Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Small Beer Success!

The small beer was a success. It tastes clean and, as expected, watered down. It came in at 2.62% ABV and, the color and flavor are the same as the big beer (only watered down). I just wanted to see what would happen if I boiled, hopped and fermented the second runnings. I will seldom throw this stuff away again. Next time I will add some dry malt and boil it just like the big beer. The only thing this beer lacks is malt and alcohol. The dry malt should fix that. I will use a few more hops too. One thing you can use the small beer for, if you don't add dry malt, is to cut your big beer when you don't want a heavy beer. I have mixed the two when I wanted something a little lighter. This is good when you have a heavy beer on tap but, you want to drink it outside on a hot day. Just mix them. It tastes just fine. It may not be competition quality but, it will be very, very drinkable. Who knows? I may just enter a small beer in a competition just to see what it does.

Give it a try!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My George! A Porter is in order!

This weekend I brewed a porter and I made a small beer from the second runnings. (I brewed alone because my brewing partner "E" had to work. (He is a, wheat beer drinking, gay porn star. He He!) and, I'm out of beer.) I came up with this idea (Actually "E" thought of it first.) because, I am a brewer and a patriot. I have been watching the John Adams series on HBO and was inspired to do this. I wanted to do as the early brewers did and take advantage of every bit of my brewing resources. I looked for the original George Washington porter receipt and, I found out that it was hardly a beer. It was more like a molasses wine. However, I wanted to stick with the colonial, small beer, theme. It is true that most colonial age brewers made small beers for their kids. They used the second runnings to make a small beer. So, I did just that. I brewed a porter called "My George Porter". After I pulled off all the good stuff, from the mash, I put the second runnings into a carboy (just for lack of a better place to put it). Then I cleaned all the grain out of my mash tun (while boiling the porter in my boiler) and poured the second runnings back in to the mash tun. The gravity, at that time, was 1.018 (intentionally a bit high). I boiled it for 30 mins. and added 1/4 oz. of Cascade hops. The OG after boil was 1.030. I cooled it, in a glass carboy, in a sink full of cold water. I pitched 1 packet of dry yeast in to it. Both the small beer and the porter have taken off very well. The cool thing is, I learned something about my brewery. In a 17 gallon batch, I throw out quite a bit of semi-good stuff. With a gravity of 1.030, I could add a bit of dry malt to my waist and gain an extra 4+ gallons of beer for little or nothing. If I had added just a few pounds of malt, I would have been able to take the gravity up to the 40, 50 or even 60 range. Next time I brew I will be sure to have some dry malt on hand. No need to waist all that good colorful wert. I will keep you all posted on how it turns out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I Got Some Serious Gas Now!

As you can see, I did a bit of work on my gas lines. Click on the photo for a close up! This has been long (about 17 years) over due. In the past, I have always used a single gas line for all of my brewing and serving applications. (I have never been one for leaving the gas hooked up to all the kegs all the time. I worry about leaks. All that has changed.) I now have 2 lines going to the keg fridge and a 3rd line for forced carbonation, pushing beer out of the fermentor, hooking up the Blichmann beer gun, and any other co2 applications. I made sure to use lots of gas line so it will reach any corner of the brewery. While I was in the mood (to do some real work) I went ahead and hard wired the thermostat. It no longer sets on top the fridge and, no more extension cords hangin' out. It may be a couple of weeks before the next batch because I spent way too much cash this week on, this project and, competition entry fees for my other hobby. BBQ! I hope to get back at it soon. The wheat beer we made came out as good as a wheat beer can. I took 5 gallons to a Bud drinkin' party and it was gone in about 45 mins. They had 2 kegs of Bud and they all stopped drinking it until the Wheat was gone. Funny Shit. Oh well! That's the kind of party wheat beer is made for.