Monday, December 31, 2007

More than beer in the DRB!

Whenever I go to Adventures in Homebrewing, I like to look at the soda syrup aisle. There's several flavors and instructions on how to make your own soda. Because I don't have the keg capacity right now to hold a root beer or other kind of soda, I decided to try a small batch. I googled around, and sure enough found a really easy recipe, that anyone can do from things around the house.
Here's the recipe:

Take an empty 2 liter bottle (they say to avoid glass) and a funnel. Fill the bottle with 1 cup of sugar, and a 1/4 tsp of baking yeast. Shake this around.
Add your extract. You'll see the right kind of root beer extract to use on the link at the end of this post. I used orange extract - 1 tbs. of it.

Next, you half fill up the 2 liter with water, and shake it around to mix up all of the sugar/yeast/extract.

I filled up the rest of the 2 liter with water, then added some food coloring to make it orange, and a small cap full of vanilla extract to add (hopefully) a creamy flavor to the orange.

Next, they suggest letting the soda sit for a few days, until the bottle feels hard. Refrigerate and serve after chilling one night. I'll post back how this turns out. The only drawback, from what I've read, is the chance of an explosion from possibly adding too much yeast/sugar. I'm going to move this to my brew box (a plastic tub I keep in my den with beer bottles in it - just in case of a mishap - less mess!).
How to brew your own root beer - link here (very detailed instructions with pictures).

Sunday, December 30, 2007

End of the year updates

I kegged up the Cherry Wheat. I think the cherry flavor somehow disappeared after I moved it to the second then keg. Great tasting red wheat! I think if I do it again, I'm going to look up the recipe or add some additional cherry flavoring. Beautiful looking beer though.
I also kegged my neighbors porter that he picked up from Dundee Brewing. This turned out amazing. A jet black beer, nice head with a nutty caramel flavor. A perfect porter.
I have the makings for a Bells Two Hearted clone. Roger from the brew club said he made it and it turned out great. I wanted to brew an IPA, and figured this would be a good one to start with. I'll probably bottle some of them and keg the rest. Waiting on my new wort chiller to arrive in the mail to make this batch.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Ales - labeled!

I didn't feel the need to get crazy with the labels. I'm not sure I ever will. It's really what's inside that counts. I tested the bottled beer last night, and it carbonated perfect. I noticed the flavor came out more as it sat in the glass some - temperature is definitely a factor in this beer. Less cold = better. When it was very cold, I tasted a huge alcohol front.. as it warmed, the spices really came out.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The list

So if I were a real brew pub, I'd have a chalk board with the beers available listed. I picked this Guiness sign up at the Steins and Stuff barn in Fowlerville, MI. Works great!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I just finished bringing my wheat over into secondaries. I racked half of it to a bucket and added 4 cans of black pitted cherries in syrup (not pie filling). The other half I brought to a carboy. I'm curious to see what the cherry does, I am imagining the sugars in the cherries are going to reactivate the yeast, and I'll see some more activity. I'm going to let that bucket sit for a while, maybe another couple of weeks, before I do anything with it. The wheat, I may put on tap once my MBC IPA is gone.
I tasted the wheat and it is going to taste pretty good. Right now it's still yeasty tasting, but it's going to have a very light, slightly sweet taste to it.. right now I'll call it a light wheat. Can't wait for both of them! The good thing is, this batch I purchased from Things Beer in Webberville, it cost a whopping $21.00. So, if I botch up the cherry, I'm not out all that much. Pretty cool - 5 gallons of beer for just over twenty bucks! I'll post the results later.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dayton Road Brewing Christmas Ale

I decided to force carbonate my Christmas Ale and sample it. I'll attempt to do an unbiased review with this sample. I think most brewers will love their beer no matter what, so, I'll do my best to take a step back while judging this.
Some of this may change I suppose, because of the immaturity of the beer. It was only kegged on Sunday, so there is obviously more settling that has to be done.

Dayton Road Brewing - Christmas Ale - Release Date: 12.21.07

The immediate appearance of the beer is a deep golden copper color, a bit cloudy but gives the appearance of a good hardy beer. A very nice solid 1/4 inch head (still working on the keg pressure), creamy off white in color that has sustained it's shape for quite a while.
The aroma is tough to guess right now. I can smell a creamy spicy ginger/cinnamon smell, with a hint of orange.
This beer has a creamy feel, and a bit of a warming finish, like sipping a brandy.
A very spicy tasting beer, almost desert like. Has a bit of a sweetness to it, but definitely not overwhelming. A light hop finish to it, again, a definite winter-spice warmer.
Overall, and like I said, I brewed it, but, I really honestly like it. When I tasted it during kegging/bottling, my first comment was - oh man, this will be a one glass a night beer. But, since it's settled some and is carbonated, I've changed my mind. I'm thoroughly pleased with the outcome of this, and I know from past experience, it will only get better.
Now.., throw out a plate of sugar cookies (no frosting), and Santa and I are going to have a good ol' time in the D.R.B Christmas Eve. :)

Special thanks to Michigan Brewing Company - Things Beer for the recipe/ingredients. Thanks to Trent (my boss) for the awesome Tecumseh, MI honey used in the batch.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My road, my house, my garage.. the brewery

Well, as fictitious and as fun as it sounds, we technically have a brewery. My neighbor and I, new to making our own beer, have been exploring the vast world of ideas with home brewing beer.

My first beer was a Brewers Best Robust Porter. I had some issues with the kegs I was using, but the beer brewed up decent. It tasted a bit syrupy and bitey. Not bad though. Could have used some time to age I think.
Scotts first beer was a Double Hopped Pilsner. Scott brewed it and we bottled the whole batch. It turned out great.
I hosted a batch of the Sept/Oct batch of the Double IPA from River Raisin Brewing in Dundee, MI. They supply the 5 gallon batch of wort. Great stuff.
My next beer, or first real beer was an E.S.B. Bryan and Jackson helped me brew this batch. It came out tasting wonderful. So good, I'd almost brew it again as a session beer. A bit thick, malty and a good solid bite to the finish. Awesome.
Scott and I made it up to the Dearborns Adventures in Homebrewings "teach a friend to brew day". We hung out with guys doing the "all grain" process of brewing. We were amazed and began tallying up the new items we needed to purchase. haha - we're saving our pennies.
Scott decided to brew up the Cream Orange beer AHB made last summer. This is one of the best beers ever, we're considering a 10 gallon batch for August.
I brewed up and have been aging a Christmas Ale. Spicey and very tasty with cinnamon, clove, orange and other spices.
Today we bottled both. The Orange to sit for a couple of weeks, the Christmas to sit for a month.
The same Sunday evening (12/2/07) we brewed a Webberville Wheat from Things Beer. We met some guys at the register, who told us to consider adding cherries to the wheat. They twisted my arm, so we discussed the recipe. By new years, the DRB will have a Cherry Wheat on tap.

That's a quick run down on the beginnings and current news of Dayton Road Brewing. We're really just learning and experimenting with beer brewing at this point. Having a good time doing it too. We figured we would have a little more fun by naming our beer and making a bar for our friends to taste the experiments.

Keep an eye on the blog. We have some good ideas and will be having various gatherings as beers are complete or hosted.

DRB Quote: "There is beer after Bud Light." -Scott, Dayton Rd.