May 02, 2020 I finally sampled my Jalapeno Saison. It is a little sweeter than expected. Great Jalapeno flavor. Crisp finish. Nice golden hue and foamy head. Well carbonated after two weeks in the bottle. I will allow it to condition in the bottle and see whether it dries a little in a couple weeks. Cheers.
April 29, 2020 A few fun facts I picked up from the folks at City Speading, Calculating Alcohol percentage. OG - FG * 131.25 = ABV%. So, Original Gravity minus Final Gravity times 131.25 equals Alcohol By Volume percentage. Also estimating Gravity. 1 lb of white sugar in 1 gallon on water has a specific gravity of 1.046. 1 lb of honey in 1 gallon of water produces a gravity of 1.035 (2 lbs on honey in 1 gallon produces a specific gravity of 1.070). When bottling, use one ounce of white sugar per gallon of brew to produce a dry beverage. Cool Beans. Cheers.
April 20, 2020 I bottled my Jalapeno Saison this past weekend. I have only bottled beer from the Mr. Beer kit until now. I like the keg setup from Mr. Beer. The spigot makes bottling an easy task. This bottling required a siphon to transfer the brew. The trub makes the siphoning process a little tricky. I didn't like the siphon that came with the kit. It didn't really work well. You fill the tubing with sanitizer, place the siphon in the jug and it is suppose to start the process. It did NOT work. I ended up using my pump siphon. A little messy going from bottle to bottle as the shut off clamp didn't work that well. It also created a little more turbulence allowing more air to mix with the brew. I hope it doesn't spoil the bottled beer. Live and learn. By the way, the spent grain works pretty well for granola. It has a pleasant aroma and very high in fiber. It retained some of the natural sweetness. It did take a while to dry the grain however. I can't imagine drying 5-10 lbs of this stuff for reuse. Maybe the birds will enjoy it. Cheers.
April 4, 2020 Brewed the Jalapeno Saison that I had on the shelf. It is a few years old so I do not know how the yeast will work or how fresh the grain will taste. I got the kit and the time so I got it done. 24 hours into the fermenting and the yeast is very active so I think we are good. This is only a gallon kit so no big waste if things go south. This is my first "all grain" brew. I learned a lot on this batch. I clogged my funnel strainer while filling the fermenter so I made a mess. Still a lot of fine particles in the wort. I am going to dry my spent grain and reuse it for granola. I'll let you know how it went. Cheers.
February 3, 2020 I have bottled in the past, but never kegged my beer. I have had a small chest freezer I intended to convert, but never completed the task, until now. My wife bought me some kegging equipment for Christmas, so I have NO MORE EXCUSES.
Corny Kegs: Corny stands for Cornelius. Two basic types: Pin Lock and Ball Lock. Pin Lock is a Coke container and Ball Lock is Pepsi container. Coke is shorter and fatter than the Pepsi Corny. There are other manufacturers of these containers but used Coke/Pepsi Corny’s are plentiful. See some reference pictures here.
Tapping: The Corny Keg differs from the commercial keg. The coupler for the commercial keg is in the middle of the top of the keg. The Corny has two nipples. One on each side. One for gas and the other for liquid.
Temperature controller: Regulating temperature is easier today than it was when I first researched it. However, I might not have known what to look for. The original research suggested rebuilding the thermostat in the freezer to convert it to a refrigerator. I bought a temperature controller that is almost a plug and play. If you have never used one, watch a video. The instructions were confusing. Simply set the temperature you want and plug the freezer cord into the unit.
Freezer capacity: I now need to estimate how much room exists in the freezer to determine how many kegs I can buy. Originally, I was thinking just two. But now I am considering multiple. I need to know capacity so I can drill holes for the Taps/Faucets. I am going to build a wooden riser to place the faucets, so I don’t have to drill into the freezer itself. See picture of Kegerator at right.
October 7, 2013 If you didn't have enough reasons to enjoy beer...here are a few more. Beer is good for you. Beer is full of Vitamin B6 and Silicon. It also decreases blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease. It improves circulation and may decrease risk of diabetes. Silicon is good for bones and bone growth. So it isn't that you get fat from beer...you are just big boned. See video. Cheers.
August 20, 2013 I tried another bottle of the wheat ale to see if carbonation has improved. To my delight, not only has carbonation improved but the sweetness has lifted and the flavor is more refined with less cider-like notes on the palate. This was a 12 oz bottle which was drawn closer to the bottom of the fermenter. I am hopeful that the liter bottles are just as fresh and satisfying. Cheers.
