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Archive for September, 2011

Winning, again!

Well, the results for the other competition (Malt Madness V) I entered are in. My porter, Hey Porter! (a reference to the man in black) , won gold! Check it here:  http://www.lehighvalleyhomebrewers.org/competition_2011_results.html

So I also entered Goodman Brown and Four Score in this comp, which won gold in the previous competition, and they didn’t even place. This somewhat shows how hit and miss competitions are (not to discount the other brewers by ANY means), but I have a feeling that Goodman Brown has peaked…not a beer to age.

So three out of the last three beers I have brewed have won gold. I’ll take it. Now I need to bottle up some of the Rye and Hopline to send off.

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Black Curse Brewed

Last night I brewed Black Curse, an imperial stout, which I would like to be ready by December.

This morning I reoxygenated the beer, as it is a big beer, and it started gushing out of the carboy onto the carpet…..I was not loving that at 6 am, trying to get out the door for work, lesson learned.

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Kegging Hopline

Tonight I kegged Hopline after bottling what was left of the Porter. All signs indicate that Hopline is going to be amazing. I was let down by the Porter. There was some slightly phenolic off flavor that sneaks in the finish. Lesson: wash your yeast (if reusing).

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So I entered two beers in the Schooner Homebrew Championship, Goodman Brown Ale and Four Score.  They both took Gold, first place, in their respective categories (American Brown and Belgian Strong Dark). Pretty good average of success on that one. Am I pleased with this? More than most people would imagine.

I’ve been improving my brewing process by getting a better handle on fermentation temperature control and better wort oxygenation. Also, I’ve got my water pH dialed in so that I’m hitting the 5.2. to 5.4 range for my mashes.

The two winning beers were the first to have said improved processes applied, and the results are conclusive. In the end, these results only further my thinking that a focus on yeast and yeast health/viability is the key to making great beer.

I entered both of these same beers into another competition, which takes place this Saturday. We’ll see if I have the same luck there. You never know how your beer is treated in shipping and handling along the way, so who knows.

Other updates: the Rye beer is now on tap and tastes great; it showcases the rye character like I wanted. Hopline is dry hopped, and I will keg it in the next few days post bottling the remaining Porter for storage.

I will post the recipes for Goodman Brown Ale and Four Score at some point soon.

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Hopline v. 1.8 Million

Yesterday I brewed another version of my IPA, Hopline. Brewing a great IPA seems to be my white whale. This time I used Chinook, Citra, Centennial, and Amarillo hops. It was easily the best smelling and one of the best tasting worts I’ve brewed, so if fermentation goes well, I have high hopes for this.

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Rye Times

So I brewed the rye ale today based off the recipe mentioned in an earlier post. Everything went smooth, and I finished up the brew day in 4.5 hours, which is one of the shorter brew days I’ve had. I also made my first batch of kombucha. That should be ready in about a month. Next up is Hopline version 800 then Black Curse (Imperial Stout). Good brew day overall.

We’re out of bread, so I’m off to make a loaf.

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