10 March 2006

jay and i got a chance to brew again last weekend. we happened to have built up a nice supply of beermaking odds and ends, so we tried to use a bunch of stuff on hand for this batch. what came out will henceforth be known as frankenstein brown ale, mainly because it's brown and made out of random bits and pieces... and it's evil. basically we used 6 lbs. malt extract, 10 oz. light munich malt, 10 oz. amber biscuit malt, 12 oz. special B malt in the wort.
hopped with 1 oz. UK phoenix hops at 1 hr. and 1 oz. german hallertauer hops at 15 min.
The yeast strain was the safale S33 dry yeast, which we happened to have sitting in jay's fridge. we'll see how it comes out. our best beer yet, i think, was actually the IPA we made using another dry yeast, US-56. Dry yeasts are generally considered inferior to liquid yeast strains due to the harshness of the manufacturing process, but it's hard to complain too hard when the IPA came out tasting to clean, well-attenuated and hoppy.

our next big project will be to make the transition to all-grain brewing. Basically, right now we use malt extract, which is essentially a concentrated form of sugar. We boil it to make wort (pronouned "wert"). Essentially, someone else is picking out the barley (or wheat) for us, which takes away some control over the brewing process. commercial brewers and many homebrewers, though, mash their own wort. They take grains and soak them in water at certain temperatures to convert certain enzymes that allow you to extract sugars from the grains. Here is a good photo essay on how to do that at home. it's really not that tough. Jay has a good insulated cooler for us to use. We just have to buy a few small parts for the manifold and get ourselves a proper kettle that can handle full 5 gallon wort boils. right now our kettle is a tad too small. So we plan to do our first all-grain batch within the next few weeks. wish us well!

oh, and i almost forgot, the white ale we brewed last month came out great! really has a nice funky belgian flavor and silky mouthfeel to it.

Crap,I hope Sharon doesn't read that. I haven't told her yet that we will be using our cooler for camping AND mashing/sparging grain.

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