Monday, November 17, 2008

Bottled #13

Narrowly escaping catastrophe, I bottled the special bitter yesterday with 1/3 cup of corn sugar into 50 12oz bottles. The taste is good, but it should be even better with a few bubbles and a bit of a chill.

The catastrophe that almost was involved my bottling bucket toppling over as I was about to start siphoning the beer out of the secondary. Luckily, I was able to stop the beer from starting it's movement, I sealed the fermenter back up, and I re-sanitized everything and dissolved a new batch of sugar for the bottles. The remainder of bottling was without incident.

I look forward to trying this beer in a week, but it will more likely be ready in 2.

The final gravity was 1.016, bringing the abv content to around 5.8%.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rack #13

Tonight I racked #13, the Daily Bitter. The gravity had dropped nicely about .04 units, which translates to about 5.2% alcohol so far. It could drop a little more in the next week before bottling. The taste was good. It is amazing (but probably shouldn't be) how much of a positive difference Maris Otter malt makes in the flavor compared to the amber or light extract I was using before. The beer does need a little more time to smooth out, but I expect this to be an awesome beer... maybe I will need to brew another batch of this before too long.

Another brew activity for tonight has been related to yeast. From the beginning, I have been picky about the yeast I choose to brew with... meaning I have paid more than necessary in order to get premium liquid yeast cultures for my beer. In the past, I have spread this cost out among several batches by brewing several beers in a row, pouring the new wort on top of the yeast left over from the last batch. With this batch, I once again bought the good yeast, but I only brewed one batch. So in order to maximize the value of my yeast, I am attempting to save the yeast from the primary fermenter for future batches. My methods are less than spectacular, but I am trying to at least keep things sanitized so that in a few weeks, when I brew again, I can try to use the yeast again. My method has been to pour the yeast into sanitized vessels and refridgerating. In a couple of weeks, I will add my yeast to a starter to re-vitalize and hopefully keep healthy for another go-round. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


A quick note on what I found at my local homebrew store.... Hops... and plenty of them. Evidently (and I did ask about it) the Hops availability crunch is on the way out. There are plenty of hops available, and the prices are lowering slightly again... The Hops fridge at the store was packed full of hops of many different varieties and they are no longer limiting purchase quantities... Sweet. They even had 4oz packages of whole Amarillo and Cascade hops available. There may be a hopped up IPA in my future.... or maybe another hopped up Brown Ale.

This is reason to celebrate.


Daily Bitter

Today I am brewing again after a couple months. I am thinking that by the time this one has conditioned, I should have some room in my fridge for it.

This is my first all-grain recipe for what is designed to be an ESB-style beer. This happens to be my favorite style these days which I would be happy to grab on a daily basis to drink... hence the name "Daily Bitter". I have brewed beers in the past that I called ESB's (or TSB's), but my previous brews were extract brews, which limited the ingredient options drastically. This one is different. My primary grain is Maris Otter, one of the quintessential malts used to brew the special bitters that represent the style. Additionally, I am using high-alpha Magnum hops for bittering and some smooth Challenger Hops for added aroma. I look forward to drinking this one.