River Crew Brewing

News

Joe’s Endless Summer Wheat

Here’s the latest edition to the River Crew Brewing Company’s family of brews:

Joe's Endless Summer Wheat

Joe's Endless Summer Wheat

Joe’s Endless Summer Wheat
This sweet brew’s drinkability is as endless as it’s namesake’s brewing knowledge.  Leaning more ale than wheat beer, the lemony flavor of the Sorachi Ace hop couples with coriander to create a crisp, easy-drinking ale.

Yes – it’s the first brew named after a non-River Crew member.  Sacrilege, I know – but there’s a reason.

If you remember back to late summer, I wanted to brew a summer-style beer.  An easy-drinking ale for those hot summer days.  I had recently become enamored with Golden Ales and Summer Ales, and I wanted to make something similar.

Unfortunately, my crush on summer beers spilled over into September, when I finally got a chance to brew up this beer.  I’m glad I waited though, as it turned out to work in my favor.

After putting out a request to my friends for recipes, HomeBrew Master Joe Postma hooked me up with his wheat beer recipe he converted to extract for me.  Knowing Joe’s track record (winning the first round of the esteemed Iron Brewer Competition), I knew I was in good hands.

Here’s what he hooked me up with:

Everything needed for a great brew

Everything needed for a great brew

Steep
1 lb – Wheat Malt
1 lb – Munich Malt

Fermentables
2.5 lbs – LME
2 lbs – Wheat Malt Extract

Hops
1 oz – Northern Brewer (60 min)
.5 oz – Sorachi Ace (15 min)

Other
1 oz – Coriander (15 min)
Whirfloc Tablet (15 min)

Yeast
Wyeast Activator 1056 California Ale

I made couple substitutions to this recipe.  It originally called for East Golding hops for the second edition.  I traded these for Sorachi Ace hops.  The Sorachi hop is characterized by a strong but pleasant lemony flavor, and I thought this would be perfect for the brew I was looking for make.  I also used a whirlfloc tablet to clarify this beer.  I know wheat beers are supposed to be cloudy, but I wanted this beer to be easy-drinking, and I thought getting some of the proteins and cloudiness out of the beer would help with this.

I had an awesome brew day for this beer.  It was the day of my first #HomeBrewYork at Bolero Snort Brewery, so I had beer on my mind all day.  It was mid September, and it was 72 and sunny.  Just a perfect day for a great summer brew.  And my brew day followed suit – everything went according to plan – even crushing the coriander!

Fermenting up a storm

Fermenting up a storm

After optimum fermentation temperatures (which has been a concern in the past) and a by-the-books conditioning and kegging, the result was exactly what I was looking for: an easy-drinking summer ale with a nice lemony kick.  If you closed your eyes and took a sip, you could almost feel the warm sun shining on your face with a cool breeze flowing by.  That is, until the cool breeze turns into the biting cold of winter.

I have a few changes planned for this brew in the future.  I’d like to bring the aromatics out a bit, so I’ll probably add another dose of Sorachi Ace and coriander at the 2-5 minute mark.  I’ll also probably make a yeast starter for this beer to make sure I get a nice, clean fermentation on this brew.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this brew.  I wanted an easy-drinking summer beer, and I got exactly that, even though I didn’t expect it.

The Kegerator Project

From boring to beautiful in just 3 taps

From boring to beautiful in just 3 taps

Since right around the time this crazy brewery idea started materializing out of the wort, I wanted to build a kegerator.  My buddies and I talked about it a lot.  They ended up buying single tap systems, but I knew I wanted something custom – something I could put together and really make mine.

Then I started homebrewing, and seriously, how cool would it be to have your own beer on tap?  I could have a system that I built with my beer flowing from it.  It’d be like having my own brewpub at home, and another step towards legitimizing the River Crew Brewing Company.

So follow me as I take you through one hop-head’s journey on taking another step towards his dream by building a kegerator.

Planning for Greatness
My first step in building a kegerator was to figure out my ideal configuration.  Kegerator or keezer (freezer instead of fridge)?  How many taps?  Just homebrew or commercial as well?

After months of research, debates and sitting-on-pins excitement, I decided on a 3 tap kegerator, all 3 lines for homebrew, and one line where I could attach a commercial coupler.

