Saturday, March 29, 2008

Brew Day - Blood Orange Hefeweizen

Hi all,

Well today was brew day for the 3rd batch of beer a Blood Orange Hefeweizen. I got the recipe from Extreme Brewing and decided to try it cause it looked really good hopefully it will taste as good at it looked. I am a little leery as think I might have pitched the yeast at a little 2 high of a temperature so I really hope I didn't kill the yeast. Worst comes to worse I just throw a packet of dry yeast in if I don't get any bubbles in the airlock by Monday. If that is the case i will have more or an Orange Pale Ale then a hefe but it should still be drinkable. We will see what happens.

Matt

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Las Vegas Trip

What's up all,

Well I went to Sin City for Easter. Where else would a good Christian boy like me spend Easter. Some of my friends from college had never been to Vegas before and I only live a few hours away so we decided to meet up for a few days. Alajandro (Matt B), Maria, John, Jenny, Kara and me set our sites on taking over the town. We started out each day Sat-Mon chilling at the pool at Mandalay Bay. Let me tell you it is an awesome pool but man was it crowded. I don't understand why everyone would like to chill at a pool when it was about 80 and really sunny. Even though we had problems finding lounge chairs we had an awesome time. Riding (or attempting to ride) the waves of the wave pool was fun. The lazy river rocks as usual and the hot tub warmed us up from the chilly water. It doesn't get much better then that.
Around 6 every evening we hit the town. The first day we had dinner at the Monte Carlo Brew Pub. We had some really good food everything from burgers to pretzel bites to wings and a really large tube of wheat beer that contained 9 glasses. Then we went to the Cirque du Soleil Love at the Mirage. Everyone loved it except for me. I enjoyed the first hour and then I fell asleep. I felt they just kept doing the same thing with a different Beatles song. As long as everyone else liked it I am happy. After the show we walked around a few casinos did a little gambling and then went back to our rooms.
The second night we started off by hitting New York New York and MGM. Then we did what I always do when I go out of town. We hit a local brewpub The Sin City Brewing Company. I wasn't really enamored with any of the beers but all of 4 were ok. My favorite were the Amber Ale and the Hefe. Remember my philosophy always try local beer.
After the beer we went to the Bellagio where I go to have the best Pina Colada in the world and a dinner that ranked in the top 5 of all time. Todd English's Olives resteraunt. It was awesome. We started off with a chicken sausage flat bread and for entrees I had the Duck Lasagna, Kara, Al, and Maria had the pork tenderloin, Jenny had the ravioli, and john had the NY Strip(I think). We finished off the meal with a warm chocolate lava cake. All I can say is Yummy!! Then we hit another casino or 2 and went to sleep.
The last day we didn't do much at all except the the Buffet and drive home. Kara and I were so full. Let me give you a piece of advice. Try to avoid eating a buffet dinner before driving 5 hours. The food was really good and we at too much other then that it is tough to describe a buffet in vegas. Picture anything you could possibly want and a lot of it. After dinner I said my goodbyes and we hit the road. The cool thing about my friends from college and I everytime we ge together is seems like we never really left. Good friends, good beer, and good fun = Good Times in my book.

I am going to finish this off with a picture of the crew. Later all!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Next Batch of Homebrew

Hi all,

Well I am hoping to brew my next batch tomorrow and I can't decide if I should do it or not. The reason for this is timing. I have some things I have to do next week and won't have time to do anything with the beer until the following weekend. I have 4 options available to me. First I can brew tomorrow and bottle on Friday (basically did this for my fist batch and it turned out well). Second I can brew tomorrow and leave it in the primary fermenter for 2 weeks and bottle on March 29th. Third I can brew tomorrow and then rack(transfer) to secondary on Friday and then wait another 1-2 weeks before bottling(tasted and smelled awesome while flat still haven't tried it with carbonation). Finally I can wait two weeks to brew and be on a normal schedule. I am leaning towards option 2 as its the only one I haven't tried yet and it is the easiest option. My only concern is the massive contradicting statements on how long to stay in the primary fermentation vessel. I have seen everywhere from 5 days to a month before you may get some off flavors. I think it is worth the risk. I love making beer but anything I can do to be a little lazy with my hobby is always a good thing. It will also help me learn what options are available to me if I have time constraints. The only thing I know for sure is that option 3 is the best option if i have a little time when i start but I won't have time to bottle for a while. It is said that people have left beer in the secondary fermenter for up to a year and still had great tasting beer.

What do you all think?

Matt

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Session #13 - Organic Beers


Hi All,

Happy first Friday in March. This is my first posting for use in the session hosted by The Beer Advocate Chris O'Brien. Thank you for doing this it should be a good month. This months topic for the session is organic beer. I went to a BevMo (I think anyway) and looked through the shelves and picked a Golden Pale Ale called Scarecrow from Wychwood Brewery in Whiney,Oxfordshire, England.

The label has the USDA Organic seal and the description on the bottle states that it is brewed using organically grown Plumage Archer barley malt and Target hops to create a refreshing tasting beer of exceptional flavour & character. Ingredients grown to organic standards prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides & fertilizers. Sounds organic to me and I love that they tell me it has exceptional flavor and character. I guess I don't really need to review it. I guess I will anyway.

Well here it goes:

Sound - After the pop of the cap I heard the the traditional Pssst! Sounds good to me!

Pour - The Scarecrow pours a really nice golden blonde color, clear, with a nice foaming head. After waiting a minute to see head retention the head was gone. I really like the color but I prefer a longer lasting head.

Smell - I am not professional but it smells like beer. ;-) Just kidding it had a nice light floral smell. You also could small a hint of malt. Based on smell I am assuming this is going to be a nice light balanced beer.

Taste - Well I was wrong. Based on the smell I was thinking this was going to be a very smooth flavored beer with nice balance between hops and malt and bitterness and sweetness. This beer is a lot more bitter then I was expecting. It is actually pretty good. I can taste both the hops and the malt and the slight bitter linger at the finish. I wouldn't call this my favorite beer I ever tried but it isn't bad. If I was brewing this beer I think I would balance the bitterness a little more.

After trying an organic beer I honestly can't tell you if there is much difference in an organic and non-organic beer. I think if the ingredients are good and the recipe is formulated properly then you can get a good beer. Not to mention this beer was a $1 more then non organic beers of the same style. Not that I am cheap but I like bang for my buck and I don't think that organic beer(I have tried it 1 other time)is worth the extra cost. Don't get me wrong if an organic beer is available and it looks interesting then I will give it a try but I won't go out of my way to get it.

Hope you all enjoyed my review of Scarecrow Pale Ale and I am looking forward to the next session what ever they may be. Please see all the other session posts at http://beeractivist.wordpress.com/

Later

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

2nd Batch Bottling Day

Hi all,

Today I bottled my second batch and I am very excited it tasted awesome and it was clear, very aromatic and tasted awesome. In a few weeks after it gets some carbonation I feel it is going to be awesome.

Later

Saturday, March 1, 2008

2nd Batch Update

Hi all,

Well I did the second fermentation and I am going to be bottling on Tuesday. Then 2 weeks after that I should have a nicely carbonated Double IPA. I can hardly wait. I have also purchased the ingredients for my next to brews. My next batch will be my first foray into mead making. That will take about 1 month to go through primary fermentation and then it can take 2-6 months in secondary firmentation before it even goes into a bottle. The I think I will bottle carbonate half the batch and leave the other batch still. I predict this will be really nice to drink around Thanksgiving. Then right after the mead gets gets racked into secondary I will be brewing a honey amber ale. My wife chose this one so hopefully it will be good.

Later!