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All The Small Things – Notch-Yo Lid

Like with many hobbies, home brewing has a learning curve.  Initially there is a lot of information to take in and many processes to keep track of. In time, you gather knowledge and experience and you master the fundamentals of brewing.  Where home brewing differs from many hobbies is that once you have done so, there are a variety of tangents that you can pursue. For instance you can explore water chemistry and the impacts on different styles of beer, design your own beer recipes and figure out which hops best compliment a specific yeast strain, try different mashing techniques and focus on boosting your brew house efficiency or even build and customize your own brewing hardware. At some point along the way, if you home-brew long enough; what makes your beer unique is all of the small things that you learn, apply in your process and customize along the way.

On the topic of all of the small things, one of the things that I should have done long ago was place a notch in my mash tun lid to accommodate my sparge arm. Prior do doing so I had to leave my lid ajar, allowing heat to escape from my mash tun, requiring my RIMS system to use more energy to compensate.  I am not going to lie, any upgrade or project that requires me to drill into or cut in to one of my stainless steel Blichmann kettles make me a little nervous. After all, the last thing that I want to do is ruin one of my vital pieces of home brewing hardware. The good news is that I almost never use a lid on my Boil Kettle, so if I jacked up the mash tun lid bad enough, I had a backup!

I used three tools for this project, an angle grinder (costs about $30 if you do not already have one), a file to clean up the rough edges and sharp spots and a dremel (or drill) with a fine grinding bit to shape the groves more precisely so that the lid would fit snugly against the sparge arm. Although initially intimidating, it really was not so challenging.  My best advice is to measure conservatively for your initial grinder cut and use the dremel to remove any excess metal. The vertical cuts are easy with the grinder, but the horizontal cut can be challenging if you are not careful. As a final touch I may add a silicone stopper and trim it to fill some of the small gaps that still exist; but even with out that I am very happy with how it turned out! Also, if you are looking for an incredible stainless steel sparge arm, I can not recommend the More Beer Ultimate Sparge Arm highly enough.  I have used it for around 3 years now and it had performed flawlessly.

More Beer Stainless Steel Sparge Arm

More Beer Stainless Steel Sparge Arm

NEIPA Hazy IPA Recipe

I just finished up my latest batch of NEIPA, North East IPA, Vermont Style IPA,  New England Style IPA, Juicy IPA or Hazy IPA; however you chose to label it and it turned out incredible so I wanted to share the recipe in case anyone else out there was interested in brewing one. The basis for this recipe is MoreBeer’s Haze Craze IPA which can be purchased in either an Hazy IPA Extract Beer Recipe Kit or Hazy IPA All Grain Beer Recipe Kit. I just made a couple of small tweaks to mine. Although the West Coast was slow to latch on to the NEIPA trend, we have sunk our teeth in and they are currently all the rage. The haze of the yeast, hops and yeast esters pushes the boundaries of what an IPA is and can be. In order to fully enjoy them you need to discard your expectations of what an IPA is and embrace the haziness and sometimes juicy and tropical flavors that are created by new varieties of hops and unconventional yeast strains.

Hazy NEIPA All Grain Beer Recipe

 

Beer Name: Hoptic Thunder Hazy IPA / More Beer Haze Craze IPA
Beer Style: New England Style Hazy IPA
Recipe Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 5 Gallons
Mash Type: Infusion
(60 Min) 152F
(10 Min) 169F Mash Out
1 tsp Calcium Chloride
.5 tsp Gypsum / Calcium Sulfate
Grain Bill: 11 LBS Pale 2 Row US
1 LBS Flaked Oats
2 LBS Flaked Wheat
8 oz Carapils Malt
8 oz Wheat Malt
4 oz Honey Malt
Hops: .5 oz Warrior – 60 minutes
1 oz Citra – 10 Minutes
2 oz Mosaic – 0 Minutes
1 oz Citra – 0 Minutes
Other: DO NOT USE A CLARIFIER
Yeast: London Ale III Wyeast #1318
Fermentation: 2 Week Primary @ 70F
– I ferment this at a slightly higher that usual temperature to increased ester production
and to create a more active fermentation)
On day 3 of active fermentation make the following hop additions
2 oz Mosaic
1 oz Citra
On day 7 of fermentation make the following hop additions
1 oz Mosaic
2 oz Citra
Once fermentation has completed or on day 10, cold crash and transfer to keg or bottle.
Notes: The More Beer Haze Craze IPA Beer Kit can be purchased here:

