Planet Beer

This is a blog about making beer, primarily ME making beer. However, it will also teach you how to homebrew---either all grain or with little cans of goo. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mo Better Cider

Since Friday, the cider has gone from 1.052 to 1.020, yielding a very drinkable cider with 4% abv. You can see by the photo that the color has changed to nearly orange juicy. The flavor is excellent, not too dry or sweet, and the cider is well-carbonated to the extent that you can see bubbles when it's poured, although there is no head on it. Both batches, the one and five gallon, are still slowly fermenting, and I'll leave them alone for awhile to see what happens next. There are two different yeasts in use, and the five gallon batch is noticeably drier, even though the specific gravity is now at 1.024 in the big bottle. Happy Halloween!

Update: the cider fermented all the way to 1.003, making it quite the headbanger. It's dry but very refreshing. I'm saving a few bottles to see what happens later...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fun With Cider

Ever wondered what would happen if you added brewer's yeast to cider? Me too. I made a five gallon batch and pitched it with yeast from the Ginger Porter, and a one gallon batch pitched with half a packet of yeast (about 3.5 grams) shown here with an airlock. I'm thinking you could just use the cap from the jug, threaded loosely. Mike O'Brien tells me the cider should ferment all the way down, so we'll check that. The starting gravity was 1.052. I let it warm to 60 degrees F before pitching, and fermentation was obvious in a few hours in both the one and five gallon batches. I used pasteurized cider with NO potassium sorbate, which is sometimes added to inhibit fermentation.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Detroit News Article

Cheers for beer makers

Craft brewers' sales up, but they say state law is stalling growth

Louis Aguilar | The Detroit News / The Detroit News

Ok, this post was Supposed to be on this page! Thanks to Patti for the link.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Big Orange Thang

I'm not sure how much you can see, but this last batch is definitely orange. It's very light, abv 4%. A keeper.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A bit of Red

Here's a new batch that just finished today:
5 pounds Munton's lager malt
1 pound Belgian aromatic malt
1 pound Vienna malt
4 ounces roasted barley

Mash at 145 F for 60 minutes, 60 minute boil. 8 quarts mash water, 4 gallon sparge at 170 F.
Hops: 1st addition (start of boil) 1 ounce 4.5% Willamette
2nd addition (30 minutes) 1 ounce 2.9% Saaz
3rd addition (15 minutes) 1 ounce 3.6% Saaz
Yeast: Irish ale, White labs, from batch of ginger porter
Original gravity: 1.040
Final gravity: 1.008
Alcohol by Volume: 4%

This brew is a session red, dry with malt taste prevailing slightly. Some hop bitterness and aroma. Photo to follow...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Results and stuff

The Ginger Porter attenuated nicely. The taste is no longer overwhelming, the aroma is quite strong. The head really IS that dark and foamy. I've socked away a dozen 750 ml bottles for aging, this glass came from the keg. There's a piece in Men's Journal on the 25 best beers in America. It's just a list, but it has some neat stuff. Take a look!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ginger Porter

Photos: top, the ginger ready to go into the boil. It's in a cheesecloth sock. below, the ginger root prior to grating.

Recently, I attempted to find out how much ginger was too much. I have to say, I think I've found out. So, you might want to use around 2 ounces of fresh root, rather than the 4.75 ounces I used. Anywayz, here's the recipe:

8 pounds Crisp pale 2-row
1 pound C40 (crystal malt)
1 pound chocolate malt
1 pound munich malt
2 ounces black patent malt
as usual, I add 1 tsp. gypsum to the water to buffer. Also, this mash was done at 140 degrees, to give it a very dry taste (rather overboard, imho---it's REALLY dry)
2 ounces of Willamette hops, 4.5% alpha, all in at start of boil, which is for 60 minutes. Yeast is White Labs Irish Ale, I don't think the White Labs is nearly active enough, and would prefer Wyeast if it was available locally. It took over 24 hours to get active fermentation.
Add 2-4 ounces grated ginger root at 30 minutes from End of Boil, 1 tsp Irish Moss 15 minutes from EOB.

I'll probably bottle most of this, as it seems to need aging. Starting gravity was 1.062, final gravity 1.015. Alcohol by Volume, 6%.