There are a few reasons I wanted to go this route.  I didn’t have the space for a chest freezer in my apartment, so I went with a fridge.  Three lines would give me a variety of beer on tap.  The 3 lines also encouraged me to get a lot of brewing experience under my belt.  And the one commercial line gave me a place to put a beer I like on tap, and allowed me to put a crowd-pleaser on if we were having people over who weren’t beer fans (and gave me ways to convert them).

The Purchases

Future Beauty

Future Beauty

To build my mini-brewpub to-be, I need a few things.  First off – a fridge.  I scoured Craigslist to find the right fridge, and saw a few, but none of them were my ideal set up.  As luck would have it, I found just what I was looking for at a yard sale around the corner.  One awkward walk down the street with this thing on a handtruck later, I was halfway done with my equipment recon mission.

Next, I needed a conversion kit.  I found that most places only really offered a 2 tap system at most, and it was expensive on top of it.  I compared a few kits, and decided the 3 Tap Door Mount Homebrew system from LearnToBrew.com was the best fit for me.

The 3 Tap Door Mount System from LearnToBrew.com

The 3 Tap Door Mount System from LearnToBrew.com

It came with the faucets included, and the kit came pre-assembled.  They also offered a Sankey D Coupler with threaded fittings already attached so I could move a line from homebrew to commercial with ease.

It was a happy day in my apartment when the kit arrived.

The Assembly
Finally, construction day came!  Before I got started, I assembled a few necessary tools:

The hardware and tools

The hardware and tools

  • Drill
  • 1″ Bi-Metal Hole Saw bit from Home Depot
  • A drill bit set, most importantly a 1/4″ bit
  • An adjustable wrench that can accommodate up to a 1″ hexagonal bit
  • Masking tape
  • A few smaller screws to hold the gas manifold in place
  • The 3 Tap Kit
  • Tape Measure
  • An assistant

Step 1
I cleaned the heck outta the fridge. It was in pretty good shape to begin with, but I wanted to be sure it was pristine.

Step 2

Measure Twice. Drill Once.

Measure Twice. Drill Once.

With the fridge in place, I took the masking tape and made a straight line on the front of the fridge at the lever I wanted the taps to be.  I really wanted to be sure everything was level and looked great.  After measuring, I put a dot on the tape with a marker where I wanted the faucets to be, ensuring they were evenly spaces.

Step 3
Drill baby drill!  On the dots I drew, I started drilling with the smallest drill bit I have, making sure I made the first hole level. It took a little while and decent amount of re-centering to punch the initial hole in the steel.  Once I had the initial hole, I used increasingly larger bits, usually jumping 2 sizes at a time, to increase the hole size until I got to the 1/4″ bit.  Every now and then the bit would get stuck in the steel, so I backed it out and started the bit spinning before I put it back to the fridge to try and power through.

My assistant for the day

My assistant for the day

When it was time to use the 1/4″ bit, I attached it to the center of the 1″ hole saw bit.  There’s a spot for it in the middle of the bit, with and adjustable tightener at the bottom.  The 1/4″ bit stuck out about 1/4″ from the hole saw, leading the way for it, and creating an anchor for the hole saw to grab hold of the steel.

This is when the sparks fly…literally.  Cutting through steel is tough, let alone a 1″ hole.  It took awhile for the hole saw to cut into the door, and a pretty decent amount of time to get through it.  I had to lean into the drill, and even then it got stuck and I had to back it out.  It took about 15-20 minutes to get through the steel.

Once through, drilling was pretty easy.  All that was left was about 2″ of insulation and the plastic on the other side.  The hole saw bit filled with insulation once or twice, but other than that, it was smooth sailing.  As I neared the plastic inside of the door, I slowed the drill to make sure I cut through carefully.  Plastic can splinter when you drill it, so taking this part carefully is really important.

One down, 2 to go

One down, 2 to go

Once I had 1 down, the next 2 were pretty easy.  The only road bump I hit was the center faucet.  Behind where I marked on the door was where you’d normally keep butter and other smaller items.  And, of course, I chose to drill directly through them.  I used a small saw on my trusty pocket knife to cut out a section, and got some duct tape to help insulate the places I cut.