More Beer Haze Craze Hazy IPA Beer Recipe Kit

 

NEIPA Hazy IPA Beer Recipe

NEIPA Hazy IPA Beer Recipe

 

Cider, The Gateway Drug To Beer!

Hey, I thought that West Coast Brewer was a home beer brewing site, why are you making cider?

Yes, it is a homebrewing blog; but I figure that cider making is in the same wheelhouse and that I would share what I learned on the topic in case anyone else was interested in making a batch. The idea of making a batch of cider came to me when I was considering what I wanted to fill my next batch of kegs with. My goal was to having something for everybody. That got me thinking. We all know one of those people who is “Not a beer person”. Whenever I hear someone mutter those words I immediately think that they just have not found the right beer or had a bad beer experience where instead of someone easing them in to beer, they pushed a double IPA on them or gave them a poorly made sour.  Although Hard Cider is not beer, many people consider them to be somewhat synonymous with one another and it has to be one of the most approachable alcohols on the planet. It has a low ABV, it is relatively sweet, can be bubbly and has next to no bitterness; it is the gateway drug to beer!

Making cider is easy! Making good cider is a bit more difficult but not too hard if you have the right equipment and a little bit of patience. The good news is that if you are a home beer brewer, you probably have just about everything that you will need in order to make a batch of cider.  If not, do not worry, I will go over all of that with you. So you have a few options.  If you are happy with mediocrity, I highly recommend you purchase a cider making kit! For approximately $45, you can purchase a Mangrove Jack apple cider kit and create a 5 gallon batch of hard cider that will produce somewhere between a bad and mediocre cider. These kits come with all of the ingredients that you will need, include instructions and make the process very simple. It may not be the best cider you have ever tasted, but it you have never made cider before and have no home brewing experience, this may be a great way to go.  You can purchase a Mangrove Jack Apple Cider kit here. You can also find some helpful information on making cider from a kit at HomebrewingDeal.com.

If you have higher aspirations and want to try and create a good to great cider then keep reading and I will do my best to help you reach that goal. The batch of cider that I ended up making was a hard apple cider aged on oak and Oregon Sour Cherries. To make a good cider it is critical to start with the best ingredients possible.  Your base ingredient will be apple cider.  If you have it available to you from a local apple orchard, pick up fresh pressed cider! If like most people you do not, a great alternative is Musselman’s 100% Apple Cider.  It can be purchased at Walmart for approximately  $4.50 a gallon.  It is pasturized, so there are no additives that will negatively impact your cider and is a great compromise between cost and quality. You need minimal equipment to make cider and the most important item is a fermenter that can hold approximately 7 gallons.  If you can swing the price, I highly recommend a Stainless Steel fermenter that will last you a life time.  You can purchase a 7 Gallon Stainless Steel Brew Bucket Fermenter here for $199 with free shipping.  You will also need to bottle or ideally keg your cider when fermentation has completed.  Items for kegging and bottling cider can be found here at MoreBeer for a reasonable price and ship free on orders of $59+. If you need any specific suggestions or help with this, please leave a comment or shoot me an email and I would be happy yo help you.  Okay, so here is the recipe that I used to make my cider:

 

How to guide to making hard cider

How to guide to making hard cider

 

Step 1: Prepare for fermentation

Clean and sanitize your fermenter and anything that will come in contact with you cider.  If you need a food grade sanitizer, I highly recommend Star San Sanitizer.

