A New Brew-gining Part 2

posted in: My Brew-gining | 2

After taking a break from home brewing, I one day ended up meeting a friend of my brothers who he used make home brew with. This visit sparked my interest again because he gave me a few pieces of equipment that I really liked and am still using. I got a 6.5 gallon glass carboy, a carboy carrying harness, longer (than the one I started with) stainless steel spoon, hydrometer, Johnson analog temp controller, and a cornelius keg for 25$.

They also handed me a blue binder with recipes they had put together during their time brewing. I was told the recipe named “Bug Brown” was named after they had found a dead bug in the carboy. One of the other recipes became my next brew, which was just simply named “Sierra Nevada Clone.” This was my brothers recipe too so I thought it would be a good one to make for my next batch.

Even though I was on a break from home brewing, I was reading as much as I could about it. I was trying to figure out what caused my first two batches to taste the way they did and figured I needed to try and change one thing at a time.   After reading about fermentation temperatures and how important they are for the yeast, I got lucky and found a chest freezer display model for sale and snagged it up.

I picked up the ingredients from my local home brew shop/store (LHBS) and got to it. I still didn’t have a keg system at this point so it was bottle conditioned and came out ok. The color and clarity was good but I didn’t like the bittering that the Perle hops gave to it. There was also this “homebrew taste” that I thought the better fermentation control would have got rid of, but that was not the case.

My next batch was something I came up with after reading about ingredients. It was a pale ale made with extract, some specialty grains, and hops. I wanted a bit more sweetness so I added some cara-pils malt and I wanted to try some of the citrus flavor type hops that I liked the smell and taste of, so I went with Simcoe and Cascade. I made a huge mistake that I noticed when I took my original gravity reading. Coming in at 1.073 I checked my recipe and noticed I purchased about 2 extra pounds of extract. My beer ended up being in about the 7% ABV range.

Almost everything else turned out really good with this beer. I had even purchased a keg system before the batch was finished so I didn’t have to bottle. The best news was that that “home brew” taste I was getting was gone! If it weren’t for the alcohol taste I got from making the beer too strong, I would say this needed to always be on tap.

This is about where I am now with my home brewing experience. I have bought a few more things since then.  I now have two 5 gallon coolers set up to start making all grain beers, I bought three one gallon jugs to maybe experiment with smaller batches, I have a better thermometer for taking temp readings faster, and I purchased a ph meter so I can take readings and make adjustments to my mash.

Thanks for stopping by! Here are a few pictures I scavenged from my first brews:

My brother's pale ale recipe in primaryMy brother's pale ale recipe at start of fermentationMy brother's pale ale recipe during fermentationbrother's pale ale finishedMy pale ale in primaryMy pale ale in secondary with dry hopsMy pale ale after cold crashingFirst taste of my pale ale recipe

2 Responses

  1. avatar

    Hey Ski,
    saw your link on HBT forums.. I also live on the west valley. You gotta turn that chest freezer into a keezer man!

    • avatar

      Oh shit, whats up! Thanks for stopping by! Its in the works. Im planning on building this bad boy. I have the base built already. Ill probably post updates here, I have no woodworking experience so its going SLOW…

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