homebrewing

Here in a list is all things bubbling.

Ciders/fruit/mead
.5 gal – pear cider – natural fermentation
.5 gal – (mixed grape) wine – 5 day natural fermentation, then cote des blancs
5 gal – apple cider – natural fermentation
5 gal – apple cider – s-04
5 gal – mead – EC118/Red Star Champagne dual pitched
1 gal – mead – EC118
1 gal – mead – Red Star Champagne
1 gal – mead – ‘Blonde blend’ w/ cherries added

Beers
5 gal – Quad – Wy3787, will oak and pitch brett blend
5 gal – Coffee Porter – WLP400, adding cold brewed Metropolis Medium Roast to keg

That is just what is fermenting/ed.

Tuesday, an IPA with 2012 experimental hops for good measure. Will have to work on vetting a recipe this weekend. I may also bring back all the yeast and my yeast culturing biz to start ranching that week.

I love this hobby.

So I’ve been lamenting a lot on what exactly I should be brewing. I know for a lot of brewers it’s making a great pale ale, or kicking out a pilsner to be proud of, but for me it’s about making something I can’t buy at the store; I want my beer to mean something to me in a way too, a self-expression and representation of me as a person.

So far it’s done a pretty good job of describing my clunking along in a sort of ‘duct-tape-the-muffler-back-on’ sort of way. From the not great attempts at brett table beers, to the way brew days always seem to go, I’m more or less running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

But I’m trying to change that – at least with my brewing.

I’ve got a spreadsheet running with upcoming beers, ideas, and current/past beer on the list. I’ve added what is ready, what is currently fermenting, and the litany of ideas below. I think this year as well, I will attempt to have a standard ‘house brew’ on tap. I’ll work on getting my method down more. Brew more often, and just generally ‘tighten’ up the ship.

2012-11-28 09.16.49

As far as current brews, I’ve got the first group brew day beer on tap. It’s a toasty dark-brown beer with heavy doses of wheat and fermented with wheat and roeselare blend (pictured above). It’s mostly “wheat” with a kind of over-toasted bread taste profile. I don’t get much sour/funk but I’ve been told it’s there. Hard to compare it to something else I guess. A stout of unknown recipe is bubbling along from a huge 40 gallon brew day just this past weekend. Myself, I tried to blast through 4 batches of solo-hopped beer during the same time, but due to weather and bad planning only made it to 3 with the last one a blend of last two remaining hops. It’s likely that those are in the upper 1.070s – didn’t get a clean measurement (another mistake).

So in a roundabout way – this post is also my declaration that I’m going to start taking this much more seriously.

This past Sunday, right as Sandy was just grazing the edges of Maine,  I made a twenty minute trip with a carload of brewing equipment, a baby, and a wife. The latter two didn’t stay with me, but I powered through. Three Gents, strangely all starting with G, met up and got to brewing. A fantastic club brew-day.

Let me step back a bit here and say I was extremely weary of going to a homebrew club meeting. I know there are some young folk brewing beer, as myself, but wasn’t convinced that the older guys would even acknowledge me as a respected brewer let alone person. My worry was that these dudes were going to be super weird, horrible, and painfully unreliable. Luckily, I was wrong. The guys are pretty great and almost spooky how nice they are.  But on to the beer.

Brew day produced a pilsner split between two, an oatmeal stout, and my ‘farmhouse brown.’ Mine consisted of three different chocolate malts (meaning roasted to blackness, and what adds a ton of flavor/color to most “dark” beers), a “coffee kiln” barley, some medium crystal malt (mostly adding sweet/roasted unfermentable sugars), and more wheat malt than barley malt. I wanted to use up a bunch of old malt I had from when I moved to Maine, and to make something with the ‘sour’ blend pulled from a personal favorite homebrew. The wort (beer pre-yeast) smelled amazing like toasted wheat bread crust dipped in dark chocolate, I selected mild citrus, spicy, floral hops to compliment the sweetness instead of trump the real aim – the roast/toast malt profile meets wheat/sour. A clove/banana profile is strong in the wheat yeast while the sour yeast blend will pull out a cherry tartness, dry palate, and punchy sourness if left long enough. I’ll have to taste this often to see where it goes from tasty and funky to face melting tartness – mostly because this is my second run of this sour yeast, and I got it from another guy who fermented once off it who got his yeast cake off a buddy of his who had reused and washing the yeast at least three and up to five times – and it has a reputation of gaining strength each reuse.

Next on the list? Maybe I’ll finally kill off those SMaSH beers I’ve been waiting to take down. Three fermentors full of cider or beer and not a one to drink. Keg of IPA is nearly kicked, but I’ve squirreled bottles. I’ll be chewing through that supply for sure.