• Drink

    Homebrew: Whiskey Barrel Porter

    We brewed a whiskey barrel porter in January 2013. It was a Austin Homebrew extract kit. This brew sounded really good; however, it did not turn out as well as we had hoped.

    Whiskey Barrel Porter {Homebrew} | rainerlife.com

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 33
    OG: 1.063
    FG: 1.015
    ABV: 6.3%

    Grains used for this recipe were 34 pound of chocolate malt, 12 pound of crystal 75L malt, 12 pound de-bittered black malt, and 12 pound Maris Otter malt. After we heated two gallons of water to 155°F, we steeped the grains for 25 minutes. We placed the grain bag in a strainer over the pot after steeping to drain. When it was finished draining, we discarded the grains, added one gallon of water to the pot, and brought the mixture to boiling.

    Once boiling, we turned off the heat and added 3 pounds of amber extract and 6 pounds dark extract. We continuously stirred the malt to prevent boil over. After the malt was dissolved, we returned the wort to a boil. Once a good rolling boil was established, we added 1 ounce of Galena hops to boil for 60 minutes for bittering. After 45 minutes of boiling, we added 12 ounce of Kent Golding hops for flavor. With 5 minutes of boil time left, we added another 12 ounce of Kent Golding for aroma.

    When the boil time finished, we removed the pot from the heat and placed it in an ice bath to cool down to 80°F. This took about 30 minutes. The cooled wort was poured into a 6 gallon carboy and cool water was added to bring the volume to 5 gallons. We poured the wort through a strainer to help prevent sludge from entering the carboy. We stirred the wort to mix well with the added water, and then checked the specific gravity.

    We pitched a wet yeast (White Labs Edinburgh 028) directly into the carboy and stirred the wort so it was well mixed. Our brew was stored in a temperature controlled (72°F) chest freezer.

    We used primary and secondary fermentation for this brew. We left the beer in the primary fermentor for nine days, and then racked to a secondary. When racking to the secondary, we added 212 ounces of whiskey barrel oak chips. The beer was in the secondary for three weeks before bottling. Before bottling the beer, we moved the beer to a bottling bucket and added 112 cups of Jack Daniel’s whiskey. We bottled 53 12-ounce bottles of beer.

    Our biggest problem with this homebrew was diacetyl. We tried to solve this problem over the summer by pouring the bottled beer back into a carboy, adding yeast, and letting it ferment for 40 days. We rebottled the beer and tried it again after a few months. This did help tremendously with the diacetyl, but the beer still seems off. We have left the bottles set aside and will continue to try a beer every so often to see if it starts to taste better.

    Cheers!

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Our First Lager

    We wanted to try brewing a lager, and decided to start with a maibock. It was an extract kit that was available from Austin Homebrew Supply.

    Maibock {Homebrew} | rainerlife.com

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 30.8
    OG: 1.057
    FG: 1.017
    ABV: 5.25%

    Grains used for this recipe were half a pound Munich malt. After we heated two gallons of water to 155°F, we steeped the grains for 25 minutes. We placed the grain bag in a strainer over the pot after steeping to let water drip back into the pot. When it was finished, we discarded the grains, added another gallon of water to the pot, and brought the mixture to boiling.

    Once boiling, we turned off the heat and added seven pounds of Munich LME and one pound of extra light DME. We continuously stirred the malt to prevent boil over. After the malt was dissolved, we returned the wort to a boil. Once a good rolling boil was established, we added 1 ounce of Nugget hops to boil for 60 minutes. After 45 minutes of boiling, we added Whirlfloc for the remaining 15 minutes of boil time.

    When the boil time finished, we removed the pot from the heat and placed it in an ice bath to cool down to 80°F. This took about 30 minutes. The cooled wort was poured into a 6 gallon carboy and cool water was added to bring the volume to 5 gallons. We poured the wort through a strainer to help prevent sludge from entering the carboy. We stirred the wort to mix well with the added water, and then checked the specific gravity.

