Online journal of my homebrewing fun.

11 August 2006

Brewday, Family Style.

So we've been on vacation in California the last 10 days. Last Thursday my dad and I were able to take some time out and brew up a batch of Jamil's Chocolate Hazelnut Porter. It smells pretty good and is just about done fermenting. But wow, 8 oz. is a lot of chocolate. It looks like a lot of the chocolate has settled out, so hopefully it will not be too overwhelming. OG was 1.067, tomorrow we will take a hydro sample and see where it ends up.

17 June 2006


So I finally managed to get my CO2 swaped out. Mmm.. Beer. And this morning while watching the Iran game I started to hear some hissing. It seems that C02 is coming from the little hole below the adjustment screw...

10 June 2006

Amarillo Recipe

So I am still thinking of a name for this beer, but here is the recipe for it.
4.54 kg Pale Malt
.20 kg Crystal 40L
.20 kg Crystal 20L
.20 kg Munich
.20 kg Victory

30 g Amarillo (60 min)
15 g Amarillo (30 min)
15 g Amarillo (5 min)
30 g Amarillo (1 min)
30 g Amarillo (Dry)


Fermented for 9 days.

I drank the hydro sample when I transfered and it was very tasty.

09 June 2006

The World Cup..

Well not much news for brewing... Yesterday I put my Amarillo Ale to secondary. (Damn tasty) and have a wit on deck. That should be brewed next week.
And now for something different. The World Cup begins in about 10 minutes. 30 days of heartache or bliss dependent upon who you support. For me it is England. Hopefully we can have a great run and lift the cup in the end. COME ON ENGLAND!

29 May 2006

Morning Brew

What a beautiful morning. Got up at about 630 to start my brew that I postponed from yesterday. I am about 40 minutes into my mash and things appear to be running smoothly. Right now I am having a cup of coffee, but plan to sample a little of the honey porter I made. I think that I may have added the honey a touch too soon and fermented it out. I attempted to backsweeten a bit with some clover honey. I am not sure I like the taste that the clover gave. I will have a much better impression today when I sample it. I am sure it has changed quite a bit now that it is properly carbed. Fun, fun!

06 May 2006

Mmm.. Honey

So this morning I added the honey to the fermenter. Last night I heat treated it. Boy did I have an interesting time trying to keep it at 176F. Should be quite delicious. I will keep it in the primary for 12 more days or so and then rack it off to a secondary to cold crash the yeast. Should be drinking this by Memorial day. I guess I need to polish off a keg of what I have on tap now to make room.

Next up.. Wit. (I think) or another Pale Ale. I think that keg is getting light.

04 May 2006

Brew, study, rinse, repeat.

So I am brewing today and studying for my last couple of exams. Today is a honey porter that is currently in minute 12 of a 90 minute boil. Everything went ok, except I forgot about the leak I discovered on my mash tun last time. This time around I lost about 2 cups of wort. Bummer....
Back to the books and the beer...
Pictures may follow later.

27 April 2006

Brewday.. Finally.

Well I finally got all the kinks out of my new ghetto rig. Someday I will actually build a stand for it. But, in the mean time it works. Today I made an Ordinary Bitter. I wonder what my efficiency was like this go around, but I forgot to recalibrate my refractometer to my software. I was going to do a hydro, but forgot before I got it in the fermenter. The picture to the left is the cooling stage. It was nice. Rolling boil to 75 in about 35 minutes. I used a 16 lb bag of ice and it was gone in about 10 minutes. If I had two bags, I bet I could cut that time even more. I think the pump was really a good purchase. I would say it cut close to 40 minutes off my total time. Even more once I get my routine down pat. Next up is Garrett's Honey Porter (finally). And then a wit I think. I am still working on a recipe. Any of you local readers know where I can score some whole chammomile?
Also, today I had the boil kettle a little too close to my storage chest. You can see a little area where it metled a bit. Good thing I noticed it. I will post more later. I have some pictures of my new stirplate and also the ghetto fermentation cooler.

22 April 2006

Been a while..

So it has been a while since my last post. The HD on the laptop ate it big time. It started making a couple errors so I figured I would back it up. Well it completly failed while backing up. Big time bummer, lost all my data. So I have been starting from scratch.

