Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tasting Notes: Hot Stove Porter (Robust Porter)

If you have ever been to the Samuel Adams brewery in Jamaica Plain the first thing that becomes evident is how small it actually is. On the tour, the tour guides acknowledge that almost all of the Samuel Adams products sold at the packie are in fact brewed at facilities in Pittsburgh and Ohio. The Boston Beer company only leases a portion of the old Haffenreffer Brewery which acts as their corporate headquarters and the site of their test brewery.

A decent first attempt at what I was going for.

Developing and perfecting a recipe takes lots of trial and error. For the Hot Stove Porter I started with a blank slate and used several ingredients for the first time: malted oats, several of the hop varieties, and the yeast strain. It is one thing to have an idea of how all these different flavors would compliment each other in the final beer, it is another to see it in action.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Brew Day: Welkin Ringer ESB

The local homebrew shop (LHBS) can be a dangerous place to hang out. I was at Beer and Wine Hobby over a month ago to pick up some odds and ends. I ended up leaving with their Welkin Ringer ESB kit which is a clone of Mystic Brewing's beer from their Wigglesworth Series.

Bottle conditioned ESB goodness.

Often when I brew kits it is to leave my comfort zone. When I develop my own recipes I tend to drift back to the ingredients and recipes I know well and have used before. That can help master a particular beer or style, but it doesn't help a brewer grow. Developing new recipes for new styles or using a lot of ingredients for the first time is both daunting and risky. Knowing where to begin can be daunting, and the risk is your beer not coming out very good.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thinking about the spring before winter has truly started

Every chance I have I publicize my guidelines for seasonal beer. Is it over the top? Maybe. Is it something I am passionate about? You betcha! Is my indignation exaggerate as part of an act? Probably, we are just talking about beer after all.


I have already brewed a new winter seasonal beer, what hopefully will be one of my flagships, and I have a couple other batches I already have ingredients for another couple of batches. Once those are brewed it will be January and it will be time to start on beers for the spring to make sure they are ready for the middle of February.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Brew Day: Peabody Pale Ale (American Pale Ale)

The latest installment in my experimentation within the broad category that is the American Pale Ale is a recipe that I threw together in a matter of minutes. While assembling the ingredients for Curly's Milk Stout I realized I had a lot of odds and ends lying around. Half-full bags of specialty grains, zip-locked bags of hops. None of this stuff is getting better with age.

Double brew day in-progress.

The recipe for Curly's Milk Stout called for one pound of light dry malt extract. However I only had a three pound bag. It made perfect sense to use the rest of that extract for a one gallon batch. I stepped some crystal malt I had lying around for color, flavor, body, and hopefully a bit of freshness.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Brew Day: Curly's Milk Stout

About a year ago my home was overwhelmed with beer. Brewing one or two five gallon batches every month, and then buying the latest and greatest commercial beers can certainly add up quickly. That is when I started brewing one and two gallon batches, which also enabled me to brew all-grain BIAB batches on my stove-top.
The beer looks gorgeous already.

The main downside to small-batch brewing is that if the beer turns out to be excellent, and you only brew a one gallon batch, you only have eight 12oz bottles of this excellent beer that took the same amount of work as a larger batch. This is exactly what happened with my first small batch brew.