Monday, June 28, 2010

In the keg!

Today, I took the SG of the English Mild and saw that it was down to a perfectly planned 1.012...meaning I got to have my first taste of the stuff today. It is wonderful stuff with really nice notes of cocoa, nuttiness, and bready maltiness. I already really enjoy it in its flat, warm form, so I know that it will be wonderful when we tap it from the keg in a week! Kegging was definitely an interesting process, but much quicker and easier than bottling when it comes down to it. The keg is back up in my room for the last week of conditioning. Basically, I cannot wait to taste this stuff and draw it off my very own home faucet. Please feel free to stop by next week for a taste of the first draught (not to mention first all-grain) brew! It will surely be a treat. Just you go and see if you can buy English Mild in your local liquor're likely to be disappointed. I need to map out the rest of my week and see when I can brew again. Tomorrow perhaps?? Hopefully soon, though. The RyePA will need some time to dry-hop condition.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Pale Ale Thoughts

After recalling Saturday's wonderful adventure in Boston, I have decided to make a RyePA in order to add complexity to the pale ale...will probably tack another name on it in honor of Dad, who agreed that the Founders' RyePA was one of the best beers of the afternoon.

I am now totally legit.

Two days ago, I made a serious advancement in my brewing. I finally brewed my first all-grain batch of beer (I say "finally", but this was really just my fifth batch of beer...hard to believe!). For those of you who aren't brewers, I'll break it down for you:

-Beer is made by fermenting sugars that have been extracted from the complex carbohydrates in grains
-As a homebrewer, one can simply buy this "malt extract" in dry or syrup form, boil it with water and hops for about an hour, and produce excellent beer
-Instead of just buying malt extract for this recipe, I just used grain to make the beer, converting the complex carbs into sugars myself...this process is known as "mashing" and the whole process (including the boil) takes closer to 3 hours
-Because I have complete control over the grain content of my extract, I have a huge amount of control over the finished product of the beer, more so than if I just used extract
-This means better, fresher, more original beer (think eating natural, locally grown food instead of packaged stuff)

This means that in about a week and a half, we'll be pouring pints of my all-grain original recipe English Mild off of the faucet! I am so excited to taste it! As soon as the mild goes from the carboy to the keg, I'll be brewing another all-grain batch, an APA known as the Ballardvale Pale Ale. That'll give me time to fully ferment and then dry-hop that batch while we are enjoying the English Mild. Should be great!

It's important to maintain proper ale fermenting temperatures in these summer months

My beautiful brown mild bubbling away!

Monday, June 7, 2010

On the docket...

After all of my bottling excellence on labor day weekend, I have been forced into seven long days of work in a row and therefore no action in the brewing department. It's truly a sad thing--I have two empty fermenters right now. The delicious BowThai Ale is disappearing quickly, so come and get it while it's cold! Here's what I have planned in the brewing department for the next couple of weeks:

-Finishing my trellises and getting those hops going after the few setbacks I've had in that department
-Two beers to go into corny kegs to be drawn off the tap! I'm planning a dry-hopped APA that edges on IPA strength, and as soon as that guy goes into secondary, I'm going to brew an English mild, which will likely be ready to drink within almost exactly two weeks of brewing. Most people are unfamiliar with this style, but it is a sweet, light-bodied, nutty brown ale with emphasis on maltiness rather than hops.
-Three experimental one-gallon batches of beer, one or two of which will be brewed in larger batches this summer and aged until Christmastime--a "hot" (read: spicy) chocolate stout, a raspberry chocolate stout, and a spiced "cup of holiday cheer" brew that will be a sort of fruitcake of a beer...I'm really excited about these.

I'm hoping to accomplish all of this within the next month, getting at least one batch into primary by the end of this week! More updates to come as things actually happen.