From around the way

– Chris

This one’s from the archives, as I’ve been forgetting to mention that Eileen brought us a very special present from her latest travels abroad:



[New Post]

– Chris

Yeah, it’s probably a good idea to get a post in before the end of the month, if for nothing else than to prove to you all that I still own a computer.

We’ve been a little light on beer-making lately, and even lighter on time, and I know that many of you are supremely disappointed to hear that (I check them blog stats and it appears that many of you still have held out hope!), but here’s a little re-cap of the last few weeks:

Two point five weeks ago (Mother’s Day weekend): no brewing that Sunday. We got busy with family stuff; hey, who can blame us. We DID however get fired up and decided to brew on Monday. That 5-gallon lot of Poztulator Wit came along quite well and is ready for bottling….now.

One point five weeks ago was brew day for our brand-new, ’08, ten-gallon, pale ale recipe. I personally am excited about its prospects. I think Steve is too. Actually I know he is; it’s his new baby. I was not excited about the prospects of our ten gallons of Mystery Witbier, as it definitely was contaminated with bad yeast devils. Thusly, our first pour-out of TEN GALLONS of beer occurred last week. I wept.

Last weekend was Charleston Wedding Leisure Explosion, so pretty much everybody was out of town, living it up with our newlywed friends Jeremy and Kristin Hall:

Part of that living it up did include a few cases of homebrew! Everyone who tried it (Indie Pale Ale, Cali Lagerithm, Stevie Money Honey) seemed to enjoy what they were trying, and not even just ’cause we’re all friends, which is great news. Only can improve from here!

We like our moms

– Chris

Mother’s Day happens tomorrow. So does brewing, I think. We were off last week and other than transferring a lot of beer around, waiting for it to force carbonate, and whittling down the major problems in the past few batches to our yeast strains (which have all been thrown out now and will be replaced with “fresh”, read untainted, yeast), there hasn’t honestly been a lot going on that’s very beer-related.  Even our mash-cot is getting a little lazy:

So, I bought enough stuff to do a try-again 5 gallon batch of Poztulator Wit yesterday, “just” 5 gallons to test the waters and make sure there’s nothing else in our brew process that requires immediate attention. Hoping we get to brew it this weekend. Moms come first tomorrow though, so we’ll see if we end up having time. We ought to be back on the wagon next week though, and most likely will be working with a brand-new pale ale recipe. We’ll keep you posted!

A day off

– Chris

This might not be what you were looking forward to reading, but we’ve decided to take tomorrow off from brewing.  Brewing, at least….we’ve got 20 gallons of beer to bottle (10 steve brown ale/10 american pale), 20 to keg (10 Poztulator Wit/10 Peach Wit), and 10 to transfer into secondary (ESB).  So we’ve got our work cut out for us anyway.  Anyway:

Our pale ale is very pale indeed.  I think I mentioned earlier that we were scrapping the recipe, and while this version is definitely drinkable, I must admit it’s a bit boring.  It’s like the closest thing to Bud Light that we’ve made, and that wasn’t exactly intentional.  Steve Brown Ale, on the other hand, is showing signs of progress.  Very smooth, with a nice honey sweetness at the end.  It’s a beer with a pretty heavy mouthfeel, my guess mostly owing to the honey content, and it’s not fully carbonated yet (the corny keg that it’s in is a bit leaky around the rubber seals) but I think once it’s nice and bubbly it’ll have the right balance.

What has happened here.

– Chris

In the past week, we’ve managed to do the following:

  • Break TWO hydrometers
  • Find that more than a couple of our ESB bottles are “funky”
  • Decide to totally scrap our American Pale recipe in favor of one that will hopefully taste…more like an American Pale
  • Brew the beer that won’t quit: the lager yeast/California Common version of said American Pale. The yeast refuses to crash out, even down in the thirty-something-temperature range. We have quite the hefe-lager in one of the corny kegs right now, maybe as a special surprise!
  • Brew ten more gallons of ESB last Sunday, with two different yeast strains, as our existing English ale yeast refused to start. We pitched some British ale yeast in a day later and it’s going strong now.  Oh, and it ended up being a rather reluctant two-hour mash as we had some problems heating the sparge water.
  • Decide to rethink our yeast-harvesting technique/pay a little more attention to honing this skill
  • Decide to work more diligently at consistent base recipes

Per the above, we all kind of think that we’ve been slacking a bit. We’re gonna work a bit harder on consistency in the coming weeks, as we really do have some recipes we’re happy with now and want to be able to reproduce them without these pitfalls.

Otherwise, we’ve got the twenty gallons of witbier in secondary fermentation now, and that half of the batch with peach in it tastes really good! Jamie doesn’t think the peachy-ness is pronounced enough but I tend to like how well it blends with the other fruit flavors. Can’t wait to carbonate and chill! Speaking of that, we’ve got ten gallons of Steve Brown Ale under pressure right now and taste results should be available tonight. This weekend was supposed to be a weekend off but we’ve decided to brew anyway; the specific recipe is TBD.