30 December 2005

The Story of My Life

Sometimes I think Frank is me!

Saw this at www.comics.com. Somehow, it seems to fit.

posted by hiikeeba at 10:04 1 comments

26 December 2005

A-B's Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale

The most recent of Anheuser-Busch's specialty ales is Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale. You may be sensing a theme here.

According to the press release, the beer is brewed with "dark roasted caramel malts and all-imported hops and aged on toasted bourbon oak casks and whole Madagascar vanilla beans" and will be about 6% alcohol.

According to Charlie Papazian's The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing, this could be an American Brown Ale. Sooo...

  • 6 1/4 lb light malt extract
  • 1/2 lb Crystal 90 malt
  • 1/4 lb chocolate malt
  • 2 oz Cascade Hops (~6% AAU) 60 minutes
  • 1 oz Cascade Hops 5 minutes
  • 1/4 tsp Irish Moss (last 15 minutes for clarification)
  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale/Chico yeast

Papazian's recipe used black patent malt. I replaced it with Crystal malt for the Caramel malt. This should result in a beer with about 6.3% ABV. Now for the interesting part.

Recall, if you will, my recipe for Bourbon Stout. In it, I soaked 4 oz of toasted oak chips in 8 oz of Tennessee sippin' whiskey (If it had been made in Bourbon County Kentucky, it would have been called bourbon) during primary fermentation. Recall also my recipe for Holiday Beer, where I used three vanilla beans, added at the end of the boil and steeped as the wort cooled. However, in this recipe, the beer "aged on toasted bourbon oak casks and whole Madagascar vanilla beans."

So, in this aplication, I will soak the oak chips with chopped vanilla beans while the beer ferments in primary. Then I will transfer the beer to secondary, and add the chips and vanilla beans. I will age for one month in secondary, then keg and age another couple of weeks.

Any comments?

posted by hiikeeba at 16:40 2 comments

22 December 2005

Christmas Beers

Over at The Brew Site, they are displaying their Advent Beer Calendar. They have listed some really great beers, including: Anchor Christmas Ale, Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome, and Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Some of their more difficult for me to obtain beers include: Rogue's Santa's private reserve, Mahr's Christmas Bock, and Biere de Noel.

posted by hiikeeba at 06:19 0 comments

20 December 2005

New Base Recipe

After the favorable preview of the Christmas beer at the company Christmas party, I decided that this will be the base recipe for the future. But before I make that decision, I want to tweak a bit. When I brew this again, I am leaving out the cardemom.

  • 5 lb dark DME
  • 60L Crystal Malt 1/3 pound
  • chocolatee Malt 2.5 oz
  • Perle Hops 6% AA 3/4 oz 60 minutes
  • Mt. Hood Hops 6% AA 3/4 oz 30 minutes
  • Tettnanger Hops 5% AA 2/3 oz 10 minutes
  • 3 vanilla beans chopped
  • lager yeast

Steep grains in 1 gallon of water at 150F for 30 minutes. Strain. (Optional:You can bring a quart of water to 170F while the grains are steeping. After straining, slowly pour the water over the grains to sparge.) Add DME and bring to a boil. Add the hops as described above. At the end of the boil, add the vanilla bean. Cool to 80 degrees and pitch yeast. Ferment for one week. Bottle with 3/4 cup corn sugar.


posted by hiikeeba at 19:44 0 comments

18 December 2005

Sampled the Christmas Beer

I took a keg of the Christmas beer to the office Christmas party. I served about half the keg to a few of the more adventurous folks there. Without exception, the beer went over well. Yes, I am quite proud of myself, thank you.

posted by hiikeeba at 07:52 0 comments

16 December 2005

Austin Homebrew Cream Ale has been kegged.

Part of double brew Friday at Honey Creek brewery, the cream ale presented us with some challenges. After we boiled, and put in the fermenter, my brewing partner noticed one of our fermenters was leaking from the spigot. We didn't have another fermenter clean, so he reached into the beer and tried to tighten the nut. It didn't help, so we grabbed a clean, but unsnitized, carboy and put the beer in there. Folks, this one is gonna sting!

The beer wound up with an OG of 1055.

We kegged the beer the other night. FG was 1010. Alcohols is 4.12% by weight and 5.24% by volume. It was smooth and very clear. I can't wait until it's carbonated to have a full glass!

posted by hiikeeba at 06:45 0 comments

14 December 2005


Some folks travel to see exotic places. Some, to see stately architecture. Some, to eat. Now, you can travel to try beers you can't get in America!

BeerTrips.com has several European packages to Belgium, the Czech Republic, Scotland, Germany and even New Zealand.

Oh, Santa. . .

posted by hiikeeba at 07:49 0 comments

12 December 2005

A Stressfree Brew Day

The key to a successful brew day is organization. Before you heat a drop of water, make sure you have your recipe, and all the ingredients. Making beer is more like baking than cooking: you can't substitute ingredients.

Then walk through the brewing process, checking off your items:

Bring a gallon of water to 170° and add your specialty grains. Do you have something that will hold a gallon of water and your specialty grains? Do you have a muslin bag to hold the grains? Do you need one? (I don't.) Hold at 170° for 30 minutes. Do you have a thermometer? A clock? A watch? Meanwhile, bring a quart of water to 150$deg;.

Put your strainer over your kettle. Do you have your kettle and strainer? Put the muslin bag into the strainer. Or, pour the liquor and grains into the strainer. Then, slowly, pour the quart of water over the grains to extract as much fermentable sugars as you can.

