Monday, February 23, 2009

O Rings, Corny Kegs and you

McMaster Carr is the most inexpensive source of bulk replacement o-rings for your corny kegs...homebrew shops (most) will set a set of these to you for $5-7, so it probably makes sense just to get them in bulk.

(1) Dip Tube O-Rings5/16" ID x 1/2"OD x 3/32" width
9452K172 BunaN #109
Pkg 100/$1.89

(2) Post O-Rings7/16" ID x 5/8" OD x 3/32" width
9452K23 BunaN #111
Pkg 100/$2.15

(3) Lid O-Rings3 1/2" ID x 4" OD x 1/4" width
9452K218 BunaN #417
Pkg 10/$12.31

total cost, shipped was 33.66, with $5.00 shipping.

or, here's a cheap source for O ring sets ($2.50) and poppet valves, and, well... pretty much anything corny keg related:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oatmeal Robust Porter

Poured a 500ml ORP for Esther and I tonight. The head retention has changed dramatically since the 'tester' bottle was opened 10 days in to bottle conditioning. Billowy, dense, and substantive. Poured in to a nonic pint glass, aggressively. The overcarbed beer quickly established a four finger (!!!) head. creamy, dense, dark, with some larger billowing CO2 bubbles and color filled the glass. See? actually, now I look at it, and the edge reveals a dark tan.

actually, now I look at it, and the edge reveals a dark tan. But, see how the dome of foam is forming? Nice lacing is adhering to the glass as its consumed.
Give it some time to get accostomed to its new environs, and the head settles back to a nice persisting minimal cap. another swirl, the aroma yields just the slightest whiff of alcohol, but that's quickly forgotten for the roasted coffee, the darkest of chocolates. nibs. hmmm. is that...almond? just sayin'

Drinks so silky, dark chocolate is talking to you, no acridity at all. a touch too prickly with the high carbonation, swirl it again. wait. let the CO2 come out. let it warm a little. Another taste: there's a suble smokiness coming through. I'm liking this beer alot. Aftertaste leaves a high cacao bitter chocolate on the palate.

wow. I made this?

I did intend to have more hop character, after the cask conditioned porstmouth oatmeal stout, but I bypassed the dry hopping it would have needed.

So, the hop bitterness, its just settling in the background and meldig with the roasted grains. They are front and center, also backed up by the oat mouthfeel. The overcarbonation flaw is easily forgiveable...just swirl the glass a bit, wait for the beer to warm to proper temperature, and you'll forget all about it. A significant improvement over the *extract* oatmeal stout, thought it will always hold a special place in my heart as my first batch of beer.

Bottled today, 29Mar2009. Great full silky body, chocolatey roasty nose. Finished a little higher due to the high mash tempt (1.020), giving this beer an abv of ~6.5%. The Cascade citrusy flavors and aroma really hit on what I wanted. I should have dry hopped for more fresh Cascade-y-ness. Still, the roasted, full and hoppy flavors really will make this fresh and satisfying. Hoping it'll transport me, Jason and Kev-bot back to a Sunday night at the Jimmy LaPanza lounge, playing shuffleboard, drinking Portsmouth's fresh beers. I won't want to let this beer sit for too long, will be best enjoyed on the young side. I hope that this will make an enjoyable beer to share at the brewmaster's dinner at my upcoming Ommegang weekend.

Brewed some beer on President's Day. Inspired by Portsmouth's cask conditioned oatmeal stout.
I was (am) sick, so it wasn't really that fun. It was chore-like. I also bottled the tripel IPA during the boil, so maybe the six hour effort left me flat when I was already feeling down. Here's a pic moments after racking to the primary and pitching a sachet of US-05. It really does smell wonderful, given how little I can actually smell. Freshly ground black patent and carafaIII should make this lovely little dark lady delicious. The late Cascade addition added its characteristic grapefruit aroma and terrific hoppy flavor. A thin 1 inch krausen has formed. I didn't aerate this wort, due to frequent chastising on the beeradvocate homebrew forum.

