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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Year, A New Beer

Hello all! Just a quick note about ringing in the new year by brewing a style of beer I have not brewed before. For those that know me, you know Altbier and Stout are two of my favorite styles. Well, I decided to go big and picked up the ingredients for a Russian Imperial Stout. And for those who know me in the brewing realm, you know I like to play with flavors and go outside the box. Well, this brew will be no exception. I picked up 18.25 lbs of malt for this brew which will be the biggest beer I have brewed to date. I'll be using Gambrinus ESB malt as the base, Briess Roasted Barley, Dingeman's Special B Malt, Weyermann Melaniodin Malt, Weyermann Rye Malt, and Weyermann Chocolate Rye Malt. I'm seeking the raisin/prune flavors from the Special B, and the spiciness from the Weyermann Rye to add some uniqueness to this Russian Imperial Stout. It will be pushing 10% ABV, so it will indeed require some aging. This may be my holiday beer for 2015! I'll be posting again when I brew. Thanks for reading!
CHEERS!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Halter Top, Dusseldorf Style Altbier

Hello! Bottled today with an final gravity of 1.016, which is higher than I was expecting. Projected was 1.009. The ABV on this one will be lower than expected at about 4%. (This will be easy an easy drinking beer!)

Aromas of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar, with some spice and floral notes from the hops. Flavor is good, nice smooth malty backbone, with flavors of toffee and sweet malt, which gives way to a moderate but smooth bitterness with hints of spice.

Color is an orange/amber with ruby hues to it. Quite pretty!

I'll post again in a few weeks at tasting time after conditioning has completed.

CHEERS! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Halter Top Altbier, Dusseldorf Style Altbier

Hello all! Sorry it's been a while since I brewed, but I'm back! I decided to brew one of my favorite styles, Dusseldorf Style Altbier. Malty and hoppy this a great style that is usually balanced and in my opinion is great when you find a good one. There are a few local breweries here in Colorado that make great ones. Grimm Brothers out of Loveland, CO, Prost Brewing out of Denver, CO, and Kokopelli Brewing out of Westminster, CO, just to name a few.





Here is a picture of the pre-boil wort. I wish you could smell this! Big, big, malt and grain aromas!














Here is the boil underway. 90 minutes of rapid boil to drop out proteins and trub. (Grain fragments and sediment.)














And the cooled wort racked to the primary fermenter. Starting to get some airlock activity after 5 hours of adding the yeast.









The recipe original gravity was predicted at 1.048. Actual measured original gravity is 1.046 which should place the ABV around 4.8%, which makes for quite a quaffable brew. 

This is one of my recipes that I keep tweaking in hopes that I'll nail it down soon! I think I'm getting very close. I chose some different malts to get a bigger malt flavor and aroma, and also increased the hops to get a little more bitterness to balance out the malt. I'll post when I rack to secondary which will be in 1-2 weeks and I'll check the gravity at that time.  

Thanks for reading!

PROSIT!

Steve

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Punkin' A, Taste Test

After 1 week in the bottle, it's time for a taste test.  Aromas of pumpkin, oak, rum, spices, and vanilla.  Flavors of pumpkin, oak, and spices, with a finish of rum and vanilla.  This beer has a big, smooth mouthfeel that is cut to a medium mouthfeel with the carbonation. The flavors linger a little on the palate with some residual sweetness, but gives way to a crisp dry finish. At 7% ABV, it is slightly warming but no alcohol is noticed on the nose or on the palate. I look forward to sharing this beer with friends and relatives during the upcoming holiday season.  CHEERS!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Punkin' A, Pumpkin Beer, Bottling

It was time to bottle after 10 days in secondary.  FG 1.018 placing ABV at 7.08%.  Nice deep golden/orange color as you can see in the photo.  Aromas of oak, pumpkin, spices, rum, and vanilla.  Flavors of oak, pumpkin, and spices up front with a finish of rum and vanilla. Nice smooth mouthfeel as well. This one should benefit from a little aging allowing the flavors to develop. The oak mingles nicely with the vanilla, and spices, as well a the Bacardi Oakheart Rum. I'll post in two weeks after I check a sample.  CHEERS!  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pumpkin Beer, secondary

I decided to give it a taste test today since it has now been in secondary almost 7 days. Aromas of pumpkin, spiced rum, oak, and vanilla.  Flavors of pumpkin, spiced rum, oak, and vanilla, with a smooth mouthfeel. WOW! Not bad for my first attempt at a pumpkin beer. I think the vanilla beans accentuate the rum and oak very nicely. I didn't perform a gravity check as the airlock is still bumping lightly. I think I'll let it ride for another week before bottling. My wife Janell gives it a thumbs up as well! I'll post at bottling time! CHEERS!    

