Saturday, December 6, 2014

Homebrew Gifting!


I've had several people ask me "My <son, husband, friend> wants to start homebrewing. What should I get them for Christmas?"

There are a couple of ways to look at it.

First, how serious are they?  Homebrewing, though rewarding and worth every ounce of effort, is a relatively big commitment in time and resources.  Do they REALLY want to do it, or are they just interested in beer?  You could buy some REALLY nice beer for what it costs to homebrew.

Just a thought.

Second- are they people who jump in head first, or someone who tests the water?

If they are experimental, there are One Gallon homebrew kits which are lower priced and in my opinion, a great way to learn the methods and practices.

If they are FULLY IN, BRAH!  then you want to go with a 5 gallon kit.

Education cannot be stressed enough.  SURE you can buy them  kit, but PLEASE also purchase a book for them.

One gallon brewing book, it is absolutely my number one recommendation for anyone wanting to start brewing:  Beer Craft

For the person who wants a bit more to chew on: The Complete Joy of Homebrewing

I suggest that you visit your local homebrew store to pick up a kit, some ingredients, and perhaps a gift certificate.  To find one, google "Homebrew Supplies" and your town.  There are bound to be stores near you.

If you don't have time or need to send a kit to someone far away, I suggest Austin Homebrew.  There are a lot of retailers, but Austin Homebrew sell one gallon kits which is why they win the mention!

They also sell larger kits for 5 gallon batches

Keep in mind that kits do not include a pot.  A pot is necessary.  For one gallon brewing, a 2 gallon pot is fine (spaghetti pot.)  For 5 gallon brewing, a 7 gallon pot will do the trick (tamale pot.)

DO NOT run out and buy a stainless steel pot, unless you want to really make a super WOW impression.  They are unnecessary at this time.  An aluminum pot from a big box store is just fine.

A note on heating:

For one gallon batches, your stovetop is fine.  For 5 gallon batches, I suggest you get a turkey fryer propane burner from the get-go.  An additional advantage is that they usually come with a pot!

I hope this helps with your homebrew "newbie" gift giving!  Happy Holidays!

Additional Retailers of Equipment and Ingredients:

Midwest Supplies
Northern Brewer
More Beer
Williams Brewing
Adventures in Homebrewing

Want to learn in a fun way?  Direct your friends to The Brewing Network.  And don't blame me!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

HIGH Larry-us

This is worth clicking to :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rosemary IPA Recipe

I've had some homebrewers recently ask for the recipe for the Rosemary IPA I make.

Here you go!

9 lb of Great Western 2-row
.75 lb of Cara Foam (Cara Pils)
.75 lb Crystal 60
.5 lb Honey malt

Single infusion mash at 152 degrees for 1 hour

1 oz Warrior (15%, 60 minutes)
1 oz Rosemary (picked from stem, crushed slightly in palm of hand, 15 minutes)
1 oz Rosemary (picked from stem, crushed slightly in palm of hand, 1 minute)

Irish moss at T-20 minutes

US05 yeast, one packet

OG: 1.066
IBU: 55
Color: 9.3 SRM
FG: 1.015
ABV: 6.3%

I use a hop spider for my hops and rosemary

Taste the beer after fermentation, before bottling.  Because Rosemary varies widely from one plant to another, you may want to dry hop with rosemary, depending on the desired effect.  TOO MUCH can be off-putting.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Video Bonus

Shotgunning beer. Important beer stuff.

Brewing at College Street

"Andrew, why have you done so many commercial posts lately?  This is a HOMEBREW blog!" <<unfollow>>

Well, my good people, with my upcoming move to professional brewing I have been taking every opportunity to talk with pros and get my hands on their equipment. It's pretty damn fun.

This weekend I went to College Street Brewery in Lake Havasu.

Many people are probably thinking "But Andrew, you just brewed at Mudshark in Lake Havasu.  What is the deal with Lake Havasu?  2 breweries in one po-dunk town?"

Actually, 3.

Yes, Lake Havasu, the sprawling metropolis of 50,000 people, has 3 breweries.  This seems to be a bit excessive


Colby, James, and Keith
College Street is a 30 bbl brew system, which is the largest I have brewed on.  James brewed "Brother Dewey's Date Night" beer last year at Barley Brother's Brewing and it went over so well, they decided to brew it at the larger capacity College Street Brewery this time. (These are two completely separate breweries, but have the same brew master, some co-ownership, some different owners... I don't know.  It's odd to me, but- whatevz...)

The Grain bill was 1600 lbs of 2-row and 700 lbs of various specialty grains.

We added 130 lbs of liquified dates from an Arizona date farm (we have a lot of them).  Do you have any idea what a pain in the ass it is to use a blender to blend dates and water together?  A HUGE pain in the ass.  This ended up being the equivalent of 5, 5-gallon buckets of liquified dates. One blender cup at a time. *

Oh you want more?  Ok- how about 220 lb of dark Belgian candi sugar?  45 lbs of Arizona honey?  Sure, we can do that too.

A huge thank you goes out to Bluegrass-pickin', banjo making, beard growing Head Brewer Colby for allowing us to be in his way all day and listening to James snore all night (we crashed at Colby's house...)

* This is one reason we are going with a 3-bbl system.  Adding crazy ingredients is much more manageable, as you scale down and less manageable as you scale up. Thank you to Keith Koch for blending up 90% of the dates. It's a messy messy job!

Another thanks to Scott and Tina from Mudshark for inviting us and the College Street brewers over for dinner and drinks on Friday night.  What awesome hosts and friends!

