Transferring my homebrew to the keg

Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter for Homebrewing #homebrew #homebrewing

Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter for Homebrewing #homebrew #homebrewing

Last night I transferred my latest beer from the conical fermenter to my 5 gallon homebrew keg. This batch was a modification of MoreBeer’s M-80 IPA which I put a Vermont Style IPA spin on using the London III yeast and dry hopping with some Citra whole hops.  I tasted some as it came out of the fermenter and even warm, flat and unconditioned it tasted fantastic!  I can not wait for it to finish up in the keg for a few days!

Adding fresh orange juice to the fermenter

With this batch of Hazy IPA, I am trying something new and adding freshly squeezed orange juice into the fermenter along with two ounces of Citra whole hops to finish off my IPA fermentation. My plan is to let it ferment for another 4-5 days before transferring it to the keg. I am also raising my fermentation temperature to 70 F.

I have experimented with adding fruit like nectarines in the past but was disappointed with how little of the fruit flavor makes it to the finished beer with some stone fruits. I am hoping that things will be different with citrus fruit.  I added the juice from 4 ripe medium sized oranges to the fermenter.  I am hoping the flavors of the oranges will compliment my hop selection and the esters from the yeast!

#homebrew #homebrewing  #beer #orange #fermentation #IPA #juicy #hazy #home #brew #brewer #ssbrewtech

Cleaning the home Brewing system

Cleaning home brewing equipment is now my favorite aspect of home brewing, but I know that it is a critical part of creating good beer and keeping my home brewing rig functioning properly. My home brewery has grown to the point where it has gotten complicated to clean.  Home brewing equipment such as ball locks, hoses and pumps create pockets of space where bacteria can thrive. After a home brewing session, you have basically created the ideal environment for a bacterial incubator to form. It is a damp, dark environment that has a thin sugary syrup coating everything from the wort passing over it. If you do not clean properly, you are setting yourself up for possible beer contamination and off flavors.

I do not worry about my Hot Liquor Tank and the pump that drives it since it is only passing hot or cold water.  I just make sure that the pump, valves and hoses are kept free from moisture.  As far as my RIMS, Mash Tun, Boil Kettle, Valves, Hoses and Pump that feeds those system goes, I have a different process.  The primary aspect of that process is recirculating a warm / hot (120 F) bath of PBW over everything for 15 minutes. You can actually see the water change in color after it has recirculated for a few minutes. I then allow the equipment to soak over night, then heat the solution again and flush it with clean water.  I then break down my RIMS system and scrub out any lose debris, scrub my valves and reassemble.  Like I said, it is not fun, but cleaning is an important part of brewing.

If you are looking for a great home brewing cleaner, you should give PBW a shot. You can find it here:

PBW Home Brewing Cleaner

Now a cleaning cycle on the home brewing rig with some PBW #homebrew #homebrewing #homebrewer

Hazy IPA All Grain Recipe

Hazy IPA Homebrewing Recipe #homebrew #homebrewing #recipe #hazy #ipa #vermont #style #allgrain #beer #juicy

Hazy IPA Homebrewing Recipe #homebrew #homebrewing #recipe #hazy #ipa #vermont #style #allgrain #beer #juicy

 

When I started homebrewing (back in my day), beer clarity was important and the sign of a quality beer when it came to styles like lagers, blondes, pales and IPA’s! Whenever I would have an IPA, part of my rating of the beer, brewer and brewery was if they were brewing a clear / clean beer. About three months ago, one of my good friends challenged my belief on what a good IPA looked like and tasted like.  He ordered a Vermont style IPA / Juicy IPA / Hazy IPA / New England IPA / Whatever the hell you want to call your cloudy IPA, and convinced me to do the same.