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pumpkin Beer, secondary

Racked to secondary today. Gravity of 1.022 placing ABV at 6.5%. The flavor is nice with the spices added at boil coming through and the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Esters and phenols are coming through from the Fermentis T-58 yeast. The pumpkin has been added. A dark toasted american oak spiral, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, and whole cloves have been added that have been soaking in Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum. (I also added some of the rum that all was soaking in.) I scraped and chopped 3 Mexican vanilla beans and tossed them in as well. Secondary fermentation is starting up. This is my first attempt at a pumpkin beer so I decided to go all in!  CHEERS!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pumpkin Beer Brew Day

Brew day went well. Projected SG 1.077.  Actual measured is 1.072.  5.25 gallons into the fermenter. Racked onto a heavy toasted oak spiral that was soaked in Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum. Yes, into the primary, and there is no pumpkin in the brew as of yet. It  will be going into secondary. (I told you this was going to be a little different.) I'll post again when I rack to secondary. There will be more going on there as well!
CHEERS!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pumpkin Beer

I decided to jump on the bandwagon and will be brewing a pumpkin beer for fall. It will be spiced and will contain pumpkin.  I'm going to think a little outside the box on this one. I'll post more later.
CHEERS!

ChileBerry Smoked Porter

Aromas of raspberry, chocolate, and smoke.  Flavors of raspberry, smoke, chiles, and a nice heat that builds from the back of the throat.  There is a light chocolate malt flavor on the finish.  This has turned out to be quite a complex beer.  All the flavor elements that went in  the beer are evident in layers of flavor.  This beer is quite rich and tasty.
CHEERS!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Smoked Porter, Special Edition, Now named ChileBerry Smoked Porter

I bottled this one today.  Final gravity is 1.014, so ABV is 6.03%.  Aromas of raspberry, smoke, and chocolate, with a hint of chile.  Flavors of raspberry, chocolate, light smoke, and serrano chile with a little earthiness, and a light to moderate heat kick that gets the back of the throat. This beer is milder than my jalapeno wheat beer, but still has a little "kick". I'm diggin' this flavor combination! (Sometimes I get carried away with my food background.) This should prove to be quite an interesting brew once it is conditioned! (2-3 weeks wait. Bummer.)  CHEERS!    

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Smoked Porter, Special Edition

I gave it a taste test tonight to see how it is coming along.  No gravity check performed.  Here's the lowdown:  Aromas of roasted barley, smoke, and raspberry.  Flavors of roast barley, smoke, and raspberry.  Wow!  (I like the light roast barley flavor mingling with the cherrrywood smoked malt then the slight tartness of the raspberry on the finish.) So the last edition went in tonight as well.  I added the smoked Serrano chiles to finish it off.  These are milder on the heat scale than chipotles, so I figure about three days in the beer should do it.  I'll be taste testing it as I go to make sure there is just the right amount of heat. I think just a slight warmth will do.  CHEERS!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kettle Black, Irish Dry Stout

I bottled this one today.  Final gravity of 1.014 placing ABV at 4.7%. The color on this is a deep ruby red/brown.  It is slightly transparent. Aromas of chocolate and coffee. Flavors of chocolate with a slightly bitter coffee-like finish. Smooth mouthfeel with light to medium body. This one of my favorite styles, so I can't wait until it is carbonated! CHEERS!

Smoked Porter, Special Edition

I checked the gravity today and it is 1.014 placing ABV at 6.03%.  A sample yielded aromas of mild smoke and roast barley, with coffee and cocoa notes.  Flavors of mild smoke, coffee, and cocoa.  Racked into secondary onto 3 lbs of red raspberry puree.  Second fermentation underway!  There is still another ingredient going in secondary in the near future.  I want most of the fermentation of the raspberry to be complete before my next addition. CHEERS!

Cabernet Sauvignon

Added the metabisulfate and sorbate to kill off the yeast.  Also added the chitosan for clearing.  Degassed for 4 minutes.  Gravity was 0.992 placing ABV at 14.175%.  Just waiting another week or two for clearing, the we'll bottle.
CHEERS!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Smoked Porter, Special Edition

Well, my creativity is trying to get the best of me.  I have opted to brew a smoked porter, but with some special additions, which only a few people know about, so hush hush until I reveal please. (I recently tried Stone's Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers and found that to be quite a tasty brew.)
The brew day went very smoothly today.  I decided to use Briess Cherrywood Smoked Malt, sparingly. Yes, I did say sparingly.  Smoked malt addition is only 15% in this one. Recipe projected OG: 1.056. Actual measured OG: 1.060.  5.25 gallons into the fermenter.  Stay tuned when this goes to secondary as that is when things will start to get interesting.
CHEERS!

