Thursday, July 30, 2015

The essential 10

So I've been thinking.  What are the 10 essential styles every home brewer should be able to do well? What should you master before you attempt a continuously hopped imperial sour stout with bretomyces and dragon fruit puree?  Not that there is anything wrong with experimental brewing. I am a fan of Denny Conn and Drew Beechum.  But, before you run, you should really be able to walk.   Notice here I am not talking about process type here.  This isn't an extract vs all grain post.   I know extract brewers who make amazing beer.  This is about understanding styles.

What beer is the measuring stick?  The process checker?

Here are my 10, and my process checker.
1. Pale ale - just a good basic pale ale
2. Wheat Beer - good basic wheat is the base of so much fruit and sour
3. Brown ale - dark and sweet and yummy a gateway beer
4. American amber - cause you know amber
5. American ipa - who doesn't love a hop monster
6. Cream ale - this is the beer your BMC friends will love
7. Stout -  (and preferably with some sour included)
8. Ale temperature lager - ( my champagne lager recipe is at brewtoad)
9. A fruit beer - hot chicks need beer too
10. A honey beer - my personal favorite is honey brown

Cream ale is one of my favorite
styles to make and drink. Even
SWMBO will drink it cold. 
My control beer is cream ale.  If there's anything wrong with your process,  the cream ale will expose your flaws.   If you can't brew a clean crisp cream ale, then you need to work on your process.  Not hide flaws with mega hop additions.   Just saying. Not that there is anything wrong with mega hop additions.  But if you can't brew a nearly competitively perfect cream ale?  what is the problem in your process?  Although I will say with cream ale, you can taste it prior to bottling, if you do have a flawed beer, you can add a hop tea and dry hop it for a couple of days... boom American IPA.  One of my favorites ever was a beer that had too much estery flavors.  (I tried a cream ale with an english ale yeast)  I threw the kitchen sink into dry hops and created a great cream IPA that we dubbed the "creamy indian".

I'd love to hear your 10...

Pliny the toddler, Yum!
A note in closing. I have been researching extract vs all grain recently. Most of the experiments, and exbeeriments I have seen, the extract actually won.  Leading me to the conclusion that brewing with at least some extract may actually be a superior method.  The only draw back is the lack of base grains available in extract.  Im not aware of a Vienna, or Munich malt extract.  It seems that the malt companies may be better at extracting sugar from grains than we are... hmmm who would have guessed it.   Just another feather in the cap of partial mash brewing.  Ill be posting links soon when I reach some real conclusions.  I'll still do loads of small all grain batches.  They are just too much fun to stop, and the beer turns out great.   But it does make you wonder.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Chilling with Ice... a radical and environmentally friendly approach to chilling your beer.

One of the things I love about homebrew is the many different methods of achieving great beer.  When I first started brewing there were really only two basic methods of making beer.  Extract, and 3 vessel all grain.  Then we started hearing about partial mash.   Now there are literally hundreds of methods.  And the growth of equipments and methods is only limited by the imagination of the brewer.  If anything, the options available in the landscape of homebrewing has become a little confusing.  "should I 3 vessel, BIAB, partial mash, RIMS, eHERMS, eBIAB, eBIABRMS... 

Here is the fact; (doesn't matter if you don't agree it is still true) Ill be writing a post soon on homebrew baloney, where we'll get more in depth on some of the prevailing myths of homebrew. Today we focus on a cool way to chill the wort fast.  ICE

FACT: To make beer the following steps must be performed.