Step 4

Starting to take shape

Starting to take shape

Now that the heavy lifting is out of the way, now comes the time when it starts looking like a kegerator!  I unscrewed the tubing and the “door-tightening nut” from the back of the shank and faucet, loaded the rest of the equipment into the fridge, and put the shank through the newly-drilled hole in the door.  I rescrewed the “door-tightening nut” and the tubing to the back of the shank.  To make sure everything was tight and secure, I tightened the “door-tightening nut” (see why I called it that) till it was flush and beginning to press against the door. I then took a second to admire that my kegerator at least LOOKED like a kegerator.

Step 5

Sizing up the inside

Sizing up the inside

Now everything on the door’s hooked up, and I have a whole equipment in the fridge that needs my attention: the CO2 regulator, the gas manifold, the CO2 tank, both ends of the taps, and all the tubing.  To start, I attached the CO2 bottle to the regulator to get a sense of how much room it will take up, and how high the gas manifold would need to be mounted.

Again with the measure twice, cut once

Again with the measure twice, cut once

From there, I positioned the gas manifold on the back wall of the fridge where the CO2 regulator and tank would comfortably allow it.  I held it there with one hand and put marks on the back wall through the screw mounts on the manifold where I wanted the screws to go.  I put the manifold down and drilled out holes just smaller than the screws I had to anchor it to the fridge.  At least I thought they were just smaller.  Turns out the holes I drilled were a little larger than the screws, but they still held the manifold comfortably in place.  Nothing a little superglue couldn’t fix.

Here, I took a step back and was very proud.  It looked like a kegerator!  Now to see if it works…

Testing The System
It took me a week or 2 to do this part.  I stopped by Maltose, my local homebrew store, and got my 5lb CO2 cylinder filled.  I hooked it up to the system and made sure all the valves to the lines were open.

Now, here’s the nerve-wracking moment of the night – opening up the CO2 tank and seeing if there were any leaks.  I turned open the CO2, and set the regulator to about 20 PSI – enough that if there were a leak, I’d hear it.  I listened closely to all the connections, and luckily I heard no leaks!

Being as neurotic as I am, I put some dish soap into a spray bottle, and filled it up with water to give me some nice soapy water.  I got into full sniper mode (minus the ghillie suit), sprayed water on all the connections, and looked for any bubbling that would indicate a leak.  I saw no bubbles.  Not being convinced, I continued to soak the connections, just to be sure.  After using about half the bottle, I could finally put to rest any concerns about leaks in my system.  Woohoo!  I turned off the CO2 and released the pressure from the lines.

Cleaning/Sanitizing The System
I waited till my Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale clone (which turned out to be Bad Dog) was ready to be kegged to do this.  I figured – why not kill 2 birds with 1 stone and clean/sanitize the keg while cleaning/sanitizing the system.

Fill 'er up...with OxiClean

Fill 'er up...with OxiClean

When my fateful first kegging day finally rolled around, I first removed the lid and all the stems from the corny keg.  I poured a full 1/2 cup’s worth of OxiClean Free into the keg, and filled it with hot water, while I soaked the parts I removed in a small bowl with some OxiClean Free. After hand-washing the small parts and rinsing, I put them back on the keg, which is still full of the OxiClean mixture, and made sure they were tight.

I carried the keg to the kegerator.  And, I have to say, I definitely felt like a bar owner moving a keg around.  I set my system to about 30 PSI to make sure I got a lot of cleaner moving through quick.  I hooked up my keg to the first line, let it pressurize for about a minute, and gave the tap handle it’s first ever tug.

Holy Crap!  This actually works!  OxiClean-filled water came rushing through the line and out the tap.  I did a little dance of joy as I filled up a 32 ounce mug of cleaner.  Who would have thought I’d get so excited over OxiClean!

After 2 full mugs, I moved the keg to the next 2 lines and repeated the same procedure.  And yes, my beer dance of joy was repeated 2 more times.

I followed pretty much the same procedure for sanitizing the lines as well – mixing up a 5 gallon batch of sanitizing solution inside the keg, then running it through the lines at 30 PSI.  Sadly, the dance of joy was not repeated.  Guess I like OxiClean better than sanitizer.