Add the extracts and stir. Spoon? Bring to a boil. Add the hops. As the wort boils, sanitize your fermenter and your strainer. Got bleach or iodophor? Once finished, pour the wort through the sanitized strainer into the sanitized fermenter. Top off the wort with chilled water, pitch your yeast when the wort is around 85°, and ferment.

Now you have a list of the items you need.

posted by hiikeeba at 17:52 0 comments

10 December 2005

Brew Your Own's 2005 Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for that perfect gift for the homebrewer in your life? Head on over to Brew Your Own's 2005 Gift Guide. You can everything from beer glasses to kegs, clothing to travel. There's something on that list to satisfy any hophead.

And if you wanna buy me something, I could use three BYO back issue binders.

posted by hiikeeba at 09:48 0 comments

08 December 2005

2005 Chimay Gift Pack

The other night I went to my favorite liquor store to pick up some microbrew beer, and discovered this Chimay gift pack. It contains a bottle of Chimay Trippel, Chimay "Red", and Chimay "Blue".

Belgian Trappist monks make beer to support their abbeys and their support programs.

Chimay "Blue" is a strong beer with an odor of fresh yeast coupled with a slight flowery touch. It is about 9% alcohol by volume. The beer improves with age and the year it was brewed is always on the label.

Chimay "Red" has a silky feeling with a slight bitter taste. It is about 7% alcohol by volume.

Chimay "Triple" has a golden color. It balances the flavor of the hops with fruity flavors. It is about 8% alcohol by volume.

The only way to enjoy properly enjoy a Belgian ale is to serve it in a goblet. Fortunately, this gift pack comes with one. It should be served around 44°.

If you find this gift pack, make sure you buy it! This is fine beer!

posted by hiikeeba at 19:01 1 comments

06 December 2005

More Beer Quotes

"Prohibition makes you want to cry into your beer and denies you the beer to cry into."
-Don Marquis

"He was a wise man who invented beer."

"...there is only one game at the heart of America and that is baseball, and only one beverage to be found sloshing at the depths of our national soul and that is beer."
-Peter Richmond

"Beer needs baseball, and baseball needs beer - it has always been thus."
-Peter Richmond

"Brewers enjoy working to make beer as much as drinking beer instead of working."
-Harold Rudolph

"I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet, sweet beer."
-Homer Simpson

"What do you get when you take the P out of Pearl? An empty can."
-An old Lone Star joke

"Why is American beer served cold? So you can tell it from urine."
-David Moulton

posted by hiikeeba at 19:35 1 comments

04 December 2005

Brewing on a Stove

First, get out your kettle. Pour in two gallons of water. Take the water to 150° and add whatever specialty grains you're using. Turn down the heat, and let the heat rise to 155$deg; and hold it there for 30 minutes to extract all the goodness. Then add another gallon of water. If you use a mesh bag to steep the grain, remove it. Add the malt extract.

Bring it to a boil. At this point, there is a lot of starch in the water, so be prepared for it to foam. When the foam rises, remove the kettle from the heat until the foam subsides. If you enjoy being light headed, you could blow on the foam. Once the foam stops rising, you've hit your first break. Turn the heat down, and let the kettle simmer. Start your timer. Add the hops. As soon as you add the hops, go back on boil over duty. Trust me.

Follow your recipe. At the end of the boil, cover the pot, and let it sit while you get the fermenter ready. Sanitize it. Then add 7 pounds of ice and a pint of water. Place the strainer across your fermenter, and pour the hot wort into the strainer.

You might have to add some water to bring the volume up to 5 gallons. As soon as the temperature is below 85°, pitch the yeast. Slap the lid on that puppy, stick a fork in it and call it done!

Oh yeah! Now clean up!

posted by hiikeeba at 20:35 2 comments

03 December 2005

Off Topic Post

Now that the Holiday Season is here, we need to think about the enlisted men and women in our armed forces. These folks don't make enough money to be able to fly home with their families. All too often, the people who need it the most, can afford it the least.

I have a nephew who is in the Marine Corps (Semper Fi!). And while he has been able to save money for his trip home, others haven't.

Enter Ernie Stewart, over at Let's Bring 'Em Home. He collects money for plane tickets, and service men and women wanting a ticket, and matches them up.

I see those little magnetic, yellow ribbons on cars all over the place. Why not show your support in a more tangible way? LBEH is tax deductible. What better support can you give than by helping send one of our enlisted personnel a ticket for a plane ride home?

Thanks, and tell the folks at LBEH where you heard about them.

posted by hiikeeba at 18:43 1 comments

02 December 2005

Small Scale Brewing

In light of my brewing partner's recent comment, I thought I would write about brewing on a smaller scale. Recall that we have been brewing 10 gallon batches in a 20 gallon kettle. But not everyone needs that kind of scale. You can brew a great beer in a small kettle on top of your stove, but you have to watch for boilovers. Once more, please refer to the Good Eats "Beer Show."

A small scale brewer needs:

15- 20 qt kettle $30 Amazon
Probe thermometer $17 Amazon
7 gallon siphonless fermenter (my favorite) $30 Williams Brewing
priming tank $20 Williams Brewing
strainer (my favorite) $10 Hop Tech

You will also need something to dispense the beer from. If you're smart, you will have purchased beer in bottles you can cap. Or, buy beer in swing top bottles. NO CAPPING! Please, don't use the bottles with the screw off cap. While I have heard from long time brewers who have used them, I just don't trust them. The glass appears thinner than in a regular long neck bottle.

The accountants in the audience will have noted that my list costs about $100. Hey! You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

posted by hiikeeba at 07:40 0 comments