  • Conversion and Extraction of sugar from the grains 
    • Doesn't matter if you do 3v, BIAB, extract, or partial mash
      • The sugar just has to come out of the grains.
      • There is no best method, the best method is the one that you get reliable results from. 
  • Boiling of the Wort
    • Doesnt matter how you boil.  The boil is meant to denature proteins and sanitize the wort.  
    • You can boil in anything that will boil for adequate time.  
      • A 10 Minute boil will accomplish the sanitation just fine (but really doesn't denature the proteins.)
      • Yes, it is when we usually add hops but you dont have to add hops. 
        • There are recipes that don't have any hops in them.
        • There are recipes where all of the hops are added as dry hops or as hop tea.  Still beer
  • Chilling of the Wort.
    • The wort has to be chilled to a temperature where yeast can work its' magic.   Doesn't matter if you use a wort chiller, no chill, a water bath, cold water additions, or ICE.
      • There is no perfect way to chill wort, but generally speaking the faster you chill the better cold break you get and the less time your beer spends in the danger Zone for infection. 
  • Pitching of the yeast.
That's it.  Nothing more.  Everything else is just additional process that we have added and concocted to improve the beer or the reliability of the beer. 

Which Brings us to Chilling with ICE.  Yes with ICE.  I first saw this method like many of you on an episode of Good Eats on the Food Network.   The host did a batch of homebrew.  While not everything he said was gospel, it was a good episode and a good primer for newbies.

The basic premise is this.

  • Do a partial boil. 
    • Doesn't matter if you are doing all grain, extract, or partial mash.
      • Extracted Sugars are Extracted Sugars... Having said that were not doing a truly small boil.  
      • a little more than 1 gallon short
  • When your boil is done pour the wort onto 10lbs of ice. 
    • Buy your ice at a safe place with a recently inspected ice machine.  
      • I prefer Wal-Mart.  Their machines are inspected weekly by local food safety and cleaned 2x a day by store employees at my local super Wal-Mart.
      • Do not under any circumstances get ice from your local bar, pub, or restaurant.  (have you seen bar rescue?)
  • Pour the wort and ice back and forth between 2 sanitized brew buckets.  
    • This will also aerate your wort.  Yeast needs oxygen in its multiplication phase in order to bud. 
    • You can also just stir with a sanitized long spoon, but come on pouring the wort is way more fun. 
This is by far the best method that I use to chill the wort.  It is super fast (under 10 minutes)  and uses only 1.184 gallons of precious water.   I encourage you all to check it out.  Give it a try.  Obviously this method cant be used with pico batches (1 or 2 gallons).  But it is great for 5 gallon recipes.  I've done this with 10 gallon recipes as well that were split into 2 5 gallon fermenters.   It is important to use the big brew buckets for this. Not glass fermenters. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The satisfied feeling

many of you don't know this but... I am an actor.   (well a community theater actor, which is like a guy on a beer league softball team claiming to be a ball player.)  We recently wrapped a show at a local theater.  I played a big bald guy for the 4th time.  It was a big success, thousands came to see it. And it was a great experience.   A great experience made better by the fact that so many people got to try my home brew... and they seemed to love it.  A couple of those guys are probably reading this now.  And I got to help some of them rekindle their interest in homebrewing.   Several of them are coming to Ranchero de Dave to brew with me.

For the first couple of servings I kept it pretty tame. Cool Gales Cream Ale,  Everyday Pale Ale, Belgian Common, ESB... but as my beer muggle cast mates and spouses pallets adjusted I hit them with the big guns.   Pliny the Toddler (a 3.5 gallon batch dry hopped with 1 ounce each of simcoe, cascade, and centennial), a cascade smash, a blueberry cream ale, and a 20% lacto soured Strawberry Blonde.   All of the beers were consumed in short order (nearly record time).

So this morning I am humbled and appreciative of the empty bottles in my cooler.   By the way heres a cool trick.   After a party leave the 48 bottles in the cooler, drain the water.   Add your pbw or oxiclean to the cooler, fill it with water... boom clean bottles.

