Queue Up, GB Man

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Adventures in Homebrewing had a sale going on for their Gingerbread Brown Christmas Spiced Ale. A gingerbread beer sounds delicious, but $20.99 is a bargain regardless.

Dan and I both bought one to save on shipping. We both went for the Safale S-04 yeast.

We’ll both brew them and see how they compare.

Here’s How to Change an Oatmeal Stout Into an Oatmeal Coffee Mocha Stout

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Dan had pretty good success adding cold brew to his stout. I thought that might be a good way to hide the inevitable band-aid flavors from my Oatmeal Stout.

After work today, I bought a 32oz bottle of cold brew coffee concentrate and a 9oz bag of dark chocolate chips.

I used the ghetto double-boiler routine to melt the chocolate…

And once that was done, I slowly added the coffee. Everything was up to temperature and thoroughly mixed, but the chocolate never fully melted. It was very clumpy and grainy…

After 45 minutes, I added the slurry to the fermenter.

Second Gravity: 1.020 – 4.46% ABV

We’ll see how it turns out.

Now What?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

I’ve always loved wheat beers and more specifically Belgian Whites. Hoegaarden and Franziskaner are top of the list. Give me a beer that goes down like steak and potatoes. Yes, please.

Now that I have a few brew days under my belt, I thought I’d give it a try. I ordered a Franziskaner clone recipe kit from Austin Homebrew Supply. Since my hydrometer has been questionable up to this point, I also threw in a new hydrometer (this one has a thermometer in it as well – a thermohydrometer)

When it arrived, it turns out it was shipped by Adventures in Homebrewing in Ann Arbor, MI. Huh. So that’s why their websites look exactly the same. I thought it was just a homebrew store WordPress template or something.

I have had medicinal/iodine/band-aids off-flavors in all of my beers up to this point. After much research and pulling my hair out, I found this is common when brewing with city water.

I have a Brita Filter pitcher and use only filtered water in my brews. I have always been meticulous about using filtered water throughout the whole process. It isn’t quick to filter over five gallons of water with a single pitcher, so I was less than pleased to find the chlorine/chloramine from the city water was making it through the filter.

There are three ways to remove chlorine/chloramine from water before brewing:

  1. Boil the water (only works for chlorine)
  2. Let the water sit overnight (only works for chlorine)
  3. Put a campden tablet in the water (works for both)

So, campden tablets it is. I ordered a 100 tablet pack from Amazon in preparation for my next brew day.

Tasting – Fale All

Sunday, October 14, 2018

When I bottled this beer, the fermenter bucket had an overwhelming smell of clove. I was worried it was going to be undrinkable.

Instead, there is barely a hint of clove or cinnamon. Barely a hint of orange. It was boiled in for ten minutes!

All I taste is band-aids. After that, it’s OK. Just… meh.

Sad face.

Brew Day – Oatmeal Stout

Saturday, October 13, 2018

In brewing this Oatmeal Stout recipe kit, I noticed first that the water turned immediately black when I dropped the grain bag. Second, I noticed the water wasn’t deep enough to soak all the grains. I had to keep smooshing it down.

The hanging thermometer’s long twist tie can easily be height adjusted to use on the cook-top as well as the sink. Also, it smelled delicious. That can’t possibly be the oatmeal (gag)

I see a Nightmare Before Christmas smiley face

After a day or two, the airlock wasn’t bubbling anymore. I was worried the batch was ruined. I pushed the airlock in tighter and the next day it was bubbling again, so disaster averted.

Original Gravity: 1.054

Bottling Day – Fale All

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Not sure why I took so many pictures…

I washed up and sanitized all of my bottles and bottling accessories.

Along with cleaning up the kitchen, the whole process ends up taking hours. I’ve always got some music or a podcast going. This bottling day was accompanied by Master of Puppets.

No, YOU have rubber ducks on your records.

The fermenter bucket smelled so heavily of cloves that I’m worried the beer is going to be undrinkable.

I had ordered a 7 inch hop bag with the Oatmeal Stout recipe with intention of using it like a sock on the end of the racking cane. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a loose weave material like the grain bag they ship with these recipe kits. I was expecting a nylon bag.

I wrapped the hop bag in a couple of layers around the business end of the racking cane and started siphoning into the bottling bucket. I soon found it was heavily aerating the beer, which you don’t want to do at this stage. It looked like one of those chaser led light tubes, so I removed it after a little while.

Final Gravity: 1.006 (I mentioned previously that either I didn’t know how to read the hydrometer or it was defective)

Here are some pictures of bottles…

These are a mix of the 25oz barbecue sauce flip-top bottles I ordered from Adventures in Homebrewing at the same time I ordered my brewing kit, and some 16.9, 12, and one 11.2oz bottle I label-peeled.

After moving into this house and realizing things like pots and pans didn’t fit in the kitchen cabinets, I bought and assembled a four door flat pack cabinet. After I started homebrewing, the pots and pans were eventually overtaken by bottles and brewing equipment.

Brew Day – Apple Jack

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

After work, I “brewed” the apple jack, loosely following the recipe I found on WikiHow.

I heated one gallon of apple juice up to 110° and then slowly stirred in five pounds of raw cane (“light brown”) sugar. I cooled it all down in the sink in an ice bath, then added that and four and a half gallons of apple juice to the fermenter for an even five gallons.

I pitched the S-04 yeast and took the whole thing down to the basement. The recipe says it will ferment for six to ten days, but mine was active for nearly a month. Multiple times a day, I was dropping frozen water bottles in the water filled tote to keep it cool.

Original Gravity: 1.084 (on the questionable hydrometer, this is in the “Table Wine” section)

The gas coming out of the insanely bubbling airlock smells delicious. Like sour apple candy.

What’s Actually Next?

Monday, October 1, 2018

For the apple jack, I ordered a pack of Safale S-04 yeast from Amazon, because I have it on good authority that it makes the best cider. I also picked up five gallons of apple juice at the grocery store, along with five pounds of raw cane sugar.

I found an apple jack recipe on WikiHow that I am going to loosely follow.

What’s Next?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

I ordered an Oatmeal Stout recipe from Adventures in Homebrewing with Safale S-04 yeast. I’ve always liked Highland Brewing’s Oatmeal Porter, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Also, as an inspiration, Dan just brewed a stout recipe. His plan was to add a homemade cold press coffee to it in secondary. That turned out pretty good, BTW.

Tasting – Strawbeery

Monday, September 24, 2018

Holy moly. This beer is explosive.

Apparently, I didn’t get my 80/20 priming sugar measurement correct, because this batch is so much more carbonated than the first gallon of Backyard Pilsner. It’s like champagne.

After a couple of days, I ended up moving the whole batch into the refrigerator to stop any further carbonation. I was worried about bottle bombs.

The smell is like a basket of fresh strawberries. The immediate taste, to me, is grapefruit. Very sour. Very citrus. The after taste is the old familiar iodine, band-aids flavor that I got with the first, unmolested batch.

Your beer is good. It’s very fizzy, but that’s fine. The strawberry is very present, but not too much. I had April try it and she said it’s “citrusy”. If I didn’t know it was strawberry, I might not have guessed too?
There is a strawberry after taste that sneaks up on you.

Dan’s Strawbeery review

He also later said “It tastes like old strawberries. I’ve tasted old strawberries.” haha

It has been a very wet summer and there are gnats everywhere. Even at work in the overly temperature controlled and twice weekly cleaned office. I sacrificed one of these beers (because it’s kind of yucky) with a drop of dish washing liquid as a gnat trap. By the end of the next day, there was a layer of dead gnats in the bottom of the glass.

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