Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Era of Beer

Well as you would have read in my last post, I have started brewing my own beer. The first batch was brewed on 12/29, racked to the second fermentor 1/5 and then today I bottled it. What a bitch to say the least. First I racked it to a bottling bucket, added brown sugar ( this is not normal but I wanted to add the flavor just at the end for a touch of molasses) and started to bottle. 40 bottles later, bucket empty, bottles capped and set to carbonate and empty buckets.

Well here is where I need to back up a couple of days. Thursday there was a auction that was selling off all the equipment at the first bar that I ever bartended at. I decided that I wanted to go just to see what was still there 10 years later. Well as I watched the proceedings I noticed that one of the bottle cooler behind the bar, a 54" Superior, was not being bid on so I started bidding. Well what do you know but I win it for the great price of $50. Now this is great as I had been reading about getting a kegerator started and had been looking at all the people that turn fridges and freezers in to homebrew kegerators. I wanted to do this but didn't have the spare fridge or freezer. I got this cooler home and started planning. My original thought was to put a tap tower or two on the top, but with the doors sliding up under the top that was not going to work. I looked at the back and sure enough, it is just a big black sheet of metal. Perfect. I can put a whole row of taps in. I started looking at the interior and figured that I could easily put in 5 of the 5 gallon Cornelius type kegs and still have a couple cases of bottled beer in there chilling as well. I will keep a log on this site of all the work as I proceed but first step is to clean it up.
This brings me back to the empty buckets. Well I now have a cooler to put beer in and only 40 beers to put in it. That just begs for another brew. The last was a Stout so now I wanted to take it down a step and go with a Scottish style ale. I had found several recipes for this style on line but all seem a bit heavy on the hops for my taste. I took two of the recipes that I had narrowed down to the LHBS and talked to the owner. After discussing a couple of options with the recipes that I had we came up with a grain bill and hops schedule that I was happy with. So I got the bottles capped, buckets empty, cleaned and sterilized and pot of water on to boil the water that I will use to fill the 5 gallons. I get that cooled, and start the grains to steep. Instantly I notice the difference in the brew. When at this stage on the stout, the water was almost black right away. This time it has a nice brown color and more grain in the smell. This batch is now sitting in the basement fermenting. Can't wait.
I have added the two recipes below:
Shepherd's coffee stout
6 lbs Amber LME
1/2 lb. of Crystal 60L Malt
1/2 lb. of Black Roast Barley
1/4 lb. of Dextrose Malt
5 cups Dark roast coffee - Add when 5 min left in boil
Hops Schedule
1 oz. Willamette hops 7% acid 60 min
1 oz. Sterling Hops 5% acid 5 min
American Dry Ale Yeast
Shepherd's Scottish Ale
6# Amber LME
2# Marris Otter
1# Brown Sugar
.5# 80L Crystal
.25# Chocolate
Hops Schedule
.5 oz Sterling 60 min.
.5 oz Sterling 5 min.

American Dry Ale Yeast

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