August 1, 2013 The wheat ale sat in the bottle for about 3 weeks when I tried my first sample. I was concerned about the yeast viability due to the high heat in the fermenter. After a few weeks the ale has some carbonation but it is still fairly sweet with an apple-like after taste. I am still concerned that this ale might not produce the result I am looking for. I will allow it to sit for a few more weeks. Cheers.
July 10, 2013 Today is bottling day. Last weekend was two weeks in the fermenter and my bottling goal but I spent the weekend working on my daughter’s new digs. I also spent today working on her place but bottling must be done so I spent the evening bottling this Whispering Wheat. As noted previously, I was a bit concerned about killing the yeast with the high temperature in the fermenter. However, the beer is fine. It is clear, no odd smell or taste. It has the characteristic flat beer taste with a bready/wheat flavor. I bottled it up in several sizes of bottles, 12 oz glass, 22 oz glass, and 1 liter plastic Mr. Beer bottles. I can’t wait to drink this brew. Cheers.
June 29, 2013 I brewed up some Mr. Beer Weizenbier Whispering Wheat. Mr. Beer describes this brew as pale gold in color with a subtle fruity and bready flavor. It is a favorite beer of Southern Germany. It's easy going, laid back, and highly drinkable.
I was a little distracted this morning as I was also reading up on a scratch batch of Belgian Wit that I am going to brew. I have everything but the malt…oops. So I turned to my Mr. Beer canned wort. During the wort/malt preparation I got my recipes confused and used too much water to dissolve the malt. This resulted in a very hot mixture that I poured into the plastic cask (I should have allowed it to cool). In a hurry, I added the yeast and started clean up before realizing what I have done. I measured the temp of the brew in the cask and it was 120 degrees. This is a critical temperature that could kill the yeast. I will have to wait for a couple weeks to see the results of this critical mistake. Cheers.
June 22, 2013 I sampled the Canadian Ale today. It is really enjoyable. I will save it for the BBQ in August. Cheers.
June 8, 2013 I bottled the Canadian Ale today. It has a nice fresh flavor and it is flat as expected. It is gold in color. I bottled it in eight 1 liter bottles. This should be a refreshing beer to enjoy at out annual BBQ. Cheers.
May 25, 2013 I am finally back in the brewery. This morning I made some Canadian Ale. Mr. Beer describes their Canadian Draft as "Pale in color and bold in character, this beer is well balanced with subtle notes of hops. Like the Northern high country itself, this beer brews up clean, fresh and impressive". It is nice to be back in the kitchen brewing. Mother Nature has blessed us with some rainy days so this is a great time to brew. Cheers.
January 11, 2013 I am still recovering from knee surgery so brewing is on hold. Brewing while hobbling on crutches is somewhat difficult. To make up for my loss of brewing time I read about brewing. I stumbled on an article about beer and weight loss. Basically, for every beer you consume drink a couple glasses of water. (well that's one option) Watching calories is another way to obtain 6 pack abs (pun intended). Another article states that some light beer has as little as 64 calories while a few stouts have over 600 calories. That is 10 times the calories. If I am having beer with friends water doesn't sound appealing, so here is my plan. Enjoy the micro-brew and alternate with light beer. Cheers. Articles: Drink without gaining weight, Best low calorie beers, and Microbrew calories.
January 7, 2013
A Scottish Brewer is selling Armageddon. It weighs in at 65% alcohol. Now that's some potent beer. Read more.
September 15, 2012
I harvested my hops today. I got 3 pounds of Cascade and 1 pound of Mt Hood. My hops are a little immature but the weather is changing and I don't want the rain to ruin them. These are a first year crop so I am not sure how mature they will get before the weather turns. I have a few left on the bine (vine) to see how much more they mature. During harvesting I noticed the Mt Hood were sun tanned because the bine had broken. See pictures. Now I need to dry them, I have them on racks drying in the sun. I need to get them to about 8% moisture content.
September 12, 2012
I planted hops in the spring and they are ready for harvest. I can't believe how well they grew in a single season. The vines are full of cones and I am looking for to drying these for a future brew. See picture. I found a good guide for harvesting from Northwest Hops, the same place I bought my rhizomes.
