Archive for May, 2010

Open fermentation

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I just watched the latest episode from the guys at Brewing TV on the joys of open fermentation.   I would love if any other brewers would comment, because I was wiggin’ out watching him do this.  Nothing that I’ve seen in a brewing demo has ever elicited the overwhelming sense of dread that this has.  I’m betting it’ll turn out fine.  Probably, he’ll come back and say it was the best version of this he’s ever made, but damn!  I couldn’t help but picture him racking the beer to the secondary and seeing a dead spider go flying through the tube, or he walks in and there’s Mr. Fluffypants, the tabby cat, batting away at the bubbles.  😯

Guinness really is good for you? Well lucky for me!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

If the BBC says it, it must be true!
“A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.”

Guinness could really be good for you

Oak – I’m a fan

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Having become a big fan of Firestone Walker’s Pale 31, I decided to mimic the oak aging by throwing some oak chips in the fermenter just after primary fermentation had completed.  I went with just one ounce of oak chips (normally, I would use two ounces) the idea being that since it’s a pale ale, I didn’t want it to be overwhelmed by the oak flavor.  10 days later, I racked it to the keg and I am very pleased with how it turned out!   There is a hint of oak behind the hops which gives it a slight cream flavor while still staying very much a pale ale.   This is an odd hop schedule for this beer, but it turned out so well that I will definitely brew it again!

Pale 42

OG: 1.053, FG: 1.012

ABV: 5.3%, IBUs: 35

Color: 7.8L, 5 gallons

Strike target: 152 F, Sparge: 168 F

Yeast: WL 001, or Nottingham

Ferment 7 – 14 days at 67 F

Grain Bill

10.0 lbs 2-row (83.3%)

1.00 lbs Munich (8.3%)

0.50 lbs Crystal 60L (4.2%)

0.50 lbs CaraPils (4.2%)


1.00 oz Kent Goldings (5% AA) First wort hop

0.75 oz Centennial (10.4% AA) 15 min

0.75 oz Cascade (6.9% AA) 15 min

0.75 oz Chinook (13% AA) 15 min

1.00 oz Centennial (10.4%) Dry hop

1.00 oz Cascade (6.9% AA) Dry hop

1.00 oz Chinook (13% AA) Dry hop


1 tsp Irish moss or 1 tablet Wirlfloc 15 min


1 oz oak chips after primary fermentation has completed

Brewing a N. English Brown. Haters gonna hate!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

It seems a good brown ale takes a back seat in this country to the Pale Ale, IPA and even the American Amber. I really find this bizarre. While the American Ambers are a fine beverage, the English Brown, if you can get a good one, outshines it’s amber cousin with some depth of malt complexities that most ambers seek to avoid. I’d put a nice Samuel Smith up against a Fat Tire any day, but like everything, it’s completely subjective. Judge for yourself! I’d encourage anyone willing to give it a go to brew up a nice English Brown and try it for themselves!

Northern English Brown Ale (5 Gallons)
OG: 1.052 FG: 1.012
ABV: 5.3% IBU:27
Color: 16.0L
Strike: 152F Sparge: 168F
Ferment: 67F for 7 – 10 days

Grain Bill
9.25lbs Maris Otter (83%)
0.75lbs Special Roast (6.4%)
0.50lbs Crystal 40L (4.3%)
0.50lbs Victory (4.3%)
0.25lbs Pale Chocolate (2.1%)

1.5oz Kent Goldings (5%) 60 min
0.5oz Kent Goldings (5%) 5 min

1tsp Irish Moss or 1 tablet Wirlfloc 10 min

Now on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I figured, what the heck? So I posted my RSS to Facebook. WEEE!!!

Half Moon Brewer’s FB Page

Brewing TV!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Looks like a very cool new brewing site out on the Internets! Pretty good production value as well as enjoyable content. I’m very much looking forward to seeing were this show goes! They’ve posted two episodes so far. Enjoy!

Brewing TV

Teaching brewing

Friday, May 14th, 2010

My wife’s a teacher here in Half Moon Bay. Every year they hold an auction to raise some dough for the school. For the last two years, I’ve put forth a brewing class for bid. It makes a little scratch for the school and it’s made me think about how you teach a complete novice to navigate a brew day. For this year, I decided to demonstrate an all-grain, 10 gallon, batch sparg brew. I wrote up a “Field Guide” and walked them through each lovely aspect of how the days goes. If you ever want to know exactly how much you really know about brewing, teach someone else to do it. I made sure I had several books on hand to look up the more interesting questions including, “How to Brew” and “Designing Great Beers“, though I only needed to reference How to Brew once, which made me feel kind of good. In writing up the guide, it was really a challenge to figure out what information was necessary, and what I should leave out in order to not confuse the “students”. When I started brewing I did it by following a one-page list of directions, which was great, but it didn’t tell me anything about why I was doing what I was doing. I chose to include a one-page set of directions, but then added some “color commentary ” about mash rests and strike temperatures, etc. My hope was that, if they decide to try this on their own, it will pique their interest a little more and get them hooked a little faster.