Next weekend I'll be back in the kitchen brewing, and I'll shoot a detailed explanation of chilling with ice.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fruit Beers and sour mash fruit beers... my sweet spot

Every brewer has something they do very well.   And that something may not even be what they most prefer to drink.  For me... well I'm one of the lucky ones.   I love fruit beers.   I love the complexity of flavors, how the malt and hops play against the fruit.  As much as I love fruit beers I love sour fruit beers even more.  And I do them so well... this is a new passion for me, but I'm learning fast.

Image result for sour face meme"Sour beer?  Oh no you've turned into one of those beer elitists who looks down his nose at the common home brewer.   You can't make sour beer at home, it will infect your brewing set up, you'll never make a clean beer again".

Be calm... In the words of our forefather, the great Charlie P...RDWHAHB... Relax Don't Worry Have a Home Brew. I can show you the path to stress free sour beers.

Please notice I said stress free.  I did not say you should try a continuously hopped chocolate imperial sour stout aged on oak and wild cherries.  (although I was being funny, I have to say that sounds amazing!)  I said stress free, even dare I say easy.   The key to this is learning how to sour mash.

Sour mashing is the easy way to produce a sour beer.   The concept is simple.   Mash your grains as normal, chill to 120, then add some uncrushed grain in a disposable hop bag to the beer (base malt works best). If you are a BIABer just put it into the bag with the other grains. Let it sit for an hour or two for the Lacto to get in there.  Then  Hold this at 120 F for 1 - 3 days.  You can use a heating pad, or a warmer, or even just put it in the oven with the light on.   In 24 to 72 hours you will have very sour wort.  Make sure you are souring in a container that has 0 air space.  Funky, barnyardy bacterias need oxygen to metabolize.  So don't give them any.  The lactobacillus that occurs naturally on the grain will work it's magic.   After the 1 to 3 day "lacto rest" (my term).  Boil as normal with all of your normal hop, fining, and nutrient additions. Chill the beer down, pitch your normal yeast (I like US-04 for most sours and fruit sours).  Ferment.   Add your fruit as normal, or your fruit extract flavoring as normal.  Age. Bottle.  Drink.  Repeat.  The boiling of the wort will kill any lacto that is in the wort, but it will leave behind the acid (sour) produced by the lacto rest.

There are very few draw backs to this method.   The only ones I feel compelled to mention are;  a lack of complexity (over come by the fruit) and the need for experience and practice.  

Common questions and other ramblings.

Do sour mash fruit beers take more time than other beers?
Yes,  A week or two more.  The beer needs to sit on the fruit for a while.
Can I adjust the sour mash after the fermentation?
Yes,  I make a silly sour hop monster.   It isn't ready for publication yet but the general idea is to hop a sour mash so much that you get to the "sweet point on hops"  To do this I add hop tea.   You can also add lactic acid to adjust sourness.  And you can adjust sweetness with malt tea, or wine conditioner.  You can also perform a true secondary fermentation with wine yeast.   The possibilities are endless.
Can I sour a beer without fruit?
Yes.  But again the sourness of the sour mash procedure is less complex than a brettanomyces or a pediococcus soured beer.  Or a blended, or really complex beer.
What are the other possibilities for sour?
How about making a true Guiness style beer? Real Guinness has some sour beer added to it. How about a blend?  blending a sour with another beer. Multiple fruits?  sure... but be careful with your fruits.I recently talked to a guy who was determined to make a Kiwi Cerveza...Kiwi just doesn't have very much flavor.  I like fruits that are sour and sweet. Raspberry is my favorite.  

As I said the possibilities are endless.
I strongly recommend you watch the basic brewing you tube video on Berliner Weiss.  In fact, I recommend you watch all of their videos and buy their log book.   And the DVDs.  They are the best I have seen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The closet cleaner Pale Ale and chilling with Ice.