August 5, 2012
We had our annual BBQ on the 4th and I broke out my newest brew. I finished just in time for the BBQ. It is a nice amber with a rich malty flavor. It has a clean finish. Although it is an Oktoberfest, it is tasty summer beer.
June 6, 2012
The Oktoberfest is ready so I spent a couple hours bottling this afternoon. The brew has a wheat-citrus taste and is slightly sweet so I hope it is ready to bottle. It is flat as expected but sweetness should to be absent at this stage. It has been brewing for almost 12 days and it can be bottled in as little as 7 days so I trust it will be fine. I cleansed the bottles and caps as directed and added white granulated sugar. Back to a 70 degree room and wait for about 3 weeks. I will be able to pop the top just in time for my annual BBQ. Cheers.
June 24, 2012
While we are a few days into summer, it is raining and 52 degrees in Deadwood, Oregon. I decided it was a great day to do some brewing. I was thinking about a nice lite Canadian Draft. However, considering the weather, I went with an Octoberfest. This is another great recipe from Mr. Beer.
Mr. Beer's Oktoberfest Vienna Lager is also referred to as Marzenbier. It is malty with a deep amber color which features a smooth body, a toffee-like malt richness, and a full body, biscuit-like bouquet. The hop malt extract smells just heavenly. This beer will be a great brew to drink on a fall-like summer day. Cheers!
June 22, 2012
It has been awhile since I have brewed. I have many project going including my garden complete with hops. The vines are doing well although slow growing due to the cool weather.
I stumbled on a funny video that is worth a moment of your time. It is titled;
May 1, 2012
It has been a very cool spring and the hops are slow to grow. I have installed the trellis for the vines and the hops are beginning to make the climb toward the sky. I will add some pictures as they begin their journey. Cheers!
March 13, 2012
Planting instructions suggest planting hop rhizomes as soon as they are received. The instructions even state that if the rhizomes are refrigerated they will lose their guarantee, so like a good little gardener I planted the rhizomes after picking them up from the post office. Guess what I woke up to this morning, two inches of snow. I suspect they will be okay as it was not freezing and the tender sprouts haven't broken the surface. More about my hop growing experience as they grow into mature plants. Cheers!
March 11, 2012
I received my hop rhizomes in the mail today. I ordered Cascade, Hood, and Willamette rhizomes. I had to do some research as I have never grown hops before. Even planting them correctly is puzzling to me. I have spend 30 minutes on a web search and finally got confirmation on planting. One site said to plant horizontally and another says vertically. I found a video that made it simple.
I have been cleaning up my garden area after the flood. The wire fence had to be removed and the entire area had to be cleared of debris. Now I will develop a layout to accommodate the hops among my other plantings. See planting pictures on right tool bar. The rhizomes are about 6 inches long. Plant them vertically. Soil must be well drained but plant needs lots of moisture. Wait. Cheers!
February 20, 2012
As I hoped, this is a really nice brew. It has sat for three weeks in the bottle. It fermented in the bottle for 10 days at 70 degrees and was finished off resting in the bottle at 60 degrees. This beer is a nice golden color with a slightly sweet citrus flavor. It has a subtle bitter aftertaste. Very enjoyable. Great job Mr. Beer. Cheers.
January 26, 2012
The Whispering Wheat is ready to bottle. It has a wonderful citrus wheat taste and full of hops. As noted below, it is golden in color. The beer was nearly crystal clear when bottling. Bottling is becoming routine so it goes pretty fast. I was very particular with this bottling to make sure there was no contamination. This is going to be a great brew. Cheers.
January 20, 2011
I had an interesting event this evening. A bottle of porter nearly exploded. I opened the bottle and it began to foam and flow over the neck as if someone had shaken the bottle. I covered the opening with my thumb to stop the gushing out of the bottle. I removed my thumb and it started spewing even more violently. As I attempted to cover the neck again it spray all over the kitchen wall, ceiling, cabinets, and in my eyes. Wow, what a memorable experience.
If that wasn't enough, I decided to taste what was left. It wasn't a good experience. It had an odd taste and was clearly contaminated. I feared the this batch might be funky. During cleaning, a couple bottles rinsed out mold. In addition, I allowed it to ferment longer than required, almost three weeks. The combination has not produced a pleasing outcome. The remaining bottles will be opened outside. Cheers.
January 16, 2012
Today is a great day to brew beer. I look through the frosty window to enjoy the snow falling. Over night we got a few inches of the white stuff. It has been snowing on and off all day. I fetched some firewood, got the wood stove fired up and warming the house. It only seems right to start a batch of winter wheat.