Add 5 Gallons of Musselman’s 100% Apple Cider to your fermenter
Add 1 (12oz) container of 100% frozen apple juice concentrate (make sure that there are no preservatives aside from Ascorbic Acid(Vitamin C))
Add 2 Tablespoons of Pectic Enzyme (for clarity)
Add 1 Tablespoon of Yeast Nutrient (for yeast health and a strong fermentation)
Make sure that your cider is at an ideal fermentation temperature for your yeast strain (typically 68 F)
Add your yeast, I like Wyeast 4766 or Cote Des Blancs dry wine yeast; both are great choices for cider yeast.
If possible, take a specific gravity reading. Make sure that your gravity is above 1.045 or else you may have stability issues with your finished cider. You can add additional apple juice concentrate if needed to boost your gravity.
Next seal your fermenter, place it in a temperature controlled location and let it fermenter for 2-3 weeks until your fermentation has completed.

Step 2: Post Fermentation

Once your fermentation has completed there are just a few more tweaks.
Add 1 Teaspoon of Malic Acid  (gives the cider a little zip) You may want to add a little more or less depending on your taste

 

Step 3: Back Sweeten Your Cider or Add Fruit (Optional)

At this point your cider will probably be somewhat dry. I suggest that you back sweeten it to help highly some of the apple flavor it in. In order to do so, you will need to render the yeast unable to ferment the new sugars that you will be adding to the cider. To do so conduct the following steps:
Crush 5 campden tablets and mix it with 1 teaspoon of potassium sorbate  and it to your cider.  If possible, drop your fermentation temperature down to 45F.  Wait 24-48 hours.  At this point your fermentation should be completely halted.
A 1 (12oz) container of 100% frozen apple juice concentrate (make sure that there are no preservatives aside from Ascorbic Acid(Vitamin C)) for sweetness and flavor
Add fruit if desired.  I added 2 can of Oregon Sour Cherries
Let the cider age at 45 F for an additional 7 Days

Step 4: Transfer Your Cider To The Keg

I use a keg partially because I am lazy and partially because it is the best choice.  If you want your cider to be carbonated and you chose to back sweeten or add fruit to it, kegging is your only reasonable choice. Otherwise you will need to add yeast to it once again to force carbonate it in the bottle and risk both over carbonating and undoing all of the effort you placed in to back sweetening the cider in the first place. If you keg, you are able to bottle once the carbonation level that you desire is reached and the cider will come out much cleaner!

Clean and sanitize your keg and anything that will come in contact with the cider.
Transfer your cider from the fermenter to the keg, doing your best to avoid drawing in any of the particulates that have settled to the bottom of your fermenter.
Add oak sticks or oak cubes to the keg for additional complexity if desired. I think it adds a nice touch to the cider. Oak takes time to impact the flavor of your cider, so as it ages in the keg its flavor will become more noticeable.
Let the cider carbonate and condition in the keg for approximately 2 weeks. Your first few pours from the tap will be a little cloudy but after that it should begin to clarify rapidly.

That is it. If all goes well, you should now have a delicious glass of cider in front of you!  Please let me know how yours turns out or if you have any comments, questions or suggestion.

 

The Kegerator Has Been Filled

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

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!

Getting a little inspiration for my next Hazy IPA

Getting some liquid inspiration at Greek Cheek Brewery in Orange, California.  They are making some of the very best Hazy IPA’s in Southern California and if you have the chance to check them out, I highly recommend that you do! They typically have 8+ beers on tap and are constantly rotating in new beers. If you are a fan of New England style Haze IPA’s, this is a great destination.

MoreBeer.com Promo Code for 10% Off All Grain and Extract Home Brewing Kits

MoreBeer.com Promo Code for 10% Off All Grain and Extract Home Brewing Kits

MoreBeer.com Promo Code for 10% Off All Grain and Extract Home Brewing Kits

More Beer Coupon Codes for January, 2018
MoreBeer.com Promo Code Date: 1-5-2018 to 1-7-2018
More Beer Promo Code: Enter Code BHY18 at Check OutCoupon Code Description: Enter the More Beer promo code BHY18 at check out and save yourself 10% off home beer brewing recipe kits. This is More Beer’s way of wishing you a Happy New Year and a Happy Brew Year! Orders over $59 will also qualify for free shipping, making this an incredible deal.  So now is a great time to stock up on some of their most popular home brewing recipe kits like Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig, Haze Craze and more! This deal is good for both extract beer brewing kits and all grain brewing recipe kits.

