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Archive for September, 2009

I’m going to try and summarize the brews that I make and the process I go through. I figure that maybe I can help people get involved, or make better beer. So, without further adieu, here is my Cream Common process, a turn-of-the century ale beer brewed with lager yeast. The recipe was found at fellow HomeBrew Talk forum member ODaniel’s website.

Our recipe is simple: 7lbs of 2 Row, 3lbs of Flaked Maize for our mash bill, and we just did a simple, medium body infusion mash. At 12:30 the water was stared in my outdoor equipment, and at 12:42, it was ready to go. An hour later, my first runnings were at 1.095, which is about standard for my equipment (which will be another post in and of itself, later.)

The aroma was heavenly. The corn brought out a sweeter sweetness from the 2-Row that I’d never smelled before. It was almost like a cookie, but, one I wanted to dunk pretzels into, rather than milk. And when we added our first wort hop ounce of Liberty, I don’t think anyone would have blamed me for crawling in and taking a sticky, warm, wonderful bath.

Fortunately, sanity prevailed, and we sparged. My first mistake when moving into All-grain was doing a 60 minute sparge alongside a 60 minute mash. It gave my beers — while tasty — a considerable off-taste that I can’t describe as anything more than “extra”. It was another flavor that belonged, and at the same time, didn’t. I cut my sparge down and at 25 minutes, I think I’ve rinsed enough that I’ll cut that flavor out.

The sparge flowed well, and within 5 minutes we had a boil going, and Mike and I were a growler of an older batch of Great Lakes Commodore Perry down, ready to break into my cheap beer. The boil happened, and, well, it’s boiling wort. Tasty, but, not much to talk about.

We chilled, and I made my first batch of beer. My gravity hit 1.053, which is where I was going and gives me my first ~80% efficiency. (which is how much potential sugar I extract from my grains, I think.) Personally, I don’t care. What I worry about is taste. The hot, sweet wort was delicious. It tasted of what I imagine my great-grandparents drinking.

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I Am Only Wort.

Over the next few years, I’d hope to take you inside my learning curve as it pertains to life; specifically as it comes with photography, brewing beer and cooking.

I started talking about brewing beer as a lark, talking to my Dad one day about how cool it would be to take the barley, hops and water and make beer. For Christmas, he bought me a two hundred dollar gift certificate to The Brew Keeper, a local brew-on-premises joint that promises 10 gallons of tasty ambrosia nectar.

I was racked with indecision on what to make for nearly nine months before I decided on a California Common or “Steam Beer”. The process was absolutely enjoyable, and I knew that I had to do it myself, someday, some way. I’d received an old turkey fryer from my father, and after careful research I realized that I wouldn’t need all that much more to brew my first batch of beer.

In April of 2009, I brewed my first true homebrew, a Honey Ale Extract which was a bit hoppy and malty at the same time, with just a touch of sugary honey. It was an instant hit, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was brewing like the big boys. Two months ago, I switched to All Grain, and I haven’t looked back.

There’s one thing I haven’t done yet — I haven’t made beer. Sure, I make great wort — it’s sweet and colorful and I’d drink it without the fermentation — but, I’ve never added yeast to wort to create the wonderous elixir of which I crave.

I like that.

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