One of the Mr. Beer refills I got for Christmas is their Weizenbier Whispering Wheat. It is part of Mr. Beer's International Series. Mr. Beer describes this brew as pale gold in color with a subtle fruity and bready flavor. It is a favorite beer of Southern Germany. It's easy going, laid back, and highly drinkable. Wow. That about says it all. I can't wait to sit back and enjoy this one. Cheers!
January 9, 2012
The hunt for a great brew. A British Brew that is............Cheers.
January 7, 2012
I purchased some Hop Rhizomes today from Northwest Hops. I bought three varieties; Willamette, Cascade, and Mount Hood. This is a pre-season order and they will be shipped in time for spring planting. Each variety has differing characteristics which dictate the type of beer best brewed with their individual flavor characteristics. I can hardly wait for spring. Cheers.
December 31, 2011
I broke out a liter of Porter for New Years Eve. While not as heavy as I like my porters, this brew tastes great. The odd after-taste described in the 25th blog is not present in this bottle. That tells me that the possibility of contamination is evident. This bottle lost it's tingle on the tongue though it retains good carbonation. It has a nice tan head and it's dark brown in color. As noted previously, the body is light, and it has a slightly sweet malty taste. This should be an enjoyable brew. Cheers!
December 25, 2011
I opened a 12 oz bottle of Porter today. It carbonated for 13 days and made the all important psst when opened. The beer was a little fizzy and tingled on the tongue. The porter had a odd after taste. It was subtle and tasted a little like moldy plastic. I suspect the bottle was contaminated. It was not spoiled and the other flavors came through but did give me pause as to whether to consume it, and I did. The body/feel was light. The porter was malty with subtle caramel. I did not note the hints of chocolate described by Mr. Beer's tasters. I will allow it to sit in the bottle for another 6 days and try sample another bottle. Cheers!
December 12, 2011
I bottled my Porter today. I allowed it to ferment for 19 days. That is longer than the minimum 7 days and recommended 14 days. The beer tastes flat as expected with no sweetness. It has a slightly caramel taste. It is a little hoppy. The porter is a little lighter in color than expected. It is dark brown but not black.
When sanitizing the bottles I noticed a few particles from mold or old yeast. I did allow them to sanitize longer than the required 2 minutes for Iodine sanitizer. I hope the process was successful as I would hate to toss a couple liters of beer. I bottled four 12 oz bottles for sampling. Three with white sugar and one with brown sugar. I will compare the flavor difference in a week or two.
The porter will be ready around 12/25/2011. This is a Christmas gift to myself. On the subject of Christmas, I found Mr. Beer refills at Sears when shopping. What a find. My wife bought two boxes (each contains 3 refills) for Christmas. I am very happy but I will have to wait until after Christmas to bottle any. Something to look forward too. Cheers!
November 23, 2011
I finally found the time to brew another batch of Mr. Beer. It isn't like the brewing is complicated, Mr. Beer makes it simple. But I need to set aside an hour undisturbed to make sure I follow the process and not forget a step. I don't want to wait a month anticipating another great brew only to realize it was contaminated.
I decided to brew a Mr. Beer Black Tower Porter. The wort smells wonderful. It is rich and full bodied. A magnificent aroma of molasses make me crave this porter. It will be difficult to wait a month to sample it. But as I have already learned, patience is a virtue when brewing.
Mr. Beer describes this porter to be constructed of an intricate blend of caramel, chocolate and lager malt, this deep brown beer is bull bodied and rich in flavor. Hints of toffee and trace notes of chocolate are just a few of the attributes that define this well balanced brew.
This Porter is going to be great. Cheers!
August 14, 2011
There are many uses for beer including bread making, beer butt chicken, and enjoying it with pizza. Did you also know that beer is great for other things? I don't advocate using my beer or your favorite brew for the purposes below, but it is nice to know that a bad batch of brew might be good for something else. Here are 14 other uses for beer.
1. Trap slugs and snails, 2. Trap fruit flies, 4. Get rid of mice, 5. Cockroach trap, 7. Fertilize your indoor plants, 8. Get rid of brown spots in your lawn, 9. Stain removal, 10. Spruce up wooden furniture, 11. Clean gold jewelry, 12. Polishing brass pots, 13. Loosen rusty bolts. 14. Insulation
See full story at: http://www.networx.com/article/14-uses-for-beer-around-the-house
August 10, 2011
I am getting prepared to start my next batch of Mr. Beer. I have been very busy and am currently recovering from knee surgery. In a few days I expect to hobble around the kitchen to brew some Porter. In the mean time, have a cold one. Cheers!
