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Showing posts from 2022

What I Learned About Brewing in 2021

Last year, I brewed 20 batches of adult beverages (primarily beer and test mashes). In no particular order, here are things I learned during the year: The COVID-19 pandemic left me with more time at home to brew, but at the same time made doing so a bit less enjoyable.  Why?  Because I could not share my homebrew with family and friends as easily as I could pre-pandemic.  Without feedback from my friends about what they did (and didn't) like in my beer, I was less motivated to brew and less able to improve my beer than in prior years. The pump on The Grainfather has a life span (in my experience) of around 200 brews before it dies, and the "official" replacement is way too expensive to suit me (like $190).  I was able to replace it with a pump from Amazon for about $70 that seems to flow much better and stronger than the official pump.  It took some redneck-looking jerry-rigging to fix it, but the system flows better now and I can continue brewing. On a personal note, I h

2022 Batch 02 - Pecan Brandy Mead

I watched an episode of Moonshiners: Master Distiller   late in 2020 where one of the contestants made a Pecan Brandy that he (and the judges) described as being very tasty, like drinking a pecan pie.  I thought that sounded good, and although distilling it into brandy would not be a legal option for me, turning it into a mead would be quite possible and might be good. The recipe as described on the show was pretty simple... honey, water, yeast, and pecans. Ingredients 12 pounds of Wildflower Honey 2 pounds of Pecans, crushed and ground 4 gallons of water, treated with some gypsum 1 tsp. yeast nutrient 1 package of Premier Des Cotes champagne yeast Batch Size: 5.0 gallons (actual and estimated) Original Gravity:  1.090 (actual and estimated) Final Gravity:   0.984 (estimated) Brewing Instructions Bring water to a boil and sterilize wort chiller. Add half the pecans in a muslin bag.  Add the other half, in a different muslin bag, to the fermenter. Gradually add honey while stirring the

2022 Batch 01 - St. Gambrinus Spiced Holiday Ale (Kit)

I purchased a St. Gambrinus Spiced Holiday Ale Kit from Great Fermentations in Indianapolis a few weeks ago and decided to get it made today... a tad late for the holidays, but it will give me a good idea if I like the recipe for next Christmas. The kit basically comes as a bag of crushed grain with a packet of Northern Brewer hops.  You supply your own spices and order yeast separately. Ingredients 8.5 pounds Two-Row Brewer's Malt 2 pounds Munich Dark Malt 1 pound Honey Malt 8 ounces Simpsons Dark Crystal Malt 0.5 ounces Northern Brewer hops (60 min.) 0.5 ounces Northern Brewer hops (30 min.) 1 package White Labs Edinburgh Scottish Ale yeast 1 tsp. Irish Moss (15 min.) 0.5 oz. Bitter Orange Peel (10 min.) 2 cinnamon sticks (I used 3) (10 min.) 0.5 tsp. Ground Ginger (10 min.) 0.25 tsp. Allspice (secondary) 0.25 oz. Ground Cardamom (secondary) 0.25 oz. Ground Cinnamon (secondary) 1 Tbsp. pH 5.2 Stabilizer added to mash after grain 6.8 gallons of RO water, treated with: 3 grams Gyps