Thursday, April 9, 2009

The HQ of "New Brew"...

...The place where I make my own versions of 'the nectars of the Gods!' A dark, cool little corner of the basement.
All the full bottles are bottles I have brewed. I have nothing in the fermentors at the moment, but I have three fermentors, and three different brew mixes coming next week. It will be business as usual.
I also have three brews in the bottles you see pictured waiting to be tried. I will report on them when the taste-tests are completed. There is a High Country, Canadian style draft, and Grand Bohemian, Czech-style pilsner, and another batch of the one that started it all - a basic batch of West Coast Pale Ale. We'll see if it is as good as the first batch was!
Look for updates to follow. Til next time, "Drink some beer, be safe not stupid, and have fun!"

Sunday, March 8, 2009

And Then There Were Four!...

...four tries at brewing and four very successful beer-making endeavors completed! The latest, the deluxe Octoberfest Vienna Lager w/Mellow Amber Unhopped Malt Extract may be the best so far.
I am still partial to the Pale Ale from the first batch. I thought it might be beginner's luck, but so far the trend continues. I tried some of the Lager about 3 weeks into the process, after 2 weeks of fermentation and 1 week of carbonation. It was ok but nothing special, so I gave it more time.
Now, after 2weeks of lagering, this stuff is awesome! I highly recommend it. Give it some time, and enjoy your reward.
Til next time, "Drink some beer, be safe not stupid, and have fun!"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How clean is clean?...

Every Mr. Beer refill comes with a pack of one-step sanitizing cleanser and detailed instructions on proper techniques for sanitization of your kit. Follow them in detail!
Proper sanitization is essential for good beer. Now, you won't get sick or die or anything if you don't properly sanitize. You will, however, introduce bacteria that can cause your beer to taste BAD! You have not spent all this time and effort to make bad beer. If that was what you wanted, you could have just went out and bought some Nasty Light (Natural Light) or some Beast (Milwaukee's Best) and been done with it.
Seriously, everything that comes in contact with the water, the ingredients or the beer mix itself should be thoroughly sanitized! A little bit of extra effort goes a long way. Don't skimp on being clean.
Til next time, "Drink some beer, be safe not stupid, and have fun!"

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Heart and Soul of It All.. the "brew keg", properly known as the fermentor. It is the place where the mixed ingredients and water go, and where the yeast is added to work its magic. Fermentation is a slow process that is essentially temperature-dependent. The cooler your area, the longer it will take.

According to the instructions in the "Mr. Beer" kit, a 2 gallon batch of beer can be fermented in as little as 7 days. I have found patience in the beer making hobby to be only second in importance to proper sanitization - the longer you wait, the better the finished product will be. Brewers in the know recommend waiting a minimum of 14days, and I agree whole-heartedly!

So, if you think about it, at this rate, you are only making about 2 gallons of beer in a month - 2 weeks to fully ferment, at least a week to carbonate, and a bare-minimum week to condition. 5-6 weeks is even a more realistic estimate, allowing time for extra conditioning and more flavor.

If you only like to play around, the 2 gallon fermentor is enough to have fun with. f you are like me, and you want to experiment with different flavors (eventually some of the more advanced recipes that require 2-4 weeks conditioning), you will run out of your first beer long before your second batch is ready. Have no fear, though! Mr. Beer offers additional kegs for $10. I have two, and am contemplating a third. Three kegs=three varieties of beer=more fun and no empty bottles.

If you go this route, expect to be more popular than ever with your friends! I have brewed four different beers already, and have more ready to be made. Not a day goes by now where I am not asked, "When's the next beer gonna be ready?" When I answer, "Soon!", I always get, "Well, make sure I get some!" 'Nuff said! It's not just a hobby, it's an obsession!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another successful endeavor...

...3 different beers made, and 3 that turned out way better than expected.I tried a bottle of the Englishman's Nut Brown Ale earlier today. It had only been carbonating for 6 days, and recommended carb time is at least a week with another at least 2 weeks for conditioning, so I wasn't really expecting a lot.
Guess what? This stuff is good! It still seems a bit rough, and some conditioning time in the basement will only improve the flavor more. Good beer is like fine wine -it only gets better with age!
If you follow the instructions, keep everything sanitized, and have a bit of patience, you can make good beer. I will continue to repeat that.
Brewing at home is a fun hobby. Nothing beats the Pfft! of opening the first bottle, pouring a glass, admiring the head that forms, and then taking a sip. I admire the color and watch the bubbles float to the top. Lots of bubbles means lots of favor!
Next up is some Vienna Lager, in about two weeks. Carbing is done, but I want it to condition awhile.I'll post the results.
Til next time, "Drink some beer, be safe not stupid, and have fun!"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bottles...Get your bottles...

I guess I was caught a bit unaware. I brewed my first batch of pale ale with some Grolsch bottles I was given and some Lager and root beer bottles I had saved. I managed to also save enough for the 2nd batch, the batch of red ale.
I didn't think of it at the time, kept giving bottles to people to drink and still have some in the fridge, but since I haven't been buying beer, I'm out of bottles! Guess I need to drink more or give away less, I dunno!
As it is now, I have two batches of beer that needs bottled today, and I need about 12 more bottles to do it. Guess I have to start 'making some empties!'
The moral to the story is that, if you arre brewing at home, make sure you save enough bottles, Til next time, "Drink some beer, be safe not stupid, and have fun!"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Very bewitching... say the least!My second batch came out about a week and a half ago. Again, it was very good. I used to be a lager-lover, but I can see myself getting into ales a bit more.
If you sanitize everything, have patience, and follow the instructions, you will get good beer. Trust me, it works!
The red ale is a bit stronger and a bit heavier than the pale ale. It is a bit malty, but not at all bitter. In my opinion, some hops might make it even better, but that is a project for another time (and there will be another time!).
I'm hooked on brewing. I'm trying a few basic recipes, and soon might start experimenting to craft some of my own!
Til the next post..."Drink some beer, be safe not stupid, and have fun!"