Homebrewing


Lots has been happening here and we are ready to share the great news with you all.

Andrew built me a deck garden, and my seedlings are aching to get in it. This week looks like it is going to be unseasonably cold, so I’ll be waiting until next week to transplant them I think. Get ready for some great photos!

Our outdoor composting is going great–I’ll have posts on both the composting and the garden this week (along with a post on my favorite gelato place in NYC…yum!).

Andrew officially entered his first homebrewing competition! His contender is DELICIOUS. The competition goes down June 15, read all about it at Bklyn Foodie.

And finally, last week I was a guest blogger at Great Performances’ blog, The Dish. If you don’t know what Great Performances is, they are the folks behind Mae Mae Cafe, Wave Hill Cafe, and Sotheby’s Terrace Cafe, just to name a few. They also have their own organic farm upstate, Katchie Farm. They featured my recipe for Hazelnut Pesto with Angel Hair Pasta–check it out and let me know what you think. Thanks guys!

I often get asked the question, “What’s your favorite beer?” Anybody who knows beer knows how difficult it is to single out one beer as the favorite. Instead, I usually name my two favorite styles: Porters and Stouts. I just love really dark beers with a rich malt forward taste. This cloning attempt is of one of the best Porters, Fuller’s London Porter.


From the Jan-Feb ’09 issue of
Brew Your Own magazine

5 gallons, all grain
OG = 1.054
FG = 1.015
IBU = 30
SRM = 46
ABV = 5%

Ingredients:
7.5lbs Halcyon pale malt (I substituted Maris Otter)
1.5 lbs Brown Malt
1 lb English crystal malt 75L
1.3 oz Fuggle hops (60 min)
.67 oz Fuggle hops (15 mins)
Wyeast 1968 or White Labs 002 yeast

Procedure:
Mash at 153 degrees for 60 minutes at a mash thickness of 1.3 qt./lb. Boil for 60 minutes. Ferment at 62 degrees.

I’ve had good results with most beers by making a large yeast starter before hand. In lieu of not having a large enough erlenmeyer flask for a half-gallon starter, I’ve improvised by using a Whole Foods carboy.

Milling

Sweet Wort

Hop Plugs

This session turned out great and I can’t wait for a side-by-side tasting in a few weeks. This coming weekend’s brew session will include a Dunkelweizen. I’ve already pitched the yeast starter, and came home yesterday to a discover that the krausen had built up so much inside the carboy that it managed to blow out the foam stopper and made a yeasty mess all over the place. (Luckily, the carboy didn’t break.) I added some Fermcap foam control so I don’t come home to that mess again. Those pictures will be in next week’s Dunkelweizen post.

This past weekend I set out with two goals in mind: brew five gallons of beer on Saturday and brew five gallons of beer on Sunday. Anything else I accomplished would be considered a bonus.

Grinding the Pilsner Grain

As an insurance policy to make sure that both brewing sessions would take place, I made two yeast starters in advance mid-week. I am still getting accustomed to blogging my every brew, and forgot to take pictures of the yeast starters. I’ll make it up to you this week.

Hands-free sparging

So as planned, I was in the Drewery (No that’s not a typo, I named my basement brewery after myself–Andrew’s Brewery didn’t have the same ring to it.) for the better portion of Saturday and Sunday while the rest of the tri-state area was experiencing torrential weather.Trees were falling down, shingles were flying off my neighbors’ roofs, and I was brewing my third and fourth batches of all grain beers; a Bohemian Pilsner and a Kolsch. Both recipes were taken from Brew Your Own (BYO) magazine from the Style Profile section.

Recirculating the Kolsch

For every style of beer I brew, I give it two attempts. The first batch I try brewing as close to the style (if it even fits into the style guidelines) as possible. The second batch I usually tweak based on the results of the first. If after two genuine attempts, I feel that neither recipe can be added to my portfolio, I abandon the style until the next year, or until a spot opens in my brewing schedule. My brewing schedule consists of nothing more than a list of recipes I want to brew and their ideal fermentation temperatures: I brew lagers in the fall and winter months and ales in the spring and summer months.

Kolsch Spent Mash

On the schedule for next weekend is a clone of the wonderful Fuller’s Porter. In the meantime, the Pilsner is fermenting in a 50 degree room while the Kolsch is fermenting at 60 degrees. In about two months, I’ll be bottling these brews, and I’ll give you an update on them then. Right now I’m bottle conditioning a Golden Lager (pre-prohibition style lager) and I’ll report back when I crack open the first bottle.

With the empty Pilsner grain sack

(Just a note: Charlotte has power back! She’ll be up and cooking by Wednesday, and you don’t want to miss her festive treats!)