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Winter Ale

Brewed a second batch today from the Midwest Supplies Winter Ale kit.

This kit has been in our basement for a few months, so I replaced the original yeast with Imperial German Kaiser G02 yeast from Brew & Grow.

Bag of grains steeping in the kettle
Steeping some grains

I plan on bottling this one and letting most of it hang out in the basement til next winter.

OG: 1.055 / moved to secondary 1/24/19, SG 1.035

FG: tbd, currently fermenting!

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Cascade SMaSH

Adapted from Kegerator’s recipe

We used our backyard Cascade hops for this one. I harvested these about 4 months ago and have been storing them in a freezer. This is our first beer that utilized dried backyard hops. It was pretty messy but still fun.

Ingredients:

  • 5.75 lbs Liquid Malt Extract
  • 1 ounce of Cascade Hops for 60 minutes
  • 0.5 ounces of Cascade Hops for 30 minutes
  • 0.5 ounces of Cascade Hops for 15 minutes
  • 0.5 ounces of Cascade Hops for 1 minute (flameout)
  • 0.5 ounces of Cascade Hops dry-hopped for 7-14 days
  • Yeast: White Labs WLP001

Procedure:

Heat water to 170° and stir in malt extract until completely dissolved. Bring to a boil.

Add first hop addition and start timer. After 30 minutes, add second addition. After 15 more minutes, add third hop addition.

I added a Whirlfloc tablet at this point. As you turn off your heat, stir in your final hop addition.

Chill to 68° F and rack to your fermenter.

thermometer that reads 72 degrees in wort with a wort chiller
almost there…

Pitch yeast and ferment at 68° for 7-10 days or until fermentation is complete. Rack to secondary fermenter with .5 ounces of dry-hops. Let rest for 7-14 days at 68° F and bottle or keg.

Original gravity: 1.044 / Moved to secondary fermenter 1/24/19, 1.024
FG: tbd, still fermenting!

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the most unattractive beer we’ve made (yet)

Our favorite neighborhood brewery, Fair State Co-Op, did a wort giveaway for member-owners. They gave us 5 gallons of wort (unfermented beer), and we got to take that home to ferment and enjoy. Just add yeast, keep the yeast happy, and keg it a few weeks later! Easy, right?

Theirs was a hoppy wheat beer that was eventually sold at the taproom as Member Design #3.

Ours had pretty good flavor… but it turned out kinda gray for some reason.

two beers in pint glasses
Left: a normal beer. Right: our weirdo gray beer

Yeast: Wyeast 3944 Belgian Witbier
Original gravity 1.044 / FG 1.019

Update: A few months later, this has started to look a little better:

Pint glass full of beer

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Apple Wine

Ingredients

10 64 oz. bottles of apple juice or cider
– vitamin c is ok
– pasteurized is ok
2 pounds of dextrose (corn sugar)
2 packets of Montrachet wine yeast

Directions

Sanitize carboy and other necessary equipment. Empty 5 of the apple ciders into the carboy. Pour in 2 pounds of dextrose. Carefully, shake to dissolve all the sugar. Add the 4 of the 5 remaining apple ciders. Add the yeast, using the last apple cider to wash it all down. Top it all off with a airlock.

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“Garden Party” fresh hop saison

This is the first beer we used our own hops with. We’ve been growing Cascade hops out back on the fence, and for this beer, we wet hopped with those.

Recipe adapted from the Homebrewers Association’s Tank 7 clone

Ingredients

6.25 lb (2.83 kg) Extra pale malt extract syrup (Golden streusel)
3 lb (1.36 kg) Pale 6-row malt
2.81 lb (1.27 kg) Flaked corn
6 oz (170 g) White wheat malt
1 lb (450 g) Corn sugar (in primary)
0.24 oz (6.8 g) Magnum hops, 10% a.a. (60 min)
0.2 oz (5.7 g) Simcoe hops, 13% a.a. (55 min)
18 oz wet Cascade hops, 8.5% a.a. (5 min)
13.5 oz wet Cascade hops, 8.5% a.a. (whirlpool)
5 oz Imperial Loki canned yeast

We used fresh Cascade hops from the backyard (replacing the Amarillo hops used in the original recipe). These were a bit past peak but still pretty fresh. We also skipped the dry hopping step from the original recipe.