Kegging and Tapping The First Brew
I outlined the full kegging of my first beer in a previous post.  To summarize: it’s glorious!  It’s basically racking your beer into a bottling bucket (minus the carbonating sugars), and that’s it.  No rinsing, cleaning and sanitizing 48 bottles.  No bottling wands or stuck beer buttons.  No capping like a madman.  Kegging. Is. Awesome.

This being the first brew I kegged, I wasn’t exactly sure how to carbonate it.  Do I force carbonate it – cranking the PSI to 30, forcing the CO2 in, and having my beer ready to drink in a day?  Do I set-it-and-forget-it for about 2 weeks at 12 PSI?  Do I use carbonating sugar? After consulting with homebrew guru Joe Postma, I decided on the second option – setting it at 12 PSI and letting it slowly carbonate over 2 weeks.  To make sure I had the right serving temperature, I stuck a glass of water with my thermometer in it in the kegerator overnight, and adjusted the temperature till I got to 38 degrees – the optimum serving temperature.

All hooked up and ready to flow

All hooked up and ready to flow

I again did the wannabe-bar-owner waddle with the full keg to the kegerator.  I load it in, attached the lines, opened the CO2 tank, and set the lines to about 12 PSI.  I heard the CO2 rushing into the keg, and did my happy dance all over again.

Now, the moment of truth.  I gave the tap handle its second-ever tug and…….YES! IT WORKS! IT WORKS! IT WORKS!  Happy dance indeed!

My beer came slowly pouring out of the faucet.  At first it was a mixture of sanitizer and beer, change quickly to just pure, pure beer.  I filled 2 pint glasses and discarded them to be sure I didn’t drink any sanitizer.

Then, I couldn’t help myself.  I tapped my first ever homebrew.  Though it wasn’t carbonated, still filled with leftover yeast, and eventually turned out to be bad, it was the best beer I ever had.

And there it is – my little how-to on taking a step towards a dream and owning a brewpub.  It took awhile for the plan to come together (and to write this post), but damn, is it worth it.

If you’re reading this, you have a standing open invitation to come out, view my baby, and sample anything I may have on tap at the time.

Success!

A brew, a dog, and a sense of accomplishment. One step closer to the dream.

By in #BrewYork 1

#BrewYork 6!

Oops - We Did It Again

Oops - We Did It Again (Photo Courtesy of Hoptopia)

Once again this humble flock of fools feigning for all things fermented gathered at New Jersey Brewing Company to imbibe in and converse about their favorite field of study: beer.

We can add this one to our long line of stellar events.  There were lots of new faces at this event, and they only added to collective knowledge of craft beer and homebrewing assembled at the brewery.  It never ceases to amaze me how much knowledge I take away from these events, and how much I still have yet to learn.

Like I’ve stated before, the rules are simple: bring a bottle of beer.  It could be a new love, an old crush, something rare you lucked into, or something you’ve wanted to try for awhile but didn’t get a chance to.  What would be assembled is probably the best collection of beer on the East Coast.

Below is a list of what we enjoyed from last Friday night.  Be prepared to drool:

  1. Three Floyds 2007 Dark Lord
  2. Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. Smoke From The Oak Rum Barrel Batch 1
  3. Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine
  4. Surlyfest
  5. Great Divide Barrel-Aged Yeti
  6. Great Divide Barrel-Aged Hibernation
  7. Surly Wet
  8. Wesvleteren 8
  9. Fantome Dark White BBB
  10. New Belgium Lips of Faith Imperial Berliner Weisse
  11. Ska Brewing Decadent IPA
  12. Foothills Brewing Baltic Porter
  13. Duck Rabbit Milk Stout
  14. Uinta Brewing Cockeyed Cooper Bourbon Aged Barleywine
  15. Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Goord
  16. The Bruery Einer’s Folley
  17. Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout
  18. Bell’s Expedition Stout
  19. Bell’s Consecrator Doppelbock
  20. Rock Art Imperial Pumpkin Spruce Stout
  21. Rock Art Golden Trippel
  22. Greenpoint Harbor Leaf Pile
  23. Avery Fifteenth Anniversary Ale
  24. Lost Abbey Red Barn
  25. Victory Helios Ale
  26. Old Harbor Stout
  27. Old Harbor Pale Ale
  28. Pretty Things KK Nov. 15, 1901
  29. Sam Adams Patriot Homebrew: Rob’s American Rauchbier
  30. Sam Adams Longshot Mile High Barley Wine Ale
  31. Lizard’s Gizzard IPA
  32. Dark Horse Plead the 5th
  33. Ithaca Smoked Porter
  34. Ithaca Alphalphaha
  35. The Bruery Autumn Maple
  36. Dogfish Head Theobroma
  37. Le Baladin Wayan saison
  38. Cigar City Sea Bass
  39. Olde Burnside Brewery Ten Penny Ale
  40. Smuttynose Rouge d’ Shire
  41. Haverhill Brewery Homerun APA
  42. Haverhill Brewery Leatherlips IPA
  43. Uinta Brewing Crooked Line Detour DIPA
  44. Homebrew Porter
  45. Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza
  46. Baird Kurofone Porter
  47. Lost Abbey Angel’s Share
  48. He’Brew Jewbilation 14
  49. Goose Island Sofie
  50. Les Trois Mousquetaires Série Signature Rauchbier
  51. De Proef Monstre Rouge Collaboration with Terrapin
  52. Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru – TR3 Version
  53. Sweet Water Happy Ending Imperial Stout
  54. Cigar City Gruit
  55. Homebrew Smoked Porter
  56. Homebrew Rye
  57. Allagash Four
  58. Avery 14th Anniversary Ale – Belgian Dark Strong Ale
  59. Homebrew Brett Cider
  60. Founder’s Breakfast Stout
  61. NJ Beer Co. Weehawken Wee Heavy
  62. Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey
Double-Barrel Happy - Dual-Fisting Great Divide Barrel Aged Yeti and Hibernation

Double-Barrel Happy - Dual-Fisting Great Divide Barrel Aged Yeti and Hibernation

For more pictures from our night, check out Hoptopia’s album on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=251019&id=152879602489

Cheers!

By in Home Brews, Bad Dog 5

Bad Dog – Taking My Flying Dog Pale Ale Clone To Obedience School

I screwed this one up.

I thought this one was going to be a best-in-show, but it’s really more of a heinz 57.

This isn’t the beer I was supposed to brew.  There are definitely some flavors in there that shouldn’t be there.  It tastes a bit like the first beer I ever brewed.  Actually, it was a pale ale too, come to think of it.  We figured out I killed the yeast before pitching it, and the result was a mess.  It literally tasted like you were drinking a Band Aid, or someone just did a burnout in their 92 Mustang in your mouth.  There’s a bit of that flavor in this beer, but it doesn’t over power the flavor.  Underneath the funk, you can still taste the backbone of a good beer – all the hop aroma is gone, and some of the bitterness is still there.  It’s drinkable, but definitely not the beer I intended to make.

I think the trouble I had getting the wort to a pitchable temperature, and the delay in getting fermentation going came back to bite me.  This is the second time I’ve had this trouble.  Luckily my Imperial Blonde Ale, the previous beer I had trouble with, came out well.

I usually put my brew kettle in an ice bath, then add cold water into the primary fermenter (since I brew extract) to get the temperature down.  Since this obviously isn’t working, I got a wort chiller – something I should have gotten a long time ago.  I’m hoping this and adding the cold water to the primary will get my temps to where they need to be, and I won’t get off-flavors in my beer.  I’ve even had thoughts of building a fermentation fridge, but that might be a little too much (read – my girlfriend might kill me).

What else can I do to put a stop to this on-going problem?  I think the wort chiller will go a long way, but I really need to nip this in the bud.  I’m open to any suggestions or advice you guys might have.

Post-Script: Thanks to some hoppy IPAs, the “funky” flavor I’m getting tastes like bubble gum.  After some Googling, it looks like cause is too high temperatures during fermentation.  Like I said above, the temps hit the 90s after I brewed this beer, and about 75-80 in my apartment.  Looks like I found the culprit.

By in Home Brews, Bad Dog 1

Taking The Dog For A Walk – Kegging My Flying Dog Pale Ale Clone

Kegging The Doggie Style

Kegging The Doggie Style

A few weeks ago, I kegged (yes – kegged. Stay tuned for the details) my Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale clone.  This was my first time kegging a beer, and I have high hopes for this beer, so it was an exciting day.

