Saturday, December 27, 2008

The DRB is Open!

Whenever the DRB opens for an evening, quite a few of my friends receive the text message "the drb is open!".. This usually leads to people coming by throughout the evening sampling whatever beer is on tap that night. Thanks to my neighbor, the DRB now has an open sign. It's almost like my garage is an official bar now.. haha. I'm really anxious for it to get dark. I'm kind of hoping you can't see the sign from the street..that's all I need is for strangers to start showing up!

For the record, tonight is the first ever UFC pay-per-view event in the DRB. The English Mild is now on tap, which turned out pretty good. It's a low 4% with a mellow nutty flavor to it. Turned out pretty perfect, and right close to the style guidelines for this beer. I think it's time for another! I made venison sliders for tonight and breaded venison steak bites. We have a handful of people coming over, so it should be a good time. It's an awesome 63 degrees out right now, I'm not even sure we'll need heat out there tonight! See you @ the DRB!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Winter Classic 2009 @ The DRB

Yes folks, the first ever, outdoor Detroit Redwings hockey game in Chicago will be live (on t.v.) @ Dayton Road Brewing. There should be a couple good beers on tap and some snacks. This is the first and probably last in our lifetime Wing fans get to enjoy this unique hockey event. Be there!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weather report: A mild day

I thought it was funny the weather reporter kept saying Sunday, December 14th is going to be a "Mild" day. Funny because I brewed my first English Mild yesterday, along with the brown. I always figure, if I'm going to brew a batch of beer, I may as well do two - since I'm dirtying everything up and going through all the work. I actually planned to do 10 gallons of the brown ale, and use 5 for the bourbon oak batch, but I kind of f'd up the recipe and only bought enough for a 5 gallon. doh!

So, here's the recipe for this one:

7 lb. Maris Otter
2 lb. 2-row (toasted in oven)
1/4 lb. chocolate
1/4 lb. crystal 120
.10 lb. black patent (darken the color up some)
hops: 1.2 oz of Kent Golding 5% AA - this actually brings it just out of the BJCP style of this beer, being it's over the alpha acid range for this style, but, I figured I was already over in the gravity - so I tossed them in. :)
OG: 1.051

I also used dry yeast on this one, the DCL S-04 Safeale. I thought I'd give it a try, it's amazingly cheap @ 1.99 a pack. I just checked on both beers and they're starting to ferment - no bubbles yet, but the brown ale has a foam formed on top of it, which is always the start of fermentation. Had I done the starter with liquid yeast, this sucker would be rolling fermenting by now.

I also kegged the christmas ale yesterday. I had like 2 1/2 gallons left in a carboy sitting there chilling out waiting for the holidays to come. And, with my new 3rd keg, I kegged the remaining 5 gallons of the Blonde ale. We have a work party on the 19th, which every year usually spills over to the DRB - I plan to give out samples of the Christmas ale, and pints of the blonde. :) Thankfully, no one reads this blog from work, so I'm sure people won't come specifically to get their pint of blonde ale. haha.

Anyhow, it was a good day for brewing. It was surprisingly warm, which made it much easier running back and forth to the house for water or whatever. Oh yeah, and in case you're wondering - English milds are typically a very low ABV beer, they range from 2.5 to 3.5 abv. Here's a brief history on the style:

--Mild Ales originated in coal mining regions of England and Wales. Mild Ale was intended as a low alcohol beer for heavy consumption by miners and as a harvest time drink for farm workers. They are often the least expensive beers available. Mild Ale is sweeter and lighter colored than Porter. It is as malty as possible in a low gravity beer. This style is most common in the West Midlands of Great Britain. It had been declining as a style due to a perception as old-fashioned. It now seems to be making a comeback. Mild refers to bitterness not flavor. They can be full of flavor whether light or dark. English Light Mild Ales range from light amber to light brown in color. Malty sweet tones dominate the flavor profile with a little hop bitterness or flavor. Hop aroma can be light. Very low diacetyl flavors may be appropriate in this low-alcohol beer. Fruity ester level is very low. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. --

So I decided to bump the gravity a bit. The extra base grain brings this mild up to a 4.9 to 5%. The final gravity actually is in the range of this beer style. I was right on with the color, as far as the style goes.. so, it'll be a good close example to what the miner folks drank.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bourbon oak english brown

I'm doing a crazy one here folks. This is a southern english brown ale style. My original plan was to do 10 gallons of brown, and split it up. Keg one as a brown ale, and rack the second to sit with some bourbon soaked oak chips. Only, my brain wasn't working right this morning, and I planned out the perfect 5 gallon recipe - but was thinking it was a 10! Oops. So, life goes on - I'll just have to whip up another batch soon, to keep the beer flowing in the D.R.B. :)

8lb maris
4 lb victory
.50 crystal 40
.50 crystal 120
.50 biscuit
.50 chocolate

.87 oz. kent goldings - 5% (20 IBU's)

OG: 1.062 (a bit high for this style, but I want it up there a bit more since I'm adding the oak/bourbon).

