Saturday, January 31, 2009

Last week's Brewing Session

Whew! I'm behind in my posting! Let's see, I had a Brew Day last week. I had thought about doing an American Amber ale, but decided instead upon a Helles Bock. The deciding factor for me was not wanting to have to get a variety of different malts (my 'stash' is running low) and not feeling up to doing multiple hop additions (I just wanted to brew, and relax). All told, the session went well. Keeping a rolling boil when the temperature is below freezing is difficult, but it was managed. It didn't take as much to chill things, either--pop the lid on the pot, let it sit for a while, then once through the (too-short) counterflow, inside. My biggest concern really was that a friend came over to brew a Scottish 80/-, and we didn't get around to it; I believe she'll be coming over to brew it tomorrow morning, before the Super Bowl. So, in short, progress. :)
In other news, I kegged the Pale Ale I did back in December. I'm gradually getting around to every bit of equipment I have to sterilize it, trying to get a handle on the mystery overcarbonation. I've got to pick up some bottles for the Pinot Noir (I'll do that today); that will also free up one of my 5-gallon carboys for secondary for the Helles. I need to bottle the 2 gallons or so of Pumpkin Beer I did on a lark--it actually looks decent; we'll see what it tastes like! And I need to get a whole bunch of already-kegged beer drunk. (Drank? Drinked? I need to look up the grammar for that...)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Event is over...

Well, Saturday was the event. Despite the hurdles, it was a success. Now, as has been expressed to the people in charge of such things, *never again*. I suppose things could have been worse; as it was, we only had to jury-rig water. The alarm was disconcerting--it turned out to be from the boiler, to let us know that the electricity to the boiler had been cut, after a surge. The classes went well, although getting things started and finished on time was quasi-organized chaos. Nevertheless, things seemed by & large to go fairly smoothly.

Next on the hit parade: brewing next weekend. I think I'll do a basic amber ale--gotta have stuff ready to go for spring and summer, after all.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Books, books, and books.

Well, the Holidays are past. I received many many many excellent books, the which I'm perusing as time allows. Unfortunately, time isn't allowing as much as it might--I'm organizing the Barony's event next weekend, and "utter chaos" is an apt description. Still, as I go through them, I'll try to post the quick review here. Additionally, I hope to have a couple of brews tapped in the next week or two, and I'll take tasting notes and share them with you, my loyal reader(s).

I'll start today with Beer: Tap Into the Art and Science of Brewing
, by Charles Bamforth. This was a delightful read--very interesting from a technical, brewing background sort of way. It's not something anyone should pick up who's trying to learn how to brew, although someone trying to become more familiar with that tasty beverage they're sipping could probably do worse. Mr. Bamforth writes with a good deal of insight, as well as the occasional wry bit of humor. My only complaint is that his Englishness comes through in a couple of places--although I believe he would deny it (based on what I read), he seems to have a bias (completely understandable) for his native British beers, and on one or two occasions in the book displays what I can only describe as undue disregard for several other beer styles (the Schwarzbier, for example, is dismissed due to its lack of popularity in Britain). Still, this is a minor quibble, and all things considered, I'd have to rate the book a four stars out of five.

For next time: Books on unusual fruit, on cider, and (of course) more beer!

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