Monday, February 16, 2009

Eggs for homebrew

There it is folks. The first payment of any kind I've received for my homebrew. 2 dozen freshly laid local farm eggs will get you a bomber of Bourbon oaked Brown Ale and a bomber of DRB Summer Saison. The eggs are awesome by the way.. I think I could even feed my family on them.. :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Beers - Sweet Stout & Irish Red

I'm a nut for St. Patrick's day. Every year I begin anticipating it as soon as Christmas is over. I think about it even more now that I'm a homebrewer. Last year, I was new to brewing, but whipped up a couple of nice styles. I made an Oatmeal Stout and a 80 Shilling Scottish Ale. Both were awesome and went quick.
This year, I figured I would go for similar styles. For the stout, I decided on a sweet stout. I dug around through recipes and the sweet stout sounded like a really good one. Sweet stouts are fairly basic stout recipes. There's some crystal 80 for that nutty taste, chocolate malt, black patent and the most important ingredient - 1 lb. of lactose sugar. Lactose sugar is unfermentable sugar, which adds a bit of a sweetness to the beer as well as a nice creamier mouth feel. Here's the recipe:

10 lb. Maris Oter
1 lb. Black Patent
3/4 lb. Crystal 80
1/2 lb. Chocolate
1 lb. Lactose Sugar (added on knock out)
1 1/2 oz. Kent Golding 5% AA's
Yeast: Safale 04 (dry)

I mashed in at 152 degrees for 1 hour. I had some issues with my mash tun - a stuck sparge. I did probably what I shouldn't have done, and blew through the opening to unstick the sparge. I think when I mashed in, I was sloppy about stirring in the grains. Gotta be more careful next time! The other thing that happened with this was a hose busted off my wort chiller squirting hose water all over. I don't think any got in the beer, but it got all over me and the garage. Fun, fun. OG: 1.068 - FG: 1.038 = 4% ABV. A bit lower than I planned, but it tastes fantastic.

Irish Red: This is pretty similar to the scottish ale I made last year, both are pretty close in style. This one went surprisingly good, mashed in at 152 for 1 hour. Sparge went good, boil good - fermentation is still going! Here's the recipe:

11 lb. Maris Oter
.38 lb. Crystal 40
.38 lb. Crystal 120
.38 lb. Roasted Barley
1 1/4 oz. Kent Golding
Yeast: SafeAle 05 (dry)

I don't know why the stout went nuts right away and fermented out so quick.. but this red just keeps on going! I'm going to check it out in the next day or so and report the gravity.
OG: 1.068 - this one should turn out a bit higher than the stout. We'll see.

I plan to take both of these and rack them to secondaries to sit until the week before St. Patty's. From what I heard, the red will age nicely and be tastier letting it sit for a while. Most stouts I've had mellow out a bit too after a month or so.

That's that! I'll report back when these finish up. Off to the kitchen to finish the sample of stout I pulled for gravity reading.. I always know the beers going to be good when I end up drinking the whole gravity reading sample. :)

*Note: Both recipes came from Jamil's "Brewing Classic Styles" book.