July 4, 2011
I have been enjoying my beer this summer instead of brewing. I hope to get back to brewing in August. Enjoy this great summer weather with me and have a beer. Cheer!
June 3, 2011
True to it's description by Mr. Beer, this Ale is light and crisp. It has a slightly sweet flavor and the first bottle was a little cloudy reminiscent of a Hefeweizen. It had the all important psst when opened and poured to a nice tall head. It's mild citrus flavor makes for a great ale. True to it's reputation, this just could be America's Beer. Cheers!
May 15, 2011
Sunday afternoon bottling Blonde Ale. It's a good day. The Blonde Ale tastes slightly sweet, hoppy, with a nice wheat flavor, and flat as expected out of the fermenter. I bottled 7 liter bottles and (4) 12 ounce bottles for tasting. It can ferment for as little as 7 days but it is recommended to ferment for up to 21 days. Past experience suggests 21 days in the bottle provides the best carbonation, clarity, and flavor. It will be a long three weeks. Cheers!
May 2, 2011
We have been enjoying the Porter and Canadian Draft that I brewed in recent months. It is time for another brew. Today I am brewing a Blonde Ale from Mr. Beer. The Blonde Ale is described by Mr. Beer as smooth and mild in flavor with a crisp, dry finish. This American Blonde Ale truly represents our nation's favorite beer. Mr. Beer recommends serving this Blonde Ale ice cold for a clean refreshing taste. The brew is scheduled to ferment for 14 days. In the bottle it will carbonate for 14 to 21 days. This wort has an excellent fragrance and sweet hoppy flavor. I really look forward to drinking this one. Cheers!
April 15, 2011
I popped open a liter of Canadian Draft chilled to 40 degrees. It poured to a nice head, it has good clarity and golden in color. It has a slightly sweet citrus and hoppy flavor with a very subtle bitterness. It is another great experience courtesy of Mr. Beer and Mr. Logan. Cheers!
April 12, 2011
A second week in the bottle for my Canadian Draft. It is a little less sweet and has a bit more carbonation. Interestingly, two different bottles produced varied head size. Both were better than the first week. One was only slightly better and the second had a large head when poured. Both had great flavor and adequate carbonation. I suspect than the sugar content producing the carbonation varied a little. I add sugar to each bottle as required by the Mr. Beer recipe. I can see how mixing sugar in entire batch would produce a more consistent brew. However, the unique quality of Mr. Beer's process is fewer steps and utensils which also reduces risk of contamination. In the end, both brews had acceptable carbonation and were delicious. Cheers!
April 7, 2011
The Canadian Draft has been in the bottle for just over a week. Bottling recommendations are 1-3 weeks in the bottle. No less than one and 2-3 weeks provides a smoother brew. Chilled one last night to enjoy this evening. The all important pssst test passed. The brew is golden in color and pours to a scant head. Aroma is hoppy and sweet as is the flavor. It is sweeter than expected but not overly sweet and has a slight bitter aftertaste. Chilled to 40 degrees this beer is very good. Cheers!
March 30, 2011
The Canadian Draft has been in the fermenter for 14 days. It is golden in color and has a nice hoppy flavor. It is flat and lightly tangy but not to sweet. It is time to bottle it. I am reusing the Mr. Beer plastic bottles for the first time along with the reusable caps. We will see how it goes. I was careful when moving the fermenter to the bottling room (kitchen) as not to stir up the sediment. First sanitizing the bottles with one step, then measure and fill the bottles with sugar per the recipe. I filled 6 one liter plastic bottles and 6 -12 oz glass bottles. It will sit in the bottle at 70 degrees for at least one week. Cheers!
March 24, 2011
I was delighted to discover that the 1/3 teaspoon of sugar to the 12 oz bottle of porter was enough to carbonate and pressurize the bottle. It provided just the right pssst when opening and poured to a nice tan head. Cheers!
March 22, 2011
Today I checked on the Canadian Draft and the Porter in the bottle. The Canadian Draft has been fermenting for 7 days. The recommendation is 7-14 days before bottling. The draft taste flat as expected, slight sweet with a citrus taste. The aroma is strong citrus. It is still cloudy so I will allow it to ferment for another week before bottling.
