Two months later….

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this. Which is fine since I’m probably the only one who looks at it anyways…

The last update was about our DIPA which came out delicious. According to Beer Smith it had about 120 IBUs which is probably more than your tongue can actually taste, but is still awesome anyways.

Scott and I entered it in to a local competition at our LHBS and did better than we expected. The average of three scores was a 35.33 out of 50. I know it doesn’t seem like much but from what I’m told it’s actually a really good score, especially considering that Scott and I have only been doing this a couple months. 50 is apparently an unobtainable number, so according to Eric, the owner of the LHBS, 45 is more or less what people consider a perfect score. So we were pressty stoked about how well we did.

This past weekend we bottled our CA common which already tasted pretty good even before it was carbonated so I can’t wait for that one to be done. We also brewed a Dunkelweizen this past Sunday which had been pretty busy yesterday:

Mmmm.... Krausen....

Next Sunday we plan on bottling this guy, giving our CA Common a taste, and getting something else brewed. We’re thinking of getting a Porter going, something we can sit on for a couple months and enjoy during one of our frigid So. Cal. winters.

So that’s about it for now. Scott sent me the picture of our beer baby above and I felt compelled to share it with the world. Enjoy.

 

joe

Big DIPA, and other crap.

Scott put our DIPA in to its new home the other day. Pretty boring stuff, unless you like making beer, I guess.

It looks glooooorious.

One of Scott’s friends who helped us on brew day two weeks ago dropped by an awesome 6 gallon glass carboy and a 3 gallon carboy. Awesome. Down for the cause.

The 6 gallon carboy is seen above, and the three gallon should be getting some lovin’ this weekend when we mix up our first batch of mead. I’m thinking that we ought to dress up like Nordic kings while preparing and drinking our mead, but it’s way to goddam hot here in southern California for that.

We’ll also be brewing up another batch of beer this weekend as well as putting our saison in to bottles. We’ve got quite a bit going on for one day!

I’m not sure what we’ll be brewing. Probably another hefe as our DIPA is taking up all the space in the fridge and we need something that will turn out tasty while being able to ferment at room temperatures, and our hefe was certainly a crowd-pleaser. It will be nice to have the saison in bottles as the hefe is running pretty low.

More updates to come after brew day.

joe

Beer Mugs

I want a special beer mug. In fact, I think that Scott and I should have special “brew master” beer mugs that are only to be used by the person who brewed the beer.

I took Monday off to go for a long bike ride and get some other stuff done, but it turned out that my back plotted against me. Its plans were to wake me up at 5am in agonizing pain.

So instead of being an active, fun loving person all day long I laid on my back at home with my feet up trying not to breathe too hard in fear of my spine trying to jump out of my back. What’s this have to do with beer mugs?

Well, while laying there I watched Inglourious Basterds and I was totally Jealous of the German SS Officer’s boot mug. So I looked them up online only to fine that the regular sized ones are two litres and the “small” ones are one litre. I like beer as much as the next guy, but a litre or two of beer at once might be a bit over kill. Best case scenario, I think, is that the last 1/4 of the beer is warm while I’m drinking it. Not to mention that we are bottling… how many 12 oz bottles would I have to use to fill up one boot? That’s too much work.

But damn, it would be awesome to drink from a boot.

I’ll have to talk to Scott. Maybe we’ll go for some stainless steel mugs, or a dimpled glass mug. Either would be awesome choices.

Is it nerdy that I’m thinking of matching beer glasses? Maybe it’s a bit odd… I don’t think it’s on the level of my girlfriend and I wearing the same outfit or something (if that happens I give you permission to scissor kick me in the neck), but maybe it’s weird. We could choose our own separate glasses, but there’s something sort of comforting about having the same mugs. It’s very official feeling.

 

joe

First Taste: Hefeweizen

Just over a month ago Scott and I brewed our very first beer: a traditional Hefeweizen. The recipe was suggested to us by the owner of Addison Homebrew Provisions because we didn’t have a way to control our fermentation and, as we learned, a Hefe is pretty forgiving at higher temperatures.

Back at Scott’s house we discovered quite a bit through brewing our first: We discovered that cleaning boiled over word from a stove is a pretty big pain in the ass, especially when the fire from the stove is still going and cooking it on because we’re too afraid to stop the boil process.

We also learned that a sink full of ice water can instantly turn to scalding hot when you put a boiling kettle of wort in to it. Many hours and 40 lbs of ice later, we finally had the temperature at pitching level.