Cherry Cider, Still

Bottled today with an FG of 1.014 placing ABV at 7.35%.  I decided to go still on this one as I think the flavors meld together better.  It is more wine like since I used Sweet Mead Yeast.  These will have to age a little but the flavor is nice.  Black cherry up front gives way to the lime and finishes with a touch of acidity.  Not too sweet and not too dry.  I ended up with 4 bottles from the 1 gallon batch.  Tasty!
CHEERS!

Kettle Black, Irish Dry Stout

Racked to secondary this morning with a gravity of 1.014 placing ABV at 4.73%. Aroma of coffee and cocoa from the roasted barley, flavors of roasted barley with a nice smooth mouthfeel.  Color wise, this stout is more on the deep brown side with deep amber/red hues. I decided to go to secondary to help it clear up as it may be possible to see through this one when it is finished. Flavor wise, I think it is what I have been aiming for!
CHEERS!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kettle Black, Irish Dry Stout

And two days into fermentation about an inch-and-a-half krausen. I added 8 drops of FermCap-S at the beginning of the boil and it seems to be working at keeping the krausen under control.  No problems with hop additions when adding slowly. I didn't have any boil-overs, thank goodness! Holding the fermentation temperature at 67F. Lookin' good so far! I'm getting anxious on wanting to taste this one.  I think this recipe is where I want it finally.  Debating on going to secondary. May just let it finish up in the primary.  Depends on clarity and yeast flocculation after one week.  I'll keep you posted!  CHEERS!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cabernet Sauvignon

Racked to secondary today with a gravity reading 0.992 placing ABV at 14.17%.  The airlock became slightly active again after rousing the yeast.  This wine will sit in secondary for about two weeks to assist with clearing and make sure that fermentation is complete.  Then we'll move on to the clearing stage using chitosan  and will kill all yeast with potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfate.
CHEERS!

Ruby Red Melomel

Racked to secondary today with a gravity reading of 1.002, placing ABV at 14.43%.  Taste: definite alcohol, mild honey, not much on the grapefruit end.  This will definitely have to age and clear as it is quite cloudy at this point as well.  I'll probably rack to tertiary if there is a lot of dropout.
CHEERS!

Kettle Black - Dry Irish Stout

Happy brew day!  Mashed in at 7:00 a.m.  Strike temp 164F for a mash temp of 152F.  Nothing like the smell of mash in the morning!  Nice roasty aromas! Stout is one of my favorite styles; anything from Dry Irish Stouts, to Oatmeal Stouts and Milk Stouts, to Russian Imperial Stouts.  Sometimes I enjoy American Stouts, but it can go either way.  Occasionally they are just way to bitter from the hop additions.  I think certain hops fight with the roasted malt and can be quite unpleasant.

Pictured below from left to right are the mash from this morning, the boil underway, and 5.25 gallons into the fermenter.  Projected gravity was 1.046.  Actual measured is 1.050.  I used UK Target hops.  I love those hops in my stouts! Sorry for the late post as both sides of the family showed up for visits.
CHEERS!
Kettle Black In the Fermenter


Kettle Black Mash
Kettle Black Boil


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kettle Black, Irish Dry Stout

On deck for brew day 6/22/14 will be my Irish Dry Stout.  I am working on dialing in this recipe.  I love stout so I need one for the summertime.  I have 9.375 pounds of grain in the mash tun ready to go.  The water is measured out and in the kettles for heating.  I'll post stats tomorrow after brew day.  CHEERS!

Cherry Cider

Hello all!  The Cherry Cider was racked to secondary and the gravity was 1.014.  I have decided to let this one be a still cider.  The black cherry flavor is moderate and the brightness of the lime shines through. (Reminiscent of cherry limeade.)  Cheers!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ruby Red Grapefruit Melomel

I used 3 lbs of Ambrosia raw and unfiltered honey, the zest from one Ruby Red grapefruit, the zest from one lime, and some Ruby Red grapefruit grapefruit juice for acidity.  Starting gravity is 1.112.  I rechecked it a second time, and still the same.  I'm interested to see where this finishes up.  It will definitely need some aging. The yeast strain can tolerate alcohol up to 15% so no worries there.  It is designed to leave residual sugar for a sweet mead.  I used White Labs WLP 750.
CHEERS!

Cherry Cider

I started an experimental 1 gallon batch of cherry cider today.  I used a half gallon of black cherry juice, a half gallon of apple cider, and a little lime juice for some acidity.  I'm trying another strain of yeast for this one to see where it ends up.  Starting gravity was 1.070.  I'm interested to see how this one ends up.
CHEERS!

