Archive for December, 2008

Beer for Christmas

Dec 31, 2008

My wife and I decided to give baskets of homemade or locally-made items this year for Christmas.  We both believe that small businesses need the patronage any time of year, but especially these days.  Plus there is nearly always a certain connection made when you can shop and purchase items directly from the person that made the item. bourbonbarrelstout

For the baskets to give to my sisters and in-laws, my wife made crocheted wash cloths to go with locally, handmade soaps.  We added locally made salsa and chips, and of course, my beer.  I included my Heartbreak Motor Oil stout which I simply renamed Bourbon Barrel Stout so as to not really freak out the in-laws with the name.  Some might not understand.

All was well received and of course everyone had to ask who made what, how was this made, and where to get more of such and such, so this is also a great part of handmade gifts.  I hope to continue this type of gift-giving in the future…

The Adequate Brewer

Pound of Hops

Dec 16, 2008

Recently I received a pound of Centennial leaf hops from Northern Brewer.  They had a deal that I couldn’t pass up.  Plus it’s a pound of hops!  Yes, I said a POUND of hops.poundofhops

I’ve always used pellet hops, but like I said, it was a good deal for the leaf.  I ordered Centennial because I knew I liked that variety and I haven’t been able to get them lately because of the hop shortage.

The Centennial leaf hops arrived at 9.7% Alpha Acid and in a large oxygen barrier bag that looked a lot like a pillow, only full of hops.  We have a vacuum sealer that we rarely use but I have read that this is perfect for storing hops, so I weighed them out into 2 oz increments and packed them into vacuum sealed bags.  Thanks to my wife, we had an assembly line going as she cut and formed bags while I weighed and packed the bags.  I marked all the bags with the variety, AA%, and weight and pitched them into the freezer.

I plan to make a series of American pale ales and these will come in handy for most recipes.

The Adequate Brewer

All-Grain Equipment

Dec 10, 2008

It appears that I will be receiving an all-grain equipment upgrade for the brewery this winter holiday. 

I circled an all-grain setup and a few various items from the Northern Brewer catalog and my wife said that it could be a nice gift from her and my mother-in-law for the upcoming winter holiday.  How cool is that?  My wife and my mother-in-law are buying me brewing gear!

I picked the 5 gallon system which includes two 5 gallon coolers, a stainless false bottom, ball valves, and various hoses.  I also picked out a sparge arm and a thermometer bulkhead to mount in the mash tun to monitor mash temperatures.

Yesterday, two big boxes from Northern Brewer showed up on the front porch.  Yay!

I can’t open the boxes, let alone use the equipment until after the holiday.  And it will be quite some time before I can get outside to brew on the big burner because it’s so cold anyway.  Boo!

But at least I can have fun adjusting my brew software in the meantime…

The Adequate Brewer

Beer Names

Dec 8, 2008

Since I’ve been in the mood to make creative old fashioned beers lately, I have been thinking about how to name my farmhouse ales.  The way I think of farmhouse beers is that before the industrial revolution, beer was made on farms for the family and the hired help to slake the thirst and fortify the body during the hard work that was required to run a farm.  These beers were really just safe water and were not meant for discussing or evaluating.  Would these beers have names?  Probably not.  Maybe they would be designated light, medium, and heavy, but that would have been about the extent of any form of name.  So, should I name my farmhouse ales?

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