Tuesday, April 24, 2012

We're over on Facebook (Order of the Cask)

For those of you who have popped in here now and then, we're still brewin'. We went to Pennsic War last year with a couple of our original brews in tow, the Tripel X Redhead and a Honey Brown Hefe. We registered under the name Order of the Cask. We made a lot of friends last year. I've got a hops garden going. And we've been commissioned to do up some brews for a wedding! We are a little more active over on Facebook for the most part - if you'd like to check us out over there, you can find us at this link. The Krydder Breakfast Stout is boiling along nicely as I type. Happy brewing!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

One off to the secondary, and yeast starter for the next...

So... yeah. Absolutely *nothing* like a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. No roasted malt, and the hops are low alpha acid. Upon doing more research, it seems to be a lot more like a Belgian Tripel as far as the grain and sugar, high ABV, and low alpha acid hop choice. The yeast is a pale ale yeast and not a belgian, but I'm sure it's still going to end up delicious. This bad boy has spent a month in the primary, and it's a very clear, pale yellow. The nose is very mead/sweet-ish, and still had a rare bubble here and there a few days ago. Last weekend the gravity was 1.010, which put this fat bastard at 10.1%!  The taste is good with a sweet back-end, just like the wife. ;) Tomorrow it's off to the secondary for a week just for some additional clarity.

Just in time, too... I am trying out a variation of a honey hefeweizen recipe tomorrow that I ripped from Sir Humpsalot on the http://www.homebrewtalk.com/ forums. Here's the recipe as originally posted by him:
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: WLP 300 (Hefe yeast)
Yeast Starter: Yeast cake
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1.060
Final Gravity: 1.010
IBU: 28.4
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90
Color: 9.1
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 28 days at 72

This recipe arose out of my desire to brew a Honey Hefeweizen with some honey and brumalt. It just seemed like a natural recipe to me and this is my third attempt, tweaking the recipe, here's what I came up with. It is Hefe Candy- it tastes like a hefeweizen, but has an incredible candy-like quality. The belgians would be proud. Don't think of this as a German Hefeweizen. Think of it as a Belgian with a ton of character. In fact, some candy sugar would be perfectly at home in this recipe...

Yes, ladies and gents, I finally, I have a beer worth sharing with you. This one is worth the price of admission for you malt-heads. It is special. I won't say everyone should brew this. It's definitely going to appeal to its core audience of malt lovers. But, if you love malt, honey, and hefeweizen, you've GOT to try this. It's like pouring yourself a Willy Wonka candy... It may not be an Everlasting Gobstopper, but its a Banana-Split. And honey on a tit.

Imagine if the Belgians invented the Hefeweizen. This might be what they came up with... Add some Brettanomyces and you'll have a beer with all of the universe's complexity. Without it, you have an amazing dessert beer, perfect for 12 ounce bottles. I've been switching to 22 ounce bottles, but this one just begs for 12's. It's the perfect size. Each 12-er is like opening the wrapper of a confectionery delight! Like a chocolate in a box, if they were twice the size, they just wouldn't be right.

This beer has got a TON of character. I dare compare it to Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout. It has nearly that complexity.. but without the years' worth of aging. It's only 5.8% ABV, so it's not meant to age forever or take a long time like Barleywines or Imperial Stouts. It's meant to be ready fairly quickly, but it definitely gives the illusion of a strong beer. It's got that intense mouthfeel and thickness, almost a syrup-like quality that really satisfies. And yet, at its heart, it is a wheat beer, perfect for a hot summer day. It's definitely a beer that drinks bigger than it is. If you want a "light beer" this is definitely a recipe that you could lighten up... and still wind up with a "real" beer.

Best of all, for as intense as the taste is, this baby is ready to drink within a month. If you love Bourbon County Stout and Hefeweizens, you'll love this as well. I've had "wheat wines". Basically barley wines with wheat. They tend to be "sharp" tasting like barleywines. This is FAR better than anything in that genre. This is smoothness, trapped in a bottle after only a month.