Sunday, I had found some time to brew. Unfortunately, it was Sunday. Which means the local home brew stores were closed.  Here in Kansas City where I live, we are blessed with 7 home brew stores.   But none of them are open on Sunday.   And we had an impromptu get together the night before, so the kitchen was destroyed.   Step one of brewing in your kitchen (Counterbrew) is to clean your kitchen.  So 35 minutes later the kitchen was clean and I was ready to brew.  Now when I say clean I mean it.   I even wipe down the cabinets, clean the floors, and clean the countertops.   Being a brewer has taught me to be the fastest, best kitchen cleaner I know.   By the way washing by hand is way faster than your dishwasher... just saying.

Sunday, and the homebrew stores are closed? Fortunately, I am a homebrewer, I have some of ingredients lying around. Like you, I imagine, I always have the best of intentions for my excess ingredients, but I never quite seem to get to them.

Fridge and Closet Gold
The buckets are fruit beers
awaiting bottling. 
A quick search of the brew closet revealed the following.;

  • 3 lbs of maris otter
  • .25 lbs of munich dark
  • .25 lbs of vienna
  • .25 lbs of carapils
  • 2 lbs of dry malt extract
  • 2 oz of Centennial
  • 1 oz of Simcoe
  • 1 oz of Cascade
No yeast... hmm... Ok simple solution.  I'll bottle up the 1 gallon Cascade I made a couple of weeks ago and use the yeast slurry from that batch.  I think it was Nottingham.  

I have 5.2 pH stabilizer, Irish Moss, and Yeast Nutrient on hand at all times. 

This ingredient bill sounds perfect for a 3.5 gallon batch of Pale Ale.   So that is what I made a simple stove top pale ale with 8 hop additions 5 of which came in the last minute.   I even used ice to chill this thing down.   

Doughing in on the stove top. 3.75 lbs of grain.   Could have made just a simple 2 gallon all grain BIAB but, I decided that I wanted to use up my DME as well. I added 5.2. pH stabilizer prior to dough in. I heated the strike water to 160 and added my grain.   I came damned close to my strike temperature.   Brewtoad has a feature for calculating strike water.

 After a 60 minute mash.   I drained the grains and rinsed with about a gallon of 168F water.  Then I squeezed the bag to get to a volume of 3.5 gallons.  Wait? what the what? 3.5 gallons for a 3.5 gallon batch?  are you crazy?  yes, yes we are...I told you earlier I was going to use Ice to chill this down.  So the small boil after evaporation gives me 2.5 gallons.   8.45 lbs of ice brings me back to 3.5+ gallons of wort.  Its simple to do and chills your beer instantly.   Some are concerned about the sanitation of packaged ice.  But in truth the FDA and local health and safety carefully monitor ice machines and ice packaging.   I get my ice at Walmart, the inspection report and date are on the side of the machine.  It was inspected last Monday, and Friday.  And passed with no deficiencies. Seems pretty safe to me.  More on this later.

I broke my 4 oz of hops into 8 additions.   
Each addition was .5 oz.  Brewtoad estimates 79 IBUs.  Should be amazing. 

60 Centennial and Simcoe
15 Centennial
10 Centennial
5 Cascade
0 Cascade Centennial and Simcoe 20 minute hop stand after flame out.  

So 2.5 oz of hops in the last 5 minutes of the boil. That should give me a bit of a tongue stinger. Which I love.  My current favorite commercial beer is boulevard's "The Calling"  This is by no means an effort to clone that beer, but it should still be interesting and delicious.   I mean really, who among us doesn't love a ridiculous pale ale?  

Chilling With Ice
Image of small ice cubes, some stacked on top of each other, melting on a black surface.I sometimes chill my wort with Ice.  Yes, I have an immersion chiller. Yes, it works greatish.  (It will be better when I can add another 25 ft of coil to it.  But there is something else that works great too.   ICE.   Ice can be safely used to chill down your beer.  and using 1 gallon of ice to chill your beer is far more environmentally responsible than using. 10 gallons of cold running water.    Here's how I do it.  

