Marathon bottling my homebrew. So the time arrived. I had 10 gallons of brew ready to bottle. It took me several days to prepare. It took several hours to complete. So here is the rest of the story.
So May 7th was Big Brew Day. What is that? According to the American Homebrewers Association website, it says:
“In 1988, May 7 was announced before Congress as National Homebrew Day. The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) created AHA Big Brew as an annual event to celebrate National Homebrew Day around the world. AHA Big Brew is held each year on the first Saturday in May.”
So what did I do? I had to brew! Only problem was my wife was out of town for a trip, so I had to brew by myself. That is really ok, but I wanted to be sure I brewed, so I did a quick batch. Throw Mama From The Flame was born. This is kind of a followup to a previous brew, Too Hot Mama, but a different style. This brew didn’t just use two ghost peppers, but rather much more.
Product Review – The BeerBox
This BeerBox review should be labeled WHY I GOT IT AND WHY YOU SHOULDN’T. I know, that is a harsh statement to start off a product review. The concept – GREAT. The actual product – great at first, but then downhill from there.
I fell in love with the BeerBox the first time I saw the ad. It was perfect. A great way to get into the idea of larger scale “bottling” of my homebrew, without the need for a kegerator. The Beer Box was a perfect size. Small enough to fit into the bottom of my beer and wine fridge, large enough to bring to small gatherings, such as tailgating at a Buffalo Bills games or holiday parties. The detachable CO2 injector was set up so it fit neatly into the design. These guys thought of everything….or so I thought. You can check out the whole product here: http://www.brewingtools.com/ Continue reading
Today was bottling day for my Pliny the Elder homebrew clone, Commandant Pliny. This is the second brew in my Clone Wars series. This homebrew was made back in February, during a beer tasting with buddies. It was nice to bottle just 25 total bottles. I used 20 bottles that were 20 oz or bigger, which made the process go much faster. Once I get a kegerator up and running, I can see this getting even quicker!
Some things I pondered:
- The new bottling wand with the spring is a HUGE help. I had less than 3 drops of spillage the whole time. This is a big thing considering there was so much hop material in the beer from all that hops.
- I had just short of 4.5 gallons go into the bottling bucket. Of that, I actually bottled just short of 4 gallons due to sample testing, and massive amounts of hops sludge that made it in through the siphon. I didn’t want to have bottles that were hop sludge depositories.
- I left it in the secondary longer than needed. I am not sure what this will do to the overall flavor, but the hopping schedule for the dry hopping for the bottling was almost spot on.
- I did have some loss from the transfer and yeast collection, next time, I think I will push a little more volume at initial fermentation to get more bottles next time.
- The idea of a beer tasting while brewing was a great one. In fact, one of the tasters is hosting a group of us this weekend while he brews and we taste again! Woohoo! I look forward for a little reporting back from that night.
- I am looking forward to the reuse of the WLP001 yeast that I harvested. I got hopefully a viable amount to use in the future. I will also look into making over sized starters with fresh yeast, and splitting them in the future as well….this would alleviate the hop trub to decant with super hoppy brews like this one.
- I probably won’t be able to taste this side by side with Pliny the Elder. I have had it before, but it is tough to procure here in NY State. Oh well…..it should be a tasty beer either way.
So one of the things that I have been thinking about lately with brewing is things that clarify your homebrew. With a major explosion on the interwebs today based on two articles:
I have some Irish moss in my supplies. I have used it before. Did I notice a difference? Can’t say that I did. Why? Well, my brewing has been an interesting journey. I really never made the same brew more than once. There was one brew that I made 7 times, but the thing was, I never used a clarifying agent with it. So let’s dive into what it does and how it can help. Continue reading
Well, yesterday was a first for me. I harvested my first yeast. I did a transfer of my wort from the primary to the secondary for the Commandant Pliny, a Pliny the Elder clone. When I did this, I also dry hopped it for the first time to get it closer to bottling. A few things to see here – there a HUGE amount of trub at the bottom due to all that hops. Unfortunately I will not get a full batch due to this.
So today bottled my first attempt at my Cookies and Cream Stout homebrew. Ringing in at 5.6%, it is a little more than a session stout. It bottled up at a nice rich dark color. There is a strong chocolate smell and taste for the “cookie”. I am hoping the “cream”, vanilla beans soaked in a little whiskey, comes through after carbonation and chilling.
So it became the time to continue the Clone Wars. This time, I moved ahead with Commandant Pliny. To do this, I would need to enlist the help of a few friends….
So, I invited over a few, we tasted some homebrew and craft brews, and I may have brewed a batch in there too. Continue reading
So part of the fun of homebrewing is being an advocate for the craft. Sharing the process, sharing the results, and sharing knowledge is always important. My buddy Sully has enjoyed many of my homebrews across the years. I love getting Sully’s opinions on my beers. Sully has always stated he wanted to try brewing. He has gotten some kits in the past, but never brewed them. On a “normal” poker night, when we didn’t have poker, Sully and I decided to get our brew on. Not only was it a first time for him, but it was also MY first time brewing in the great outdoors, aka Sully’s patio. Continue reading
So Chris from HOMEBREWFINDS.COM agreed to be my first interviewee. I found his site a while ago, and find myself visiting quite often. I think it is cool to find out more about the “man behind the curtain”.
How long have you been homebrewing? What got you into it?
I started brewing in 2007. I had been interested in craft beer for a few years and watched a Modern Marvels on the subject of brewing. There was a segment in that show on homebrewing featuring Drew Beechum. It looked like something I wanted to try… so I did. I did a lot of research and decided on a Coopers setup. I thought that one purchase was all I’d ever need. 🙂
What was your biggest homebrewing mistake or let down? Why?
My biggest mistake would have to be the time I dropped a full 6.5 gallon glass carboy down 2 or 3 steps. There’s nothing quite like a hours long brew day that results in – no beer, glass shards in your feet, loss of equipment and a massive mess that you have to clean up with bleeding feet. That incident prompted me to (mostly) stop using glass fermenters. That’s one of the reasons I like my Speidel Fermenter so much. I do still use glass fermenters, but only for aging sour beers. Continue reading