Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Brew Year in Review

Well, today is the last day of 2012 and I would like to take a few minutes to step back and look at all which was accomplished this year.  First, and maybe most important to anyone reading, is I started this blog back in February.  It has provided me an outlet to spout my knowledge and opinions on craft and homebrewing beer, as well as, alleviate my wife's ears to my constant rambling of beer...well maybe not completely (She has picked up quite a bit of beer related knowledge and I am very impressed with her for that).  2012 marked my 3rd full year of being a homebrewer and I was able to accomplish the following:

The Brewery

I began kegging at the end of 2011, but didn't start to truly understand the difficulties surrounding draft beer until I let a couple of gallons of beer pour out onto the garage floor!  For Christmas I received 3 perlick stainless steel faucets and all the additional equipment to connect those faucets to my kegs.  Hopefully, this will prevent the beer spillage from happening again (although my velcrow solution for the picnic taps worked well).  I created a hopper extension out of some cardboard and duck tape for my Barley Crusher - now if I could just remember to keep my drill battery charged so I don't have to hand crank 12 lbs of grain every brew day!  Additionally, I am slowly creating a more organized brew area in the garage and getting my process down - I purchased some saw horses to hold my mash tun so I don't dump a mash tun full of grains and hot liquor on the floor.

(Trashcan-stand which is no longer being utilized due to being a brewery hazard)

The Beer

After reading Ray Daniels book, Designing Great Beers, I came up with one of my own recipes for an English Mild ale.  This beer was my first personal recipe to place in competition.  I also received a lot of great feedback on other beers and much gratitude from some friends who enjoyed Shegogue Brew at their housewarming party.  I began working on my house Pale Ale recipe and will continue to adjust the hops until I get the flavor profile I am looking for.  I even created a brew calendar, which it saddens me to admit I am already off pace and possibly going to change it up!

(Plastered Pilgrim - Spiced Pumpkin Ale)

Also, as you have seen in some recent recipe posts, I have been creating labels for my homebrew.  Just another way to enjoy the hobby and showcase my beer for friends and family.

Lastly, I want to say thank you to all who read this blog.  I occasionally check the site traffic statistics provided by Google and it is nice to see other people are frequenting the site.  Don't be scared to leave comments, criticism or other feedback.

So for a 2012 Happy Brew Year, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year for 2013!  Be safe out there tonight!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Wall - Russian Imperial Stout

You can check out a little synopsis of the brew day on this post: Double Brew for Shegogue.

The Wall Recipe
Brewed On: July 14, 2012
Style: 13F - Russian Imperial Stout
Batch Size: 6 gallons
Efficiency: 63%
OG: 1.095
FG: 1.021
IBU: 166 calculated (Rager) More like in the 80-90 range, but we will say a nice 100
ABV: 9.7%
Yeast: Safale S-05 American Ale Yeast (2 Re-hydrated packs)

Grist Mashed at 150 for an hour
82% - Pale Ale Malt (Great Western) - 19.5 lbs
6% - Roasted Barley (Briess 300L)  - 1.5 lbs
4% - Caramunich (Weyermann) - 1 lb
4% - Special B (Dingemans 300L) - 1 lb
4% - Chocolate Malt (Briess 350L) - 1 lb

Hop Additions 
3oz of Warrior 15.8%AA - 60 minutes - 100 IBUs?

Tasting Notes:  The Wall pours almost pitch black in the glass, but held up to the light you can get a glimpse of a very dark brown (like the stain of a dark walnut wood) color.  The head on the beer is a dark tan and provides lacing while drinking.

(The Wall - Waxed and Labeled for Christmas Gifts!)

The beer has a bunch of different smells that I picked up on - coffee, chocolate, a dark fruitiness (grapes?) and a sweet malt aroma.  The Wall has a firm bitterness upfront, which is accompanied by moderate carbonation, and leads to the complex chewy flavors already perceived in the aroma.  The bitter from the hops and roasted malts packs a punch on the taste buds and invites the drinker back for another sip!

This beer should continue to age and improve.  If you received one of these as a gift I look forward to hearing your tasting notes in the comment section below!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Brewery Update - Early December 2012

So far the Plastered Pilgrim has been received well by family and friends.  Everyone really seems to enjoy the labels, which I plan to continue.  I did not get time to brew in November, which according to the Brew Calendar was supposed to be a Pale Ale.  At this point I am undecided on when the next brew day will be and what I will be brewing.  The ingredients I purchased for my porter, had some partial cracked grains (chocolate malt) so I made need to buy some new malt for freshness.  Additionally, I have some hops in the freezer I may just attempt a pale ale...Glad I gave myself some leniency when I constructed the Brew Calendar!

In other news, black friday was a big success for some brewery equipment purchases.  Expect to see a post and pictures to come of my new tap system.