Thursday, August 1, 2013
To get started I used a Pinot Grigio kit. I chose this kit because it's a white wine and they usually can be consumed a lot earlier than red wines. Most reds need to age at least 6 months before you open one and try it. The Pinot kit was a little over $100 but it makes thirst 750ml bottles of good table wine so it works out to be between $3-4 per bottle which isn't too shabby considering you'll pay double that at a wine shop for the cheapest stuff they have. Now, this wine will not sit up against a $50 bottle. It will however hold its on in the $15-$20 range.
The process is rather simple. Clean and sanitize a fermenter that is at least 6 gallons. You need the headspace for fermentation and also for some additional water later on. Once you have a clean and sanitized fermenter, you just add the juice from the bag in and add whatever water the instructions tell you. To be honest the instructions actually are quite good with these kits. Add in the packet of dry yeast and seal the bucket with a lid and airlock full of sanitizer. At this point just let the bucket sit for a week or so at room temperature. Fermentation will begin and you'll notice air bubbles coming from the airlock and you'll be able to smell the wine through the airlock usually.
The instructions say after a week or so to check the gravity with a hydrometer. The next step (which is the step I am on right no with this kit) is to transfer the wine off the yeast into another clean and sanitized fermenter. I did that Sunday and it ended up looking pretty cloudy. In a day or two however so far this week the top half of the wine has cleared and looks more polished. I will do the next steps this weekend which involve adding a little water and then some of the stabilizers and clarifiers. One thing I really like about these kits is they have little to no sulfates for preservatives. That's the stuff that usually gives you a headache when you drink wine. I'll post up again when I do the next racking with some pictures of the product.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
90 minute boil
16.50lb US 2-row 94% (did not specify the maltster)
1.0lb Crystal 60 6%
1.0oz Warrior 17% at 90'
0.25oz Amarillo 11% at 15'
0.25oz CTZ 15% at 15' (Columbus, Tomahawk or Zeus)
0.67oz Amarillo at 0'
0.67oz CTZ at 0' (Columbus, Tomahawk, Zeus)
WLP400 - Belgian Wit Ale Yeast
The brewer added 0.21oz gypsum to the mash and 0.42oz gypsum to the boil.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The Porter finished up nice and clean. The final gravity is still a few days away from truly being final so I think I will let it rest for another week or two before I keg it up.
I plan to use Gelatin with this keg to try to drop out and flocculate out a lot of the sediment that is leftover. I have seen very good results from other home brewers so I figure I will give it a whirl. Porters are dark so you won't see a ton of clearing but it will clear it up some.
Next on the docket will be another American Wheat. It happens to be a crowd pleaser around here so I need to make some more of it. Possibly a quick brew in a bag black Friday or Saturday.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
I seem to say this a lot but it's been quite a long time since I have updated a blog post around here so I guess it's high time I do so. Brewing hasn't happened mcuh for me lately but mostly due to other responsibilities and just general life. To some degree I wish I was able to brew more but the things that take up my time are more important and that's alright. I'm still finding time to brew and now that I am nestled fairly well in the brewin a bag (BIAG) practice, brewing has become a nice easy task and not a chore anymore.
Back when I used to use a cooler for a mash tun I had to deal with multiple infusions of water and seemed to always be doing something while the mash was going. There's measuring water, timing the heating of your sparge and infusion water if you use it, and then just general maintenance of the all of the pots and equipment. With brew in a bag I drag out my burner, my kettle, chiller, and a bottling bucket (more on that later). That's it. Plain and simple. Brewing this way has made the 4 hour stretch easier, less stressful, and not complicated at all. I want to step through the brew day when using brew in a bag so that others can see just how easy it is to make great beer. If you currently are an extract brewer, you can use the same equipment for the most part, you just need the bag. Mine was made out of Voile material found at a local Joann Fabrics. The total cost even with the ribbon we used for handles was about $14.
Below is a picture parade of my brew day the other day.
Friday, June 22, 2012
So I came home today and there in the fridge was a 4 pack of Dogfish head 90 minute IPA. I have had this beer before but wanted to get a review up for it. This beer is a slightly hoppier and maltier version of the 60 minute IPA made by Dogfishhead. I usually find reasons to pick up the 60 minute as often as I can so it was a pleasant surprise to come home to a pack of the 90 the other day. With the increased hops and malt sweetness comes an increase in the alcohol warmth that you start to feel with higher octane beers. This beer is blended well though so no one feature overpowers another. I wouldn't consider this any sort of session beer as it's pretty aggressive. I had two in one night and that was enough. I hope to try the 120 Minute here shortly to see the full range of this beer. I am almost wondering if the 90 is its own beer it a blend of the 60 and 120. Probably the former if I had to wager. This beer gets a 7/10 for me. Drinkable, smooth, but a tad sweet for my taste buds.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
My next batch will most likely be either a wheat beer or a brown ale. I have both in stock and am ready to brew however my pot is currently on hiatus getting fitted with a nice bag so I can do a BIAB brew this time around. I have a few other things I will be introducing this time as well. I will start to use paint strainer bags for my hops so that I can keep the sediment down for the chiller. I really want the plate chiller to work but I need to address the hop gunk and I think using the bags along with the Hopblock should do me well. I will also be making yeast starters from now on as I bought a stir plate from Stir Starters. Dan Jeska really does a great job making the stir plates and even puts a label on the bag of the plate that says "Built for the Home Brewery of" and gives your name. Here is a picture of the setup:
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The brew day started off with a little hiccup with the mill. The drill I use to motorize it seems to want to not catch the shaft properly all the time which means the shaft starts to slip here or there. I have to stop the drill, tighten, and then go back and mill. I am wondering if this is part of my issue lately with efficiency (more on that later). I used to double crush grains and I think I may start going back to that shortly.
Mash in was great, the temps I was looking for hit dead on at 153 degrees Fahrenheit. I used a paper towel to cover the front opening of the cooler where I could see steam coming out and I attributed to my major heat loss last time. Happy to report that I only lost 2 degrees in the hour mash this time. Below are some pics of the first runnings. The coloring of the runoff was great, a really nice burnt orange. The second runnings were obviously lighter but the mixture should get me the exact SRM I was looking for. I decided to use a darker Crystal this time and use less, so I went with Crystal 120L.