Friday, September 26, 2014

Learn to Homebrew PArty for PArkinson's

November 1 is The American Homebrewers Association's Learn to Homebrew Day. Organized by the AHA, Learn to Homebrew Day is an international event held on the first Saturday of November. Since 1999, thousands of homebrewers have gathered each year to teach friends and family the basics of the homebrewing hobby.


“If you’ve ever had an interest in homebrewing, Learn to Homebrew Day is the ideal way to get started. Brewing a batch with an expert is a great way to get started, which is why this event connects aspiring homebrewers with experienced ones for a hands-on education,” said Gary Glass, AHA director.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Paper, erm... glass or plastic? The eternal debate...

At the grocery store it was a decision I could never make. I leaned toward plastic because I could carry more at once. My home is perpetually overrun with leftover plastic bags. I like the idea of reusable cloth bags, but I can never remember to bring the damned things with me to the store.

In life there are only trade-offs. 

In the homebrewing community a similar debate rages between brewers who prefer plastic or glass fermentation vessels. Like so many other things in life there are pros and cons to both. It is a matter of personal preference. My first kit came with a plastic primary fermentation bucket and a glass carboy to use for secondary fermentation, so I have used both from the beginning.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Brew Day: The Sustenance (Substance Ale Clone - American IPA)

Check out Cloning The Substance Part I and Part II for the recipe and the story behind it.

Steeping my specialty grains. I could also have used a muslin bag.

I designed the recipe as an extract recipe so any brewer could brew it. My last brew day was Pinch Hit Belgian Pale Ale so it was nice to have an easier brew day for a change. I steeped the flaked grains with a little 2-row in a 3 gallon stock pot. I let the grains steep for a little longer than 30 minutes as I fiddled with the recipe on BeerSmith.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cloning The Substance - Part II

After driving home from Maine on Saturday evening and recovering from Beer Camp I was finally able to crack open a can of The Substance on Sunday. I was sure to drink slowly and critically to imagine what the ingredients were that they used. The malt was present to balance the beer, but stayed out of the way to let the hops shine. I figured the base malt was American 2-row. I didn't detect any esters from the yeast so I felt safe in assuming that the yeast was the Chico strain (S05, 1056, WLP001). 

Taking notes to create my recipe.

I was at a loss as to the hopping. Having only brewed a couple IPAs I wasn't sure where to begin. If there was one high alpha acid hop like Centennial, and lighter hops like Cascade it would be easy to ascertain that the big hop would be the bittering hop, and the lighter hops the late additions. All the hops on the chalkboard were big, high alpha hops that could be used for bittering and aroma.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cloning The Substance - Part I

Sean, my new team lead at work might arguably be more of a beer nerd than I am. He is deliberating making the leap to start homebrewing. When it comes to appreciating craft beer Sean has me beat. Sean is all over Beer Advocate looking for new beers to try, news on when beers are being released, and looking for people in other parts of the country to trade beers with that aren't distributed locally. 

Target acquired!

When I told him my girlfriend and I were going to Portland for Beer Camp last month he told me to pick him up some of The Substance by a brewery in Portland called Bissell Brothers. I had never heard of the beer or the brewery. It took me an embarrassingly long time to remember the name of the brewery and stop calling the beer The Sustenance. I can't tell if I am getting old, if beer is effecting my brain function, or both.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Brewing with Beverly/Salem Water Part II

I shared the post on the North Shore Brewers 
Facebook page because I thought it might be interesting to a group of local homebrewers. I got an interesting and detailed response:


Homebrewing can be as involving as you want it to be. It is fair to say after my last post on water chemistry, and specifically how it relates to our local water supply, I've gone a little deeper down the wormhole. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Master Crowd Brewer, still not a brewmaster

A few weeks back on my Facebook page, I shared a really cool contest Innis & Gunn were running called Crowd Brew. They crowd-sourced the recipe by letting people who were fans of their Facebook page to vote on the style, type of malt, hops, and barrel that the beer would be aged in (all of Innis & Gunn's beers are barrel-aged). If you voted for the winning ingredient you were entered to win a chance to be a "Master Crowd Brewer" where your name will appear on the beer and you win a prize pack.


For the hop type I voted for Northern Brewer hops. At that point Scotch Ale had already been selected as the style, and I thought the almost minty flavor Northern Brewer has would work perfectly with the malty profile of a Scotch Ale. I used Northern Brewer in a Milk Stout a few months back and it was a perfect contrast to the roasted barley and the lactose. I also used a small amount as a late flavor addition in a kolsch. It still had enough of a continental hop spiciness that it gave the beer the desired crisp finish.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tasting Notes: Summer of '18 Ale

With only a couple weeks left in the summer beer season, this beer just snuck in as it was ready to drink by mid-August. Since it's a little cooler in the late summer a bigger summer ale feels appropriate. The brew is summery enough for a 70 degree late-summer day, but hearty enough for a cool night next to the fire.

Summer Ale turned up a notch

The beer pours a cloudy straw color. The soft white head fades quickly. Not including any cara malt like carapils or carafoam was a rookie mistake.