Brew update: starting 2014

I confess: I’ve been lazy in updating the blog.  Too many other important things to do I suppose… like brew more beer!   The brewing schedule has been nearly full.

The first beer of 2014 is coming up very soon and I’ll post an update as it develops this week.

Last sip of a Rye IPA-web

Here’s a photo of the last sip of the December 2013 Rye IPA.  I was struck by the clarity as well as the great flavor.  This is the 8th time we’ve brewed this beer and it seems that practice makes (nearly) perfect.

Meanwhile, this is the rundown on the end of 2013:

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I must have “arrived”!

It appears that I’ve “arrived” on the blogging scene.  How else could you explain my comment spam numbers?  I’ve received exactly 14 comments on this blog.  One is legitimate (thanks, Dave!) and 13 are classic blog comment spam.  All of that spam has arrived in the past 3 weeks.  What did I do to deserve this?  What threshold did I cross?  How many real readers are out there?

Please do me a favor.  If you’re seeing this blog and you’re *not* a spammer, just leave a simple comment – something like “I’m real!”  You can leave a bogus email address if you’d  like – it doesn’t matter.  Since spammers can’t resist adding spam and never follow directions I’ll know immediately that you’re not bogus.

Thanks!

UPDATE:  Now there is (still) 1 valid comment and 27 spam/trash comments.  I’m making some code changes but it looks like I may have to shut down comments.

Brewing a Belgian Pale Ale (part 1)

Today is brew day for the Belgian Pale Ale.  The recipe calls for the zest of two Seville “sour” oranges.  I never found them so I’m using the zest of two California Valencia oranges.  Cali-Belgi Pale Ale?

The yeast starter has been developing on the stir-plate since 10 am Saturday.

I’ll post the recipe and the post-brew results later today.

2013 – 2014 brewing “season”

Historically it’s always been difficult to brew beer in the summer.  That’s because it’s hard to control the temperature of the fermentation and that lack of temperature control adversely effects the flavor of the beer.  This year my “summer break” from brewing was mostly because there were too many other things to do. Well, the break is OVER!  Last Saturday I brewed the first beer of this season – a Vanilla Porter.  I have 3 (maybe 4) more brews planned by the end of November.  December, it appears, will be a season of plenty… at least plenty of beer!

 So here’s the season “opener” update: 

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Honey porter follow up

In the Spring I brewed some Honey Porter for the winners of the “youth” auction at our church.  Today, the people who purchased those bottles returned the empties with a note.  I have to share this because, I confess, this is the kind of thing that makes a homebrewer’s heart swell with pride.

Eric

We really enjoyed your beer.  It was one of the best.
You did a great job in making it.

Thanks again
Roe and Ted

I can only reply:
Thank You!  Your auction purchase enabled some great youth events in the next year.
I’m glad to have been of service!

American Amber Ale is bottled – and tastes great!

A week ago I bottled the American Amber Ale that I brewed last month.  The numbers are: O.G.  1.054  F.G.  1.012  and the ABV is 5.4%

I spent some extra time calculating the amount of priming sugar because I’ve had issues with the carbonation being too low in the past.  The recipe called for 3.5 oz of dextrose – I used 4.2 oz.   [Read more →]

American Amber Ale

I just brewed an American Amber Ale based on the recipe on page 220 of John Palmer’s book How To Brew.  It smells great and the fermentation proceeded normally.  I made two “small” changes to the recipe based on the ingredients I could get in a reasonable time-frame.[1]

This is supposed to be ready for my daughter’s college graduation party (Yay!  You Go Girl!) in late July.  I plan for it to be finished in time but it’s going to be close.

[Read more →]

Why am I listening to “old” music?

Recently I’ve been in a groove of listening to old music.  By old I mean 1970′s (ha! take that Beethoven!)

Two of my old albums that were converted to mp3 are both by the same band: Camel.  Moonmadness was my favorite for years but now The Snow Goose is catching up!  Andrew Latimer is an extremely talented (and underrated) guitar player.  If not ahead of his contemporaries he was at least their equal.

I still think the original Moonmadness cover is the best.

Give them a listen – if you’re old enough to handle it : -)

 

Honey Ale and Honey Porter

In the last month I’ve brewed all-grain versions of both of the White House beer recipes: Honey Ale and Honey Porter.   No, I’m not on a “honey” kick… it was the result of a bad guess on my part.

Every March there is an auction (the “Youth Auction”) at our church.  The auction raises funds for youth activities and it is a popular event.  People donate items or services to be auctioned off and the proceeds fund things like trips for the Appalachian Service Project or the youth gathering in New Orleans.  This year I donated a case of empty beer bottles.  The winner of the bidding for these bottles was told to contact me and I would fill those bottles with homebrew beer for them for free.
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Groovy double click?

 

double-click

 

___Groovy___?

A subtle glitch in my Logitech mouse has caused me a lot of grief.

Today I fixed it.

This is the mouse that came with the S501 keyboard I use daily (for hours.)  Because of the glitch I had resorted to some older Logitech mice  for the past few years but in early February I retired those old mice and went back to the mouse that matched the keyboard.

This mouse had a mind of it’s own (so to speak) and would double-click on a single click about 50% of the time.  That, as you might imagine, was extremely irritating.  Now I remembered why I had put it in the drawer and resorted to the old mice. [Read more →]