July 31, 2011

Notes on a Brew Day for Someone Else's Wedding, Pt. 2: Marie avec Visage-Sale

Rub some dirt in it
and get back out there.
Sometimes, when you wake up with the flu but you've already measured out and acidified the strike water and weighed the grain the night before, and you're now at zero hour for bashing out a biere de garde commissioned for your cousin's wedding reception, well sir ... sometimes you just gotta start heating the water, go puke, wipe your mouth on the brew sheet, and then mash in.

July 28, 2011

Notes on a Brewday: Eye of the Sun Winter Ale

I'd like to toast homebrewers in the southern United States. I have too much skin to haul full liquor kettles across my backyard or stand over a 200,000+ BTU propane stove when the summer swelter gets angry. My desire to brew suffers under an oppressive 86 degree dewpoint & 116 degree heat index. Such afternoons signal it's too late to brew any lawnmower beer that isn't already sweating in hand; it's time to get a winter ale brewing.

July 26, 2011

Dazed & Infused

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my time of being a homebrewer, it’s that our DIY interests rarely end at beer. Many folks also make wine, mead, cider and more culinary or health-based fermentables like kombucha or kimchi. I like to make infused liquors. Obviously, I don’t MAKE the liquor - I buy it at the liquor store (makes sense, right?). But I like to have fun affecting and infusing those liquors with different things.

July 21, 2011

Flavor through a prism

When it comes to the chemistry of flavor, our foods and drinks are much more connected than you'd think. Any experienced beer taster can pick out the banana notes in some Belgian beers and hefeweizens. What about when a beer reminds you of chocolate, grapefruit, or toasted bread? Well, sometimes that's because it actually is that. When you strip a complicated flavor down to its prominent elements, you'll find that many of them are identical to those found in other foods.

July 14, 2011

Notes on a Brewday: John Ireland Blvd. Bitter

I was brewing on a Wednesday. It was the third batch outside on the Banjo Burner, a wind screen fashioned with Aluminum foil. It seems like a bitter northwest wind swept around St. Paul on that otherwise fair summer day. I woke up to that wind spreading word of the newest tent in the ongoing Minnesota state government shutdown circus: media outlets were warning Joe Six-pack that MillerCoors' MN state seller's license couldn't be renewed & their M-C brands were to be pulled from liquor store shelves.

In any other year, the expiration of a state license would set into motion the process of a renewal. This year, the civil servants that process state license renewals at the commerce department were laid off along with thousands of other state employees when elected officials couldn't come together & draft a state budget.

July 13, 2011

The Most Under Appreciated Tool in my Brew House:

My flashlight.

This isn't something we think of as a brew house tool, but I can't say how often in a brew day I'll need to randomly retrieve old Flashy for one reason or another. If this was a Western, Flashy would be my horse. I don't know if I could brew without him.

July 8, 2011

Notes on a Brewday: Intergalactic Brain Rescue Pale Ale

Gotta propagate some WLP029 for an upcoming biere de garde brew session. Gotta try out some new hops. Want a hoppy beer on tap. Busy, busy weekend - no time for an AG brew session. How about this: session-strength extract batch brewed with said new hops, ferment with 029 and then wash the yeast cake for next weekend's biere de garde. Excelsior!

July 7, 2011

Induction Brewing

Brewing all grain, in a sub-600 Sq Ft apartment, without the use of a stove?

Yes, it is possible, as I found out the other night.

I have a rather small apartment, and as such, I try to do all of my brewing outdoors on a propane burner. That leaves me limited to brewing on nice days, or watching wistfully from inside as my wort boils all alone in the elements.

Being the nerd that I am, I looked into getting an induction cooker. Induction cooking is an electromagnetic process which transfers heat energy directly to a ferromagnetic kettle, like Northern Brewer's Megapot kettles.

July 5, 2011

The Haphazard Brewing of Free Kick EPA

*** This blog post was recently uncovered deep from within scattered brewer's notes. It's timeliness has been lost, but its moral fortitude has not. We begin in late April 2011. ***

Let me tell you about what may be the best homebrew ever brewed. Or it may be a total disaster. We’ll just have to wait and see.