The Muntons Porter has been in the bottle for a little over 3 weeks. The Docklands Porter made the all important pssst sound as I opened the bottle. The brew has been carbonating in the bottle at 60 degrees which is perfect for tasting. The color is dark brown, almost black like french roast coffee. It poured a beautiful tan head with a very malty aroma. The first sip is rich and malty with a faint licorice flavor. Further sampling displays the complexity of this porter. Slightly bitter and lightly carbonated, this malty brew has a clean rich finish. While Danita is not a fan of porter and stouts, it is an elegant flavorful beer to me. Cheers!
March 16, 2011
Today I brewed up Mr. Beer's Canadian Draft. Each time I brew, it gets easier and less intimidating. And I'm still doing it the easy way. As I get more experienced, I will take on the challenge that so many other brewers enjoy, brewing from a recipe with fresh hops, malts, and other favoring and spices. For, now...it's Mr. Beer (and the occasional Muntons). Mr. Beer describes their Canadian Draft as "Pale in color and bold in character, this beer is well balanced with subtle notes of hops. Like the Northern high country itself, this beer brews up clean, fresh and impressive". I can hardly wait to taste this one. Cheers!
March 10, 2011
The Bewitched Red Ale is almost gone. It has been wonderful to drink. Mr. Beer describes the ale as "Robust caramel malts and fresh, fragrant hops are combined to conjure up this enticing American Red Ale. Malty and slightly sweet, this brew goes down easily, so watch out. It'll put a spell on you". I agree with Mr. Beer. It has just enough spirit to put you in a trance. Cheers!
March 6, 2011
The Muntons Porter I brewed is bottled for seven days and ready to age in a cooler room. The recipe called 2 days in the bottled before moving to a cooler climate but I bottled prematurely so I thought I would allow to to sit at 70 degrees a few more days. Muntons recipe on the box called for 7-8 days in the fermenter but their website said 4-6 days. I bottled at 5 days due to my work schedule and it might have negatively impacted the brew. It is scheduled to age for up to 4 weeks in cool dry racking. I can hardly wait. Cheers!
March 4, 2011
Beer storage temperature is critical to obtain the best taste from your brew. While I am partial to ice cold beer, warmer temperatures can enhance the flavor. Below are some guidelines from the Beer Advocate.
Strong beers (like barleywines, tripels, dark ales) will be their happiest at room temperature (55-60F).
Most of your standard ales, like bitters, IPAs, dobbelbocks, lambics, stouts, etc, will be at cellar temperature (50-55F).
Lighter beers, like lagers, pilsners, wheat beers, milds, etc, will be at a refrigerated temperature (45-50F).
March 3, 2011
March 2, 2011
Beer brewing and tasting is a a great hobby. Years ago we belonged to the wine of the month club and enjoyed using our senses to really explore the flavor and body in each bottle of wine. Beer tasting can be just as complex as wine tasting. While having enjoyed beer to years, today I delve into the the nuances of each beer I brew.
The most important sound for any brewer is the pssst the beer bottle makes upon opening. No pssst, no carbonation. No carbonation and you have potentially flat spoiled beer.
The smell or aroma must be pleasing or the palate will most certainly reject the rest of the taste test. The types of brew, pilsner to porter have widely differing aroma from hops to malt, sweet to citrus, and the sugars and grain provide their own pleasing smell.
Color/colour, provides a sneak-peak into the taste of the beer. Golden yellow of pilsner and wheat brews, ambers ranging from reds to light brown, and ultimately the rich dark chocolate of porters and stouts.
The feel of the beer in the mouth is very important. Very cold beer, less than 45 degrees, will chill the taste buds and prevent them experiencing the full feel or taste of the brew. Carbonation will tickle the tongue. Light beers, like pilsners, will feel light and effervescent while dark beers will feel full bodied, thick and chewy. The feel of the brew on the tongue also accesses taste in zones. Front sweetness, the middle access saltiness, the sides access sour, and the back taste bitterness. Sour and bitter also felt in the tongue.
The taste(s) of beer, especially extreme brewing methods, are as diverse as fine wine. Like wine, taste can range from fruity and citrus to chocolate and coffee. Extreme brews explore many possibilities including malts, hops, grains, and a myriad of alcohol boosting sugars like honey, brown sugar, and molasses.
