Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

As the end of August approaches, it seams as though the dog days of summer will never end.  Here in Houston i think we have demolished a record for consecutive tripple digit temperature days.  It has been a long time since I've posted any news on here, so I guess its time to catch you up.  Although, with the hot days, brewing has been brutal this summer and I have only done 5 brews since May.

Those 5 brews have been all-grain brews thanks to my friend Paul.  He made me a mash tun for my birthday and I waved goodbye to extract brewing.  My first attempt was supposed to be an american amber ale to try to create an all grain version of my first beer I brewed.  Well, i knew even as I was milling the ingredients that the recipie I had in my hand was not the recipie I had intended to make.  I went along with the instructions that I recieved from Defalco's and all I could do was Pray It Came Out.  Thus was born the PICO pale ale. 

An attempt at a centenial blonde was my second brew of the summer. I tried to do a little experiementing with the hops.  I used some different varieties than what the recipies called for.  Fast foward 3 weeks...the beer is still very young, but even now I can tell there is something off.  I'm not sure if it was my choice of hops for such a light beer, or if my high fermentation temps were to blame, but the blonde had very distinct esters present in the flavor.  It is drinkable, but only just.

After that debocle, I really had my heart set on doing something special.  I had an idea...dangerous, I know...but I wanted to know what would happen if I took a recipie originally intended for a stout or porter and hopped the hell out of it like an IPA.  I searched and searched and eventually found a recipie I wanted to
try, if for nothing else, the name.  The recipie was for the Darth Vader IPA.  I'm going to skip right to the point that I played with the recipie a little, brewed it, and it is mine, and several other of my brewing counterparts favorites now.  I actually like it enough that I want to dedicate a post just to it, so i'll save that for next time.

And finally, I was sitting around, SWMBO was out with her friends and I picked up some bombers at the store.  Stuff I'd never heard of...even though I should have.  I picked up a bottle of Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale.  I instantly loved it and right then and there decided to do a nice big heavy red ale.  The funny thing is, even though my brew came in a bit watered down from what the recipie was intended to be, it was still a pretty big beer with a ton of flavor. 

That is the story of how I spent my summer filling my kegerator with my own beer.  It really needs to cool down so that I can get back to a regular brew schedule. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Keeze is pouring beer!

The keezer, kegerator, or whatever you want to call it, now referred to as "Black Betty" is working.  it pours fantastic beer.  I can't wait to get brewing so that I can fill it up.  Right now it has the APA and American Amber Ale on tap. I'm hoping to add in a nice blonde ale, and maybe a brown ale of some sort. I'd like to have a spectrum of beers being served. Kind of what are you in the mood for.  Here is a link to the forum that I posted my progress along the build. You can see how it was created every step of the way.

Here is the finished product!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Kegging Time!

Alright! I picked up my kegerator kit last Wednesday.  I ended up going ahead and springing for a full 4 taps, plus the kegs. I upgraded my taps to the Perlick 525ss faucets.  I have all the shanks, hoses, quick disconnects, manifolds, and regulators I needed.  I immediately consulted Paul and kegged up the two batches i had waiting in fermenters for this momentous occasion. That was soooooo much nicer than rinsing out 48 individual bottles, loading them into the dishwasher, waiting for them to cool and then filling 48 individual bottles.  I just risned the kegs out with oxyclean, sanitized them and racked in my beer. So much less hassle.

I spent all Saturday looking around for a suitable freezer.  I came home with nothing.  On Sunday evening I took a look at craigslist to see if anything new had popped up.  There were two promising posts that I saw.  Monday around lunch time I called them up. One was already gone.  The other...Bingo!  Available.  The guy on the phone described the freezer to be much larger than it actually was, so when i got there, I was a little discouraged.  I put in my cardboard rounds that I made so that I could see if the freezer would be large enough.  The fit was tight, but I said, the hell with it.  I'll make it work.  When I got the freezer home popped in my kegs and they fit like a glove.  I couldn't have asked for a better freezer. 

Now I've got the task of actually converting this thing into a Kegerator.  I've got an amazing plan in my head.  I've just got to figure out how to execute it.  I'll keep posting with pictures along the progress.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hops? Yes please!

I do not consider my self a fan of super hoppy beers by any means.  Paul over at 12 Paws brewed up his Hop Bomb beer a while back.  Man was that thing hoppy.  My exact words when I first tried it were "I respect it, I respect that beer, but damn, I do not like it."  I was also well into the middle of our Halloween party, so probably not the best time to try it.  I tried it again a few weeks later and didn't mind it as much.  It actually has a nice malty undertone.  His 30th birthday was just the other day so my friends and I all pitched in and picked him up a Blichmann Hop Rocket.  I'm actually a little exited to taste beers that use it as an in-line hop infuser and one that uses it as a Randalizer. 

All this talk about hoppy beer made me want to take my first venture into something with a bit more bite in my own brewing.  I decided it was time for me to brew an American Pale Ale.  I wanted something that was distinctly a hoppy pale ale, but not too overpowering.  I brewed it up about 13 days ago. I racked it over to the secondary earlier this week.  When I tasted it, at the test, it was spot on.  Very crisp flavors with a nice floral hoppy bite at the end.  I'm excited about this beer because I will most likely be the first of my brews to go into a keg.  I'm excited about that.  I'll have to go pick up all the stuff to do that sometime over the next week or so.  Then its on to building my ultimate beer dispensing apparatus.