeast @ 75 degrees

The masses seem to love it:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wort Chiller Churches

This might be an awesome name for Ron's new kid. Wort Chiller Churches. I like the sound of it!!

sooo. lets make one!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Candy Andy's Next Batch O' Ale

This is a North Coast Red Seal Pale Ale Clone!

Ingredients (5 gallon batch)
9.5 lbs. pale malt
1.5 lbs. wheat malt
6 oz. 80 L Crystal Malt (English)
6 oz. Cara Pils Malt

step mash grains @ 145 F, hold 10 min. raise temp. to 155 F and hold for 45 min. rest @ 158, then sparge @ 170 F.
Hops and schedule: Cluster (7.7% AA pellets) and Cascade (6.5% whole leaf)

45 min: 1oz. Cluster & 1/4oz. Cascade
20 min: 1/4oz. Cascade
10 min: 1/4oz. Cascade
5 min: 1/4oz. Cascade
2 min: 1/4oz. Cascade
end of boil: 1/2oz. Cascade

O.G. 1054. American Ale II Yeast pitched @ 68F, 1 week in primary. 2 weeks in secondary w/ 1/2oz. Cascade dry hopped.
F.G. 1014

Sunday, December 13, 2009

If anyone is interested..

My all time top 3 beer..last years (2008) Great Divide Hibernation Ale is available at Greens for 12.49. They have 4 six packs.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Recipe #8 - Ron's Scotch Ale

My 'baby' is going to be a Scotch Ale style.  Picked up the general idea from a recipe on homebrewtalk's forum...I need to outline it here, since I changed it a bit:

  • 9.00 lbs 2-row Pale
  • 1.00 lb Crystal 80
  • 2.00 oz Black Patent
  • 8.00 oz Munich Standard Malt
  • 2.50 oz  Chocolate Malt
  • 5.00 oz Aromatic Malt
  • 1.5 oz Fuggle Hop Pellets
  • Wyeast 1728 - Scottish Ale
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar in 2 cups water, boiled for 10 minutes 
The recipe does not specify a boil time, other than to go for a 'long time'.  You want a lot of melanoidin, which is something that the Munich Standard emits as it caramelizes.  I'm thinking a 90 minute boil, so we'll need to maximize our water in the boil.  I switched from EK Golding to Fuggle hops.  Probably will want to do 2 packets of yeast.

Emailed the order to Thomas Creek today, and hope to pick it up tomorrow afternoon, before they close.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kinda Last Minute

Mary and I are having a few people over tomorrow night for drinks and Gumbo, but also to watch the best Christmas movie ever, Christmas Vacation. You are all welcome to come over around 6:30 - 7:00. My cell# is 414-6780.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Week In Beer... Pt. 2

Another installment of what sorts of liquid goodness have been seen around town lately:

At Total Wine
* Affligem Noel
* Delirium Noel
* Avery DuganA IPA
* Avery The Czar Imperial Stout
* Southern Tier Krampus Imperial Helles Lager
* Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale
* Magic Hat Howl Black Lager
* Bell's Winter White Ale
* Bell's Java Stout
* Bell's Cherry Stout
* Victory Old Horizontal Ale
At Whole Foods:
* Bell's Two Hearted Ale 5L Mini Kegs
* Avery 16th Anniversary Ale

The Sierra Nevada / Dogfish Head collaboration "Life & Limb" sold out quickly at TW, but rumor is the Drop In store behind Horizon Records is getting a case in today...

So...had any of these yet? What did you think?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

When are we bottling?

I think the Rye needs to go in the bottle.  Likewise for the Saison.  Prob can't even happen until early next week, but we need to be thinking about this!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Edgar Allen Poe

Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain.
Quaintest thoughts, queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away.
What care I how time advances;
I am drinking ale today.

Homebrewtalk Help on the Saison

I posted for some advice/help on our Saison at Homebrewtalk...follow that conversation here:

Recipe #7 - Ommegang Clone

This was brewed on November 28th, and was our 7th batch. The recipe:

5 lb. 9.6 oz. Pilsner malt
2.25 lb. aromatic malt
1 lb. 6.4 oz. crystal 20
2.25 lb. Briess Special Roast malt (50 Lovibond)
2 lbs dark candi sugar
6.25 AAU Styrian Goldings (60 min) (1.25 oz. of 5% alpha acids)
.33 oz. Styrian Goldings (0 min)
2 pkgs Wyeast 1214 (Trappist Yeast)

This was our first 'step mash'. We started with 5.5 gallons in the pot, and brought it to just over 113. Added the grains, took off the heat, and covered for 15 minutes. We brought it back to the heat, raised the temp to just over 144, then covered for 15 more minutes. We followed that same process for these temperatures/times:

113 degrees: 15 minutes
144 degrees: 15 minutes
154 degrees: 15 minutes
162 degrees: 10 minutes
169 degrees: 5 minutes

We then sparged about 1.5 gallons of water at 170 degrees into the wort. Estimated volume at this point was about 5 gallons.

We brought the wort to a roiling boil, then started a 90 minute boil. The Styrian Goldings went in at 60 minutes, and again at 0 minutes. We had a significant boil off, of approx 1 gallon.

From here, the wort was chilled. We let it come down naturally, for a bit, before transferring to an ice bath to bring down quicker. Approx half a gallon of water was added to the carboy, along with the wort. OSG was high: 1.093. The estimated OSG for this recipe was 1.074. I believe this was due to a more concentrated wort. We probably have about 4 gallons in the carboy.

Pitched the yeast, 2 pkgs, at around 75 degrees. Aerated the wort, and capped with the airlock. Fermentation was going around 12 hours later, when I checked. I think this one will be good, but will be very hot...if we can get down to the estimated final gravity of 1.013, we will be in the 9% range of ABVs.

Recipe #6 - Rye Ale

I believe we brewed the Rye Ale, our 6th recipe, on the 21st of November (we need to bottle this guy, fellas). I'm a little fuzzy on the details, since we didn't get it on the blog in a timely manner. I'll try to duplicate to the best of my knowledge...The recipe was modified for a 3 gallon batch:

6.14lb Pale Malt
1.36lb Rye Malt
.34lb Cara Pils
.34lb Crystal Malt 40L
.75oz Sterling @ 60 min
.5oz Sterling @ 15 min
.25oz Willamette @ 0 min
American Ale II yeast

This brew session went very well. We mashed at approx 158 degrees, with about 2 gallons, as I recall. Sparged around 172 degrees, with another 2 gallons of water.

The boil was a 60 minute. For some reason, I think we were short of the actual hops, by a little bit. We had a 1 oz package, but needed 1.25 oz of Sterling.