This week was spring break for school and I failed to get a brew done. That is not to say I did not try. I had the water ready and was about to dough in, but I couldn't get the pump to work the way I needed it to. I had to abort to work out some of the kinks. I am really not sure what it is. It seemed to work fine on my trial run. I will probably try again on Tuesday.

Last night was the First State meeting. Shelley and I had such a good day together and we totally forgot about it. Well, until 10 pm that is. Oh well, we'll have to make the next one.

30 March 2006

$100 gift card spent.

I finally spent my gift card Shelley got me to finish off my kegerator and other projects I had to do. The only thing that has to be finished up is staining the corner moulding.
We also made the shadow box to store all my pint and scotch glasses as well as store a couple bottles. I have to say, I love the look of it. The collar and foot were done about 7 months ago. The sides and the lid were finished today. Shelley still says it is a little redneck to have a beer tap in the living room... But hey..
Many props to my friend Larry. He certainly helped me take this idea and make it real. That man has some nice tools.

14 March 2006

Family affair.

Well my dad has cracked his first beer from the starter kit I bought him for Christmas. He made a Steam Clone and he is really happy with it. My brother has aked him to step up production. Today he is brewing a Irish Red and we will be brewing an Ordinary Bitter at the same time so we can compare. Should be lots of fun.

Play money all dried up.

Well it looks like my brewing stuff may be on hold a little while. The source of a lot of my brewing income is from refereeing. Last Saturday I messed up a muscle in my foot and have a possible stress fracture. It's not a big deal, I should be back in 4-6 weeks and then my brewing can start again.

03 March 2006

Well not much has gone on this week. As I post this my Pale Ale is still bubbling away. And that got me wondering. I did use a refractometer and not my hydro to test my samples. Perhaps it was user error. I dunno, we'll see what it like when I transfer it over to the keg Sunday. I am also planning on going to How Do You Brew on Saturday. Garrett is doing an All-Grain demo there. I figure it is a good chance to meet the new owner and pick up some ingredients. I am pondering brewing another Pale on Sunday and putting that wort right on the yeast cake I have going now.
Also, I am going to probably get the grains for my first ten gallon batch. It will be Garrett's "Sirius Black Honey Ale." That was damn delicious stuff. And I think Shell will actually like it as well.
Well time to get to Calculus.

25 February 2006


Well everything is finished except for the cleanup. We'll see how it goes. THe efficency for this batch was terrible. I was shooting for 1.052 and got 1.033. That works out to about 48%. So I have some tweaking to do.


So today I am brewing a pale ale. On a whim, I decided to completely convert to metric measurements. We'll see how it goes. At the moment I am about 63 minutes into my boil. Looks like I should be done and cleaned up by 6-ish. I will post the results of the brew later.

18 February 2006

Twin Lakes Brewing..

So, it has been a while since my last post. And since then, a lot has happened.
First off, today I tagged along with the First State Brewers to tour the Twin Lakes Brewing Company in Greenville DE. Basically, it is a small craft brewery which is in the process of opening. If location and enthusiasm is all it takes to make a brewery work these guys have it. It is a 25 barrel brewery on a very beautiful property. The owner Sam lives about 100 feet from the operation. While the website isn't complete you can CLICK HERE to take a look.
I have been on my fair share of tours, but I have to say that this one certainly left an impression on me. It was very interesting to see one with not one drop of beer in the place. The grains, hops and water were all in place. When the permits come in a couple days the fun will begin. I have to hand it to the brewmaster. He has spent two years getting everything in order. It finally looks like their dream will come to fruition. I can't wait to sample what they have to offer.

While I was there I was able to sample many fine homebrews. This time it was much more difficult to pick a favourite. Garrett as always had a very fine selection of homebrews. And since I suck with names, I will just say that there was a Pale Ale made by a couple from Rehobeth that was very tasty. There was also an Alt, Amber and another one that is slipping my mind at the moment. All of them were very good.
Afterwards, I went to Garrett's house and met his family and toured his little brewery. His wife is very nice and his kids are adorable. And I am sure Shell would like their cats. ICK! :) Anyway, there I had a couple pints of his Sirius Black Honey Ale. It was so good I had to take the recipe home with me, along with some perle hop pellets he had lying around just waiting to be used! G and I have been brewing about the same amount of time, but he has done many, many more batches than me. I will certainly be happy when my beers get to the level that his are at. But I am sure that it will come in time.

