While I typically brew one-gallon all grain recipes, I got this Bomber Barley Wine recipe kit from Northern Brewer using a gift card I got for Christmas. Compared to all grain, Northern Brewer’s recipe kits are simpler and faster. Instead of creating the mash with the grain, you pretty much go straight to the boil using either a powder, as did this, or liquid. This cuts down about an hour of brewing time. Though because I mostly do all grain, this feels a bit like cheating. Continue reading
I ordered the White House Honey Ale and Honey Porter from Northern Brewer as an experiment. They now offer one gallon recipe kits, but they are not all grain, as I have been doing for the past year. Instead of mashing the grains, you steep the specialty grains for 10 minutes, then boil and add either dry malt extract or syrup extract. The recipe kits include the exact amount of hops. So no measuring. Continue reading →
For my friend’s birthday, I decided to give him a few of my home brews. But none of my beers had labels. Lucky for me I have a girlfriend who’s got some decent graphic design skills. With only an hour before we had to get out to meet up with the birthday boy for drinks, she researched beer label designs, considered my aesthetic, and gathered content requirements. We decided to incorporate the recipe name, alcohol percentage, brew date, and bottle date. I didn’t have much time to be clever with the brewery name, so I went with my address, 333.
The three beers I gave him were Chocolate Maple Porter, A Well-Made Tripel (which he helped brew), and Tea and Toast. We printed on some label paper my girlfriend happened to have about the apartment. I was really impressed with the result. And when we turned them over to our friend later that night, so was he and everyone else.
Here are the three labels up close and personal.
I bottled my tea and toast brew this afternoon. Looks like tea, no? This is the fourth beer I’ve bottled. No major complications with bottling. Though I was disappointed to only get nine beers again. One day I’ll get 10! One day!
Next time I’ll fill the fermenter up closer to the top.
And here’s your moment of trub.
I decided to try something a little different for my recent batch of beer. Again, it was a recipe from Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Book. But this time, it involved steeping tea for a few minutes after the boil.
But first, a gratuitous shot of the mash.
At the boil, notice the color of the wert. Sort of a light caramel.
After the boil, enter English Breakfast tea bag.
Now look at the color change. I’m very interested in tasting this one!
A couple weeks ago a brewed up a third beer from the Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Book. This time, I went with the Well Made Tripel at 9.9%. And I employed a few new tools to make the process a little easier.
First, I picked up a 10-inch strainer from a local cooking supply shop. It can hold a full batch of grain and sits nicely over my 8 quart pot and my new lime green bucket with pouring spout.
Instead of sparging over my pot, I ran water over the mash into the bucket.
Then I transferred the strainer with mash to the pot, and poured the wert through once more.
My second new tool is a bigger funnel to which I stuck a tea strainer. The strainer has an adhesive and is used inside tea pots.
This worked well to strain the hops.
Perhaps too well. As I needed to push aside the hops sediment else the liquid would not pass through.
Two Weeks Later
After two weeks under the counter, it was time to bottle this beautiful looking beer.
The auto siphon once again made this a breeze. Though I find it’s a two-person job. One person pumps while the other ensures the tubing stays in the pot. After it gets going, one person can handle it, as you can see.
I bottled this nearly two weeks ago. So might give it a try this coming weekend.
A finally, a gratuitous shot of the trub looking down through the fermenter.
Brewed: January 28, 2012
Bottled: February 11
Drinkable: February 25
After four long weeks, my first batch of beer, one gallon of Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Everyday IPA, was ready for drinking. Friends were gathered. Food was made. Pineapple was soaked in vodka (unrelated). Continue reading →
When I bottled my first beers using the equipment and directions from the Brooklyn Brew Kit, I didn’t find the siphoning all that easy. For the bottling of the chocolate maple porter, I got some new tools: an auto siphon and an auto stopper (I’m making up the name of the second item, as I actually don’t know what it’s called). What you see above is the auto siphon. With a couple pumps, the beer flowed smoothly out the tube out of the fermenter.
On the other end I added a stopper that effectively replaces the clip that comes with the Brooklyn Brew Kit. When you press the mechanism down, beer flows. When it’s not depressed, as you see in the photo above, the beer stops flowing but the tube stays full.
Push it down within the next bottle, and magic! It flows again. I highly recommend this.
As recommended in the Brooklyn Beer Making Book, I picked up a small spray pump at Daiso for spot sanitation.
I sprayed each bottle top with sanitizer (Star San) before capping.
Capping beer bottles is very invigorating!
With this batch, I was able to fill nine bottles (not all shown here).
If you’re interested, this shows the amount of trub.
And this is a photo of the trub looking down into the fermenter. Yum!
The day after bottling my first batch of beer, I cooked up another. This time, I decided to make a chocolate maple porter from the Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Book. While you can buy the mixes from the Brooklyn Brew Shop directly, I visited my local brewing supply shop, Brewcraft, to get the ingredients.
I walked in with my list, told the man what I needed. He measured everything for me, and then milled the grains.
“What percentage of alcohol are you shooting for?” he asked.
“6.5% I think,” I said.
“How much beer are you making?”
A look of confusion. Then understanding. “I guess that makes sense. Typically people make five gallons. And with what you’ve got here, you’d end up with a 1% beer.”
One thing he recommended with the amount of grains I had was to use a cheesecloth. As this would eliminate the need to separate the grains from the wert, I decided to give it a shot.
The cheesecloth worked just fine. The only issue was squeezing the 150 degree wert from the ball.
Overall, it did make things a bit easier, and I was left with a beautifully colored wert. But I felt somewhat unsatisfied with the cheesecloth compared to a full pot of unadulterated mash. So I might forego it next time.
Other than the cheesecloth, the process was the same as my first batch, with a couple changes to supplies. First, I bought a larger measuring cup and larger funnel. Second, I bought One Step to replace the C Brite that comes with the Brooklyn Brew Shop kit. I felt a lot more comfortable with the One Step, as it didn’t have all the warning that C Brite comes with, and it was no rinse. Also, the Brewcraft clerk assured me it was fine to stick my hands in it.
After four hours of brewing, I had another batch. My porter will hang out in a cabinet till it’s ready for bottling in two weeks.