After the boil, we cooled things down in an ice bath, and pitched at around 75 degrees. I believe our OSG was approx 1.055.

Fermentation was quick, and was heavy. Our small carboy could not handle the trub, and we had some spew through the airlock. After things calmed down, I pulled the airlock and cleaned it.

Overall, I think this was a very successful brewing, even if the details are a little lost. The beer has good flavor, in it's fermenting state, though might be a little lighter in body that we wanted. This should be bottled soon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

An Update!

Took the week off, so this place died down to nothing. You know, other Beer can post too!

Anyway, quiet here doesn't mean quiet in the fermenter. Here's a brief summary of what has gone on, with more details to come:

- The Pumpkin Porter has been bottled, and is carbonating away.
- The Saison has been racked, though it tastes funky...hopefully a spice bag/dry hop will fix us up.
- We have brewed batch #6, a Rye Ale. It's about done with fermentation, and could be bottled soon.
- We have brewed batch #7, an Ommegang clone, and that is fermenting nicely.
- The Hibernation Clone and the Winter Belgian have both been enjoyed. More on these later.

Obviously, that's a lot to talk about. Hopefully I can do so, today through Wednesday...then it's back underground for a few days, as I prepare to cook for 100+ people on Saturday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

As The Gall Bladder Turns

With a vital member of the Beer Brothers recovering from a trip to the opium den, we opted against brewing the Rye, and instead transferred the Saison to it's secondary.

A taste left us scratching out heads. It was certainly flavorful, and interesting, and maybe good...but it had a smokiness that was a little weird on the palate. Some more aging + carbonation will hopefully tone that down some. Not sure where a smoky flavor profile would come from. Peppery, maybe, but smoky?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I want a full review

I missed the big event at Barley's last night. I want you to make me feel like I was there, down to how the bathroom smelled, and whether 'Machine Gun' was played on the Jukebox.

Also, how many bottles did we get?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Feedback - Batch #1 AKA Easy Plateau Pale Ale

Batch #1!

OK, here's where we need to get some feedback from our loyal readers & friends...

Those who have sampled the first brew...what did you think? And those who want to try it...let us know! We've still got a fair amount left - perhaps we can hook you up.

I'd like to make this blog a place where we can get some interaction going between brewer and consumer of brew. Help provide us a more unbiased opinion about what we've been up to the last few weeks & let us know what you think. Leave feedback in the comments...

Brew Day?

So, when is it going to be, fellas? We also need to rack the two batches we have in the carboys right now...

We could just bottle age the porter, but we do NOT have enough bottles at the moment. That Saison needs to come off the trub for a bit, I think.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bottling Over the Weekend!

Seems like a good time for an an update.

We bottled on Saturday night, managing to get a case of the Hibernation clone (recipe #3) and about forty-eight 12 oz servings of the Winter Belgian into their own drinking vessels.

Things generally went smoothly during the process. Oxyclean was a big help in de-labeling the empty bottles, and I went through a soak and scrape process Friday and Saturday to prep enough bottles. We are already ahead of the game for the next bottling; I'd say there are about 20-30 bottles ready to go.

We tasted the Hibernation the other day, and thought it was a nice compliment, if maybe lighter bodied, to it's cousin. I'll be very curious to see them side by side, but we need to wait for carbonation.

The Winter Belgian was very pungent on the nose, but was surprised that the spice smell didn't really hit the flavor of the beer. It's a meaty style, I'd say, and probably not session-able, but I think it's going to be a big winner. Very impressed with how that one is going.

We need to get some things on the calendar...the Saison and the Pumpkin porter deserve to be racked this week, and we have all the ingredients to brew the small batch rye. That needs to happen this week.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This Week In Beer...

Thought I'd start a little weekly posting here about new and interesting beer I've spotted in the area, especially since I have a little insider knowledge working on the beer retail side. Here's the new stuff seen on the streets this week...

Total Wine:
*Bell's Expedition Stout - one of the most sought-after seasonal offerings from Bell's & one of the highest rated stouts in the world.
*Highland Cold Mountain Ale - The Asheville brewery's annual spiced ale offering for winter. Available in 22oz bottles.
*Rogue Captain Sig's Northwestern Ale
*Rogue Yellow Snow IPA
*Founders Backwoods Bastard - bourbon barrel aged scotch ale.
*Founders Harvest Ale - wet hopped ale showcasing this year's finest hops.
*Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout - released this year in 4 packs instead of 6 packs.
*Great Divide Hibernation - awesome seasonal old ale.
* New Belgium Biere de Mars - interesting fruity ale bolstered with the addition of wild belgian yeast. Available in 22oz bottles.
*Stone Cali-Belgique IPA / Sublimely Self Righteous Ale / Vertical Epic 09.09.09 / Double Bastard

Seen at Whole Foods:
*COAST 32/50 Kolsch & Hopart IPA - renowned brews from Charleston, SC finally make it to Greenville.
*Bell's Third Coast Old Ale & Christmas Ale

We Bottling This Weekend?

If so, we are probably 10-20 bottles short of being able to rock the Winter and the Hibernation clone, which both need to go into the bottle.


Let me know if Saturday or Sunday works better...I'm going to give the new bottles an Oxyclean bath tomorrow (taking the day off).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quick Update

Our weekend double batch is still chugging along, as far as I saw last night. The Saison is roiling, and pumping the airlock, but has definitely peaked it's fermentation. The Porter is slowing, slowing, slowing, and will probably stop bubbling in the airlock today or tomorrow, I'd guess. In both cases, I think we're getting solid fermentation, and I believe both will turn out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Recipe #6 - Ryan's 'Baby'?

Ol Ryan was discussing his 'Baby' yesterday. He's leaning towards an Imp Stout. I think that would be pretty awesome. Sample recipe we looked at in his book (extract) had an OG of 1.090. It'd be pretty impressive if we could get that kind of sugar out of an All Grain recipe.

Monday, November 9, 2009

As The Trub Turns

Came home to the Saison fermenting like crazy mad (technical term). What was most surprising was that the trub, which had been at least 5 inches thick, is now basically all swirling through the beer. It's a violent fermentation. There is also about 3/4th of an inch on the top. All signs point towards a strong fermentation for this beer. So much for a delayed start!

Proposed American Rye Ale

I think this would be a great batch for the 3 gallon carboy once the hibernation is bottled. This batch is also very economical. It should come out under 20 bux!!

6.14lb Pale Malt
1.36lb Rye Malt
.34lb Cara Pils
.34lb Crystal Malt 40L
.75oz Sterling @ 60 min
.5oz Sterling @ 15 min
.25oz Willamette @ 0 min
British Ale Yeast


Current Status - Recipes #2-5

It's a damn beautiful sight, seeing four carboys going at the same time.

