Friday, August 26, 2011

Al Grain, no Pain

A quickie on brewing in the hood because the beer festival is looming...

So on coming to the big D and regaining some space one thing I really wanted to do was get back into brewing and up my game a bit.

Extract brewing is good but it's a bit expensive and a bit limiting and I wanted to be a bit more "off the grid".

So That is what it has been, mostly. I had some extract from before so I have used a bit in some of the brews but mostly all grain.

First I tried the Brew in a Bag. I like the idea and will revisit but with out being able to get or make a big enough bag (we are still mostly in boxes remember) it was not super successful. Or it was successful but I had to use a fair amount of extract because of the bag limit..

Then I went crazy and tried to do a Pari-Gayle brew. I did but when your living out of boxes it's silly to try a complicated brew day. That was two smaller batches of tasty beer but ...

Then I had this fruit that needed to be used and was over ripe so I brewed a weird mix of fruit juice and grain that is really refreshing. A crazy brew of malt plus plums, apples and peaches with some ginger thrown in in a fit of madness.

Then I calmed down and did an American Pale ale. I had a lot of two year old hops so I calculated the loss in bitterness but I guess I stored them better than I thought and ended up with more of an IPA than a PA but still very good.

In the fermentor right now is, or should be, closer to what I was aiming for last time.

I have also managed to scrounge up some used kegs and scored a great deal on a CO2 tank, so this or the next brew may go into a keg! How cool is that.

Cooling might be an issue but I have plans for a way to cool keg to tap and in the winter...

In future I'm planning to do a bunch of hard cider when apples come in and then turn that into Apple Jack over the winter. If it works I will probably put that in my ale keg and let it sit for a year or so and have it ready for Thanksgiving 2012 or 2013. Actually since I may end up with three or four gallons It may come out many years running...

Speaking of T Day. We set up the table the other day. We can't find some of the parts (they are in a box someplace...) but I stuck a dowel in and used some cedar shingle shims. We even had guests for dinner the other day. So we have no idea how many people are going to show for T day. It's looking like probably under ten, which as many of you know is way down from the 30-40 of recent years. But you never know.

Cheers from the Big D

- 30 -


  1. Years ago, some grad school roomates in Ithaca NY and I mistakenly made hard cider. We had gathered our crappy wormy apples from our backyard tree, brought them to the pressing place or whatever you call it and VOILA. We had 30 gallons of cider in plastic jugs. Only problem, no refrigeration space so since Ithaca is cold, we stored it in the unheated barn.

    It was lovely stuff, and I always felt happy in the morning at statistic class with a slight buzz. Years later, I found out that by leaving it outside, it turned to hard cider.

  2. Actually it probably would have fermented faster indoors. It's the wild yeast on the skins that juiced your juice;~)

    Now if you take that hard cider and keep it out side and skim off the ice as it forms on the top what you end up with is Apple Jack at around 70-80 proof.