Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 HHHC

Well, the 2010 Happy Holidays Homebrew Competition is over and done with.  While I am not sure of scores or comments (haven't gotten scoresheets just yet), I do know that I won TWO medals!

1st Place - The Aphrodisiac (Chocolate/Maple/Cayenne Mead)
3rd Place - Cinnamon Stick Mead

The Aphrodisiac took 2nd place Best of Show too!  I got beat out by Dale's "Strawberry Mead Forever" Melomel...a VERY excellent mead!  I had a great time judging 3 of the 4 rounds and look forward to seeing what the judges had to say about all 5 of my entries!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I am off work from December 23 - January 3...guess what I am doing?!  That's right...brewing a LOT of beer!  I won't give out too much information, but know that I am brewing at least 5 times in the 11 days I am off.  Here is a very brief run down of what I am brewing:

Wicked Winter Warmer - this beer is going to be an attempt at Pete's Wicked Winter Brew, which I have not had since 1996.  It is an amber(ish) ale that will have Nutmeg and Raspberry in the mix.  About 5.5% ABV

Ebenezer Ale - this beer is going to be a Golden Ale, spiced with Vanilla, Cinnamon, Clove and Coriander.  About 6.7% ABV

Middernacht (Midnight) Dark Strong Ale - this is a Belgian Dark Strong Ale that will be aged on Pinot Noir soaked French Oak (medium toast) and Brett C.  About 8% ABV

Old Stock Ale - this is going to be an Old Ale, plain and simple.  About 7% ABV

Kaiser Weizenbock - this is my Weizenbock (strong German Wheat beer).  About 7.5% ABV

I may throw in another beer or two if time, budget and room allows...may need to buy another carboy or two!  One hint, beer that I brew may, in fact, be a LAGER!!

Unfortunately, none of these will be done in The Brewhemoth this go around.  I am saving that space for a 10 gallon batch to be determined in January!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Well, Christmas is fast approaching...which makes me take pause and think back at the year 2010.  This year has brought a lot to increase in my mead making, a momentary lapse of reason (my thoughts of giving up brewing), The Brewhemoth, a ton of ideas on beers to brew and a "vertical epic" of my own to begin, and of

I also gained some friends, lost a few too, lost a dear family member (love you Grandma), and started a few new adventures of my own...The ATF (All Things Fermented) Brew Club, kegging, and new duties / challenges at work.

Overall, this post is just me reflecting...looking back and 2010 and forward to 2011; wondering what life has in store.

So, to the few of you that look at my blog...thank you.  I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday, whichever you celebrate, and I wish you all the very best for 2011!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend Activities

I keg now!  I finally got up the stones to actually use the kegs I have...cleaned three out with PBW, rinsed the heck out of them, filled the first one with sanitizer and let it sit for 15 minutes (or so), and then pushed the sanitizer to the next keg with CO2, effectively purging the keg at the same time!  Great idea, like a champ!  Filled keg #1 with Heavyweight Barleywine and keg #2 with American Stout (yet to be named).

Put 20PSI on the Barleywine and it will sit for a while (I'll keep an eye on the pressure), and the American Stout is on 10PSI while sitting in the is carbonating (hopefully) and will be drinkable in the next day or two!

So, that was Saturday...Sunday wasn't nearly as exciting.  I took the 4+ cases of unused bottles I had in the basement and de-labelled them all!  Now, I have nothing but clean bottles at the ready in case I need to bottle anything.

Good weekend, overall...and I can't wait until I get to keg something else!  The cider should be ready to go soon...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brewing Area

So, the area of the basement that is now known as the "Brew Room" is getting a little updating finally!  I bought another set of shelves to put all my brewing gear on and I have a lot more stuff organized and straightened up.  I am really happy with the progress down there and really can't wait until we decide to start taking the bathroom down there apart and start putting up walls!  Granted, I will lose a little space because we are planning on increasing the bathroom's size a little and we will be putting up walls, so I can't spill out like I do now...but that is a small sacrifice!  We will be finishing the basement probably in the next year - a little at a time.

I have set up my old dorm fridge, which will be for commercial beer storage and the current beer fridge will be converted to the kegerator.  I will have three taps flowing soon...I am hoping by December!  Since I don't have any real walls down there now (other than the bathroom), I don't have anything hung up yet.  However, I have been thinking about putting up a couple of my signs or mirrors, though, just to give it a little more of that bar feel!  I will hang them on the small wall outside of the bathroom and IN the bathroom (after a good cleaning and perhaps a quick coat of paint).

That's all I have for now...hoping to brew something in the next week or two, just need to think of what I want on tap!

