Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Beers!

Well, I gave in and stuffed my old racking tube into a stopper to fake a blow off tube and now 24 hours later the thing is still going crazy! Man, that thing's out of control.

Happy New Beers!
-Barley Wine & Russian Imperial Stout

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 2 of 2 (part 2)

I just pitched the healthy starter onto the Barley Wine and everything is looking great! I hit my target OG at 1.104 and it was smelling great! It's just that damn Stout that's giving me gruff. I've still been changing over the damn bubbler (if only I wouldn't have tossed that blow off tube!) about every 15 minutes. grr. But I think ultimately they should both come out great! Time will tell I suppose. So now I'm off to Big Time to get a little bit of that Old Wooly.


Day 2 of 2 (part 1)

Well, the Barley Wine is about 60 minutes into it's 90 minute boil and is looking absolutely wonderful! Unfortunately, this troublesome Imperial Stout is giving me nothing but sass. The good news is it's fermenting like crazy! The bad news is it's blowing the krausen into the bubbler and clogging it. So, about every 15 or 20 minutes I've had to clean and sanitize a new bubbler and make a quick switch. This isn't too bad considering the top of the fermenter is all co2 and co2 is heavier than air making anything bad getting into the beer somewhat unlikely, but I still really hate having the carboy open. It makes me very nervous. To the left is a picture of the beer (only 4 gallons full in a 6 gallon fermenter) right before it started blowing all over the place.
So I guess it's back to finishing the Barley Wine! We didn't get to the cider today, but will hopefully in the next week or two.


Day 1 of 2

Well, I'd say today was a good brew day! I made the Imperial Stout and I think it should be good. I made a starter of 1098 (because the homebrew shop was out of 1084) last night for this beast and pitched it today. It looked like it was more than ready to take on the task!

I also had to sub Magnum for Columbus hops (which I think ultimately I'll be happy with) and Cascade for Northern Brewer. The one thing I'm worried about though is that I decided to put 2lbs of molasses in to add a little sweetness and boost the OG, but really smelled bad. I'm hoping that it won't take over too much of the beer (at 2lbs I'm nervous) because I did not like the way it smelled. After the boil though I ended up with a little over 3 gallons so I topped it off to 4 gallons with cold water and the gravity read at 1.100 (which should finish it around 9-10%) on the dot. It's a little higher than I wanted, but what the hell. note: I actually just got up to grab a beer and it looks like the happy little yeasties are already getting to work! YAY!

After the stout was nice and cozy I got a starter of 1056 started for the Barley Wine tomorrow. I had to also do some subs on the hops for that one, but nothing too drastic. I'm sure it will be awesome. I should also be making the cider with Alli tomorrow too which I'm really excited about. We're going to put together a nice simple cider and then down the road dose it with Alli's secret spices to make it an instant holiday classic :)

Until tomorrow, Cheers!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Back on track

Well, with the weather pretty much only getting worse, I've found myself sitting at home reading about/thinking about/drinking a lot of beer. In my thinking/reading/drinking I realized I have two primary and six secondary fermenters that are all empty and begging for something good. So, in the spirit of the holidays I have decide to end 2008 with two yearly beers! These two beers are going to be a Barley Wine and a Cider. On monday then, Alli and I are going to make a cider using a recipe she uses every holiday season for a hot cider and I'm going to make the barley wine :) These two will then ferment out in the primaries for about a week or two and then I'll move them over to the secondary to bulk age for 6-12 months. Sometime during that 6-12 months depending, I'll bottle them up and open them this time next year when I brew 2009's batch! ALSO, I have some friends coming to town to see The Murder City Devils and I asked them what they wanted to drink. They decided on an Imperial Stout. Which means I need to start that ASAP if I even hope to have it ready by the time they get here, so tuesday shall be Murder City Imperial Stout day! I'm very very excited for these beers and I can hopefully get back on a two-four beers a month schedule soon!

Here's the sad emptys:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow, Buses, and Beer

Well, I finally got the free time to brew my Weizenbock recipe I put together about 3 weeks ago today. So I got all my stuff together and went down to the bus stop to hop on and ride down to Bob's for my ingredients and I waited, and waited, and waited. So about a hour and twenty minutes later I came to the conclusion that the bus that comes every half hour wasn't coming. Not to mention it was a wonderful 27, TWENTY SEVEN, degrees out side. It's safe to say I was a little pissed off. Oh well, I'm hoping on sunday I'll get to head back to Hale's and brew on their little pilot system (pictured) again. In the mean time I'm just going to be enjoying this Stout and Porter, yum!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Moving Along.

So, as it turns out I DID have CO2. The damn connection was just weird. So yesterday I went ahead and kegged the Stout. Things weren't looking as planned though... 1.038 OG and 1.016 FG? Bummer. :( but, that's not too bad I guess. It'll be a good session brew. I also just cracked open the first Porter (barack obeera 2.0) only to find yet again no head retention in my beer. It doesn't taste too bad though. I cut back on the crystal on this one and relied more on the chocolate and carafa II. I think it turned out pretty good, but still needs some work.

Well, as things are planned I'm going to finally brew that damn Weizenbock on friday, I've been planning that one forever..and then just got word from Justin at Hale's and might be going there to brew on the pilot system again on sunday /stoked.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Internet Documentation Of My Brewing Adventures Begins!

Well, damn near everyone else has a blog, so why not me!

I've decided to erect an internet homebase to document my brewing adventures! Baring the work in progress name for my studio apartment stove-top brewery "Poor Man Brewing Company" I will be documenting the development of the beers I make, the beers I drink, and the festivals and events I enjoy. Unfortunately, I've been brewing now for over 8 months and aside from photos of festivals (GABF '08, SIBF '08, Seattle Winter Beer Fest, Seattle Father's Day Fest, Seattle and Fremont Octoberfest included) and a binder with sketches, recipes, dates and such I don't have much documentation. So let's just say it's been a damn good year for beer :)

So here's a brief fill in on where I'm at: I have a bottled Pale Ale that I'm just getting to the end of that, frankly, was BAD. It's incredibly sweet and has an almost sour finish. Something must have gone slightly wrong.. I also has a Porter that's bottled and carbing; and a Stout (my sixteenth beer) that's sitting in the secondary because I tried to keg it a few days ago only to find that I was out of CO2 and the damn fire safety place where I get the gas has hours that don't always work for me. I also brewed a beer on the pilot system at a brewery called Hale's with a friend of mine who's a brewer there that didn't come out quite as planned. We're hoping to brew a clone soon with a few changes and blend the two to make a delicious brew!

Here's a picture of the Stout and Porter hanging out a few weeks back:

Alas, Our Adventure (re)begins!!