Cabernet Sauvignon

Janell and made a Cabernet Sauvignon today.  The starting gravity is 1.100.  Already starting to get some action in the airlock tonight.  Yes, I do make and drink wine also.  progress will follow.
CHEERS!

Friday, June 6, 2014

300 Suns Brewing, Longmont, CO

Stopped in today to drop of a Summer Beer entry for their Colabeeration Homebrewers Contest, and decided to check out their brews.  I sat at the bar and was greeted by Nicole, the server.  She was very polite and gracious!  I ordered a flight of all that they have on tap.  Then I was greeted at the bar by Jean, the owner.  We struck up a conversation about their beers and the brewery and other breweries as well, as I imbibed their tasty brews. (Run down on the beers will follow.)  It is nice to be able to sit down and talk to the owner and server freely, and without reservation.  We talked location, beer, food, and the like.

I really enjoyed the smaller, homier feeling atmosphere.  It is very welcoming!  The decor is nice and it is a good looking tasting room and patio.  (I should have taken some pictures.  Sorry.)

The beers I had are as follows:
1. Blue Corn Maiden Cream Ale - A tasty cream ale with the addition of blue corn gives a nice aroma nad earthiness that was quite enjoyable!
2.  Colorado Sunday SMaSH 2.0 - Avery tasty SMaSH beer with Chinook hops imparting slight resinous pine and citrus flavors.  Tasty!
3.  1st Avenue River Pale Ale - A nicely balanced pale ale that was quite quaffable.
4.  Cap'n Long ESB - Nicely balanced ESB.  Delicious!
5.  Rabbit Mountain Red Ale - Big malty backbone with a moderately bitter hops finish.  Very well done red ale!
6.  Hop & Sol IPA - Nice bright IPA with a very balanced malt to hops ratio.  Quite good!
7.  Sun Wortshipper Brown Ale - Delicious brown ale.  Nutty with a slight roastiness and just enough residual sweetness to keep me coming back for more.  (One of my favorites here.)
8.  Old Burlington Stout - Big smooth roast malt flavors of chocolate and coffee with just enough bitterness and enough residual sweetness to balance it all out.  (This was my favorite of the day!)
9.  Sunglasses At Night American Black Ale - A nicely done black IPA wit just enough roastiness to make it smooth, and just enough bitterness to balance it all and tie it together.

300 Suns is located on First Avenue about a half block west of Main Street.  It is situated in an industrial area just south of the old Longmont Foods Turkey plant.  The Cheese Importers Warehouse is on the east side of First Avenue, a good place to get some cheese, charcuterie, baguettes, and chocolate to pair with your beer if you would like.

I enjoyed my visit at 300 Suns Brewery and highly recommend a visit sometime.
CHEERS!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Spring Spruce Tip Blonde

I bottled it tonight after 7 days in secondary.  FG is 1.012 which keeps the ABV at 5.5%.  This might prove to be a tasty beer!  Color is a deep golden with some orange hue to it.  Aromas of sweet malt, citrus and fresh pine on the nose.  Flavors of sweet malt, citrus, and light fresh pine with a slight resinous pine finish and a hint of bitterness.  I am anxiously waiting for this one to carbonate!  My friends and fellow brewers, I don't think you will be disappointed!  It is brewed to the Blonde Ale style with fresh spruce tips from my own pine tree added.  Nothing like keeping to fresh local ingredients!  I look forward to sharing this one!  Spruce tips aren't just for Winter beers!
CHEERS!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kokopelli Beer Company, Westminster, CO

Stopped in at Kokopelli Beer Company this afternoon to check them out.  I purchased a flight of 6 and an extra to get a taste of what they have to offer.  I'll give a run down on the beers shortly.  They offer food as well which is nice.  I ordered a personal cheese pizza for my daughter and had to have a taste as it looked delicious!  (And it was!)  I watched a few of the huge pretzels go to other tables as well and they looked AMAZING!  (Comes with a spicy beer-cheese dip as well!)  The beers were quite solid and quite tasty.  I had the following:
White Lace White IPA - Nice white IPA with a moderate hops bitterness
Gatekeeper Saison - (Seasonal) Good saison with a mild sweetness and nice esters from the yeast
Pale face Ale - (Pale Ale) Nice citrusy flavors from the hops and quite quaffable
Red Moon Ale - (Red Ale) - Nice malt forward red with mild bitterness from the hops
Goofstaf Altice Amber - (Amber Ale) - Very malt forward with a light bitterness, (My favorite of the day)
Cow Tipper Milk Stout - Nice roasted malt characteristic of a good stout with a creamy finish, (Janell's fav.)
Hop Slugger IPA - Touting 70 IBU's was a good IPA.  Bitter but not overly so.  Enjoyable
Weizen Up - (Hefeweizen) - Has banana and clove phenolics that were balanced but not overpowering
All in all, I would highly recommend Kokopelli Beer Company if you haven't tried it yet.  We had great service provided by Samantha.  We will definitely be returning!
CHEERS!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spring Spruce Tip Blonde

