Some of the backyard hop bines are climbing up over six feet already! (These plants are about 15 years old)
Backyard hops are coming up nicely. Wasn’t sure what would happen after they died last summer due to our ongoing drought conditions. Hops are pretty robust, usually we don’t even bother watering them much and it sure suprised me they dried up for the first time in 15 years.
Actually have some Redhook in the fridge…will raise one for Ben.
Got re-acquainted with this wonderful winter brew from New Belgium Brewing. Snow Day Winter Ale. It’s so good I’m rating it as my second all time brew made by New Belgium just behind their 1554 Black Lager.
Pleasantly hoppy, Snow Day carries the subtle chocolate and caramel flavors of a new brewing malt known as Midnight Wheat. The Styrian Golding, Centennial and Cascade hops bring the backbone of hoppy bitterness to complement the roasty undertones. This beer is the deep garnet of a roasted walnut and presents a creamy tan head, floating artfully atop. Snow Day is bold and hoppy, drinkable and strong.
It reminds you to enjoy the unexpected.
Bunches of demos and such at various brew supply stores across the US on Saturday, Nov. 5th. For more info go here.
Nice article to either learn some basic beer and brewing terms for newbies or brush up on the facts for advanced brew folk, by By David Jensen, Craft Beer Expert for Menuism.com
Committing To Make My First All Grain Homebrew Batch Pt3. Converting the Kegs Step 1.
This week I went and purchased an angle grinder, cut off discs and a step bit from Harbor Freight for about $30. Today I dug out the kegs and cut the tops off. Woohoo! Went pretty smoothly I’m happy to report! Next up will be figuring out where to drill the holes for pipe fitting. Also, I’m not sure if I want to keep the green paint stripes.
There’s a little brew history with these kegs. Back in the mid-1990’s, as I’ve mentioned here before, I was involved in a small brewing company with friends called Gnash Brewing Company. We used One Keg Brewhouse to contract brew our beers, Wolfwhacker Wheat and Red Rage Amber Ale. They went out of business about the same time we did and I was “stuck” with three kegs which I’ve kept for 13-14 years now with thoughts of making a home brew system from them. Guess the time has arrive! I think the brew gods are smiling.
(Click on thumbnails to view larger versions…use arrow keys to navigate…all photos copyright Steve Navarre 2011)
Committing To Make My First All Grain Homebrew Batch Pt2
Been taking inventory of parts I have around the house and have come to realize I could make a pretty decent system. I have 4-15.5 gallon kegs laying around and an old cooler that could be used for the mash/lauter tun.
So now looking into options for converting the kegs into brew vessels, i.e., cutting off the tops and hooking up various fittings. Components need to be a hot water kettle, mash/lauter tun, brew kettle.
Looking into doing something similar to the above pics…
Getting the itch to use some of my hops. But as a bonus, I’m finally committing myself to make my first all grain batch.
Been reading up on it and realize I have quite a number of components already around the house, but will need to do some construction here and there.
First step is making a big brew kettle out of a 15.5 gallon keg and then a mash/lauter tun out of a plastic cooler that has been de-commissioned from camping duties, but should work fine for this purpose. Final piece will be making a copper wort chiller. Already have a big outdoor propane burner too.
Gonna have to save up $ for some of this gear, but getting excited at the prospect!
Should probably add I’ve either brewed or help brew nearly 200 homebrew batches using extracts or a combo or extract and grains for added flavor…so this is a longtime coming in taking it to the next step.
Hop harvest 8-1-11. Got a bumper crop this year from these 14 year old plants. The plastic tub in one of the pics holds 18 gallons, as a measure of how much yield I got. After I cleaned the stems and leafs out ended up with about 5-6 gallons (last pics). Now will let them dry out a bit then Zip-lock and freeze…and dream of future homebrew sessions! (Click on thumbnails to view larger versions…use arrow keys to navigate…all photos copyright Steve Navarre 2011)
My backyard hops are about ready to harvest. Yellow pollen has appeared inside the cones and they are getting that awesome “hoppy” aroma. Now just waiting until the cones have a paper-like feel as the need to dry out just a tad more. (Click on thumbnails to view larger versions…use arrow keys to navigate…all photos copyright Steve Navarre 2011)
Wolf Whacker Wheat (American style wheat with a hint of cardamom)and Psychedelic Summer Amber Ale. (Click on thumbnails to view larger versions and read captions…use arrow keys to navigate…all photos copyright Steve Navarre 2011)
Don’t forget to go buy some good American made microbrews next week!
Check out CraftBeer.com for more info. There are literally 100’s of events planned nation wide at a brewery near you.
Some pics of Sunday’s brew session. Psychedelic Summer Amber Ale. Made 2-5 gallon batches. Used amber malt extract, homegrown hops, a secret aromatic ingredient and a bit of pale malt went into one batch just for a little different flavor. Pitched American Ale yeast Monday. Should take about a week to ferment.