Taste and flavor seem synonymous, but the flavor is very personal and subjective. You can access the taste of the beer but not appreciate its flavor. For instance, ESB’s, or Extra Special Bitters, are unique in their own way, but in general I do not prefer bitters and avoid them. Stouts and porters are also an acquired taste. I happen to prefer stouts and porters to pilsners.
February 28, 2011
The third week in the bottle and the Bewitched Red Ale is delicious. The ale has a nice reddish amber color and a sweet aroma. The carbonation is acceptable and provides and small head. Chilled to 40 degrees F, the ale is very refreshing. Cheers.
February 27, 2011
I bottled my Docklands Porter this afternoon. The Muntons recipe calls for 4-6 days in the fermenter before bottling, unlike the 7-14 days recommended by Mr.Beer recipes. The sample from the fermenter tastes like flat beer as expected. The brew has a rich dark brown color and a slightly sweet smell and after taste. It is full bodied with a nice balance of brown sugar and malt characteristic of a porter.
I started by sanitizing the bottles as required with one step sanitizer. I bought some more plastic one liter bottles from Mr.Beer. I also cleaned, sterilized and sanitized some glass bottles from my store bought microbrews. I am a little leery as bottling recommendations warn that single use store bought bottles might not withstand the pressure of carbonation. I will only fill two of these glass bottles as I have heard they can explode. Besides the mess, I do not want to waste a good porter.
I had to alter the Munton recipe a little as my fermenter is only 2 gallons, not 6 US gallons, and my bottles are one liter plastic and 12 oz glass, not one pint, as called for in the recipe. The recipe also calls for malt and I only have white sugar. The sugar measurement will require a little calculation. To little sugar the beer will be flat. To much sugar and the bottle will explode. I will stop short of calling it cooking nitro but the element of the unknown still makes you wonder.
The capper for the glass bottles worked like a charm. Mr.Beer makes it simple with reusable screw on caps. A little turbulence in the bottle to mix and sugar and the bottles are stowed away at 70 degrees to carbonate. I can hardly wait to taste this brew. Cheers!
February 22, 2011
I brewed some porter this afternoon. The wort came from Muntons, a manufacturer and brewer in England. Muntons has a variety of wort from pilsner to porter. I chose a Dockland's Porter named for the dockyard worker of the Port of London. This brewing process was much the same as MrBeer but I had to modify the process a bit as I am using MrBeer fermenter which are only 2.5 gallons. Muntons recipe was for the standard 6 US gallons. Even the standard brew at the local brewing supplier in Eugene, Oregon calls for 5 gallon fermenters. Muntons includes 2 cans of wort, 3 gallons each, so with my small fermenter, the results should be interesting. I am also using bottled water at this point because I have a water softener on my well which adds salt to the water and can negatively impact the brew. I am curious whether the bottled spring water I used will be problematic as it states that it is oxygenated. The last bottled water used was filter municipal water. Muntons brewing process is also a bit different in that is calls for 4-6 days in the fermenter at 65-70 degrees, bottle and allow another 2 days at 65-70 degrees, then move to a cool place for 14 days. If all goes well, I will brew and bottle another 2.5 gallons with the second can of Dockland Porter wort that came in the kit. Cheers!
Typical analyses when canned from Muntons:
Colour (EBC Units) 90 - 100
Bitterness (EBU's) 17 - 23
Solids (by refractometer) 80% - 82%
Acidity (as lactic) 1% max
pH 5 - 6
Free Amino Nitrogen 0.15%
February 21, 2011
Two weeks have gone by since I bottled my first brew of Bewitched Red Ale. Mr. Beer's recommendation is 3 weeks in the bottle before drinking but a minimum of one week is needed for carbonation. The first week in the bottle, the ale was sweet and had a citrus taste. This week, the second week in the bottle, the ale is more refined, with a slightly sweet (less sweet than week 1), flavor. Again, compared to week one, the ale is a little more robust with a slight bitter aftertaste. The ale is clear and has a nice amber color. I can hardly wait until week three. In the meantime, I will brew some porter. Cheers.
Bewitched Red Ale w/Booster™
ABV (alc/vol): 3.7%
SRM (Color): 7
IBU (Bitterness): 12
February 18, 2011
I am impatiently waiting for my second shipment of brewing supplies. A bottle tree will come in handy. I washed and sanitized a case of bottles from a highly enjoyable store bought brew. Removing labels is a pain in the ....!!! I also bought some more plastic one liter bottles so I can keep the process moving.
