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17 March 2005 @ 08:01 pm
Beer #3  
So, for those playing at home:

Beer #1 - Scotch Ale. Lacto infection. Ruined.

Beer #2 - Dunkelweizen. Marcus infection. Ruined.

Beer #3 - Irish red ale. Very careful with sanitation and pets. No infections. Kegged for a party two weeks ago. At that point, was decent, though nothing to write home about.

Well, I can now give a St. Patrick's update on the Irish ale. After a couple extra weeks of aging in the keg, it's turned into a mighty tasty beer. Maybe I'm getting better at this hobby after all ;) And it's turning out to be a nice way to mark the day...much preferrable to the green Budweiser they're serving in most bars!

And hm, I've been lax about G/B/D

Something good: Computer upgrades

Something bad: Drama

Something disturbing: Waking up to find a new garbage bin in your driveway. I think Waste Management is trying to tell us that the huge one that came with the house is overkill ;)
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Duran Duran - Ordinary World
Yotogiyotogi on March 18th, 2005 02:14 am (UTC)
green Budweiser they're serving in most bars

Yack. Just... yack.
Brendan: DRINK!roho on March 18th, 2005 02:18 am (UTC)
Yeah, I know.

"Look, Seamus, I know you must miss your homeland. So I dyed this watery American swill green...Isn't it all Irish and stuff now? AAAAHHH, LEGGO, THAT DOESN'T COME OFF!"

On a side note, though, I must ask my coworkers currently in Ireland (3 of 'em) how St. Pats is there. I'm pretty sure they didn't see any green Budweiser ;)
Yotogiyotogi on March 18th, 2005 02:39 am (UTC)
I reckon the place is green enough all by itself there, doesn't need the help. My sole regret is that I missed out on the Shamrock Shake this year.
Brendan: Hell's Trumpetroho on March 18th, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
Maybe if you write to Mayor McCheese...
Joseph Boniswolfbrotherjoe on March 18th, 2005 03:45 am (UTC)
It's starting to look a little more like America's St. Patrick's day...

The traditional way to celebrate St. Patrick's day, however, was to dress in one's Sunday's best, go to church, then stand to respectfully watch the parade.

This was partially to demonstrate that the Irish are not drunken, violent people and overcome the prejudices against the Irish in American which were very strong at the time, and to represent solidarity with the Irish back home, who were being oppressed.
Greg's Crazy Anthropomorphic Tree Head of Funkforestdruid on March 18th, 2005 03:18 am (UTC)
Re: Beer
Hey, would you do me a favor. Whenever you have the time, could you run down a list of what an aspiring brewmeister such as myself would need to begin the craft? I have a Mr. Beer, which worked well enough I guess, but I might as well start without the handicap.

Brendan: DRINK!roho on March 18th, 2005 03:37 am (UTC)
Re: Beer
It's actually not all that much. The bare basics are (not counting per-batch ingredients):
1. A large pot for boiling in.
2. A fermentation vessel. Usually a plastic bucket or a glass carboy. I use a 6.5 gallon glass carboy, cause I like that it doesn't get scratched and I can watch the fermentation. Others prefer 7-gallon buckets, cause they're easier to clean and don't let light in.
3. An airlock for your fermentation vessel, to let CO2 out but keep nasties from getting in.
4. A bottling bucket, with a spigot.
5. A bottling wand (essentially a little plastic tube, that when the tip is depressed against the bottom of an empty bottle, lets the bottle fill)
6. A capping implement.
7. Enough food-grade plastic tubing to get the beer from the pot to the fermenter, from the fermenter to the bottling bucket, and from the bottling bucket to the bottles.
8. Some form of cleaner, and some form of sanitizer. (I now use bleach for cleaning, rinse very thoroughly, and then use StarSan for sanitizing. It's great stuff)

That's pretty much the bare minimum you'll need. On top of that, there's a few things that are more 'nice to have', that many brewers use:
1. A racking cane (basically a crook-shaped piece of rigid tubing), for helping with beer transfers.
2. A hydrometer, for getting before and after readings of the specific gravity of your beer. This lets you know when fermentation's done, and gives you your final alcohol content.
3. A 'secondary' fermentation vessel, for transferring the beer to after it's been going for a week or so. This lets the beer age more safely while not sitting on all the junk left from the initial fermentation.
4. A decent thermometer, for monitoring wort temperature and grain-steeping temperatures. A lot of recipes call for specialty grains, which taste great if steeped at certain temperatures, but lousy at others.
5. Beer/Wine thief, for stealing sanitary samples of beer from your fermenters for gravity readings and, er, scientific sampling ;)
6. Autosiphon, for starting beer transfers in a sanitary and simple manner.