That day we started brewing at around 2pm or so and I left his house around 11pm. wtf?

Since then we decided that spending a few bucks to make our lives easier would be worthwhile. We invested in an outdoor propane burner. Not only does it give us a good boil quickly with 6 gallons of wort, but boil overs are easier to deal with and to clean up. We also bought an immersion chiller which does wonders, though we still have to finish chilling with an ice bath.

These two things shaved hours off our brew time and has made it much more reasonable. there was a lot less cussing, a lot less “Is this seriously taking this long?” and a lot less “you guys are idiots” looks from our better halves.

But the most important thing we learned: No matter how much we might screw up, we made beer and we found it delicious.

To be honest I thought it was going to be kind of bad. We’d never made beer before and we made at least 92 mistakes while going about the process. We also had it fermenting in Scott’s extra bathroom. how good could it be?

Well, we really enjoyed it. Scott’s friend who helped us brew our DIPA likes it, Scott’s wife liked it, and my girlfriend liked it. I’d say it’s a success!

I took a bottle of it to Eric, the owner of the LHBS, and he said that we were doing something right. technically, according to him, it was a bit too sweet and the head retention wasn’t as great as it ought to be, but he said that storing the bottles at room temprature for a bit longer should fix these things. He liked it thought, and was impressed that we managed to not get any off flavors from any kind of contamination.

We did something right!

Here’s a picture of the Hefe…

Yum

joe

Big DIPA

As demonstrated by the previous  post on this blog (which was actually pulled from my other blog to start this one off with because my “personal” blog was being overrun with beer stuff) I enjoy hoppy beers.

I went in to the local homebrew store and told the owner that I wanted to make a double IPA and that I wanted it to rip my face off with hops. I walked out of the store with 9lbs of golden malt extract, one pound of Crystal Malt (30-L), and 10 ounces of hops. Here’s the hop schedule:

2oz Columbus @60
1oz Cascade @ 15
1oz Cascade @10
1oz Cascade @5
2oz Cintennial – Dry Hopped for 7 days
2oz Chinook – Dry hopped for 7 days

The hop pellets come in 2oz packages and we had an extra oz of Cascade hops and didn’t know what to do with them. So, to up the IBU’s as much as possible, we threw them in at 60 minutes along with the Columbus hops. According to Beersmith’s calculations that’s 124.5 IBUs. Awesome. And with the dry hopping the aroma ought to be incredible. I can’t wait for this one to finish.

Bam!

While transferring the wort from the kettle to the carboy the beer gods took their ritual sacrifice. We’d never had a beer foam up so much while transferring. I’m assuming it’s because of all the hops, but I like the idea of some drunken Greek god screwing with us.

Gross

After we got it all under control we pitched three vials of WLP001 and put it in our fermentation chamber.

Fermentation chamber is fancy talk for “a fridge Scott and I got on the cheap and hooked up a temperature control unit to.” Calling it a fermentation chamber makes people think you know what you’re doing.

Witty Caption

We had originally hoped to be able to fit two carboys in the fridge, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. One of Scott’s friends, however, brought over a 3.5 gallon glass carboy that we might be able to finagle in there. If not, just being able to control the temp on one carboy is a huge step up from what we were previously capable of.

My next post I’ll talk about our first beer, which we were able to drink a finished version of while brewing out DIPA.

joe

Hop Face

I enjoy big, hoppy beers.

I love them, actually.

They are delicious, aromatic, bitter, and they have the *poof* when they hit your tongue. I find them incredibly refreshing on hot days, and the higher ABV will keep you warm at night.

When Scott and I decided to take on this brewing business, it was my secret intention to make an incredibly Imperial IPA. And now that we have a fridge and a way to control fermentation temperatures, it is time!

I went to the LHBS yesterday after work and bought everything we needed to get it done. I think that we are now set on equipment for a while, which is awesome, because I am broke :D

So this Saturday Scott and I are going to do two really awesome things: we are going to brew our IIPA, and we are going to be able to enjoy our first ever brew.

It’s been a loooong month waiting for this beer to be ready, and Scott and I are eager to give it a try. It’s out first, and it took some time, but we’re determined to never again have to wait so long to drink one of our delicious beers. We’re working on being able to have something always ready to drink, and something always fermenting, so we’ve got the prospect of having something to drink.

Also, I believe that we have the process down much better now. Like they say, third times a charm!

Wish us luck. I’ll take some photos of the brew session and of our first beers and post them up on here.

joe

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