I have been making some stuff that isn't beer lately. It turns out to be much easier.

I made some Mead last week. That's just mix water and honey and yeast nutrient and yeast and let it be. I made some maple syrup...um...beer? Or is it wine? Anyway, it is the same thing - syrup, water, yeast nutrient, and yeast. I actually used the rest of the Nottingham that was left after revitalizing the Big Flat Beers. Even now, a day and a half later, it is still going at about a bubble in the airlock every 4 seconds or so. I am optimistic, but out of gallon jugs.

Low Activity

So I know it has been a while since I posted too much. I am workin' now. I brew when I can, but it isn't as easy as it used to be. I hope to make it a more regular part of my life again soon.

Big Flat Beers

So I think I probably complained here about all my big beers being flat in the bottles. Just to recap, there's Big Slick - an 8.5% ABV IIPA which has been flat for a while, after having a higher than expected terminal gravity. Then there's Dorée Forte, an 11.3% ABV Duvel Clone (I know, it is a LOT higher ABV than Duvel - just had super high efficiency in a step mash). Finally GSX-R 1.104, a Double version of the Fat Tire clone recipe, clocking in at 10.0% ABV.

Well they've all been sitting there for like two months (or actually maybe more like 6 weeks) but it seems like two years! Normally my brews take like a week to carb, so I was stressin.

Yesterday I finally took care of it (or at least tried to). I had a packet of Nottingham. I rehydrated it with about 4 oz. of water (per directions on the package) and dilligently distributed about 1/4 tsp to each bottle of all three batches of flat beers. Amazingly, some of the Big Slick actually hissed and fizzed when I opened them. Then they really bubbled up when I dropped a quarter teaspoon of yeast into them. So anyway I am hoping that approximately 0.10 grams of yeast per bottle will be enough to at least have some carbonation in them, and also that I didn't mess up sanitation and contaminate every beer.

By the way, in case it wasn't obvious, I opened every beer in the three batches (which was 95 beers, since I have kept trying beers from each batch to see if they're carbed), then I added 1/4 tsp yeast/water mix to the bottle, and recapped it. You think bottling 5 gallons is tedious, forget it. Try doing 100 bottles of beer at once. I just kept thinking "100 bottles of beer on the wall, take one down, add it some yeast, 99 bottles of beer that are flat".

In case anyone reads this, please pray for my beers that they may carb up and be enjoyable to anyone other than me (I have gotten quite used to drinking them flat and even warm - I like to think of them as very very weak scotch).

Piraat Ale

OK so there already is a Belgian Trippel IPA. It is called Piraat Ale. I haven't researched it any more than that, other than drinking a 750 of it tonight. It was all I had hoped for my own Belgian Trippel IPA. It was sweet as hell, tasting very much like an adjunct-filled belgian ought to. It was also extremely hoppy throughout. Hoppy in a Euro-grassy-hop way. Just like I expect my two ounces each of Saaz and Styrian Goldings (for 0.75 gallons) to make my Belgian Trippel IPA. I can only hope to achieve such awesomeness.


Beer Activist

I am so happy right now. I just read on Beer Activist that I provided him with the info he was looking for! I read his blog on a RSS feed I get through Google, and I saw him asking about info related to the drinking age law debate that is in the news lately. I was lucky enough to have the info, and I sent it to him, and he linked to me!!! That is officially the first link to my blog that I know of!!! I could hardly be happier!!! Thanks Chris!!!

Belgian Trippel IPA

I brewed today, finally!

I made a Belgian inspired IPA. I love Belgian Trippels, with their light color and body and sweet flavor, combined with high alcohol - what's not to love!

I also love IPA. All those hops, bittering up the mouth, totally inaccessible to BMC drinkers. What beer lover doesn't love IPA?

SO I thought "Belgian Trippel IPA"! I wanted to do a pilot batch (word to the wise - DON'T DO IT!) so I made a 1 gallon batch, with 3 lbs of fermentables and 2 oz of hops. For those who don't know, a standard 5 gallon batch is 10 lbs of fermentables and 2 oz of hops. So this is a monster. It should end up over 10% alcohol by volume (for comparison, Sam Adams is about 4.7%).

Unfortunately, it seems my 5 gallon system isn't quite geared for a 1 gallon batch. I normally get 60-70% efficiency, meaning I get 60-70% of the theoretical yield (in the form of fermentable sugars) from the grain. Well today I got 52% efficiency. As if that wasn't bad enough, I also got a low volume yield. I aimed for 0.75 gallons and ended up with probably 0.5 gallons - even after adding an extra quart to the brew!

:( is all I can say.

Fortunately, I plan to add corn sugar as dosage at transfer to secondary (or at least once primary fermentation is done), so all I have to do to compensate for this low mashing efficiency is to add 20% more corn sugar (0.60 lbs instead of 0.50 lbs). I think my Trappist High Gravity yeast (WY3787) can handle it.

I also managed to bottle my Strawberry Infused American Wheat Beer (which ended up being more Wit than Wheat, I guess thanks to my Duvel Clone's yeast somehow). I got 9 bottles out of what I thought was a gallon (which should be 12 bottles), but hey that's cool. Maybe tomorrow I can bottle my "Public IPA" made at my public brewing last month from an extract kit donated by Rob's.


Lower Drinking Age

I just read a story on MSN about lowering the drinking age: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20249460/

It seems obvious to me that lowering the drinking age will get 18-21 year-olds drinking beer instead of liquor. The reason they drink hard liquor is because it is easier to get and more effective by volume at getting them drunk. If they could buy beer legally, then they'd be able to get some beer and drink it in a normal adult way.

OK so maybe they wouldn't drink it in an adult way, but they'd be more likely to drink beer and less so to drink spirits. As the article states, look at prohibition as an example. Did the bootleggers make beer? Hell no, they made booze. Why bother transporting beer when you could move something 5-10 times as potent in the same weight and volume.

Let's face it, making something illegal doesn't stop it. People still do drugs - all the time. Kids still smoke - unless they really understand why they shouldn't. And people will drink alcohol when they feel like it, no matter how old they are.

Legalize it, don't criticize it.



Sorry I haven't been posting. I have been busy trying to like actually make a living now. See http://dryerventilator.blogspot.com for more info. Also see http://www.keithbrainard.com for the same info in a different form.

Anyway. I continue to drink beer, and I have tasted many commercial beers the past few weeks. I have good notes, fit for http://beeradvocate.com but I haven't yet posted them there. Working is hard work.

Brewing is also somewhat on hold as I wait for the big beers to carb up (no they are still flat) and just don't have much time for brewing lately. With any luck, I'll brew Belgian Tripel IPA soon. Then I'll get to posting about it. And maybe I'll bottle Public IPA and Strawbeery soon. Then I'll get to posting about it. But until that time, it is fluffy posts like this one.