Monday, July 18, 2011

Does the Glass Really Matter?

I'm sitting here drinking Goose Island's Demolition and the label says "serve in" with a picture of a snifter glass.

Does the glass really matter?

I have a pint glass, a tumbler, a tulip, a goblet, and a stange, and I've drank beer from a lot stranger. As long as it was in a clean glass, I cant' say I've really noticed that the flavor 'came out' better in one glass than another.

I will need to determine a beer I know well enough that I can taste the subtleties of the flavor in different glasses, as well as one with a standard flavor.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grizzled Veteran

I am by no means a 'grizzled veteran' of homebrewing, I just wanted to say that.

Anyway, I had the KGB Russian Imperial Stout (can't find the product page, so I linked to the page) the other day, and it made me think of my own Russian Imperial Stout from the Brewer's Best kit.

I wish I had left the beer for several more weeks, possibly months, as my beer tasted extremely similar to the KGB, and would have probably surpassed it, given the right amount of aging.

However, now I know what a 'green' beer tastes like, and will remember the lesson.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spring Brew - Kumdis Island Spruce

I was finally able to do the Kumdis Island Spruce Brew today - the spruce trees have sprouted their new green tips, and I cut down a few branches from our back yard.

I wasn't sure how much to do, but I read online that "a loosely packed pint jar" was about 4 oz. I used a pint glass, because I've seen both 4oz and 5oz measurements for the spruce.

One of the unique things on this recipe was that there was no grains to soak/sparge - it was all-extract. I also discovered what caused a funny boil attribute. I noticed that when I stirred it vigorously, the middle of the pot 'coughs' up oddly-colored wort, but not if I hadn't - I think it's something with the heat at the bottom.

6.6 lbs Cooper's dark liquid malt extract
2oz Hallertauer hops
4-5oz loosely packed spruce tips

Add liquid malt extract to approximately 2.5 gallons of water and brought it to boil. Turned off heat and added hops - had my son add spruce tips (he thought it was hysterical putting a tree in the beer).

Boiled for 45 min, stirring about every 10 minutes.

Removed from heat, chilled, added water to make 5 gallons, stirred in American Ale Yeast and put in basement.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cherries! Also Blow Off Tube Technique

I was walking through Safeway a few days ago when I saw that cherries had come in - they were $4 a pound, which makes the desired recipe over $25 just for the cherries (with tax). I think I'll wait until they're back to $1 a pound, but it's encouraging to see them back in stores. I'll have to pick up the rest of the stout grain bill when I get a chance.

Also, I purchased a clone brew kit from Austin Homebrew Supply - I modified the base Tripel Karmelite clone recipe to have 'mini-mash' (which adds a very surprising amount of grains - not something a standard grain bag can hold - it will require steeping loose grains and 'sparging' them into a backup container due to the 5+ lbs of grains that came). It also came with a huge bucket of 7lbs of LME, which was astounding until I remembered the stout kit I made with a large amount of grains as well - the LME came in two different tubs at that point, which is why it looked smaller to me.

I went with the recommended White Labs (or at least the first on the list) yeast, but left out the yeast fuel. The OG on this is up over 1.08 and if you added fuel to this, you'd have such active fermentation that you'd definitely need a blow off tube in addition to a lot of rags.

It looks like the blow off technique is to  insert a tube into the carboy that is well above the wort (but not right up at the lid). Make sure the seal going out of the carboy is tight. From there, put the other end of the hose into a container that has a good amount of water in it so that the gas released from the fermenting wort will be pushed through the hose an into the water, but not allowing 'air' back into the carboy. It's just a really big airlock.

As the yeast was liquid, I did add the 'cold pack' and I hope (for my brother's sake) that I remembered to include the priming sugar. If not, sorry bro, you can use regular table sugar, just decrease the amount a bit (you'll have to google it, I don't remember the proportion off the top of my head). Table sugar is more potent and I'm not sure it is the best flavor, but I've been told that I just over-carb'd the one recipe I did with it.

I also hope I added the 1% ABV boost - just a cup or so of maltodextrine - just because it's kinda fun to have a really strong beer. However, this means that maturation time will be longer (by several weeks), and fermentation will be more active (violent, if you use a standard airlock - it will pop!), and then I hope I also included bottling caps. If not, priming sugar and caps can be picked up quickly and easily at a local homebrew supply and I'm sorry.

Hopefully I'll get a review of the kit (nobody had posted one online, which was sad because you don't really know what you're getting), but also - hint, hint - a bottle or two to taste myself.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Recipe: Pad Thai

So I was in charge of cooking tonight, and found a decent recipe that I had made modifications to in order to reach 'great.'

Just under 1-ounce tamarind paste (1 and 1/4 Tablespoons)
3/4 cup boiling water
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 rounded Tablespoons palm sugar
3/4 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Sambal
4 ounces rice stick noodles
1 to 2 Tablespoons oil (I used vegetable, original recipe called for peanut)
1 cup chopped scallions, divided 1/3 (serving) and 2/3 (recipe)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 whole eggs, beaten
3 ounces bean sprouts, divided
Freshly ground dried red chile peppers, to taste (I used Sambal)
1 lime, cut into wedges

Place the tamarind paste in the boiling water and set aside while preparing the other ingredients. Stir occasionally.

Combine the fish sauce, palm sugar, Sambal, and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the rice stick noodles in a mixing bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Once the other ingredients are measured out into separate bowls, drain the water from the noodles and set them aside.

Press the tamarind paste through a fine mesh strainer and add to the sauce. Stir to combine.

Place a wok over high heat. I did not have a wok, so I used a cast iron skillet, and it worked wonderfully (for the tossing, I was still able to hold both ends, as my cast iron skillet came with a small nub on the side opposite the handle).

Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Heat until it shimmers. Add 2/3 of the scallions and then the garlic, cook for 10 to 15 seconds. Add the eggs to the pan; once the eggs begin to set up, about 15 to 20 seconds, stir to scramble.

Add the remaining ingredients in the following order and toss after each addition: noodles, sauce, cabbage, shrimp, and 2/3 of the bean sprouts and peanuts. Toss everything until heated through, but no longer than 1 to 2 minutes total.

Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the remaining scallions, bean sprouts, and peanuts. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I was looking for inspiration online and found this

Brewers Best Recipes Page

The best kits and recipes available - including my favorite - the English Brown Ale

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Flavored Beer Base

I've been looking into doing a lot of different flavored beers, and I finally picked up Brewing Classic Styles. In there was the Apricot Wheat recipe, and it provided a great base wheat to add fruit and some other light flavors to.

8.3 lbs wheat LME 4L
1/2 lbs crystal 15L
.85oz willamette hops 5%aa

Suggested yeast is Wyeast 1010 American Wheat

This will provide a great base for any number of fruits, with possible minor tweaking needed for apricot, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, etc...