Lake County Homebrew Club to Meet 6 PM June 18, 2012 at Guido’s Pizza

Are you in Lake County and want to learn how to make your own beer? We can help.

Our next scheduled Lake County Homebrew Club (visit our Facebook page here) meeting is set for Monday June 18th, 2012 at 6 PM at at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville.

We do not have an agenda, but I would bet we will be talking about the Lake County Home Wine Makers Festival, which will take place in Lakeport, CA on June 23rd from 1:00-5:00 pm.

In the past we have poured samples of our homebrew at this event. This year, sadly, we will not be pouring samples. While the California Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) may issue a special daily license to a group conducting a picnic, social, or similar gathering, the local ABC officials interpret this as applying only to commercially made beer and wine.

According to the American Homebrewers Association page on statutes:

California represents one of the most comprehensive state statutes. §23356.2 also provides for the removal of beer manufactured in the home for use in competitions, tastings, or judgings.

It seems ABC interprets these tastings to be between others who are also homebrewers. And, they can, without a warrant, confiscate brewing equipment.

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Upcoming Lake County Homebrew Club Meeting May 21, 2012 at Guido’s Pizza

Live in Lake County, Calif and make or want to learn how to make your own beer? Join us.

Our next scheduled Lake County Homebrew Club (visit our Facebook page here) meeting is set for Monday May 21, 2012 at 6 PM at at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville.

Among other things, we will talk about the Big Brew we had on May 5, the upcoming Lake County Winemakers Fest, taste and evaluate each others beers, and we will be tasting spices, fruits, and whatever we might want to try to steep in beers using French presses.

Bring a glass (wineglasses work well) for tasting, and (if you are a homebrewer) bring some of your homebrew to share.

For more information, contact Paul at coachpaul707@gmail.com

Cheers!

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale…the bottling

It’s been nearly a month since we at Flog This Dead Brewing avoided injuring even though we boiled 10 gallons of wort for over 3 hours inside a drafty hall filled with randomly running children and tipsy people. We were able to move the wort into fermenting carboys and added yeast at which point the wort changed (legally at least) into beer. A week later we took a sample (using a wine thief, essentially a long plastic pipette)  and its specific gravity measured 1.023.  Though there were some “dish soap” tastes–probably phenols produced by the yeast.

Hydrometer shows the finishing specific gravity of 1.014

After one month in the primary and secondary combined, and two weeks after dry-hopping with an ounce of cascade hops, the specific gravity has reached its final gravity of 1.014.

So today, the beer will be bottled and set aside for bottle conditioning. Bottle conditioning is the process of adding sugars to the beer to awaken the yeast and get them working again. Their burping of carbon dioxide inside the bottle will carbonate the beer.

But, first we will taste the month-old beer to see how it’s doing so far. The beer has a deep red color with a floral nose and taste (reminiscent of rose petals). The soapiness is gone and hoppiness jumps out at you but it is still slightly sweet. In future batches, I think the malt might use a little more presence. Since this was an extract brew there was not much we could do about that. The yeast ate the extract and left the beer a little drier. In an all-grain batch I might try mashing in the 155F (68C) range which will leave some more unfermentable sugars that the yeast can’t digest.

I’ve decided to experiment  with the flavor profile by bottle conditioning half of the batch with corn sugar (0.46  oz/gal) and half with honey (0.56 oz/gal). I’m interested to see how the honey will play with the already great flavors. It may be too much of a good thing. We will know in a few more weeks which method was the right choice.

Carbonation calculation for a brown ale.

Here’s the recipe for the Big Irish American Red beer:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM

Cervesariis Feliciter.” (“Long live the Brewsters”) — Ancient Roman Blessing

Lake County Homebrew Club Meeting April 23, 2012 at Guido’s Pizza

Live in Lake County and want to learn how to make your own beer? We can help.

Our next scheduled Lake County Homebrew Club (visit our Facebook page here) meeting is set for Monday April 23rd, 2012 at 6 PM at at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville. For the Big Brew on National Homebrew Day (Saturday, May 5, 2012) the tentative plan is to brew a New Holland Dragon’s Milk clone and hopefully procure a 55-60 gallon bourbon barrel to age it in although this is not set in stone.  Leave a comment if you have other ideas.

And, leave a comment if you are  interested in brewing at Big Brew Day, and whether you want to brew 5 or 10 gallons.  We may have extra equipment for mashing.

Anyone out there with a 55-60 gallon bourbon barrel that will loan it (for 6 months) or sell it for a song? Let me know in the comments.
Cheers!

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale follow-up/Taste and Specific Gravity

Here's Big Red at 1 week old

Last week in brew disasters at the Rhythm and Brews festival in Lakeport, CA on Saturday, Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012, Paul and Norm avoided scalding anyone while producing 10 gallons of Big Irish American Red beer wort in 30 minutes 3 hours inside a drafty hall filled with randomly running children people unaware that we were boiling liquid.

Today, I took my first sample of the wort beer (That’s it on the right ==>). The specific gravity measured at 1.023. That’s after one week in the fermenter at 64F. I tasted it too. It’s okay. Though there are some “dish soap” tastes–probably phenols produced by the yeast. I’m hoping that a week or two longer in the carboy helps. Unless, it really is dish soap then there’s no hope for it.

Should I add more yeast to try to get the specific gravity down to 1.015 and clean up some of those phenol tastes?

Ingredients:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM

Cervesariis Feliciter.” (“Long live the Brewsters”) — Ancient Roman Blessing

Lake County Homebrew Club Meeting March 26, 2012 at Guido’s Pizza

Want to make your own? We can help.

The next meeting of the Lake County Homebrew Club is scheduled for Monday March 26, 2012 at 6 PM at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville.  Don’t forget to bring ideas for a club project, a glass and, if possible, some homebrew to share.

