Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brew #2, 7 months later

I notice that as my bitter ages, the hops become far more pronounced. It is starting to taste more like an IPA than a bitter at this point. Interesting.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Batch #6 - American Pale Ale

A few new things with this batch. Number 1 - this is the first recipe I have used from How to Brew by John Palmer (although I could not follow it exactly - some of my ingredients are slightly different). Number 2- this is my first time using liquid yeast.

Here goes:

steeped crystal 70/80 malt (recipe called for 60 but I had 70/80 on hand)
1.5 kg light liquid malt extract at boil
1.5 kg light liquid malt extract at knockout (after boil)


.6 oz Northern Brewer (9.6%) (recipe called for .5 oz 11%, so I improvised here somewhat) 60 minutes
.5 oz Cascade ( 5.4%) 30 minutes (recipe called for 6%)
.5 oz Cascade 15 minutes

1 package Wyeast Activator 1056 American Ale liquid yeast

I have about 2oz of the Cascade left which I will use to dry hop the beer

On the whole, it should turn out pretty close, but slightly darker and a little less bitter.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bottled the Blackberry stout

(after adding 3/4 cup dextrose)

We will see how it is in a few weeks.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Batch #5 - Blackberry Stout

Especially for Sith@Heart!

For this one, I took Charlie Papazian's recipe for Cherry Fever Stout (Joy of Home Brewing 3rd ed., p.2145) but substituted blackberries for cherries. I also had to use 3.3 lbs dark malt extract syrup and 3.3 lbs amber (the local home brew shop only had one can of dark, so I got one dark and one amber)

Here it is:

3.3 lbs Coopers dark malt extract syrup
3.3 lbs Coopers amber malt extract syrup
1 lb plain dark dried malt extract
1 lb crystal malt
1/2 lb roasted barley
1/2 lb black malt
1 1/2 oz Northern Brewer hops
1/2 oz Willamette hops
4 tsp gypsum
5 lbs fresh blackberries

- steeped the crystal malt, barley and black malt in 1.5 gallons water at 160 degrees for 30 minutes
- strained the malts. Added the extracts, Northern Brewer hops and gypsum and boiled for 60 minutes
- crushed and added the 5 lbs blackberries. Let steep for 15 minutes at 180 degrees
- added the Willamette hops
- added 10 oz pitched Coopers ale yeast

Wheat beer - note to self

While attending the Unibroue tasting at Willow Park the other night, the "beer sommelier" from Unbrioue was explaining how they use orange peels and coriander to flavour Blanche to Chambly. I will have to try that night time I make a wheat ale.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Batch 3 (Chocolate Porter) Tasting Notes

Deep brown in colour with a head that sadly dissipates perhaps a bit too quickly. Has a dry but smooth taste. A hint of the chocolate comes through in the after taste. All in all not bad, if I do say so myself!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The beer that eats like a meal!

Last night I tried Mikkeller "Beer Geek Brunch". An imperial stout from Denmark. This could easily be the heaviest beer I have ever had. One and you are full. A brunch indeed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bottled batch number 4

Bottled batch number 4 today. About 5 gallons - added 3/4 cup of dextrose. Will let you know how it is in a few weeks!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Batch #4 - Wheat Ale

I ended up making this one using pre-hopped extract. I wanted to make it from scratch, but all the recipes were essentially "use wheat malt extract, add hops". I figured if it was going to be that simple anyway, might as well save the aggravation of trying to find wheat malt extract.

I used Coopers wheat ale liquid extract. Dissolved it in 2 litres boiling water with 500g light malt extract and 300g dextrose. Put it into the carbuoy with enough cold water to equal just under 5 gallons. I forgot to pitch the yeast, but it seems to be doing fine nonetheless. Today is day 2, and the fermentation is very vigorous, and the brew has a nice, hazy yellow/orange colour.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cheap beer Craptacular!

