Double Brew Weekend

March 12th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Will probably post with more details on the brew days soon, but we have three batches in the carboys after a double batch Sunday. A few weeks ago, we did a Two Heart clone, which is in the secondary, and should be transferred to a keg this week.

Popping their tops.

This Saturday, we brewed a Fat Tire clone followed by an English Pub Ale.  The pub ale took off right away, but the Fat Tire clone took a good 24 hours to get rolling.

Black Tornado and Autumn Ale are both on tap.

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.

Brewing Beer: Cap n Cork Autumn Ale

February 10th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

ABV: 5.8%

IBU: 24

Description: This amber ale is malty sweet, with a hint of carmel, use Wyeast 2206 to lager it and you have an authentic German Oktoberfest on your hands.


We wanted to brew another batch of beer pretty soon after the first – while everything was still fresh in our minds.  This time, I picked the brew.  I spied this kit once before when browsing at Cap n Cork, so the weekend following our first brew, we bought the kit and brewed!

Autumn Ale

We heated the pot of water to 170 degrees, turned off the heat and added the grains.  The recipe called for a much longer steep than the Black Tornado.  This allowed us plenty of time to watch – fascinated – as the temperature slowly dropped.

Autumn Ale 001

The heat held above 150 for about 40 minutes.  We turned the burner back on for the last few minutes to keep the temperature up.

Autumn Ale 003

I thought the grains for this beer were an amazing color.  And so tasty after the steep – I could almost have eaten them with a spoon.

After rinsing the grains, we moved the works to the driveway and fired up the propane.

Autumn Ale 005 Autumn Ale 006

We brought everything to a boil and then turned off the heat, added extracts and hops and boiled again, for 60 minutes.  Our friend Steve came by to help/keep company/bring lunch.

Autumn Ale 004 Autumn Ale 002

When the boiling was done, we moved into the basement to cool the wort and transfer it to a carboy.  Since our basement is a bit chilly, Nick put an old sweatshirt on the carboy to insulate it a bit.

Autumn Ale 008


It took me so long to get to this post, that we’ve already transferred this beer to the secondary fermentor (the Black Tornado too!).

MG 5228


Black Tornato is getting keg’d this weekend; Autumn will get keg’d sometime around the first of March.

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.

Brewing Beer: Sherwood Black Tornado Hop Stout

January 23rd, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

ABV: 6.2%

IBU: 60

Description: A love child of an IPA and American Stout, this ale balances dark roast flavors and aggressive American dry hops making it go down easy like any sexy Sherwood beer.


Nick was a fan of this beer when he first had it at Sherwood Brewing.  When he was talking to Ray (of Sherwood Brewing) about getting ready to brew his first beer, Ray suggested the Black Tornato kit that was available at Cap n Cork.

Black Tornado 002

Since we already had a keg of Sherwood’s Production Line Red on tap in the keezer, I didn’t care if our first beer was above my IBU tolerance.

Nick had done all of the brewing research, and I was just coming along for the ride, and to help out where needed.


First – we steeped the grains.

Black Tornado 003


Next – we removed the grains sock and placed it in a colander over our main boil pot, and rinsed it with hot water.

Black Tornado 005 Black Tornado 004

Then – we brought it outside to boil.

Black Tornado 010

It was a 75 minute boil.  So there was some of this..

Black Tornado 006


And some of this..

Black Tornado 011 Black Tornado 008

The curiosity was killing my uncle (and next door neighbor), so he stopped by for a bit.

Black Tornado 013

Finally – when the boil was done and all the scheduled hops were added, we (Nick) carried the boil pot to the basement to cool it down and transfer to the fermenter.

Black Tornado 014 Black Tornado 016

Nick has been doing research.  Like Crazy.  And because of that, we had purchased a wort chiller to rapidly cool our wort.

Worth. Every. Penny.

Its been sitting in the primary fermenter for about a week now and looks like its going to be ready for secondary soon, where it will age for 2 weeks.  Since we (Nick) built the keezer before brewing any beer, we’re all set to go right to kegs, rather than bottles.  Win.

MG 5157