2nd quarter outlook

– Chris

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Spring is officially here, yesterday!  And so, longer days and warm weather are going to equal increased demand. I think we wrote earlier about our decision to move up to only ten-gallon batches from here on out, as we seem to still fly through even that amount, I can’t see five really being a viable batch size anymore. That said, we’re going to start cycling through our recipes on a weekly basis, hoping to tweak each one as we go along. Two weeks ago was our second rendition of ESB, last weekend was the IPA 2.1.1 (that’s IndiE Pale Ale, well, at least I’m calling it that…I like the idea of a Polaroid photo on the label), this weekend will be another round of wheat beer (the final recipe is TBD), and the week after we’ll another go at the American pale ale. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for the month of April, maybe including a new style for us, but definitely including not being around for a weekend or so. There are many more good things ahead, ten gallons at a time…promise!

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On the up and up

– Chris

We’ve gotten nothing but good reviews of our ESB. Everyone, even those we know who’re skeptical of “homebrew”, seems to be a fan…that said, the general complaint is that it’s just too light. As such, we’re gonna brew up another ten gallon batch of it this coming weekend, since it’s all gone now, with about a 30% increase in the grain bill. Hopes are to kick up the mouth-feel and ABV (to maybe an even 4%). See two posts ago for correction on that. I PROMISE MANY NEW THINGS SOON

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OH Yeah!

– Chris

Forgot to report that our ESB is by far the best thing we’ve made. So good, in fact, that we went through the five-gallon keg of it like lightning this past Friday. We did, of course, have to measure out this consumption scientifically:

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Our research confirms that it’s a light, easy-drinking beer with an ABV of around 4.2 3.2%. Nice hop notes, but not too much of anything overpowering. Best enjoyed without sleeves. It really did turn out well, broken thermometer and all, so well that we think it’s better than the 5 Seasons Copperhead ESB that we tried earlier in the night. The only problem so far in the kegged version is a noticeable lack of head retention, something that thanks to Bob at Beer Necessities we’re going to try and fix by throwing some malto-dextrose into the boil next time around. OR we could leave it alone…it works really well in a syringe as is.

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Back to Basics, the Old Peculier way

– Chris

Upon Jamie and Steve’s absence this weekend (and Eileen’s yesterday), in addition to some really nasty weather, I decided to revisit our roots a bit.  Not our roots as in doing nothing on a Sunday, but rather doing a simple batch of beer on the stove with standard kitchen equipment.  Me and some other regulars, Mac and Garrett, settled on an Old Peculier-ish malt extract recipe and got at it, but not before we put some of our IPA 2.0 to the test:

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This is the coolest thing EVAR.  You can keep a nice little supply of your favorite drink, whatever that may be, on tap in your golf bag, or in our kitchen, and then all over Garrett’s shirt.  The IPA displayed a vast improvement from a week ago, with a much more mellow (but nice and fruity) aftertaste, along with what I’d consider to be just the right amount of carbonation.  I’ll be interested to see how much our next batch, which is in the secondary as we speak, has improved over this one…sans baker’s yeast.

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The brew day was so short! Three hours start to finish, and a lot of that was spent changing out pots and waiting a really long time for the stove to bring the wort to a boil.  This is about half the time we’re usually investing on a Sunday on a five-gallon run.  I wasn’t working alone though, and thanks are due to Garrett, Marc, Whitney, and Dave for helping out, and then cooking dinner.  That’s Dave in the last picture.  As for the finished product, well, I’m sitting next to it right now in the office and it’s just starting to bubble.  Give us three weeks and we’ll know if our latest foray into malt extract rivals our fancy all-grain runs…

Oh yeah, and I should report that Saturday we successfully kegged and bottled our ESB from two weeks ago (a ten gallon batch split evenly between the two; 1.010 FG, right on the money), along with racking last week’s Hefewiezen and Witbeer to secondary fermenters…and I only broke one carboy in the process!  Apparently that’s our m.o. these days.

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Brewperbowl: Success!

from Chris

Thanks to everyone who made it over yesterday! Fifteen gallons, some Bocce, and one Patriots loss (and one wonderful Audi R8 commercial) later, it can be said that we had a great time and really appreciate all the interest, even if it was just a way to have a few Sunday beers. Thanks also to Dooley, our friends Scott and Jessica’s doggy, for serving as surrogate for our mash-cot this week:

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I know we haven’t really given any updates on past batches and questions and comments recently, but I promise I’m working on it. For now, as for yesterday afternoon and evening, we ended up making ten gallons of ESB from a recipe out of Charlie Papazian’s newest book, Microbrewed Adventures, along with another go at our as-yet-unnamed IPA…without the use of baker’s yeast. We also had a lot more luck with our boil (only one boil-over this time) due to a little more attention and consistent stirring:

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(Also, you can see how seriously Eileen takes football and how much Marc likes…Coors Light and sweatpants)

Both batches came out well in the end and are chugging along in their fermenters, which finally have the aid of blow-off tubes. I say “in the end” because as always, we hit a few snags…first off was breaking our brand-new floating thermometer in the ESB mash about halfway through. I was scared about the potentiality of getting broken glass or steel pellets in our final product, but Jamie quickly did a web search and discovered that we definitely aren’t the only homebrewers who’ve had this problem. So, upon realizing that as long as we filtered the wort really well prior to fermentation there shouldn’t be any serious issue, we went ahead with the rest of the batch, and I’m glad we did, because I think it’s going to be delicious. I’d still like to call it Steely Dan though. One note about those floating thermometers: we don’t plan on buying another one. We bought it thinking that it would save us from buying another $50 screw-in model, but after yesterday, we figure the chance of breaking one again in our mashtun seems more like a guarantee.

Although we’re getting closer, we’re still having a problem with the strike temperature of our water for the mash. We decided last night to fill the mashtun with strike water while it was on a burner and then heat it, secondarily, until the temp was right. I think we’re so far off because we aren’t fully realizing the effect of a cold keg (our mashtun) on the strike temperature. BeerSmith probably thinks that all equipment is at room temperature, but being the time of year that it is, that’s probably not the best assumption since we’re brewing outside.

Barring the above, I think we’ve got two solid batches on our hands. Totally forgot to take OG readings on either one, and here’s why:

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Along with the rest of our Sam Smith-clone Oatmeal Stout. Actually, I’m sure we forgot some other things too. After the game ended, there was flip-cup. And then there was OLDIES DANCE PARTY!