Yeast: This'll be my first time trying dry yeast. I'm going to use Safeale S-04. Also soaking oak chips in bourbon for a bit to add to the secondary. Can't wait to see how this one comes out. I'll report back in the comment section on how this went. I think I'm going to brew on Sunday (tomorrow).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Snow Shovel Blonde

Not too long ago, someone asked me "have you ever brewed a normal beer?".. I had to sit back and think about what they meant by "normal".. To me, an IPA is pretty normal, or the Porter I just put on tap. Those are about as normal to me as beer gets. But I thought about it, and a "session" type beer came to mind. I read through some books and dug around on the internet and found Blonde Ales to be one of those more normal type beers. Here's what Wikipedia has to say:

Blonde ales, also called golden ales range in color from that of straw to golden blond(e). They are clear, crisp, and dry, with low-to-medium bitterness and aroma from hops, and some sweetness from malt. Fruitiness from esters may be perceived but do not dominate the flavour or aroma. A lighter body from higher carbonation may be noticed. The lightness in the use of hops and malt can make blonde ales a good introduction to craft industry beers for consumers only familiar with mass-marketed beers.

So basically, I'm making a lawn mower beer in the middle of winter! I figure by the time this is on tap, I'll be shoveling snow. My thoughts drifted back to last winter. I woke up on a Saturday morning to about a foot of snow. I threw on some boots (and clothes if I remember right), and first things first, stomped through the snow to the garage (DRB) and turned on the heat. I knew after shoveling, I was going to need a day of r&r. I spent a couple hours shoveling. My neighbor was out supervising his kids shoveling, which also wore him out. We retired to the garage where we enjoy a few (several) pints of homebrew and played a couple rounds of chess.

By the time we get hit with a big snow, I'll be ready. I don't plan on bottling this one, I think it'll all go straight to keg. Here's the recipe:

23 lb. American 2-row
1 lb. Crystal 20
2 oz. Willamette 5% AA (beginning of boil)
Yeast: White Labs California Ale (starter)
OG: 1.050 / FG: 1.011 - 5.2% (though my program has me coming in at a 1.060 OG, 6%)

Can't get any easier than that. I did some preparing last night. I made my starter with DME this time (I had been using LME), and boy what a difference that made. I didn't get any boil overs. I just checked it and there's already activity starting.
I also milled the grains last night and brought my hot liquor tank in as well as my mash tun, to keep them at room temp. Not much else to do but fire up the strike water and get this brewday going!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Porter & Christmas Ale

11.75 lb. 2-row
1.5 lb munich malt (only I didn't use munich - see below)
1 lb. crystal
.75 lb chocolate malt
.5 lb black patent

60 minute Kent Golding 5%AA - 1.75 oz.
15 minute Fuggles 5%AA - .75 oz.
0 minute Kent Golding - 5%AA - .75 oz.

White Labs London Ale (starter)

I realized last night that I didn't have any Munich grains. I forgot to get them last time I was at the homebrew store. I did a post on Beer Advocate asking for advice. Some said to just up the 2-row, the Munich isn't necessary. One guy, at like 3 in the morning posted, saying to try toasting the 2-row to make something a bit similar to a Munich. I'm not sure if he was right or wrong, but I didn't feel like driving to Dundee. I threw a couple pounds onto a cookie sheet and put them into the pre-heated oven for 15 mins, more like 20. I stirred them every few minutes. My house smelled amazing. When they were done, I tasted them then tasted the regular non-toasted. Big difference. I hope it adds a nice toasty flavor to the beer.. we'll see!
The base for this recipe came from Brewing Classic Styles book.
OG: 1.072

Christmas Ale
12 lb. two row
1 lb. crystal
.25 lb. black malt

Hops - 1 oz. Horizon - 13%AA 60 min.

White Labs London Ale (starter)

The grain and hops are pretty close to the same as the recipe in Brewing Classic Styles. I used my smaller mash tun for this one and it worked well. The beer came out looking like a brown ale and smelling sweet.
OG: 1.074

(spices to come later)

The day went pretty well. Jason at Adventures in Homebrewing suggested trying to keep a layer of water on the grains when you sparge at all times. I had previously been draining the wort all out - then sparging. He explained when you do that, the water doesn't get to travel through all of the grains, it creates almost like tunnels for the water to travel down, since the grains became so compacted from the first sparge out. So, I did it that way this time and it seemed to go well. I ended up with about 7 gallons of Porter (pre-boil) and about 6 gallons of the Christmas Ale. The boil went well, a couple of boil overs on the Christmas Ale (I need another keg boil tank!).
Excellent day for brewing too, 74 degrees today!! Aaron stopped by and supervised brewing for a while.
After I was finished brewing I kegged and bottled my Hop Head IPA. So far it tastes wonderful, nice and hoppy. By Saturday I should be able to kick back and have a pint to see how it is cold and carbonated.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Extract efficiency calculations

I've always been curious about my extract efficiency. I dug around and read several articles about it. A lot of them are just flat out confusing. I found a pretty basic one, that explains the breakdown like this:

1. Multiply the amount of grains you used by the potential maximum extract from your grain. You can find them online, here's a list of some popular grains (click here), I didn't see my Maris Otter on there, so I just googled "maris otter extract potential" and several sites came up.

2. Once you have these numbers, multiply them by the amount of grains you used. So, with my most recent IPA i brewed, here's the breakdown:
20 lb Maris Otter x 38 = 760
4 lb Munich x 37 = 148
2 lb Crystal x 34 = 68

3. Take this final number, and divide it by the number of gallons of wort you collected, in my case, I collected exactly 12 gallons. 12/976 = 81.3 points

4. Next, and this part is tricky, but bear with me: Take your specific, pre-boil gravity number, mine, was 1.072. Take the last two numbers, and and divide your total points from step 3 by this. So: 81/72 = 88%

I'm guessing this is how it's done. After reading several articles, I think I have this all together right. Correct me anyone, if this is wrong.