Since I last posted I have made a Scottish Ale, that is in the secondary and have a Pale Ale on tap. I also have completely remade my mash tun. Pictures are a the bottom of the post. I have a PVC manifold at the bottom where I drilled about 1000 little holes with a 1/64th bit. The top is made from the same PVC but with 12 larger holes to rain down wort and sparge water on my mash. Once I get a pump it will get the effect I am after.
Also, I was able to acquire a 14 gallon brew kettle. This more than anything will elevate me to 10 gallon batches. I just need to get another Carboy or three and some kegs first.
We'll see how it goes. This is a lot for this post, so I will leave it here...
Here is the picture of my mash tun. The second picture is the top manifold to drip the wort and sparge water and the last picture is my pick up.

06 February 2006

Stupid Internet Explorer...

I can't get this to look right in Internet Explorer. Firefox shows it right.. Oh well...
If you are in IE there is a graphic of a kettle that is supposed to be above the "Online Journal..."
Instead of being where it should, it is at the bottom of the page.

05 February 2006

New look...

Tonight I was playing around with the look... Hope you like it.
Also, brewed a batch yesterday. Scottish Ale. There were some issues that came up during the brew. I will post more later about it.
Like the look? Don't like it? Let me know what you think.

30 January 2006


Holy cow. Never use ebay while drunk, I guess. This pot retails for $215 I think.
Ebay Link
Looks like this weekend I will be making a Scotch Ale.. We'll see..

13 January 2006


Mmmm.. First homemade pizza.. Served with my IPA..
Pizza is pepperoni, kalamata olive, tomato and garlic. And for the crust, I substitued the IPA for the water.

10 January 2006

It is good to dream.....

Well I have not had the opportunity to brew recently. But that has more to do with my desire to upgrade some of my equipment and such. I have settled on making a HERMS system and have a decent idea of what I want to do, but now I need to come up with the cash flow to make it happen. Here is a cheap diagram of what I'd like to make happen.

Hmm.. didn't turn out as big as I thought it would be.. I will have to play with it a bit more. Click on the picture and it will make it a bit larger. I did manage to leave out that all this will be fed thru a pump. I was also thinking of setting this up similar to B3's 1550 system.. I think my immediate wishlist right now consists of a new brew kettle, more corny kegs and a refractometer. Once I manage to get a hold of these I will brew 3 or 4 batches back to back to increase my reserves.

Well my Penalty Porter keg kicked while I was listening to the archived podcasts of the Brewing Network show. I have to say, that show kicks some ass... Great information and good entertainment all at the same time. Its funny because they do quite a bit of drinking during the show along with the listeners. The more they drink the more interesting it gets. If you get the chance I highly recommend having a listen. They have archived all their past shows which you can get from their website or iTunes. They have a live show every Sunday at 8 eastern.

I have been contemplating what to brew next. I think I may be doing a Scottish Ale of some sort and perhaps a Milk Chocolate Stout. We'll see what happens.

29 December 2005

Finally pegged it.

Well my hop heavy IPA is now tapped and drinkable. The first pint was very powerful, but I enjoyed it. Two weeks later it just keeps getting better and better. Finally I have managed to brew an all grain batch that is good. Here is to many more in the future.

14 December 2005

So it has come to this...

It's a week since the Fordham visit. What a nice time. Very nice to meet fellow homebrewer and touring a brewery is always interesting. I wish I had some beers ready for sampling, I am sure next time I will.
I did try many beers and I have to say that some of the tastiest brews were made by Garrett Sever. His Native Rage IPA was hands down the best beer I had all evening. Also managed to sample probably 5 of his other brews as well as what Fordham had to offer.
Rumour has it there will be a Dover club starting up soon. It will certainly be nice to have a group here so we don't have to drive so far.

