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.
Lately, I have been quite busy…watering my garden. We are not getting a lot of rain this year, so I am out with the hose, making sure my hops are well hydrated. Since I water so much, the cucumbers have been going like mad. I have a son who loves raw cucumbers, but he can’t keep up. So, let’s try canning for the first time. Let’s try pickles for the first time. Let’s make sure we include homegrown hops and homebrew in the brine.
So I started to research to find a recipe that fulfilled a few things for me:
- Uses my homegrown cucumbers.
- Uses some homebrew
- Incorporates some homegrown hops
- Possibly incorporate some homegrown hot peppers.
I wasn’t sure if I could get all those parts in.
An important step in homebrewing is learning how to make a yeast starter. The easiest way to get it going the right way, is to use a stir plate. Enter the StirStarter. Before I get into the review of the StirStarter, I think it is good to look at my history with starters.
This is a step that I really didn’t get into at the beginning of my brewing. More often than not, I just used dry yeast….sprinkle and go. Occassionaly, I used liquid yeast, but just did a smack pack…smack it and go.
Well, then tried my first yeast starter. I started with a 2 liter flask, and used an airlock. DON’T USE AN AIRLOCK! ( The airlock does just that….it stops oxygen from getting in there, which is needed to promote good yeast growth). I would walk by and give a little shake. I got some propagation, but not nearly enough. After finding out not to use an airlock, the next time, I used sanitized foil on the top of the flask. That is the better choice. Now I was moving forward and learning some stuff along the way….and that is what we should do, right?
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.
June 28th, vacation has started for this teacher. PHEW! So how do I move forward? How do I relax? Well, I make it a bottling day for Carpe Citravesa. I bust out about 40 bottles. I know my batch will fit in it because I have some bombers in there….and I love bottling in bomber bottles! One, it goes so much quicker. Two, it makes it easier to share when out and about. Three, they are just “cool”.
This bottling day didn’t go off without a hitch. Continue reading
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!
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.
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