Click here for the More Beer Beer Kit Promotion:

HOME BREWING RECIPE KIT PROMO CODE

 

Dry Hopping My Hazy IPA

 

I added my first round of dry hops to my new Hazy – New England style IPA.  As opposed to adding the hops to the beer after the fermentation has completed which is typically for a West Coast style IPA, with a Hazy you add it early in the fermentation; in this case after 3 days.  I will do a second round of dry hopping at day 7 of the fermentation as well. At this point I added 2 ounces of Mosaic hops and 1 ounce of Citra hops.  The fermentation chamber is smelling incredible to say the least!

Home Brewing for the Holidays

Adding Hops to the Boil

I was fortunate enough to get a little time off of work before New Year’s and decided to try and make the best of it!  I was able to dedicated a good deal of time to some home brewing projects and all in all I was able to brew 4 batches.  I made a 5 gallon batch of hard cider that I am aging on Oregon tart cherries, I brewed an Irish Stout that I am again on Irish Whiskey oak cubes, coffee and Irish Cream flavoring which I am calling car bomb, MoreBeer’s Hop Gatherer IPA which uses distilled hop oil and a slightly modified version of More Beer New England Style IPA called Haze Craze, their Hazy IPA.  In the coming weeks I will post recipes and reviews on all of them. For now, here are some photos from my most recent home beer brewing sessions.

 

Home Brewing Mash of an Irish Stout

Home Brewing Mash of an Irish Stout on a Blichmann 20 Gallon Mash Tun

 

Recirculating the mash using my stainless steel RIMS temperature controller and More Beer Stainless Steel Ultimate Sparge Arm

Recirculating the mash using my stainless steel RIMS temperature controller and More Beer Stainless Steel Ultimate Sparge Arm

 

Transferring my stout to my stainless steel SS BrewTech 7 Gallon Conical Fermenter

Transferring my stout to my stainless steel SS BrewTech 7 Gallon Conical Fermenter

 

New WestCoastBrewer.com Website

New West Coast Brewer Website

New West Coast Brewer Website

Happy and Hoppy New Year!  With the arrival of 2018, WestCoastBrewer.com is going to get a new look and feel! It will be a bit of a work in progress, fixing all of the broken links as the website transitions to its new format, so please hang in there with us. Ultimately it should be a big improvement to the old website! We hope that 2018 brings you only the best and plenty of good homebrew!

Give The Gift Of Home Beer Brewing!

Give The Gift Of Home Beer Brewing! #homebrew #homebrewing #gift #beer #brewing #kits

Give The Gift Of Home Beer Brewing! #homebrew #homebrewing #gift #beer #brewing #kits

 

With the Holidays upon us and people scrambling to find the perfect gift, tis the season to give the gift of home beer brewing! 

 

A beer brewing kit is one of those gifts that any beer fan is thrilled to receive! Not only does it provide the recipient with a batch of their very own home brewed beer to enjoy, it also educates them on the beer brewing process! With one of these home beer making kits, you actually produce beer similarly to how current craft breweries make beer; only on a smaller scale.  You doing everything from boil wort and add hops additions to pitch yeast and ferment your beer!

 

Over the last several years, home beer brewing has really surged in popularity and there are several options out there for home brewing kits.  There are a few things to consider when picking the perfect beer making kit.

 

1 Batch Size: Most beginner home beer making kits will come in either a 1 gallon or 5 gallon size.  The 1 gallon kits are typically less expensive, but if you can afford the 5 gallon kits, I highly recommend them.  I know 1 gallon of beer sounds like a lot, but it is only about 8 glasses of beer and will go very quickly if shared with friends!  A 5 gallon kit is only about twice the cost of the 1 gallon kits, so it is a much better value.

 

2 What Does The Kit Include: There are few things more frustraiting  than brewing your batch of beer and then at the very end realizing that you are missing a critical item and your beer is ruined! So make sure that you purchase a complete kit, so home beer brewing kits do not even include the beer ingredients or yeast!

