Archive for December, 2011

homebrew waffles, cider update, brewing decor

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

saturday morning found me jonesing for some belgian waffles and maple syrup.  unimpressed with the instant batter collecting dust in the pantry, I decided to whip up some beer waffles for AP and me to enjoy.

  • a quick online search yielded a few batter recipes, one of which seemed like a good starting point.  I modified it as follows:
      • 2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 12 fluid ounces of AP’s amber from the tap
      • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
      • 1/4 cup almond milk
      • 2 eggs, separated
      • 1 tablespoon honey
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • I followed the online prep directions and ended up with some very tasty waffles with a malty, nutty aroma and light, fluffy texture that crisped up nicely on the outside.  I plan on experimenting with the recipe by swapping whole wheat flour for the all-purpose and adding a high-gravity (perhaps bourbon aged?) stout instead of amber for a real decadent treat.
  • in other news, I kegged my latest batch of basque cider, which finished at 0.995 for an abv of 7.22%.  I also sampled my first batch of basque cider and discovered that it was “sick” – ropy, slick, and generally undrinkable.  according to my research, this may have been caused by oxygen exposure during bottling, and should dissipate over the next few months.  I’ll give it another taste in three months and hope for the best!
  • as a side note, I also spruced up my basement fermentation room with an original 1700s-era hop plant print from a french botanicals book.  I picked up the print at a local flea market and matted and framed it at home.  I have found that a mat cutter quickly pays for itself and helps you turn any two-dimensional beer-related media into a professional-looking display piece.  matted and framed pictures also make great gifts…




house saison round 3, dog treats

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

a casual perusal of my sour pipeline last week led me to realize that it had already been six months since the last iteration of my house saison hit the fermenter.  luckily, I had a couple of cases of bottles and a keg ready to take on some brew, and I managed to free up part of the weekend to get some wort going.

  •   I started with my standard recipe that I used for the first batch (which I was very happy with), but made a few (hopefully complementary) tweaks – I upped the mash temp to 150F, adjusted the grain bill a little, added clear candi and cane sugar, brought down the IBU, and ended up with an 80 minute boil:
    • 0.50 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 2.13 %
      18.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.0 SRM) Grain 76.60 %
      1.50 lb Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 6.38 %
      1.50 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 6.38 %
      0.50 lb Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 2.13 %
      4.00 oz Hallertauer [2.20 %] (70 min) Hops 12.7 IBU
      2.00 oz Hallertauer [2.20 %] (0 min) Hops
      1.50 lb Candi Sugar, Clear (0.5 SRM) Sugar 6.38 %
  • I ended up with ~12 gals with an OG of 1.062 (15 brix) and an IBU count of around 12.7.  since all my house saisons have varied by one or more elements, I’m thinking about aggressively dry-hopping this beer a few weeks before bottling (but I haven’t ruled out other possibilities, such as racking onto fruit, oak aging, etc.).
  • the winter saison smelled funky and tasted earthy and sour when I bottled and kegged it – the carafa seems to have blended nicely with the bugs.  look for a review in a few weeks.
  • I also baked up some spent grain dog treats using the dog-friendly alternative to my spent grain bars.  even though I burned half the batch by trying to dry them out too quickly, the resulting treats were crunchy and aromatic, and the little brew assistant goes crazy for them.  they make a great christmas gift for dog lovers as well!




amber ale tasting notes, belgian date barleywine

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

this week I set aside some time to reflect upon a couple of current draft selections that are on different sides of the spectrum.

style: amber ale

appearance: great amber color, creamy head with nice lacing, fine carbonation

aroma: slightly alcoholic, sweet, and fruity

taste: malt-forward, coating mouthfeel, caramel and fruit notes, very sessionable

comments: a solid performer, but I personally don’t like the yeast strain (S-04), so I would use a different strain (cal ale or belgian) and maybe dry hop a keg with an earthy variety.




style: belgian date barleywine (2009)

appearance: great carbonation and lacing, slightly cloudy/opaque even after being chilled for months

aroma: intense boozy fruit, layered alcohol notes (spirit-like)

taste: smooth boozy sweetness, alcohol bite but no heat, sweet malt with a fruity finish, viscous and caramelly

comments: I brewed this one on 07/11/09 and tapped it over a year ago – it has been jumping in and out of the lineup ever since.  this is definitely a sipper and took well over a year to mellow out.  this was my first foray into specialty sugars – I added 2 pounds of date sugar to the 5 gal batch.  although this batch is currently pretty tasty, it drinks so slowly I’m not sure I’ll brew it again.  see below for the recipe I dug up from the partial mash vault.


12.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract 72.73 %
1.00 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 6.06 %
1.00 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 6.06 %
0.50 lb Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 3.03 %
2.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (60 min) Hops 36.4 IBU
2.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (60 min) Hops 36.4 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (45 min) Hops 9.8 IBU
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (8 min) Hops 7.1 IBU
2.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (1 min) Hops 1.6 IBU
2.00 lb Date Sugar, Dark (50.0 SRM) Sugar 12.12 %
1 Pkgs Belgian Abbey II (Wyeast Labs #1762) Yeast-Ale