But 88% sounds pretty good to me. I was wondering how I was doing in this area. I know there are a lot of factors that can effect the efficiency. Using a refractometer, crushing the grain better, proper sparging temperatures, etc. Here's a thread with some interesting tips on boosting your extract efficiency - (click here).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Finally, my first all grain IPA

Last Friday I took a vacation day and brewed a 10 gallon batch of IPA. I split the batch in two - here's what I did:

20lbs Marris Otter
4 lbs Munich Malt
2 lbs British Crystal

I split the batch because I wanted to try out some homegrown hops I received (Willamette I believe). In the first batch, I added 1 oz. Summit (60), 1 oz. Ahtanum (15), 1 oz. Simcoe (5), and will be dry hopping with 1 oz. of Argentine Cascades. The other 5 gallons, I added 1 oz. of Summit (60) and a bunch of the fresh dried home grown hops (15).

California Ale yeast - starter made a couple days before.

This brew went surprisingly well. I started at 5 a.m. and things went like clockwork. My mash tun was filled to the top when I put the lid on. This time I put towels over the top of it, thanks to a tip from a Beer Advocate member - it really helped keep the heat in. After an hour I started draining the wort into the split batches.

I boiled and followed the hop additions as seen above. I really need to get something for my keg boil kettle, a screen or something at the bottom, because the whole leaf hops got all stuck when syphoning the wort out.
Anyhow, I'm going to dedicate the fresh hops batch to Leon Blackburn, who's wife donated a bunch of their hops to us. Leon passed away in June of 2007. He grew some amazing hop vines a while back and this year the crop was huge! I'll be doing a post on the blog when the beer is finished.

Hoppy Fall IPA: Pre boil gravity - 1.072
Post boil gravity - 1.082

Blackburn IPA - Pre boil gravity - 1.076
Post boil gravity - 1.084

The difference in the gravity between the two was a mistake on my part. I was doing one pitcher in one boil pot, then another in the second boil pot. Well, I did two in a row in the Blackburn IPA.. oops! My other mistake was coming out a bit under 5 gallons on both of them. The Hoppy Fall IPA came in around 4.5 gallons, the Blackburn IPA was just under 5. I didn't top them off with water, I feel that kind of messes with the whole batch by doing that - but I did learn, a 6 gallon boil will reduce to a 4.5 gallon wort after an hour - so, I'll probably shoot for 6.5 gallons of wort to boil next time.

Anyhow, the room these carboys are in smell freaking awesome. I can't stop walking in there every few hours and smelling them. I'll be racking the Blackburn IPA to a secondary for a week or two of settling and the same with the Hoppy, but I'll be dry hopping that one at some point. mmm. Hops. Oh yeah, the odd hops I used were the ones free from the AHA rally I went to. Somehow I wound up with 3 bags of hops. The Summit hops were the only ones I had to purchase. This whole batch cost about $55.00.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I just inherited some hops and they smell awesome. I can't stop playing with them. Anyhow, tomorrow I'm going to begin sealing them up for freezing and giving away. Here's a pic of them.. they smell wonderful, I wish I could blog smells, but, Google hasn't invented that yet. I should register so when they invent that technology, they'll be able to buy the domain off me for TONS of $$ .. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oktoberfest @ The DRB

The DRB is about the size of one of those tables.. haha. But yeah, we are having an Oktoberfest bash on Sept. 20th. The weizenbock came out to a solid 10% abv. The dunkel was alright, but I decided to add cherries to it. I had originally planned on having both on tap at once, and didn't want two similar styles on tap at the same time. It turns out I will only have the cherry on tap. The weizenbock I ended up bottling, but will be doing a tasting of it around 8pm the night of the party. I plan on getting a regular beer for the masses. I was going to spring for a german keg, but holy wow are they spendy. I just got word too, we'll have live music, in the form of an accordion player! Crazy fun will be had next weekend. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weizenbock and it's dark offspring..

Saturday morning I got up pretty early and began brewing a weizenbock. Here's the recipe:

10 lb. wheat
5 lb. pilsner
2 lb. munich
.5 lb. special B
.5 lb. crystal
.25 lb. chocolate malt

1/2 oz 6.2% Hallertau
WLP 300 Hefeweizen Ale

Mashed in @ 152 degrees. Boiled for 90 minutes.

I had read several things about people brewing this style and quite often they commented on how active the fermentation was - some joked about the airlock blowing off. I ignored the stories and stuck with an airlock.. sure enough, Sunday morning the airlock was filled with fermenting beer and was hissing. I ran to the hardware store and picked up some tubing and quickly made a blow-off tube. Here's the video:

So - let me back up a bit. After I had about 7 gallons of run off from the mash tun, I threw some dark carafa grains into the mash tun and continued sparging. The carafa added some darker color to the wort. I managed to get another 5 gallon @ 1.016 pre-boil gravity. I added 3 lbs. of wheat DME to the boil, and a 1/2 oz of 6.2 hallertau hops. After boil, I ended up with about 4.5 gallons of wort and pitched a basic wheat yeast into it. The fermentation hasn't been as crazy as the weizenbock, but still took off that evening.

I also bottled 5 gallons of saison and 3 gallons of the apricot wheat. Was a busy day at the DRB!

Apricot Wheat

7 lbs of Bavarian Wheat DME and 1 oz. of Saaz hops.

