The Kegerator has been filled to capacity once again thanks to lots of holiday home brewing. I am carbonating a hazy New England IPA and MoreBeer’s Hop Gatherer IPA. I plan on reviewing them in a week or two once they are fully carbonated and have some time to condition.
I dry hopped both of these batches, but what was unique about the Hop Gatherer IPA beer kit is that it came with something I had not previously used, Chinook distilled Hop oil. It comes in a tiny vial but smells incredibly potent! It is used as an alternative to dry hopping but I decided to use it in conjunction to help really develope the aroma in this West Coast IPA!
Distilled Hop Oil
As you can see from the photo above, the vial is tiny and only holds about 10 drops or so of the distilled Hop oil. I dumped it right in to the keg immediately prior to putting the hatch on the keg to carbonate. The oil smelled strong to say the least. I put the empty vial on a shelf and my garage still smells like hops, which makes me happy; talk about aromatherapy!
Adventures in Homebrewing and Homebrewing.org are currently having a great promotion on All Grain Homebrewing Equipment.
Adventures in Homebrewing Coupon Code
If you are looking to transition from extract home beer brewing over to all grain brewing, you might want to check out the promotion that Adventures in Homebrewing currently has running. For a limited time you can pick up a homebrewing mash tun cooler and hot liquor tank cooler both for just $179.
This package deal from Adventures in Homebrewing includes 2 Igloo coolers with stainless steel ball vales. One 10 gallon cooler will be used as a hot liquor tank which includes a ball valve and hose for sparging while the mash tun comes with a stainless steel false bottom and a stainless tube, and ball valve. For more details on this limited time offer, click the following link:
I recently came across this hilarious illustration on what the beer you order or drink says about you as a person. Part of me thinks that it is crazy to only drink a specific beer, or not drink a specific beer because you are worried about what others may think of you (if I want to put a lemon in my American wheat ale, I am going to do it).
In reality though, as craft brewing flourishes more and more, beer snobs are born, and people become more and more judgmental about beer. I love a rye double smoked apricot pale wheat barrel aged imperial porter as much as the next guy, but that does not mean that it is the only game in town. As they say, for something to be funny, it has to have a bit of truth to it.
What the beer your order or drink says about you as a person.
I have added a new Session Pale Ale All Grain recipe to the beer recipe page of the site. This is a really fantastic beer and has been getting great reviews from everyone that I have shared it with so far. Session beers are great because you can enjoy several of them at an event without getting too intoxicated. I like this one so much because it still has a nice medium body, a robust hop profile, and an amazing aroma. If you are considering brewing a session beer this summer, I highly recommend that you try it. The directions and ingredients can be found at the following link:
The following video shows American Wheat Ale yeast in active fermentation. The yeast was taken from the krausen of a beer that had been fermenting for a week. If you expand the video to fullscreen and look closely at the 400x magnification segment of the video, you will see yeast activity where small black specs are moving around inside of the yeast cell walls.
The video continues on to show the yeast at 100x and 40x magnification to give you an idea of just how many yeast cells there are on such a small glass slide. An active 5 gallon beer fermentation should have well over 10 billion active yeast cells during primary fermentation.
Video showing active yeast during fermentation:
Here is a still shot of the yeast at 400x magnification:
Active beer yeast at 400x magnification shown under a microscope.
Fusel alcohols are typically considered to be off flavors that impart harsh hot alcohol, solvent, or mineral spirit-like tastes in your beer. Fusel alcohols in beer are often the result of excessive fermentation temperatures that lead to accelerated initial yeast production and rapid fermentation. In addition to the off flavors they create, some believe that fusel alcohols may contribute to headaches and hangovers.
Wet hopping or fresh hopping a beer is when freshly picked\undried hops are added to a beer at some point of the brewing, fermenting, or conditioning process. These hops are typically added to the beer within a day or two of being picked to maximize the unique flavors extracted from a freshly picked hop. A fresh or wet hop is typically less predictable than a dried hop and will usually impart a lower amount of bitterness than the same weight of dry hops due to the additional moisture weight in the wet hop.
Below is a photo of some cascade hops nearly ready to be picked and used for fresh hopping\wet hopping.
Cascade hops ready to be used for fresh hopping or wet hopping.
Most commonly, finings are substances added to wort or beer for the purpose of clearing or clarifying a beer. Some examples of beer clarification finings are whirlfloc, isinglass, Irish moss, bentonite, gelatin, kieselsol, chitosan and carrageenan. Most finings work as a binding agent, clumping together with residual proteins, solids, yeast, and tannins and sinking to the bottom of the kettle, fermenter, or holding vessel so that they can be excluded from the finished beer. In some cases the finings can also be used to enhance flavor or aroma by reducing sometimes undesirable particulates like tannins.
Below is a fining known as whirlfloc. A tablet is typically added 15 minutes prior to the end of a boil for a 5-10 gallon batch. Whirlfloc is a blend of Irish moss and carrageenan; when mixed with the boiling wort, it binds with proteins and beta-glucans, encouraging precipitation.
This is an image of a whirlfloc tablet used to reduce haze and help clarify a finished beer.
Bottom fermentation or bottom fermenting is a term that describes the manner in which lager yeast tends to collect on the bottom of the fermenter and conducts its fermentation, as opposed to top fermenting ale yeast, which conducts most of its fermentation on the top of the beer. Bottom fermenting lager yeast strains prefer a low fermentation temperature range that is typically between 40° F and 55° F, but varies between strains.
First off, welcome to West Coast Brewers – Brewers Blog and thank you for stopping by.
I figure that I will start with a little information about myself. I started home brewing back in 2011, when one of my buddies, Matt, and I purchased an American Wheat extract beer kit from Northern Brewer. It was a fantastic experience, and the beer came out perfect. About two extract batches later, I decided that I was ready to give all grain brewing a try. I wanted to take more of the process into my own hands and learn as much as I could about brewing. With little more than a hand drawn sketch and a very basic plan, I welded a beer rack\brewing sculpture from parts that I picked up a Home Depot and purchased online. A couple of weeks after that my Blichmann BoilerMaker brew pots arrived, and I was in business! Over the last 2 years I have learned a great deal about brewing and am constantly building upon that knowledge and refining my brewing skills.
Recently I set a goal for myself to create an online resource to share some of the information that I have gained over the last few years in hopes that it might help others out who share a similar passion for beer and home brewing. In the coming months I will also begin work on compiling a list of some of my favorite beers, some of my best beer recipes, and recommendations on great brewing equipment that I come across as I have built up my home brewery.