Archive for the ‘General Brew Stuff’ Category

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.

I’ve been upgraded from the local paper to the local monthly magazine

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

The good folks at the HMB Review interviewed me about a month ago for this month’s magazine, which came out today. It was a piece about people who use their garage for things other than parking the car. Even though I do the actual brewing outside, since the fermentation, kegging and grain storage happens in the garage I still qualified. I’ll post the link to the PDF version when they post it. And even though they didn’t use the best picture of me that’s ever been taken, it’s not bad.

In other news, and yes, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted, I’ve brewed several times on my 10 gallon system and have managed to produce several good beers, the latest of which was a clone of New Holland Brewing’s Mad Hatter IPA. I’ve yet to taste it since it was just kegged two days ago, but I plan to have a little tasting come tomorrow!

Happy Brewing!

Holliday Brews

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Next to St. Paddy’s Day and Halloween, Christmas bats a decent clean-up as holidays go. However, it pretty much rules the roost when it comes to seasonal beers. Here’s a quick-list of what I’m looking forward to this year!

  • Sierra Celebration Ale (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.) – Sure, it’s an easy-to-find beer that’s in just about any supermarket, but perhaps there’s a reason for that! This is also one of the few “Winter brews” that’s a true drinking beer. That is to say, you can, and probably will, want more than one in a sitting and it doesn’t take 30 minutes to drink.
  • Old Soulstice Winter Ale (Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.) – Ok, yes it’s our local brewery, but they don’t often disappoint with their seasonals. This is an English strong ale style that’s only available at the brewery, but it’s worth the trip!
  • Alaskan Winter Ale (Alaska Brewing Co.) – I’m a big fan of AB’s stuff and the winter ale is no exception! It’s another old English style (malty but smooth). It’s not quite as drinkable as the Celebration Ale, but it’s close!
  • Sam Adams Winter Lager (Samuel Adams Brewing Co.) – Yes, another big production brew. Hey, good is good, dig it? I really like this one for basically bumping up, spicing up, then rounding out the flavors of their Boston Lager. It’s smooth and spicy with out being overbearing – a very drinkable brew!
  • Cabin Fever (New Holland Brewing Co.) – It’s difficult to impossible to get this outside of Michigan (I have to have mine smuggled across state lines – or head over to the in-laws for the hollidays), but if you have a buddy in Michigan, and they’re willing to ship you a couple of 22oz bottles, you’ll be thankful! For some reason, this is the kind of beer I think of when thinking of winter ales – a spicy brown ale with lots of flavors going on. This is one that takes a bit to get through, but it doesn’t leave you wishing you’d had something else 10 minutes into drinking it like some other “big” winter ales.

    So there ya go! Have any other suggestions? Feel free to post them!

  • I think I may be the cause of global warming

    Monday, November 23rd, 2009

    Let me explain. Half Moon Bay is located, climate-ly speaking, in an area that stays a constant 55F – 70F degrees. Yet the last few times I’ve brewed, a heatwave hits that jumps the internal temp of our house to 75F – 77F degrees, insuring all those sweet esters get put into my beer as it ferments away in my closet (which any non-brew time sits at a perfect 67F degrees). It’s a bit uncanny. So here I sit, with 10 gallons of drinkable, but slightly sweet IPA. Thanks a lot weather demons! You bastards are on my list! Jerks.

    So How Much Does it Cost to Brew?

    Monday, November 2nd, 2009

    I get this question over and over and it’s a fair one. So finally, on this last brew, I did a cost breakdown just to see. This is purely a cost/10g batch. I don’t factor in equipment and I left out water usage since everyone has different water rates. I figure for a 10 gallon batch I use about 35 gallons of water. That accounts for water left in the mash tun, evaporation, cleaning and so on. I took my most grain intensive recipe (just for a “worst case” cost) and created a breakdown. In the last column I break the costs down by 12oz bottle since non-brewers tend to think in 12oz increments. For quick reference, I list cost per 6-pack and 24 case, again for the benefit of non-brewers (click the image for a larger version):

    Brew cost for my IPA recipe

    Brew cost for my IPA recipe

    So there you go, it’s roughly $0.65/12oz bottle. You’ll note that this does not include labor. My best time on a batch of this size is about 4.5 hours. (Including setup/tear-down). You could argue that adding labor would double, or even triple the cost, but c’mon, it’s a freakin’ hobby!

    Well time to dust off the brew blog!

    Sunday, January 18th, 2009

    Sheesh, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been active posting, so here’s that catch-up: Brewed An IPA that turned out phenomenally (currently in the kegerator) and am working on securing a shiny new chest freezer and temp controller so I can move into the world of finite temperature control! That would mean the my first Lager should be in the works shortly! Very exciting… for my wife… who thinks I use too much hops in everything. Oh well, I love her, so I guess I have to buy all this crap so I can brew for her likes too! >:)

    The Kegerator Lives!

    Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

    My goal is 10 gallons tomorrow. Being Fathers day, it’s still a streatch, but I may just pull it off! Doing a English Brown and an IPA if I can pull it off! Wish me luck!