This recipe is as basic as you can get, and makes for a great base for doing a summer fruit beer. I was ready to rack to the secondary, and needed some quick fruit. I was looking for raspberries, but the local grocery store didn't have them in the form I was looking for (in heavy syrup - canned). I studied the fruit for a while and thought about doing a blackberry, however it was like $4 a can! I found apricots, which were like a $1 a can, and ended up with them. 2 lbs of Apricots in heavy syrup dumped in the bottom of a bucket. Wheat transferred on top of it to sit two weeks.

Original gravity was 1.062, final ended up at 1.018: 5.9% abv. The fruit bumped it up just a bit. I noticed more activity in the airlock shortly after adding the fruit.

I ended up bottling half of this batch and kegging the other half. When I did my gravity reading, I tasted it.. and didn't taste much of an apricot taste. Maybe after it's cold and carbonated it'll come out more.. we'll see! Speaking of.. I'm going to go carb that keg now, maybe have a pint later today. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dayton Road Brewing's logo

I used to have an eagle on my garage, before the siding was redone. When Dayton Road Brewing came about, I thought about putting a big ol' star on the front - since the eagle disappeared when the new siding went up (I bet the siding guys stole it - it was sweet). Anyhow, a star is better than an eagle. The idea behind the star is more for the "image" of the DRB. Every bottle will look the same, but different colors. There will be a star in the middle of each bottle - with Dayton Road Brewing at the top - and the kind of beer below the star. If I ever make labels that is.. for now, at least we have a logo or mascot, or whatever it may be. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dayton Road Brewing Saison

I think I've lost count of how many brews the DRB has had on tap, but I can start counting the all-grain batches. Above is a photo of my first Saison. I blogged about the brewing process a few weeks ago. This was my second all-grain batch, and it went even smoother than the first one. The gravity dropped to 1.011, and because I was so busy this past week, I ended up kegging one of the carboys and brewing a wheat that I've re-used the Saison yeast with. The Saison turned out wonderful. It's cloudy, but has a wonderful orange hue to it. The taste is awesome, a bit of an orange sweetness to it, with a pepper type spice and other flavors whirling around. Every time I drink some, I find a different flavor.

Here's the Wheat recipe - it's an extract batch, and let me tell you, extract was so easy after doing all grain, I feel like I could do a batch in my sleep, or when I get up in the morning before work.. haha. But, this was probably even easier than other extract batches I've done:

7 lbs. Bavarian Wheat DME
1 oz. Saaz Hops (full boil)
1/2 oz. Orange Peel (final 15 mins.)
1/2 oz. Crushed Coriander (final 15 mins.)

I transferred the Saison to a keg and immediately pitched the cool wort on top of the yeast cake. Within 5 hours activity started and continued for 3 straight days. It's slowed down now, and I've wrapped it in an electric blanket to get it a little warmer. I'll probably take a reading this weekend to see how the gravity is doing.
I'm also going to rack my second Saison to a secondary for a clearing stage before I bottle it. I still need to get some bottles for the Saison, I'm going to put them in bombers instead of smaller bottles, and will probably let them sit for quite a while before cracking into them.

What's next? Well, I think the DRB has seen enough of summer beers, we're ready to move on to maybe something hoppy or dark. I might do a quick 5 gals of a Pale Ale and am eventually going to do a weizenbock for my autumn beer. After that, who knows! I probably need to work on consuming the product before I think about brewing more.. I'm eventually going to run out of carboys! A good problem to have.. :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

A pint of homebrew on a warm summers day

Nothing much about this post, just that I still think it's pretty awesome that I can skip the bar (where good beer is $4.75 a pint) and come home to a great homebrewed beer. This is my Cream Ale. Very refreshing on a hot summers day.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saison brew day

I became interested in the Saison style recently when investigating summer style beers. Saisons ferment at a high temperature (80-85F), so its a perfect time of year to brew one. Here's some Saison history:
Saison is a French word for season, because it was originally brewed in the winter, and enjoyed throughout the summer months. The name was given to the style in Wallonia, which is the French-speaking region of Belgium. They are considered to be a farmhouse ale because it was originaly brewed in farmhouses for farm workers who drank up to 5 liters a day (that's over a gallon!) during harvest work days. Back in the day, this style was less than 3% abv.
At one time, Saison was described as an endangered style, but in recent years has made a come back. Modern day Saison is a complex style with a fruit aroma, earthy yeast tones, mild to moderate tartness. Some Saison styles have been described to have light an orange, coriander and peppery taste to them. The modern day Saison ranges from 5-8% abv.

The recipe I used is mostly from the book "Brewing Classic Styles." I used different and less hops than suggested.

DRB Saison:

21 lbs. Pilsner
1.5 lbs. Belgian Wheat
1.5 lbs. Munich
2 lbs. Corn Sugar
2 oz. Hallertau G. Tradition (6.2%AA)
1 oz. Hallertau Select (1.5%AA)
Yeast: 565 White Labs Belgian Saison Ale (starter made a couple days in advance)
Mashed for 90 mins. at 148F. Sparged at around 160F. Pre-boil gravity was 1.055. Original gravity ended up at 1.074. Fermentation started last night.

