Saturday, February 27, 2010

Art of Beer

Aaron and I attended the 4th annual Art of Beer the NACC last night. It was the third year for him and the second for myself. We met some great people, had some good food, and most of all enjoyed tasting some great beer. My favorites where Alternative brews - Honeoye falls hazelnut brown ale and Ithaca brewing - Cold front belgian-style amber. See the full list of vendors below.

 - Jay

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New toy

Cool little notebook designed by these guys
Just picked up a three pack. One each for Aaron, Gene, and myself. Should be a handy tool for critiqing our own brews or whatever our refreshes palates.

Buy them here:
or here:

- Jay

Friday, February 19, 2010

Brewing with maple

First things first. It's hard to get the job done with out refreshments. Klumbacher Mönchshof Schawarbier filled the pints this evening. This was the first time that I have had a Schwarz beer. It takes some getting used to. I found it off putting at first. It has a strong maltly aroma, it's dry for a lager and mildly hoppy. The ABV is 4.9% which may be why I found this so odd at first it has the heft and maltyness of an Imperial porter or a Dopplebock yet is not particularly strong. The flavor reminded me of some strange combination of a pretzel, an oatmeal stout and pumpernickle bread. Although we consumed it by itself it seems it would pair nicely with a hearty earthy meal. All of this sounds strange but as I drank I grew to enjoy it more and more. By the time the pint was empty I found myself wishing there was more. I am looking forward to trying this style from other breweries.

One side note is that the three of us are now official members of the American Homebrewers Association.

Aaron and I brewed up the first two in a series of five 1 gallon batches maple beer last night. Three of the five recipes are from Sacred and herbal healing beers (Buhner). The fourth is a recipe that I found on . The plan is to brew the four recipes that we have, take notes on what worked well and what we liked and then use what we learn to formulate our own recipe. Both recipes that we brewed last night came from Sacred and herbal healing beers (Buhner). Each was simple and used few ingredients and no malt whatsoever. One of the recipes called for spruce extract, which when mixed with maple syrup has an intoxicating, earthy-sweet aroma.

Testing the PH of the water (which was 5.2)

The next two recipes are a bit more complex and should be challenging. One uses wheat malt extract and is more of a beer in the traditional sense than the other recipes. Once the first four batches are ready we'll taste and take notes. Aaron will be posting detailed reviews of each brew along with the recipes to follow. Then it's on to the fun part, formulating our own recipe!

- Jay

In Primary:

  • Maple beer - 1846

  • Maple beer - A modern equivalent
In Secondary:

  • Barley wine

  • Irish stout clone.
On the agenda:

  • Pilsner extract brew February 25th

  • Next two batches of Maple beer February 28th

Friday, February 12, 2010

A great deal

Aaron and I picked this up while running around on the hunt for various brewing necessities last night. I'm fairly confident in stating that this is the best beer you're going to get in WNY for $0.50 a can. Not only is it not bad, it's good. I could get used to drinking this stuff regularly (Though I don't think that will be possible because I believe it is a limited batch.). I'm not going to get into flavor profiles and aromas with this one, I'll just say that it smells like a bock should and tastes pretty good. What a great can too. The 12 pack caught my eye immediately in a sea of attractive and flashy packaged beers. Nothing else had that striking lime green and such a simple and classic logo. A great start to a long holiday weekend and for $5.99 none the less!

- Jay

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Brew Sunday

Our freshly stocked grain and malt supply.

We transfered the Barley Wine to secondary fermentation. Dry hopped and added oak chips (first time using that tecnique). Fermentation started up again after a short while. Hopefully the gravity will drop and so will the problems with this one.

It was also the first time that we used the new grain mill which works awesome when used with an electric drill.

Aaron (reading) and Gene (stirring) in my driveway while we brewed a Murpheys stout clone on sunday afternoon. I don't have any technical data about the brew at hand. Aaron is going to write a review of the recipe shortly, so I'll leave that to him.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Our new basement brewery

Aaron and I spent last evening cleaning, organizing, and arranging our new setup.  Things are looking good and we are both excited to use all of the new equipment. We now have a five gallon stainless steel conical fermenter and a very nice grain mill.

My Father gave us this great little glass front refridgerator that he no longer uses. It should work great for lagering and storing hops and yeast.

We also stopped at the Niagara Traditon Home Brew store picked up some various grains, hops, and yeast. I also Picked up a new book called The Homebrewers Garden. I'm excited to read this one.

I have big plans for the garden this year. I plan on growing veggies and having a seperate hop yard. I would like to grow Willamette, Nugget, and Cascade hops. I started a compost pile late last september. Hopefuly by jump starting it last fall I will have enough compost for both beds by spring. This will be the first time at attempting to grow hops.

We are both looking forward to using our own home grown ingredients and develpoing our own all grain recipes. This should prove to be a very challenging experiance with some ups and downs. Neither of us have experiance brewing all grain recipes so we've been reading up and honing our skills with extract brews.

Which brings me to the Barley wine. We've kept the temperature right around 68 degrees. We have a heating belt around the bucket and it is placed near both the hot water tank and the furnace. The O.G. was 1.079. It has been in primary fermentation for 16 days. The air lock stopped bubbling about 10 days in but the gravity was still way too high. Monday we tried aireting it and that did not work. Last night we added some high alcohol tolerant champagne yeast hopping that it would start fermenting again and lower the gravity. This morning I checked it at seven a.m. and it was not fermenting. Our only idea now is to transfer it to a carboy for secondary fermentation and hop that the gravity falls then.

Looking forward to getting things rolling full steam. Any and all feedback is welcome. This is a learning process for us that we wanted to share with like minded individuals.

In Primary : Barley wine

On the agenda : Sunday, February 7th - Stout brew. (Yes, I'm aware it's the big game that day.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day one

Really new to this. I will be chronicling my experiances as a homebrewer and some other interests. My goal is to keep the focus on beer, so other topics I will try to keep related in some way. Both the brewing and the blogging are a learn as I go process for me. Hoping to jazz this page up a bit as I figure things out. My brother in-law Aaron introduced me to home brewing, now he and I have been doing it together for about nine months. I am hoping that this will serve as a great forum to discuss the brewing process and learn from other like minded individuals.

In Primary: Barley wine (extract kit)

On the scheduele: Thursday, February 4th, Finish setting new equipment in the basement / Sunday, February 7th Stout brew (extract kit)