Normally, I give my beers 2 weeks in the secondary to clarify.  But, I just couldn’t wait with this beer.  After only a week in the secondary, I was ready to get this beer tap-ready.

After a long cleaning and sanitizing process (but still beat the heck out of bottling), I was ready to go.

Ready To Go!

Ready To Go!

But first, the best part: getting to taste how the beer’s doing.  If you remember back, I had a bit of a tough timing seeing how this beer was doing.  This was the first beer I dry-hopped, and I was hoping it would help up the hop ante on this beer.

And I’m pleased to say, it did!  Even though it wasn’t carbonated, I got a good whiff of hops from my sample glass.  And the flavor followed suit – nice and hoppy.  There was still a bit of yeastiness in the taste, and a different flavor I couldn’t identify, but I’m hoping the cold conditioning in the keg will help clean that up.

I siphoned my brew from the secondary to the keg.  This took approximately 80% less time than bottling, and I love it.

Yup - that's my beer

Yup - that's my beer

I hooked the keg up, and I have it carbonating at 11 PSI around 38 – 42 degrees.  It should take about 2 weeks to fully carbonate, but I have a feeling I’ll be taking daily samples to see how it’s coming (if not more often than that).

By in Home Brews, Bad Dog 2

Ain’t No Dog Food – First Taste of My Flying Dog Clone

The start of something good

The start of something good

The beautiful thing about racking over a beer – you get your first taste of how it’s doing!

A few weeks ago I racked my Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale clone into my secondary. I gave it a little over a week in the primary. Fermentation had stopped a few days earlier, and this was the first chance I got to move it.

I have to say, I was a little worried about it. I had trouble getting the wort down to pitching temperature, and we had a few hot days that didn’t help either. Fermentation seemed to start fine, but the temperature was definitely a concern.

Getting the syphon going

Getting the siphon going

I siphoned of about a third of a pint glass into my trusty NJ Beer Co pint glass and planned on setting it aside until I had racked the whole primary over, but temptation got the best of me, and I couldn’t help myself.

My first impression just how much carbonation helps a beer. I didn’t smell much, and had to really get my nose into it to get it’s scent. I was greeted by subtle hops bitterness mixed with some banana-clove yeastiness. Malt was a bit harder to find, and the other flavors dominated.

Racking over!

Racking over!

I know the yeastiness will dissipate as the beer clarifies, and the carbonation will help the aroma and lighten up the bitterness. The Dry-hopping I have planned will definitely step up the aroma.

Overall, I’m pleased. This beer is right where I should be, and I just have to be patient to let it get to where it needs to go. Can’t wait for the next taste after the dry-hop!!

Into the secondary

Into the secondary

By in Home Brews, Bad Dog 2

Every Dog Has It’s Day – Brewing My Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale Clone

The Boil - How Sweet It Is

The Boil - How Sweet It Is

(Okay, so I really brewed this 2 weeks ago, but bear with me…)

Riding a beer high (or is it a beer drunk) from #BrewYork 5, I rolled up my sleeve and got down to brewing my next beer – a clone of Flying Dog’s Doggie Style Pale Ale.

As I said before, I’m really excited for this beer.  It’s one of my favorites, so seeing what comes in the kit was pretty cool.

The first thing that struck me is there’s not a lot of pure malt in this beer.  It’s the least amount of malt I’ve used to date.  A lot of the fermentable sugars come from the dry malt extract, malt syrup and maltodextrine.  I’m hoping the malt flavor comes through in the final product.

But this beer isn’t about the malt flavor, it’s about the hops.  And boy, there are hops.  Northern Brewer, Cascade and and Centennial hops are all used in varying amounts and time schedules for this beer.  It’s definitely the most hops I’ve ever used.  It even includes a healthy dose of dry-hoping – another first for me.  I’m in hop heaven!

The brewing process was by the books, with no major hiccups to screw ups on my part.  I modified the process they recommended for this beer a little bit though.  I sparged with more water than they recommended so I could be sure to get all the great flavors and sugars from the limited grains included.

The other minor speed-bump I hit was a ran out of hop bags, so I had to add the last addition of hops free into the boil.  Not a huge mistake or flub, but it required a lot more clean up at the end.

