So my next chapter of the speed cider has begun. But not before I let the speed cider go for a little longer then I expected…though I am glad I did. The cider kept perking away, so I let it. The T-58 cleared up from the cloudy cider to almost the same color! Amazing! Now it was time to split the two batches in half, and have a little fun with it!
We interupt this primary fermentation for the following Public Service Announcement…. BAG YOUR HOPS!
Well, I am at about 36 hours since pitching my yeast starter into my maple rye imperial stout. I have had issues. At 6 hours post pitching, I removed the airlock parts and attached a blow-off tube to a growler. at 18 hours, my wife texted me and told me the growler had been put into a pot since it was bubbling over. At 19 hours, she noted that some beer was dripping out of the top of the fermenter – it popped the screw top off the big mouth bubbler enough to let some through. Not a ton of cleanup, but enough.
At 30 hours, I noticed the bubbling had stopped in the growler. I found out that all those loose hops have been pushed above the krausen level and made basically a big, wet, sticky stopper between the CO2 and the blow-off tube….hence stopping lots of escaping gas from that outlet. Poke a hole in said layer and the bubbling resumed.
Takeaways from this? DON’T BE LAZY and not CONTAIN YOUR HOPS. Use a muslin bag, a reusable bag, or a hop spider. Don’t just put a few ounces of whole hops in….it may make for more work for you in the long run.
We now return to our regularly scheduled fermentation.
So, a few months back I got together with a few fraternity brothers for a night of brewing and tasting. It is always great to get together with some great guys, taste some great beers, and see how others run their brew processes. The first brotherhood brew was at my house, when I made Commandant Pliny. This time, we went to Bill’s house. Bill and Jeff were brewing that night, both are brewers for Quiet Storm Brewing Co.
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″ 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!
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.
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?
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.
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
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
One of the best ways to learn about something is get information from people who have been doing it longer, have had more mentors, and have more information available to them. So, I figured why not check in with some homebrewers on the internet, as well as homebrewers from my local area who have made the jump to commercial brewing. Thus, the birth of the Homebrewer Interview Series!
As a starting point, I contacted Chris from HOMEBREWFINDS.COM. You will notice that I mentioned Chris’s site in a past post and I find myself checking it often. I reached out to Chris to see if he would be willing to chat with me, or type some answers to a few probing questions. He agreed, so here we go! The interview will be posted soon!
I am working on getting some more interviews set up….so stay tuned!
So I have been thinking about wants and needs lately. There are lots of toys I want in the homebrewing world. Then there are equipment pieces I need. So that raises the question, do I need new tubing to replace my old ones?
Let’s look at my current situation: Continue reading