Friday, January 30, 2009

Abbot, Liberation, IC and new a Mash Tun!

Abbot: A title given to the superior of a community of twelve or more monks. The name is derived from abba, the Syriac form of the Hebrew ab, and means "father".

Got the old man racked over to the secondary yesterday, and to my surprise it dropped all the way down to 1.008! Not to my surprise the yeast didn't exactly treat it like I wanted it to. According to "Brew Like a Monk" 1214 Belgian Ale at 75-85 degrees (where it most definitely was after the first 48 hours for about 36 hours) should produce a Clove Bubblegum Banana Alcohol Rose and Fruity flavor profile and though it tastes terribly terribly watered down, stupid efficiency, I DEFINITELY get a tiny bit of clove in the beginning leading into an alcohol followed by a strong old banana. The aroma on the other hand is great. Really fruity with some bubblegum. YUM. The color wasn't quite what I wanted either. I was hoping for something a little darker and red, but it still looks pretty. So, I definitely am going to call a do-over on this one since my efficiency sucked and I screwed the temperature. But I guess when It's done I'll have to try and enjoy it :P

On Sunday I bottled Liberation and as previously noted was scared of infection. I was so scared that I actually threw one into the fridge on Wednesday just to make sure. Well, it was obviously not carbonated, but other than that it was simply wonderful! CRYSTAL clear, like I've never had, with a fantastic aroma and great flavor. I'm going to crack one again on Tuesday to see how it's coming along and then we have a homebrew meeting on Wednesday so I'm hoping she'll be carbed up and ready by then!

Well, to keep my stress level down (an absolute must in homebrewing) I went out and built an Immersion Chiller (IC) today. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to get it to connect to my stupid faucet though. The threads on the thing are seriously like 33/54th or something stupid. So I'm thinking what I'm going to do is just get a small yard pond pump and hook it up to there and keep the pump in a sink of water with ice. I think that'll work. And I'm sure I can find one of those pumps for pretty damn cheap.

It was a pretty simple (but not cheap!) construction. Just 20 feet of 1/2 inch copper tubing with some simple tubing. I'm really excited!

Speaking of excited, I just ordered a Mash Tun off of EBay about 20 minutes ago! It's two 15 gallon Igloo coolers. One with the outlet hooked into a hose that goes to the other which connects to a sparging manifold on the other which has a braided tubing at the bottom to act somewhat like a false bottom. The only thing I'm worried about, and since buying have been getting more worried, is that that is a lot more space than I need and will most likely lose a lot of heat during the mash. hmm, hopefully it'll work out.

So with this money getting thrown around I might have to put a small budget cut on actual brewing for a while. But that's ok, I should have enough to get me by.

-Kyle :)

Monday, January 26, 2009


Well, in the attempt to get the temperature to rise a little I set a small space heater up to Abbot and was planning on leaving it for about 20 minutes and then turn it off and do that on and off for the next few days, but on Saturday night after setting up the heater I fell asleep (AHHHH) I didn't wake up til around 4am and I ran straight to the kitchen to find poor Abbot TERRIBLY over heated :( I'm hoping that this won't have too much effect on the beer...

I got the Pale bottled yesterday though. I was kinda worried about infection because it looked kinda like it had some bad floaties while it was in the secondary. When I tried the sample it smelled a little bit sour, but the sample was taken out of a beaker that I measure the gravity in that hadn't been washed very well, if at all. I'm using that as an excuse and keeping my fingers crossed for the final product. In hopes of getting away from this stupid occational infected beers trend I'm going to be getting or building a immersion chiller. That way I can cool the beer down much faster keeping it exposed to the nasty mean yucky out side air between the boil and yeast pitching time for a much shorter period of time. I would have gotten one sooner, but most immersion chillers are made for outdoor brewers and hook up to garden hoses. Others are set up to attach to faucets, but living in a wierd old hotel type complex built in the 20s (i think?) the faucet isn't really normal... BUT I think after my trip to the hardware store I have devised a way to make it work. So, here in the picture is the now lonely other beers. I think i'm going to rack over Abbot on Wednesday and then bottle it in about 5 days or so.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Heat it up

