Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Equipment - Need Help!

I was able to get some new equipment this weekend from a friend who works for a distributor, and from my father-in-law. My Distributor friend was able to get me a empty half-barrel keg to use as a brew pot and a CO2 regulator for my corny kegs. I'm really psyched because now I can up my batches to 10 gallons, and have the ability to actually keg my beer instead of just staring at the empty corny kegs I have.

My father-in-law is a college swim coach in Upstate new york and is able to get 5 and 10 gallon Gatorade coolers for free, so he kindly enough, gave me one. These are great for single-temp mashing and the 10 gallon size also helps in increasing the size of batches that I can make.

But....before I can begin on 10 gallon batches, I need your help. The half-barrel keg still has the top on it. Does anyone know where (or how) I can get the top of the keg cut off so I can use it as a kettle? Please either post a reply to this or email me. Much appreciated!!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Barrel Aging - Share your stories

I recently read an article on Appellation Beer about barrel aging. The premise of the article I thought was that barrel aging, while the outcome of this can be delicious, does not make a beer a good beer. The beer that you age needs to be good before you put it in the barrel. The fact that I was reading this story was ironic, because just a day earlier I had purchased from 1000 Oaks Barrel Co. a (very small) 2 liter American Oak barrel. The cool thing is that it comes with "essence" to make Kentucky Bourbon. I'm a bourbon fan, so I thought it was cool, not only because I could make Bourbon but because after, I could do an experiment and try and age my beer in the barrel. I'm hoping that I make up a great batch before I age it, but we'll see. the spirit of Appellation Beers post and my purchase, I'm inviting you all to post your comments on any barrel aging you've done. Post your tips, secrets and just some fun stories and I'll make sure I publish them all (if appropriate). I'm looking forward to reading your posts.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

American Patriot IPA

I brewed this on January 5th and I'm really psyched about it. I was hoping to have it done for the Patriots run to the super bowl, but it won't be done by then. I've been inspired by the recent buzz about hop shortage, and jump on the bandwagon of American tradition..."Bigger is Better". So this beer has 4 oz. of hops in a 5 gallon batch. Not overkill....but just enough to give it some kick. It's still fermenting, so I'll be sure to add the tasting of the finished product when it's dry hopped and ready to drink. This is going to be the new format for posting my recipes so I can provide more info and separate it out by recipe and review. I used the spreadsheet at the beer recipator.

Projected characteristics:
Color - 24 HCU (~13SRM)
Bitterness - 56 IBU
OG - 1055
1 lbs American 2-row
8 oz. American Munich
8 oz. American Crystal 40L
1.5 oz. Chinook (12% AA, 60 mins.)
.5 oz. Chinook (12% AA, 45 mins.)
1.5 oz. Cascade (6% AA, 15 mins.)

.5 oz. Cascade (Aroma, 1 mins.)
1 oz Cascade (Dry hopped)
Wyeast #1056 - American Ale
Steeped grains in cheese cloth bag for 60 mins. @ 150-155F
6 lbs. 8 oz. amber malt extract. Hop additions per schedule in Hops bill.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Brewery Ommegang welcomes new brewmaster

(From Draft Magazine)
Randy Thiel, Ommegang’s Brewmaster since 1997, is heading home to the Midwest in February, where will become the director of quality control at Wisconsin’s New Glarus Brewing Company. Since 1997, Thiel has overseen development in many facets of Ommegang including, particularly the brewery’s renowned line of Belgian-style ales. Phil Leinhart, former Ommegang Director of Production since January 2007, will replace Thiel. –Stephanie Riel

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Benchwarmer Porter, Cooperstown Brewing Company

Unfortunately, I haven't yet found this beer in a package store near me but when I head back to my in-laws near Cooperstown, I make sure I pick some up. After I poured it, i was a little shocked to find very little head in the glass. What little head there was, had the color of coffee ice cream and stuck to the class gracefully. The brew has a deep chocolaty color that looks almost amber in color when held up to the light. Nutty notes are picked up with the first inhale. A hint of smokey flavor comes through as well and creates a pleasant mix with the nuttiness.

