"I work like I drink, alone! Or with a monkey watching me." - Krusty the Clown

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Northside Homebrew Club

All-Grain Pale Ale.
We had the first meeting of our homebrew club last night.  We went through quite a bit of beer while we talked about homebrewing. 

Allison and John brought a Bell's Winter White Ale, some homebrewed Porter, and a few bottles of Unibroue's Trois Pistoles. 

Erik (who was co-brewer of the Porter) brought some Rogue Juniper Pale Ale. 

Brian provided a variety of homebrews; his Spiced Cherry Dubbel, Belgian Trippel, and Orange Honey Lager. 

I brought up a few homebrews from the basement; my all-grain Pale Ale, a Weizenbock, my Two-Berry American Wheat, and my Over-Oaked IPA.  We finished the night with a palate cleansing Sam Adams Noble Pils.

Belgian Trippel in tasting mugs.
We discussed how often we should meet (once a month sounds good), what our name should be (Northside Floculators?), our level of homebrewing experience, and what our first "project" beer should be.  We're leaning towards doing a lager, probably a Märzen.  We also discussed different ways to add fruit in beer, and possible approaches to smoking grains.

Our next meeting will be in February.  By then I hope to have my California Common lager and my Dry Stout ready to sample.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fermenting bock beer in closeup!

Much airlock activity as CO2 is released as the yeast turns the sugar in the wort into alcohol.  And the yeast are busy in the wort - the gravity was high so there is much sugar to convert.
I also think the "chilly" basement temps of 60-65 degrees are really helping this yeast.  I'll definitely use it again in the future, until I get a temp controlled fridge.

Just Getting Started

Bock beer fermenting vigorously in foreground, stout quietly bubbling in back.

Brewed a bock beer yesterday from a kit my mom gave me for Christmas.  What's interesting is that I didn't ask for the kit or suggest the style, but it's exactly the kind of beer I was thinking of doing next.  

The kit came from Homebrew Heaven out of Washington state.  It came with about 7.5 lbs of dark malt extract (although I think it was "cut" a bit with corn sugar), 1.5 lbs of various malts (including Victory, Crystal, and Chocolate), and both boiling and finishing hops of Hallertauer and Saaz.  The yeast is the dry Saflager S-23 lager yeast, which I had success with before. 

My basement is about 65-67 degrees right now, which is okay for this kind of yeast, although 45-55 degrees would be better.  I expect the beer to ferment for a week, then sit in a secondary for 2-3 weeks, then age in the bottle.

The OG was about 1.068, which points to a final ABV of over 6%.  Good for a bock style beer.

I'm brewing it now so it will be aged nicely for Maifest.

Which is why the next big step is buying a mini-fridge with temp control.   A lager like this wants to sit in a cool place for a few months.

So in the past four weeks I brewed and bottled my two-berry wheat; I brewed an all-grain stout, which is still in a primary; and I brewed an extract bock beer.  Do I have a homebrew problem, or am I just getting started?

Monday, January 3, 2011