Monday, November 26, 2012
In February I picked up a Red Ale from Liquid Hobby. It turned out well, but I think the alcohol content was low. I was still having trouble with the Hydrometer. I also realized that I should be measuring the temperature of the water, which I didn’t because I didn’t have the tool to do so. I still haven’t picked one up. Then I took 6 months off of brewing. I was too busy and picking up a 12 pack of Yungling is too easy. I also moved from South to North Carolina. Plus I’m not really a beer snob, I’m a rugby player. The next beer I made for Caribou Slobber from Northern Brewer. The directions were very different than from Liquid Hobby – a little harder to follow, but with more details. I also purchased a case of re-sealable bottles and a glass secondary Carboy. This was the toughest beer so far. I did get to borrow a brew kettle that was heated up with propane that was supposed to be easier to control; of course it was my first time using it. Also first time working with grains, which was fairly straight forward. Still having trouble with the hydrometer, I got a reading of 1.042 and the direction I think say 1.052. The one thing I like about Liquid Hobby direction better is it is very specific about the ranges you should get and Northern Brewers is not. I did like the more complicated brewing, although it did take up more time. I also think I messed up the yeast culture a bit, so maybe that is why the gravity didn’t change as much as I thought it should. The beer came out tasting good, but I think it was low alcohol again. I broke my Hydrometer putting it away. So now I have a portable Refractometer, which I now HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Home Brewing – First Brew
Just before last Christmas, there was a homebrew kit on www.groupon.com from our local homebrew store Bet Mar Liquid Hobby shop. In college I had some roommates who dabbled in home brewing and have since continued. So I decided to ask my brother to pick it up for my Birthday gift.
The first brew I did was an Amber kit. I unfortunately lost the directions since then, but I’m sure you can find it on the Bet Mar website. The beer came out tasting very good, but I definitely did not do the beer making process properly. I’ve tried to keep notes as I brew, but I’ve not a done a great job. I can tell you I cleaned the pot I just bought (4 Gallon about $55 from Wal-mart) with Everclear. I don’t know if this was a good idea, but I do know you aren’t supposed to clean with normal agents (soap).
The hardest part was reading the Hydrometer, I should have paid more attention in Chemistry Class at Clemson – I’m sure my professor will concur. I also don’t think I added the Sugars properly from my notes, but they are almost a year old. Anyways everyone really liked the Amber Ale.
The other hard part was getting enough of the right type of bottles, I had 12 that were screw caps and broke about 4 of them and then gave up. Rookie mistake, I probably left about ¾ of a gallon at the bottom. I tried to put it in an old Orange Crush plastic bottle to see how it turned out. Not well. Apparently it is doable, but I didn’t do any research beforehand.