28 November 2005


Well the JPA was in the primary for 17 days and today was the first chance I have had to move it over. But when I went to get my auto siphon I remembered it broke when I was cleaning it after the last transfer... oops. I had to ghetto transfer it in the end, but it is in the secondary to age. The sample was the best tasting all-grain sample I have had to date.. So things are looking up!
Now I need to decide what I want for Christmas. Either a new IPOD and RAM for my laptop or some brew equipment (thinking of a new brewpot and a chiller). Tough decisions.

20 November 2005

Busy, busy....

What a couple weeks. Between math tutoring and my math class it has been quite a couple weeks. Now that I am in California, I have some time to sit and post finally. My oatmeal stout is now in the secondary and next to it is CJ's JPA in the primary. Normally I would have left it in there for about 7-10 days, but since I am in CA it will be there for 15-17. I would have transferred it out, but my auto siphon decided to explode when I was cleaning it.
Anyway, I hope everyone has a happy thanksgiving and hope it is filled with fine food, fine beers and fine people.

04 November 2005

Various Musings...

So Wednesday I brewed an oatmeal stout\porter. Finally I got a good eff. It was 74%, so I was very pleased. Currently it is fermenting like mad. Very cool to watch.
I have also had an epiphany about my pumpkin beer. The off flavour is normal. I tasted a couple pumpkin ales and simply realized I don't care for pumpkin ale. Guess I should have researched before I brewed. It is still in the secondary for another week or so. Then I will carb it and have a taste.
Up next.. An hop heavy IPA.. Perhaps next friday if all goes well.

19 October 2005

Busy evening..

Tonight kept me fairly busy. My new hydrometer came in the post so I decided to rack my pumpkin over. My OG was 1.051. It finished up at 1.011. Not too bad. I drank the sample and it had a taste I couldn't put my finger on. What was disappointing was the wonderful aroma that was present after boil is now gone. I am going to let it sit for three weeks and then keg it and carb and see how it goes. We'll see. I just hope it's drinkable.

10 October 2005

Finally, something in my carboy.

Today I brewed a Pumpkin Pie Ale. Not sure what to name it yet, but I am sure I will have something clever. The end result smelled fantastic. Lets hope that it tastes just as good. This was my second all grain effort and again I am disappointed with a few things. Again, I missed my mash temp by 9 degrees. Was aiming for 154 and only got 145. Would have been fine but I forgot to have a pot of boiling water to fix it. So it went for 10 minutes and a half gallon later only up to 150... I left it there. Not sure what effect that would have had on my efficiency. Speaking of which it was horrible as well. I missed my SG target by 10 points. This resulted in the stellar efficiency of 54%. I need to figure out a way to get that higher. I think I need to watch someone do a batch sparge to compare methods. And to top things off I dropped my hrydrometer into an empty brewpot. Check out the pictures here. But with all that, I made beer, so all is well..

01 October 2005

Hooray the weather is cooling.

Finally, I can ferment again at an appropriate temperature. Yesterday I ordered ingredients to make three beers. First will be a pumpkin ale. I hope to brew that next Friday. After that I have CJ's JPA and an Oatmeal Stout.
Looks like what little bit of Peat Porter won't quite make it until one of these batches are drinkable... We'll see how it goes.

10 August 2005

Can't wait for summer to end...

Since I am not a fan of lagers in general, I have not been able to brew because of the temeratures. Looks like the weather is starting to slowly cool off. I may actually be able to get a brew going soon.

08 July 2005


Summer is here. Not much time to post sadly. I have the foot and the collar done for my keggerator. I was going to put sides on it, but I read that the sides of the freezer are made to disperse heat. Not sure if that 1/8th inch of wood will damage it. I am waiting to find out. I have some pictures, but I don't have them formatted yet for this. I will probably post them when I get the faucets for them.

On a related note, the pale ale is now gone. With the temperatures being what they are I am not sure if I will be able to brew standard ales. Perhaps I may try a lager. We'll see.

06 June 2005

Couldn't wait..

Only 2 days in the keg but I had to try the porter. Oh my. It is delicous. I think I may not stop at the one pint I poured tonight...