What I Have Learned So Far

Brew 003 – Summer Ale

Summer outdoor brew days here in Arizona have to be done in the morning… early morning.  You can can put that in your book of brewing right now.  I have.  Unfortunately drinking home brewed beer the night before, in quantity, doesn’t really lend itself to early to bed early to rise.

Today I brewed my third batch of beer and it went pretty well.  I did a Summer Ale from a Brewer’s Best kit and, at the recommendation of one of the brew masters over at “What Ale’s Ya” I included an addition of a pound of honey at the end of the boil.

This brew marked two firsts for me… well, three but we’ll get to the third one a bit later.

  1. This kit included a “Spice Pack”, basically dried citrus peels.
  2. This was the first time I added anything that wasn’t part of the kit.

I don’t want to go into to much depth about this brew in this post because we also did a video of it and I am just waiting to find the time to edit it.  But I will tell you the mistake I made and the lesson I learned from it towards the end.

I had notes that I wrote to follow.  I didn’t read my notes carefully enough.  I thought I remembered.

After the boil I when to chill the wort in an ice bath to take it down to 110° F… but I thought I remembered those instructions.. after all I am an old pro at it now with all of two other brews under my belt.  And I did remember it… but I remembered the temp at 170° F.  So I cooled my wort down to 170° F, transferred it to my fermentation bucket, added the three gallons of cold water (from the fridge) to bring the amount to 5 gallons and to cool the wort to 80° F so I could pitch the yeast.  Only one problem… the temp only dropped down to 120° F.  And now there are FIVE gallons of wort to cool instead of two.

You can probably see the panic in my eyes when the video is done.  Or maybe you won’t because I shut the camera’s off while I tried to figure out what to do.  WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO DO?

What I did: I didn’t catch this on video but I stuck it in my keg-o-rator for a few hours.  I am lucky I had that because I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t.  I don’t have any other firdge that would take a 6 gallon fermentation bucket without removing shelves… and upsetting other people.  So I was lucky.  And we didn’t video tape that and I will probably try to cut around it and make like it didn’t happen in the video.  But it did happen and here I am admitting it to you.  So there.

Got the yeast pitched at 80° F, got it all sealed away and it now sits in my closet.  I probably will keg this one.  Looking forward to tasting it that is for sure.

Sanitization and it’s link to Fermentation

I’ve only gotten so far in my research as of yet but the main point I am learning from forums is that new brewers should concentrate on their sanitization and fermentation techniques to start out with.  Hey, I am all for anything that gets people who hang out on internet forums all day long to bathe a little more often.  Just kidding guys, you smell like flowers.

Another helping Ms. O'donnell?

From my readings I am noticing that there is a huge connection between a successful fermentation cycle and making sure that everything that touches your batch has been thouroughly sanitized after it has gone through the initial phase of boiling.  Yeast is, apparently, not real picky in what it will eat and seems to be hungrier than Rosy O’Donnell after a 12 minute walk…. okay that was unfair, she’s probably that hungry after walking 6 minutes.

So the procedure I took in this weekend’s delabeling of my beer bottles won’t cut it.  I never really thought it would but I thought it would be good enough until it came time to bottle and then I would sanitize the bottles and be done with it.  But from what I have read just the act of the bottles sitting around without having been thoroughly cleaned will give them the chance to grow tiny biological experiments inside them and that is not something I’ll want to deal with at the last minute.
Continue reading “Sanitization and it’s link to Fermentation” »

How To Brew


This has to be the number one recommended book for those who wish to learn to make their own home brewed beer. I picked it up and it has a wealth of knowledge in it. I highly recommend it.

Last time I checked Amazon was selling it for only $10.49 which is a lot less then what I got it for.

What’s Brewing

On Deck: Dunkelweizen & English Brown Ale
Fermenter: Empty
Bottled: Vienna Lager (As an Ale)
On Tap: Summer Ale

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