lazy-ass wheat ale

I have a tendency to be a little lazy at times…

I bought a recipe of the month kit from Beer‐wine.com last summer and I finally made it two months ago. Why did it take so long?

The recipe called for a pound of crushed wheat, 1 pound of flaked oats, 2 pounds of DME, and 1 quart of Briess Bavarian Wheat LME. It also included some Tettnanger hop pellets, Irish moss (which they forgot to include), 10 packets of “real” lemon juice, and 3⁄4 of a cup of priming sugar. The “real” lemon juice was gross so I ditched it in favor of fresh lemon zest. Good choice.

Wheat ale in the Primary Wheat ale after it's been racked

That is the brew right before I racked it. It looked a little dark in the primary, so I got a little nervous. Once I start to siphon it out, I could see the real color and all was good. That’s much better looking, isn’t it? I thought so as well! Looks good. More laziness…

I hate sanitizing bottles. I thought I’d get a jump on bottle‐duty by sanitizing a case of bottles in the dishwasher. I’ve used my d/w before for sanitizing bottles and it works great. It has a special sanitizing setting where it uses hi‐temp water and very hi heat to dry and kill bacteria. Only one small problem…Jet Dry. Yep. Beer bottles do not like Jet Dry (or any other rinse agents for that matter). Rinse agents kill the head when you pour the beer. Oh the beer stays fully carbonated, but you get no head. And no head we all know what it’s like to not get any head…when we pour beer. John Palmer explains why in his book. If you don’t already have it, get ‘How to Brew’. This is one of the best brewing books available. He does a great job at explaining everything you need to know. It even has pictures of what things should look like and it has some recipes in it. Well worth the money.

I digress. Bottles, I hate sanitizing bottles. I decided to invest in a mini keg system. I don’t really have much room in my house for a kegerator and I really do not want to run downstairs every time I want a beer. Mini kegs are small enough to fit in the fridge and the tap‐a‐keg system fits onto them with an adapter. Beer‐wine.com has a Mini keg system available at a reasonable price. Check it out. I should be receiving that soon, I hope. I’d like to try this beer and play with the mini keg tap system. That should be pretty cool.

Cheers!

amber ale gravity test

OG 1.049 Amber Ale
By the time I was done brewing Saturday night, it was about 12:30AM. I couldn’t pitch the yeast yet because the wort was still way too hot. I left it outside with the lid on for about an hour or so but that didn’t help much. I decided to just bring it back in and pitch the yeast in the morning.

I checked the temp again in the morning and saw that it was at 80 degrees. I also did another gravity test to compare it to the initial and I’m glad I did. There was a difference of 7 points between the two tests. The most recent one is just about where I want it to be The target is 1.050, and my actual reading is 1.049.

I think this will turn out just fine. I’m already thinking about what I can do to enhance this beer. I plan on dry hoping with some Hallertau hops. I really do enjoy the aroma that Hallertau hops have. Hmmmn…could there be an all Hallertau brew in the future? Possibly!

Cheers!

recreating a good ale

I’ve been working on creating an ale recipe that will hopefully taste like one of my very first ales. The problem with this is the first ale was a kit that is made with cans of hopped malt extract. The varieties of hops used are not listed and I have no idea what the malt mixture is, but I’m determined to recreate this beer.

I’ve been doing some research on hop varieties and what their characteristics are when added at various times of boil. Since the ale I’m trying to brew is not very bitter, I’m looking to use hops that are low in alpha acids and have a great aroma. I’ve decided to use mainly Kent Goldings with small amounts of Fuggles and Hallertau. I’ll use most of the Hallertau in the dry hopping process.

I paid my local homebrew supply store a visit this weekend to pickup the ingredients I need. Since there is a global hop shortage, the amount of hops I can purchase is limited. I picked up a couple of ounces of Hallertau and Kent Goldings along with some extract and Nottingham ale yeast. The recipe will call for about 5 ounces of hops total, but that’s ok because I have a secret stash. I started to order a couple ounces of miscellaneous hops whenever the need to refresh supplies came about. They are shipped in vacuum sealed packages and they are kept cool.

When’s brew day? Next Saturday! I’ll also be bottling the Belgian wheat that’s been sitting in one of my carboys for a few weeks.

That’s pretty much all I have for now. I’ll be back later this week.

Cheers!

christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s now December 27th and the holiday craziness is slowly starting to subside. I could tell that was the case because it only took about 35 minutes to get to home from work today. There are two large shopping malls in my commuting path and navigating through them was rather painless today.

The days leading up to Christmas are a nightmare. Long lines, impatient and rude cashiers, impatient and rude shoppers, even yours truly has been known to be guilty of flipping someone off as they steal my parking spot. Sadly, I lose my holiday spirit more and more each year. Not because of the above mentioned things, but because it seems to have lost something since my childhood.

I remember big snow outside, trips to see Santa at the mall, and going through the catalogs of Service Merchandise and Toys‐R‐Us to pick out the exact toys I wanted. One of my favorite Christmas memories: every year, K‐Mart had this Christmas picture coloring contest. My mom and dad would take me there and we’d get one of the entry forms and we’d go home to color it. I never won, but I did get to see my entry hanging up in front of the store. Of course I outgrew going to see Santa, and the catalogs have been replaced by Amazon.com and Bestbuy.com. Yeah I know it is cliché nowadays to rant on and on about how the holidays lost their true meaning. But how do you restore that warm feeling that Christmas has instilled in us as children? Have kids of my own? I’m sure my chick will be glad to hear that! (that’s the sound of sarcasm)

Enough of the sentiments, on to the gifts! I received a couple of beer related presents this year. First is a gift certificate from my future bro & sis‐in‐law for a local brew on premise and homebrew supply shop. Nice! I will be burning that up in the near future. The second gift is a set of 8 Peroni beer glasses from my future mother‐in‐law: another excellent gift. The etching on the glass is very cool…especially when there’s good beer in it! :)

That’s enough for now. I’ll be back later to talk beer.

Cheers!

just getting started

So I guess I should start off by introducing myself: My name is Paul, I live in New Jersey and I enjoy brewing my own beer. I started home brewing over a year ago with an inexpensive brew at home kit that my girl gave to me for Christmas. This was the basic “open up a couple of cans of malt extract, pour it into some boiling water, add sugar, cool, then ferment. My expectations weren’t too high considering that this was my first attempt. But I have to say the beer turned out to be pretty good.

Since then, I have replaced that small brewing kit with larger primary fermenters and a couple of glass carboys. I’m working on plans for a new brew system which will allow me to brew more beer per batch. Lately, I’ve been brewing in 5 gallon batches because I’m limited in space and storage. Hopefully once my new brew system is complete, I can brew at least 10 gallons with the capacity to do more if desired.

As for this site, well, we’ll see where it goes. I have a couple of ideas that I’m going to implement. In the next couple of weeks I’m going to build a recipe section and a home brewing reference section. The reference section will have info on the different varieties of hops, brewing terminology (like what the hell is sparging anyway?) and a list of places to buy home brew supplies. I’ll also be linking to other brew related sites.

I’m really looking forward to building this site up and sharing with my fellow home brewers!

Cheers!