Oatmeal Porter
Robust Porter

Type: All Grain
Date: 2/16/2009
Batch Size: 4.00 gal
Brewer: JC Tetreault
Boil Size: 4.58 gal

8 lbs 8.0 oz Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 66.67 %
2 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.3 SRM) Grain 15.69 %
1 lbs Carafa III (525.0 SRM) Grain 7.84 %
8.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 3.92 %
8.0 oz Cara-Pils/Dextrine (1.5 SRM) Grain 3.92 %
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 1.96 %
1.00 oz Fuggles [5.50 %] (60 min) Hops 19.1 IBU
1.00 oz Cascade [7.10 %] (5 min) Hops 4.9 IBU
1 Pkgs American Ale (Safale#US-05)

Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.085 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.070 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.024 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.020 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.97 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.53 %
Bitterness: 24.0 IBU
Calories: 320 cal/pint
Est Color: 56.4 SRM

Total Grain Weight: 12.75 lb
Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F

Add 15.94 qt of water at 170.5 F
158.0 F
Mash out 168F for ten minutes

Bottled kombucha, sam adams triple bock, and a whole lot of perspective

I was scared to taste it. the 2.5inch white mass that has been slowing forming for two months ominously floating on top of the fermentation vessel felt like...well, I don't know. Lets start with the fact that it didn't feel like anything I'd normally consider consuming.

Strangely firm, but still yielding to the touch.
sort of like an ultra firm tofu. yum.

But, our perspective was all over the place, as B, J and I just stepped back from the gates of hell after our taste of sam adams triple bock. This tasting was 15 years in the making. I finally cracked one of the two 1994 vintage bottles in my possession. I was not disappointed. Read recent reviews HERE. A clue that things were going to go incredibly wrong was evidenced in the cork. It broke with minimal effort. I was particularly gentle because I heard cork breaking was a common occurence with this vile stuff. It was probably good at some point in its life. But beer forensics tells me this 17%abv beast died a slow oxidative death due to this jerk of a cork. The sediment apparent in the pretty little blue bottle was further evidence of this oxidation. A day after sipping it, these words continue to resonate: terriyaki and maple glazed salmon in-a-bottle. blech. This little treasure can be hard to find, as it hasn't been produced by the home town boys for a number of years, but if you look high and low, you'll find it still makes cameo appearances.

I spied it recently at the very friendly Wine&Spirits in Coolidge Corner for the very reasonable price of $4.50. Try it, if you dare.

So trying the kombucha wasn't nearly as daunting as the SATB. In short , it was quite a bit milder than what i was expecting. Considering the duration the fermenting tea was sitting in culture, and the strong acetic acid smell I'd get every time I'd wander down to that end of the kitchen, I was expecting something akin to sipping on some red wine vinegar. Not even close. ok, maybe a little close... perhaps it was like sipping on watered down red wine vinegar. yum.

Nothing a little flavor, carbonation and a touch of sweetness couldn't theoretically fix, though. After siphoning off some in to bottles, I dumped the majority of the liquid, and restarted the culture with more tea and raw sugar.

I wanted to see if I could come close to my favorite commercial kombucha so I juiced one meyer lemon and ~2 inches of ginger root. Pushed the resulting juice through a fine sieve, added some water to it to ensure adequate distribution among three flip top bottles (two 500ml and one 750ml). I dropped in two coopers carb drops each, and now its we'll wait a few days for CO2 production, then pop them in the fridge to slow down fermentation. There probably won't be enough resulting sweetness, but I figure I can always add a bit more, flip the cap down and wait til the sugar dissolves, which happens quite quickly, likely due to the very low pH of this stuff.

...more stuff

Thank you, Boston Wort Processors. Went to my first club meeting this month, and aside from connecting with a bunch of likeminded homebrewers, I got ....more stuff.

I now have 165lbs of grain (55 each of pils, pale, and golden promise) to explain to the fiance.
'its, uh...ingredients for the wedding beer!'

oh, and I also picked up some kegs last week.
price was just too good to pass up: $15/ for cleaned pressure tested kegs w/ a new set of o-rings. The bulk purchase was arranged through the worts. We ended up with a haul of 50 kegs, 8 of which are sitting in the trunk of my car.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

KtG: yeah, its that good

We had a great time in Portsmouth, first as a group of six for the two days leading up to Kate the Great release, then as a pared down group of three for the actual release.

Kate was, of course, indescribably perfect and uncharacterically quaffable for a RIS. Kev, J and I got our calendar days (tickets) a little before 9, and we were surprised to see that we were already at October. J was able to get himself and Adrienne September dates at the June 08 release around 1:15PM. We walked around town, hopelessly, fruitlessly searching for Kevin's milk shake, then back to PBrewery for 11 to stand in line for over an hour. We were able to get indoors just in the nick...only about 10 more people got in, then they had to stop...they were at capacity. We were inside for the tapping, as were so many other beerophiles. We were able to enjoy three tulips each. We are partially responsible for the reason their entire batch (I think ~5 barrels, or about 150 gallons) was sold out in a single day (whoah).