The first sip splashes across with a large amount of smokiness. After the smokey flavor kicks your taste buds into high gear, it fades away as quickly as it came leaving you with a mild hint of nutty and bitter flavor. Small bubbles pop on your tongue as it rolls to the back of your mouth.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


This is the recipe for a German Dunkle-Weizen that I brewed back in November. It came out fantastic with big nose fulls of banana and clove.

6.6 lbs. Wheat malt extract
1 oz. Perle Hops (Bittering, 60 minutes)
1/2 oz. Hallertaur Hops (Bittering and Flavor, 10 minutes)
1/2 oz. Hallertaur Hops (Aroma, 1 minute)
Wyeast #3068
5 oz. priming sugar

I didn't get a gravity reading because I broke my hydrometer but the goals were: OG 1050-1054, FG 1011-1015.

Boiled extract in 2.5 gallons of bottled water for 60 minutes. Add 1 oz Perle hops for 60 minutes, add 1/2 oz. hallertaur hops with 15 minutes left in boil, add 1/2 oz. hallertaur hops with 1 minute left in boil. Cool to 75F, pitch yeast and rack to primary fermenter. This fermented for 28 days (I was away for a week and couldn't bottle but when I left it was still fermenting). Bottled at 60F and let sit for 12 days.

After poured in a proper weizen glass, there was a beautiful creamy white thick head. The beer was a little cloudy with yeast but was a golden yellowish/brownish color. Smelled of bananas and cloves with a hint of bitter hops. Very crisp on the first taste with the feel of small bubbles popping on the tongue. Over all, this is a very drinkable beer. (I ended up have a bunch the weekend before Christmas).

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. This is a very easy extract recipe to make.


Brown Ale, Revisted

When I posted about my brown ale recipe, i had stated that the carbonation was lacking......which at the time it was. I had another brown ale tonight (1/6/08) and the carbonation has evolved and is very good. The beer has a beutiful cream white head with a nice white lace left on the glass. The first taste was bubbly with some briliant hints of smokey flavor.

For those who say age doesn't make a difference with are mistaken. This beer has aged very well. I brewed another beer today (IPA) which is my first recipe that I designed. I'm very excited because it is a very hoppy IPA in which I tried to clone the Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale. I'll be dry hopping in a few days, so I'll post soon with the recipe.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Mayflower Brewing Company Set to Open

Friday, January 4, 2008 Plymouth, MA - Mayflower Brewing Company, a self-distributing microbrewery located in Plymouth, Massachusetts is all set and ready to brew. "We have spent nearly 4 months building our brewery and we are excited to get things started," Director of Brewing Operations, Matthew Steinberg said today. Firing up the kettle is exactly what he wants to do, after 10 years of professional brewing, this is the longest time he has spent without mashing in.

Led by the company's Founder, Drew Brosseau, Matthew and his assistant brewer, Ryan Gwozdz will brew Mayflower Pale Ale on Friday and expect to brew the second release, Mayflower Golden Ale, by the end of January. Brews in the future will be Mayflower IPA and Mayflower Porter.

Mayflower Brewing Company looks forward to opening a tasting room and retail space at their brewery. Check out to stay informed. Or shoot Matthew an email

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Beer Lovers Are Good People!!!

I was recenlty surfing the beer blogging world and came across a great blog, BostonBeerMan. After reading through Jim's blog I noticed he teaches a class down the road from my house about beer appreciation, so I thought I'd email him and find out more. I told him I was a brewer and had a dream of opening a brewery some day and his response did two things for me.

" I really do wish you luck in your quest to start a brewery - I will bellie up to the bar on opening day!

At first glance I smiled and thought, this guy is great. What other niche/industry can you find people excited about other people starting a new business in that market and wishing you luck?? You wouldn't find a grocery store owner psyched about someone he met online who was going to try and open up another grocery store, would you? Then I thought to myself, I can really do this. I can really open a brewery and I could have lots of support from people I barely know! Right then and there, I knew I picked the right business to try and tap into!

So, Jim....if you read this, I'm raising a pint to you! Thanks for your support!!

You can read Jim's blog at