You can contact me at - Please support this blog, either by visiting the ads, or making a donation. Thank you.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Love Going Here

Before I start this, let me say I have absolutely no affiliation with this business. They don't even know I'm posting this.

I recently mentioned I had screwed up, and forgotten to get bottle caps. I did put in an online order right away. But it takes nearly a week for stuff to get to me.

It's not that I need to have beer, it's just that I have batches lined up behind it, and I hate to have unbrewed ingredients lying around. It just feels like an invitation for "critters".

So, I decided to make a road trip, and go to my not-so-local homebrew shop. I wish I was closer; Maltose Express, 246 Main St, Monroe, CT.

Every time I make this trip, I'm glad I did. The place is generously stocked, reasonably priced, and staffed with really nice, friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable people.

I spent some time chatting with staff and fellow customers, tried a couple of really good beers, and left with the needed bottle caps, as well as ingredients for more beer. A day well spent.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Very Unhappy

I have some dreadfully sad news to report. I started to gather my equipment together to bottle my pumpkin saison. Thank goodness I get everything together before I start.

As I began, I realized I had forgotten to order bottle caps. I'm completely out.

It could be much worse. I put an order in right away, and I'll have them soon. I know from experience that the extra time won't do the beer any harm.

But, I was kinda looking forward to how this came out. I've never made a saison before, and there's no beer in the house.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Last Time

Good News! This is the final time I'll be begging for votes.

Voting in the Beer Camp contest closes at midnight tonight. Please go to and vote for my video, "you Make What?"

If you've already voted, thanks, and you can vote again. If you haven't voted, yet, WHY NOT??!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Get Your Votes In!

Voting ends at midnight tomorrow, 10/15/13, so that means two things.

You still have time to go to and vote for me. It also means you only have to hear me begging for votes for one more day.

As my daughter-in-law said; Give my wife some peace, without me in the house! Send me to beer camp!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Almost Done

Well, you only have to endure a few more days of me pleading for votes. Please keep clicking, and thanks from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has, and is, voting.

So please vote, and get everyone in you network to vote, too!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Keep Voting

I seem to be stuck in 42nd place. I've mentioned you can vote multiple times, and it only takes a couple of clicks to register a vote.

Please help me move up! Get me off your back! Stop these incessant posts!

Oh, and give my wife a few days of peace! Get me out of the house!

Shameless plug

As you probably know, I've entered the Beer Camp contest for Sierra Nevada Brewing. Please remember to vote, and multiple votes are OK.

What I want to do right now is give a great big thank you to my lovely daughter-in-law, Tanya.

She was able to take my halting statement about my love of brewing, and turn it into a really adorable video.

If you have a need in video production, in any way, she would be a good resource for you. Contact me at and I'll forward your information on to her.

Oh, yeah. She really knows her stuff, Masters degree and all.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Keeping The Pressure On

In one day, my standing in the Beer Camp contest has advanced from 55 to 42. That's pretty cool.

But, since the top ten win, that means there's work to be done. So, I need you all to vote, and KEEP voting. They allow a vote per day, per IP.

And thanks to everyone for their votes, and well-wishes.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


The Sierra Nevada Brewing co. is having a contest called "Beer Camp". The winners get a trip out to their brewery in Chico, CA, to learn a bit about craft beer, and design a beer, to be brewed at the brewery.

I entered, and I need your help. The winners are determined by popular vote of the submitted videos at

You can vote once per day. Please vote for me. Get everyone you know to vote for me. Tell everyone you know to get everyone THEY know to vote for me.

I have no idea if I can win, but I intend to give it my best shot.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Here's a typical brewing session at home. Some of what I do is because I'm 60, and not as fit as I'd like to be. Some is because I live in a second floor apartment, and I have neighbors and a landlord to keep pleased.

Some of this may work for you, some may not.

I try to line everything up I'll need. I'm not perfect, I do forget things on occasion. But, everything I remember makes the stuff I forget that much easier to fix.

This is a pumpkin ale, so I added one step to my procedure. Is it necessary? I have no idea, but I feel better doing it. I used one 28 oz. can of pumpkin puree, and cooked it with 1/2 gallon of water for about 15 minutes.

I read a bit about using pumpkin as an ingredient, and most agree that you don't really gain anything, flavorwise, by using raw pumpkin. I feel the gain in convenience justifies the expense.

This is a partial mash recipe, so the grains and pumpkin sit for a bit to allow the enzymes to do their work.
I resisted mashing for almost 20 years. Now, I do a partial mash for nearly every beer.
While I wait for the mash, I take this opportunity to sanitize my fermenter. I do take shortcuts in certain areas, but one place I never do is with sanitizing.
I use the brew-in-a-bag method, mostly because it requires almost no additional equipment or expWense. I lack space or money, so both are important to me.
When the time is up for the mash, I simply lift the grain out, rinse , and let it drain.

The standard one-hour boil, that any homebrewer is familiar with.

One thing I do, that I feel saves time and uncertainty, is to make a small start with my yeast. I add a cup of cold water, a cup of wort, and my yeast, to a container. I stir it up, and let it work during the boil.

I find this cuts out most of the lag time waiting for fermentation to start.

I pour two gallons of cold water into my fermenter. And yes, that is a plastic water jug. I've heard for years the cautions against using blue plastic containers. I've seen no effect, except in my bank account.

After boiling, I pour the hot wort into the cold water.

And, after all is finished, there's my beer, happily bubbling away.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hope I Still Remember

After my forced layoff, I get back to brewing today.

My original plan, and my original recipe, was for a pumpkin ale. I had just planned for a partial mash with some canned pumpkin, and ferment that with some light extract and ale yeast.

But then, my daughter-in-law suggested a pumpkin saison, a Belgian farmhouse style. I was intrigued by the idea, but I had ingredients already on order. Was there any way to do this without spending extra money, or delaying my brewing even further?

That's what makes the internet such a great tool. I poked around a bit, and read up on the style. Like many Belgian styles, a lot more is going on than just your standard fermentation. Besides Saccharomyces, there's Brett, and Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. That started the germ of an idea.

I had a bit of roasted barley lying around. Why not use that to "infect" the beer with some souring bacteria, after the initial fermentation had finished?

I think it'll work. By waiting, I can allow the ale yeast to do most of the work, lessening the chance I'll actually ruin my beer, Roasted grain is generally rich in the kinds of fauna you want in a Belgian beer, so should introduce the requisite flavors.

Lastly, and almost always my favorite reason, it'll be a fun experiment.