Course, on top of all that, you'll need the ingredients, bottles, bottlecaps, etc. ;) I also keep a supply of latex gloves around, for extra insurance.

There's a lot of sites out there that'll sell you decent 'starter' kits, with most of the stuff you need. My personal favorite lately is Northern Brewer, but there's also local shops around. Perfect Brewing in Wheeling has impressed me pretty well so far!
Aureth: Beeraureth on March 18th, 2005 04:27 am (UTC)
Re: Beer
I'd be wary of bleach, but I suppose as long as you rinse well, you're fine. I was using PBW, which is a horribly expensive percarbonate cleaner. I switched to Oxiclean, which is a much less expensive percarbonate cleaner. Encrusted gunk from primary fermentation simply dissolves away after a soak with this stuff.

I was into Perfect Brewing a month ago or so, just to check the place out. I ended up spending $50, and stocked up on grains and hops. Nice setup, wish it was closer.
Rattus scientificusskorzy on March 18th, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
Re: Beer
I use B-Brite for sanitation. In the proper mix, you don't need to rinse your gear, just dry it off.

I *do* use bleach for utensils: stirring and dipping ladles, thermometer etc. I soak them for about 5 minutes, then rinse them in scalding hot tap water. Works well enough!
Brendan: DRINK!roho on March 18th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Beer
If you haven't tried StarSan give it a try sometime. It's amazing stuff...Basically an acid-based sanitizer, which you also don't have to rinse (or even let dry). The part I like best, though, is that if you agitate it a bit it foams like hell...and the foam also sanitizes ;) So you can completely sanitize a 6.5 gallon carboy with 2-3 gallons of solution, without having to repeatedly swirl or rotate!
Brendan: DRINK!roho on March 18th, 2005 02:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Beer
I actually have a big tub of OxiClean, but I'm leery about using it. I've read a lot of horror stories about it causing nasty buildup on brewing gear (due apparently to the little blue crystals they add for fragrance). Have you ever had a problem with that? Or is it pretty safe as long as you clean and rinse pretty quickly, and don't let it sit around?

As for the bleach, yeah, I rinse it very well before sanitizing. I was a little worried with the Irish that I hadn't rinsed enough, though...The off-flavor that aged out was similar to what you get from bleach, apparently ;)
Aurethaureth on March 18th, 2005 03:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Beer
I've heard differing things...consensus was that enough people use it that I wasn't too worried. I do triple or quadrupel rinse, though. And I don't soak overnight, a couple hours maximum with hot water seem to do all the cleaning I need done. There's supposedly an OxiClean Free version without the blue crystals; I'm going to try and find that when I empty out my current supply.
coldfyre on March 18th, 2005 05:17 am (UTC)
Grog, grog, grog!
Well, I'm glad some of your brewing is working out well! If you can just keep babies from swimming in it and make sure time-travelling Prohibitionists don't pour it out onto your lawn, maybe you'll be all set.

Hmm. How come St. Patrick's Day is a national holiday (though not a federal one, I guess), but, say, the Mexican Day of the Dead isn't? It'd be cool if people would dye their cheap beer black or something and celebrate their ancestors. Or the Chinese New Year or Lantern Festival, France's Bastille Day (and Mardi Gras outside of Louisiana would be nice), Australia Day, Canada Day, or the Wiccan holiday of Beltaine (a time of unabashed sexuality and promiscuity... and, to a lesser extent, maypole dancing). I guess we have Cinco De Mayo as a national thing, and some Oktoberfests in various places every year, but it seems like it could be a lot more diverse.
Yotogiyotogi on March 18th, 2005 08:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Grog, grog, grog!
a time of unabashed sexuality and promiscuity... and, to a lesser extent, maypole dancing

Six of one, half a dozen of the other, depending on your idiom.