I had a bit of trouble getting my temperature down to the right temperature to pitch my Wyeast Activator.  But after some time in my fridge with the airlock securely in place, I got the temperature down to proper levels and pitched my yeast.  The yeast party (aka fermentation) started in about 16 hours – a little slower than my last beer, but still perfectly fine.

I’m happy with this brew so far.  I’ve got high hopes and big plans for it (more on that soon), and I’m off to a good start so far.  I’m also very pleased the process went smoothly without any real hiccups.  My brewing skills are growing!

By in #BrewYork 4

#BrewYork 5!

The Lineup - Be Jealous

The Lineup - Be Jealous

Friday marked the 5th gathering of the #BrewYork crew. Personally, it was my second time joining the crazies, and each time just seems to get better.

For those of you who don’t know about #BrewYork, we’re a collection of beer bloggers, homebrewers, and straight up craft beer fanatics around the NY/NJ/CT area who come together to share their love and spread the word of this crazy thing called craft beer with each other and anyone who will listen. Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

The signature events of #BrewYork is our #BrewYork proper events.  At these events, each of us brings a bottle or 2 of beer.  It could be an old favorite, a current crush, something you don’t see everyday, or one of those rare beers you’d give your left arm for.  We never disappoint, and our contributions would leave any beer geek drooling.

David described it as epic, and it was in every sense of the word. The beer list was the best selection on the East Coast, if not the whole US. And believe it or not, it was outshined by the people.

The collection of beer knowledge in the room is simply staggering. It can be extremely intimidating…until you talk to someone. Then you’re immediately put at ease, and just want to soak up as much knowledge as you possibly can. From tasting points with Lee, to commercial brewing with Matt, to the finer points of homebrewing with too many great homebrewers to list, it’s a bunch of the smartest yet most approachable people in the beer community. #BrewYork is a shining example of why #BeerPeopleRGoodPeople.

Check out some great pictures from Adam on Facebook, and David’s post has some great ones as well.

Now, without further adieu, here’s the rock star of the night, the beer list:

THE EPIC BREWYORK #5 BOTTLE LIST
Favorites in Bold

  1. Surly – Hell Keller Bier/Zwickel Bier
  2. Half Acre/Three Floyds – Shewolf IPA
  3. Odell – Mountain Standard Reserve ’09 Deep Mahogany Ale
  4. Mikkeller – Funky Star Belgian Strong Pale Ale
  5. Dogfish Head – My Antonia
  6. Sierra Nevada – Fritz & Ken Stout
  7. Sierra Nevada – Charlie, Fred & Ken Helles Bock
  8. Sierra Nevada – Jack & Ken Barleywine
  9. Cigar City – Jai Alai’ IPA
  10. Russian River – Pliny The Elder Double IPA
  11. Russian River – Damnation
  12. Great Divide – Wild Raspberry Ale
  13. Dark Horse – Smoked Stout
  14. Capt. Lawrence – Smoke from the Oak (wine barrels)
  15. New Belgium – Lips of Faith Le Fleur Misseur
  16. Alesmith – Old Numbskull Barleywine
  17. Great Divide – 16th Anniversary Oak Aged Double IPA
  18. Mike/Simply Beer – Matrimoniale ESB Wedding Beer
  19. Mike/Simply Beer – Double Matrimoniale
  20. Mike/Simply Beer – Bourbon Barrel Aged Double Matrimoniale
  21. Lost Abbey – Carnevale  Saison
  22. Cigar City – 110K+OT
  23. Cigar City – “Humidor Series” 110K+OT
  24. Captain Lawrence – Cuvee de Castleton–Batch #3
  25. Captain Lawrence – Cuvee de Castleton–Batch #4
  26. Hoppin’ Frog – B.O.R.I.S The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout
  27. Hoppin’ Frog – B.O.R.I.S The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout–Barrel Aged
  28. Urthel – Hop-It Belgian IPA
  29. Brooklyn – Blue Apron Ex-French Laundry Beer
  30. Goose Island – Bourbon County Stout 2010
  31. Panil – Barriquee 2007
  32. Goose Island – Bourbon County Coffee Stout
  33. Dogfish/Sierra – Life & Limb
  34. Great Divide – 16th Anniversary Wood-Aged Double IPA
  35. Dogfish Head – Sah’tea
  36. Dogfish Head – Black & Blue
  37. Stone – 14 Emperial IPA (14th Anniversary)
  38. The Bruery – Oude Tart
  39. Southern Tier – Cuvee Series Two
  40. New Glarus – Wisconsin Belgian Red
  41. Great Divide – Yeti
  42. Long Trail – Brewmaster Series Coffee Stout
  43. Ommegang – Ommegeddon
  44. Captain Lawrence – Golden Delicious
  45. Three Floyds – Dark Lord 2009

