Thursday, February 19, 2009

American Beer

On my iGoogle page, which I use as my personal home page for my own web use, I have a gadget that tells me how to do things. Some of the descriptions are useful, some entertaining, and others don't deserve a second look. One of today's entries I found particularly interesting. How to Know if Beer is American Made. It didn't have much that was new or surprised me, but there were a few choice bits of information I was not aware of (Like that Bridgeport and Shiner are owned by the same parent company.) Maybe you will find it interesting, too.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

An outdoor brew.

Yesterday I brewed a batch of beer outside for the first time, and now I see why so many people choose to go this way.  Using an outside propane cooker, I was able to heat water and boil wort much faster and consistently.  It was even more of a pleasure to brew this way.

This batch was mostly a repeat of batch 13, my Daily Bitter, that I brewed back in November.  That one turned out really well and I would like to keep that beer on tap prettymuch all the time.  I used the same grain bill as in November (Maris Otter with some Victory, Crystal 60, and Carapils malts) but I modified the hops this time.  Last time was Magnum and Challenger.  This time was a couple of ounces of some Goldings (a traditional English bitter hop) for bittering with some glacier for bittering/aroma.  Before pitching my yeast, my hydrometer reading was almost identical to that of the first time I brewed this beer (which I would say is a good thing).

I think more outdoor brewing could be in my future.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

So.... an update...

Tonight I bottled one batch and kegged another. So I now have no beer fermenting in the closet.

The bottled beer is the Doble Doble I brewed on Christmas day. As of today, it is showing about 9.5% alcohol. I think that a few months of bottle conditioning will be good for that one, so I may wait to try my first bottle around my birthday (early June). It is a good, strong Double bitter beer. It should be good for drinking for at least the next couple of years.

The kegged beer is a Cappuccino Stout. I brewed it 12 days ago. It is a milk stout that I added some espresso concentrate to. For those interested, a milk stout, also known as a 'Sweet Stout', gets its sweetness from Lactose (milk) sugar that is added to the boil. Lasctose is an unfermentable sugar, so it remains in the final product, giving the beer that milky taste. Because of the large amounts of sugars in the wort, the initial gravity was a little higher than most regular-strength beers (1.070), but the final gravity is also higher (1.034). The alcohol level in this beer is therefore around 4.5%. That is not a precise number (since my hydrometer and personal measurement technique are likewise not very precise) but a good ballpark.

Site changes (yes, again):
If you visit, you will quickly find that it directs you back here. I grew tired of (not) updating the other pages, so I removed them. The kegerator write-up is still out there and the myBrewing link on the right now simply points to that page. I moved the beer legend onto this page for ease of updating and lookup.