Spring Spruce Tip Blonde Secondary
Racked to secondary tonight.  Gravity is at 1.012, placing ABV at 5.5%.  I tasted it and the spruce tips are detectable, but light in flavor, so I decided to "dry spruce" it with 1 1/2 ozs fresh spruce tips. (That is the bag floating in the top left of the fermenter.)  I don't know how much flavor and aroma will come from the spruce tips, but that is half the fun, right?  That is what I love about homebrewing!  We can take it anywhere we want to!  I really hope this beer finishes up nicely.  I can't wait to share it with friends, family, and Aurora City Brew Club members. CHEERS!      

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring Spruce Tip Blonde

High krausen even with Ferm-Cap S added.  (I only used one drop per gallon, maybe I should have used two drops instead.) That krausen is 3" thick!

This my new Big Mouth Bubbler Plastic 6.5 gallon fermenter with the dual-port lid that I purchased from Northern Brewer.  I have an airlock in one stopper and the other is solid. This allows for the use of a thief or siphon through the second port, or even a way to add more products to secondary.  Pretty cool idea!  It will be very easy to clean as well, as I will be able to get my arm inside the large mouth opening!  These are also available in 5 gallon, and in glass or plastic at decent prices.  Great product and great service as well!
CHEERS!  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Spring Spruce Tip Blonde

Mash day started at 7:00 a.m.  The mash bill consists of Weyermann Pilsner Malt, Weyermann Munich I, and Briess Caramel 10.  Strike temperature 167F to achieve mash temperature of 155F, single infusion mash.  Not sure on the quantity of spruce tips this first go round.  I'll play it safe and go lighter than I was originally planning.


After some consideration and input from others who have used spruce tips, I will use 10 spruce tips at 20 minutes, 10 spruce tips at 15 minutes, 10 spruce tips at 10 minutes, and 25 spruce tips at flame out. I'll be hopping with Chinook and Cascade, late additions, since I don't know how much bitterness will be contributed from the spruce tips.  I chose Chinook hops for their pine and citrus flavors and aromas and Cascade hops for their Citrus notes as well to highlight the spruce tips which have a citrus and slightly resinous aroma to them.




Boil underway.  Smells awesome.  Pilsner, Munich I, and Caramel 10 smelling delicious already.  I'm going to be adding the hops in late additions to keep the bitterness down but impart a lot of aromas.







And into the fermenter after cooling.  Recipe OG was 1.052.  Actual is 1.054.  I ended up with 5 gallons going into the fermenter.  Lost quite a bit on the boil.  Usually have 5.25 gallons going into primary.




The aromas of citrus and resinous pine are quite nice.  If I lose some aroma through the brew process, I will try "dry" sprucing.  Updates to come on the progress.  CHEERS!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Specialty Hard Cider

I started this batch on March 30, 2014, and since the yeast finally decided to start dropping out, bottled it today with an FG of 1.004. I found that the yeast I chose for this batch is a good match to leave a little residual sugar and not dry the cider out too much.  ABV is 8.6%. Color is deep golden/slightly orange. Smell: Aromas of apples, cinnamon, and a hint of clove.  Taste: semi-sweet apple, cinnamon, and very light clove on the finish.  The spicing is subtle so as not to overpower the apple flavor.  Overall the spice and the cider itself seem to be well balanced.  Not bad for my first 6 gallon attempt at a specialty hard cider.  I bottle primed with 4.75 ozs of dextrose (corn sugar) in hopes that the yeast is still healthy enough to carbonate.  I'll know in a week or two. CHEERS!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Smoked Maple Nut Brown

And into the bottles finally!  FG at 1.016 placing ABV at 7%.  Smell: aromas of sweet cherrywood smoke, maple, and toasted nuts.  Taste: smooth, medium-body mouthfeel and the flavors of the maple, cherrywood smoke, and nuttiness, meld together nicely with a slight bitterness, possibly slight astringency, that balances out the sweetness.  After a few sips there is a slight warmth, but no hot alcohol in the flavor.  I bottle primed with 4 oz of maple sugar.  I'll post again in 2-3 weeks after conditioning.
CHEERS!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Smoked Maple Nut Brown

Still some very slight activity going on in the airlock.  Decided to pull a sample for a gravity and tasting. Gravity at 1.016 placing ABV at 7%.  Smell: Sweet aromas of smoke and maple with a deep nutty character.  Flavor: Medium body:  Tastes of maple, smoke, and a nice nutty finish.  Once the airlock activity subsides, I will bottle.  I'm going to bottle prime with maple sugar.
CHEERS!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Smoked Maple Nut Brown

I checked the gravity today and it is still 1.018.  Aroma of smoke, nuts, and some light maple.  Flavor is semi-sweet upfront, then mellow smoke, and a slight bitterness before the nutty finish.  Added a little more maple syrup to increase the maple flavor.  I think it is coming along nicely.  I"ll post again at bottling, another week to 10 days out.
CHEERS!
   

