Monday, February 17, 2014

Adventures in Homebrewing - February 2014

Time for another update about my homebrewing shenanigans.  Yes, I'm still making beer and no, Amanda has not kicked me out of the house yet!

Runner's High Imperial IPA - 8.1% ABV

These were yummy but sadly are no more.  This was my first attempt at an original recipe and while not a complete success I'm happy overall with the attempt.  I added most of the extract late in the boil in the hope of making it more straw colored but it still came out darker than I wanted.  It ended up being a little too malty and the hop aroma faded very quickly.  I'm looking forward to improving with version 2.0 but it'll have to wait as I have several other beers on deck.

Deadringer IPA - 5.8% ABV

I made two batches of this brew at a gallon each.  The recipe came from Northern Brewer but I bought the ingredients at the local shop.  It's a clone of Bell's Two Hearted (which I've never had) and uses only centennial hops.  I can see the appeal of one gallon ferments for test batches but I think I'll stick to 2.5 gallons from now on.  With one gallon it's the same amount of work but you only end up with 8-10 beers.

Apfelwein - 7.5% ABV

My initial batch of Apfelwein was 2.25 gallons and is almost gone.  It got positive reviews from most people (perhaps they were just being polite but I think it was pretty good.)  Upon bottling that batch I immediately started another 4.5 gallons which was also just bottled.  I bottled half still but decided to bottle carb the other half.   The first batch hit 8.4% but this one only reached 7.5% so I guess the yeast stalled out at the end.

Joe's Ancient Orange Mead

My first batch of JAOM (where I followed the recipe exactly) and my second batch (with peach & craisins instead of oranges & raisins) have both been in the bottle since mid-December.  I've got one more batch that's been going for about two months.  It's about ready to bottle but it could also just hang out in the secondary for awhile.  We'll see.  I'm in no hurry to drink these so I'll probably wait until the Game of Thrones premiere to crack one open.

Peach JAOM - looks great in the Newcastle bottle

Bourbon Barrel Porter - 5.5% ABV

I had high hopes for this beer.  I was working off another Northern Brewer recipe and while I burnt the LME during the boil, the scorch taste faded by bottling.  After three weeks in the fermenter, I transferred it to the fabled Beer Machine for another two weeks before adding 1 oz of heavy oak chips and 8 oz of Jim Beam for yet another two weeks.  It didn't ferment out as well as I had hoped - final gravity was only 5% before the bourbon was added.  Seven weeks total before it was bottled.  It's taking an extremely long time to carb up.  The bourbon flavor is front and center but I don't think it's too overpowering.  It's pretty good but I wished the FG was lower and the carbonation a bit higher.

Finally decent head on this one

Ordinary Bitter - 2.6% ABV

I bought this kit from Austin Homebrew online as I wanted to try these low-alcohol British session ales.  I was happy to discover that my electric stove could handle a 2.5 gallon boil - this ended up being my first 5 gallon beer.  Fermentation was hot and fast and after ten days I checked the FG - unfortunately the yeast seemed to stall out.  FG was supposed to be 1.006 but finished at 1.018.  This puts it at 2.6% abv.  That's pretty low, even for a ordinary bitter.  Still, beer is beer.  It shall be bottled and drank.

At 10 days

FG too high!

ChocoNanner Stout - ABV unknown

This one gets mixed reactions when I describe it.  I enjoy a chocolatey stout and I love bananas so I thought why not combine the two?  I'm using my new 3 gallon glass carboys that I got on Craigslist.  I created the recipe after researching other recipes.  After three weeks in the primary it was racked onto 2.5 lbs of bananas and left for another two weeks.  This one's really an experiment but I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of it.  Look for a more in depth blog post in the next few weeks regarding this madness.

Oh yes.  I dare.

Chinook IPA - Round Two

I just made another batch of the tasty Chinook IPA however this time I tried all-grain brewing for the first time.  I used a technique called Brew in a Bag (BIAB) which reduces the time and equipment needed in order to make it manageable for my situation. Things did not go as planned and it was somewhat of a disaster.  I'll recap the whole ordeal in a separate post.


  1. Lots of different options to re-hydrate! Well done.

  2. Nice! Question: my dad is a home brewer and my mom complains about the smell, fact or fiction? Next question: Bells - as in K-zoo, MI? let me know if you want any MI beers you can't get out here, happy to pick them up when I visit my family. (or even OH or IN - but I can't imagine those hicks know anything about beer, ha!)

    1. Fact. The smell is definitely a love it or hate it thing. I think it's wonderful but my ladies think it is atrocious. And yep, that's the Bell's in Michigan. And thanks, I'll let you know about picking some up!

  3. Wonderful Recipe! I always like the beautiful aroma of beer especially during it's manufacturing stage. Actually I have family Home brewing recipes book. I used to do home brewing with my younger brother named Smith once in a month. I just enjoy it and always consider this activity as hobby.