The brew went good. I started at around 6 a.m. and finished up (cleaning and everything) around 2 p.m. I can't really see how I could reduce the time any, especially since this beer took a bit longer than normal. It rained a bit during the brew too, but luckily I was partially under the garage so everything stayed dry. Later in the boil, I enjoyed a Le Merle Saison from North Coast Brewing Co. This has been my favorite Saison style yet, high carbonation very light and refreshing. I can only hope mine turns out this good!
I moved the fermenters to the second floor of my house, where it's warmer. I almost was going to move them to the attic, but I'm going to monitor the temps up there for now, the attic might be too warm. I seem to remember fermenting one of my first beers last year, and worrying about the 80 degree temps.. so it shouldn't be a problem reaching that temp upstairs. I plan to bottle 5 gallons of this, which was my plan for the cream ale, but it was just so darn good, I ended up kegging the second 5 gallons. We'll see how this one goes. I want to brew a 5 gallon all-grain batch sometime soon, so the DRB kegs are full, but I'm not sure what to make... I'm thinking of making another wheat style, and re-using some of the yeast from the Saison. Anyhow, that's the latest from the DRB! Here's a slide show of the Saison brew day.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Beats The Heat Cream Ale

Well folks, I did it. I can honestly say, that my first all-grain beer has turned out awesome. We all sat on the porch yesterday afternoon and had a few pints of it. Man it's good. I completely forgot to take a final gravity reading, so I can't tell you the abv's - I have another 5 gallons that I'll test later on. I think I'm going to bottle the other half of it. It's a very light tasting beer with mild hop taste. A perfect summer brew that I'll for sure do again someday.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The DRB Goes All-Grain!

I started brewing partial extract recipes around August of 2007. I've been very pleased with almost all of my batches, and doing 10 or more of them really taught me about the process of brewing. I kept hearing about this "all-grain" method, and began hanging around anyone that was doing it. I watched several people do it and researched it as much as I could. I finally became comfortable enough to make a plan to start getting equipment.. (the George Bush check came at the right time too!).
I'm using one keg as my hot liquor tank (water), an orange rubbermaid cylinder cooler for my mash-tun and another keg for my brew kettle.
I started getting things prepared around 8 a.m. this morning. Cleaning, sanitizing, getting the water heated, etc. I think I finally started mashing around 10 a.m. - that water took quite a while to heat up. In the mean time, I installed another television in the DRB - the old one finally died (I think my family got that t.v. when I was like 10 years old).

I also did my first yeast starter.. hoping that turns out ok! I hung out this past week at Adventures in Homebrewing. Jason was a huge help, schooling me in the odds and ends that I wasn't aware of yet. The main thing he said was: "Don't make it more complicated than it really is." Which is helpful advice. I think I've read so many different things about all-grain brewing, that I wanted to try every technique on this first batch and get things perfect.

One last thing I did, was research and purchase beer brewing software. I ended up with Beer Alchemy - a program designed specifically for Macintosh computers. The software is pretty sweet, it acts as a journal for keeping track of batches. It has several recipes already built into it. It has a nice selection of calculators - one I've been using to calculate my refractometer readings to try and hit my 1.044 to 1.055 gravity, and a ton of other cool features.

I think between the beer store and craigslist, I've probably spent about $250.00 on all of the equipment I have that took me to all-grain. And, since George sent me $600.00, I have some left for a couple future batches.. :)

Well, to sum this post up - it's 2:30 p.m., and the wort is about to boil. This definitely is a much longer process than extract brewing, but it's been fun. I think I did everything right, so I'm going to be extra anxious to see how this batch turns out. I don't think I mentioned it either, I brewed a cream ale - should be a good kick-back summer beer. :)

Almost forgot to thank Brian @ HomebrewingAdventures for letting me pick his brain about all-grain. I feel like I owe him some consulting fees!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Brews and news

Well, if judging by my blog posts, it would appear that the DRB has been on vacation. Just the opposite, but I have been busy with work, well, and brewing.
A few weeks back I brewed a Amarillo Ale. A pale ale with 4 oz of amarillo hops. One of the ounces was dry hopped.
Not even a week later, I brewed a Belgian Wit, which fermented like a son-of-a-gun, and just stopped, I swear it was a two solid week ferment, that thing bubbled forever.
Next up, we had a guest brewer, actually someone who kind of got me started in brewing.. a buddy that nudged me into it with the ol "just do it, it's easy dude" comment, and I thank him for it. Bryan, brewed the Kolsch recipe from Adventures in Homebrewing. We've heard it is some awesome beer. Our plan is to bottle it up in the next couple of weeks.

New equipment: I have a few RSS feeds set up on Craigslist for homebrew equipment. One came across last week with some stuff I was looking for in Ferndale, MI. I couldn't make the trip there, so I kind of gave up on it. Tuesday, I shot the guy an email asking if he sold the equipment. A speedy reply said no, it's mostly all still there. I made plans to head up and meet him tonight (Tuesday). Here's what I ended up with (photo above): 1 10 gallon mash tun cooler with false bottom. Another smaller mash tun, false bottom cooler. A plastic fermenter, a bunch of odds and ends.. like cleaning solutions, wood chips, bottling wand, sanky tap (score!), other things I can't even remember right now.. a 5 gallon glass carboy.. and best of all, a grain mill, a really nice big one that looks pretty solid; all of this, for $80 bucks. I planned on spending a hundred, or possibly going back to the bank for more if needed, but the dude selling the stuff didn't have any idea what the stuff was worth, and got what he needed out of it, so we both walked away happy... maybe me happier, but, what the heck, he wasn't using it all!