Discovery #1-  I shotgunned a beer for the first time in my life. PBR.  Apparently at Colby's house, they stand on this rock circle wall, with their feet halfway off the rocks.  Shotgun the beer, then throw the empty can at someone else on the wall and try to make them fall of before they finish their beer.  I do not recommend anyone try this.

Oh, actually- yes, everyone should, it's frikkin wicked awesome!

Discovery #2- even at a very close distance I suck at darts, however I will blow the rest of the group away at Trivial Pursuit, so... there's that.

Homebrew Related:  Bonnie bottled here Queen of Brews beer while I was in Havasu, with Maria Natasha Vitulli.  SO- no boys involved, per the rules.  It ended up at about 1.045 if she read the hydrometer right.  I'm praying that she didn't.  She bottled all of it.  Those bottles are in a rubbermaid container to contain any potential bottle bombs.

Homebrew Related: The kegerator was temperamental with the first keg of beer that I put on tap.  It kicked this weekend, and keg#2 is now on- this is Bonnie's Mr Nelson I Presume, Nelson IPA.  It seems to be pouring just fine.

Homebrew Related: I discovered that my smoked Berlinerweiss actually has a lineage.  I was not the first person in history to do it.  I know there is "Gratzer" style in Poland, which is a 100% smoked wheat beer (and absolutely delicious) but there is also "The Lichtenhainer-style brew, which is essentially a smoked Berlinerweiss" (from BeerPHXation )

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The psychology of Rosemary IPA

Yes, it stormed on my brew day.  It didn't get ME down!

I decided that taking Thursday as a short "work from home" day was a great idea.  I always have these great ideas :)

Since I have been busy night and day working on Perch stuff, I hadn't brewed in a long time.  On Wednesday, I reorganized the cellar and truly, the cellar is less than half of where it should be.  I have been giving out more beer, and making less. Clearly this is a recipe for sadness.

The two most popular beers in the rotation are Grilled Lemon Cream Ale and Rosemary IPA, so... I put the word out that I'd be having a double brew day and tat all were welcome. 

Throughout the brew day-fternoon (see, I just made up a word!) about a dozen people visited- it's so nice to have friends come by.  This particular day, a storm blew in right at noon when the brew day was supposed to begin.  I put up an EZ-Up tent and we were no worse for wear.

Paul was there early and helped weigh ad mill the grain, helped with mashing in, and- this is a first- SAT with me for a little bit while the mash water heated up.

I have these brew days, but I'm always doing SOME thing.  Cleaning, getting things ready for the next step, etc.  I honestly believe this is the first time I SAT DOWN at a brew day.  I sat for like... 20 minutes straight!  It was INCREDIBLE! Thanks Paul!

Bryan Myron brought his brew kit and brewed up a Pumking Clone.  I helped him with the batch last year, and it was the BEST pumpkin beer I have ever tasted.

The rosemary for Rosemary IPA was picked in the garden at The Perch.  I actually added additional Cascade at T-15 in this batch.  I felt that the last batch was a bit "flat" or one-noted.  In the prior batch, I used no hops beyond the bittering, letting the rosemary take it all.  This is fine and it's an IPA for non- IPA lovers, to be sure.  I bittered it to 60 IBU's, so it's an IPA, but with no late addition hops- every single person says "OH!  I don't like IPA's and I like it"  This phenomenon attests to the "Perception of Bitterness" that brewers speak of.  It definitely had a lot of hop bitterness, but without the in-your-face super hoppy flavor and aroma, people perceive that there is less bitterness.  Rosemary IPA is fantastically loved by all, and a litle cascade to boost some citrus pine notes will help it be just a --little-- more IPA-ish.

If I run out of Grilled Lemon Cream Ale, my mom will kill me.  So- I made it for self-preservation reasons, really.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Brew!

OK, so more new news than brews.

I'm entering the ranks of professional brewer!

A friend invited me to join him at a new brewpub, as the head brewer.  You can check out more at my "other" beer blog, LiveLoveBrew

Today, my sweet wife brewed a beer for the Queen of Brew competition.  You may recall that she brewed on the 14th for practice.  Today was the Real thing!  She had an absolutely great time.

Bonnie brewed an extract batch.  Mostly because she didn't want to bne the only one slowing down the day by doing an all-grain. When she got home, she said "I HAD NO IDEA IT COULD BE SO EASY!!!"

Well, that's a huge fail on my part.  I mean, yes- I did go all-grain right away and complicate things.  The issue for me was dinero.  I mean- all-grain is half the cost of extract.  Really.  So- it's like everything else- trading money for time.  Oh sure, I would be doing all grain anyways because of the control factor and because i just love the process.  For her- it was the time saving and the ease of the process.

If you brew 4 or 5 times a year, extract is a perfectly good way to make great beer that you can be proud of, be creative with, and win medals with if that is something you want to do. 

If you brew 60 times a year, you will be broke if you just do extract :)

Another exciting thing today- I drank my own beer, off my own tap, in my own house!  My kegs were ready so yesterday I went and got new beer line hose. Today I flushed the line and tap 3 times with PBW cleaner and 3 times with Star San sanitizer, and I'm sure that if there was anything in there, it's gone now.  Conveniently, I also cleaned out and sanitized 3 kegs.  THEN- I filled 2 of them up with beer.  Yep- I have already outgrown my kegerator!

This leaves me one keg left to fill with delicious delicious beer... if I ever have a chance to brew again at home.

On the other hand, maybe Bonnie will keep the tap at home flowing!