This Week on BrewZasters: One Gallon Batches

You know that you would like to brew your own beer but:

  • You don’t have time to brew your own beer.
  • You don’t have the space (because you live in an apartment) to brew your own beer.
  • You don’t have the money to brew your own beer. All the extra equipment can really drain the wallet.
  • You live in an apartment, you don’t have room to store all that stuff to be able to brew your own beer.

As Charlie Papazian says, “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew,” perhaps, micro batch brewing may meet your needs. For our purposes, micro batches are one to three gallons in size. And, they can be as simple or complex as you wish to do, and some can be done in under an hour. It’s easy to make beer. People have been brewing their own beer for as long as they have been growing grains (there is evidence that it’s even longer than that). If you can make oatmeal, you can make beer (in beer’s case you’d throw away the oatmeal and keep the liquid). At its most basic, beer is made from water, malted barley, hops, yeast and, sometimes, other stuff.

Making beer involves three or four steps:

  1. You boil the batch
  2. You ferment the batch
  3. You bottle the batch
  4. (Optional) You drink the batch.

I’ve brewed three micro (one-gallon) batches of beer and have had good results using the following recipes:

15-Minute Pale Ale (15 minute Boil That is)

4.3 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)
1 lbs 3.1 oz Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
27 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 15.0 min
11 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 5.0 min
3 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min
0.5 pkg. Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)

See Ya Nevada Pale Ale

2.6 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)
1 lb. 1.6 oz Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
9.33 g German Perle [6.50 %]
7.01 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min
7.01 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min
9.39 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min
0.5 pkg. Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast

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Drying hops.

Hop cone in the Hallertau, Germany, hop yard

Hop cone in a commercial  hop yard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zeus hops drying outside on a window screen. Today’s temperatures are in the high 80’s to low 90’s.

I received a call yesterday from a friend. “Would you like to pick some hops today?” You cannot say no to free hops. Though the task took about 3-4 hours from beginning to end–drive over, pick hops, drink a beer, drink another beer (must stay hydrated after all) pack hops into car, drive back, separate hops flower from hopbine, and spread out on screen to dry–it was fun and odorific. It was also completely uneconomical.

While drinking homebrew, we picked individual hops and crushed them between fingers and thumbs to smell the resins and oils. We talked about what we would make with these hops.

I wound up with Zeus, Nugget, and Cascade hops (no telling how much until the hops dry–but less than a pound no doubt). If you figure how much your time is worth (economists call this an opportunity cost) it makes more sense, form an economic point of view, to buy the hops and pay the shipping charges. That said, it was so worth it and I would do it again in a New York heartbeat.

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This Week on BrewZasters: Bottling Laurel India Pale Ale

Last time on BrewZasters), we lost all of our  Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale clone  from our three Tap-a-Draft bottles.

Tap-a-Drafts are a compromise between bottles and kegs. It’s nice filling only three bottles…The handle has an issue. If you do not confirm that the handle is secure and the locking tab is in place, it leaks… About 15 minutes later the beer had found its way into vegetable crisper (onions, celery, and lettuce were marinating in beer), behind and under the crisper, and onto the kitchen floor…we lost one-third of our product, or about $10 retail. Damn. [Update: Lightning struck twice and a second TAD leaked. The TAD needs to be checked constantly.]

My version of Laurel IPA. Slightly cloudy with a SRM color around 6.

Well, gluttons for punishment that we are, today we packaged our third batch of Laurel India Pale Ale. The initial tastings of the flat beer hint at this being another dynamite batch. This time we filled just one Tap-A-Draft so that we can sample the Laurel sooner but we didn’t expose all our batch to the TAD [I checked that it was still holding product after writing this sentence.] We bottled the remainder in 12-ounce bottles.

We will keep constant vigilance on this batch. It is a sin to spill beer.

Fermentables
Ingredient    Amount        %         MCU    When
Pale 2-row 
Ale Malt     13lb 15oz     94.7 %    7.6   In Mash/Steeped
Carapils Malt  7.20 oz     3.1 %     0.1   In Mash/Steeped
Caramel 40L    5.40 oz     2.3 %     2.5   In Mash/SteepedHop Schedule
Hop                     %Alpha     Amt         Timing
Magnum                 11.0 %     0.77 oz    First Wort Hopped
Cascade                 5.9 %     1.85 oz   60 Min From End
Centennial              9.5 %     0.75 oz   30 Min From End
Simcoe                 12.5 %     0.30 oz   10 Min From End
Columbus(Tomahawk)     15.5 %     0.30 oz   10 Min From End
Centennial              9.5 %     0.45 oz   At turn off
Cascade                 5.9 %     0.20 oz   At turn off
Cascade                 5.9 %     2.12 oz   Dry-Hopped
Centennial              9.5 %     1.15 oz   Dry-Hopped
Citra                  11.1 %     1.00 oz   Dry-Hopped
Yeast
 White Labs WLP001-California Ale

mashed at 151F using 9 gallons of water
Output:
7.5 gallons wort pre-boil grav 1.044 @ 113F (Corrected pre-boil of 1.053)
Original gravity: 1.065
Final Gravity: 1.013
ABV: 6.9%

This Week on BrewZasters: Kegging our Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ clone

The finished product.

Last time on Brew Disasters (from now on to be referred to as BrewZasters), we had sampled our clone of Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale and detected  hints of clove (phenolics) and banana (isoamyl acetate) in the aroma and taste.

And we here at Flog This Dead Brewery wondered  if, given these possible imperfections, should we throw the whole batch down the drain, as Dogfish Head Brewing did in nearly every episode of Brew Masters? Hell no! Was our answer. We dry-hopped the bejeezus out of it with  2.33 oz   of  Cascade 1.0 oz of Simcoe, 0.53 oz of Columbus (Tomahawk), 0.45 oz of Perle, and 0.15 oz of Nugget–if a hop was in stock it went into the carboy. And, we hoped time would do its magic and remove the off-flavors.

Tasting Notes – NOT cloned – but not bad

After another two weeks in the secondary, the beer is not a clone but it tastes pretty darn awesome. The hops jump out of the glass and hit your nose like a wave of citrus and pine. It’s light in color (about 5 SRM). When you sip the hops hit your tongue first and it finishes with a bright citrus flavor with some pine in the background.

Troubles in kegging bottling Tap-A-Drafting

For bottling, we added 4 ounces of corn sugar and put the beer in our three Tap-a-Draft bottles. Tap-a-Drafts are a compromise between bottles and kegs. It’s nice filling only three bottles rather than 52 12-ounce bottles. A 16 ounce CO2 cartridge charges up the system and carbonates it. The handle has an issue. If you do not confirm that the handle is secure and the locking tab is in place, it leaks. This is what happened: I missed making sure the handle was completely secured and put it in the refrigerator. About 15 minutes later the beer had found its way into vegetable crisper (onions, celery, and lettuce were marinating in beer), behind and under the crisper, and onto the kitchen floor. Not quite as large a mess as the time the glue from labeler in Dogfish Head Brewing spilled all over, but a mess it was. And, we lost one-third of our product, or about $10 retail. Damn.

 

Sam Calagione has much higher standards than we do. His company has flavor profiles and everything. Whereas our motto is “When in doubt, hop the bejeezus out of  it.”