  • I buy my ice at an ice machine (think wal-mart)  not from a place where they deliver the ice (think gas station).   
    • The machines are regularly inspected for sanitation, usually 1x a week.  
  • I buy a 10 lb bag of ice,  from which I remove 1.5 lbs. 
    • I am extra sanitary when working with ice.  nothing touches the ice,  the scissors are sanitary, my hands are sanitary. 
  • I sanitize two 5 gallon buckets in addition to my fermentation vessel.
  • I put 8.5 lbs of ice into one of the buckets
  • I pour in my nearly boiling wort.  this batch had a 20 minute hop stand so it was probably only 185 F.
  • I then pour the wort back and forth a couple of times between the two buckets.  
  • BOOM -  75 F  Pitching temperature and aerated wort!
In 10 + years of doing this I have never had an infection.  But I'm a freak for sanitation.  I stay sanitary even during my boil. Empirical experience tells me the practice is safe.   It shortens my brew day.  And it is better for the planet.  So, the Aussies can keep their no chill methods.  I'll stick with my ICE.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Partial Mash Process.

My Partial Mash Process.
Scroll to the bottom for some proven partial mash recipes...
By the way... I can turn any recipe into a partial mash... just send me a comment, I'm happy to help.

I brew 5 gallon batches of beer in a 7.5 Gallon Electric Turkey Fryer.   I use the Cajun Injector, but I know there are other models out there.   Part of my basic philosophy is to bring brewing back into my kitchen, to involve friends and family, and to show that brewing great beer doesn't require an expensive outdoor brewing system.

The Cajun Injector will easily boil 6.5 gallons of wort, with the lid ajar.  I keep the lid ajar about 2” and I have never had any problems with DMS.  With the injector configured in this way, I get a hard rolling boil, and I actually have to watch carefully for boil overs.   

My preferred method of brewing is Partial Mash. I also do loads of small batch all grain right on my stovetop.  But those are for perfecting recipes, and experimenting, and also to satisfy my need to brew.   In truth I do more all grain small batch (1 gallon)  than anything else recently, but I still consider myself a partial mash brewer.

Here is why I prefer partial mash brewing.

  • More fun than extract - you still get to mash grains and sparge and the fun stuff.
  • Better Taste than extract  - Real all grain flavor - I defy you to tell the difference
  • It’s repeatable you can brew the same beer with the same results every time.
  • More recipe options than extract,  you can brew anything.
  • Less cost than extract - extract is expensive, grain is cheap. Especially if you malt your own.
  • You don't have to stress over pH & H2O chemistry, you can adjust, but you dont have to.
  • Affordable equipment - electric turkey fryer is about $100.00
  • Decoction and step mashing are available to you.
  • You control the amount and % of grain that you are using.  I have recipes that are 85% grain. The DME is there as a buffer, an insurance policy if you will.
  • Takes way less time than all grain. It’s about the same as BIAB

So here is how I do it.

  • I always use right around 6 lbs of grain, sometimes more, but never more than 9 lbs
  • I mash in 3 gallons of water  In the turkey fryer.
    • I do add 5.2 pH stabilizer to the mash water. Some people argue that a thin mash can have a negative impact on pH levels.  No sparge brewing kinda flies in the face of this claim for home brewers. With 5.2 pH stabilizer I don't have to worry about it.
  • Two 4 gallon pots go onto the stove.
  • In one I heat 2.5 gallons of water for sparge rinse to 168 F
  • In the other I heat 2 gallons of water to 160 F at the end of the mash, I add the DME to this pot.  
    • I turn off the heat add the (DME or LME) and stir to dissolve.
  • I then pull the grains and set them on a rack above the kettle
  • I pour the dissolved DME and water carefully into the kettle
  • I then rinse the grains with the sparge water until I get to the desired volume, usually 6.5 gallons.
  • I have about 5.5 gallons of wort after boil
    • I put my hops in hop sacks during the boil to reduce trub loss.
      • It does seem to reduce hop flavor and aroma… no problem add a little more hops… right?  I mean who doesn’t love a hoppy beer...
  • I chill with an immersion wort chiller
  • I take a hydrometer sample.   
    • Some easy math gives me a rough idea of my efficiency with the grain, but it is never far off.
      • usually my gravity a little higher than I expect.
  • I transfer about 5 - 5.25 of that to the fermenter.  
    • After fermentation loss I have about 4.5 gallons of yummy beer.   That is 48 bottles.  
    • I almost always force carbonate 1 or  2 gallons in 2 liter bottles.
  • I keep great records of my brewing.   
    • This is one of the keys to getting recipes dialed in...