And so begins.. the DRB is about to go all grain.... to be continued. :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


No, for real. Free beer @ the DRB. :)

I never thought I'd have 10 gallons of beer that I just don't think I'll drink. The DRB PBR experimentation..well, didn't go so well. It's not that the beer is rotten, infected or anything like that. It just doesn't taste all that great. Most of the beers I've had out there have been pretty good, and I would wrestle with the thought of.. "well, should I put my slippers on and trudge through the snow for another pint?!".. (usually I did). But, most of my beers have been beers that have been really tasty, and you crave another after the first. I'm going to let my friends try it and see what they think. Maybe someone will absolutely love it, and go nuts on it - more power to you whoever that may be! In the mean time, I've been doing a pint or two here and there, just to help put a dent in it. I think I'm going to stay away from straight up extracts until someone can prove me otherwise on the taste.. worth a try I guess. I'm only out $24.00 and time.

The second keg is a Munich. I inherited the wort from the homebrew shop in Dundee to make up for the Imperial Stout that they ran out of - this Munich was free to make up for it (which, by the way, those guys rule for doing that - they could of just given me my $ back, but instead they gave me a free 5 gallons of wort). This was my first lager I ever fermented, it sat in the garage bubbling away for quite sometime.. 4 weeks I'd say. I ran it straight to the keg, there was a very small yeast cake on the bottom. The beer is an amberish color and smells just like a german style lager. I remembered after sipping my first pint, that I'm just not fond of this style of beer. It's o.k., but I'm just not a huge fan of it. I had a few pints last night, and that was about all I could handle.

To make up for these two odd selections at the DRB, I'm brewing an Amarillo Pale Ale - complete with 4 oz. of Amarillo Hops tomorrow night (wednesday). If you're in the hood -swing on by and help yourself to a pint, or three.

p.s. I think I'm on to something.. this DRB Pale Blue Ribbon isn't so bad with salted sesame sticks. Maybe it'll go quicker than I thought. :)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Dayton Road Brewing Pale Blue Ribbon

The past couple times I've picked up batches from the homebrew shop, the price has been more than I expected. Hop prices have gone up, as well as grain. Since I started brewing partial extract, I decided maybe it's time I brew up an all extract session beer. I'm going for a light pale ale. These two cans of extract cost me a total of $24 bucks. The yeast is a dry one. I'm not expecting much, but, who knows, maybe I'll be surprised. This is going to be my lawn mower beer, my "PBR".. I was talking with some friends about it, and they said I ought to call it DRB PBR, I changed it up a bit to "pale blue ribbon." I'm almost thinking of trying this again, yet with some hops, but we'll see. Maybe this'll be a one time experiment, and i'll go back to partial..or, if all goes well, my George Bush tax refund All Grain set up :)

I'll post back later on how this turns out.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

St. Patrick's Day done right.

This year, a few of us are taking a vacation day on St. Pat's day to celebrate good beer. We'll start off the morning with a hardy DRB breakfast (corned beef hash, eggs, hashbrowns, toast and lots of hot sauce) and two special brews I've been aging for a while.

Tonight I pulled out both carboys that have been stuffed away resting. The first: my 80 shilling Scottish Ale. I siphoned it to the keg, and I always like to pull a sample that I try and make Jen try. I was really surprised. It turned out amazing. A lighter beer with a smooth crisp finish. There's even some slight carbonation already forming in the beer. Jen said she tasted a slight hop bite, but I couldn't. Probably one of the lighter beers I've made, but definitely one of my best.
Next up, the oatmeal stout. This is the first stout I've ever made, and to be honest, I was more nervous about this than any other beer style I've brewed. Well, it turned out just as good as the 80 shilling. It's amazing. A nice nutty full bodied stout. I can't believe I made it, but then again, once you start brewing, you'll surprise yourself, because there really isn't much to it. And my results have been excellent each time.

After breakfast, we're heading to Corner Brewery in Ypsi. Corner has a bus traveling back and forth to Arbor Brewing all day, so we're going to hike around town and enjoy some good beer. On my list: Arbor Brewing, Grizzly Peaks, Ashley's and maybe Conner O'Neal's. Should be a great day. I'm sure I'll be posting some pictures after, so keep an eye on the blog. :)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Tasting picture..

Last night was probably a bit too many beers to taste, but we did have fun. Here's us trying out one of the beers.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday night beer tasting in the DRB

Me and the dudes are going to do a beer tasting tonight in the DRB.. Here's the line up!

Beer Tasting @ Dayton Road Brewing
February 28, 2008

1. Old Boys' Brewhouse - Brewhouse Bock
Style: German style bock
ABV: 5.5-7.0% ?
Description: Bock Beer was originally brewed in Germany to herald the coming of Spring or, a sign of better things to come. Bock beer in general is stronger than your typical lager, more of a robust malt character with a dark amber to brown hue. Hop bitterness can be assertive enough to balance though must not get in the way of the malt flavor, most are only lightly hopped.

2. Old Boys' Brewhouse - Brewhouse Brown
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 5.2%
Description: Medium in body and unique in its flavor complexity. We use a combination of caramel, victory and chocolate malts to give this tasty brew a toasted, nutty flavor which would have made Old Boy himself howl in approval.

3. Bells Best Brown
Style: English Brown Ale
ABV: 6.60%
Description: Rich brown ale perfect for the fall and winter. Plenty of malt character and smooth sweet finish give this brown ale its distinct character.

4. Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 4.3%
Description: Dark, smooth, delicious. Aromas of worn leather and cool autumn nights. Notes of sweet plum and toasted raisin, hints of coffee and cacao. Lingering tart and refreshing finish. Only available for a few short months. Not to be missed.
(Open or Wild fermentation - re-usage of yeasts - aged in oak casks)

5. Great Lakes Conways Irish Ale
Style: Irish Red Ale
ABV: 6.5%
Description: A malty Irish Ale with a notable toasty flavor derived from lightly roasted malt. Second to Dry Stout, this style of ale is Ireland's other most distinctive brew. Named after Patrick Conway, the grandfather of co-owners Patrick and Daniel Conway and a Cleveland policeman who directed traffic for 25 years near the brewery.

6. Goose Island Demolition 2007
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
ABV: 8.0%
Description: Brewed with Saaz and Styrian Golding Hops for a grassy citrus aroma and lots of the finest pale malt for a "honey" malt middle and intense flavor.

7. Michigan Brewing Company Celis Grand Cru
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
ABV: 8.0%
Description: Brewed according to a traditional recipe and uses pale barley malts, Saaz, and Cascade hops, Curacao orange peel and select spices. The combination produces an ale strong in character with a subtle fruitiness and complex flavors.

8. Sierra Nevada 2008 ESB
Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter
ABV: 5.9%
Description: Combines the best of English tradition with West Coast style. A blend of malts featuring British-grown Maris Otter is balanced with the earthy spiciness of hand-selected English and US hops. The ale is left unfiltered, which enhances mouthfeel and hop aroma creating a slightly reddish-copper hue.

9. Bells Lager
Style: American All-Malt Lager
ABV: 4.5%
Description: As refreshingly crisp as a morning swim in a Great Lake, this brew is crafted with Pils and Munich malts. The pronounced hop character of this golden lager sparks thoughts of sandy beaches and rocky islands.

10. Siera Nevada Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.6%
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a delightful example of the classic pale ale style. It has a deep amber color and a exceptionally full-bodied, complex character. The fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor are the results of the generous use of the best Cascade hops. Bittering Hops: Magnum & Perle. Finishing Hops: Cascade

11. Michigan Brewing Company High Seas India Pale Ale
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.2%
Description: Assertively hoppy and dangerously seductive. A skillful blend of three premium barley malts with generous amounts of Northern Brewer and Cascade Hops creates a special ale to satisfy even the most demanding palate.

12. Sierra Nevada 2008 Bigfoot
Style: American Barley Wine
ABV: 9.6%
Description: Our award-winning barleywine boasts a dense, fruity bouquet, an intense flavor palate and a deep reddish-brown color. Its big maltiness is superbly balanced by a wonderfully bittersweet hoppiness. Chinook Hops with Cascade and Centennial finishing hops.

13. Stone Brewing Co. Ruination
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 7.7%
Description: This massive hop monster has a wonderfully delicious and intensely bitter flavor on a refreshing malt base. ONe taste and you can esily see why we call this brew "a liquid poem to the glory of hop!"

14. Stoudts Double IPA
Style: American Double (Imperial) IPA
ABV: 10%
Stoudt's Double IPA is a strong, full-bodied ale with an intense hop character and deep golden color. This unusual brew is characteristic of the newly recognized style of extremely hoppy and malty ales of American origin. The Double IPA is our strongest beer with an alcohol of over 10% abv and bitterness of more than 75 IBU's. Multiple kettle hop additions and generous dry hopping contribute to the powerful yet smooth and fragrant hop character of this beer.

15. Bells Hopslam
Style: American Double (Imperial) IPA
ABV: 10%
Description: A biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hopslam, what did you expect? A great example of what it might be like to eat a handful of hops with a big alcohol warming finish.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

DRB events!

For some reason, it didn't cross my mind that I should post events on the DRB page. We have something happening every month, mostly low key hang out parties, but we have a lot of fun. There's usually a chess match that breaks out mid-way through the night, and the broom is always handy if an empty pint hits the floor. We always have good snacks on hand too, from pirogi's, chips and salsa, taco's and always peanuts (shells on the floor!).
Anyhow, I'll start posting pictures of the events.. here are a couple of recent ones.

Bryan and Aaron are making me a frame with a mirror in it, to go behind the bar. I acquired a 5 gal. korny of bells best brown, so we're going to enjoy some of that after the mirror is hung.

Cow tongue provided by Nick from work. It was awesome. The pico salsa was amazing.

Cow tongue night - the gang.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Two Hearted Challenge

My favorite beer is an India Pale Ale. I can't get enough of them. I brewed several batches before trying one. The batch I picked up was a Bells Two Hearted clone. I had heard that it's a pretty close comparison. I like Two Hearted, so I figured I would give it a shot. The beer turned out fabulous.
I was at 129 in Monroe the other night, drinking a Two Hearted, and thought, wow, this kind of tastes like my beer.. kind of forgetting that mine was a clone. Gave me an idea.. next time I'm at the grocery store, I'll pick up a sixer of Two Hearted, and put them up against each other. This is live blogging at it's finest.. here goes:

Both beers poured at the same time. DRB IPA - Keg / Two Hearted - Bottle

DRB IPA - More amber in color, yet really close to the bells. A little thicker too. A small white head sits on the top, maybe an 1/8th inch.
Two Hearted - Orange in color and clear. A creamy color head, not as big as the DRB's.

DRB IPA - A definite malt smell comes through with a slight hop smell.
Two Hearted - Larger hop smell, malt is definitely in the background of this. The hops really shine in this beer.

DRB IPA - Smooth creamy mouth feel. Medium body. Finishes smooth.
Two Hearted - Crisp thin mouth feel. Medium to light body. Finishes smooth.

