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Showing posts from September, 2015

Forrest's On-Call Ale v1.0 Recipe and Notes

For Christmas, I received a book of historic beer recipes.  I ordered the ingredients for an English Bitter that looked interesting because it called for Saaz hops instead of one of the more traditional varieties like UK Goldings.  I decided to make it and ordered the necessary ingredients.

When brew day came around, I learned that either I had ordered the wrong amount of Pale Malt, or the shop had shipped me less than I ordered.  I had only 8 pounds instead of the 10 required.  I decided to substitute two pounds of CaraVienne malt for the missing two pounds of Pale Malt rather than abort the brewing session.  I also overlooked the invert sugar called for in the recipe, and substituted some Brun Fonce sugar I had on-hand, which is similar.

At this point, I realized that what I was making was no longer the ale from the book, but something of my own design.  That being the case, it was no longer the historic beer but something new.  Given that, I decided to experiment a bit more and ad…

MoreBeer's Russian River's Pliny the Elder DIPA Kit

Although it may surprise many homebrewers to hear this, I've only brewed one IPA before this.  I would never have brewed that one if it hadn't been part of the Mr. Beer kit I received at the time.  Unlike most craft beer fans these days, especially here in Central Ohio, I'm just not an IPA fan.  I understand what fans of the style like about it.  A good mix of hops can add complexity to the flavor and aroma of a beer.  I just don't care for the bitterness, in the same way many people don't like their food to be very spicy.  So the fact that I purchased and have brewed a recipe kit for a clone of Russian River's famous and well-loved Pliny the Elder DIPA would shock many who know me.

I decided to do this for three reasons.  First, I've never actually tried Pliny.  You can't buy it in Ohio, and I've never bumped into it in my travels out of state.  Since many consider it to be one of the best beers in the world, making a batch would be a way to sampl…

How to Brew Belgian-style Beers, Like a Monk

I recently finished reading Brew Like a Monk by Stan Heironymus, which is a book I strongly recommend if you want to brew a great Belgian-style beer.  The author spoke with many experts in Belgium about their brewing practices, recipes, equipment, ingredients, and history.  As a fan of Belgian beers styles, I learned a lot from the book.  I'll share some of that here.

The most important thing to learn is that Belgian brewers try things that brewers in other parts of the world would not.  They'll experiment with grains, adjuncts, yeast, fermentation chamber geometry, and more, in a quest to make a beer they enjoy.  Many breweries, in fact, create a number of beers that are popular and "pay the bills" while creating a few that are intended only to satisfy the curiosity or taste of the brewmaster.

One interesting point in the book is that the Belgian brewmasters recommend that Americans not try to create a carbon copy of an existing Belgian beer, but instead to brew a…

What to do when your beer doesn't carbonate

In June, I brewed what was probably my fourth batch of Belgian style Tripel ale (I didn't keep good records until last August so I'm not sure how many attempts there have been).  Each batch I've made has gotten a little better.  This one was no exception.  I brewed it from an ingredient kit, supplemented with different yeast, coriander, and sweet orange peel.  When I took the last sample from the fermenter for testing, it smelled and tasted great - though obviously flat.

As I often do, I bottled this beer following my usual process.  I cleaned and sanitized my bottles.  I did the same with my caps.  I dropped a Fermenter's Favorites carbonation drop in each bottle, filled it, and capped it.  The bottles were placed in my basement inside a cooler, to stabilize the temperatures and provide protection should a bottle burst open.  I left them for two weeks and put one bottle in the refrigerator.  The next day, I pulled out the bottle, popped off the cap, and instead of the…

Grainfather All-Grain RIMS System - Walkthrough and Review

When the IMake company ran its Kickstarter campaign to bring The Grainfather into the United States, I was considering making the switch from extract to all-grain brewing.  I'd been looking at the Speidel Braumeister, the Zymatic Picobrew, and some other all-in-one systems.  I came to the conclusion that what I wanted was:
The ability to brew 5-gallon all-grain batches of beerUse of electric heating rather than gas, to allow indoor brewing year-roundRelative ease of useIf possible, an "all-in-one" system.  If not, as few points of failure as possible. The Grainfather met these requirements quite well, at a Kickstarter cost of $840.  Other products I'd been looking at had more bells and whistles, but were priced at least twice that.  So I took the risk that the Kickstarter would fall through and paid my money for the Grainfather.  The device arrived in August 2015.
I spent my first few weeks getting to know it, and not actually brewing anything.  I made sure there were…