Sunday, December 23, 2012

It puts the Hops in the Wort...

I finally got around to making some beer. On a similar note...I now have way too much beer. I average about a beer every two to three days now...which means the 100 bottles that I now have will most likely last me well into next year. I guess I could go on a bender, but I'm fairly certain there are quite a few people I know that would disapprove. This "problem" would be fixed if World Cup 2014 got here a little sooner...but I digress.

This being my first bit of beer bloggage I'm not exactly sure where to begin. I can tell you that over the last month I've made two batches, both of which turned out pretty well. The first was supposed to be a stout but probably turned into something more like a Porter..though the distinction between the two has never been all that clear to me. (Heck Stout's may just be "Stout Porters") In any event my recipe for my first success this year was as follows:

7 Pounds Liquid Dark Malt Extract
1.25 oz of NW Brewers Hops (AA 9.1%)
1 lbs Crystal 60L
.5 lbs Victory

I steeped the specialty grain for about 30 minutes and then used this to start the Wort boil. Malt Extract, hops and a 60 minute boil later I was busy cooling the Wort using my new chiller. I used one of those fun smack pack yeast systems and added everything into the fermenter. That little batch of homemade goodness was then placed in our tiny coffin shower where the yeast would proceed to gobble up all the tasty sugar...and turn it into a tastier sugar/ethanol product.

I had so much fun brewing my porter that I decided to try my hand at an APA the following day. Again the worst and most time consuming part of this whole process was the cleaning and sanitizing of the equipment. I'm not a fan...but it is absolutely necessary. Many off flavors can be attributed to poor preparation.

My recipe for my APA (Which is basically just a pale ale that uses American hops) was as follows:

6 lbs Pale Liquid Malt Extract
.75 oz NW Brewers Hops (AA% 9.1) 60 minute boil time
.75 oz Cascade Hops (AA% 8.9) 30 minute boil time
.75 oz Cascade Hops (AA% 8.9) 15 minute boil time
.5 lbs Crystal 60L

The process was fairly similar to that of the porter. Steep specialty grain for approximately 30 minutes then use the resulting liquid in the wort. Boil, Cool, pitch and seal and you have a 5 gallon batch of APA.

Bottling Process
Following the fermenting comes bottling. I don't have a keg system yet because I'm fairly certain I don't drink enough beer to warrant it. Heck I'll probably end up giving away over half of the beer I brew so I'll be sticking with bottle conditioning for the near future. I ended up leaving the beer in the fermenter for far longer than necessary, probably around 4 weeks. This wasn't done out of some desire to better condition the beer...this was bred from laziness, work travel, and my other fun hobby (Which this blog is a bit more dedicated to) running.

Fast forward past the bottling (Because it's boring and doesn't really involve much beyond adding priming sugar, mixing and filling bottles) and I am now a proud owner of around 100 bottles of porter and APA that actually turned out quite well. The porter has a fairly nice deep malty profile along with a hefty coffee taste (Courtesy of the specialty grain) while the APA is a lighter smoother brew with a nice mild hoppy aroma. Of the two I would definitely try them both again but would probably brew the APA first. Porters and Stouts are great in the winter...but I should probably start brewing spring/summer beer now as I'm going to be drinking what I have for the foreseeable future. Anybody want to help?
Pippa will help

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