Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Beer Labels

Nothin's brewin' lately so I thought I'd post some of the labels I've made for my beer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Harvest Apfelwein

This morning I kegged the Apfelwein. It smelled wonderful and I can't wait for this to be ready to drink. It's one of the strongest brews I've made at 9.19% alcohol by volume. It's actually a hard apple cider that comes in a little dry on the finish. The apple flavor is great and the alcohol is very apparent right now. This will mellow over time and mask the strength of the brew. It will be great to have this on tap during Thanksgiving and Christmas. It takes 8 weeks (minimum) to age so it should be ready to drink in late October, although I think I'll wait until Thanksgiving day to actually tap it.

Today was the first day I've had to chase down a leak in one of my kegs. I'd used it before but today the liquid out post decided that it wanted to leak even with a new poppet installed. I swapped that post with another off of a keg that won't seal around another opening and it worked like a charm. It did take about an hour of my time to switch everything out and track down exactly what the problem was. Damned analytical mind! ;-)

Happy Wednesday. Brew on. Wade

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

English Pale Ale

The English Pale Ale is kegged. It came in at 5% alchohol by volume and I couldn't have been happier with the taste of the gravity sample. It finished off with a final gravity of 1.013 which should make is slightly sweeter than the American Pale Ale that I, and lots of friends, enjoyed so much.

Kegging this beer was much easier than any of the others because I was able to drop the temperature down to 40 degrees in the chest freezer. The yeast cake on the bottom of the fermenter was very firm and didn't get sucked up into the siphon when I got close to the end.

Six weeks conditioning in the closet and this one will go on tap. Just in time for fall.

I've now got two beers on tap (Nut Brown & Lite), two conditioning (Columbus IPA, English Pale Ale) and one fermenting (Apfelwein). I'm hoping to do a ten gallon batch of a Scottish Ale soon and 10 gallons of stout for the winter.

Oh, yeah, the price of the chest freezer I want for the kegerator dropped to $269 yesterday so I'm hoping to pick that up this weekend and get started on the kegerator on the 30th!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A bad day brewing is.......

Better than almost anything! Almost.....

OK, so it wasn't a bad day at all. A pretty darn good brew day if you ask me. It did, however, start off a little weird. At 5:11 AM I woke up to the telephone ringing. When I answered it all I could hear was a sound like someone was pushing one of the buttons. I figured it was a crank call and went back to sleep. At 5:26 AM I got another call. When I answered it all I could hear was some pretty lame music. Now I was awake. Time to brew!

Today I brewed an English Pale Ale (Think Bass Ale). And since I have my new Barley Crusher, I decided to give the grain a good crush last night.

Here's the grain waiting to be crushed.

After about 10 minutes of hand cranking the grain through the crusher (3 hoppers worth) here was the outcome.

I've been missing my Original Gravity's lately. Falling a bit short actually, so I thought that crushing my own grain and switching sparging methods to Bobby M's method might help. Nope, still a lower gravity than expected. I figure it's time to stop fighting this and time to change my recipes to meet my brewhouse efficiency (68-70%).

Again, nothing earth shattering today, but I am pretty darn happy with my new (to me) chest freezer and temp controller for fermenting. Now I've got that part of the brewing process completely under control.

In the corner, out of the way.

Here's the EPA and the Apfelwein in the chest freezer. The Apfelwein has been fermenting for a week and smells like old elephant farts! Yucko! Everyone says they get these smells while it's fermenting. Glad I didn't stick that one in the basement of the SWMBO's office! The EPA is cooling down to 65 degrees before I pitch the yeast.

Here's the nut brown ale that I drank right after brewing and cleaning up. Yummo! The drill will be used to aerate the wort. The vodka will go in the airlock. The Leggo sculpture is something my daughter made me last night. ;-)

Here's the Columbus IPA that I kegged Thursday morning at 5 AM. Smelled like a little bit of heaven!