Saturday, October 29, 2011

In a pinch, I guess BP will do

I've fallen terribly behind in my homebrewing during the warm months.  My stash has become embarrassingly small.  This led me back to the gas station last night for some beer to enjoy during game 7 of the world series.  My local BP doesn't have much selection, but they did have Dos Equis lager in the green bottle. So I'm drinking that this weekend instead of something I made myself.  Time to start planning the next batch.  I'm going to have to stack 2 or 3 of them real fast to replenish the supply.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

At long last, pumpkin ale

Now that Halloween is less than a week away, I've finally come around to brewing this year's pumpkin ale.  At this rate, I'll be enjoying it by Thanksgiving.  On the advice of the guy at my local brew shop, I didn't use any actual pumpkin.  He says it adds no flavor, but a huge amount of mess, so I took him at his word.  We'll see what happens.  This is an extract recipe based on a recipe I found here and I actually wound up with a smaller boil than I normally use. With that out of the way, here's what I'm calling Out of Your Gourd Ale 2011 edition.


1 lb Vienna malt (4L)
1/2 lb Crystal/Caramel malt (40L) 
1/2 lb white malted wheat
6.6 lb amber LME
1 oz Mt. Hood hop pellets
1 oz Hallertauer hop pellets
~1 cup brown sugar
~1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Irish moss
pumpkin pie spices
White Labs California ale yeast (WLP001)


Steep the grains (I use a nylon bag) for 20 minutes.  I lost my thermometer tonight so I couldn't measure temperature, but I would have shot for about 153F.  

Then remove the grains, let them drain completely.  If you've remember to heat additional water, wash the bag with hot water.  I always forget this step.  Bring the wort to a boil and add the LME.

Bring this back to a boil and add the Mt. Hood pellets, the brown sugar, and the honey.  Here you'll notice that the wort boils up fast (add the addition of the hops).  Be ready to remove from the heat.

Now we wait.  Boil for 45 minute.  I use this time to re-sanitize my bucket, lid and air lock.  After 45 minutes, add the Hallertauer pellets and the Irish Moss.  You'll boil this for 15 minutes.  I use the 15 minutes to mix the spices to add at flameout.  I tried to use spices you'd find in pumpkin pie, but didn't have any ground cloves.  So I went with what I had- cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger.  I mixed about a teaspoon until it was a mixture that smelled like pie to me.  No scientific method.  Mix it until you get something that smells like you like. 

In the picture, you'll notice my spice bowl, my tube of yeast, and my homebrew journal.  I keep detailed notes about what I'm doing everytime I brew.  Probably an artifact of my days in science labs in college.  At any rate, I recommend documenting whatever you do. 

Use the rest of the 15 minutes to prepare an ice bath.  You'll want to chill your wort as quickly as possible.  After the 15 minutes is up, kill the heat, add the vanilla and the spices (you can add the spices at secondary, but spices aren't sanitary and can introduce some funk.  I prefer flameout to get a bit of sanitizing from the heat).  Move the hot wort to the ice bath. 

Chill the wort to room temperature.  Transfer to your bucket, top up to 5 gallons with cool clear water.  Check the specific gravity (mine came in about 1.063) pitch your yeast, close the bucket, add an airlock and wait for bubbles.  I'll check the gravity again in a week. I'm shooting for about 1.016 which should give me about a 6.5% ABV.  This should be a sweet, malty beer without much hoppy flavor.  Might need to work on that for next time. 

Check out the new logo

So instead of spending my time brewing, I've spent it making the new logo at the top of the page.  Drop me a line, let me know what you think.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Forgive me?

I know I owe you a recipe and some pictures, but last night was Cub Scout night.  As a peace offering, I put forward this video.  Check it out, you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The home part of home brewing

Sometimes the hardest part of being a home brewer is the being at home part.  I imagine big breweries, heck even craft breweries can continue their operation when there's an equipment issue in another part of the building.  That's not the case for those of us making our own in our own homes.  

Was on the way to the local home brew shop last night for ingredients for the pumpkin spice ale I've been promising you when the phone rang.  All of the rain in the area cause a sump pump issue I had to take care of.  Oddly the hose clamp that holds the exit hose on the pump rusted off and cause the pump to start spewing stuff into my basement.  Long story short- easy repair, nasty mess, no brewing.  Hoping to make another go of it tonight.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Late is better than never...

Just got back from the pumpkin patch.  Going to attempt to turn my find into a nice November pumpkin spice ale.  Stay tuned for pictures and updates.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

We're on twitter!

As of this weekend, NewGuyBrewing has a presence on twitter.  Follow me, drop me a tweet.  I'll post updates on twitter when new blog content is added or when I'm enjoying something particulary noteworthy, or sometimes a brew that's not particularly noteworthy.

The most wonderful time of the year?

It's about that time again if you're a home brewer or a retailer... That's right.  It's time to get out the Christmas supplies and start thinking about winter beers.  Last year I made one I enjoyed, but didn't love.  I plan to tinker with the recipe this year and see if I can improve the flavor (I was told at least once it tasted like a chai tea) and the head retention (thick pour with no head at all).  So now maybe this is where instead of me doing all the typing you jump in. Below is the recipe from my 2010 Holiday Ale.  Tell me what you'd change.  Who knows, I might try it.

1.0 lb caramel/crystal malt 60L
3.0 lb amber LME
3.0 lb extra light LME
2 oz Pearle hops
.25 tsp allspice
.25 tsp ground cloves
.25 tsp ground ginger
~1/3 cup honey
4 orange peels
4 tsp vanilla
3 T cinnamon
1 tsp Irish Moss
2 pkgs Dry Ale Yeast 

Steep the grain 20 min @ 155F in 1 gal clean water.  Remove grain bag and bring wort to boil.  Slowly add LME. Be sure to watch for boilover.  Bring back to boil and add hops and honey.  Boil 45 minutes.

With 10 minutes left in the boil add spices, vanilla, orange peels, and Irish moss.  Cool to 90F and pour through strainer into primary.  Top primary to 5 gal with cold water. 

Pitch yeast.  Air lock and ferment.  I didn't do a secondary here, but that's something I might consider this year.  Maybe a dry hop to add a bit more bite.

Last year's stats:
   OG 1.052
   FG 1.016
   ABV 4.8%

Let me know what you think.  Try it out, make some changes, report back.