Friday, May 21, 2010

Moonstone Easy Blonde

Moonstone Brewery's Easy Blonde Ale less a few swigs 

The Easy Blonde Ale is proudly displayed in a Grand River Brewing Glass. This easy drinking Ale will be enjoyed this weekend while camping at a Provincial Park during an alcohol ban. I also picked up a mix six from Grand River Brewing to sample this weekend, the pack includes 500ml bottles of the following:

I can't wait to try them all this weekend. 
I will be relaxing in a provincial park with my family, supporting Ontario Craft Brewers and breaking the law!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Brew Day May 18th, 2010 - Orange Peel Ale

I couldn't wait to brew this one so I bought some supplies locally. There is a homebrew shop that I found in Barrie that I thought I would try. They seemed to be the same type of place, however, their prices are almost double. They also charged for grain socks, which they only had small ones, so I needed to BUY two. They don't have real Irish Moss either, they have some sort of Irish Moss tablets? On the positive side, they have a greater yeast variety. For the first time, I will be using a different yeast, the one I am using for this brew is called Nottingham by Danstar. I doubt if I will use this place in the future unless I am in a pinch or I desire a different yeast.
Irish Moss Tablet?

For this recipe CLICK HERE.

The only thing that was changed was the substitution of Mauri Ale Yeast for the Nottingham.

I am getting better at this steeping thing as I was able to quickly heat the brewpot to 150F and maintain it very steadily for the full 30 minutes. The expensive undersized grain socks were disappointing, they were not long enough to tie off on the sides, so I fear they were sitting on the bottom for the entire steeping process. Also, I have learned to keep them loose, where these ones were packed pretty tight.

Small Grain Socks

For this recipe I will also use a late extract addition the same as I did for my Amber Ale. I decided to start with half of the total extract. After the hot break, the timer was set for 60 minutes and the first 28g of Cascade Hops were tossed in. This recipe uses nothing but Cascade, and the reason is because their citrusy flavor and aroma work well with the orange zest. This beer also uses the most amount of hops of any of my brews yet. That being said, this will not be a bitter beer. Only 1/4 of the hops are boiled for the full 60 minutes, the remaining are all added within the last 10 minutes, when adding hops late in the boil, it will hardly pull out much of the bitterness at all. The late addition hops are purely for flavor and aroma.

At 20 minutes left in the boil the second half of the extract was added and the timer was stopped until the boil resumed. While all of this was going on, I removed the zest from three large oranges to get the 2oz of orange zest required. I also placed 1oz of Coriander seed in a ziploc bag and beat it with a hammer.

Zesting the Oranges

Crushing the Coriander Seed

With 10 minutes left in the boil, I added 28g of cascade, 2oz of orange Zest, 1oz of Coriander, and the Irish Moss. Another 28g of Cascade at 5minutes, and 28g more at 1 minute left.

All of the 10 minute additions ready to go.

The orange smell really cam through strong when it was added to the boil, I cant wait to try this beer. The yeast was pitched as usual and the gravity reading was 1043 which is the number I seem to keep hitting. depending on how this one ferments with the Nottingham Yeast, I might have to look at bumping my extract up to 3 litres per batch to hit that 5% ABV.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Next Recipe - Orange Peel Ale

I've decided to push back my Caramel Cream Ale to the fall as I have decided to brew some beer better suited for the hot summer months. I'm excited to go ahead with a Strawberry Blonde, however, the base recipe "Easy Blonde" is still a week or two away from a true taste test. (even though I cheated and had two after only one week in the bottle - it was good ... this blonde is still quite young yet, and i'm sure I will prefer a more mature blonde)

So, this morning while ridding my bowels of yesterdays Chocolate Stouts and Caramilk Bailey's Slushies (Thanks Brent) I was on my laptop and I stumbled across another recipe on the home brew talk forums that appears to be quite a hit. Cascades / Orange Pale Ale
I will be using the partial mash recipe of course, and modifying and subbing as needed. This is what I have come up with:

2.75 litres - Pale Malt Extract
2lbs - Crystal Malt
1oz - Cascade (60 min)
1oz - Cascade (10 min) 
1oz - Cascade (5 min) 
1oz - Cascade (1 min) 
1oz - Coriander Seed (10 min) 
6g - Irish Moss (10 min) 
2oz - Orange zest (10 min) 

10g - Mauri Ale Yeast

Primary - 10 days
Secondary - 14 days
I don`t know if this extra time is necessary, I think 7 and 7 is fine....I will go by gravity readings in the primary and my empty bottle supply in the secondary.

Hopefully I can find some time this week to go shopping and brew this one up.

On Deck: Strawberry Blonde

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Brew Day April 30th, 2010 - Amber Ale

As part of my attempt to brew beers that everyone will enjoy, I kept with an easier drinking style and decided to brew an Amber Ale.

Amber ale is a comparatively recently coined term (as are many other commonly used terms describing beer "styles") used in North America for some pale ales; the colour generally ranging from light copper to light brown.[1] A small amount of crystal[2] or other coloured malt[3] may be added to the basic pale ale base to produce a slightly darker colour, as in some Irish and British pale ales.[4] In France the term used is ambrée, and the hop bitterness is modest, as in PelforthAmbrée and Fischer Amber.[5] In North America, American-variety hops are used in varying degrees of bitterness, though few examples are particularly hoppy.

Two popular Amber ales that I know a lot of people enjoy are Keith's Red and Rickard's Red. With this recipe I am not trying to copy those styles at all. I tried to find a recipe that had a modest hop bitterness that would be easy drinking. I found a recipe that called for a hop variety that is not available at my usual supplier, so I found a place in Whitby called Home Brewers Retail. He had the centennial hops that I was looking for, which is essentially a "super charged" variety of Cascade. Brian was very helpful and also had some amber extract that I thought I would try for this one. The problem is that amber extracts, as well as any extract other than Pale could have any combination of malts in it. The cost for these specialty extracts are much higher than just buying Pale, so if this recipe is a success, I will try it with a Pale malt base next time and try to get my color and flavors from steeping.

The Recipe:
I found a recipe on Home Brew Talk which I modified slightly. Cats Pajamas Amber Ale

3kg - Amber Extract
6oz - Caramel Malt
2oz - Chocolate Malt
0.5 lbs - Pale Malt
0.5oz - Cascade Hops (60m)
0.5oz - Centennial Hops (10m)
0.5 oz - Cascade Hops (10m)
0.5oz - Centennial (0m)
0.3oz - Cascade (0m)
6g - Irish Moss
10g - Mauri Ale Yeast

Brew Day:
I did not do much different than my previous brews except for try a late boil extract addition and a sort of dry hop at the end of the boil. Late extract addition keeps the extract from caramelizing and darkening the beer, it also increases hop utilization. I used 1kg of extract at the beginning of the boil and added the remaining 2kg with 20minutes left in the boil. When I added it, the timer was stopped and then started it again when the boiling resumed. This brew is also the first time I dry hopped. Dry hopping is when you don't boil the hops at all, this only brings out hop aroma, no bitterness is extracted from the hops. Dry hop should be done when the wort has cooled, however tossing them in at the end of the boil, such as I did is also acceptable. I assume I would have pulled out some flavor by tossing them in hot wort.

Here are some pictures from brew day:
Ingredients - the Centennial Hops smelled amazing

Blended Grains

Steeping grains

Sparging Grains

Gravity reading - 1038@95F = 1043

Color Check - looks rusty

The brew was racked to the secondary on May 8th and the final gravity was 1013 putting the Amber Ale at around 4.1% - I still don't trust these gravity readings. the beer will be bottled today May 15th.

Next Brew will be a Caramel Vanilla Cream Ale.