Cheers!

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale (after the Rhythm & Brews event)

In this photograph, emergency medical technici...

Fortunately these guys weren't needed. No one got hurt too badly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week in brew disasters:Paul and Norm were up to the challenge of producing 10 gallons of beer wort in 30 minutes 3 hours inside a drafty hall filled with randomly running children and less than sober people who have no idea that we were boiling liquid at the Rhythm and Brews festival in Lakeport, CA on Saturday, Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012.

Speaking of no ideas. I have no idea of how many health and safety codes we might have violated. I love brewing. Brew days just stoke me with excitement. But, if we were to do this again, I would like to see: signs to caution people to the dangers of boiling liquids, first aid supplies for burns and emergency medical technicians close by, cordons around the boil kettles, in other words a decent incident action plan (IAP).

Thankfully, no one was injured.

The yeast joined the wort at 6:45pm on Saturday and by 6am on Sunday the beer showed active fermentation.

Ingredients for Big Irish American Ale:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG (Measured 1.060)
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale

Hop cone in the Hallertau, Germany, hop yard

Hang out with me at Rhythm & Brews. (Image via Wikipedia)

This week in brew disasters: will Paul and Norm be up to the challenge of producing a beer in 30 minutes inside a drafty hall filled with people who have no idea what the boiling liquid is for and why hops smell like pot?

Maybe not.

But, you can find out how easy brewing beer really is. Come join me and others from the Lake County Homebrewers group at the Rhythm and Brews festival in Lakeport, CA on Saturday, Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012.

“Cervesariis Feliciter.” (“Long live the Brewsters”) — Ancient Roman Blessing

At 1:30 pm, we will boiling 12 1/2 gallons of wort (the raw beer before yeast is added) for 10 1/2 gallons of what we are calling a Big Irish American Red Ale. We only have 30 minutes on the schedule so we’ll be using liquid malt extract instead of soaking (mashing)  two-row malted barley in hot water to extract the starches and sugars. We will be steeping some specialty grains to add color (Lovibond–L–denotes darkness) and flavor. The specialty grains are: 40 L crystal malt, 120 L crystal malt, 300 L roasted barley. [Update: boiling liquids and drunk people dancing…should be fun!]

Ingredients:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM

Update [2/15/2012]: I’m working on a starter yeast for this beer using John Palmer’s How to Brew.

AHA Big Brew Day 2012 in Lake County

According to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) site the AHA Big Brew – A Celebration of National Homebrew Day will be on May 5, 2012. And, the two recipes of the day will be 1) an American Brown Ale or a or 2) Northern English Brown Ale. The link to these recipes are at http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/BigBrew2012.

The setup on patio of Guido's Pizza in Kelseyville

The Lake County Homebrewers as a group have not yet decided where (although the Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast has offered to host the club) and what to brew on the AHA Big Brew Day 2012. Last year we brewed a stout that was then aged in a bourbon barrel.

We’d like to try another barrel, so if anyone knows of a barrel–cheap–we’d love to hear about it.

From no brew to homebrew – equipment

Bottling Hardware

Bottling Hardware (Photo credit: ilovebutter)

Are you interested in getting into home brewing? Would you like to make ales and beers that are as good as (or better than) what you can buy in the store or find on tap? You can. I know you can make good beer because I make good beer–without high tech equipment. The equipment should cost less than $100 and you can make beer for between $.50 and $1.50 per bottle (depending on what you want to make).

Here’s a link to a post, From no brew to homebrew: Make your own beer in 3 simple steps, on what you’ll need to get started. Basically what you’ll need is:

1-Ingredient kit. (For starters, go with a kit that uses malt extract. Don’t start with an all-grain kit right out of the chute. The link above has links to a number of online kits.)

2-Equipment kit. (The link above also has links to a number of online kits.)

3-cleaner, sanitizer, and a few other things (like bottles).

All of the equipment kits should have:

  •   A plastic fermenter with airlock (either food grade buckets with lids or plastic carboys). Some homebrewers prefer only glass carboys because glass doesn’t scratch. Plastic will accumulate scratches over time that will harbor batch-destroying bacteria, so it’s a good idea to replace them after several uses. The recommended replacement period ranges from five uses to one year. Glass breaks and makes shards that cut and puncture. Replacing 20 plastic buckets is much less expensive than one trip to the emergency room. 
  • A priming bucket for bottling. After the beer has finished fermenting, it’s transfered to a priming bucket where sugar is mixed with it (for ‘conditioning,’ aka carbonation, in the bottle).
  • A hydrometer. The specific gravitity (OG-original gravitiy) at the beginning of fermentation and at the end of fermentation (FG – final gravitiy) determines the alcohol content. Do not bottle if the specific gravity is still dropping!
  • A bottle capper.

Beyond those things, you should have:

  • 2 1/2 cases of 12 ounce bottles (non twist offs and not clear or green-light makes beer ‘skunky’)
  • A 20 quart brew pot (if you can’t fit a 20 qt on your stove, you’ll need to do a partial boil. For how to do a partial boil MoreBeer has instructions in PDF format here.)
  • A food grade thermometer (candy thermometers work). I use a Taylor digital thermometer. They’re inexpensive (under $20) and won’t shatter in your wort.
  • An auto-siphon with 4-6 feet of tubing
  • A bottle filler with 3-5 feet of tubing

Here are parts 1 & 2 of Alton Brown of the Food Network giving good information on home brewing. He shows how to do a partial boil with whole hops (this is a style preference, most hops you’ll be able to find are pelletized). The only niggle I have is he says that “dry hopping” is the addition of hops at the end of the boil. Dry hopping is the addition of hops in the fermenter after fermentation has stalled.