February 16, 2011
I got a great birthday gift. Brewing supplies. I received bottles caps, a bottle capper, and some wort for my all time favorite, porter. I look forward to brewing this batch. Happy birthday to me.
February 15, 2011
Below is some back ground and definitions on the brewing process. Thank you Wikipedia.
Brewing is the production of beer through steeping a starch source (commonly cereal grains) in water and then fermenting with yeast. Brewing has taken place since around the 6th millennium BC, and archeological evidence suggests that this technique was used in ancient Egypt. Descriptions of various beer recipes can be found in Sumerian writings, some of the oldest known writing of any sort. Brewing takes place in a brewery by a brewer, and the brewing industry is part of most western economies.
The basic ingredients of beer are water; a starch source, such as malted barley, which is able to be fermented (converted into alcohol); a brewer's yeast to produce the fermentation; and a flavouring such as hops.
Hops are the female flower clusters (commonly called seed cones or strobilus), of a hop species, Humulus lupulus. They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart a bitter, tangy flavor, though hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine.
Barley is a cereal grain derived from the annual grass Hordeum vulgare. Barley has many uses. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages.
Malting is a process applied to cereal grains, in which the grains are made to germinate by soaking in water and are then quickly halted from germinating further by drying with hot air. Malting grains develops the enzymes that are required to modify the grain's starches into sugars including monosaccharides such as glucose or fructose, and disaccharides such as sucrose or maltose. It also develops other enzymes, such as proteases, which break down the proteins in the grain into forms which can be utilized by yeast. Malted grain is used to make malt beer, malt whisky, malted shakes, malt vinegar.
Brewing yeasts may be classed as "top cropping" (or "top fermenting") and "bottom cropping" (or "bottom-fermenting"). Top cropping yeasts are so called because they form a foam at the top of the wort during fermentation. An example of a top cropping yeast is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, sometimes called an "ale yeast". Bottom cropping yeasts are typically used to produce lager-type beers, though they can also produce ale-type beers. These yeasts ferment more sugars, creating a dryer beer, and grow well at low temperatures. An example of bottom cropping yeast is Saccharomyces pastorianus, formerly known as S. carlsbergensis.
Wort, pronounced /wart/, is the liquid extracted from the mashing process during the brewing of beer or whisky. Wort contains the sugars that will be fermented by the brewing yeast to produce alcohol.
February 14, 2011
Happy Valentine's Day...I taste tested my first brew. The recipe calls for a minimum of one week in the bottle. Mr. Beer recommends 2-3 weeks fermentation time. I plan to taste test on week 1, week, 2 and week 3. Stay tuned to my blog for my taste tests. My first brew was a success. The Wicked Red Ale was flavorful and had adequate carbonation. It had a slightly sweet citrus taste. It was very refreshing. The second and third swallow was more reminiscent of a Hefeweizen. The bottle had a little sediment in the bottom so the last splash in the glass also looked like a cloudy Hefeweizen. Cheers!
February 10, 2011
I made a trip today to a brewing store in Eugene, Oregon. I found lot's of good information. I priced brewing supplies and got a feel for the home brewers atmosphere.
February 7, 2011
The beer has spent 13 days in the fermenter. It is time to bottle my first brew. I tasted the brew. It tastes flat as is expected. It is a subtle, hoppy flavored brew. First comes sanitizing the bottles and caps. As the recipe suggests, I added sugar to the bottles, filled them with brew, and capped them. Now they will sit for 1-3 weeks. I did learn something about sanitizing. Do not throw the one step sanitizer away when cleansing bottles. Save the one step in a pitcher. After filling the bottles, you will need to clean the fermenter. After rinsing the fermenter, pour the left over one step into the fermenter. Let it stand for 10 minutes and empty. The fermenter will be ready to work another day.
January 23, 2011
I fired up Mr. Beer. The kit came with two HME's. Bewitched Red Ale and Canadian Draft. I chose the Red Ale for my first brewing experience. I followed the recipe and sanitizing instructions exactly. The process was easy. I just hope I didn't contaminate the fermenting barrel or utensils. I placed the fermenter out of direct sunlight as instructed in a warm 70 degree spot to ferment for 2 weeks.
Christmas morning Mr.Beer came into my life. I had been pondering home brew for some time. I had bought a brewing book but never took the next step. I finally get to jump into the world of hops, barley, and grain which I know nothing about. Thanks to Mr. Beer....my first brew will be is easy.