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Ask The Brewmaster Homebrew Talk

Father’s Day Wishlist – Gifts For the Homebrewer

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So Father’s Day is coming up.  A homebrewer should be a simple father to shop for!  My wife often asks me for a wishlist for major holiday shopping.  Often times I give a list of a few upgrades or needs.  Why not compile a list of things that can be a gift for any homebrewer!  I will split them up for price levels, so you can find things in any budget range.  This is just a starting list!  If you have any suggestions, add them in the comments below!

$9.99 and Under

This is a great category for little gift.  These are items that most brewers need on a usual basis.  They are a great gift from the kids to dad too!

Muslin Bags – These are great little bags for adding hops into your brew.  As a homebrewer, it seems like I am always picking these up….one can never have enough of them!

Long Stainless Steel Spoon – This is a great upgrade for most brewers.  The length makes it easier to not dip your hands into that boiling wort.

 

$10-$30 Range

10″ Anti Splash Funnel – nothing makes a wife happier than a brew transfer that doesn’t splash on the floor.

Every brewer, or beer drinker for that matter, has a need to transport some cold beer from point a to point b.  Enter the Insulated Six Pack Bottle Carrier With Opener.  Now, a buddy of mine has a similar thing, and he uses it weekly coming to our poker game.  Keeps your brewer’s beers cold and easy to carry.  A bottle opener included is a bonus!

 

$30-$50

The Kettle Spider™ makes it easier to add your hops mid boil, and remove them before it hits the fermenter.  This allows for a clearer beer setup.  In order to be used, you do need to add on a bag.

 

$50-$100

Torpedo Kegs – Kegging will make any dad’s day.  Stackable kegs….even better!  These stainless steel beauts are a brewer’s best friend.

 

$100 and more

Ss Brewtech Brew Bucket Stainless Steel Fermenter – Who doesn’t want a cool looking fermenter?  The conical design helps the trub stay out for clearer beer.

 

 

What’s on your list?

 

 

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Ask The Brewmaster

Big Brew Day 2016 – Throw Mama From The Flame

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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.

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Homebrewing Reviews

Product Review – The BeerBox

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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.

beerbox

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

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Bottling Homebrew Talk

Bottling Day: Commandant Pliny of the Clone Wars Homebrew Series

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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!

 

During the bottling I also drank a New Belgium Ranger IPA.  Very tasty if you haven’t gotten a chance to try one!IMG_20160412_195458211 

 

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.  

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    Lots of hops residue

  • 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.

 

 

 

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Nice golden color to this one!


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Ask The Brewmaster Homebrew Talk

Clarifying Or Not To Clarify – That Is The Question

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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: 

  1. BRÜ’S VIEWS W/ JOHN WIBLE | ON THE HAZY BEER CONTROVERSY

  2. New England/Vermont-style IPA Is/Not a Thing

I decided it was time to think about this again.  I think that really most beers “look the part” in beauty pageants. 

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

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Homebrewing

Transferring Commandant Pliny and Harvesting Yeast

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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 toIMG_20160325_162328983 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.

I also harvested my first yeast ever.  I wIMG_20160325_162331946atched a lot of videos and read articles to get myself ready.  Here is the process:

 

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Brewing Homebrewing

Bottling Day – Cookies and Cream Stout Homebrew

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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.

Remember, I was tasked to make this for the Making Dad Show.  In order to keep the title of “Official Brewmaster”, I gotta hit this one just right.  A few thoughts about this one.  Continue reading

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Brewing Homebrewing

Brewing Outdoors

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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

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