As the waitress delivered my beer, I remember thinking, I hope this monstrosity does not give me a hangover and hopefully it wont taste too terrible. Then I took my first sip. I was taken aback. It was delicious! I had to quickly take another, larger sip. My brain tried to analyze the surprising flavor as my preconceptions were quickly being erased. I asked my friend,”do they add fruit juice to this?” He answered “no”. I had to ask him if he was sure because it was so juicy.  It was a wonderful mix of tropical and citrus hop flavors bursting from the beer. From that point on, I was a fan of the style and knew that I had to brew one.

So I started doing some research and decided that I was going to start with the “Crazy Hazy IPA” all grain hazy IPA beer kit from Homebrew Supply.  The name did not sell me on the kit, but the recipe and hop additions did.  I made a couple of small tweaks to the recipe, but they were pretty insignificant.

Here is what I ended up with:

Water Additions:
1 tsp Calcium Chloride (Mash 60 min)
1/2 tsp Gypsum (Mash 60 min)

Grain Bill: (Mash at 150F)
12 lb Pale Ale Malt
1 lb Flaked Oats
1 lb Flaked White Wheat
8 oz Flaked Barley
4 oz Honey Malt

Hop Additions:
30 min 1.00oz Mosaic
15 min 1.00oz Citra
5 min 1.00oz Mandarina Bavaria (I love this hop)
Whirlpool 15 min 1.00oz Citra
Whirlpool 15 min 1.00oz Mosaic

Dry Hop Additions:
I know this is not typical, but add the dry hops about 4 days after the start of fermentation.  Begin fermenting at 65F and then boost the temp to 70F when adding the dry hops.
2.00oz Mandarina Bavaria (Did I mention I love this hop?)
1.00oz Mosaic

Yeast:
London Ale III (This is important for fruity ester and haze production)

The beer came out fantastic! If you are considering brewing up a Hazy IPA, I highly recommend this recipe.  Homebrew Supply also has an extract version of the recipe available for extract brewers.  The beer kits can be found here:

Crazy Hazy IPA Home Brewing Recipe

Home Brew

Home Brew #homebrew

Home Brew #homebrew

Recently I had the pleasure of brewing up a batch of beer on one of my friends home brewing setups. It is always nice to get another home brewers perspective on home brewing. I find that I learn a lot about the home brewing craft from examining other home brewers methods and practices.  Even better, both of us use similar home brewing hardware and like similar styles of home brew.

Home Brewing Rig

Home Brewing Rig

One of the biggest differences in our home brewing systems and our beer brewing practices is when it comes to the mash. Where I have made my mashing process complicated (possibly over complicated) over time, doing my best to make sure my mash is at a specific temperature for the entire 60 minutes, he sets his mash temp, closes the lid and does not attempt to correct for any temperature loss over time.  By the time his mash has completed, the temperature in his tun has only dropped by approximately 6 to 8 degrees F.

My concern with a drop in mash temp would be that perhaps the finished beer would come out too dry or thin due to the lower average mash temp, the starches would only be converted to very simple sugars. Yet after sampling several of his beers, that did not turn out to be the case. I sampled 4 of his beers that day, varying from stouts to IPA’s and all of them were fantastic.  I would not describe any of his beers as too thin or too dry.

Home Brewing Mash Conversion Temperatures

Home Brewing Mash Conversion Temperatures

The image above is of my Blichmann BrewMomerter. I hi-lighted the segment that pertains to the mash conversion. As all grain home brewers, for the most part we mash at between 150-152 F to get a well rounded mash conversion. When I asked my friend if he was concerned with the temp dropping, he said that he felt that most of the starch conversion was occurring early in the mash process while his temperature was on target and that he had never noticed a degradation in the quality of his finished beer since he started conducting his mash in this manner. I am inclined to agree with him based on the high quality beer that he produces.

I think that sometimes as home brewers, out of our desire to brew “perfect” beer, sometimes we go too far and over complicate things (or at least I do).  I am not saying to ignore your mash temperature or to only mash for 10 minutes. My point is more that modern varieties of beer have been produced for over 600 years, well before yeast was even discovered in 1857. Considering that our ancestors created beer without having the benefit of such instruments as a BrewMometer, perhaps there can be some flexibility when it comes to brewing.