A few assorted pictures:

Lee and Joe enjoy a taste

Lee and Joe enjoy a taste

John's telling stories again

John's telling stories again

The host with the most

The host with the most

John's face says it all - a perfect way to end the post

John's face says it all - a perfect way to end the post

By in Home Brews, Bad Dog 1

And My Next Recipe Is…

…not exactly what I thought it would be.

If you remember back, I was looking for more of a summer-style beer.  An  easy-drinking beer for those hot summer days.  Something along the lines of a Golden Ale, Summer Ale or Wheat Ale.

I’m happy to say I found a great recipe for that brew.  One a great homebrewer passed along to me.  I’m really excited to brew it and see how it comes out.

However, amid all the changes in my life lately, I forgot to actually get the ingredients to brew this recipe.  I wanted to brew this coming weekend, and I didn’t get a chance to order the ingredients from where my source recommended. But instead of skipping it altogether, I decided to put that recipe on hold for now and pick up something I could make this weekend.

There’s a few styles I want to do.  I’m looking to get a few solid base recipes under my belt before I start modifying and experimenting with them.  The one that stands out the most is a Pale Ale.  I love this style of beer – it’s just the right amount of hops hinting out from a nice malt base.  It’s what got me into craft beers, and I definitely want to create my own recipe.

With this in mind, I swung by my local homebrew store, Maltose Express in Monroe, CT.  Their owners have published a few recipe books on brewing, so I knew they’d have a good recommendation for me.

I thumbed through the books they had there and explained my situation to the guy working there.  As he was going through some recipes he liked, I scanned some of their clone kits they had pre-assembled.  I got the kit for Timmy’s Polarize Porter (Sierra Nevada Porter Clone) there, so I knew their kits were good.

After a few seconds of looking, my eyes landed on a Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale clone.

Sold.

I love this beer.  I think it’s one of the best examples of the style out there.  It’s hoppy to a point, and it doesn’t over do it.  It gives me my hops fix in a beer I could drink all night.  It’s exactly what I was looking for in my next brew.

I’m definitely stoked to brew this one.  I still think it’s really cool I can create something similar to a beer I really enjoy.  I have some high hopes for this kit, and I’m hoping my beer-making skills can live up to them.  Can’t wait to get started on Sunday!

By in About RCBC 1

Aaaaand I’m Back

I’m a slacker.

Plan and simple – I’ve been slacking like crazy on this site.

It’s inexcusable that my last update was June 24th – a month and a half ago.

Well, I guess I have an excuse.  A lot’s happened in that month and a half.

My girlfriend finished school and moved out of her home state of New Jersey and up to CT with me.

We took a much-needed vacation with my family to Ocean City, NJ.

We moved and consolidated all her stuff from NJ and all my stuff in CT into a brand new place down the road in CT. (Needless to say – a headache or 2 soon followed).

We adjusted to our new life living together, setting up our new place and ironing out our routines and habits.

At work, we embarked on the second biggest pitch in the company’s 10-year history. This translated to a lot of extra hours (and dinners) at the office.

And then, because we didn’t have enough going on, we adopted a dog from the SPCA, who is currently the center of our lives and hearts.

Sooooo…you can see I didn’t have a lot of time for brewing. I made it a point to drink some great beer, but when it came to the fine art of creating the brews, there just weren’t enough hours in the day.

Now we’re getting settled into the new place, and getting a good handle on our new life together. Which can only mean one thing: time to get back to making and writing about beer!

Be sure to keep an eye on here for updates.  I have a lot of ideas and projects in mind, which will definitely give me a lot to talk about.

And if you don’t see enough updates from me, please report me to the Slacker Police.

Welcome! You must be 21 years old to visit this site.

Please verify your age