Well, it looks like the krausen already fell out in Abbot, which I'm really surprised about.. So I'm going to start raising the temp up to see if I can't get them little yeasties poopin' out some of them good esters! I wanted to do a sloped temperature from the beginning, but got kinda apathetic after the first 24 hours. But now that a slow fermentation has turned into an abrupt end, I need to get watchin' that little guy and make sure the magic's happenin'. While I'm doing so though, I'm enjoying the "Trader Joe's Vintage Ale 2008". I noticed it down there about a week and a half ago. They had cases upon cases stacked to the ceiling and I had never even heard of it. Apparently, Unibroue (YUM) brews a special beer this time of year every year for Trader Joe's that's supposed to be deliciously cellerable. I decided though before cellering any (which is a habit that's best gotten into early, and I don't even have one beer set aside) I would just grab one and come back later. Tonight when I went down there though they only had 6 cases left! I still just grabbed one, and it's pretty tasty :) I'll try and get another couple tomorrow to put away for some future vertical tastings.

I plan on bottling the Pale tonight too which is cool cause then I'll finally have something to drink again! (R.I.P. BOBP Porter 2.0 and Black Hole) Which means also that it'll be ready for when the dudes get here for The Devils. That way if the Stout turns out bad we'll have a great sessionable pale to enjoy :)


Thursday, January 22, 2009


Here's the Dubbel after about 48 hours. It's looking pretty good! It's not nearly as dark as I thought it would end up, but that's ok. And the OG was way below what I wanted (I'm not surprised) too, which is all the more reason for me to figure out how to figure this stuff out with out stupid beersmith. I think if I actually write everything out I'll be able to get closer in hitting my OG. It was a really relaxed brew day though. I just kinda hung out in my sweat pants and watched the inaguration. It was nice :)


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day Brew!

Happy Inauguration day! And also, Happy Birthday to Miyo, Luke and Jessica! Just got the Dubbel (named "Abbot") onto the little stove top and it's about ready to get boiling :)

It's definitely a good day.

A good day for America, and my future beer enjoyment.


Saturday, January 17, 2009


I racked over the American Pale Ale (dubbed: Liberation Pale for liberating me from extract) to the secondary today and everything looked great! It has a WONDERFUL Cascade aroma, and very American 2-row biscuity flavor. The crystal malt gave it a little sweetness, but due to a somewhat low efficiency when brewing and such a high attenuation from the American Ale 1056 (it finished at 1.008!) it tastes a little bit too bitter. I'm hoping with a little age, not too much - it is a pale ale, and the carbonation; everything will mellow out together well.
So there they are. 5 gallons of APA, 4 gallons of Impy Stout and 3 gallons of Barley Wine.

Can't Wait!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A name!

Well, finally got a name for the delicious stout!Coach Mcguirk's Black Hole


I also got the number of a place who could hook me up with a nitrogen CO2 mix. So look forward to Black Hole on nitro in the future!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Looks Great!

I would say everything went great last night! The beer looks beautiful.

(notice the impy stout and barley wine still hanging out in the far back)

So now I'm going to dig back into 'designing great beers' by ray daniels to learn more about figuring out exactly how much water to use in the mash, and how to calculate IBUs, better understand the PH in the mash and other such fun stuff!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First AG (part2)

Well, everything looked pretty good! The color came out perfect and it seemed to taste and smell good! Unfortunately, the OG was pretty far below what I wanted (1.046 when I was hoping for 1.055) making my efficiency at around 60% :( But I think after all things are considered it could come out A OK. I got it into the primary with a fresh smack pack of 1056 and I think after 2 or 3 weeks it'll be quite delicious! I decided also that false bottems are awesome.