Notice what I didn’t mention.

I didn’t take a post mash gravity sample, there is just no need to do that.
I didn’t take a pH reading, again no need. Not even sure where my pH strips are.
I didn’t stress over my water chemistry, the extract will buffer the water just fine.  Just a little 5.2 pH stabilizer in the mash water.
I didn’t crush my own grains.   Again, No need.  Ill hit my numbers almost every time with a fine crush from the LHBS
I didn’t spend 6 hours brewing.  I’m generally done in 3 to 3.5 hours.  So If I start early on a Saturday Morning, I’m done by late morning.  

I have never entered a competition with my partial mash beers.  But that will change this year.   I have shared my partial mash beers with competitive brewers, and found that almost all who tried the brews were very positive about their taste and quality.  My Kolsch and American Wheat beers are about as good as any I have ever tasted. I sometimes cant believe I brewed them in my kitchen.  The comment I get most often is “wait? what?… this is a partial mash?”  Yes it is…

Partial Mash is not a panacea.  You still have to follow good brewing practices, you still have to work in a sanitized environment, and you still have to ferment at correct temperatures.   But if you are looking for a process that is repeatable, proven, and fun…give partial mash a try.

Here are some recipes for you to try.  Almost all of my proven recipes can be found at Brewtoad is the easiest beer software I have ever used.  

Champagne Lager An easy lager (without a fridge?)
Everyday pale aleEveryday Pale Ale
Call the Banners - a real hop monster
Wheat BeerWheat beer - a great base for fruit or hoppy wheat beers.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A couple of 1 gallon batches for your viewing pleasure

I think I'm in love... not the flighty here today gone tomorrow kind of love, not the passion burning so hot it has to burn out kind of love.   No, this is real, true love.  The kind that lasts.

I'm in love with small batch brewing.

This weekend I brewed two 1 gallon batches of beer.   It was awesome, low stress, and fast.   Cleaning kitchen to clean up under 4 hours for two batches.

Small batch fits perfectly into my ideals of counter top brewing.
  • Affordable batches
  • Low risk experimentation
  • Low Risk Entry into All Grain Brewing
  • More variety
  • Low Entry Cost
  • Easy Lagering with the right yeast strains ( a 1 gallon jug and air lock fit easily into my garage fridge )
  • Super fast chilling (I went from boiling to 68 in 10 minutes with a wort chiller and a sink full of ice water )
  • Easy forced Carbonation in 2 liter bottles... seriously? what could be easier?  faster grain to glass...
If you haven't tried it yet... come on what are you waiting for.   Small Batch Brewing will allow me to brew every weekend.  That is 6-8 gallons of beer every month... and yes... that is enough beer.   I'm not saying I wont still do partial mash batches... I will.   But as I look at my beer cellar (read under the dining room table I have over 200 bottles of beer, but only 5 styles of beer are represented)  The kid needs more variety than that.   Some web resources I have found so helpful in my quest to learn more about 1 gallon brewing.... brain sparging  this guy is an attorney who goes in depth in his explanation of home brewing in small batches, and bullcityhomebrew a homebrew shop that actually shares it's recipes for one gallon batches.  They also have equipment set ups, and a brew school.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention Homebrew Exchange Oregon's finest.   Just type in PICO on their search page.

