Category Archives: Homebrewing

T & T

I am now in Trinidad for carnaval, the biggest celebration in the Caribbean. I thought that I could use the hotel’s complimentary internet service to write a quick post.

For the record, the local beers are Carib and Stag. I’ve picked up a few and they’re chilling in the mini-fridge.

In porter news, the brew is bottled and conditioning as we speak. By the time I get back from this gloriously warm place, the beer should be ready to roll (into my belly).

That’s all. I’m up at 4am for a trip to Tobago. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to do it.


Don’t Forget to Tip the Porter

The porter has now been in the primary fermenter (it sounds cooler to say “the primary fermenter” than “the huge bucket”) and we’re about to switch it over into the carboy. This allows us to remove sediment, lets the yeast to absolutely finish its process, and lets us stare at our five gallons of delectable goodness through the clear walls.

I’m going to sterilize the siphon and the carboy and prepare to take a hydrometer reading. We’re hoping to start the IPA while the porter is still growing up. As of our last post, we figure we’ve got around 150 bottles and growing, as Vin purchased and consumed two Zappa double deuces, and I’m halfway through a Saranac sampler. (DIGRESSION!) The Adirondack Lager (formerly Saranac Amber) is a nice example of American brewing. It uses the very liberal “amber” designation well, and hints at both a hoppy bite and an almost creamy maltiness. The Saranac Pale is one of the best go-tos for a good, clean hoppy beer. It’s not as bitter (in a good way) as Sierra or other Cascade brews, but it has similar body, head retention, color, and lacing as a Sierra. Right now, I’m onto the Saranac IPA. It pours with an aggressive head that leaves beautiful ringing, dripping lace. It has distinct biscuit and bread tones in the nose and finishes with a touch of alcohol and citrus notes.

OK, back to the task at hand. Stand by for more porter info. Vin and I are going to try to get this done before we get too… unfocused. This brew will be RTD by the time I get back from Trinidad on February 5th.

New Year, New Beer

I’ve resolved myself to being a better blogger. Yes, saying that makes me hate myself a little bit, but if I’m going to keep track of the beer-related world in which I live, I might as well be consistent.

I’ve ordered new grains from the good folks at Midwest Brewing and they arrived yesterday. A porter, whose dark grains I’m excited to use, and an IPA, with Cascade, Goldings, and Willamette hops. Lots of delicious hops. Heavy on hops. Hops make life worth living. OK, sorry.

The Giants have won, and Vin and I have been soaking our collection of bottles to get the labels off.

In da tub

So as the bottles soaked, we ate a lot of wings and are now prepping to start the next brew from our little operation. I’m off for a run and then brewing will commence. More to come, I’m sure you’re waiting with bated breath.


Let me dream! I have dreams like this.



Pilsner 89 SUCCESS!

We waited and waited, but the day finally came. We chilled a few bottles of the suds and waited some more. I was a bit nervous as there didn’t seem to be much carbonation in the bottles themselves. I wasn’t too worried about any CO2 leaks, as our bottler was pretty rugged, but I wondered if the process of final fermentation was screwy.

Anyway, we brought out the bottle opener…

PrepThe First Three

So far so good. It opened with a nice rush of gas and left an enticing fog in the neck.

ready to pour

Still good.

beeries-5.jpg beeries-6.jpg




It was a bit thin at first, due to the refined sugar we used as a catalyst with the yeast, but it tastes like beer. Like pilsner. Like a decent pilsner. More to come, I promise. God, I am the worst. blogger. Ever.

Bottling Success!

Despite having to postpone bottling for one week as a result of my co-brewer having “over-celebrated” during the Badger game–and nearly doing the same the following week–we managed to bottle our brew.

The carboy was full of some beautiful caramel brown stuff and was sweet when we tried it. I heated the sugar in a two cups of water and transferred it to our bottling bucket. We added the yeast as we added the beer through the siphon. Our siphon came with this neat little attachment with a pressure valve on the bottom. As it sits on the bottom of whatever vessel you are transferring into, the valve is open. You simply lift the tube and the flow stops.

We enlisted Mike to help with the bottles and, as Vinnie held the siphon so as not to transfer any sediment, Mike handed the bottles while I tended to the beer level in the siphon (easily controlled with our little tube-valve).

Here’s our yield:


24 12oz bottles

7 22oz bottles

2 24oz bottles.

The floor of my closet has never looked so delicious.

And They’re Off!

I have been away, basking in the partly sunniness of Nantucket. However, before I left, Vin and I got underway. To make the wort, we steeped the grains for about 40 minutes, added the malt and stirred for about 30 minutes, then steeped our hops for a good hour. After cooling, the wort went into the primary fermenter and was sealed up with some yeast on August 16th. I returned on the 27th and Vin and I transfered the beer into the secondary fermenter and added the water. In a week and a half or so, we’ll add the sugar and yeast and start bottling.

Vin with the grains.Here’s Vin with the homemade cheesecloth steeping bag.

Hop for the bestMan, we love hops.

Again, we had no nylon sack so we made one out of cheesecloth and it seemed to work well. A bit more sediment got out, but with the siphon tube and the secondary fermenter, we should be in pretty good shape.

Our genius hop sack. The wort is in the big black pot.Hop Sack

wortcool.jpgThe wort needs to be cooled quickly.

We don’t have a wort chiller (yet), so a sinkful of cold water, ice, and ice packs was the next best thing on a truly muggy New York summer night.

And lastly here,

but not the least;

it isn’t beer

without the yeast.

Happiness on My Doorstep?

According to those possibly-dear-friends, my 34.2-pound package arrived in Brooklyn and is out on the truck, waiting to be delivered. Soon, apartment 1B will be fully equipped. Of course a skee-ball ramp wouldn’t hurt.

Skeeball Wizards