It's such a relief to be able to fill the primary with beer and not have to worry about trying to filter out all the break and hops in a funnel with a strainer in it. Nice.

Great Brew Day!

First AG (all grain)

Well, I got the mash in and everything looked great sitting at 153F! and after the mash I transferred the extract to two plastic fermenters (2 gallons in one and 4 1/2 in the other) and then cleaned out the mash tun (pain in the ass!) and then put the wort back into the kettle and boiled away! I was scared of a boil over because it seemed to be high in the boil pot, but I was able to stir the wort dormant when it hit that point. It was just funny because the kettle looked HUGE in comparison to our little stove top hahahaha. So now the wort is cooling and I will see how things look when it's ready to get the yeast pitched :)

Racking the Bwine before starting to brew

Got the Barley Wine racked over to the secondary this morning before starting on the new brew, and it tastes AMAZING! It only came down to 1.032 when I was hoping for something around 1.025 so I'll have to think about repitching some yeast or not. But, it smells sweet and hits the mouth very sweet with a fine bitterness and then ends through with great sweetness and a strong alcohol flavor! If this beer only gets better with age then I'm really, super, terribly excited for it!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Mash Tun/Boil Kettle for All Grain!

This is (name not decided upon)

We are going to start our journey together tomorrow with my first all grain batch. It's going to be a very simple american pale ale. I will internet document our adventures tomorrow.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Brew Year's Resolution

Well, in the spirit of progress in the new year, I have decided to make a few Brew Years Resolutions. I figured that if I was to actually write (or type I guess) them down I would actually follow through. So here they are:

Brew a cider, mead, and barley wine every year at the end of december or beginning of january
Brew my first beer of the year all grain!
Build a kegerator
Brew AT LEAST twice a month
READ, READ, READ about your favorite beverage
Enter numerous completitions
Take a beer to the NHC (link)
Get as many friends as possible to come the GABF (link) with me
Learn more about beer and food pairing
Learn more about glassware
Remember on brew day beer is not a substitute for food

I think I can handle those. A year is a very long time. I've actually got a pretty good start! I have a friend who is going to be driving kegs down to the NHC to represent our Homebrew Club and so he said I could toss a keg of something I brew in with him, awesome. I've got 9 books in the mail from amazon. I've already got 2 great friends that I know will come to the GABF. I've already brewed the Barley Wine (it's still bubbling every couple minutes! hahaha it won't stop!) and plan on the cider and mead this weekend. And right now (on my unexpected day off) I'm going to head down to bob's and figure out how much a mash tun is going to cost me to get going on brewing all grain. Not too bad :)

and here's a cheers to my mother, for getting me a kick ass camera for xmas that will further my brewing documentation. (that's that tasty stout I love so much!)


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Aging away.

Well, I racked the Impy Stout over to the secondary today because after it's insanely serious primary fermentation it seems to have finally slowed to a near stop. Unlike the stout, however, the Barley Wine is still bubbling away! Woohoo!

The stout came out actually right at about the right OG. I measured it at 1.027 and I'm pretty pleased about that. The flavor of the beer was pretty, well, harsh. Being this as my first big beer I'm not too surprised. The aroma was actually really good. Thank goodness! I was worried about that damn molasses. The flavor was ok. It hit the mouth really sweet and somewhat bitter followed by a strong hit of alcohol and the finish was medium bodied and warm. It lacked any good balance, but I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that a month (how long until joe and shawn get here) will be long enough for this beer to balance itself out and be delicious.

So, above is a picture of the guys aging away. To the right you can see the CO2 tank that the Delicious Stout is hooked up too, and where ultimately the new Stout will be. I'm excited that the Barley Wine is where it's at. I've never seen such a thick whitish yellow layer of yeast on top of the beer under the krausen on any other beer I've made. And it's 7 days into primary fermetation and is still bubbling at a constant rate :)