Monday, March 30, 2009

Secondary Fermentation

I've returned from Miami, and my new batch of beer has finished fermenting. I tested my sample tube and the FG is reading at 1.008, so I will call the primary fermentation finished. I have now moved it into my BetterBottle special plastic carboy for secondary fermentation. Letting the beer sit on the sludge from primary fermentation will give it off flavors. Now it will sit in the carboy and the flavors will continue to develop. Maybe this will be the first beer I keg...

Kegerator Konstruction Part 2

So, I'm back from vacation in Miami, and I have a few updates. First off, the original freezer chest was a bust. Dave went to pick it up and it was leaking refrigerant everywhere. So we got the money back, and came out with nothing. However I was at Lowe's today, and I found a chest freezer with the same outside profile, with more room inside, for $190. In thinking about the repair cost to a refrigerant system, I'm deciding to go with that option. Spend a little extra, and get something I know will work for many years to come. Dave and I will be picking it up tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The first beer part two...

A note to the alcohol taste that I mentioned earlier. I just looked up the alcohol aftertaste in the troubleshooting section of my john palmer how to brew book, and it says you get an alcohol taste if you add refined sugars to the wort.... I don't know if i mentioned earlier but I added a whole bunch of refined sugar to the wort when I had forgotten to boil it... connection? probably.

The first beer!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kegerator Konstruction

Just went out to UCF to check out a chest freezer that a couple of college girls are selling for 100 bucks. The thing is perfect. It's smaller than others that i have seen, but will fit 3 corny kegs and probably my fermenter at the same time (for lagering beers). My good man Dave will be picking it up this weekend for me while I'm on vacation. Totally stoked to be able to keg some beer!

And the unveiling of the first batch of beer is tomorrow. Hopefully it will be good.

Cool Beers

The first ten beers are in the fridge!

American Brewing

This is the real way to brew beer. Sitting out in the back yard, with the wort at a rolling boil, hanging out with beers, and the 3 dogs. It doesn't get better than this. 


Monday, March 23, 2009

Batch #2 - San Fransisco Steam

Now that the first batch is bottled, the fermenter is open. Wasting no time I instantly purchased my second ingredient kit from homebrewers.com. The San Francisco Steam Ale. In my reading (John Palmer's "How to Brew," an excellent read) he talks about the aging of the beer flavors and secondary fermentation. Of course I was impatient, so I bottled my first batch as soon as possible (and I'm very excited to pop the first cap Wednesday). My plan for the second batch is to wait. Once it's good and done fermenting I will transfer it to my secondary fermenter, where I will let it sit for another 2 to 3 weeks (or longer if my bottles are still being used, not likely).

Better Boiling

I present to you the bayou burner. This guy made boiling wort a lot more fun. Previously, doing it on the stove was difficult. Not only was I worried about letting the thing boiling over and creating an impossible mess in my kitchen (and fearing the wrath of my wife), our stove was just barely hot enough to boil the wort without the lid on. However with the lid on, the wort would boil over. Enter, the bayou burner.

With the bayou burner I was able to set up on the back porch, and boil the wort with the lid off, sitting next to my pool. If it started to boil over, i just turned the valve down a hair. No problems. And if there is a boil over, I can just wash it off with the hose. About 50 bucks at Lowes, and well worth the investment.

Dead yeast? Nah.

Well, the second batch is now in the fermenter. And I thought I nearly killed the yeast. After twelve hours, there was no bubbling in the airlock. Damn. The first batch was bubbling like crazy at this point. The only difference was that the first time I didn't rehydrate the yeast, but this time I did. Hmmm...

So I looked back at my text. Somewhere I had read to rehydrate in warm (not hot) water. 110 degrees. Yeah, I couldn't find that text anywhere. In a bunch of different places it said 90 degree water. So I headed out to heartshomebrew, the local brew store, and told him my story. He said that I most likely killed the yeast, so I purchased another packet. I got home, and just before I re-hydrated the second packet, I decided to check the airlock again. Life! Was it bubbling as furiously as the second one? No, but bubbling none-the-less.

We still have life. Smells good too.

Burnt

I didn't know i could get so much black crap on the bottom of one pot. I also didn't know of anyway to get it off. I don't want this to sound like an advertisement but I got a can of easy off from Lowes, and it works pretty well. After my first wort I only had to apply it once to get the burn off the bottom of the pot. The second batch had a significantly worse burn on the bottom, and it took 4 applications to get it off. I'm still impressed though, it was a wicked burn.

And I thought I did an extra good job stirring the pot.

Catching up...

In catching up to this point, I have already fermented one beer. I purchase my brewing kit from homebrewers.com, and it came with a selection of ingredient kits. I chose the blonde ale kit figuring it was the one that was least likely to mess up. Of course, I did forget to add my sugar to the wort, and just tossed it into the fermenter after I realised I had forgotten it. The blonde ale has been bottled (a messy process), and is now carbonating in my closet.

The blonde ale will be ready to drink on Wednesday (3/25). We'll see how the first batch turns out! My expectations were pretty low in smelling the wort as it was boiling on the stove. I thought it smelled awful. But after tasting a little bit of the test sample, my expectations are much higher. For beer that was warm and flat, it wasnt half bad.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Beginning

My name is Eugene, and I just got a home brewing kit for my 25th birthday. With a lovely and patient wife, I've already had two different beers brewing and have ordered two books on the brewing process. With my wise friend Dave, who has the same passion for beer, we have taken upon ourselves the quest to brew the perfect pint. Maybe someday we will get good at it. Maybe someday we'll open our own brewery. If that someday comes, maybe I'll use this blog to write my own book about it. Who knows what will happen.

This is the beginning to a long journey of beer making.