drinking and brewing

January 6th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Since I last posted, we have done some damage the been inventory, and found a few open spots in the keezer again.  Between time off for the holidays in Nov and Dec, and taking lots of growers to dinners and parties, we made quite a dent.  In the time that has past, we have emptied out the Hefe (#8), the Citra (#9) and finally hit the bottom of our cider, which was the first experiment in fermentation we ever did, before our first brew batch in fall of 2011.  The cider from the spring of 2012 had been aging for well over 6 months, so we get it in to a keg and carbed it.  We are trying to take our time with it, as we have no cider in the queue at the moment.  High prices and a busy fall means we never got around to doing a batch.  I plan on doing some reading about store brand ciders/juices that work well for fermenting, and hope to get something started soon.

So, currently, we have the Coffee Porter (#11) and the spring ’12 cider on tap.  But, we’ve been brewing a bunch, so there is a few batches sitting under the bench fermenting or aging.  In late November, we brewed a batch of Oatmeal Milk Stout, which is finishing up it’s 4 weeks of secondary aging in a keg right now.  That should be ready mid Janurary.  We’ve also did a blondish Vegas Gold (#13) kit from CNC, did another batch of the HMIPA (#14), the 60 Minute clone, and last night, we brewed up a batch of Fat Tire Snow Ryde (#15), which is a Fat Tire clone w/ rye added.

The HMIPA is just about ready to keg, and 2 other batches coming up mid-Jan, so we should be able to fill those empty spots pretty quickly.

Other other minor brewing notes are a cabinet in the basement to keep the brewing supplies, upgraded the brew bench by removing the warping chip board shelfs, and putting in some 5/8 ‘plywood shelves, using the higher quality ‘project’ indoor plywood.  I also put some stick on vinyl flooring squares on the top, to make the table top more waterproof.  I also expanded the chalk paint on the top of the keezer, to allow more room for writing.

Below are some pictures from last nights brew.  First time we’ve brew this late, or in the dark.

 

steeping the grains

steeping the grains

 

brewing in the dark

brewing in the dark

 

..and in the cold

..and in the cold

 

finishing up the brew

finishing up the brew

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Brew on Tap

March 1st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Well, all of this work finally resulted in a final product: our own homebrewed beer on tap.

Black Tornado

The beer was actually transfered out of the secondary into the keg in the middle of February, but I had just got the keg chilled and carbonated when we headed up north to the Upper Pennsula for vacation.  We’ve been enjoying the beer since we’ve gotten back, and I have to say I’m impressed with our frist batch.

Pint of Black Tornado

I wasn’t sure what to think when I first tried it.  I mean, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite right.  But, I think the carbonation was still settling in, as the pint I had the next day was much better.  Marty had the same opinion about it’s improvement.  But, then we left for a week, which probably helped the beer age a bit more, because going down pretty smooth now.  One friend has tried it and found it tasty, but I have to have a couple more people sample it before it’s gone, to get a bit more feedback.  I’m happy with drinkable the batch turned out, for being my first attempt, and knowing the various mistakes that were made.  Goes to show that evening with some mistakes, you can still produce a fairly good, drinkable beer.

Inside the Keezer

The keezer itself is pretty much finished.  I still have to get a drink tray, and also stain and hang the board for mounting it.  I also have to put some foam on the inside of the collar.  I removed the old foam when I was mounting the manifold and air lines.  Steve had some dense pink foam left over from his keezer, so he gave me a piece to use.  I just have to take the time to cut and glue it on.

The Taps

The taps look very nice all mounted up.  I’ll probably get some nicer generic handles, but I haven’t bothered to start to look yet.  I’ll know when I find them.

The Keezer

The chalk paint came out quite nice.  I’ve been letting Marty do that, since I’m unable to do anything readable.  She’s been talking about spending some time doing something creative with it.  We’ve also seen some liquid chalk pens that look like they could be very nice to use.

Two Ales and a Cider

Marty’s Autumn Ale is going to be ready for transferring into a keg by this weekend, and we should have it on tap next week.  I also picked up a Two Hearted clone kit at Adventures in Homebrewing last weekend.  We were downtown for a car show, and decided to go check out their store in Taylor, since I also needed a new keg for the Autumn Ale.  We brewed the clone last Sunday, and I want to get another batch into the queue within the next couple of week.  The cider should finally be ready to tap in April too, having been given a solid 6 months to age.

More Keezer Project Updates.

February 4th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

So, I decided to migrate the updates about the keezer project over onto the brews page.

My friend Steve decided to build a collar and add taps to his keezer, and asked if I wanted to see if he could find a good price for a purchase of 8 taps and hardware.  I had been getting ready to buy taps, he wanted the same brand/model that I did (Perlick 525SS) and was willing to the leg work.  I pointed him toward a guy on eBay that had  a whole kit with our preferred model, and it was the best price either of us could find.  He sent a note to the guy, and ended up with an even slightly better price, per unit, on a lot of 8.

I did research about the size of the holes to drill for the shanks, and found 7/8″ to the common answer.  As it ends up, I had to open up the holes to 1″, as the shanks wouldn’t fit.  Not a big deal, and was able to get that taken care of in 10 minutes or so.

Now, I have to wait for the manifold and my gas side connectors to come in the mail next week, and a visit to Cap n Cork to pick up the hoses and final fittings.  At that point, I should have the taps up and running just in time for our first batch of homebrew to be ready to keg and serve.

I still have to get a drip tray ordered and built.  I know which tray I want, and have the solution worked out.  But, that’s not a showstopper, so that can wait till after the taps are working.

Taps installed Back of taps.