Monday, November 1, 2010

More Experiments...

Was going through some of the stuff in my brew "room" yesterday and I got a couple ideas for MORE experiments!  I'll run down the recipe for the "winner" for you...

Spiced Peach Cider -

1/2 Gallon     Peach Cider
1/2 Gallon     Indian Summer Cider
1 Tsp.           Ground Ginger
3 Each          Cloves (whole)
1 Each          5" Cinnamon Stick (Ceylon)
3/4 Pound     Brown Sugar (Light)
12 Ounces    Old Orchard Apple Juice Concentrate

White Labs WLP775 English Cider

Think I will be starting this one by Wednesday night.  I am itching to have more things fermenting in the doesn't look enough like the lab of a mad scientist yet!

Haven't started this one yet, but I will be by the end of the month.  I am currently working on getting my kegging setup going and also working on the beers, meads and cider I currently have fermenting!  Don't'll be soon.

11/11/10 - Started this tonight...I was racking off meads, which are doing great, and decided it was time.  We'll see how it goes once it goes!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tonight's Activities

I am going to finally bottle the Mandarin got quite shaken up during it's trip up the stairs this weekend, so it was delayed by a few days.  It still isn't as pretty as it was before moving it, but it will finish clearing (again) in the bottles!!

Also, I am going to start batch #2 of the White Grape Pyment that won a 3rd place at last year's HHHC.  I am going to use Sage Blossom Honey this time (no Cactus Blossom on hand), and will quite possibly add a little less than last the area of 2.5 pounds versus 3.  I want the grape character to shine through a little bit more.

And third, I am going to start yet another new experiment...the "Sublime Lemon-Lime Mead" will being it's journey this evening.  Here's the recipes for each:

White Grape Pyment -

2.5 - 3 pounds    Sage Blossom Honey (Northern Brewer)
1 gallon               Wild Organics White Grape Juice (Shop 'n Save)
1/4 tsp.                Fermaid-K

Lalvin D-47 yeast

Sublime Lemon-Lime Mead -

3(ish) pounds     Orange Blossom Honey
1 (64 oz.)           Minute Maid Limeade concentrate (Shop 'n Save)
1 (64 oz.)           Minute Maid Lemonade concentrate (Shop 'n Save)
1/4 tsp.               Fermaid-K

Red Star Montrachet yeast

Hopefully all goes well!

Update:  as of 7:00a 10-28-10, they were both fermenting well!  AND...

The Mandarin Methomel is not too bad!  It has a slight flavor of the spices and is honey forward.  Overall very subtle and drier than most of my others lately, finishing at a 1.008.  This one may do some good in competition next year!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bottling Day (10-23-10)!

I bottled The Aphrodisiac and the 2010 Cactus Blossom on Saturday.  Here is a summary of my thoughts on bottling:

The Aphrodisiac - While this mead was solely an experiment to see how chocolate would work in a mead, it has made me realize a couple things.  First, chocolate is a very subtle flavor apparently...the maple syrup added in secondary really masks the chocolate flavor, but it is still there!  Second, I really like experimenting!!  Overall, I am pretty pleased with this first attempt...I WILL be tweaking this recipe and trying again!  Flavor is maple up front with hints of chocolate lingering behind...we will see what age does to it.

2010 Cactus Blossom - Three gallons of this may have been a bit much!  While it still tastes really nice, it didn't dry out as much as last year's one gallon batch...nothing was done differently, other than the size.  I may have added less honey than I thought last year, or added too much this year...who knows.  I will probably get more honey and make it again...I still like the flavor!  Perhaps tone it down a little bit to about 2.75 pounds per gallon and see if that helps...also, not having crystallized honey would probably help with my accuracy!!  Flavor is all hot alcohols or anything off.  Like I said, it tastes good, just a little sweet...

So, overall these two were successful, but there are changes to be made to make them better.  Going to start The Aphrodisiac (version 2.0) soon...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Happenings...

While I brewed nothing new this weekend, there are a couple things that need to be mentioned.

First off, the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce was very happy to see the Brewhemoth and the "masterminds" behind it there as we were able to collect a little cash for their event!  Went for more than both Dale and I thought it would and made a new brewer (hasn't brewed a single batch - yet) very happy!  Have a good feeling that a couple other sales will come from it to, down the road...

Second, I had a beer accident!  After the American Stout started on Wednesday, it filled the airlock with stout by the time I got home from work.  Changed the airlock and all seemed well...or so I thought.  Checked in on it twice Thursday and on Friday morning and it was going just fine, but between Friday morning and Sunday morning...the airlock blew off and I had stout on the floor!!!!  Thankfully, it seems to be salvagable...