Based on 65% efficiency:
6.0 lbs Malted German Wheat
4.0 lbs German Pilsner
2.0 lbs Honey Malt (aka Brumalt)
1.0 oz Hallertau (6.0% AA) at 60
0.5 oz Hallertau (6.0% AA) at 30
0.25 lbs clove honey (added after the primary ferment starts to subside)

Note, there is no secondary. Just 3-4 weeks in primary, then bottle.

Single infusion mash at 157 with a 90 minute boil to impart some caramel-like maltiness. The real "honey flavor" comes from the brumalt. Don't over-do the real honey because it will dry out the beer. Get most of your flavor from the brumalt- it will increase the complexity of the beer. If fermenting at a lower temp, use wildflower honey. If (like me) you are stuck with higher temps, use clove honey to impart at least a hint of cloviness. I fermented in the mid-70's.

The end result is very sweet. Candy-like. Bottle in 12 ounce bottles and it's like unwrapping a Brach's candy. 22 ounces would just be overkill. This isn't a sickeningly sweet recipe, but it's certainly a desert beer. It's like a great strong barleywine, but without the long aging period. This is something special. I hope you agree.

So there it is. Sir Humpsalot lays it out in pretty straightforward fashion. This will be my first true all-grain (the CBC wort was all-grain, but I didn't do the actual mash/infusion). We went to Gentile's, but unfortunately they didn't have the German grains. I had to sub in Briess White Wheat Malt (an American grain) and Briess Pilsner (again, an American).
I'm about to go get the WLP 300 started up for tomorrow. Wish me luck - the grains for this one smell absolutely delicious, like Honey Nut Cheerios meets granola. Yum.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

National Homebrewing Day - a new pale ale in primary!

CBC (Columbus Brewing Company), one of our local Columbus, OH microbreweries celebrated National Homebrew Day by giving out free wort and inviting folks to come out, setup, and brew up a batch using the wort, and do their own tweaks as far as yeast and hops. They also gave Ryan and I a most excellent tour of the facility and answered a ton of questions for us.

The suggested use of the wort was a pale ale recipe that called for WLP002 English Ale Yeast and 3.5oz Goldings with a 90 minute boil. They used 50% Pils and 50% Maris Otter for the mash, and they guessed the OG at about 1.052ish.

Well, here were my tweaks... I used WLP005 British Ale Yeast, since the LHBS ran out of the WLP002 that was bought up by all of the other festival goers. I used 3 oz of Kent Goldings leaf and 0.5oz of Fuggles pellet, both lowish (4.4ish) alpha acid hops.
I also decided to up the ABV and OG by adding 4 lbs of cane sugar to the boil, and tossed in Whirlfloc 15 mins before the end of boil. After the wort cooled, I took an OG reading before pitching and aeration - it was 1.086 - yowza! If I end up with a FG somewhere in the 1.012-1.014 range, I'm estimating this to finish up at about 10% or more. If I dry hop it, it may be not unlike Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA.
I also didn't make a starter, I went according to the White Labs recommendations on the label and pitched the tube directly. With that high of an OG, I'm sure a second tube or a starter wouldn't have hurt, but I figure the ferment will eventually get going.  I'm kind of excited, as this will be our first pale ale. 10 free gallons of wort between Ryan and I? Not a bad start to a Saturday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