 

3 Cost: It is easy to spend way to much for a home beer brewing kit, especially when brewing kettles and shipping charges come in to play. I have listed 3 kits that are a great price, include everything needed to start brewing a batch of beer and ship free when the order is $59 or higher!

 

Home Beer Brewing Kit #1

This is the home beer brewing kit that I would recommend if you are on a tight budget or only want to brew 1 gallon beer batches.  With this kit, you will need to supply the brew kettle, but just about any large kitchen pot will do the trick! Click Here to purchase this home made beer brewing kit.

 

Home Beer Brewing Kit

Home Beer Brewing Kit #homebrew #homebrewer #homebrewing

 

 

Home Beer Brewing Kit #2

This is the best deal out there for a 5 gallon home beer brewing kit, especially when you consider that it ships for free, comes with a 5 gallon stainless steel brewing kettle and a beer ingredient kit! Click Here to purchase this 5 gallon beer brewing kit.

 

5 Gallon Home Beer Brewing Kit

5 Gallon Home Beer Brewing Kit

 

 

Home Beer Brewing Kit #3

Lastly is a premium home beer brewing kit that comes with some advanced home brewing items including a copper wort chiller and upgraded 8.5 gallon stainless steel brewing kettle with a valve. This is a fantastic home brewing kit to get started with!  Click here to purchase this home brewing kit.

Premium Home Beer Brewing Kit

Premium Home Beer Brewing Kit

 

If you have any questions on home brewing or need any advice, please feel free to reach out to me, I am always happy yo help when I can.

MoreBeer.com Black Friday Sale Going On Now! Save Up To 50% On Home Brewing Gear!

The MoreBeer.com Black Friday Home Brewing Sale

Limited time and quantity More Beer Coupon
More Beer Coupon Codes for the Month of November, 2017
Coupon Code Date: 11-24-2017 Only
Promo Code Details: More Beer Black Friday Sale! Save Up To 50%!
Promo Code: MORE BEER BLACK FRIDAY SALE

Coupon Code Description:  This is hands down the best home brewing sale day of the year and More Beer has some incredible homebrew deals going on right now, plus you will get FREE SHIPPING on orders over $59!  One of the highlights today is their home brewing deal on a GRAIN FATHER home brewing system! Today Only, SAVE $200 + FREE SHIPPING! This is the  Bluetooth Connected All Grain Brewing System Version as well with all of the bells and whistles.

Grain Father Promo Code #homebrew #homebrewing #beer #brewing #System #GrainFather

Grain Father Promo Code #homebrew #homebrewing #beer #brewing #System #GrainFather

Save up to 50% During the More Beer Black Friday Sale on a variety of home brewing items including More Beer’s temperature controller Conical Fermenter!

 

Black Friday Homebrew Sale

Plus save a bundle on other home brewing items like stainless steel conical fermenters, home brewing starter kits, wort chillers, mash paddles and more!
Click here for to take advantage of this limited time coupon code from MoreBeer:

MOREBEER.COM BLACK FRIDAY SALE

 

Home Brewing Coupon Code Found At:  HomeBrewingCupon.com

 

Check out the 10 Best Home Brewing Gift Ideas at HomebrewingDeal.com

Top 10 Best Holiday Home Brewing Gift Ideas

Top 10 Best Holiday Home Brewing Gift Ideas

 

Tis the season for Homebrewing! It is not always easy to find that perfect Holiday gift for your boss, Father In Law, Dad, Boyfriend, Girlfriend or Beer Lover in your life. So with the Holiday Season quickly approaching, we thought this was the perfect time for our Top 10 Best Home Brewer Holiday Gift Ideas! This year we tried to select a variety of the very best home brewer holiday gifts that accommodate a wide range of home brewing budgets as well as home brewing gift ideas for every beer brewing experience level from advanced home brewers to someone who loves beer and is looking to try their hand at home beer brewing for the first time. So with out further ado, here is the HomeBrewingDeal.com Top 10 List for Best Home Brewing Gifts Ideas of 2017!

Click Here to View the List!

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