    We pitched a dry yeast (Saflager S23) directly into the carboy and stirred the wort so it was well mixed. Our brew was stored in a temperature controlled chest freezer. We started the fermentation temperature at 70°F to get the fermentation process started. After a day at 70°F, we slowly reduced the temperature to 50°F. After 10 days at 50°F, we raised the temperature to 60°F. The wort stayed at 60°F for three days. The total amount of time in the primary fermentor was 14 days, and then we racked to a secondary. The beer was in the secondary for 29 days at 40°F. We bottled 54 12-ounce bottles of beer. This beer seemed to peak after four months in the bottles.

    Cheers!

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Belgian Caramel Wit

    We brewed a Belgian Caramel Wit to have ready for Thanksgiving. It was a Brewer’s Best extract kit that was available from the local homebrew store. We wanted a homebrew that wouldn’t take too long to be ready and that was an easy drinking beer most people would like.

    Belgian Caramel Wit {Homebrew} | rainerlife.com

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 6
    OG: 1.053
    FG: 1.013
    ABV: 5.25%

    Grains used for this recipe were 12 ounces of crushed 2-row pale malt, 12 ounces of flaked wheat, 6 ounces crushed Munich, and 6 ounces crushed caramel 30L. After we heated 1.25 gallons of water to 155°F, we steeped the grains for 45 minutes. We placed the grain bag in a strainer over the pot after steeping and poured a half gallon of warm water over the grains to rinse into the wort. When it was finished draining, we discarded the grains, added three quarters of a gallon of warm water to the pot, and brought the mixture to boiling.

    Once boiling, we turned off the heat and added 3.3 pounds of pilsen light LME. We continuously stirred the malt to prevent boil over. After the malt was dissolved, we returned the wort to a boil. Once a good rolling boil was established, we added 1 ounce of German Hersbrucker hops to boil for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes of boiling, we added two pounds Bavarian wheat DME, one pound blonde Belgian candi syrup, and Whirlfloc for the remaining 15 minutes of boil time.

    When the boil time finished, we removed the pot from the heat and placed it in an ice bath to cool down to 80°F. This took about 30 minutes. The cooled wort was poured into a 6 gallon carboy and cool water was added to bring the volume to 5 gallons. We poured the wort through a strainer to help prevent sludge from entering the carboy. We stirred the wort to mix well with the added water, and then checked the specific gravity.

    We pitched a dry yeast (Saf-brew T58) directly into the carboy and stirred the wort so it was well mixed. Our brew was stored in a temperature controlled (72°F) chest freezer.

    We used primary and secondary fermentation for this brew. We left the beer in the primary fermentor for seven days, and then racked to a secondary. The beer was in the secondary for 14 days before bottling. We bottled 53 12-ounce bottles of beer. This beer seemed to peak after three months in the bottles.

    Cheers!

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Rainer Extra Porter

    Earlier this year we made a brown porter extract recipe. We mainly used ingredients we had on hand, hence the “extra” in the name. We’ve considered redoing this recipe using black patent malt instead of chocolate malt… would probably taste more like a porter if we did.

    Carboy of Rainer Extra Porter.

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 16.4 IBUs
    OG: 1.082
    FG: 1.021
    ABV: 8.0%

    Ingredients
    Grains
    6 oz Coffee Malt
    10 oz Chocolate Malt 60L
    10 oz Crystal Malt 120L

    Fermentables
    8 lbs Golden Light DME
    2 lbs Sparkling Amber DME

    Hops
    12 oz Kent Golding – 60 min
    12 oz Millenium – 60 min
    14 oz Fuggle – 15 min
    12 oz Kent Golding – 5 min

    Yeast
    White Labs Edinburgh Ale Yeast (WLP028)

    Directions
    Fill a stainless steel pot with two gallons of water and heat to 155°F. When the water is heated, steep the grains for 25 minutes. After steeping, discard the grains, add another gallon of water to the pot, and bring to a boil.

    Once boiling, turn off the heat and add the golden light DME and sparkling amber DME. Continuously stir the malts to prevent boil over. After the malt is dissolved, return to a boil. Once a good rolling boil is established, add the hops – 12 oz Kent Golding and 12 oz Millenium for bittering (boil for 60 minutes), 14 oz Fuggle for flavor (boil for 15 minutes), and 12 oz Kent Golding for aroma (boil for 5 minutes).