One of the home brewing items that he possesses that I am pretty envious of is a large sized stainless steel hop spider.  When I say large sized, I mean large sized, this thing is giant as you can see from the animated image.  The photos were taken during the whirlpool process after the boil had completed. I have been trying to get a hop filtering system to work out on my home brew system for the last few batches without a great deal of success.  I have been trying to overcome some challenges with clogging issues in my hop filter and he shared some great advice with me.  He said that in order for a hop filter to work properly and to get similar hop utilization compared to not using one, you need to have a hop filter that is at least half the diameter of your home brewing kettle. The size of the filter made a dramatic difference. I could see the wort moving around inside of his filter and he had hardly any clogging issues.

Home Brewing With A Hop Spider Animation

Home Brewing With A Hop Spider

 

 

Vermont style Hazy IPA Homebrew

The Hazy IPA finally finished carbonating and it is delicious! #homebrew #homebrewing  #homebrewer #hazy #ipa #hazyipa #beer #brewing 
I am happy with this batch of Homebrew. The IPA came out nice Hoppe and flavorful, not to mention hazy. I will be posting the recipe shortly for anyone who is interested in it.

Cleaning the keg and tap lines

Not fun but you got to do it, cleaning the tap lines. #homebrew #homebrewing. I broke down the beer tap and soaked it in PBW. Then I cleaned all the lines with line cleaner and reassemble. #home #brewing

Just about any good home brewer will tell you that one of the first rules of home brewing beer and making good home brewed beer is cleanliness. Unfortunately humans are not the only beer lovers on the planet.  Beer is loved by everything from insects to bacteria and your homebrewing and keg systems are highly susceptible to bacterial growth. Beer lines, keg fittings and taps are often times places where the like to hang out and they should be cleaned regularly.  Thankfully there are several products out there to help you keep your systems sanitary and your beer tasting good!

After building my Kegerator setup which you can view here, I knew that I would need to care for it and clean my taps so I purchased the line cleaning kit and some liquid beer line cleaner which is shown above.  The kit was great, it came with instructions and everything that I needed in order to do the job. The beer keg line cleaning kit came with a 1 quart hand pump that pushes Beer Line Cleaner through the draft beer system. The faucet gets removed and cleaned with the included faucet wrench and brush.  The process is relatively quick and easy and takes about 20 minutes to clean a couple beer taps out.

If you are interest in purchasing a draft beer line cleaning kit you can find it here:

Keg line cleaning kit

Keg Line Cleaning Solution

Here are the detailed instructions on how to clean your keg beer lines, beer taps and beer faucets:

1) Remove the tap from the keg. Use a beer faucet wrench to remove the faucet (the piece that the beer actually flows though to your glass) from the draft beer shank. The beer faucet collar should have a few holes in it, insert the wrench end into a hole and spin the collar clockwise to remove.

2) Next, disassemble the faucet to the point that the shaft inside can slide out. Place these parts in a bowl with 2 cups of warm water and ¼ teaspoon of Beer Line Cleaner. Put one cap full of beer line cleaner into the beer line pump jar and fill with warm water. Attach the lid pump unit back on the jar. Get a bucket to collect the fluid running from the tap. Insert the cleaning brush small end into the bottom of the tap to allow the flow to go through if needed.

3) Pump the cleaning solution though line and tap allowing the solution to sit in the lines for 10–15 minutes, then pump through. Follow this with 1–2 jars of water to rinse. Remove the brush from the tap.

4) Use the brush and a towel to clean the draft beer faucet and then rinse with clean water. Reassemble the faucet, hand tighten parts, leave loose enough so that they move freely. Attach the faucet back onto the shank again, using the wrench, do not over tighten, just tighten enough so that it does not leak any precious beer!