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Thursday, January 21, 2010

I realized recently that I only drink when I'm around other people who drink. So, since my sister is pregnant (sorry if this is the first you're hearing of it), I don't drink much at the house. So as a result, my beer fridge has not been re-fueled recently. Not much reason to keep it stocked while I'm only drinking occasionally at the casa.

Speaking of beer, I have over 50 beers that I made that need to be emptied. Mostly I need to get them empty to re-fill them. Perhaps it's time to have a have a beer drinkin' shin-dig? Well, either way, I'll brew up 5 gallons this weekend. Now, who to name it after?


Friday, March 07, 2008

It's March, so it's time to brew Oktoberfest and tomorrow is the big brew day. The last few times I had friends over to brew I didn't really let them do anything. This time, I'm writing a schedule for everything and I'm going to order everyone around so they all have time to enjoy the beer making process.

I also plan on putting together some prototype labels for a few of the beers that I've already brewed so everyone can have a few. Maybe 20 of each should do it. If I run out, I have plenty of commercial beers. Plenty of Saint Arnold's Spring Bock (my favorite)!

I got an online pharmacy spam today that had the subject "I hate you damn".


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

On January 9th, Cory and I brewed up 11 gallons of Wietzenbock. On January18th, we brewed up an English brown ale that ended up turning black due to the 15 year dark old malt extract. And, the weekend before last, (January 26th) I completed a 5 gallon batch of an amber.

So, after the Superbowl we dispositioned the first two brews into kegs. Unfortunately, the first batch was reduced to less than 5 gallons, and had a low alcohol content due to issues in the brewing process. The second (currently dubbed St. Ale) came out better than anyone had expected but, the alcohol content was equally low. To give it a boost, we added priming sugar, which is typically used to bottle beer. This should raise the alcohol content by about .2%.

The last 5 gallon batch was moved into the secondary fermenter without any incident. After all that work was done, my fermenting closet looked very bare, so Cory and I decided to brew another batch.

So, last night, Cory dropped by and we got started on yet another beer brewing adventure. The goal of this batch was to make a very pale beer as quickly as possible. When we went to buy all of the ingredients from Austin Home Brew, they were out of almost everything. So we subbed out the crystal extract with 10° grains, the light extract with dry light extract, the Styrian Goldings with Fuggle and the Saaz with Lublin. The only thing that was from the original recipe was the cane sugar, the honey and the Belgian Abbey II yeast.

Finally all of the cobwebs are clearing from my brain and I'm remembering all the subtleties of brewing. Cory and I are getting much better at brewing. Last night's brew was much shorter but, due to some bad math formulas we added too much water which required us to boil down the beer much more and yielded a bit too much beer. It will probably be OK but, we won't know until a few weeks from now.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Last night, Cory, Bo, Betty and Connie (welcome back to Austin Connie!) dropped by my house to enjoy the jambalaya that I decided to cook. I split the batch into two before I added the meat because Bo doesn't really like the taste of water dwelling critters, and I wanted to put in some crawfish. So, the recipe that I used said to put the rice in raw in the last 25 minutes at medium low temperature but, even after nearly 40 minutes the rice was still a little crunchy. We ended up eating dinner a little later than I anticipated but, it turned out good (the non-mudbug batch was cooked completely, anyway).

I still have plenty left, so I'll probably be serving it this weekend when Cory and I brew again. Cory figured we should have a lighter beer to enjoy for the tasting party so we'll put together another 5 gallon batch on Saturday (probably around 1:30 or so). I don't have high hopes for Cory's Forgotten Ale. He pulled the cap off the

airlock and smelled the beer's outgassing and said "it smells like cleaning fluid". We'll see this weekend when we move the beer to the secondary fermenter.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Many years ago, my brother Cory got me interested in brewing beer. In fact, in 1993 he bought the ingredients from Austin Homebrew Supply to make a dark ale of some sort. Why he lost interest, I'll never know. Starting in 2001, I brewed a few beers, mostly learning from then, co-brewing with Mike Duffy. When we moved to all grain brewing, we started the Xeno-Duff label (left).

Wednesday (the 9th) I brewed a big batch of beer at the request of Christine which brought out all of my brewing equipment out of the garage. I even bought a few more things (like a bad-ass reverse flow wort chiller). With all of this equipment out and ready to use, Cory became interested in brewing a "quick" 5 gallon mostly extract batch. So on Saturday night, I sent out an e-mail to a group of people who might be interested. Around 1:00 a decent group to showed up and help with the brew.

Fortunately for us, one of the ingredients Cory purchased back in 1993 survived for 15 years. It was a dark malt extract that, over time, had reduced down to nearly 2/3s of it's original weight and had been contaminated with airborne yeast. So, when the lid was removed, it smelled of dark malt and alcohol. When it was poured, however, it smelled like more like soy sauce but, it was too late. We had already committed to making Cory's "Forgotten Ale".

While we brewed, Bo, Frank, Rick and Josh threw the football around the backyard. As Cory and I were inside cleaning the brewing equipment, we heard a crash. Bo had smashed my grandmother's beautifully painted ashtray (left). So, now I've lost the thing that really defined my Grandmother in my mind. Sad.

As the brew kettle boiled the brown sugar, added grains (that we steeped like tea leaves) and the 15 year old malt extract, the smell became more pleasant. However, we are still not sure what the end results are going to be. The final step is adding yeast (White Labs British Ale Yeast YLP005) and agitating the wort to aerate the beer. So, Cory picked up the carboy and sloshed it around.

We should be able to see if this beer is going to be any good in about 5 to 7 days when we move it to the secondary fermenter. We plan on kegging this 5 gallon batch just in case it ends up being fertilizer instead of good beer.

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