    When the boil time finishes, remove the pot from the heat and cool down to 80°F. Pour the cooled wort into a 6 gallon carboy and add enough cool water to bring the volume to 5 gallons. Stir the wort to mix well with the added water, and then check the specific gravity.

    Pitch the yeast directly into the carboy and stir the wort so it is well mixed. Keep in the primary fermentor for 9 days at 70°F. Rack to secondary fermentor, and keep at 70°F for 18 days.

    Bottle and allow the beers to bottle condition for 10 12 weeks.

    Cheers!

     

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Irish Red Ale

    A few months ago we brewed an Irish Red Ale that was available as an extract kit from Austin Homebrew Supply.

    Irish red ale homebrew.

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 24.3
    OG: 1.044
    FG: 1.020
    ABV: 3.1%

    Grains used for this recipe were 12 pound of Crystal 40L, 14 pound of Crystal 120L, and 2 ounces De-bittered Black. After we heated two gallons of water to 155°F, we steeped the grains for 25 minutes. We placed the grain bag in a strainer over the pot after steeping to let water drip back into the pot. When it was finished, we discarded the grains, added another gallon of water to the pot, and brought the mixture to boiling.

    Once boiling, we turned off the heat and added seven pounds of extra pale extract. We continuously stirred the malts to prevent boil over. After the malt was dissolved, we returned the mixture to a boil. Once a good rolling boil was established, we added 1 ounce of Whitbread Golding hops for bittering (boil for 60 minutes), 34 ounce of Select hops for flavor (boil for 15 minutes), and 14 ounce of Select hops for aroma (boil for 5 minutes).

    Irish red ale homebrew.

    When the boil time finished, we removed the pot from the heat and placed it in an ice bath to cool down to 80°F. This took about 30 minutes. The cooled wort was poured into a 6 gallon carboy and cool water was added to bring the volume to 5 gallons. We poured the wort through a strainer to help prevent sludge from entering the carboy. We stirred the wort to mix well with the added water, and then checked the specific gravity.

    We pitched a dry yeast (Windsor Ale) directly into the carboy and stirred the wort so it was well mixed. Our brew was stored in a temperature controlled (72°F) chest freezer.

    We used primary and secondary fermentation for this brew. We left the beer in the primary fermentor for six days, and then racked to a secondary. The beer was in the secondary for 19 days before bottling. We bottled 53 12-ounce bottles of beer. This beer seemed to peak after three months in the bottles.

    Cheers!

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Rainer ESB

    As extract brewers, we sometimes follow recipes created by others, but other times we make up our own recipes. A few months ago, we decided to brew an Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB), and we came up with the recipe below. When we create our own recipes, we try to use whatever ingredients we have on hand instead of having to buy everything. For our ESB, we had the hops and yeast.

    Grains for our Rainer ESB.
    Rainer ESB grains

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 25.6 IBUs
    OG: 1.050
    FG: 1.016
    ABV: 4.5%

    Ingredients
    Grains
    12 lb Crystal Malt 40L
    12 lb Crystal Malt 60L
    12 lb Victory Malt

    Fermentables
    6 lbs Extra Pale LME
    12 lb Brown Sugar

    Hops
    1 34 oz Cascade – 60 min
    14 oz Cascade – 5 min

    Yeast
    Danstar Windsor British-Style Beer Yeast (dry)

    Directions
    Fill a stainless steel pot with two gallons of water and heat to 155°F. When the water is heated, steep the grains for 25 minutes. After steeping, discard the grains, add another gallon of water to the pot, and bring to a boil.

    Once boiling, turn off the heat and add the extra pale LME and brown sugar. Continuously stir the malts to prevent boil over. After the malt is dissolved, return to a boil. Once a good rolling boil is established, add the hops – 1 34 oz Cascade for bittering (boil for 60 minutes) and 14 oz Cascade for aroma (boil for 5 minutes).