That's all for now...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

American Stout

Brewed this one last night (10-12-10).  Missed the gravity by ONE point!

Here's the recipe:

12  pounds North American 2-Row
  1  pound  Pale Chocolate Malt
  1  pound  Roasted Barley
 .5  pound  Crystal I (45L)
 .5  pound  Dark Crystal I (65L)
.25 pound  Extra Dark Crystal (140L)
  1  pound  Flaked Oats

  1  ounce  Horizon Pellet (12% AA) @ 60
  1  ounce  Cascade Pellet (6% AA) @ 30
 .7  ounce  Cascade Pellet (6% AA) @ 5

Wyeast PacMan Yeast

It smelled and looked pretty good last night, so I have high hopes for this one!  Not sure if I will Dry Hop this one or not...will know that when I take it to the clarifying step.

Hopefully I will brew again soon...need to free up a couple fermentors first, though!  Got too much mead aging, I guess...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vertical Epic...

I was reading a little bit about Stone Brewing's Vertical Epic and thought, "Wow...that's a cool idea!  Wish I would have thought of that!"  Of course, I wasn't brewing in 2001 when they started, but that doesn't mean I can't start my own version!  I am thinking it will be a once a year brew of something really huge and off the wall, that age will not negatively affect, like a Barleywine strength beer and brew in the following schedule:

9-10-2011 - Brew version #1 (the "base" version)
10-11-2012 - Brew version #2 (perhaps wood aged)
11-12-2013 - Brew version #3 (perhaps spiced & wood aged)
12-13-2014 - Brew version #4 (perhaps "bretted", spiced & wood aged)

Basically, follow the same recipe but add a new twist on top every year.  Then you get to taste the differences each year, just to see how things change!  The idea needs some tweaking, of course, but that is something that I have almost a year to plan out and get right.  Should be FUN!!!

Got some new stuff going...

Well, I was planning on brewing beer Sunday, but my shoulder had other plans.  So, I started a couple things that required less heavy lifting:

Eckert's Sweet Mead - One Gallon

4 Pounds Eckert's Orchard Pure Honey (wildflower or clover, I am sure)
1/4 tsp. Fermaid-K
1 pkt. Lalvin D-47 yeast

OG: ~1.160
Estimated ABV: 18%

This one was going nuts less than two hours after pitching!  I had to replace the airlock already once...

Indian Summer Cider - Five Gallons

5.5 Gallons Indian Summer Apple Cider
2 Pounds Golden Brown Sugar
1 pkt. Wyeast 4766 Cider yeast

OG: ~ 1.070
Estimated ABV: 8%

This one was showing signs of fermentation after just a couple hours as well...though not as big and aggressive as the mead.

Planning on brewing an American Stout on Tuesday night!!

Monday, September 27, 2010


The weather has officially broken, from the looks of it! That means it's time to brew again!! Until I get a fermentation chamber figured out, I don't see too much summer brewing in my plans, so I get excited about the fall.

I know I was thinking about giving up the hobby, for the most part, but I think I have changed my mind for now...besides, I have a LOT of grain, hops and yeast to use!

So...what should I brew?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Hard Day's Work...

So, the company I work for is involved in the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce and we are donating a Brewhemoth and Brew Kettle to their yearly auction this year.  The bosses said, "well, since this is for making beer, we ought to have some beer there made with the equipment."  So, Dale and I got to BREW AT WORK yesterday!!!  15 gallons of Dale's award-winning Rye Twist APA is now fermenting in a Brewhemoth at about 65 my office!

What can I say, I like it cold...or, as others would call it, I like my icebox!  My office smells like a brewery...and I like it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Soul Searching...

As the temperatures are finally looking to start cooling and the "brewing season" may start up again, I find myself with a I really want to keep doing this?

I have enjoyed beer ever since I could get it (not necessarily legally, either!), and enjoyed craft beer since I was introduced to it...that said, there are so many great breweries out there and great beer that it makes me wonder why I keep trying to make it myself.

I am not scientifically minded, so that's not it...and the "art" involved in it has gotten kind of stale. Now, granted, I have enjoyed quite a bit that I have created, but I just don't know if it's worth it anymore.

I will still make Meads and Ciders, though...less equipment, more unique, and less space needed to do it.

I don't know...I guess I really need to do some thinking and figure it out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

National Mead Day

Well, National Mead Day (August 7th) has come and gone...but there were a couple really good things that came from it this year! First, Dale had a nice "meading" at the Penrose Pub where many great meads were shared (along with great company). Second, the official start of the ATF-STL (All Things Fermented - Saint Louis) happened!