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Specialty Hard Cider Update

Well, still slightly cloudy and the airlock float is to the top of the airlock.  I'll let it age until it clarifies more and the airlock float drops.  No taste test or gravity test at this time as it seems to be stable 1.004.  I will take a gravity reading at bottling.
CHEERS!

Smoked Maple Nut Brown

Racked to secondary today onto 8 fl oz of Dark Amber Maple Syrup.  Gravity is 1.018 currently which places ABV at 6.8%.  Aroma of rich, nutty, smoke.  A light flavor of smoke up front followed by a nutty, malty, richness.  Tastes slightly astringent at this point which is to be expected at one week.  Hops bitterness is low at 25 IBU.  This will need some conditioning time in the bottle.
CHEERS!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Specialty Hard Cider update

Another week has passed and the yeast is still in suspension.  Gravity check was 1.004, which is where it has stabilized.  I think I'll wait one more week before bottling.  The sample looked almost clear with a very slight haze.  Flavor was good, red apple flavor up front with cinnamon and clove on the slightly tart finish. Tasty!
CHEERS!

Smoked Maple Nut Brown Ale

Brew day today.  It is raining mixed with snow.  Decided to add a little smoked malt to my maple nut brown to change it up a little.  Mash and boil smelled amazing!  Projected gravity is 1.059.  Measured is 1.070.  Wow that maple syrup added some major sugar!)  I used Briess Smoked Malt (30% of my grist),  but I'm wondering if it might be too light on the smoke?  I'll be adding some dark amber maple syrup to the boil as well as to secondary (if needed).
CHEERS!      

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Specialty Cider update

I checked the cider today and it is still hazy.  Gravity check yielded 1.004, placing ABV at 8.66%.  Hasn't changed since secondary.  I'll leave it in the fermenter longer to allow clearing.  Color is light amber.  Aroma of apple, cinnamon, and clove.  Flavor of apple, slight tartness, and cinnamon and cloves on the finish.  This is proving to be a tasty cider.
CHEERS!    

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Specialty Cider update

The cider is starting to clear nicely. Took a sample for tasting today.  Aroma of apple and cinnamon.  Flavor of sweet apple, with slight cinnamon and a hint of clove on the finish.  The yeast I used on this batch seems to be leaving some residual sugars behind.  Still has a week or two to go for clearing, then I'll let it bottle condition.  This one is shaping up nicely.  
CHEERS! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jose's Jalapeno Wheat

Tasting - I swirled the bottle gently to mix the yeast into the beer.  It pours a hazy deep golden color with a quickly dissipating white head.  (Might be due to wax on the jalapenos as I used store bought this round.) Aroma of fresh green jalapeno.  Medium body with flavors of sweet malt with a smooth mouthfeel, fresh green jalapeno, and a nice little rush of heat that hits in the back of the throat.  Not too hot, but definitely noticeable.  (Makes me want to keep coming back for more!)  I introduced this beer to some family members that don't drink craft beer, namely my youngest brother Keith and my 2nd cousin Gabe, and they both enjoyed it!
CHEERS!








Hard Cider update

Racked to secondary today onto 1 oz broken cinnamon sticks and 4 whole cloves that were soaked in spiced rum.  Gravity check was at 1.004, placing ABV at 8.66%.  Aroma of fresh apples.  Taste of slightly sweet apples giving way to a clean tart apple finish.  I like the flavor of the cider overall better than the experimental batches which seemed to have more esters/phenols leaving a mineral-like finish.  This cider finishes clean which to me is a lot more palatable.  We'll see where the spices take it in a week or more.
CHEERS!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hard Cider (6 Gal Batch)

I decided I am going for it and finally making a 6 gallon batch of hard cider.  I brewed a couple of experimental 1 gallon batches utilizing a dessert wine yeast with success.  This time I am using a wine yeast that is better for cider.  They both turned out good and the second batch is carbonating.

