New Blog!!

The main purpose for starting my beer blog was to add to my hobby and give me a way to document my adventures.  However, I have come across other hobbies recently and would really like to document my adventures in those projects as well, therefore I have started a new blog called “Wondrous Widgets” to document all of my projects, including my beer projects.  Thus, this blog will no longer be used….
So head on over to my new blog, http://wondrouswidgets.wordpress.com/ to check out all of my other awesome projects!!

Bottle the Beer

This will be a short post, but I wanted to share my methods of bottling my single gallon brews. It is really the same as larger batch sizes, but I’ve tried to streamline the approach.

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This round I used a shoe box to dry my bottles, lined with some paper towel. Someday I will build a mini bottle tree, but I have way too many projects right now. (I was planning on bottling two batches today, so ignore the extra bottles)

I filled my sink with sanitized water, I think this is the easiest way to clean the equipment. I also do a quick rinse of the bottles, star san likes to foam, and even though it is supposed to be ok with the beer, I don’t trust it.

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I used 1.5oz of white sugar, usually I use honey but honey in a Chocolate Maple Porter didn’t sound right. I put the about a 1/4 cup water in the Pyrex and nuked the mixture for 45 seconds to get the sugar dissolved. Then poured out in my bottling bucket and let it cool before tracking my beer on top.

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I read this cool tip about bottling over the dishwasher – any drops or spills just drop on the door, no messes! Plus I can sit in a chair while bottling. The bottling bucket was made from a 2 gallon reusable cereal box from Sam’s Club with a spout from the LHBS.

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After filling the bottle, I set a cap on top to keep out any fruit flies. This way I can fill the bottles, then cap them in batches.  I think this is a little faster than the “fill, cap, fill, cap” method.

Well, that’s it. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!

Brew Day: Easy Belgian

This brew is my first hurrah into using a Belgian Pilsner malt, and should make for something interesting.  Since I typically make up my own recipes (I keep it simple, no worries!) I figured I would just use the Belgian and some 10L and go for some sort of Belgian Blonde.  So, using my handy dandy Brewr app on my Android, I came up with something just within that style.  I also mixed it with the hop additions suggested by my Brooklyn Brew Shop recipe book for the “Well made Trippel” – Kent Golding and Saaz hops.

Recipe:

2.25 lb Belgian Pilsner
0.25 lb Caramel 10L
9g Kent Golding @ 60min
4g Saaz @ 5min

After setting up my corona mill next to my brand new (to me) Stainless Steel prep table, I got to grinding the grains!  I tried to grind them a little more fine than I usually do – my low efficiency is being caused somewhere in my process and I figured I would start fine and work my way up.

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Love the smell of ground malt!
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Mash and sparge, and sparge again for good measure

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I should get a slightly smaller boil kettle, I think I am a little too shallow – and barely came up with 1 gal wort this time around.

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Since I starting saving ice in 1 gallon bags, my wort chilling time dropped to less than 20 minutes.

I checked the gravity and I was kind of low, so I added some honey (1/2 cup, .25 lb) to boost it to 1.055, still 5 pts less than I wanted, but that 1/4lb honey was nearing the 10% adjunct level.

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The fermentation station!

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24 hours later, check out the foam from the bubbling sanitizer.

I hope you enjoyed the post, I will update when I bottle and eventually drink this tasty creation. Feel free to comment if you have questions, thanks for reading!

Brew Day: Chocolate Maple Porter

Today I am brewing a Porter, not that I am a big fan of dark beers, this recipe just sounded tasty. It is a blend of malts including American 2-row, chocolate malt and crystal 10 and 20. Yes, I changed the recipe. I didn’t have the exact malts (black patent) so I played a little. This porter will use fuggle hops and real Michigan maple syrup to (hopefully) create a nice, easy to drink beginner dark beer.

Recipe: (coming soon)

Since I recently discovered how little efficiency I’ve been getting, I multiplied the grain bill by 40% in hopes of hitting a reasonable OG.

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The first step in homebrewing is to pour a homebrew. Not sure who came up with the rule, but I plan on following it for now…the last thing I need is for the brewing police to show up….

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Mashing is done, sparge is done, time for the boil…

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Just like lobsters, hops scream when you boil them, but it’s ok – they taste better this way.

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At about the 59 minute mark, i poured in the maple syrup. After the wort was cooled, I racked it into my nice one gallon fermentors and took a gravity reading with my handy dandy refractometer…1.058! My goal was 1.048…but I’ll roll with this one, it’s better than being 10 points under!

Time to ferment!

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The yeast took a little while to get rolling, but just 24 hours later the krausen had peaked right at the top of the jug. Yay beer!

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Busy Busy!

I have been pretty busy lately, and have been putting off my next brew day for a while. Currently all my fermentors are empty, and I have a stock of about 40 bottles – blonde ale, pale ale, oktoberfest, apple crisp and raspberry wheat.

Crazy, gotta love small batches, not many brewers have that kind of a selection. Of course, the quality varies, especially since I’m still new to the game, but I still have plenty of tasty beer.

Tomorrow I plan on brewing a Chocolate Maple Porter. I have not been a huge fan of the darker, more robust beer, but I figure that I would rather make it than pay for something I don’t like. Anyways, I should have a post on the brew day up this weekend.

Happy brewing!

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