From the ATF Blog:

"The ATF is a St. Louis area "non-club" that is all about the appreciation of, well, all things fermented. It focuses more on the things that most home brewers can create, such as beer, mead, cider and the occasional wine. It will provide an educational outlet for those seeking to increase their knowledge and improve their fermented beverages, all while providing a friendly atmosphere where they can feel free to share their beverages and get honest feedback."

I am looking forward to seeing how this non-club goes!!

Check the ATF out at:

Monday, July 26, 2010

So, when I brew next...

What should it be?

I have been pondering what to brew next for a while and keep jumping around on ideas. Here are my top 5 thoughts:

- Wheat Beer (similar to Anchor Summer Ale)
- American Stout (similar to Shakespeare Stout from Rogue)
- American Brown Ale
- American Porter (maybe Robust)

Any thoughts are welcome...even though hardly anyone looks at this other than Dale and Ted!!!


It's been a while, so here are some updates!

The Aphrodisiac and the Mandarin Methomel have both been racked for final clearing and should be ready to bottle in a couple months. The Cactus Blossom and Mesquite Blossom should both be bottled in a month or so as well...they are clearing nicely!

The Punching Block (Oaked Prizefighter) is bottled and the 3 gallons of Prizefighter are just waiting for my laziness to subside before I bottle it.

Haven't done anything new in a while, as the summer temps are keeping me from getting outside...I really hope it cools off soon!

More to come later!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mead Bottling and Racking...

Saturday was a day of Mead for me...I bottled the following:

Wildflower Metheglin (Corriander & Cardamom) - A little spicy from the spices added, but it is interesting and nice...will be great once it mellows a touch!
Chyser (Cherry Cyser) - This one is not my favorite. Perhaps a bit of age will make it better, but it could be that I just don't like Cysers after all.
Blueberry Bliss - This one is pretty tasty! A little tanic still, but I think that will age out quickly.

Since I had the motivation, and they were ready, I racked the following:

Mandarin Methomel - Racked this one on to 22 oz. of Mandarin Orange slices, along with 1/2 tsp. Ginger (ground), 1/2 tsp. Cloves (whole - crushed), 1 Star Anise "flower" and 1 5" stick of Ceylon Cinnamon.
The Aphrodisiac - Racked this one on to 24 oz. Grade A Maple Syrup and 1 5" stick of Ceylon Cinnamon.

More later, I am sure...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fire-Eyed Blonde Ale...

Bottled this last night...WHOOO! Man, talk about spicy! I think this one may be a least for those that like the spicy beers. It smells similar to how it tastes! And the nice part is that I did not leave it on the peppers too vegetal flavors that I could tell.

We'll see how all my other stuff turns out this weekend!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday brewing...

Well, I brewed up 5 gallons of Prizefighter Barleywine (OG 1.104) on Sunday, which was put onto some of the yeast from the Suicide Blonde...bubbling and had krausen within 6 hours! I tell you what, this conical is a nice way to tranfer and re-use yeast!!

I also racked 3 gallons of the Suicide Blonde onto a LOT of hot peppers to make the Fire-Eyed Blonde for my dad. I must've gotten a little Habanero under my nail because my entire left hand burned for the rest of the day!!

Brew day went great overall, and I really think I am starting to get a handle on my processes. I don't get the best efficiency, but even Jamil Zainasheff (of The Brewing Network) says that is something homebrewers shouldn't worry about. The only thing I have left to figure out is exactly how much more wort I need to put into my kettle...I can't believe I boiled off 3 gallons in that 2 hour boil!!

Up next...brewing an American Stout!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Started a couple new meads...

So yesterday morning the mood struck me to start a couple new meads. I started by breaking my scale, so I had to pause to get on Ebay to win a new one (I did)...but after that small delay, I got underway. Here's what I started, and what I will add to them when I rack to secondary:

Mandarin Methomel-
3 pounds Orange Blossom Honey being fermented with Lalvin 71B. In secondary, I will add:
22 oz. Mandarin Orange Segments
1- Star Anise Flower
1- 5" Ceylon Cinnamon Stick
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger

The Aphrodisiac-
3 pounds Orange Blossom Honey being fermented with Lalvin R-2...I have added the following in primary:
8 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (boosts the chocolate flavor, believe it or not!)
Then when it goes to secondary, it will get the following:
12 - 24 oz. Grade A (Dark Amber) Maple Syrup
1- 5" Ceylon Cinnamon Stick
I may be forgetting something on this one, but will edit if I did!

