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Category Archives: Brewing

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Brew Day Update: Steamin’ Kalifornia, My New 5 Gallon Keg, and a Carbonation Cap

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So I had to do some brewing.  The bug to brew a new batch was there after a trip out to Boston MA where I tasted QUITE a few great beers at four different breweries!  So I decided that I needed to fill my new 5 gallon keg with a batch of a style I had not tried before.  I figured something that was not crazy, but a good session like beer would be the best choice.  A California Common or Steam beer would be a great hang out and drink style.  Thus, Steamin’ Kalifornia was born.  I also had a few new toys, a 5 gallon keg and a carbonation cap.

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Drinking a great beer from Trillium while brewing this batch!

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Brewing

Brewing Carpe Citravesa

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Well, the school year is done.  This teacher, brewer, father gets to get caught up.  Two weeks ago, I threw together a new beer.  I didn’t realize that time had gotten that far away from me.  Carpe Citravesa was born.  Let’s look a bit at the beer and the name!IMG_20160611_160244511

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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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Brewing Homebrewing

Brew Day – Making Dad Show Brewing Challenge

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Back in the Fall, I was on the Making Dad With Chip and Zach.  After they tasted my Too Hot Mama, Zach quickly fired out a challenge for my next beer, a cookies and cream beer.  Challenge accepted.  For my first attempt at this challenge, I chose to whip up a “quick” 3 gallon batch.  I did this while NOT watching the State of the Union Address, but rather made my own State of the BREWnion address.  While steeping the grains, I watched a little Moonshiners on DVR and drank some tasty suds. Continue reading

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Brewing

Homebrewing Update: Lt. Topper and RISing Mounds

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Today is a brew “maintenance” day.  It is these days during homebrewing that make you wish you could speed up time just a bit to get to the final product.  Patience, patience, patience.

I added the first batch of hops for dry hopping the Lt. Topper, the first beer in my CLONE WARS series.  It is a Heady Topper clone.  I will let this first dry hopping of just short of 4 ounces of hops sit for a few days before I transfer it to the secondary and add even more hops.   This beer smells wonderful.  I have a few cans of Heady Topper off to the side to be able to do a comparison.

Today is also the first of two coconut toasting days.  Today I am toasting 14 ounces of coconut to go into RISing Mounds, a chocolate coconut Russian Imperial stout.  I will also make a new addition of some more Royal Dutch Chocolate and some Mayan cacao powder.  This will all be at the bottom of the 6 gallon glass carboy when I rack it over shortly.  I may have to sample a little wort during the transfer for both gravity sake, and taste.  Oh yeah, and I will also add two vanilla beans soaking in bourbon….a little extra tastiness!

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Brewing Homebrewing

Brewing Day: RISing Mounds

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So the wife went out for a Girl’s Night Out…so I decided to brew once the boys went to bed.  I made a yeast starter the night before.  I invited over a good friend, Chris, to be an assistant brewer for this batch, and taste a little craft brew (READ – excuse to drink beer together).IMG_20151107_232313879

Before Chris came over, I did some work ahead of time.  I took a pound of oats, and toasted it in the oven.  About 15-20 minutes on a bar pan gave it a slightly darker color, and a little more toasty flavor.  I tossed that into a muslin bag.  I also added the pound and a half of other crushed grains I had for the recipe into another bag.  I steeped these for about 70 minutes.  I used my new big pot for it’s second brew.  I love this pot because of the internal basket.  It leaves about 3 inches of space between the basket and the pot, so there really isn’t a way to scorch your grains.  I got a nice dark color, and a little bit of oatie goodness in there, and it was time to ramp up the flame.

 

For the main brew, I remove the basket, as it is no longer needed.  Chris showed up just after I added almost 3 pounds of dark dried malt extract, and was in the process of adding the first 6 Continue reading

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Brewing Homebrewing

Brew Day: Clone Wars – Lt Topper

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IMG_20151101_131515386 So a buddy of mine, Chris, used to REALLY like stouts.  He preferred to keep it dark, and was not a “hoppy” guy.  Enter in the use of Untappd.  Since he started (which was AFTER me), and blew past 1,000 unique check-ins (BEFORE me), Chris has taken a real liking to DIPA beers.  For those out there, a DIPA is a double IPA.  This is usually a REALLY hoppy beer!  Now, in all fairness, I was basically the same way.  A few months ago, we had a poker night, which was really more of an epic beer tasting with a card game on the side.  That night, we had some Heady Topper, considered by some to be the Holy Grail of DIPAs.  Rated extraordinarily well, and not available for purchase outside of the state of Vermont, it is usually a highlight beer for true drinkers.

Fast forward a few months….Chris asks me if I can brew some DIPA beers for him.  So, of course I say YES!  I start looking into different recipes.  After some thought, I decided to go with Northern Brewer’s “Off the Topper” and “Plinian Legacy” kits.  I figure that having a clone of each coast’s premier DIPA is not a bad thing.  I decided to brew on a Sunday, during the 1 PM NFL games.  My team was on a bye week, I had already watched most a of game since it was in London, and I had access to a few cans of Heady Topper to compare it to when I was done.IMG_20151101_130801547

Time to break out the brand new brewing pot.  The kit calls for a 3 or 3.5 gallon boil, but it is always better to do a full boil if possible.  So my new 11 gallon pot should do the trick.   I steeped the grains in this extract kit with a partial mash.  To be sure the grains didn’t rest on the bottom of the pot and possibly scorch, I used to the basket that sits in the pot to keep it up.  Pulling out the grains is from the mash in is important to squeeze out those extra drops with all the malty goodness into your wort.  I ramped up the flame, and learned a valuable less – big pots with lots of water take lots of time to get to the rolling boil stage.

