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 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.