My name is Bean and this is my blog. Hence the name. If you have comments or questions, just leave them in the comments area.
After a long hiatus from brewing, IBADS is back.
This Saturday, Barkley, Hicks, and I are brewing twin 10-gallon batches of sweet sweet nectar of the gods - St. Chucks Porter and Third Round ESB. Special guest for the first part of the session is tee to tha mother effin pee. Should be good tims.
Look for the ESB to be served at HalloBean.
Last weekend, Stef dropped me and a carload of brewing equipment off at Andy Barkley's house in Indy on her way to Richmond. It was 9am when I unloaded the car, and there was only one thing on my mind: beer.
Hicks had driven down the previous night and his brother was on his way. The four of us planned to brew up 20 gallons of premium homebrew beer while "freeing up space" in Barkley's beer cooler and fridge by drinking as much as possible. I'll go ahead and aleviate the suspense and let you know that our plan panned out well.
The way it usually work is as follows: Whomever hosts the brewing event pledges as much homebrew to the day as is required. On top of that, the visiting brewers are supposed to bring samples of their own homebrew and/or a sampling of "good" beer from the liquor store. As it turned out, I physically did not have room in the car for extra beer or a cooler (I brought a lot of equipment and whatnot). Good thing Hicks (the elder) brough some. We ended up with plenty. Coffee Stout, IBADS Red, Barkley's Wit, Chimay, CHIPA, and a splattering of domestic and import styles kept us chock full of beer. Of course, we ordered Domino's pizza ($5 pizza deal) for lunch.
We brewed two beers - the first of which was an old standby: St. Chuck's Porter. It's probably my favorite IBADS hombrew and I am pretty sure we've brewed it 4-5 times. At the beginning of the mash, we realized that our thermometer broke when we were heating up the water. It looked like all of the lead pellets sank to the bottom, and there was no break in the mercury tube (or whatever is in there) so we brushed it off and had Hicks (the younger) stop by the homebrew shop and grab a replacement. Other than that, the first beer went off without a hitch - starting gravity was 1.052. Next up was a new one - a Classic American Pilsner (CAP) that Andy formulated and titled "My Father's Goate". I have no idea. Anyway, it's a simple light lager and it, too, was brewed without any major problems and also ended up at 1.052. We finished with plenty of daylight left, cleaned up, and got ready for dinner.
I heart Buffalo Wild Wings. A good beer selection + lots of wingie sauces + trivia = hard to beat. Jen drove the four of us into town and we grabbed a big table. Bad Andy (not to be confused with Andy Barkley) and Sarah met us there for trivia, grub, and a few drinks. We also went to Coldstone Creamery for desert (BANG). Around... 11 maybe (?) we headed back home where Stef was waiting. Then it was inside for some polite chit-chat and straight to bed.
Here's the pics I took throughout the day. Don't miss the picture of the Hicks Brothers and the subsequent movie of them shotgunning beers.
This Saturday, IBADS met to break some of our own brewing records. We gathered at Jim Hicks's house up in northern Indiana and brewed and brewed and brewed. The following notable records were set.
Stef and I have filled our last two weekend with beer festivals. Here's the run down:
Fest of Ale
This was the second annual Fest of Ale and it was put on by The Keg Liquors in Clarksville, IN. 10 local breweries and 2 major distributors were there doing one of my favorite things: serving free beer. Okay, so it cost $30 to get in... but still. We got hit by some rain, but that didn't stop the fun. The rain brought cooler weather with it and forced us to mingle and meet new people under the tents. My favorite beer from the event was Barley Island's Sheet Metal Blonde. It just seemed to hit the spot for me that day - I love Wits in the summer. Good times!
Stef, m1, and I all represented IBADS at the first annual gathering of Indiana homebrewing clubs. We got to meet people from all over the state, talk brewing, enjoy an unending variety of craft and homebrewed beer, and eat free smoked meat. I took a random sampling of bottles and 5 gallons of a simple, tea-infused ale (6-row and 2-row grain bill, Danstar Windsor yeast [read: fruity], single infusion @ 150F and light on the hops). I took it in a 5-gallon cooler (same cooler as the margarita pump, different lid) with a picnic tap on it and bought a little CO2 charging system when we got there. I was able to get rid of about 4 of the 5 gallons. not too bad considering the amount of beer available!
