Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Fridge

The Pennant Porter is ready for the New Year. Should be plenty of excellent quaffing in the offing!! Now I'll have to get to work on a World Series Stout. The 2012 San Francisco Giants are the World Champs. That's a better reason for partying than 1999 or the goddamn Mayan Calendar cluster-fuck, don't you think? I certainly do.


a.d. III Kal. Ian.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pennant Porter II

The beer fermented out quickly as I used two fresh packs of yeast. It never got below 1.020 and showed no more signs of fermentation so I decided to keg it up. I primed the two 2-1/2 gallon corny kegs with about 50 grams of dextrose each and filled them both with plenty left over. There was a lot of volume in this batch! I figure they'll need at least a week of conditioning, maybe more like ten days as the closet temperature hovers around 65 ºF. Then a week or two in the fridge and Pennant Porter should be ready by New Year's Eve.

a.d. V Id. Dec.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pennant Porter

After the deluge of the past few days the sun came out here at French Street Brewery in the State of Jefferson. It was a fine day to brew. Continuing the world champions theme for the 2012 San Francisco Giants is Pennant Porter. The Giants won the National League pennant in stirring fashion by defeating the defending champions on the 22nd of October, which also happened to be my beloved bride's birthday. A fine present, indeed. Today's brew was a simple extract--8 pounds of dark syrup and an ounce of Centennial hops. I used two packs of Safale-04 so the fermentation would be vigorous and complete. The OG reading on my refractometer was 1.048 (12 ºP) so it is a little bigger than the Championship Ale which was more of a light session beer. Looking forward to quaffing many pints over the holidays!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Championship Ale, part II

The Giants emerged victorious from the League Division Series and now advance to the League Championship Series. The Ale emerged from its carboy slumber into a five-gallon keg, primed and ready. It's a light-colored session beer that I hope has a full hop flavor. I've made one or another version of Championship Ale since 1988, the year I started brewing. The Giants were the NL West champs in 1987. This one is will be ready by the time October baseball is over, and we can drink it to celebrate the exciting 2012 season. The NLCS will likely be very close--the Cardinals are, after all, last year's World Series winners. I expect the games to be close and the competition to be intense. And it starts tonight in San Francisco! Man, I'm thirsty already.

prid. Id. Oct.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Championship Ale

In celebration of my favorite ballclub winning the NL West, I cooked up a batch after a long hiatus. It was a relaxed day as I kept it simple and used malt extract. You can make excellent beer with extracts, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I haven't hopped on the homebrew hobby horse in a while, and it felt good to break out the kettle and fire up the stove. We had lovely weather in the State of Jefferson, and the Giants came from behind to beat the Padres. What could be bad?

I used six pounds of extract, two ounces of Centennial hops, a pound of 40ºL crystal, and Safale-05 yeast. I'm imagining myself drinking it now, thinking back on the wonderful 2012 baseball season. Way to go, Giants! Keep it rolling!

prid. Kal. Oct.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Geeko Sapien

This is genius:

I hope I'm a Geeko Sapien.

Check out the "Infographics" section of the Beer & Whiskey Brothers blog.

(And thanks to Ryan for the link.)

a.d. XIII Kal. Sep.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Comin' Up!

The hops are sprouting. The Nugget came up first and it is now showing leaves. The Magnum was next, and the Cascade finally poked through the soil earlier in the week. The longest--the Magnum--is about 9 cm (that's 3-1/2 inches for you non-metricals). The shortest--the Cascade--is about 2 cm (less than an inch). It is very exciting as all three that were planted are now growing. It has been mostly cool and rainy but we did get a stretch of sunshine and the ground has warmed up. The MCN project is off to a good start.

a.d. III Id. Apr.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Magnum, Cascade, and Nugget

We had a little window of sunshine this afternoon and managed to get the hop rhizomes in the ground before the rain returned. The soil looked good when we turned it yesterday, and with the addition of a little compost, peat moss, and sand, the young plants should have a healthy start. All we need now is some good growing weather! I organized them left-to-right (looking south) in an easy-to-remember M-C-N scheme. If M.C. O'Connor can't keep that straight, even after many homebrews, he should quit now. I wrapped the name tags that the rhizomes came with on the redwood trellis frame that I built years ago for peas, beans, and the like, but I expect they'll suffer the ravages of time. M-C-N is my fail-safe. The material that came with the hops from Freshops says not to expect much in the first year as the plants are mostly developing roots. The varieties I chose were recommended by Freshops as the best for beginners due to their hardiness and resistance to major hop diseases. They list Magnum hops as dual-purpose, Cascade as aroma, and Nugget as alpha (bittering). Freshops is in Philomath, Oregon, in the heart of the Willamette Valley. It's just west of Corvallis, home to Oregon State University. I'm a Cal man, but OSU has two things going for it: an orange-and-black color scheme and a Brewing Science major!

a.d. X Kal. Apr.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ready for the festival!

I tapped the St. Patrick's Day Stout today. It was smooth, dry, creamy, and delicious. The batch is ready for the exclusive invitation-only Lá Fhéile Pádraig that FSB attends here in the State of Jefferson. I would tell you the particulars of this particular festival, but then I'd have to kill you. Nonetheless, I'll think of you, kind readers, when I'm slaking my thirst with my stout.

Today is also the start of a new adventure here at FSB--I'm going to plant hops! I placed an order with Freshops for three rhizomes: Cascade, Nugget, and Magnum. They should be here in a week or so and they will be in the ground right around the Vernal Equinox!

Wish me luck.

Beware the Ides, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

a.d. VI Id. Mar.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What is a stout?

A stout is a black beer. There are lots of variations and categories and styles and whatnot, but that is the essence of stout--dark. I decided to make this year's version of St. Patrick's Day Stout with some black malt and not much else. I skipped the roast barley. I didn't use chocolate malt. I stayed away from oats, too. I kept this one very simple. Took the first runnings and made one hop addition--that was it. The yield was five gallons at 1.048 (12ºP) and I pitched a sachet of Safale-05. It was a mild and mostly sunny day here in the State of Jefferson despite the calendar saying it is January.  I don't usually brew for Lá Fhéile Pádraig this early, but a little aging in the keg never hurt any beer, especially a stout. If you go to this website, it will tell you about different kinds of stout. If you go to Ireland and drink Guinness, Murphy's, and Beamish, you will find out about those kinds of stouts. Around here we get lovely beers like Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, and Sierra Nevada Stout from Chico, California. Stout beer has many possibilities. I suggest that you brew up your own version, or at least encourage a homebrewing friend to brew one you'll like.

Non. Ian.