Recipe #2 - Belgian Winter - This guy will be ready to bottle come the weekend. It's in the plastic secondary.

Recipe #3 - Hibernation Clone - I noticed some slight roiling in the carboy, so there could still be some fermentation going. The krausen is all but gone, and the airlock activity seems to have slowed to a stop. I believe we are leaning towards bottle conditioning, instead of racking into a secondary. We need that small carboy for the Rye Ale!

Recipe #4 - Saison - No activity noticeable in the carboy yet. LOTS of trub, though. Aerated a second time yesterday, so hopefully it'll jumpstart. This is our second batch that is out of the gates slow, and both times it was a Belgian yeast strain. Might want to double that up, or use a starter process.

Recipe #5 - Pumpin Porter - Heavy activity in the airlock. Big foam head, that seems to have peaked already, and is starting to retract. Looks like a black hole, it's so dark. Heavy, almost fruity, aromas out of the airlock.

Recipe #5 - Pumpkin Porter with Brown Sugar and Molasses

1 can Amber Liquid Extract (12.5 SRM)
2 pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056)
1/4 lb Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)
1 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)
1/2 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)
2 lbs Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
1/2 lb Molasses (80.0 SRM)
1 can Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM)
1.5 quarts Cold Coffee
8 lbs pumpkin
3 oz Northern Brewer (4.30 %) (or the equivalent, in fresh hops) (60 minutes(
1 oz Cascade (5.50 %) (or the equivalent, in fresh hops) (0 minutes)
1/4 tsp Irish Moss
1/2 lb Light Sugar, Dark (8.0 SRM)

Roasted 8 lbs of pumpkin for 2 hours at 350 degrees. Roasted with pumpkin pie spice and a spray of olive oil over the pumpkin.

Brought 6 gallons of water to 155 degrees. Specialty malts steeped for 60 minutes.

Wort brought to a boil. Fresh Northern Brewer hops added, in a mesh bag, at 60 minutes.

Extracts added over the course of the boil. I believe the first went in around 30 minutes (Can of light extract). The DME went in around 20 minutes. The can of Amber went in around 15 minutes. The molasses and brown sugar went in around 10 minutes.

Irish Moss in at 5 minutes.

Fresh Cascade hops, in a mesh bag, added at 0 minutes, and steeped for approx 10 minutes.

Wort chilled to < 80 degrees. Coffee added directly to sanitized carboy, before wort added. Specific Gravity was 1.073. Wort aerated, and 2 packages of yeast pitched at approx 75 degrees. Capped with airlock.

Recipe #4 - Saison

7 4 American Two-row Pale
2 0 Vienna Malt
0 8 Flaked Oats
0 8 Flaked Wheat
0 8 Honey
Boil 60 mins
1.5 Goldings, East Kent info pellet 4.2 Boil 15 mins
0.75 Hallertau pellet Boil 1 min
0.75 Hallertau pellet
boil 0 min 0.5 ounces Coriander
boil 0 min 0.07 ounces Grains of Paradise
boil 5 min 1 ounces Irish Moss
boil 0 min 0.25 ounces Orange Peel, Bitter
boil 0 min 0.25 ounces Orange Peel, Sweet
1 package of Belgian Ale Yeast

This was our first attempt at a full batch All Grain recipe.

Brought 4 gallons of water to 165 degrees outside on a propane burner. Grains mashed at approx 155 for 60 minutes.

Honey added at 10 minutes.

Brought 2.5 gallons of water to 175 degrees. Grains sparged for 15 minutes.

Wort brought to a boil. Hop schedule: Goldings at 15 minutes, Hallertau at 1 minute.

Spices added at 0 minutes.

Ice bath prepared. Wort chilled down to < 80 degrees, and poured into sterilized carboy. Filter issues resulted in significant trub in the carboy. Pitched yeast at approx 75 degrees. Original Specific Gravity was 1.063.

Overall, I feel like this batch went smoothly. The outdoor burner worked much better at bringing boil times down, and made a full batch possible, even if the entire recipe took 5 hours to get into the carboy. Wort chiller and a lauter tun are still very high on the list of needs, if we want to go All Grain in a serious way. This beer will need to be racked off of the trub.

Updates coming!

Gotta settle into my Monday morning, but I should have some updates from the two Saturday batches in just a little bit.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cold Brewed Coffee Extract

The cold brewing extraction method is under way. This process will allow us to have all of the sexy coffee taste without any of the bitterness. I used a super tasty blend of Sumatra and El Salvador from Whole Foods. Should be just what we need to take Ronzonie's recipe to the next level!!

Batch #3 - Photos

Here's a bit of documentation of Wednesday night's first foray into the hot, sticky world of all-grain brewing. Enjoy!

tools of the trade.

adding the grains.

getting all that sweet goodness outta the bag.

is this heaven?

wort chillin'

and a bonus shot for you...

siphoning batch #2 (spiced belgian) into the 2nd fermentation.

Recipe #3 - Update

Our little carboy that could was just bubbling away, when I checked on it. The krausen has dropped, maybe a little bit. Not sure what we did to that first batch, to make it foam so much, but these other two have not climbed the side of the vessel that much.

There is a pungent, citrus hop aroma coming out of the top of this guy. I will be very curious to see how close to Hibernation this will turn out. Maybe we should sample some Hibernation this weekend, in anticipation?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Almost Forgot...

It's Beer Brother Shawn's birthday! Hope you get everything you wanted, and bring that turkey fryer over so that we can double batch on Saturday!

We should enter competitions...

This one is in Columbia.

What was that homebrewing association Ryan was saying we should join?

I can't remember...what was it called?

Shopping List for Thomas Creek

Andrew, add these 'Grain' items to the order you put in today for the Saisson.

1/4 lb Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)
1 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)
1/2 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)

Not Grain:
1 can Amber Liquid Extract (12.5 SRM)
2 pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056)
1 tsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
2 lbs Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
1 can Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM)

Grocery Store Items:
8 lbs pumpkin
1/2 lb Molasses (80.0 SRM)

Asking for Some All Grain Help at Homebrewtalk

Follow the discussion here. Hoping to get an idea of why we missed our Specific Gravity so much.

Recipe #3 - Hibernation Ale Clone

Recipe #3 - Hibernation Ale Clone - 11/4/09

8.4 lbs Vienna Malt
0.9 lb Flaked Oats
0.45 lb Caramunich Malt
0.30 Biscuit Malt
0.30 Special Roast
0.23 Chocolate Malt
1 oz Centennial Hops (75 minutes)
1 oz Northern Brewer (15 minutes) (fresh hops)
0.5 oz Magnum Hops (15 minutes)
0.5 oz Magnum Hops (5 minutes)
1 oz Northern Brewer (5 minutes)(fresh hops)
British Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1098)

Recipe yields 3 Gallons!

