Father’s Day is Brewing Day

Sunday, June 19th, 2011 | Brew Blog

I’ve been really lazy about home brewing lately. Not only do I have a pretty good stock of beer in the fridge and “on deck,” but I’ve been drinking a lot more mixed drinks lately. I tend to do that in the summer months, I don’t know why. At any rate, I’ve been lax on my duties and made up for it today. I’ve got a couple of beers to report on, and an update on what’s in the kegs right now.

I first need to report on the two beers that I brewed up right before we had family in town. The Honey Brown turned out good, but not exactly what we expected. It was more bitter than I had anticipated, which I have to assume is from the added hops. My brother wasn’t outwardly disappointed by it, but he did admit it tasted pretty much nothing like the Dundee Honey Brown he was hoping for. Looks like I’ll have to do some research and experimentation to find him a clone for when he starts his own brewing.

The “Orange Overload” posed some interesting problems in bottling. I saved that one for bottling until Jeremy was here so he could experience both brewing and bottling while visiting and it turned out that it was a bad idea to do it with the orange brew. The free floating orange slices had broken down and clogged up the spigot something terrible and we had a lot of trouble getting it clear while not contaminating the beer. I think we did okay, but it was definitely a tricky situation. We definitely disturbed a lot of sediment in bottling that beer.

The result isn’t terrible, but definitely not worth the effort. It’s not super citrusy, nor is it anything remarkable. It’s turned out to be a pretty average, immemorable beer. I think I could have just made the Whispering Wheat stock and had just as good a result. So, not a failure, just not anything worth repeating.

Also, exactly one month ago, today, my brother brewed up a batch of the Bewitched Red. It’s not that I forgot about it, more that I lost track of time and it’s been just sitting in the keg all this time. I finally got around to bottling it today. I also figured, since I’ve had the kits sitting around, I should probably mix up a couple of other batches while I was at it. As of today, I’ve got two kegs fermenting.

Pear Cider (I don’t have a cute name for this one – yet)

  • 1 can Archer’s Orchard Traditional Hard Cider
  • 1 packet Dry Hard Cider Yeast
  • 1 can pear halves in pear juice (from concentrate)
  • 2 cups white sugar

Before adding the pears to the water, cider mix, and sugar, I puréed the pears in their juice in a food processor. Even after that, when I poured the purée into the mix, there were a few solid chunks that floated to the top. After my experiences with the oranges, I scooped out the larger bits, just to be safe. The cider mix is very powerful stuff and I was concerned that the pears would be overpowered by the apple cider, but after getting it all in the keg, it smelled very distinctly like pear. I, once again, stirred in the yeast before waiting the five minutes, but I’m not nearly as paranoid as I was last time. Cider only goes for a week before bottling, so I’m pretty excited to get this one out and in the bottles.

Honey Monk

  • 1 can Witty Monk Witbier HME
  • 1 packet Dry Brewing Yeast
  • 1½ cups of raw honey
  • ½ cup of white sugar
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander

I started thinking about how I can better purchase materials and I thought, since I’m throwing away almost all of the sugar boosters I buy, why not buy a kit that doesn’t come with a sugar booster, and make two batches for the price of one. So I bought a Witty Monk refill kit which comes with two cans of HME, and decided to, instead of making one batch with both, make two batches from the kit. I added all the sugars to compensate for the missing can of HME and tried to mimic my Honey Wheat Meadbeer. Having had the straight Witty Monk – which tasted remarkably like Blue Moon – I think this is a great choice for the new Meadbeer and a bit more frugal. I guess we’ll find out in three weeks or more.

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