The only things I don't have that I clearly need for small batch brewing right now are... a refractometer, hydrometers just take up too much wort for a 1 gallon batch, a really, I mean really good digital thermometer, and a really good digital scale.

The day started with dry hopping my Pliny the Toddler.  It should be ready for bottling this weekend.  If you've never had a Pliny the Elder by Russian River I suggest you find the recipe and brew one up. Mine is posted at Brewtoad. Pliny the Toddler
Next step, cleaning the brewery.   I always start by cleaning the kitchen and all of the brewing equipment.  

Next I organized my stuff for both batches.   I always lay out my stuff. I usually put sticky notes by it to remind me when to put in various ingredients.   And I clean, and put away ingredients as I brew.  Not only does it make the brew day a little shorter, it keeps down mistakes that can get made in a messy brewhouse.

Water adjustments?  Sure... I use 5.2 pH stabilizer. I find that I get better efficiency, and perhaps more importantly, my hoppy beers stay hoppy.   I know, I know... many of you will argue that you don't really need pH stabilizer.  The mash will stabilize on its' own.  I know that is a statement that is probably correct.   But, my experience says better efficiency, crystal clear wort, and longer term hop flavor and aroma.  For a small batch just a heaping 1/4 of a teaspoon.

Hops measured, organized and ready for service.   This is 1 ounce of Cascade divided into .25 ounces.  60,10,5,0.  Lots of late additions ensures that I will have lots of hop aroma and flavor.   Ill taste this beer after primary and see if it will need to be dry hopped.  Some Simcoe dry hop might get this beer to exactly where I want it to be, a hoppy, grapefruity, refreshing beer.

Honey brown mashing.   Cascade Ale boiling away.  You might note, if you have a stove like mine, that I set the kettle over two burners.  That tricks the stove into keeping both burners going with out over heating.  I can get a pretty vigorous boil.  You may also note, that my volume is too high on the cascade pale ale.  I tried a no sparge BIAB.  I wont be doing that again.  It is much easier to mash with 1.5 quarts of water, and then rinse sparge up to volume.

I use two, or three timers when doing double batches.  I have brewtimer on my phone.   I use my microwave timer, and I use the ol apple timer (not super accurate but hey, you use what you've got).  You might note the plastic plate in the bottom right of the photo.  It has been cleaned and sanitized, it is for setting things on.   Never set things on your counter, even if you have cleaned them.  It is just good practice to follow, even during the boil.

The chill went fine and fast.  Ridiculous cold break. and very clear wort.   One thing I love about small batch brewing is fast chilling.   I set the kettle into a sink of icewater, and turn my chiller on full blast. I usually go from boiling to pitch temp in 10-15 minutes, sometimes faster.

All in all a good brew day.  And I needed one after last weeks debacle.  Update on last week.  The beer from the mistake is bubbling like a fiend.   It's original gravity was... 1.081.   Well see if Nottingham can get it to a decent final gravity.  If not.  I may try adding a wine or champagne yeast just to see what happens.   

Brewing Sunday... Honey Brown and All Cascade Pale Ale

Well I really feel the need to brew this weekend. After last weekend was such a demonstrable failure.  So I've been craving honey brown recently. Thinking Ill make a small batch, 1 gallon.  I also might make a 1 gallon Plinian Legacy kit I have laying around.  My one gallon fermenter is available now that I have packaged my partigyle Cascadian IPA (fantastic by the way).

I love honey brown ale, Dundee's was my gateway beer.  In 1990 if you were drinking Dundee's you were really out there as a craft beer nerd.  By the way this is also the time period when I tried my first Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which was life changing, and my first Gennessee Cream Ale, also a crystalline moment.  I know a lot of home brewers don't like the sweeter beers.  The rage in home brewing seems to be gigantic IPAs right now... and barrel aged... and sours... and continuously hopped chocolate Bierre de Garrde... but seriously guys what about good ol beer?