This was our first All Grain attempt. We brought 3 gallons of water to the mid 160's, and mashed the grain in a large pot. Boil in a bag method. We had to top up with just a little boiling water to get back to temperature. This steeped for an hour, and held it's temperature upon completion. We collected roughly 1.67 gallons of wort from the mash. That wort was stored in a sanitized carboy, until we could add it back to the boil pot.

We then sparged, by bringing another 3 gallons of water just over 170 degrees into the grain, and steeped that for 15 minutes. We collected roughly 2.5 gallons of wort from the sparge, yielding us a total of just over 4 gallons of wort in the pot.

That was then brought to a boil, with hops added. Initial plan was 65 minute boil, but we added the hops before boiling was reached, and ended up adding 10 minutes to the overall boil. That means the Centennial spent 75 minutes in the boil.

At 15 minutes, we hopped with the Norther Brewer (fresh) and Magnum (pellet) hops.

At 5 minutes hopped the remaining Norther Brewer and Magnum hops, for aroma.

We had very little boil off in the pot, resulting in approximately 4 gallons of wort in the pot. Since we were planning a 'half batch', in the smaller carboy, we poured off approximately 2.5 gallons into a smaller pot, and chilled it in an ice bath. Chilling to < 80 degrees took approximately 35 minutes (stirring helped). That was then transferred to the carboy, at approximately 75 degrees. We were a little short of our desired volume, so we quickly chilled another half gallon or so (took 5 minutes), and topped up to right around 2.5-2.75 gallons in the carboy.

Hydrometer reading at 75 degrees was 1.060. Adjusting for temperature, that puts us right at 1.062 for the batch.

We pitched the yeast, aerated, and capped the airlock.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beer Lunacy

The belgian is racked with some extra spices in the secondary fermenter. Even with the hibernation clone we are currently brewing, we are left with 2 empty carboys. Which leads me to a very important question: what are we doing with out lives gentleman? We need to get busy. If Shawn can make it over Saturday we are going to do 2 batches. An all grain saison outside and extract pumpkin porter inside. What follows is the recipe for the all grain saison.

7 4 American Two-row Pale
2 0 Vienna Malt
0 8 Flaked Oats
0 8 Flaked Wheat
0 8 Honey info
Boil 60 mins

1.5 Goldings, East Kent info pellet 4.2 Boil 15 mins
0.75 Hallertau info pellet 3.1 Boil 1 min
0.75 Hallertau info pellet 3.1

boil 0 min 0.5 ounces Coriander
boil 0 min 0.07 ounces Grains of Paradise
boil 5 min 1 ounces Irish Moss
boil 0 min 0.25 ounces Orange Peel, Bitter
boil 0 min 0.25 ounces Orange Peel, Sweet

Batch size: 4.9 gallons

Brew Night!

When are we kicking things off? I'll be home around 5, feeding the baby and prepping the kitchen.

All Grain Linkage

This guy has a great set of instructions, with pictures, on the mash/sparge process (in a cooler). This is where we need to be.

Equipment Wish List

X-mas is almost here, and we need to be telling our women what we want! Fuck an Ipod, a new pair of black skinny jeans, or that new portable record player (unless it's got a wort chiller attachment). I can keep this as a running list, and update it frequently, when we find links to exactly what we want.

The basics:
Wort Chiller - Do we make one ourselves? Buy one retail?
Mash tun - I like the Coleman cooler varieties.
Wine thief - We really need this to take good samples of our beer, without having to tip the carboy.
More bottles! - Goes without saying.

Three tiered burner system
Stainless Steel Fermenter
Kegging system/converted fridge system

What else?

The All Grain Versus Extract Debate - Part 1

I can tell, this is going to be a debatable issue for the Greenville Beer Brothers. There is certainly a drive to move towards the All Grain methods, which allow better control over the ingredients, and by extension the final product. It might be nice to have an open dialogue, so that we are all on the same page, and moving towards our ultimate goal: A homebrew that would make Baby Jesus tear up with joy.

I'd like to present the case that we should ease into the All Grain territory. This is an awkward case for me, in some ways, since I tend to want to crank things to '11' right off the bat. Still, I feel some prudence is required, as we cut our homebrewing teeth.

There are four main reasons I think we should engage the All Grain process incrementally. Those reasons relate to equipment, time, refining our process, and learning flavor components.

We are ramping up our equipment, slowly but surely, but the All Grain brewing process puts strains on what we currently have at our disposal. We have done a good job of increasing our overall fermentation capacity (we could primary four batches, plus a half batch, right now). Our issue is getting a 5 gallon batch in the pot. Adding a large (30+ quart) pot is going to be critical, and is something we have on tap, just to push our half batch Hibernation clone through the process. But we do not really know, more than anectodally, about how well we're going to be able to do the Mash/Sparge boil in a bag method, on the stove.

What I feel our push should be, in terms of equipment, is a cooler system that will let us take the Mash/Sparge off the stove. I think this is the real impetus between us and going All Grain in a big way. I will admit, I could be wrong about this, and we will put this whole theory to a hard test tonight, assuming we are still brewing the Hibernation half batch.

All Grain takes more time. It does. There's additional processes that have to be followed, which bring with it even more processes (cleaning, prepping, learning, etc). Extract brewing is nice, because an entire batch can be in the carboy in 2-3 hours, once we get things down to a science. I think there will be moments, even after we have a nice three tiered burner system, a 15 gallon stainless steel fermenter, and a 5 tap converted fridge, that we will still brew extract recipes. I don't think we should lose sight of the mantra 'It's not the technique, it's the beer'. Good beer, no matter how we make it, is the ultimate goal. There may be times we will have to strike a balance between time and process, and end up going extract.

Refining Our Process
We have two batches done. Only one of those is in bottles. We are still Noobs, in a big way. We have yet to face a hard challenge to our process, that either results in us having to rescue the batch in some way, or that ruins the batch. We, being the ultimate geniuses that we are, are probably already better than some more seasoned brewers, but repetition of the basic processes is going to net us our greatest incremental gains in skill. Maneuvering as a team, as well, is a key component of what we're doing here. Trading out roles, so that each of us is gaining experience in each of the aspects of the batch. This is why I'm such a fan of our robust appetite for brewing, that has resulted in probably 4 batches in the carboy within 2 weeks time. That's borderline insane, and we're lucky we can still get laid, having put our women through this. It shouldn't be overlooked that we can get loads of experience, right now, through extract brewing. The All Grain process is going to take us away from the basic principles, as we ramp up that skillset. We need to have confidence that there are no gaps in our basic process.

