Drain pour. Ouch. That is the only thing I can say on how I feel. It hurt. I just dumped the remainder of an experimental home brew from a few years ago. Why do we sometimes strike out?
So I have been brewing for a little over five years. You know what I had never done? Yup, you guessed it by the title…I never had made a yeast starter. Fellow Beer Nerd, Ricky, made a comment about a my batch of Lt. Topper. I had a question about the viability of my yeast and pitched some dry yeast on top. Here is what he posted:
I always make a starter before brew day. Not only does this give you enough yeasties to tackle all that wort, it also gives you an idea of your yeast health. You don’t need anything fancy either, I started with just a clear jug so that I could see the activity.
I had the tools, my wife got me a “little” kit a year back or so. But, alas, I was lazy, and now it was time to put it into practice. Thanks to the nudge from Ricky. According to industry leader, White Labs, a starter is good for the viability of your yeast, getting a lager batch ready, a high gravity brew (over 1.070), or if you want a fast start.
I decided that I was going to brew a Russian Imperial Stout while my wife was out for a girls night….but I decided to brew a little less than 24 hours before I needed my starter to be flying. I smacked a pack of Wyeast Scottish Ale at 10:30 at night. About 1:30 AM, I boiled 1 liter of water, and added 1 cup of dark malt extract (what I had on hand). The boil for this was just 15 minutes. Then, I poured the wort into a glass flask, and did a quick water bath in the sink to cool it down. Once my temp was low enough, I poured the smack pack into the mixture. I gave it some good swirls to move some oxygen in there to aerate it. Then, I put on a #10 stopper, a traditional 3 piece airlock, and filled it with some sanitized water. I then put the beaker into a nice dark place in the cellar.
I noticed a nice “small” krausen layer beginning to form about 12 hours later, with a little activity in the airlock. Another 10 hours later, my starter was ready to pitch into my RISing Mounds. My brew day report will be coming soon about that brew!
Making Dad with Chip and Zach has a new member on their extended team. The comedy podcast about fatherhood decided to challenge a local homebrewer, Jerry Scoppa, with making a spooktacular brew, and the challenge was accepted. During the show, Brewmaster Jerry Scoppa presented them with a few homebrews and one special Halloween treat. The treat was a brew that used ghost peppers as a main ingredient. Brewmaster Jerry was also given the title of Official Brewmaster of Making Dad during the show.
During the the broadcast, Chip Dolce and Zach Anderson were able to taste some homebrewed hopped hard apple cider, made from juice from the local supermarket, a chocolate peanut butter stout, a citrusy IPA and the ghost pepper beer. Zach has issued a new challenge to Brewmaster Jerry of creating a cookies and cream beer for their tasting delights. As a special gift to the listeners, Mr. Beer© , a home brewing system company, provided some special prizes for their listeners.
Making Dad with Chip and Zach is a show that is recorded and produced in Rochester NY, by Chip Dolce and Zach Anderson. The duo is not new to podcasting, they formerly had a podcast in 1999 about video games. Now the duo brings their talents to the Internet once more, but focussing on family, fatherhood, and humor. They have been a featured podcast on iTunes, and have recently joined with CBS Radio’s play.IT podcast network, home to many well-known national celebrities podcasts and an audience in the millions. Chip and Zach are now considered Internet celebrities in their own right. New episodes of Making Dad are available every Monday. and can be found exclusively on CBS Radio’s play.IT podcast network, in the iTunes Music Store or on their website at makingdadshow.com.
Brewmaster Jerry Scoppa is an avid homebrewer, and owner of the website AdventuresInHomebrewing.Beer , a site dedicated to brewing beer at home. The site focusses on many ideas and thoughts in the world of homebrew, offers readers a chance to learn new things, and follow the journey of Brewmaster Jerry in his quest to create the perfect brew.
So there was a quick change in the weather….so I had to harvest my hops. I have two Nugget hops bines in the back, in a raised bed garden. Full sun all day, good soil, and great hops. With the quick change, some of the bines went straight brown. So I had to harvest in a hurry.
I got home, did some quick snipping, and then just sat and picked hops for almost 2 hours. In “wet weight”, I got over 4 pounds. I didn’t pick carefully, as the sun was going down. I think had I gotten a good harvest time, and picked carefully, I would have gotten 10 pounds easily.
Enter the new vacuum sealer! For a recent birthday present, I got a hop grower’s dream machine, the Sinbo DZ-280. It seals, and re-seals mylar bags. I packaged up the hops in roughly 10-12 oz bags using the gallon size mylar bags.
Ok, back to brewing. I made a quick SMaSH recipe. I used 6 pounds of pale malt dried extract, and just a little over a full pound of my freshly picked wet Nugget hops. I did hop additions every 10 minutes, starting at 60 minutes of the boil, five ounces at right at the start, and about two ounces each interval. I added a final ounce at flameout.
I decided to try the SMaSH style, single malt and single hops, to really get the full effect of my homegrown Nugget hops. I have never made a SMaSH beer before, but figured I would give it a shot. Let’s let it ferment for a while, then see what is up! The original gravity was a paltry 1.048, so it will be more of a session beer most likely.
Well, yesterday I bottled a new batch of brew for me…only it wasn’t beer! It was my first attempt at hard cider. Well, with a twist.
Let me back this up a bit. I read an article in Brew Your Own Magazine about making fruit drinks. I got pretty intrigued by hard cider via apple juice. Only, I had to change things up a bit. I decided to hop it up a bit. I added some UK Pilgrim hops right from the get go, as well as 5 cinnamon sticks. Throw in some yeast nutrient, a little yeast, and let it fly. 7 days in, the fermentation was almost complete, so I tossed in some UK Sovereign hops to add some aroma. Let it sit for another week and bottled. Here are the stats for this hard cider brew:
Some things I learned:
- I got a great fermentation! This may be the lowest FG I have had in any of my brews. If I actually kept notes from the beginning, I would be able to tell.
- Adding the hops will give the hard cider some character. I should figure out the best ones to use in the future, not just what do I have here.
- I decided to use carbonation drops for this batch. I needed some more, so the trip to the local home brew shop was costly, as I came home with some extra dry malt extract for a future SMASH beer.
- Next time I need to rack it from the carboy (primary fermenter) to another vessel BEFORE the bottling bucket. Let’s say there was a bit of hop sediment in there with two ounces of hops in just under 3 gallons of hard cider.
- I need to use muslin bags for my hops, it would have helped in the clarity of the brew.
I can’t wait to see what it tastes like….
A few years ago, I decided to try my first real, experimental brew. I took a non-carbonated local energy drink, and tried to see what I could do with it. Realize, I made it on a small scale, using a Mr. Beer kit. I am not an employee of Vital Energy or Mr. Beer….just a fan. A few months later, I tried a Tangerine Wheat with the same type process.
Here is my process:
Music in the video by http://purple-planet.com
Overall, the beer wasn’t that bad! It was a purple color, and had quite the kick. I may have a few bottles still bumping around in my beer cellar.
What kind of crazy beers have you tried to concoct?
Cheers! Prohst! Gun bae!
However it may be said, in whatever language, it is good. It means a beer is about to be tipped. That is what it is all about here. The world of homebrewing is big, but we are all about small batches.
We plan to see where this takes me. We plan to share our successes, our failures, our questions. We look for your input, your comments, your questions.
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