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One last beer post

I started the long-promised Imperial Stout last week.  After that I need to do some serious brewing to build up the stocks for the summer social season.  What I’m planning for includes:

1.  IPA – the IPAs I’ve brewed in the past have gone over BIG with all comers.  So far, I think the best has been Austin Homebrew’s version of the “Victory Hop Devil,” so I’m going with that once again.

2.  A Belgian White – another good summer brew, and I have yet to make one though I do like a good Belgian.  I’ll be looking for a recipe that is reported to be a good clone of the Blue Moon Belgian, though I think I want mine to be a little more coriandery than theirs.

3.  Gotta do the Espresso Stout again.  This is absolutely the most popular beer I’ve ever brewed.  I wish I’d taken better notes about what grains I’d used, but I’m sure I can mock up a good facsimile using the charts over at Bacchus & Barleycorn.  They have a wonderful binder that gives the properties of every grain and hops variety they keep in house, as well as suggestions of which yeasts are best for what brews.  Killer customer service at that shop, too – the owner was very willing to answer all of my questions and even offered a few very useful and helpful suggestions.  Seriously, KC homebrewers need to check this place out if you’re not already a customer.

At any rate, that’s what I have on deck, and in that order.  The IPA really needs to bottle condition for quite a while before it’s acceptible to drink – if I get on that one within the next couple of weeks, it ought to be good by July.  The Belgian shouldn’t be quite as challenging, and so it can start later.  The Espresso Stout will be an autumnal brew anyhow, so I don’t feel terribly pressured to get on that one on the quick-smart.

2 Responses to “One last beer post”

  1. sgazzetti says:

    I had been meaning to comment on that beer post, intending to thank you for reminding me how much of brewing is an unmitigated pain in the ass. It was my favorite hobby for years. Then I emigrated, giving away all my accumulated gear, and now I miss it deeply. Your remarks about bottle-washing sort of put things back in perspective.

    Can I say, then, that the move to kegging is a major life-improver? I am talking about used soda kegs, which can be found for pretty small money and pay for themselves in the first few batches, assuming you do the math that figures all the labor involved in bottling is worth minimum hourly wage. Also, as you’re a stout maker, it opens up the door to NITROGEN HEAD and seriously viable Guinness clones.

    The other thing is yeast. I found the geek cline to be very, invitingly, steep and quickly moved to all-grain, but even more significant was establishing a yeast bank and culturing yeast up from Petri dishes to pitching quantities. It sounds complicated and daunting, but it’s actually very easy and HIGHLY satisfying. Watching all that yeast in there, working for you, bubbling away, with the knowledge that you raised them yourself from a test tube is especially cool. Plus this means that you can obtain and brew with the actual strains of yeast used in real beer styles (see Belgian wit, e.g., impossible to replicate without the right yeast). I remember it as a major revelation when I tasted the first batch of hefe-weisse I brewed with real Weihenstephan yeast vs. generic “wheat beer” starter. I got my lab gear and ‘slants’ of culture from Saint Patrick’s, but maybe your local dealer has a similar level of geekery going on. Seriously, I highly recommend taking a look at this aspect of brewing.

    I enjoy your writing. Apologies for a long-winded/self-aggrandizing comment, and thanks for reminding me how much fun/work brewing is. I’ll be waiting for updates on the imperial stout.

  2. meetzorp says:

    Nope, no way, dude! All-grain is pretty much the last thing I’m planning on doing. Ditto raising my own yeast. I could maybe see bartering for specialty yeast, MAYBE, if I had a really specific project in mind, but it’s definitely not that big of a hobby or priority for me.

    It’s kind of like why I won’t get a DSLR for my pictures. Exactly like, in fact.

    Too expensive, too much work, more bother than the results are worth to me, and too much extra gear to store when I’m not using it.

    Also leads to way more talking about equipment and technique than I’m willing to engage in. I’m not really that into geeking deeply over my hobbies. I freely admit to being a total dilettante in most activities. I figure I’ve gone whole-hog enough into cycling and sewing and good grief, I’ve got enough dang bikes in my house! I should probably keep it casual with the rest of my hobbies.

    Also, no need to apologise for the length of your comment. It was all good words!

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