Monday, September 29, 2014

New Year's Ale

This is going to be a holiday spice ale for one of our pregnant friends.  She misses beer, and her baby is due right around the new year, so the style is apropos.  I hope she likes it.  It's an extract batch, because I had a bunch of extract that I was saving for something.  Turns out I was saving it for this.

There comes a certain point in one's homebrewing journey when you say, "I'd like to make beer today" with no planning and no recipe.  You go down to look at your stash, grab a little of this, and a little of that; some hops out of the freezer from that time (or timeS) that you bought too many hops... and compose something, like jazz.  It has structure within restrictions, but it is improvisational.   

6 lbs Maris Otter extract
3 lbs Munich Malt extract
3 lbs Rye Malt extract

1oz UK East Kent Goldings @ 60 minutes
1/2 oz UK Fuggle @ 30 minutes

Wyeast 1028 London Ale

I will add some honey once fermentation has peaked, and I will add some mulling spices in secondary, about a week or two before bottling.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hops Don't Stops

Harvest time is upon us, and that means hop picking.  It was a pretty good year for growing stuff in my backyard, and hops were no exception.  I decided it was time and tore into it, snipping of bines, plucking off cones and dropping them into a big blue tub.  It was a few hours work, but it was quite pleasant.  I had a beer (The Tim Brice) and I had a little help from a little green buddy.

I also experienced something like Cheeto-fingers, but with hop resin.

And when I was done, I had lots of hops; now drying.  I do plan to weigh them and report a total 2014 yield (the 2013 haul was one full pound, so that's the number to beat.)   The cascade plant did so well, and the Mt. Hood and Williamette plants did so meh, that I am seriously considering trimming them down and just having one plant.  But that's a decision for another day...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Berliner Weisse

This just looks beautiful to me.  It's not just the colors and textures, but for me it evokes the beauty, and in this case, simplicity of brewing.  It's mash hopped, because in the most traditional methods, it's not boiled; the wild yeast (and bacteria,of course) are introduced along with the grain itself.  The hops are the last of the 2013 backyard harvest, and the grain is 70:30 Pilsner:wheat.

In this case, I'm putting it on the lambic blend inside my Widemouthed Carboy of Truth.  It replaces an Oud Bruin that now sits patiently in secondary alongside a honey wheat.  They are keeping each other company in a row on the wall, all dated and named, observed but rarely prodded.  Waiting.  Evolving.  Waiting.

Shane kept a log of the days events, when each beer was mashed, sparged, boiled, etc., so I believe that he is going to put together a "day-in-the-life-of-a-brewday" post over on  You should check it out.