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Showing posts from January, 2016

Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 1 - Mashing and Sparging

(Important note:  This article series is based on the US version of the product.  Prices are expressed in US dollars, measurements of temperature and volume are in US units unless otherwise noted.)

iMake's The Grainfather is an all-in-one RIMS brewing system designed to be used indoors with household electric current.  It includes the kettle, grain basket, recirculation tube, pump, electronic temperature controller, instruction book, and counterflow chiller.  It does not include a mash paddle, fermenter, cleaning supplies, or pretty much anything else.  The price is around $800-900 depending on where you shop and the discounts offered.

The Grainfather handles mashing, boiling, recirculating, sparging (to a degree), and chilling of the wort.  You'll still need a fermentation vessel of some sort and some other supplies we'll discuss later.

Grainfather Assembly and Initial Cleaning

Assembly of The Grainfather in my experience was pretty easy overall.  There were a couple of s…

Belgian Quadrupel, Version 1.0

In August 2015, I started looking for a good Belgian Quadrupel recipe.  I found a few, but only one of them intrigued me enough to make it.  It was called "Dixie Cup Boardwalk Belgian Quadrupel" and appeared in BYO magazine back in 2007.  Apparently it was given to attendees of a homebrew competition in Houston that year.

It took a month or two to gather up the ingredients.  The malts were easily found at RiteBrew.com, but it took me some effort to find Grains of Paradise.  It also took me some time to locate Turbinado Sugar until I thought to check the local Whole Foods.  At the last minute, I found that I didn't have the Perle hops the original recipe called for, and didn't have the full amount of Northern Brewer either.  My pre-boil gravity was on target, but at the end of the boil I found that I needed to make some additional modifications.  What appears below is the version of the original BYO recipe that I ended up making.
Ingredients
12.5 pounds of Belgian Pils…

The Cider Experiments - Part 4 - CRAVE Cider

In the fourth installment of this series is my first unique cider recipe, loosely based on some of the ideas in Mary Izett's book Speed Brewing.  I'm calling it CRAVE, which stands for:
CinnamonRaisinAppleVanilla Extract (actually it's bourbon vanilla bean paste, but CRAVBVBP didn't really roll off the tongue) The recipe is: Two 64-ounce jugs of pasteurized apple juice without preservatives1/2 cup of dark raisins, chopped up1 cinnamon stick1 teaspoon of bourbon bean vanilla extract paste1/8 teaspoon of yeast nutrient1/3 packet of Safale S-05 American Ale Yeast The process to brew it: Put the raisins, vanilla bean paste, yeast nutrient, and cinnamon in a small pot with enough water to cover them.Boil them for at least 5 minutes to extract flavors from all of them.While they're boiling, sanitize a 1-gallon glass jug or other fermentation vessel, a funnel (if needed to get the liquids into the fermenter), and a strainer.Strain the solids away from the liquids in the pot …

The Cider Experiments - Part 3 - Peach Mango Cider

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, I talked about my experiment to try making a sweet cider.  In Part 2, we talked about how to turn Ocean Spray Berry Medley Wave Juice Drink into a cider using a little yeast nutrient and some dry American Ale yeast.  In Part 3, we'll do the same thing with Welch's Essentials Peach Mango Juice Cocktail.  (It's the one in the middle below.)



Peach Mango Cider Recipe
Here's what you'll need to reproduce this experiment:
One 64-ounce jug of Welch's Essentials Peach Mango Juice Cocktail1 packet of Safale S-05 American Ale YeastYeast nutrient (optional)Sanitizer (Star San or similar)A drilled stopper that fits the opening on top of the juice jugAn airlock that fits into the stopperA measuring spoon you can estimate or measure 1/8 teaspoon with (optional) If you want to bottle and carbonate the cider as I did, you'll also need: 5 carbonation drops5 unused bottle caps (sanitized)5 empty 11.2 or 12-ounce bottlesA bottle capperFunnel that…

The Cider Experiments - Part 2 - Berry Medley Cider

In the previous post, we looked at three different ciders I attempted to make after reading Mary Izett's book Speed Brewing: Techniques and Recipes for Fast-Fermenting Beers, Ciders, Meads, and More.While none of the recipes I did were actually in the book, it is fair to say that the book inspired me to try them.

Based on Izett's suggestion that American Ale Yeast would yield a sweeter, fruitier cider, I decided to try fermenting three different juice mixes with it.

Mixed Berry Sweet Cider

The first cider created in this way was made using Ocean Spray's Berry Medley flavor Wave Juice Drink.  According to the label, it contains filtered water, cane or beet sugar, apple juice from concentrate, white cranberry juice from concentrate, fumaric acid, malic acid, natural flavors, citric acid, ascorbic acid, and carrot extract for color.  It has 21 grams of sugar per 8 ounce serving.

The recipe on this is incredibly simple.  Since the juice isn't refrigerated, that tells us it…