Once up to a boil, the dried malt was added, and I used a new little brewing ingredient…. hop shots!  A few things to think about with hop shots.  It is extraIMG_20151101_145804638cted and very potent hop oils.   I used 10 mL of the hop oil extract.  DO NOT try a little to see what it is like….it is is super strong, and almost seems like it is burning when swallowing, not that I tried it or anything.  It is a dark black sticky substance, and my son described it in the boil as me adding pepper to the beer….because it looked like small black dots on the top of the boil.  In reality, it really is like an oil slick in a few spots.  The pictures just don’t do it justice.

The rest of the brew went off pretty much without hitch.  At 15 minutes before flameout, the liquid malt was added.  I have been reading lots of things about not putting the liquid malt in until then so it utilizes it best AND it doesn’t over boil it making a darker beer.  A larger pot means more time for it to cool, less room for the ice bath in the sink, but these are all first world problems.  I decided with a big pot that perhaps a siphon of the wort was a smart idea, much better than attempting to pour it into my big mouth bubbler.  Things were going fine until I pumped the siphon a little more after some air got in the tube…..the hose popped out of the bubbler, and sent some of my precious wort all over the floor.  Hint, not fun to clean up, and very sticky.  I got that fixed, and eventually pitched the yeast.  My OG was 1.080, which was above the target that the instructions stated, but right on based on Beersmith software.

This is question of yeast viability now.  I got the Omega Labs DIPA yeast.  It was packaged on October 6th, so it was fresh.  It is in a smack pack like container, but says to shake it for 30 seconds.  I did so.  There was no huge swelling like I am used to with smack packs.  It was out of the fridge for about 5 hours before pitching.  I had it shipped to me with an ice pack, so I figured I was all set.  60 hours in, there was no krausen layer or real activity in the airlock.  I ended up pitching some S-05 dry yeast this morning, and now I have a nice level of activity, and krausen going on.  Lets see how it does.  I don’t think it will have an adverse effect on the beer.

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Wort transfer to primaryThings I learned this brew:

  • I like a bigger pot.  I will do a full review on it soon.
  • Bigger pots mean longer times for brewing.
  • Always have somebody hold the tube for you.  Cleaning up some wort on your floor sucks.
  • There is a BOATLOAD of hops in this recipe.
  • Hop shots are cool.  I have started to look into making my own and using them in IPAs.
  • Beersmith is cool to help you track things (review coming).
  • I need a bigger spoon.

Questions I have:

  • What effect on taste does pitching a second, but alternatively recommended yeast, have on a beer?
  • How will the new pot do for a BIAB?
  • How would the pot do on an outdoor burner?
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Too Hot Mama, the Variant, and the Brewing of Ghost Pepper Beer

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So people have been asking about this ghost pepper beer that I brewed for the Making Dad With Chip and Zach.

 

First of all – BE CAREFUL WHEN BREWING WITH HOT PEPPERS!  HANDLE THEM WITH EXTREME CAUTION!  HANDLE YOUR WORT WITH EXTREME CAUTION AFTER FERMENTATION.

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Last year, I grew some ghost peppers in the back yard.  I got a few, shipped some off to a friend, and dried two out.  I hung them up on string in the corner of the kitchen, so no little fingers would touch them.  Chip Dolce, of the Making Dad Show asked if I was ever going to brew with them.  I said I would, as long as I came up with a decent recipe to work with them.  So after lots of thinking,  I decided that a Mexican Cerveza would be a good choice.  I sought out some Mr. Beer kits.  I combined multiple kits to make the beer a little stronger, and hook up with a 2.5 gallon recipe or so.  So two ghost peppers in the brew, and the name came about of TOO HOT MAMA.

That is when my thinking began to go as wild as my fermentation.  Later that night, I stopped down to check on my fermentation.  Here is what I posted on Facebook:

“Glad I stopped down to check on the Too Hot Mama fermentation. It was bubbling out of the airlock. Must have been ONE of the ghost peppers trying to do dastardly deeds.”  

If I hadn’t stopped down, my basement would have been a mess with ghost pepper wort, and the Too Hot Mama would have been my wife….but for the anger reasons.  11760107_10206263973611365_3016627267579577367_nI quickly rigged up a blow tube setup as shown below.  Before the fermentation was done, the growler was cloudy with chunks of wort and pepper seeds in it.

 

So back to the crazy thinking.  I took some home grown chili peppers and soaked them in tequila.  Ten of those peppers went into my first variant bottling ever.  I floated them in there and changed those bottle names to TOO HOT MAMA – MSHW.  What is MSHW you may ask? My Smoking Hot Wife.  This is a tribute to that minister who did a NASCAR prayer before the race and thanked God for his smoking hot wife (search it on youtube….worth the watch).

 

Well, Too Hot Mama, and the variant rang in at 5.6%. Don’t think this ghost pepper beer is a session beer though……although it is quite tasty.  Pair it with Doritos, chicken wings, or chili and you are on the right track!

 

Want to hear what Chip and Zach think of it?  Check out http://makingdadshow.com and check out episode 27 (being released on 10/26/15)

 

https://untappd.com/b/scoppa-brewing-co-too-hot-mama/1197218

https://untappd.com/b/scoppa-brewing-co-too-hot-mama-mshw/1197217

 

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