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Now that the final papers have been turned in, it’s time to celebrate! This is what I’ve been working on thus far in 2012: three homebrews!!

1. Felix Felices (right), dear readers, is an interpretation of what Harry Potter’s Butterbeer would taste like if it were made into an adult beverage. This one was brewed back in January with my dear sister. At its base is a Vanilla Caramel Cream Ale, and it carries a whopping 6.2% ABV. Tagline: “Get Lucky”

2. HOPscotch (middle) is a dry hopped pale ale that I made with my friends, Luisa and Rick, on St. Paddy’s Day 2012. It uses a clone of Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale as the base. You can see the specific recipe I used here. It’s really a delicious, clean, clear beer. 4.7% ABV. Tagline: “A Tribute to the Good Times” (Thanks Conor!)

3. Dubbel Vision 2.0 (left) is the reincarnation of an original brew that I developed last year to commemorate two of my brilliant siblings who graduated from their respective universities. I thought it might be neat to brew a beer in their honor, and then gift it to them for their celebrations. It was a fun challenge creating a beer that would represent the both of them, and I must say that even the madre enjoyed a glass of Dubbel Vision 1.0! In any case, here’s the story:

One of my siblings is a Belgian beer snob, hence the use of a Dubbel as my base recipe. The other is a little more . . . adventurous . . . with flavor pairings. Although I considered pitching chocolate and garlic into secondary, in the end I figured they wouldn’t have gone well with the hops (inside joke, sorry)! I did, however, substitute some local honey for a portion of the Belgian candy sugar, and then added some organic figs, as well as a few madagascar vanilla beans. The result is a gorgeous, deep amethyst-brown beer that smells and tastes amazing. I would like to tweek it once more to get a bigger, maltier taste — it may be a touch too sweet for me — but this year is an improvement over 2011, nonetheless. Topping out at 9.2% ABV, this monster will only improve with age.

Sidenote: The Dubbel Vision is taking a while to carbonate fully, but if there are a few bottles ready to go soon, I may enter them in the UpCup. Fingers are crossed!!!

To your health! -K

The sun was shining, the friends were about, the grill was h-h-hot, and the brew pot bubbled like Prof. Umbridge on a first date with Lord Voldemort.

[Just think about the simile, that’s all I ask. My creative writing sister was not immediately available for troubleshooting, so I had to wing it, ok?]

We’re making beer to celebrate the end of the semester folks!! Who cares that we have to wait a month before this hoppy libation is ready to go down oh-so-smoothly? Not I. In fact, by the time we hand in all our research projects, grade our students’ exams, and we’ve finally done a load of laundry for the first time in three weeks, I’m sure we’ll be so jaded that we won’t remember how long it took.

This baby already smells amazing and it has another whole week of dry hopping left to go. (Note: that was not a dirty expression. Please educate yourself on what that means before you point the finger.)

    

Beer:  HOPscotch Summertime Ale  (courtesy of my li’l bro …”a tribute to the good times”)

5 gallon partial mash recipe

Grains/sugars:

3 lbs. light DME

3.3 lbs. light liquid malt extract (late add.)

1 lb. Munich malt (around 10 °L)

14 oz. Two-row pale malt

4 oz. Crystal malt (45 °L)

Hops:

1 oz. Centennial hops (60 min.)

.75 oz. Cascade hops (15 min.)

.75 oz. Cascade hops (5 min.)

.5 oz. Tettnang hops (dry hop)

Yeast: White Labs WLP001 (California Ale)

Instructions:

Steep crushed grains in 2 gallons of water at 150 °F for 30 minutes. Sparge with 170 °F water. Add water to make 5.5 gallons. Stir in DME and bring to a boil. Start hop schedule, adding liquid malt extract with 15 minutes left to boil. Cool wort to 70 °F and transfer to carboy. Pitch yeast and ferment at 68 °F. Once primary fermentation is complete, rack to secondary and dry hop for two weeks.

Stats (I’ll update these as the weeks go on.)

OG: 1.050 (Brewed on 3/17/12)

After primary fermentation: 1.015 (taken on 3/25/12)

After two weeks of secondary: 1.015 (taken on 4/8/12)

Tasting notes: I love the nose and initial taste . . . the finale, though, makes me wonder two things: 1) did I ferment a bit too high in temp for the yeast? 2) might I have used a weird variety of hops for the dry hopping? There’s just something there that I can’t quite place. I’m also being picky, because ultimately it’s a very nice, drinkable beer. I’ll have to get a second (or third) opinion about it once it’s done bottle conditioning.

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