Learning Flavor Components
This one could be the most important. We've barely tasted the fruit of the process. We have read about what Cascade hops do, and we've sampled many commercial brews that have them as a main component, but can we say, with any real conviction, what a Cascade hop tastes like in our process? Ramping up to All Grain will bring us more control over the ingredients, but right now we are still lacking in a fundamental understanding of what those ingredients are supposed to be, in the first place. There is so much to know, so much to learn, so much to do, it's easy to start taking three steps at a time. A good chef knows his ingredients inside and out, and the same would go with a good brewer. We've got to get to this level.

This wasn't an effort to reel us in, as much as it is to begin the discussion of how we will transition to All Grain (we certainly will, in a big way, at some point). There are some serious Pros that will outweigh all the Cons, over time. Our best beers will likely come from All Grain, and will have personality that only that process can impart. We'll get there.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recipe #4 - Pumpkin Porter Shopping List

What we need to buy:
1 can Amber Liquid Extract (12.5 SRM)
2 pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056)
1/4 lb Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)
1 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)
1/2 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)
1 tsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
2 lbs Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
1/2 lb Molasses (80.0 SRM)
1 can Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM)
(quantity?) Cold Coffee
8 lbs pumpkin

What we have:
2 oz Northern Brewer (4.30 %) (or the equivalent, in fresh hops)
1/2 oz Cascade (5.50 %) (or the equivalent, in fresh hops)
1/4 tsp Irish Moss
1/2 lb Brown Sugar, Dark (50.0 SRM)

Where My Brewers At?

We doing this thing tomorrow PM, or not?  Andrew said he had a pot in we have the math down for the conversion? 

We still on for the Porter this Saturday?  The lady of the house will be out doing wedding shower/bachelorette party stuff, so it's a perfect opportunity.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Originally uploaded by branimal9

Now we have to wait. Again.


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Morgie's got 'em all dressed up and ready to go...


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Like putting an egg on it, but with caps!


Originally uploaded by branimal9

Putting the good stuff closer to your fingertips!


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Just like you used to do with gas back in your juvenile delinquent past!


Originally uploaded by branimal9

Getting those pesky labels off is quite a task, isn't it Andre?

Favorite place to grab a beer in Greenville

I really like Barleys, can't beat the beer selection. Addy's is another favorite, quiet chill place with decent beer.

New Blog Design

What do we think of the colors?  Of the readability?  I like it, stylistically, but I'm finding it hard to see where one post ends and another begins.  Might also be because we didn't put Titles in for some of those posts over the weekend.  Perhaps changing the color of the text?  It's obviously a work in progress.  Our logo design, pending creation, could go where the closeup picture of the hops are now, or perhaps in the little gray box right underneath that. 

Wednesday Night Session?

Looks like the Wednesday Night's brew session (the Hibernation clone, all grain attempt) is going to hinge on the procurement of a large cooking vessel.  It is a significant investment...if we were to go 32 quarts (8 gallons), we're probably looking at a 50+ dollar investment.  Probably high of that estimate, unless we find a great deal. 

Obviously, we need high quality materials, which means stainless steel, at the minimum.  Aluminum imparts bad flavors to the batch, and is substandard.  Copper is a good option, but I'm sure those are very expensive...I can't even find one quickly online that is below a couple hundred bucks.  Time to scour the discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls, or maybe hit the restaurant supply stores. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Welcome to the bottle, brew

We bottle Recipe #1, the well hopped Pale Ale.  It was a task getting all the bottles sanitized.  I count a good 2 hours prep work on that, and plenty of water used.  From there, things worked fairly well.  The siphon went alright, and after a few minutes of head scratching, even the bottling setup wasn't too much for our monkey brains. 

The end result?  A beautiful arrangement of bottles in my kitchen, ready to age, and eventually enjoy.  Dreams of the next batch(es) has already begun...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

dogfish head love...

Up here in NC...just picked up some 60 Min IPA & Indian Brown Ale.
When are we going to start getting Dogfish goodness in G-ville?
Getting our moneys worth of TC up the creek ipa @ 12.5 percent. It tastes like a barelywine. some great mmj and rhcp covers. This is one hell of a party!!
@ the TC bash 15 mins till the bloodthirsty belgian. 10 bux 4 all u can eat and drink. No better deal has ever been had!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Drinking an urthel tripel ale. So much honey, so good. Moving to belgium ASAP.(first post from text msg)

Recipe #1 - Day by Day - Updated!

Day 0 (approx 10 minutes in carboy)
Recipe #1, Day 0
Large amount of sediment at the bottom of the carboy. Quarter inch of foam on top of fermenting beer.

Day 1 (approx 21 hours in carboy)
Recipe #1, Day 1
Three inches of sediment at bottom of carboy, actively 'moving'. After waking up to no foam at all, foam has exploded to approximately four inches on top. Bubbling C02 can be seen in the fermentation lock. Noticeable 'hop' smell permeating. Smells like an IPA.

Day 2 (approx 45 hours in carboy)
Recipe #1, Day 2
Foam has dissipated a bit, but not before carrying sediment all the way to the top of the carboy. Airlock still very active. Major movement inside carboy.

Day 3 (approx 68 hours in carboy)
Recipe #1, Day 3
Noticeably less bubbling in the airlock. Foam has dissipated to less than an inch thick. No longer rapid movement inside the carboy. I'd say past peak fermentation, maybe?

Day 5 (approx 115 hours in carboy)
Recipe #1, Day 5
Fermentation has essentially stopped (at least in the airlock). Foam has dissipated, though you can't really see this in the picture, since there is so much sediment along the top of the carboy. We should be on tap to either rack or bottle in a couple of days time.


Recipe #2 - Day by Day - Updated!

Day 0 (approx 10 minutes in carboy)
Recipe #2, Day 0
Solid process, good tasting wort. Looks like flat cola in the carboy after a few minutes of fermentation.

Day 1 (approx 23 hours in carboy)
Recipe #2, Day 1
Basically looks the same as when it was poured. No noticeable fermentation occurring. Possible big, intermittent 'burps' through the airlock, but could have also have been vibrations in the room. I thought I saw one, and Kate thought she did, too.

Day 3 (approx 65 hours in carboy)
Recipe #2, Day 3
Finally! Some fermentation. It began on Day 2, but looked essentially like it did when it started up until AM of the third day. Started with a thin amount of krasen, but now had a nice half inch of foam, with murky brown stuff all over it. Heavy bubbling in the airlock.


