Tuesday, August 23, 2011

HomeBrew Update

 Just a quick update. It's been a while since I updated my blog so I thought it was time to do one.

 I've got several more batches of Homebrew under my belt now and I'm so glad I decided to get into this hobby, it's great fun and what other hobby do you get to drink the fruits of your labor.

 I've add some new equipment, I bought (2) 6-Gallon Glass Carboys and a 6 gallon bottling bucket. this has allowed to have up to 3 different batches going at once.

 I've also allowed more time for certain styles to ferment and that has help boost the ABV and improve the flavor, mouth feel and taste of the beers.

 I've also started Dry Hopping some of my beers. They aren't done yet so I'll update you on how that turns out.

 Right now I've got my 2nd Bavarian Hefe Weizen Style Ale in a Carboy Dry Hopping and an Oaked India Pale Ale I've Dry Hopped a lot to make it more of a California Style IPA, or an Extra IPA.

 I also done a Fruit Beer for the first time, I called it Orchard Ale, it's a mildly Hopped Amber Ale.

 It just finished bottle conditioning today, or reached enough time in the bottle to carbonate enough to drink.

 It's very tasty Indeed.

 Amy asked me to do something Beer without a lot of Hops and with Peaches...lol. I said OK, did some reading and come up a recipe for what I wind up call an Orchard Ale.

 I used a Peck (1/2 a Bushel) of Fresh, Really Ripe Peaches, some Canned (in their own juice) Pears and 2 cans of Apricot Nector as the Fruit Base. Along with some Liquid and Dry Malt Extract.

 One of the things I found out when researching this type of fruit beer is that Peaches lose their flavor really fast after you bottle the beer unless you add other fruits to the mix. The Flavor of the Peaches is in the Sugars and the Yeast winds up eating those Sugars as time passes after you bottle. So I added the Apricot Nector and Canned Pears, which aren't suppose to fade out like the Peaces do.

 Today was day 14 in the bottles for the Orchard Ale and the Peach/Fruit Flavor is really there and tastes Awesome. Time will tell how long these wonderful fruit flavors stick around.

 I think Amy will be pleased to have a Style of Beer she can drink and enjoy, I already like it so hopefully both of us will be Happy.

 Well that's about it for now, I'll have more to post after I get these other 2 batches bottled and sampled. Cya again in about 3 weeks to a month.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Homebrew Express

I've been off this thing for a while because I really haven't had a lot to post about, the weather here in NC has been shit, so no riding. We got more snow last year, but it warmed up enough between powders to get in some mid 40 degree all day rides. This year, it snows and stay's in the 20's and 30's for weeks at a time. Then we get a random 50 or 60 degree day and I have to friggin work all day missing it.

 I've been going a bit stir crazy so I had to find a new outlet to keep myself busy. My 40th birthday rolled around on Jan 8th, me and Elvis baby...lol. My g/f asked me what I wanted and I sat and thought long and hard, something new, something different besides just a new CD or DVD. I had most the new music I wanted anyway from Christmas so I thought and then I remember a Alton Brown Good Eats episode where he made Homebrew, Hmmmm, make my own beer, that's something I've never tried, but always wanted to.

 So I hit Youtube and started watching videos, I started off watching the Good Eats Home brew Video again and then followed a couple other links over in the Suggestions box and found Craig Farraway's Craigtube Channel.

 Craig is a cool dude up in Canada, he's been Homebrewing for 20 something years and had a shitload of beginner videos, as well as more advance videos once you get the hang of brewing to try out.

 I watch his Learning to Brew Series, 4 videos and also a few others, in particular the one that got my interest the most was the one he did using the Cooper's Micro Brewery. It's a turn-key kit, bottles, beer, fermentor, yeast, big long plastic spoon, airlock, everything you need to get a batch of Cooper's Lager going in about an hour.

 I figured I give that a try before I invested a bunch of money in something I might find to just be a pain in the ass. The kit is $110 to your door on Amazon.com, cheaper than the Coopers.com site by $10.

 We ordered the kit and it showed up late on my birthday, Sweet! We had my birthday dinner, eat some cake and then cleaned the kitchen up and I brewed my 1st batch of beer ever afterword.

 By 11pm I had pitched the yeast and closed the fermentor up to begin the wait. It takes between 5 to 10 days for the yeast to eat all the sugar and convert the sugar to alcohol and co2. You take a Gravity reading with a Hydrometer, which is included in the kit to determine if your beer is ready to bottle or not.

 I checked it at 6 days and it wasn't quite ready, close but it needed a few more days. I checked on day 8 and it was within the range but I waited one more day to see if the reading changed or not, it didn't so I bottled the Home brew.

 This is the most fun I've had in a very long time doing something new hobby-wise,  I bottled all the beer and then began the 2 week wait for it to carbonate, long 2 weeks I'll tell ya.

 Earlier this week was the 2 week mark and I've been drinking my own Beer every afternoon this week.

 All I can say is Awesome! I should have done this much sooner. My Home brew is better than any Macro Beer (Big Commercial Brewery Beer) and better than most Micro Brew Beers I've tried too. A lot cheaper too.

 I figured it up and I've got about $.50 a beer in cost. You reuse the kit equipment and the refill beer kits range in price from $20 to $50, depends on how much you soup them up.

 I've got a Irish Stout kit that's souped up into an Russian Imperial Stout brewing right now. It's more expensive than the last batch but it's a more expensive beer. I added a bunch of extras to it and that raised the price, it's still just about $1 a bottle though.

 Hell you get 6 gallons at a time in these kits or around 62 beers give or take a few. 3 cases if Awesome beer at a time, Oh Yeah!

 I'll take some pics of the next batch I brew and post them, I'm going to do a Wheat Beer or a Sparkling Ale, I also plan on doing a Cerveza Style soon too.

 I've got some Habanero Peppers in the freezer and I'm going to put some pepper slices in a few of them to see how that turns out, HOT....lol.

 Well until next time, Take Care and if you like beer get yourself a Cooper's Micro Brew Kit and get to Homebrewing, you'll be glad you did.