I want one right now just thinking about it. The two bottles I got (only 10 dollars each?!?!?) will be put away for some special company/moments.

My buddy J now has what is probably officially the best KtG collection on the entire planet (save for what Tod Mott might have under his bed): '06, '07, double oaked '07, '08 and now the '09. For the beer geeks among us, I think we can all agree, that's just a completely silly vertical in the making. For those who know J, I think we can all agree, this beer is in very capable hands.

Anyway, the tripel and flanders red were very well executed Belgian styles, and after sampling pretty much everything they had on tap (they just kicked the barley wine before we arrived...shoot) the cask conditioned (dry hopped w/ Saaz) oatmeal stout was the #1 session beer of choice for the weekend. Perfect choice for a long Sunday night of shuffleboard in the Jimmy LaPanza lounge. First (and probably the last) place I've ever been to with semi-erotic 60's era inspired nudes (painted on velvet, no less) behind the bar.

We saw quite a bit of the downtown area, including stops at Cava, Muddy River, Breaking New Grounds, Redhook, Bowl-o-Rama, and of course the Portsmouth Brewery (on multiple occasions).
Cava had some nice executions on their 'tapas'...the menu actually was not so much italian, at all, just small American dishes, really. Still, a very nice relaxed dinner in the tight but comfortable downstairs dining room.
Muddy River's BBQ hurt everyone's stomachs (and hence, noses) the next day.
Redhook's double black was pretty good (not great). Nice espresso bitterness, semi-full mouthfeel, medium hop bitterness, no real hop complexity or maltiness. Everything else we tried...meh. Tour was pretty full, and the dialogue was a bit canned, but its always good for more fantasizing fodder for opening up my own brewery some day. so...much....stainless....steel.
Bowl-o-rama supplied some much needed physical movement and Breaking New Grounds kept us all awake with their freshly brewed, adequately strong coffee. Hmmm, what's that? You smell an espresso aged KtG in the works? Yeah, me too.
Here are some shots from the weekend, I'll add more from Kevin, as soon as he sends 'em. Oh, and don't worry...all ended well for Kevin, J and I...we stopped for Fribbles on the drive home. I couldn't finish mine (gag).

Unfortunately, I had zero stomach space to warrant a visit to The Ham Store (which is right next to the Bowl-o-Rama), but that didn't stop me from catching some serious air inspired by my excitement over the purity of its very existence.

BIF package received from Kansas City

I received my securely packed BIF package from fellow BA baha773 all the way from Kansas City. He sent it FedEx on Monday, received it this AM. First time I've received beer in the mail. Yep. It was fun.

He sent me four homebrews:

ESB, Robust Porter, American Stout and an English Brown

He also sent me three local Boulevard brews:

Bully Porter
Irish Ale

Very much looking forward to a tasting of all these...I think this will only be the third person's homebrew I've ever tried (aside from my own and buddy Jason's).
This will be the first time I complete BJCP scoresheets.


Friday, February 6, 2009

concept bottle

my buddy kev and I have started tossing around thoughts on bottle design stuff.
again, still preliminary concept building stage, but here's the latest iteration. The logo will likely have a more organic shape, a little less geometric.

though there's still a ways to go on this (figure out color palette, basic label layout, etc.) he wanted me to see what it would look like on a bottle, to get me feeling good about the direction we're going in:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Beer Advocate-BIF

I'm participating in a BIF (beer it forward) on beeradvocate. thanks to Mike for administrating.
I'm shipping off three of my homebrews this week along with two locals.
Homebrews, that was an easy decision, as I only have three that are 1. really 'of age' 2. of the quality that I would be happy to receive from afar and 3. have more than just a couple left.

They are:
Belgian Black

The two locals are going to be the hard part. There are really so many breweries in the Boston area. I've tried to distill in my head what will make the appropriate statement of what I deem to be a great beer indicative of the 'local' brewing scene, beers for which I have some weird feeling of local pride, and what some otherwise unknown fellow BA would appreciate/enjoy. Can't seem to seperate the first from the second from the third, as these three things are all I have to go on.
well, that, and the beeradvocate ratings. so, lets consult the choices:

I just decided, I don't wanna get too cerebral about it.
cause I'd be here all night, and I'm hungry.
so, its going to be...Jack d'or and the Mayflower Porter.
It was an impossible enough of a decision to even just pick these five out from all the great local beers. that, and its time for dinner.
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