Specs

Original Gravity: 1.006
Final Gravity:
ABV:

Directions

This was our first partial mash brew, so we needed to break the steps down quite a bit from the original one.

  1. Mash 6-row, flaked corn and malted wheat at 150° F (66° C) for 45 minutes.
    1. 6 quarts water — heat to 160F
    2. Add grain/corn/wheat to kettle (in bag)
    3. Keep water at 150 for 45 minutes
    4. Boil second pot of water — 6 quarts again
  2. Rinse grains and dissolve extract completely.
    1. Pull out bag and put in sanitized colander over the pot, ladle the 6 quarts hot water over grains (rinse)
    2. Add extract
  3. Boil for 70 minutes.
    1. 10 minutes in: Add Magnum hops (6.8 g)
    2. 15 minutes in: Add Simcoe hops (5.7 g)
    3. 65 minutes in: Add wet Cascade hops (510 g) (1.12 lbs)
  4. Whirlpool: Wet Cascade hops (384 g) (0.85 lbs)
    1. Stir the wort at a good clip for one to two minutes and allow it to rest for 10 to 20 minutes before draining the wort into your wort cooler
  5. Cool to 67° F (19° C) and pitch starter
  6. Ferment at 70° F (21° C) until high krausen (about 1 week — we waited 10 days).
  7. One day later, boil 1 lb corn sugar (or 1.5 lb if kegging) with enough water to dissolve, then cool and add to primary.
  8. Ferment until terminal gravity of 1.009 is reached.
  9. If kegging, carbonate to 3.3 volumes.
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Homebrew Con IPA

We designed this one the day after Homebrew Con but didn’t get around to making it for a few months.

Almost all of our ingredients here were free samples of stuff we picked up at the conference. We created this recipe using Beersmith, with guidance from Jacqui’s brother Eli.

Ingredients

8.0 oz Caraamber grain
7 lbs Light dry extract
2 oz Comet hops (Boil 60 min)
2 oz Grapefruit hops (Boil 5 min)
1 oz Ekuanot hops (Boil 3 min)
1 package US West Coast Yeast
2 oz Grapefruit hops (Dry hop 6 days)

Specs

Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.017 SG
Est ABV: 5.9%

Actual Original Gravity: 1.065 SG
Actual Final Gravity: 1.035 SG
ABV: 3.9%

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Game-changer! Homebrew Con Minneapolis 2017

Jacqui’s brother Eli is an extremely good homebrewer, and he let us tag along with him at the American Homebrewers Association’s annual Homebrew Con in June of 2017 here in Minneapolis.

Homebrew Con was absolutely educational, but it’s also a 3 day bender since most of these educational sessions involved drinking beer, the exhibit hall is full of free beer (and samples of brewing supplies), and the nighttime events were all about tasting even more beers.

Going to Homebrew Con was a great time, and it inspired us to try harder at brewing. More science!

The day after Homebrew Con, we brewed a Raspberry Wheat beer kit, but we swapped out the hops from the kit with Comet hops (we’d picked up a ton of samples of those).

We named the 4 wheat beer variations after the Golden Girls, as one does:

  • Dorothy: No flavor additions.
  • Rose: Raspberry flavor addition from the kit
  • Blanche: Orange flavor addition (Homebrew Con samples, I forget the brand)
  • Sophia: This one is “aging” in the basement, we’ll try it in 2019 sometime (I don’t think you’re really supposed to age wheat beers but ah well).

Original gravity 1.05 / FG 1.02

State Fair competition

We’d heard at Homebrew Con that entering your beers in competitions is a good way to get feedback, so we entered the Dorothy Wheat in the Minnesota State Fair. Dorothy received a 27/50, which falls under “Good” in beer scores.

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Brew kits of 2016

After a year of brewing and bottling everything, we decided we liked brewing enough to invest in something fun — a kegerator with 3 taps. Kegging beer is much, much easier than bottling.

That said, troubleshooting kegerator issues, cleaning lines and swapping out CO2 tanks is hard in its own way, but it does look cool in the kitchen.

Here’s what we made in 2016:

We also made a ginger beer.