Mountain Crest Gold Lager

How about it - a cheap beer that is half way decent! A golden lager that is slightly too sweet, but very reminiscent of Alpine lager.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Where to drink in Ottawa

If you find yourself in the Nation's Capital and thirty, check out Pub Italia:

Never mind the Shamrock / Italian Flag combo - it is all about the beer selection

Monday, July 19, 2010

Batch #3

Bottled the chocolate porter tonight. I will let you know how it is in 2-3 weeks

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cheap Beer Craptacular!

Today's entry: Thunder Bolt Extra Strong Beer. Imported by Mountain Crest Brewing Co.

When I first tried this beer, I was fairly certain it was the worst beer I had ever had. However, upon giving it a second chance, I now think it is merely amongst the worst beers I have ever had.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cheap Beer Craptacular!

Today's entry: Hite Beer - Hite Brewery, Korea

My first beer from Korea? Could be. The Hite bottle describes it as "cool & fresh" and "clean, crisp and fresh!". It also has a handy dandy mark shaped like a bottle opener that turns blue when it is at "optimal tasting temperature".

Aside from all that, this beer has essentially the same colour (light yellow) and flavour (none) as Coors' lite. Nothing really much to this beer one way or the other.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Home brew batch #3 - Chocolate Porter

This brew was more about being able to make something with the supplies on hand than anything else. I had 2 cans of dark malt extract and a variety of hops. I picked up some additional grains from the Vineyard and set to work. I found the recipe online. I omitted one of the grain varieties, and had to substitute the bitter hops as I did not have what the recipe called for (it called for Galena and EKG). I also had a load of swiss chocolate than Nicolas and Simone gave us, so the Chocolate Porter seemed the obvious choice. Without further ado:

Chocolate porter

8oz 70/80 L Crystal Malt (Crushed)

8oz Special Roast Malt (Crushed) (omitted)

12oz Chocolate Malt (Crushed)
4oz Black Patent Malt (Crushed)
4oz Roasted Barley (Crushed)

Steeped for 30 minutes at 150 F

Hops – 60 min: Centenial (9.2 alpha) x 1.5 oz

30 mins – Centenial and what I had left of my fuggles (5.1%) – this will result in a less bitter beer than the recipe called for, but what are you gonna do? Total = .5 oz


Willamette - .5 oz at 10 mins and .5 oz at 1 min

After taking it off heat – 6 oz. Lindt 60% cacao “L’Infini Fondant” and a few pieces of Lindt dark

Yeast = 2/3 Coopers, 1/3 Nottingham

Sparged the grains. Placed in in the carbuoy adding water to eq 5 gallons. (Though I would try a one stage fermentation this time)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tasting notes batch #2 (Bitter)

Well, for my first ingredient, as opposed to kit based batch, I think not bad at all! The hop substitutions give it a slightly more earthy taste than I think it is supposed to have, but all in all a fine bitter. At least I don't have to cross the pond for this one!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tasting notes - home brew batch 1

Ok, since it is from a kit it is not like I have a lot of control over the taste, however I was pleasantly surprised at what a crisp flavour it has. Although not very dry in absolute terms, it is certainly drier than most red ales I have tried. iRob lists it as one of his favour beers (full disclosure - he just started drinking beer a few months ago). However, it was better than I expected - especially given the brewing snafus

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Beer o' the day

The beer o' the day is "Wilco Tango Foxtrot" by Lagunitas (think about it). The beer is great, the bottle excellent. The tag line is "A Malty, Robust Jobless Recovery Ale." Deep red in colour, dry in taste with caramel notes. Buy it if you see it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bottling batch number 2

Bottled batch number 2 yesterday. Added 3/4 cup of dextrose to the brew - began foaming almost immediately. I assumes this means the yeast is still alive...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Racking batch #2

Last night I racked the latest batch from the primary fermenter to the carboy. It was about 5 gallons of brew into a 6 gallon carboy, so there is about 4 inches of head space. Hopefully this does not negatively impact the taste of the beer. I may need to get a 5 gallon carboy.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Home brew batch #2

On Sunday I attempted to make another batch of home brew. This time I used ingredients as opposed to a kit. I am trying to make an English bitter. Here are my notes:

HOME BREW (May 23, 2010)

Beer attempted: Palace Bitter (Papazian page 170)

Extract: 2kg light dried malt extract
Malt: 1lb Crystal Malt 70/80L
Hops: Fuggles (5.1) and Northern Brewer (8.9)
Yeast: Nottingham Brewing yeast (dry)


Recipe called for Crystal 60 and Kent Goldings hops. Substituting the Northern Brewer. Result should be a hoppier beer than as per the recipe


11:00 am: added 12.1 oz Crystal Malt to 1.5 gallons water @ about 70 degrees C

Note: the temp got up to about 77 degrees. Hope that causes no ill effects

11:30 – strained out the malt

11:36 added the malt extract. Has to stir quite a bit due to clumping

11:54 – boil over (dammit – busy combing dog) Added hops

12:24 – added 7 grams each of Fuggles and Northern Brewer

12:39 – added 14 grams Northern Brewer

12:52 – added 14 grams Northern

12:53 – suspended about 14 grams yeast in 8 oz water

12:55 – placed the wort pot in ice water

13:45 – strained wort into primary fermenter. Added about 3.5 gallons cold water, and poured back and forth between pot and fermenter (once).

14:00 – added yeast and water mix

OG – between 1038 and 1040

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bottling the brew

Last night I bottled the home brew. Step 1 was about 2 hours of sanitizing all the bottles and equipment. What fun. Next step - rack the beer from the carboy back into the primary fermenter. With the auto-siphoner this was quite simple! Add some dextrose disolved in water, stir gently, and it is ready to go. I filled about 40 bottles of various sizes. Now, to wait 10 days and try the brew, and keep my fingers crossed it does not taste like ass...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I am an idiot

Solution to the siphon problem: auto-siphoner!

Why am I an idiot? It turns out I had one all along...


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Home brewing step 2 -Day 3

All I can is @#@^%! The kit I am using calls for primary fermentation as well as secondary fermentation. This requires siphoning the wort from the bucket to the carboy. Easy to say, pain in the ass to do! After sterilizing all the equipment, I am left with this basic problem: how do you siphon something without sucking on the hose? (stop that snickering). After all the warnings about sanitation and germs, I was desperately trying to think of a way to do it without creating a vacuum in the hose. Well, nothing doing. I suspect my attempts to submerge the hose in the wort may have ruined the batch. Grrrrr. If the beer survives it will be a miracle. I will let you know in a month.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Home Brew!

Ok, I realize I have not posted in a ridiculously long time. In fact, it was about 180 types of beer ago! Ye Gods. Anyhoo, I have decided to expand my beer universe by trying to home brew beer.

Step 1: I ordered three books from Amazon:

How To Brew by John Palmer
The Complete Joy of Home Brewing (3rd ed.) by Charlie Papazian
Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels

I have read a good chunk of the first two. I must say at times they read more like chemistry textbooks. Well, if I get beer of it - so be it!

Next I picked up a home brew set from the Vinyard. Well, I actually joined the Cowtown Yeast Wranglers next, but I haven't got my membership card yet.

I wanted to follow a recipe from one of the books to start, rather than work from a kit. However, on the advice of the men from the Vinyard, I opted to try my first batch using a kit. I purchased the Red Ale Kit made by Brew House.

Day 1 (April 25): Spent about an hour cleaning all the equipment. They say sanitation is the most important thing, due to the susceptibility of home brew to bacteria, etc. The only living thing you want in there is the yeast!

Next, I had to wait an hour for the water to warm up to room temperature. This at least gave me a chance to enjoy a brew ("Total Eclipse of the Hops" by Howe Sounds Brewing). I followed the directions set out in the kit; however, I am concerned that the water/wort mix was a lot foamier than I expected when I added the yeast. I hope I did not ruin it. Also, I admit I peaked in a few times to see how it was doing. This is a no-no, but again, I hope no real ill comes of it.

Now I let it sit until Wednesday, when I will rack it into the carboy. See you then!