Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Well, after not brewing for damn near a month I'm getting a little anxious. In thinking about nice weather and being out side and all, I decided I wanted to make a good authentic tasting German Hef. Which I realized would be the perfect opportunity to try out my 10 gallon experiment. Because I have the mash tun for a 15 gallon batch, but a boil pot for only a 5 gallon batch, so I was thinking I could mash 10 gallons worth (or 14 total pre boil) and mix it into a large container then take off 7 gallons boil it, cool it and get it into the carboy with some yeast. Then take the rest of the wort and do everything exactly the same but with a different yeast. (since we all know it's the yeast that makes a weizen beer) I only have two hang ups: One, I'm kind of worried about that pre boil wort just hanging out for the nearly 2 hours after the mash. I know I'll be boiling it, but some of those nasty little infection buggers are tricky. Two, how the hell am I going to get the 7 gallons out of a giant container into the boil pot? 7 gallons is heavy enough as it is! But, I'm hoping and can figure it out and give it a try. Along with those I decided a wheat-a-thon would be fun. I've really wanted to remake my Wit with real coriander (not safeway bought preground crap) and have had a Weizenbock recipe I put together months ago laying around begging to be brewed. On that note I decided a good American Wheat would be fun too. But I was thinking about taking a simple American Wheat (Half 2 row half wheat with a dash of crystal and 1056) and stock it up on something more grainy and bready like munich or vienna and toss some orange peel and honey in to make a delicious American Imperial Orange Honey Wheat. In already made beer news: Tiger's Blood came out fantastic! I guess it's too early to really say that since I only drank one, that was luke warm and flat, but it came out just like I wanted it! It's got a fantastic taste and nose of caramel with out being over powering with a touch of hops and sweetness. mmm hm. mighty fine! I threw another one in the fridge last night to crack open tonight to see how it's still progressing.

OH! And also, I got Randy Mosher's new book "Tasting Beer" in the mail today. I read the first 10 or 12 pages and thumbed through the rest and am very impressed. I think it's going to be one of those books that every beer geek should have, and yet feel the need to suggest it to every person they know who has any interest, or even just an enjoyment, in beer

-Beer haunts my thoughts :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

3rd Place Best In Show!

Well, my stout that I've been enjoying so much proved it's worth at the Las Vegas Winterfest! It took first in the Stout category and 3rd in best in show! Here's the link:
I'm so excited! Unfortunately, I totally spaced it out and didn't get the beers into the cascade brewers cup, but I think I'm going to take a big chance and enter the National Homebrew Competition. It's kind of nerve racking, but I think I'll just send it in and expect nothing. There's got to be thousands of people who enter it, and the thought of entering a beer into a competion with the likes of Charlie Papazian, John Palmer and others just blows my mind! hahaha. But I'm still super excited to have taken a place in best in show!!!!
I tried Tiger's Blood today to see how it's coming along and it tastes great! I'm going to try and get motivated enough to bottle it tomorrow. I'm also thinking about finally bottling that barley wine. It's been in the fermenter bulk aging for 3 months now. I'm just worried because I've read a million different dos and don'ts for bottling a barley wine... we'll see how it goes. I'm most likely take a gravity reading and taste it tomorrow when I bottle Tiger's Blood.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Continuing Progress

Well, tonight I made my attempt at entering these competitions. It turns out the one at some air force base south of Tacoma accepts entries until Friday, unless you're mailing them. I which case it needs to be there in 17 hours. Meh. I definitely don't want to make the 3 hour round trip with a zipcar either, so it looks like that one's out. The one in California is only accepting beers that are first registered online and I can't get the damn online registration to work. So that one's out. The 'Winter Beer Fest' (in March?) in Las Vegas looks like it is going to work out though. And the Cascade Brewers Cup right here in Redmond is a for sure one as well. Bob's is taking entries, so I'll run down there on Friday.

I'm glad at least two worked out though, because I cracked an IPA (dubbed Jail Bait for being so delicious that is easy to enjoy too many and misbehave) and Stout (which is going to be the new Black Hole) tonight and they are both super ridiculously good! The IPA came out an amazing light amber color with a huge nose of citrusy flowery sweet hops. The body is light medium with an initial hit of sweetness with subtle bready background followed by a strong hop flavor. It finishes really dry which I think is good for an IPA, but a little too much for my taste. The whole thing has a lingering bitterness, which might even be a little too much. Next time I'm not going with that crazy Pacman yeast and maybe try out American Ale II. I think I would help add a little more body and keep it slightly less dry. The Stout might even be better! It's dark black but not completely opaque with a nice off white head. The aroma is outrageous! hahaha! Strong roastiness with a slight choloate note. The body is medium and silky with a great bitterness/sweetness balance and a great roasty finish with a light chocolate after taste.

I'm honestly knocked out by how much I like these beers. I'm generally my very worst critic, but can't seem to enjoy these enough! Holy crap. hahahaha So, I guess I'm hoping others will think highly as well :)

I'm going to rack Tiger's Blood to the secondary tomorrow to let it clear out a bit. Fermentation looks to have been done a day or so ago, but I just haven't gotten to it yet. I'm thinking I'm going to skip out on the Brewboard's group brew now. I wanted to join in before, but I just don't really feel like it's going to be that great of a beer, so the 'ol chalkboard is all marked up on what I'll be brewing next. I'm thinking saturday will be brew day, so I've got some decisions to make!

wishing he could lager,

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tiger's Blood

With the exception of feeling like crap all day Tiger's Blood got brewed up without a hitch! I even took pictures of the new system

Here's the HLT (Hot Liquor Tank) and Mash Tun

The Mash Tun has a sparging manifold on the top so as the sparge water comes out of the HLT into the tun it is lightly sprinkled onto the mash so it doesn't disturb the grain bed. At the bottom is a braid to act as a sort of filter to keep the grains from clogging the out end

Here's a picture of it in action..

And here's the boil pot on our tiny stove top

Everything went well after that! The color wasn't as red as I was hoping for but it was other wise great looking. I missed my damn target gravity again. I don't know what's going on with that, but it's frustrating. Oh well, it's still beer and it's fun as hell! Speaking of fun, I'm a terribly huge fan of ribbons. As it turns out, if you make good beer you can get ribbons too! So coming up I'm going to put the IPA and Stout (which I haven't tried yet so I'm going on faith) into 4 competitions. So wish me luck! I'll post back any good news. hahaha


Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Unfortunate View Of Empty Carboys

Though the sight of empty carboys makes me sad, it's good to know I have 15 gallons of beer in my cupboard :) hahaha.

The IPA didn't really shock me as much as it did when I racked it to the secondary, but it still seemed to come through well on it's way to the bottle. I hate allergies in times like these though... It's hard to really tell how things are coming with a throat lozenge and a runny nose. The Stout however went into the bottles with a smile! It's sooo roasty and creamy! yum yum yum

I'm going to be brewing up Tiger's Blood on Monday morning. I originally made this Amber Ale for my friend Trevor. It was made to be a slightly carmelly good bodied balanced session brew, and the original one I made got me 9th place in the best in show at the Homebrew Fair last year. I did the best I could to scale it from extract to all grain. I think this will be a nice (hopeful) welcome to spring.

Happy Brewing!