Archive for March, 2009

First All-Grain Batch

Mar 26, 2009

Yes, today was the day for the first all-grain batch of beer.  I was (and still am) very excited.  For Christmas I received an all-grain brewing equipment kit that you can read more about here.  And today, the weather behaved and I was able to use it.

For those that may not know, many homebrewers start brewing using malt extract.  That is, malted barley that has been mashed, boiled, dried to some extent, and then packaged.  In all-grain homebrewing, you the brewer mash the malted barley to convert the starches to sugar, lauter (drain off the sugary liquid), sparge to rinse the remaining sugars from the grain, and then proceed with the normal boil just as you would with an extract batch. (more…)


Hop Sprouts

Mar 18, 2009

I planted two Cascade rhizomes last year that really didn’t do much and were a general disappointment.  hopsprouts01They grew rather vigorously for a couple of months but then it seemed they just stopped.  No matter what I did, they just wouldn’t grow and they always looked like they were about to die.  Needless to say, I didn’t get a single hop cone.  All summer I fought bugs, drought, overwatering, and anything else you read about with growing hops.  I even had stray cats playing amongst the bines (vines).  Part of me was almost dreading this season… until they sprouted.

About two weeks ago, little reddish, tender sprouts popped out of the ground.  Then it frosted overnight.  A couple of days later I had three or four shoots per plant ranging from tiny nubs to about an inch tall.  Yesterday so as to not damage the roots, I carefully placed the tomato cages around the plants to keep the stray cats away.  Yes, they still come around along with hopsprouts02the occasional raccoon.  I’m thinking I’ll place moth balls around all the plant beds this year to encourage the strays to use other backyards as their personal restroom.

Anyway, I’ve included a couple pictures taken with my phone, just for the fun of it.  I need to get my regular camera charged so I can hopefully get better pictures for this site.

The Adequate Brewer

Brewing Software

Mar 9, 2009

Nearly the entire time I’ve been brewing I have used some sort of software to create, adjust, or just tinker with recipes. 

Sometimes the local shop I use for ingredients is out of a certain item or simply does not carry the brand I need or want, so using a piece of software to make adjustments has been invaluable. 

I started doing partial mashes and the software allowed me to enter information about my tiny mash tun and make up the rest of the fermentable sugars with extract.  Again, the software was invaluable. 

Then came the dreaded hop shortage.  Once more the software came to the rescue and allowed me to substitute hops and have it calculate the hop utilization for me. I’ve even been able to use the popular utilization formulas (Tinseth, Rager, Daniels, etc.) to see the different IBU levels they calculate.  Plus, no matter how much I studied the hop utilization formulas, laziness always took over and I let the program do the calculations for me.