Beer

A production run of homebrew.

I brew beer.  I blog.  I guess it’s time to marry the two of these bad habits.  This won’t be nearly as frequent as the outdoorsy adventure writings, but it’s much tastier.  Mostly, this is a place to put recipes and reactions to various brews.

Prost!

Wish list:

  • Belgian Dubble
  • Belgian Tripple
  • repeat IPA and Scottish recipes (I’m almost out!)

Hoppin’ Cider

(January 2017) Amy doesn’t drink beer (she makes an exception for sips of my brews, bless her heart), but like cider.  So, we made a cider.  It turns out to be really easy!  On the advice of a couple of guys at the local home brew store, we bought five gallons of pasteurized apple juice and threw them in the carboy with some yeast.  Boom!  To make it a little more interesting, we boiled one ounce of hops in one of the gallons first.  Easy-peasy.

Taste notes: very very dry.  Probably I let this one ferment a little long.  It’s strong (6.2%) and has very little apple character left to it.  Nor did it carbonate much.  However, it’s subtle and very refreshing and has improved with age.

About the name: What’s to say?  Amy came up with “hoppin’ cider” and I just made the obvious label.  It hops and it’s got a kick.


Anonymous Porter

(December, 2016)  I love porters, but find that they’re not well represented in the USA.  My sister gave me a Brewers Best Robust Porter kit for my birthday, so I brewed it up over winter break.  I added adjuncts of Starbucks Cocoa Powder and Orange Peel to give it a chocolate orange taste.

This is the first beer I brewed with “full science” (aka, a hydrometer to measure original and final gravities).  However, somehow, I still managed to not ferment it long enough in the primary and transferred to the secondary after only five days (way too short).  The ABV when I transferred was something like a meager 2.6% and even repitching in the secondary didn’t increase it much (2.8%?).  After another few weeks in the secondary, I decided to cut my losses and bottle, hoping for the best.  On the plus side, leaving more head space in the carboy prevented a three-peat of the overfermentation explosions that happened in the first two beers.

Taste notes:  It’s not bad.  I’m certainly not proud, but it’s drinkable and doesn’t leave you reeling like the Updraft.  Over time, it’s improved a bit.  The chocolate is vaguely hinted at, but the orange isn’t.  Note, Brewer’s Best makes good, dependable kits, so the mediocrity of this one is likely my own fault.  Oh well.

About the name: There’s nothing much going on here, kind of like the beer itself.  After weeks of indecision, I decided that a forgettable beer needed a forgettable name.  Boom.


Metric Brewing

We have a name!  Even though I’m a guy in his kitchen who whips up the occasion 4-5 gallon batch of homebrew, having a proper brewery name makes me feel happy.  So there you go.
After weeks of indecision and discovering that at least half a dozen more interesting and meaningful names were already in use by commercial outfits (damn that craft brewing boom!), I settled on Metric Brewing.  This reflects both my geek roots (measure all the things, record all the data!) as well as the original “beer metric” behind the 10k IPA.


Updraft Scottish Ale

(October, 2016)  For my sophomore brew, I decided I wanted to try to clone Odell’s famous and fabulous 90 Shilling Scottish Ale. Rather than go with another kit, Dave found a bunch of recipes and, after I picked one, modified it from all grain to partial mash for me sprucing it up into a “flavor bomb” along the way.

Brewing this time was a much lower-key endeavor. Things didn’t seem quite as scary this time and I brewed solo until the final stage when Dave showed up to help cool, transfer, and pitch. The result smelled wonderful and was significantly darker than my first brew.

I don’t know why, but the carboy exploded again! Not enough headspace? Too active yeast? In any case, this time I’d constructed a beer containment pod and only managed to get a couple rubber bins dirty, not the entire guest bedroom.

This one took a lot longer to brew up. I transfered to the secondary after two weeks, then waited another four before bottling. In the last week, I added oak chips. Bottling went smoothly (40 12 oz and 3 22 oz bombers). Bottle conditioning for 1 week left it tasty but flat. Two weeks produced a minimal bit of carbonation. The ABV may be high enough that it’s killing the yeast.

Taste notes: black as midnight and very very smooth. As predicted, it’s a flavor bomb with a lot going on. I didn’t measure OG, so I don’t know the ABV, but it tastes pretty high (7% or more?). Longer bottle conditioning (months) has produced a modest head.

About the name: I had a lot of thoughts about this one which didn’t thrill me. However, brewing in a kilt as I was, the name occurred to me when I walked outside in a strong autumn wind. Bracing!


10k IPA

(January 2016)  My inaugural brew! Homebrewing had been on my radar for a while as something I might enjoy one day, but it required a Christmas gift of a brewing kit from my sister to really take it off the someday list and onto the actual calendar. It was a basic IPA kit from Brewer’s Best and I followed the recipe. Dave (of Layger Brewhaus) came by to loan me some gear and hold my hand during the brewing process. We boiled, sparged, hopped, and so forth.

After one day, there was activity in the carboy. After two days, it was bubbling pretty actively and flotsam was getting stuck in the airlock. On day three, the airlock a liter or so of beer was gone and there were hops spread all over the ceiling! Oh no! I killed my beer! I cleaned everything up, installed a hose to a carboy as an airlock and hoped for the best.

After two weeks in the primary and two in the secondary, I bottled (with significant help from Amy) and it produced 45 12 oz bottles. One week after bottling, I tested one and it was tasty but flat. Another week produced copious head.

Taste Notes: Very very tasty! Not a hop-monster IPA, but balanced with a lot of interesting flavors. Dave notes an initial fruityness (apricot?) which, over time gave way to a drier taste. I’d definitely do this one again.

About the name: There’s a lot in a name. In this case, it refers to my ultra-runner “beer metric”. I get one beer per 10 km of distance (plus additional beers for elevation gain and hardship bonuses). It’s an appropriate unit of refreshment.