Hibernation Ale

I'd like to give a shout out to these guys for making such a tasty winter beer. Shawn and I went and picked some up at lunch today. Looks like the '09 has slightly more alchohol at 8.7 versus the 8.1 from '08. Can't wait to try it.

P.S.> About to head over to Thomas Creek to pick up our first full grain recipe!! May go ahead an John Lennon this one up over the weekend.


Ping: Dry Hoppers

Check this blog post...

We will need some method of doing this. I asked him if it worked, waiting for a response.

Here's an idea...

Pumpkin moonshine!

We got some drinking to do...

Gentlemen, odds are, we're bottling something next week. Right now, we have about half as many bottles as we'd need to complete the batch. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to drink as much longneck, brown bottled, pull off top beer as you can handle this weekend. Rinse 'em, save 'em, and put 'em somewhere where the woman of the house can't recycle them.


Facebook and Twitter!

We're going all out social network...

On Facebook and Twitter! You can access our Facebook page using the badge on the right hand side. This is my first foray into Twitter, so I have no freaking clue how that works.

is our direct link. Tweet me, or something.


LME vs DME and LME vs LME

Andrew's John Lennon Belgian recipe got me thinking about LME quality, and whether liquid extracts should be converted over to dry extracts, just in general.  Obviously, the advantages of All Grain brewing are that you have total control over how the ingredients are prepared, and know what is going in your beer.

The differences between the extracts, however, should also be noted.  A quick search around on the intertubes turned up a preference for dry, versus, how much of this preference is due to quality, and how much is due to perceived quality?  I have no idea.  I do recall in Papazian's Bible a blurb about some LME's being better than others...I'd imagine that if it comes in a can, it might not be as good.  We're not talking about a can of beans you take to the mountains to eat in the wild, but instead the main fermentable in a batch of heaven juice (aka, homebrew).

Back to DME vs LME, if dry is generally better quality, then perhaps we should stick there, and cut out the liquid entirely?  There are some recipe adjustments that would have to be made (not sure if Beersmith does this, but I'm betting it probably would, since it seems to weight the sugar by composition, rather than raw weight).  I found this handy conversion formula to go from All Grain -> Liquid -> Dry:

1 lb Grain = 0.75 lb LME = 0.60 lb DME

Now, if you weren't going from straight grain, the conversion from LME to DME would be 1 lb LME = 0.80 lb of DME.

So the dry is the most concentrated of the three (which makes sense, since it has had all the liquid removed).

Something to ponder on.

Recipe #2 - Update

That, my friends, is fermentation.  That was this AM.  Last night, after giving the carboy a really good shake, the airlock burped.  I saw about five or six little collections of bubbles hit the top, and not dissipate.  I could tell they were not just air bubbles...they didn't pop right away, so my hope was they were the start of the Krausen.  I went to bed with some hope.  Woke up this morning, and it was like opening a X-mas present, except there was a chance Santa hadn't came.  Well, he came, and he brought me burgeoning alcohol!

We can stop fretting now.  I didn't take a daily pic of the two brews yesterday.  At my normal time, they both looked exactly the same.  I should update that today, though, before the weekend.


Next Recipe (Belgian Trippel)?

I came across the following recipe on (surprise, surprise. man does that place rule) Its an extract recipe of a gold medal beer from the '06 World Beer Championships. It's a very straight forward recipe with rave reviews. I know this won't increase our skill or technique, but its a tasty trippel that is ready to drink in 30 days!! Without further adieu here is the recipe:


3 x 3.3lbs Pilsner Light malt extract LME
1 x 1lbs Amber DME
1 x 1.5lbs Belgian Candy
12.4 total pounds of fermentables

Hops: (IBU came out at 23 but you can range from 20 to 25)

2 oz. German Hallertau 3.8%AA 60min
1 oz.Styrian Goldings 3.4% AA 30min
1 oz. Saaz 2.8% AA 3min

Yeast:2 x WLP500 Trappist Ale Yeast

Notice it uses 2 vials of yeast. This guy is no noob!! I was thinking of possibly brewing this up quickly over the weekend. Or we could wait until we move the pale ale to the secondary(which really shouldn't be too far off).

The only thing I would add to this is some coriander and possibly the zest of an orange or two.


Liquor in the Secondary of the Winter Belgian?

So my interweb voyages brought me to a thread on regarding liquor additions to beer. Everyone in the thread who has used this method has seen positive results. One of them went so far to say it was the best beer he'd ever made. This got my brain churning about our Winter Belgian. If we did use this method we would probably add about 10oz of a very dark rum such as Gosling's Black Seal or possibly a spiced rum like Sailor Jerrys(just personal preference, I fear i may be burnt out on Captain Morgans for the remainder of my days). 10oz is a fairly conservative amount compared to what others have used. I feel this would give the beer added dimension and just the right amount of warmth. What do you guys think?!?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Some Movement!

I gave the carboy a strong jostle tonight, and now we're getting some very, very slow action in the fermenting airlock. This is big. Starter yeast, with any White Labs yeast vial, may be required, fellas.

Scaled Down Hibernation All Grain Recipe

So if we decided to do a hibernation clone of the all grain variety in our 3 gallon carboy here are the appropriate grains and measurements we'd need:

8.4 lbs Vienna Malt
.90 lbs Flaked Oats
.45 lbs Caramunich Malt
.30 lbs Biscuit Malt
.30 lbs Special Roast
.23 lbs Choclate Malt

Shawn has informed me he has another large stock pot. Thats a cool 70 bux in savings right there! Thanks Gus, you're a swell guy.

Another hop site

I was looking for hops for the hibernation ale, freshop had none of them. I found this site that had them.

Recipe #3 - Initial Thoughts

So, the small batch should be on our To-Do List, now that the hops are in. Those hops would be Northern Brewer Hops, mentioned here.

I've been trolling through some recipes around and about. I'm curious what input the rest of the crew has, though. It might be nice to ramp up the sugar, and try to make this bad boy an Imperial style Pumpkin Porter. We might, however, need to learn a little bit about starter yeast, which is recommended for higher gravity beers, so that the little animals eat their weight in sugar.

Ryan also shot me a text this morning, asking if we should brew something special for Leah's wedding (Dec 5th). I wonder if smaller batches ferment faster? We'd have to get the batch into the carboy soon, if we were going to try to do that. If that's the case, should we get hers or Jon's input on what they might like?

Sampling the homebrew while we cook 70 pounds of pork butt in the cold mountain air might be the highlight of the year...

Still no activity...