    When the boil time finishes, remove the pot from the heat and cool down to 80°F. Pour the cooled wort into a 6 gallon carboy and add enough cool water to bring the volume to 5 gallons. Stir the wort to mix well with the added water, and then check the specific gravity.

    Pitch the yeast directly into the carboy and stir the wort so it is well mixed. Keep in the primary fermentor for 14 days at 70°F. Rack to secondary fermentor, and keep at 70°F for 8 days.

    Bottle and allow the beers to bottle condition for 3 months. It will be ready to drink prior to that, but seemed to peak after a few months in the bottles.

    Cheers!

     

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Imperial Stout

    A while back, we were shopping around for beer supplies and came across a kit for an imperial stout (Alien Dog Imperial Stout) from Austin Homebrew Supply. We had not brewed a stout before, and this one sounded interesting. We ordered the extract kit with dry malt extract (DME) since we weren’t sure when we would actually get around to brewing it.

    Imperial stout ready to be bottled.
    Imperial stout ready to be bottled.

    Grains used for this recipe were 1/2 pound each of Black Patent, Caraamber, and chocolate, and one pound of Crystal 150L. After we heated two gallons of water to 155°F, we steeped the grains for 25 minutes. We placed the grain bag in a strainer over the pot after steeping to let water drip back into the pot. When it was finished, we discarded the grains, added another gallon of water to the pot, and brought the mixture to boiling.

    Once the mixture was boiling, we turned off the heat and added nine pounds of dark DME. We continuously stirred the malts to prevent boil over. After the malt was dissolved, we returned the mixture to a boil. Once a good rolling boil was established, we added 1 1/2 ounces of Millenium hops. These hops were used for bittering and boiled for 60 minutes.

    When the boil time finished, we removed the pot from the heat and placed it in an ice bath to cool down to 80°F. This took about 35 minutes. The cooled wort was poured into a 6 gallon carboy and cool water was added to bring the volume to 5 gallons. We poured the wort through a strainer to help prevent sludge from entering the carboy. We stirred the wort to mix well with the added water, and then checked the specific gravity.

    Bottled imperial stout.
    Bottled imperial stout.

    We pitched a dry yeast (Notthingham Ale) directly into the carboy and stirred the wort so it was well mixed. Our brew was stored in a temperature controlled (72°F) chest freezer. We used a blow off tube for the first couple of days of fermentation before switching to an S-shaped airlock. It ended up having a very violent fermentation (i.e., big mess to clean up).

    We used primary and secondary fermentation for this brew. We left the beer in the primary fermentor for a bit longer than usual (10 days), and then transferred to a secondary. The beer was in the secondary for 5 days before bottling. Normally, we get 53 or 54 12-ounce bottles out of a 5 gallon batch of beer, but this time we got 47 bottles – due to beer being lost during the violent fermentation. Currently, we are bottle conditioning this stout – should only take a few weeks, and then we get to enjoy this homebrew!

     

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Hefeweizen Bottling Day

    It’s time to bottle the hefeweizen we brewed a couple of weeks ago! We prefer to bottle our beer rather than keg. Mainly because we like to share our brews with family and friends. Normally, we get 53 or 54 12-ounce bottles out of a 5 gallon batch of beer.

    The morning of the day we bottled, we placed the carboy on the counter top with a cardboard box over it. This way, the sediment that was disturbed while moving the carboy settled back down before we bottled. The cardboard box was just to keep the beer in the dark because our kitchen gets a lot of sunlight.

    Sanitized bottles.
    Sanitized bottles.
    Bottling equipment.
    Bottling equipment.
    Hefeweizen ready to be bottled.
    Ready to be bottled!

    Before bottling, we sanitized all bottling equipment.

    After everything was sanitized, we prepared the priming sugar (corn sugar). Priming sugar is added to carbonate the beer. This was prepared by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil and adding the corn sugar. After adding the sugar, we let it boil for another couple of minutes until the sugar was dissolved. Then we removed the priming sugar from the heat and cooled it down to less than 80°F.