DRB IPA - A creamy malty flavor starts out with a big mild hop bite. Grapefruit like flavors really come out in this beer. Very well balanced flavor.
Two Hearted - Thinner in comparison, lighter. Much less malt flavor and more immediate hoppiness.

Overall: Boy. Let me have another sip of each.. I'd definitely have to vote for mine. Maybe that's just me being partial to my own beer, but I think if I was blind tasting this, I'd go for the fuller bodied creamy IPA. I can totally see the similarities between the two, which explains why whoever made this recipe up, would call it a clone. But yeah, I'll take the DRB IPA!

80 Shilling Scottish Ale

Had another brew day today. This recipe was quite simple. Grains, malt extract and an ounce of Kent Goldings hops. The brew went well - the thermometer I tried out this time was one of those that you set the temperature, and an alarm goes off when it hits it. Worked pretty good - but it went kind of crazy when I was chilling the beer. I had to resort to my back up thermometer. I probably chilled the beer a little too much, but it ended up being around 172 in the carboy - which is perfect for pitching the yeast.
The original gravity came out at 1.040. The recipe says it's supposed to be at 1.045 - so I'm not too concerned. Hopefully by tomorrow morning I'll be kicking back on the sofa hearing the bubbling action from the kitchen.

6lb. liquid malt extract
10 oz 60 L Crystal, 1 oz Roasted Barley, 4 oz Aromatic
1 oz Kent Goldings (bittering)

I put the grain bag in a pot on my garage kerosene heater.. it's kind of like potpourri beer style.. haha. The only mistake I made today was knocking my empty glass off the table as I was filling my carboy - crash! oops. Lord knows I have enough of them. :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Rackin the oatmeal

I woke up really early today for some reason, and decided to do some beer work. I cleaned up the bar some (lot's of empties and empty glasses from this past wknd). I also racked the oatmeal. The yeast cake on the bottom was probably the biggest I've ever seen.. it was hard getting out of the carboy! Pretty weird looking too, if you can imagine how that looked dumping it in the toilet. :p I gave the beer a taste, and I think it's going to be a good one. I'm going to let it sit for a week or two, then bottle most of the batch. I haven't decided how much I'm going to bottle, possibly all of them. Opening day will be St. Patricks weekend.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Oatmeal Stout brewed, racked the IPA

This weekend was a busy one for the DRB. I started by racking the IPA. It's looking really good and tastes pretty awesome. I used my own unfiltered tap water for this batch. I've heard the argument go both ways on this issue, I may be taking a gamble doing it - but so far it tastes as it should, so I guess we'll see how things go.
I cleaned up after that, and then cleaned out both of the empty kegs, sanitizing and purged with co2. Next I started getting everything together for the evenings brew. Both Kevin and I were brewing stouts. Kevin is making a bourbon oaked stout (mmm!) and I made a pretty common oatmeal stout. There were so many grains I had to use two muslin bags to put them all in. Getting them out was a pain - I think I need to get some beer brewing tongs! I went with the liquid extract and had to add 8 oz of malto dextrin. This beer has an ounce of Willamette hops and an ounce of Cascade.. both smelled soooo good as i put them in.
I haven't decided yet if I'm going to bottle or keg this. I had planned on bottling an Imperial Stout I was going to get from the local homebrew shop, but they ran out before filling my bucket!.. so, I may just bottle a small amount of these, and keg the rest. I'll have to see how my keg situation is then.
I decided to try keeping this fermenter out in a room, that is relatively warmer than the closet. The IPA took a couple days to start fermenting, then did for two weeks! This one started the very next day and has been crazy active since. Keeping a steady temperature around 70 degrees. It's kind of cool having it sit in the kitchen (covered), I can hear the bubbling action from here.
One last thing - I've been reading about "cold clearing" a beer. I'm going to try putting my carboy of IPA out in the garage this week for it to clear through the weekend. It's going to be above freezing all week, into the 40's, so It should be just fine covered up out there. I'll keep a close eye on it. Not sure if it'll work any faster, but it's worth the experimentation I suppose.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

IPA - Two Hearted Clone

Monday, January 7th I brewed a Bells Two Hearted clone (in honor of the great hop shortage of 2008). One thing I've always heard about clones, is that they usually don't match up as good as one would think. This really wasn't my goal here, I just like Two Hearted, and the recipe was pretty basic, so I picked up the goods at Adventures in Homebrewing. The brew went pretty well, I used my new 25ft. wort chiller. Fermentation started probably Tuesday evening, maybe sooner. I'm going to rack this into a 5 gallon carboy and dry hop with 2 oz. of hop pellets (I think centennial). Maybe by next weekend or a bit later, it should be ready to keg.
IPA's are one of my favorite beers ever. I have a feeling I'll be doing more, so I thought I'd start off with something pretty basic.
I got my name on the list at Dundee Brewing for their Imperial Stout. Dundee brews some fantastic beers, so I'm really looking forward to this. I think I'm going to bottle the entire batch - I have a couple dozen or so Grolsch bottles I'll be filling them with, and letting them sit for St. Patricks day.
My neighbor has a light pilsner extract he'll be bottling up soon, and I think he's on the list for the Dundee Red. Right now, I'm not really sure what's on the horizon for my next batch - I'll probably wait and see how things go, and come up with an idea later on. The Porter in the DRB right now is fantastic - and my cherry wheat has been getting some rave reviews - I think the longer it sits, the better it is. Yay Beer! :)