When last we spoke I was just placing the stout into the 2nd fermenter and dreaming of what it was going to taste like. Will it be a Guinness? Will it even taste like a stout? I had several thoughts about it but I tried to keep them pushed away. Then the day finally came, tasting day. They were in the bottle a little shy of 2 weeks but with the abv it probably wouldn’t really need any more than that. So I popped off the cap and poured it into a glass, it had a nice rich stout smell, light tan head and a dark almost black color. And the taste, ohhh the taste, almost a Guinness hit and a caramel after taste. I don’t mean to brag but this is a gooood stout. It makes me think about what it would have been like in the old days in Ireland wandering around after a battle against the Norse or the Scotts, cold, hungry, and beaten down in need of some serious pick me up. And you wander on into a small house, mud walls thatched roof, not too welcoming until the homeowner goes into the back room and brings out 2 flagons of a dark as night and smooth and sweet. One drink of this home brew and you’re already feeling your spirits lift and your pains dwindling away.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Good news - with my ABV on the Chimay clone only being at around 7.5%, it shouldn't need to bottle age like heavier barleywines. That means we're gonna be tasting both batches this weekend, having allowed a full 2 weeks for the bottling sugar to carb it up. NOW the tough part - what do we brew up next? A Midas Touch clone? A Russian Imperial Stout?(*that* will take some bottle aging time). Hrm.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sooo.. We finally went to bottle last night! Ryan's stout and my belgian trappist clone ale both ended up with a final gravity of 1.013 per Ryan's hydrometer, nuch better than the 1.020 my hydrometer came up with last weekend. As mine had an estimated original gravity of about 1.068, that puts my Chimay blue clone at about 7.5%, not quite the 9% Chimay boasts on the blue, but a little higher than the red. Ryan's stout came in around 4%, not unusual for an irish stout, and right on par with Guinness, which has an ABV of 4.1-4.3%. Ok, I know what you're thinking, the alcohol content is nice and all, but how does it taste? Well - Ryan's tastes similar to flat Guinness, mine tastes similar to flat Chimay, right about what we expected. I anticipate awesomeness in a few short weeks. We did about 3/4 cup of corn sugar to 1 cup of water for each 5 gallon batch. We'll be drinkable in 2 weeks to allow for bottle carbonation, but my recipe recommends bottle aging for several months. I don't think I'll be able to wait that long.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


It all started with an Idea, “We should brew our own beer…”and that turned into an entire counter top covered with empty bottles, most common were the Great Lakes, a few Warsteiner, and a good selection of Sam Adams. And there they sat for… about a week before they were boxed up and tossed into the basement. Fast forward 6-8 months, and it is now tax return time and within minuets of the refund hitting my bank I was E-sprinting over to Midwestsupplies.com where they have everything a home brewer could want to get started... literally. So after I placed my order, (with all the excitement of a kid staring at the roller coaster park for the first time) I sent a message over to my partner in this endeavor letting him know about my purchase.

And now we wait..

Still waiting…

Then finally I hear a delivery truck rolling up outside and three “thuds” which could only mean one thing, Beer Time! I quickly grabbed the boxes and placed them in the garage with the mindset of hiding my gold find from the other prospectors, and after my inspection I knew it was about to get real.

The kit came with a recipe for a nice Irish Stout along with all the ingredients to start your first batch. I felt an Irish stout was the most appropriate since it would be ready just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. It also had 1, 5gal fermentation bucket, 1, 5 gal bucket with a nozzle to make bottling easy, and a 5 gal carboy, Hydrometer, auto syphon, stick on thermometer, little container of sanatizer, and a " How to.." book on homebrewing.

You never appreciate the effort put into crafting beer until you have to brew it yourself, making sure the temp is just right, not over steeping the grains, and above all SANITATION, I don’t think I have ever washed my hand or had them soaking in a sanitizer solution as many times as I did that afternoon. I am not going to lie and say I was calm through out the entire process, when I had all the nuts and bolts layed out infront of me I couldn't help but think " my oh my what have I got myself into now" But it is worth it.

Here is a list of the ingredients,

6 lb. Dark liquid malt extract,

4 oz. Chocolate Malt,

4 oz. Caramel 10L,

4 oz. Roasted Barley,

4 oz. Flaked Barley specialty grain,

1 tsp. Gypsum,

1/2 oz. Nugget,

1 oz. Willamette pellet hops,

Dry yeast, (rehydrating this stuff kind of had me worried, but, it worked out)

After the first fermentation was over and we moved it over to the carboy, I snuck a little taste out of the wine thief, and I have to say it is starting to taste like it is going to be good. It has a nice dark color, good aroma.

I will update this post after we finish with the bottling, I am looking forward to telling you that it all went smoothly and it tastes amazing. Also we do have pictures that I will be uploading shortly.