Archive | April 2016

Just when things were getting back to normal …

We’re back from vacation. I’ve got a couple of recipes queued up to brew soon. This blog is back up and running, and there’s a session IPA in the fermentation chamber awaiting a dose of dry hops.

Everything was just getting back to normal at myBrewHome when my kegerator broke.

It still runs, but it doesn’t cool. So I’ve got three kegs of beer sitting in a hot box at 77°F right now (that’s 25°C for my overseas readers, and too bloody hot for craft beer fans worldwide).

I’m not nearly handy enough to fix it. I got into the homebrewing hobby to make beer, not gear, and the only household appliance I know how to take apart and rebuild is a desktop computer (a skill I doubt will help me here). I’m sure it’s going to need a new compressor or something, and any repair guy will tell me to replace the whole thing. So I’m just shopping for a replacement now.

I’ve got a beer fridge stocked with commercial bottles and cans, so I won’t go thirsty, concerned readers. And replacing the kegerator will give me an excuse to finally install the fancy new draft tower I ordered a while ago but haven’t had the time to unpack. But in the meantime, my bar area seems tragically quiet and dark without the hum of the kegerator or the faint blue glow of its temperature readout.

I’ll post an update as soon as I have one. Have strength. We’ll get through this.

Until then, a memorial for my first kegerator, complete with the white-on-dark Monotype Corsiva Italic font I always see in memorials on rear windshields:

I've never called my kegerator "Chill Bill" before today. But I figured that in death, like a member of Project Mayhem, a kegerator should have a name (H/T to Fight Club).

I’ve never called my kegerator “Chill Bill” before today. But in death, just like a member of Project Mayhem, a kegerator should have a name (H/T to Fight Club).

Farewell, gentle appliance. I will always remember the joy you brought me, my family and my friends. May Ninkasi receive you into her arms.

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Rough Draft Recipes: Unauthorized Disney Edition

By the time this is published, I will be on a plane for a week-long Disney vacation with the family. The little ones will spend the week basking in the glow of fireworks, the thrill of rides and the utter fabulousness of a certain snow queen, while my wife and I will count the footsteps from the Dole Whip kiosk to wherever we can occasionally find a decent beer on draft. They’re there. Trust me. They aren’t easy to find, but they’re there.

Okay, I’m bending the truth a little. Not about the beers (they really are there if you know where to look), but about Momma and Daddy’s lack of enthusiasm for the whole Disney thing. Actually my wife is totally into it, and I am definitely not too proud to sing a rousing chorus of “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” while sailing out of the darkness of Pirates of the Caribbean. Of course Disney now owns the Star Wars universe, and Jawas and stormtroopers will litter the landscape more than strollers. And, as my closest friends know, I absolutely love the wordplay and hilariously maladjusted cast of characters in the Winnie the Pooh series … so yeah, I’ll be as happy as a bear in a honey-tree with the whole Disney thing.

My kids are similarly obsessed. Both of them are very big on Mickey. More to my own taste, though, my son is fascinated with Star Wars (he loves the Dark Side and runs around saying “I’m Kywoh Ren!” – should I be concerned?). My baby daughter learned the word “Pooh” before pretty much any other word, and she means the bear, not … the other thing.

In honor of my family’s unanimous love for these stories and characters, in fact, I decided a few weeks ago to design beers to commemorate both Winnie the Pooh and Kywoh – er, Kylo – Ren. So without further ado, below are the first drafts of the recipes I’ve come up with.

Warning: minor spoilers in the notes below for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is landing on home video this week. Watch it, then read this.

Kylo Ren beer: Dark Awakening Black IPA

  • 13 lbs 8 oz American pale malt
  • 12 oz Dehusked Carafa III
  • 8 oz Chocolate Malt
  • 6.25 AAU of Mosaic hops at 60 minutes
  • 7 AAU of Galaxy hops at 60 minutes
  • 12.25 AAU of Mosaic hops at flameout
  • 14 AAU of Galaxy hops at flameout
  • 1 oz of Mosaic hops for dry hopping
  • 1 oz of Galaxy hops for dry hopping
  • American ale yeast (Fermentis SafAle US-05)

OG 1.071, IBU 75.8, SRM 37, ABV 7%.

Notes on ingredients:

Grain – American pale malt because it’s an American IPA. Dehusked Carafa III is a standard dark malt for the style that adds color without astringency. Chocolate malt is a little unorthodox, and will add a bit more body and roast flavor than typical for the style, but the roasty notes should add a welcome roughness around the edges, just like that unstable young man in black and that fuzzy-looking lightsaber he carries.

Hops – Mosaic and Galaxy are both fantastic hops and delicious in IPA. Mosaic is trendy and still a little bit new on the scene, but you can’t argue objectively with its capabilities. (Hello, Kylo.) And Galaxy … well, you know. Far, far away and all that. There are a lot of hops, but I want it bitter. Bitter like an emo kid who thinks the best way to get back at his parents is to take over the galaxy.

Winnie the Pooh beer: Silly Old Bear Hunny Wheat

  • 6 lbs Maris Otter
  • 1 lb 8 oz Flaked Wheat
  • 4 oz Crystal 15
  • 5.4 AAU of East Kent Goldings at 60 minutes
  • 1.8 AAU of East Kent Goldings at 15 minutes
  • 2 lbs Honey at 5 minutes
  • English ale yeast (Fermentis SafAle S-04)

OG 1.047, IBU 27, SRM 4, ABV 5.4%.

Notes on ingredients:

Grain – Maris Otter because it’s as English and traditional as A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin. Flaked wheat to stuff the beer with velvety smoothness. Crystal 15 to add a touch of honey sweetness. And of course, honey in the kettle near the end of the boil when it’s “Time for something sweet!”

Hops – Not the focus of this beer, so just a little bit of East Kent Goldings for enough hop bitterness and character to balance the sweet, fruity crispness of fermented honey. The bitterness is on the high end of the spectrum for American wheat and on the low end of the spectrum for an English ordinary bitter.

If you’d like to offer any tips or suggestions while I’m away on vacation – or even brew one of these before I get around to it – please share your thoughts here. Soon after I get back from the Most Magical Place on Earth, I’ll try my hand at brewing one or both of these myself.

Until then, cheers from myBrewHome to yours.