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Monday, December 17, 2012

Random Brewing Update

Sorry I haven't devoted as much time to this as previously. I've been busy getting my finances in order, preparing for Christmas, and preparing for the Mayan Apocalypse. <G>

I mention on my podcast that one thing I'm constantly re-learning is patience. I had brewed a spiced holiday ale for Christmas, but, when it was conditioned, it tasted like an ordinary brown ale. Not terrible, but without the the fruity, spicy character I was looking for.

So, I waited another couple of weeks, and tried it again. And there it was! The orange flavor was perfect, and the cinnamon was very close to what I had hoped for.

The lesson here is that no beer is a failure. Either it needs a bit more time to mature, or there is a lesson to be learned. Either way, the passage of time will make things clear.

Since the Christmas Ale came out well, here's the recipe:

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2 lbs 2-row malt
8 oz chocolate malt
8 oz 80L crystal malt
3 lbs light liquid malt extract
1 oz Cascade Hops (6.5% AA)
1 pkt dry ale yeast
1 oz sweet dried orange peel
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
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Grains were mashed for an hour at 154 F, then boiled for an hour with the hops and extract. The orange peel and cinnamon were added for the last 15 minutes of the boil. Everything was strained out from the primary. Fermentation was a week, then I bottled.

Straining out the cinnamon was a bit difficult, so I might change my process next time, and add the cinnamon to the primary.

Even after 24 years, I'm still learning.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Life Is Finally Getting Better

First off, apologies for being away from this blog for so long. I've been busy trying to get my financial house back in order.

Things are finally better.

To celebrate my new improved condition, I ordered ingredients for several beers. Since I haven't been able to brew for about 7 months, i first wanted to make something fast and easy, to get some beer back in the house.

I brewed up an English Mild Ale, an easy and tasty beer, and a recipe I know by heart.

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Mild Ale

3 lbs light malt extract
8 ozs chocolate malt
1 oz Willamette hops (3.7% AA)
1 pkt ale yeast
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After steeping the chocolate malt in warm water for about 30 minutes, I took them out, added the extract and hops, and boiled for an hour. Then I added this to 2 gallons of cold water, added more water to bring it up to 4 gallons total, tossed in my yeast, waited a week.

I'm really pleased with the result. The beer is low in alcohol (about 2.5%), light bodied, and flavorful.

And, most important, I'm back to brewing!