Posts Tagged homebrew
As I’ve spoken about before, I’m doing homebrewing with a few friends of mine, and yesterday was quite a fun day with our homebrew stuff.
Our first pale ale is complete and ready to drink. I have two six-packs here at home and drank one last night. The aroma is great, but we need to work on the finishing and bittering hops. This is our second batch of beer (the first being a porter) and I am very pleased with our progress. It is the last kit beer that we are going to make. We no longer need to pick up a kit, and instead we will just be picking up ingredients and making our own recipes. The ABV of this beer is estimated to be around 4.5%, but our future beers are generally going to be stronger than that.
We transferred Dan’s irish red from primary fermenter to secondary fermenter, as well. This Irish red was our first non kit recipe, and was based off of a recipe we found at Vegas Homebrew, our local homebrew store. We spiked this recipe to increase the alcohol to an estimated 5.5%. We also tasted a bit as we did the transfer and it tastes great. It has the smoothest finish of any of our beers thus far. It is also the only beer that we didn’t dry hop, so the aroma is very mild, which is befitting of an Irish red. It is also the first beer that we used Irish moss to clear up the haze. The Irish moss definitely reduced the sediment floating in the primary fermenter (but that could be due to it sitting for three weeks in the primary), and hopefully it will continue to do it’s job and give us a clear beer.
The most interesting part of the day was brewing Will’s insane imperial India pale ale. This IPA is our first attempt at a true high gravity beer, and it is using fresh hops harvest just last week from Northern California. Will got the recipe set up and we got the ingredients together and this thing will be a beast. 9 lbs of malt and 10 oz of hops went into this batch, and the estimated ABV is over 8%. The idea behind this beer was to make something similar to Stone’s Ruination IPA – crazy bitter and crazy strong. I have high hopes that we did this batch properly and it will come out great.
The next batch is going to be my cherry stout. I want to create something like Sierra Nevada’s stout, only with a ton of cherry flavor. We will be brewing that in three weeks, and I will try to remember to take some pictures of this process to post for everyone.
On Friday, Will and I transferred the porter from fermentation bucket to carboy. This was the first transfer we had done and it went pretty well. The siphon was pretty easy to use and filtered out a ton of the yeast (I was shocked how much yeast was in that bucket). The carboy is now pretty clear, and this second round of settling should filter it even further. We will be bottling the porter this weekend. We sampled a bit of the beer and it’s coming out a lot better than any of us had hoped. Our initial goal was just to make something drinkable that had alcohol, but this exceeded that by quite a bit, and it’s not even done.
We were also surprised at the temperature of the beer. Due to the conditions we are brewing in, we figured that we would be fermentinging a bit hot – around 76 F. The wet towel trick worked wonders – the beer was fermenting at 68 F, which is perfect for an ale like this.
Then on Sunday, Dan, Will and I brewed our second beer – a pale ale. This brewing went much more smoothly and we fixed the mistakes that were made during the porter brewing. The biggest mistake that we made with the porter was pouring the hot wort into warm water, so it took a long time to cool to 90 F, and during this time the yeast was just sitting out and the bucket was open. This was a lot of time for infection to incur, and wasn’t good on the yeast. This time, we poured the hot wort into cold water, and it was almost immediately at 70 F and ready for the yeast to be pitched.
I’m looking forward to the bottling this weekend. We will see just how clear the beer is, and get another taste to find out how it is doing. Of course, until it has been in the bottle for a few days, it is still flat beer, and warm to boot, but it is still a good indicator of how it will taste in the end.
Over the weekend, I did my first run at home brewing. Along with Will and Dan, I brewed a porter and got it into fermentation. We picked up the supplies from Vegas Homebrew & Winemaking, which is a fantastic store for Las Vegas homebrewers. The owner, Steve, was incredibly helpful and spent 30 minutes with us, going over all the details of what we would need and how to get everything done. He also threw in some free supplies – higher quality yeast, extra bottle caps, some carbtabs and iodine for sanitizing.If you are interested in brewing in Las Vegas, I can’t recommend a better way to start off than with his help.
Once we had all of our supplies, we headed back to Will’s place and got our gear setup. We sanitized the brew pot and spoon and started boiling water. Prior to this brewing, I didn’t have a really good understanding of the brew process, but I sure understand it now. We mashed some chocolate roasted malted barley, mixed in the liquid malt extract, dried malt extract and UK Kent Goldings hops and then transferred to the bucket and pitched the yeast. It was a standard process, but quite exciting to be doing for the first time.
The fermentation has all but stopped and it is starting to settle. On Friday, Will and I are going to transfer the beer to a carboy for further settling, and do some dry hopping with more of the UK Kent Goldings hops. Next Sunday, we will bottle and the following Sunday we can drink. August 23 will be the first taste of my first beer. I think it will turn out quite well.
We bought a brewkit for this first beer, and I’ve already picked up a pale ale brewkit for the second beer that we will be brewing on Sunday. After this, we will move to clone brew recipes and then we will try our hand at making our own recipe. I really want to make a dark chocolate stout with lots of cherry. I want the taste of Sierra Nevada Stout with a huge amount of cherry. I think we can try making it before the end of the year.
I also calculated the costs of homebrewing, and it is significantly cheaper than buying, with a chance for much higher quality. It will come out to around 75¢ per bottle, compared to $1.44 per bottle of the usual stuff we buy ($7.99 / 6-pack). This is a hobby that I could really get into, and Will is the same, so I think I’ll be doing this for awhile longer. In the Winter, we will switch to brewing lagers at my place, since I can get colder temperatures for the lager yeast to ferment properly.