The Winter Belgian may be fermenting, but it's not doing so in any obvious manner. Experts, literature, and leveler heads are telling us not to worry, so here's hoping this is just part of the process for this particular brew.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reason to panic?

We should follow this thread, guys:

I came home to a big carboy full of no activity. Far cry from the other one. Maybe it's not a cause for concern, but I was expecting to see something happening after 18 hours, or so.


Hop Surprise

What we have here is 8oz of fresh cascade hops from the guys at I placed the order first thing Monday morning and they arrived(all the way from Oregon) while I was at home during lunch today. Talk about service!! Two thumbs up freshops!
Also in the shipment were 6oz of northern brewer hops for our porter. Can't wait to use these guys in the porter.


Testing out Beersmith on the Hopped Pale Ale

Did the same Beersmith analysis, looking back at the first recipe. 

It estimates the specific gravity to be around 1.040.  Our adjusted estimated beginning was 1.039, so we are probably close.

ABV estimate, assuming final gravity is 1.010 is 3.52-3.77% ABV.

IBU's are 26.2, which it actually thinks is below the range for an American Pale Ale.  We'll see about that.  FWIW, if we'd have boiled 2 gallons in the pot, rather than 1.5, IBU's jump to 35.9. 

The color is 8.2 SRMs, whatever those are.  Looks like a burnt light brown, darker than khaki.  5 SRM's are the lightest for this style, so we're a little darker than the lightest pales can be.

I'm pretty happy with our results, on our first batch, compared to what the program thinks we should have accomplished.

Testing out Beersmith on the Winter Belgian

Ok, here's the skinny on our Belgian.

Beersmith pretty much had all of our ingredients, except for nutmeg.  I estimated the spices, in general, but it doesn't look like that does all that much to the estimated numbers.  This program is pretty damn cool.

It estimated an original specific gravity of 1.065, based on our ingredients.  We measured 1.063.  It estimates a final gravity of 1.015, which would net us out somewhere around 6.27-6.51 ABV.  If we got that down to 1.010, we'd be at 6.92%. 

We're looking at 283 calories per pint (whoa). 

IBU estimate is 18.3, which is midrange in what the program thinks this style should have (15-40 IBU's).  The boil volume (i.e., the amount in the pot) seems to drive the IBU's significantly.  We should see if we can boil more liquid in the pot, safely (or get a bigger pot!). 

The estimated color is pretty dark.  It could be my computer screen, but it looks to me like it's black.

It also estimates cost of the has default costs, and predicts 32.82 for this particular recipe.  These can be adjusted, to match local prices.  There is also a calendar, which helps you see when things need to be racked, etc. 


I'm about to launch the 21 day trial.  I just completed a spreadsheet that I thought was going to take hours, but instead took 3 minutes...and now I have some free time!  I want to mess around with this thing...pumpkin porter recipe, please!


Pictures From Recipe #2!

orange essence
Andrew skinning the oranges.

meeting of the minds
Beer minds at work.

ryan and funnel
Ryan and the funnel clog. Work the strainer!

ryan lick
Gentlemen, I found our contaminate.

funnel gunk
Are we sure we want to drink this stuff?

Recipe #2, Day 0

Pics coming...

Screw these morning conference calls, and their time wasting effects on my life. And screw Flickr, and it's 100 MB monthly limits.

I hope to have some pics up of last night's brew session shortly, and I'm hoping Ryan can do similar with his fancy camera sometime later on today.

To Whom it May Concern:

Seasonal beers are not something to be taken lightly. They bring about excitement, hope, and variety just as winter blossoming into spring. As the days darken and winter sets in, one of the things i look most forward to is settling down in the evening with a nice dark, warming brew. Like a good friend I haven't seen in 9 months, I am welcomed by a dark malty body and spicy pallet. Ahh, it sure is good to be reacquainted again.

Now that we have completed brewing our first batch of winter brew, I can't help but wait with a bit of trepedation. As far as i can tell, we have crafted the ultimate winter brew. The wort was brewed with tlc and spiced to perfection. All that's left to do is wait. And damnit it's not as easy as it sounds!! Seasonal beers are serious business to me and that why i feel that weight of winter beers past on my shoulders as i wait this one out.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hydrometer Knowledge!

I just looked at the hydrometer for the first time, in detail...noticed it has a reading for alcohol levels.

Recipe #1, if we assume 1.039 as our adjusted reading, would have an alcohol content of around 5%, if the specific gravity drops all the way down to 1.00 (not possible, but we could realistically ferment down to 1.010, which would leave us with approx 4% alcohol).

Recipe #2, if we use our adjusted reading of 1.062, would net out a max of around 8%. so if we could ferment this batch down to around 1.010, or so, we could net out around a 7% abv.


Recipe #2 - Winter Belgian

3 lbs of Traditional Dark DME (LD Carlson Co brand) (half at 60 minutes, half at 20 minutes)
3.3 lbs Amber LME (Briess brand) (half at 60 minutes, half at 20 minutes)
1 oz Saaz hops (45 minutes)
1 oz Hallertau Tradition hops (20 minutes)
1 oz Hallertau Tradition hops (10 minutes)
1 lb orange blossom honey (10 minutes)
1 lb dark candy sugar (15 minutes)
1 lb crushed grain (Belgian blend) - 20% Crystal, 20% Belgian Aromatic, 30% Munich 20, 30% Special B
1 vial White Labs Trappist Ale
Spice mixture (2 oz fresh ginger, zest of 2 large oranges, tsp Ground Cinamon, tsp ground nutmeg, 1.5 tsp organic mulling spices (cinnamon, orange peel, allspice, ginger), sprig of rosemary) (5 minutes)

Steeped grains at 150 degrees for 45 minutes. Removed from heat.

Half of LME and DME added at minute 60. Brought to roiling boil.

Saaz hops added at 45 minute mark.

At 20 minute mark, other half of extracts added, along with Hallertau hops.

At 10 minute mark, honey, candy sugar, and more Halltertau hops added.

Boil over at approx 8 minute mark.

At approx 3 minutes, added spice mixture (going 60 + 2 minutes, to compensate for coming off burner for boil over).

Pot moved to ice bath for wort chilling. Wort chilled for 35-40 minutes. 3 Gallons of cold water added to carboy. Transferred at 68 degrees. Original Specific Gravity taken at 1.061. Adjusting for temperature, OSG is 1.062. Yeast pitched at 68 degrees.


I tasted the wort. The orange zest and cloves were very prominent. It had a bitter aftertaste. I could tell that even before the guys tested the alcohol level that it was going to be high. This is going to be a good Christmas beer! - Morgan

Favorite All-Time Brewz?

Always changing, but here are some current favorites...