Starting OG on this batch is 1.070, which should place it in the 9% ABV region.  My wife says she prefers the higher alcohol version better, so that is what I am going for.  I don't know where this yeast will go yet as it is a different strain than I was experimenting with.  I do like the fact that there is no boil involved, though I did heat a half gallon to liquefy my sugars, but not higher than 165F.  I have some ideas to flavor it in secondary.   I'll keep you posted on my new venture.
CHEERS!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Jose's Jalapeno Wheat

Bottled tonight with an FG of 1.012, placing ABV at 4.98%.  (There was a little sugar in those jalapenos.)   Aroma of fresh green jalapeno.  Flavor of smooth slightly sweet, nutty malt, fresh jalapeno, then a a nice tingly heat after swallowing. I don't find it too hot.   Makes me want to keep going back for more.  This batch definitely has more bite than the prior one I brewed.  Can't wait until it's carbonated!
CHEERS!    

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jose's Jalapeno Wheat

Taste test this evening as this weekend got away from me.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  Aroma of fresh green jalapenos.  Flavor of fresh green jalapenos with a slightly grainy/nuttiness, finishing with a mild to moderate heat from the jalapenos.  I will bottle within a day or two as I am awaiting a little more clarity.  I like this one already!  Carbonated it will be even better!
CHEERS!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Jose's Jalapeno Wheat

Quick tasting update:  Aroma of fresh green jalapeno peppers.  Flavors of fresh green jalapenos, smooth wheat beer, and a slightly spicy finish.  I don't think it is going to get too spicy.  I'll check again in three days.  The yeast is starting to drop out of suspension and the beer is starting to clear.  As for the citrus flavor, it is diminished from what I can tell.

CHEERS!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Jose's Jalapeno Wheat

Racked onto 14 oz fresh green jalapeno peppers today after 6 days in primary with no activity in the airlock. gravity.  (The gravity is 1.016, right where it should be, placing the ABV at 4.46%.)  I Took the gravity sample after racking onto the peppers to get a "hint" of the jalapeno flavor.  I already have the aroma of fresh green jalapeno with a smooth slightly nutty wheat beer profile.  I am also detecting at this time some slight citrus notes, not sure if it is from the jalapenos or the yeast.  (I used Fermentis T-58.  I love this yeast for wheat beers.)  This should prove to be a tasty brew!  It's one of my favorites!  I think I'll have to keep checking on the heat level though as I just taste sampled a slice of jalapeno and it did have quite a bite!  I want some heat, but not too much.  If the heat level gets to where I want it before next weekend, I'll have to rack to tertiary so it doesn't get too hot.  Here is pic of the sliced jalapenos floating on the wheat beer.  It is hazy, but that is normal and expected for a wheat beer at this point in time.
CHEERS!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Jose's Jalapeno Wheat

Mashed in at 6:45 a.m. with strike water temperature @ 169F for a mash temperature of 156F.  Batch sparged and headed to boil at 8:00 a.m.  Boiled for 90 minutes and measured OG is 1.050. ( Just a couple points shy of of projected, 1.052.)  The mash bill consisted of pale wheat, dark wheat, and pilsner malts from Weyermann.  I'll be using Fermentis T-58 yeast for its peppery/spicy phenolics, although with the jalapenos it is not very detectable.  Cluster hops for the earthiness/grassiness they bring to the party, also usually undetectable but harmonious with the brew.  IBU's are 27.  Will post again when racking to secondary.
CHEERS!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Jose's Jalapeno Wheat

Brewing tomorrow will be Jose's Jalapeno Wheat.  This is one of my favorite summertime brews!  I create a nice wheat beer following BJCP guidelines, then rack onto fresh jalapeno peppers for secondary.  I've found this creates the fresh green jalapeno aroma and flavor with just enough spiciness.  I've converted a few non-chile beer drinking folk into chile beer drinkers with this one.  I even converted a Bud-Light drinker with this one.  Projected OG will be 1.052.  I'll post up specs after brewing tomorrow.

CHEERS!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cherry Bomb Blonde

Sampling at 11 days bottle conditioning.  Color: Amber with ruby red tones.  Aroma: Sweet grain and sweet and tart cherries.  Flavor: sweet cherries up front transitions to tart cherries and black currant from the Bramling Cross hops, then gives way to subtle sweet grain with a slightly tart, bitter, almost tannic finish likely due to the cherry puree.  I think an extra week or so of bottle conditioning will smooth it out.
CHEERS!        