Here's a pic of me drooling over a sweet stainless conical fermentor brought by Blichmann Engineering. Also, check out IndianaBeer.com for some m1/bean/stef cameo's, and this pic taken during a big toast. Special thanks to Anita at Great Fermentations for allowing the event to happen in her parking lot, and to Ron Smith and the FBI for taking the initiative and getting this event going. I'm looking forward to next year already! Also, a wide wide world of web shout-out to the Bloomington HopJockeys, of whom I met 3, and who's website posting allowed us to find out about this event!
I spent Wednesday evening cleaning carboys, sanitizing kegs, and generally straightening up my brewing equipment and area. Needless to say, a few pints of beer were required to get the job done. In the end, my final keg blew foam opening a spot for a new keg of commercial beer. After a trip to Liquor Barn last night, I am happy to say that I now have a half barrel of Bells delicious Two Hearted Ale on tap. Tasty!
5 gallons of Sunnybrook Kolsch is on deck. IBADS brewed it 2 weeks ago and m1 documented the process. It should be ready to drink in a few days.
Brew 30 gallons of delicious beer on Saturday, April 11, 2009, in my basement.
We will be brewing all day... that is to say, from about 10am to about 10pm. We will also be drinking all day... that is to say from about 10am to 10pm. Lunch and dinner will be the traditional IBADS fare - Domino's. I'll provide homebrew and Miller Lite on tap until it's gone... then we can improvise.
Lineup (recipes pending):
Amber - for Geoff and Jessica's upcoming wedding
St. Chuck's or OHP - for in house replenishment
Saison - to use up some of the fancy Belgian yeasts I acquired.
I can't do it alone. I will need other brewers... people interested in helping, watching, or learning... and people to drink with me while I wait out the mash. I've talked to many of you who have expressed interest in brewing beer, so this is for you. Everyone is invited - just let me know you are coming beforehand. Come on down, stay a while. We've got spare bedrooms.
It's been a good day so far. I decided to keg some beer that m1 and I brewed back on June 23.
I racked the fermented and chilled beer into the kegs and put them on tap immediately. Normally, I'd force-carbonate the beer for a few days before tapping, but both of these beers tasts so good straight from the fermenter that I don't even want to carbonate them... yet.
First off, there's the OHP. I've got the last of an old batch on tap, carbonated and slightly aged, along side the fresh batch. I tasted them side by side and although I thought they were both delicious, the carbonation in the old (and keep in mind.... old means 2 months instead of 2 weeks) just gets in the way. The fresh stuff, in my opinion, is so good... silky, roasty, smooth, that the sharpness that comes with carbonation just doesn't fit. Straight to the tap from now on.
Stoked with my new revelation, I moved onto the fresh Wit that we brewed the same day as the OHP. It poured so cloudy and light that it reminded me of the many Upland Wheats I drank at Vinnie's wedding last weekend. And holy carp it was fantastic! My "fresh" beers approximate cask ale until the serving pressure begins to carbonate the beer. I'm planning to keep it low to keep these beers as still as possible for as long as possible.
And now my taps are fully loaded. Beerpong, anyone?
Brewed 10 gallons of Marty's Ultralight Ale this evening. Skipped the mash and did an extract brew... 2 hours start to finish.
This summer, several of us in IBADS will me driving all over the state and brewing beer with as many folks as we can. Our schedule lists out dates/events that are locked in, but we have plenty of openings late this summer. Interested in learning to brew beer? Host us!
Since I'm not really a fan of watching any organized sport, I decided to take this past Sunday as an opportunity to break my brewing fast and try out some of my new brewing gadgets - all while avoiding watching Super Bowl 45. I decided to brew 10 gallons of Sprout (extract with specialty grain) and 15 gallons of St. Chucks Porter (all-grain).
I started prepping Saturday night by filling up my HLT with about 30 gallons of strike/sparge water and dialing the heater in to 175F. This is a huge time saver when the actual brew days comes. I also measured out 3 pounds of pale malt and used Brian Richards' method to create my own home-roasted brown malt (part of the Sprout recipe). It took a few hours, but it was really very easy and filled the house with a delicious aroma.