Founders KBS
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
Surly Furious, Bitter Brewer & Coffee Bender
Southern Tier Pumking
North Coast Old Rasputin RIS
Sweetwater IPA
Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale
Dogfish Head Festina Peche
PBR (out of a can, preferably)

How 'bout yours?


Beer Crazy

It's on...batch #2 will commence this PM, at Ron's house. Andrew's baby, a Belgian style (I think along the lines of a dubbel?) will enter the new 6.5 gallon glass carboy we picked up today at lunch (thanks goes to Santa Claus, the father of the brewmaster at Thomas Creek, for lending some advice).

Andrew has some flavorings in mind, including orange zest, coriander, and rosemary. I'll be curious how much of the essence we can squeeze out in the wort. We did not score on the 'floating thermometer' front, or the 'wine thief' front, two items we desperately need, but Thomas Creek was sold out of.

So it's on. Also on tap for tonight, a new pic of the fermenting Recipe #1 (I have no idea what style to call's a Pale Ale with an IPA's soul...). Also on tap is a heart to heart with the boys over how hard we have to work our liver to accumulate 100 bottles for these two batches.


Sediment Along Top of Carboy?

Not sure what happened overnight, but at some point the foam must have gotten all the way up to the top of the carboy, basically all the way full, because there is a lot of sediment now stuck to the glass. That will be a bitch to clean, I can tell...The foam is down around where it was when I went to bed, and we are in what has to be 'active' fermentation.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Future Ideas #1 - Coffee Process

Already on tap is a Pumpkin Porter, which we may brew as a small batch as early as later this week...but Andrew has clued us into something post worthy that we need to capture here for future use...because everyone knows we will eventually want to throw some coffee in one of our brews.

This guy looks like he's on to something. Our (admittedly quick) research into coffee flavoring didn't turn up this cold press method. I'd like to do anything possible to extract roasted coffee flavors, without any harshness/bitterness. This could be the key to ensuring a 'balanced' brew, rather than something that pushes the envelope towards the bad cup of coffee spectrum. I'm totally adding this guy's blog to our blog roll...I'm curious to know how that beer turned out.

It would be very interesting to find out how Terrapin makes their Wake n Bake stout...research for another day, I guess.

- Ron

Pictures From Recipe #1!

Brewing Attempt #1 002
This is where the magic happened!

Brewing Attempt #1 001
Beer making is 75% blogging. Or is it the other way around?

Brewing Attempt #1 022
Andrew, working the sack. Squeeze the sack!

Brewing Attempt #1 038
Good beer starts with good (Publix brand) water. Nice technique, Ryan!

Brewing Attempt #1 043
Pouring the wort is a two man job.

Brewing Attempt #1 049
Ladies and gentlemen, beer.

- Ron

Dry Hopping FTW

Greenville Beer Brother Andrew has ordered us up some fresh hops to Dry Hop our first is pretty amazing. The original recipe was only good for 13 IBU's, but our final result should be much, much hoppier, after adding the additional hops in the wort, and now dry hopping in the carboy.

Looks like we've got 8 ozs of Cascade and 6 ozs of Northern Brewer on the way. The Cascade will also contribute to our next venture, a Pumpkin Porter...I've nearly got the photos from last night up onto Flickr, and should have some online after lunch.

- Ron

Hydrometer SNAFU

The most notable event during last night's first brew session was likely the erroneous hydrometer reading, brought on by a technical error.

Things were running smoothly. The batch was ready to be strained into the carboy, after a cool off period in the ice bath. We had discussed the hydrometer reading, and had decided that we would take a (sanitized) ladle, and pour that into the hydrometer flask before pouring the wort into the carboy.

That, my friends, is where the error occurred. You see, through a haze of The Bruery's Autumn Maple and Stone Imperial Russian Stout, we forgot to recognize that a proper hydrometer reading has to be taken from the carboy, after pouring the wort in. You can't sample the super concentrated's no wonder our reading came out as 1.140 at approx 80 degrees.

So, we live and learn. For the next batch, we will have a more solid process in place for the hydrometer reading. You can count on that one.

- Ron

Recipe #1 - Modified Pale Ale

Recipe #1 - 10/25/2009 - Ron's House

6 oz Crystal Malt Grains (steeped in grain bag)
6 oz Caramel Malt Grains (steeped in grain bag)
2 lbs Light Dried Malt Extract
3.3 lbs Canned Lightly Hopped Malt Extract (1 Can)
1 oz. Chinook Hops (11.4% Alpha Acid) @ 60 min.
.5 oz. Cascade Hops (7.5% Alpha Acid) @ 15 min.
1 oz. Chinook Hops (11.4% Alpha Acid) @ 5 min.
.5 oz. Cascade Hops (7.5% Alpha Acid) @ 5 min.
1 vial liquid Ale Yeast
Publix brand spring water
Dry Hop TBD
1 tsp. Irish Moss
Recorded Original Specific Gravity 1.14

Malt grains were steeped for 50 minutes at 155 degrees, in their grain bags, then squeezed and discarded.

Wort brought back just to a boil, before removing from heat. Canned malt extract and two pounds of light dried malt extract were added, with constant stirring to prevent sticking.

Wort brought back to heat, and brought back to a boil. 1 oz Chinook Hops added at the 60 minute mark, for bittering.

.5 ounce of Cascade hops and 1 tsp of Irish Moss added at the 15 minute mark.

1 ounce of Chinook and .5 ounce of Cascade added at the 5 minute mark (aroma).

At 0 minutes (i.e., after 60 minutes of hop boil), the pot was covered, and an ice water bath was prepared in the sink to reduce wort temperature. After 35-40 minutes, wort temperature was approx 80 degrees. A hydrometer reading was taken, and the wort was poured through a strainer into 3 gallons of cold spring water. Liquid was topped off up to 5 gallons.

Liquid Ale Yeast pitched into carboy, and vigorously shaken.

Due to high specific gravity reading, an additional quart of water was added to the carboy. Carboy then affixed with fermentation cap and placed in it's resting area to ferment.

- Ron

Sunday, October 25, 2009


'In the beginning, it was a dark and stormy beer.'
- Ron

The search for the perfect beer is never over. This blog is an archive of the exploits of a small group of Greenville, SC natives who are setting out on a quest to perfect what cannot ever be perfect...the Home Brew.

With our trusty True Brew starter kit (1 6 gallon glass carboy, one plastic bucket, and a whole lot of pizazz), we are armed to tackle this beast. Our first venture is to be crafted on 10/25/09, at Ron's house. The Recipe will follow, then maybe some pics, and then some updates here and there as to how the batch is going, and what future batches will entail.

- Ron