    Adding corn sugar (priming sugar) to the boiling water.
    Adding corn sugar (priming sugar) to the boiling water.
    Cooling the priming sugar.
    Cooling the priming sugar to less than 80°F.
    Adding priming sugar to bottling bucket.
    Adding priming sugar to bottling bucket.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Bottling bucket filling with homebrew.
    Bottling bucket filling with homebrew.
    Transferring homebrew to bottling bucket.
    Transferring homebrew to bottling bucket.

    When the priming sugar was ready, we added it to the bottling bucket first and then transferred the hefeweizen from the carboy. We added the priming sugar first for better mixing with the hefeweizen. When transferring the beer, we tried not to disturb any of the sediment on the bottom of the carboy.

    When the transfer was finished, we moved the bottling bucket to the counter and hooked up some tubing – one end to the spigot and the other end to a bottle filler. Once everything was attached, we began filling the bottles. We have a system where one of us fills the bottle and passes it to the other, who then caps the bottle. After the bottles were all capped, we placed the beer in a dark closet for storage while carbonation takes place.

    Finished bottling!
    Finished bottling!
    Ready to cap the homebrew.
    Ready to cap the homebrew.
    Filling a bottle with homebrew.
    Filling a bottle with homebrew.

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Hefeweizen

    Heating Water
    Heating water to 155°F.

    We brewed up a hefeweizen last week, and below are the steps we followed.  The steps described are for extract brewing.

    First, we sanitized all equipment that we use for our home brewing. After everything was sanitized, we filled a stainless steel pot with 2 gallons of water and heated it to 155°F.

    Steep Grains
    Steeping the grains.

    While the water was heating, we made sure the grain bag was ready. We used 1/2 pound each of cara-pils and white wheat. Once the water was heated, we turned off the heat and soaked the grains in the hot water for 25 minutes. While soaking the grains, we lifted the bag in and out of the water to steep. Once the 25 minutes was up, we lifted the bag out of the water and placed it in a strainer over the pot to let water drip back into the pot. When it was finished we discarded the grains and added another gallon of water to the pot and brought the mixture to boiling.

    Liquid Malt Extract
    Liquid malt extract.

    Dry Malt Extract
    Dry malt extract.

    Once the mixture was boiling, we turned off the heat and added the malt extracts. We used both a dry malt (2 lbs wheat DME) and a liquid malt (5 lbs wheat extract). We continuously stirred the mixture while pouring in the malts to prevent burning. This step is easier with two people because one can pour in the malts while the other stirs.

    Once the malts were dissolved, we returned the mixture to a boil. Once a good rolling boil was established, we added the hops.

    Rolling Boil
    Rolling boil.

    Hops
    Weighed hops.

    Tettnang hops were used (2/3 oz for bittering and 1/3 oz for aroma). The bittering hops were added first and a timer was set for 60 minutes. After 45 minutes, flavor hops were added.

    Cooling Wort
    Cooling the wort.

    When the boil time finished, we removed the pot from the heat and placed it in an ice bath to cool down to 80°F. This usually takes us about 30-40 minutes. We used a large metal tub filled with cold water and set the stainless pot in it with the lid on the pot. Then we placed ice and ice packs in the water around the pot to help bring the temperature down.

    Transfer Wort
    Transferring the wort to a primary fermentor.

    The cooled wort was poured into a primary fermenter and cool water was added to bring the volume to 5 gallons. We used a 6 gallon glass carboy as the primary fermenter and poured the wort through a strainer to help stop sludge in the pot from entering the carboy. When the carboy was full, we stirred the wort to mix well with the added water.

    After stirring, we checked the specific gravity using our hydrometer.

    Fermenting Homebrew
    Fermenting the homebrew.

    Carboy
    Carboy with airlock.

    Last, we pitched the yeast. We used a dry yeast (Munich German wheat) that we poured directly into the carboy and stirred the wort so it was well mixed. After mixing well, we placed an airlock that contained water on top and stored the carboy for fermentation. The liquid in the airlock provides a barrier against contamination. We store our brew in a temperature controlled chest freezer. We keep the temperature around 70°F for brewing our ales.