I woke up Sunday morning and put 12 gallons of water in my boil kettle. I crushed the brown malt, put it in a grain bag, and dropped it into the water to steep as I turned on the flame. While that was coming up to temperature, I crushed the grain for the porter and dumped it into my mash tun. I mashed in used my handy dandy pre-heated water and setup my recirculation loop at a set point of 152F. About that time, the water in my kettle hit 170F, so I removed the brown malt and cranked the heat to high. It didn't take long for the water to come to a boil, so I added in my extracts and first set of hops and stirred it all up with one of my Christmas Gifts: a giant stainless steel paddle. Once all of the sugars were dissolved, I used my refractometer (another gift) to take a gravity reading. 1.039, with some room to grow as volume boils off - perfect!
Then I took a break and drank a beer. At 9:15 in the morning... but it's okay, it's Super Bowl Sunday so I am sure I'm not the only one.
45 minutes later, it was time for the second and last hop addition to the Sprout, so I chucked them in and started prepping my chiller/pump by running sanitizer through it. I also got 2 sanitized carboys out and turned the temp of my porter mash up to 170F to prepare for mash-out.
At 10:15, I drained the boil kettle through my counterflow chiller and filled up 2 carboys. The cold weather makes this process go very fast, since I can run my pump wide open. Another refractometer reading put the starting gravity of Sprout at 1.043. I pitched some dry yeast and turned my attention back to the porter.
The mash had made it up to about 170F, so I began to run some of the sweet wort off and slowly add hot sparge water to the top. For the next 45 minutes or so, I rinsed the grain and filled the boil kettle once again with the runoff. I accumulated about 17 gallons with a specific gravity of 1.057 and then fired the burner up again.
A few hop additions and another beer break later, I filled 3 carboys with 5 gallons each of jet-black porter wort with a specific gravity of 1.064. I pitched some yeast from a Wyeast smack-pack and called it a day! Well... not quite. There was still an hour of cleanup, but I wont go into details on that.
I was completely finished by 2:00pm. Heck, I even had time to take a shower, take a nap, and wake up to watch SuperBowl commercials.
For those interested in specifics, here are the ingredient bills for both recipes since they varied slightly from the online recipes:
3# home-roasted brown malt (steeped)
6# Northern Brewer pilsen LME
3# extra light DME
1# rice syrup solids
60 minute boil
1oz Hallertau hops (60 min)
1oz Willamette hops (60 min)
1oz Tettnanger hops (15 min)
Danstar Nottingham dry ale yeast
St. Chucks Porter:
22.5# 2-row pale malt
2.25# chocolate malt
2.25# 60L crystal malt
2.25# flaked barley
1.5# biscuit malt
1.5# special B malt
90 minute mash at 152F
60 minute boil
2.25oz Centennial hops (60 min)
4oz Willamette hops (10 min)
Wyeast 1728 - Scottish Ale yeast in 2 carboys
Safbrew S-33 dry ale yeast in 1 carboy
I spent a good portion of the evening in the basement trying to catch up on various brewing chores that have fallen by the wayside. The key word in that first sentence is "chores". Until recently, I looked at my time spent maintaining my brewing gear and fermentables as part of the hobby.. preparation if you will. But with increased responsibilities (and stress) at work and a mobile one-year-old roaming the rooms at home, I'm finding it harder and harder to put a lot of effort into my brewing - let alone the tedious maintenance tasks that go along with it.
My kegs sit empty (or full) for months on end. There's mold forming in a few spots inside my cold room. IBADS is a fond memory. My AC is about to go out... and I'll have a heck of a time replacing it in the fall and winter. The beer lines are all crusty with the dregs of beers long drank. There's a leak in my CO2 line that I can't seem to track down. I no longer have the drinking capacity (or friend capacity) to keep 4 taps in regular service, so my faucets get crusty with disuse. I've had entire batches of beer (30+ gallons!) go bad simply because I didn't have time to nurture them along the path to drinkability.
It's with a heavy heart that I admit it, but I have to make a major change - I have to scale back. If I don't, I risk ruining this hobby for myself once an for all. No more 30 gallon batches... no more lineup of taps... no more Schy's Tavern in the basement. As much as I love brewing beer, I just can't drink enough to support my current brewing habit. I'm tearing out the cold room, taking down the bar, and selling off my large batch equipment. Until I'm able to take the big leap into real deal commercial brewing (when I retire), I'm turning my attention to the things that really matter to me... now.
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