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cherry Bomb Blonde

Bottled today with FG at 1.014 placing ABV at 4.98%.  Color is a nice pale pinkish-red.  Flavor is good.   Slightly malty-grainy with a subtle cherry flavor on the finish.  I didn't want an overly sweet or cloying brew and I didn't wan't to add flavor extracts either.  I'll post again after two weeks.
CHEERS!  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cherry Bomb Blonde

Racked to secondary onto 3 lbs Vintners Harvest Sweet Cherry puree.  Current gravity 1.014 placing ABV at 4.98%.  I had to get a taste of this beer before the adding the cherry puree and it is quite good!  I only used three malts and it is a lot maltier than I was expecting with a nice residual sweetness from the caramel 20L malt.  The black currant aroma from the hops is quite nice as well, though it may not be evident after the cherry addition.  I think this would be a good lawnmower beer minus the cherry, but we'll see how much cherry comes through in the end product.
Thanks for reading.  CHEERS!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cherry Bomb Blonde

Brew day went well.  Projected OG 1.047.  Measured OG 1.052.  5 gallons in the fermenter with Fermentis US-05 yeast.  I chose the yeast for its neutral flavor properties. I used Weyermann Vienna and Weyermann Pilsner malts with some Briess Caramel 20.  I opted for UK Bramling Cross hops for the flavor of black-currant and its spiciness.  I'll add the cherry puree to secondary in a week.
CHEERS!  

Cherry Bomb Blonde

Next up on the brew list will be a fruit version of a blonde ale.  I love cherries so I thought I would brew a blonde ale and add cherry puree to the fermentation process.  I'll be adding the cherry puree to secondary to try and preserve the flavor and aroma.  I'll use a flavor-neutral yeast to let the fruit come through.

I'm a little late in getting started on this brew as it would have been great for Valentines day.  It will be a nice Spring beer nonetheless.  

Planning on brewing this Sunday morning on 2/2/14.

CHEERS!

S.O.S. (Oak) Smoked Oatmeal Stout

This beer turned out quite good as reviewed from the crew at The Brew Hut in Aurora, CO.  They liked the way I used the Weyermann Oak Smoked Wheat malt in this recipe.  The aroma has oak on the nose as well as some chocolate notes.  The flavor of chocolate gives way to very mild sweetness and a semi-dry finish with a hint of smoke coming in on the back-end.  There is a nice mild bitterness that rounds out the brew.
CHEERS!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

S.O.S. Smoked Oatmeal Stout

I've been really wanting to taste the fruits of my labor, so after one week in the bottle, I decided to dive in!  (Albeit a week early.)  Aromas of chocolate, sweet malt, oak, and smoke.  (The oak aroma really comes through.)  Flavors of chocolate, smoke, and an oak richness on the finish.  Wow!  That richness lends an almost barrel aged flavor, without any aging whatsoever.  This recipe was spot on for what I was aiming to achieve utilizing Weyermann Oak Smoked wheat malt.
CHEERS!

Friday, January 17, 2014

S.O.S. Smoked Oatmeal Stout

Final gravity of 1.016 placing ABV at 6%.  Aromas of chocolate, sweet malt, and oak.  Taste: Big, smooth mouth-feel, roasted malt, chocolate, and oak, and a light smokiness on the back-end, with a slight lingering bitterness, which should smooth out with a little age in the bottle.  I think the oak smoked malt lends an interesting richness to this brew.  Two weeks to go for carbonation.
CHEERS!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

S.O.S. Smoked Oatmeal Stout

Happy New Year everyone!  It is currently snowing lightly, but my brew day is underway at 7:00 a.m. I mashed in at 157-158F.  Smells tasty already!  I'll be batch sparging in about 45 minutes.  Original projected gravity is 1.060.  My measured gravity ended up being 1.062.

This is the first time I've used Weyermann Oak Smoked Wheat Malt.  As you all know I am a lover of smoke beers, and thought this might be an interesting way to add some oakiness and light smoke flavor to an everyday oatmeal stout without having to age my beer.  Nothing wrong with barrel aging, don't get me wrong.  Sometimes I just like a little subtlety with aging as some barrel aged beers are a little overpowering from the spirits they once contained.  (If I choose to drink a barrel aged beer, I still expect it to taste like a beer with some hints of what the beer was aged in.  I expect oak flavor, and some of the spirit flavor, but not just the oak and spirit flavor only.)

On to the batch sparge.  It takes me 45 minutes to an hour to batch sparge.  The hardest part is the wait.  I want to get on to the boil, but patience is a virtue I have learned.

I am old school when it comes to measuring gravity.  I still use a hydrometer after my boil.  I know that a brix refractometer can be used throughout the process, even with hot wort, pre-boil, but I enjoy taking the gravity the way I learned.  (Plus the refractometer can be pricey for a good quality one.)

I will boil for 90 minutes, cool my wort with an immersion chiller, then pitch my dry yeast.  (I think I am too lazy to make starters, and have never had any problems with dry yeast.)

Well, my brew day concluded around 12:30 and everything seems to be on track.  I taught my friend Brian how I brew.  Many thanks for his interest and desire to learn!

I'll post again on bottling day in about two weeks.

CHEERS!