Odd sounding, I know...but I do like to experiment! The Aphrodisiac smells GREAT (super cholcolaty) as it is fermenting like mad! The Mandarin currently just smells like an OB mead, but that smells good too!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday Brewing...

I finally got to brewing on Sunday! I brewed 13 gallons of Suicide Blonde Ale and have given the conical it's first run! I overshot my gravity by two points (1.052) and already have a vigorous fermentation going. After primary, 3 gallons will be racked on to 4 different varieties of hot peppers for the "Fire-Eyed Blonde" for my dad...he likes the spicy stuff!

Thinking about using the yeast from the Blonde to make a nice, big American Barleywine...more on that later!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Holding off...

I think I am just going to hold off until this weekend to brew. I keep getting sidetracked with other things going on (house and golf mostly) and haven't gotten to get things set up for brewing. I will take this weekend for myself and brew up some beer!

At least I sure hope so...

Here is what I am planning for this weekends brewing:

13 Gallons of Suicide Blonde Ale (3 Gallons to be turned into the Fire-Eyed Blonde)

and if time allows...

5 Gallons of one of the following:

Pacman Stout
Special X ESB
Meditation Ale
Highland 70/-

Monday, May 3, 2010

Not again...

It would appear that the house is going to take over my "spare time" for a few more days (or a week). I didn't get to grind grain last night, won't be brewing tonight and there is a good chance that I won't get to until (at the earliest) Wednesday. I am hoping for a weekend of good weather so I can perhaps brew both Saturday and Sunday to get a couple more brews off my "backlog".

I will keep you all posted on my progress...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Scheduling Sucks...

So, due to other things coming up on Friday - along with the wind - I didn't brew on Friday. Was going to try and brew today, but we have family coming over which requires me to prep the house since Crystal is brewing again.

My plan is this...I am going to grind grains today and hopefully brew on Monday night. No promises that I will, but that is what I am going to TRY and do!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What to brew?

I am off on Friday and looking to brew...but I am torn on what I should brew.

Here are my options:
-13 Gallons Suicide Blonde Ale (3 Gallons getting "Peppered" in secondary)
-5 Gallons Prizefighter Barleywine
-5 Gallons Nogne-O #100 Clone
-5 Gallons Tunguska Blast RIS

Or should I come up with something completely new?

What do you think?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Trying something new...

I just opened a Nogne-O #100 "Barleywine" style ale. I heard about it on "Can You Brew It?" which is a Podcast put out by the Brewing Network staring Jamil Z. The brewer (from Norway) and Jamil agreed that it is not really a Barleywine, but it was the closest style that fit this 10% ABV monster! I have sipped a little of it so far, and I have to's pretty good! It is a simple, yet complex beer that really has a lot going on! There are hops (about 90 IBU, I would guess-they only claim 80, but admit they only count the 90 minute addition) and there are a lot of other flavors going on as well. They only use 88% Maris Otter, 10% Wheat Malt and 2% Chocolate Malt in this beer...hopped with Chinook (90), Centennial (15) and Columbus (KO) and then dry-hopped with more Chinook. They use White Labs WLP007 on this beer for the yeast...

I have to admit, I haven't touched it at all while typing (until now) and this beer is just getting better...different and VERY drinkable. I recommend it!

This past weekend...

So, Friday night did not go as planned at all! I caught a case of the lazies and didn't bottle a darn thing and was in bed by 9:45 (pathetic, I know)!!

Saturday was much better! I woke up and got over to Dale's ( by 8:00am so we could carpool to the St. Louis Microfest Homebrew competition for judging. We got there and had a great time judging beers and chatting with fellow brewers from the St. Louis area...couple that with the severe weather and it made for a fun and interesting day indeed! I judged the morning session with John Sullivan (Light Ales) and the afternoon session with Larry "Lwood" Wood (Dark Ales).

Sunday was finally the day...after long talking about it, I FINALLY bottled! I bottled the following:

Stroker Acer Acerglyn
Cinnamon Stick Metheglin
Orchard Pear Cider
Rauch & Roll Smoked Dusseldorf Alt

They all turned out pretty well! I am really happy with the Cinnamon Stick and Orchard Pear. Pleasantly surprised by the Rauch & Roll and only slightly dissapointed with the Stroker Acer. The Acer should be better after some bottle-aging, though!

All in all, a good weekend!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bottling Tonight!

I have a lot to bottle's the run down:
  • Cinnamon Stick Metheglin
  • Stroker Acer Acerglyn
  • Wildflower Metheglin
  • Pear Cider (may "eis" a gallon, just because I can)
  • Rauch & Roll Smoked Dusseldorf Alt

Anyone feels like coming by and sharing a pint, give me a call!