• 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!

     

  • Food

    Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

    I love Tex-Mex foods – enchiladas, tamales, burritos, fajitas, etc. It’s all good. One of my favorite Tex-Mex foods to cook at home is chicken enchiladas. I’ve tried various recipes, made changes, combined recipes, etc. all in the search for a recipe that had just what I wanted. This recipe is what I’ve come up with to satisfy my chicken enchilada cravings. This recipe makes up a large amount of enchiladas… the leftovers are good too.

    Servings: 8 (2 enchiladas per person)
    Prep Time: 40 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes

    Ingredients (* ingredients fresh from our garden)
    2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
    4-5 tomatoes*, diced or 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 jalapeños*, seeded and chopped or 1 can (7 oz) diced green chiles
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 container (16 oz) sour cream
    12 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro* or 12 tablespoon dried cilantro
    1 cup homemade cream of chicken soup or 1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
    16 fresh, small tortillas (I use flour tortillas from the bakery in a local grocery store)
    2 cups shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend

    Directions
    1. Cook chicken. I prepared my chicken using this Perfect Chicken recipe from The Recipe Crayon Box. Adjust your seasonings as you would like your meat seasoned for a Tex-Mex meal.

    2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, cumin, and cilantro. Heat the mixture thoroughly, then reduce heat to low until ready to use. For the cream of chicken soup, I used this Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup recipe from Our Best Bites.

    Saucepan with sour cream, cream of chicken soup, cumin, and cilantro.
    Sour cream, soup, cumin, and cilantro.

    Saucepan with sour cream sauce.
    Heat sour cream sauce.

    3. In a large pan, add olive oil and sauté onions. Then add the chicken, tomatoes, and jalapeños/green chiles. Heat thoroughly.

    Pan with chicken, onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños.
    Chicken, onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños.

    4. Fill each tortilla with roughly 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture. Top with 1-112 tablespoons of shredded cheese.

    Tortilla with chicken mixture topped with cheese.
    Add chicken mixture to tortillas and top with cheese.

    5. Roll each tortilla and place it in a greased 9×13 glass baking dish. The baking dish should hold 16 small enchiladas.

    Baking dish with sixteen small chicken enchiladas.
    Chicken enchiladas without sauce.

    6. Spread the sour cream sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese.

    Baking dish with chicken enchiladas topped with sour cream sauce and cheese.
    Chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce and cheese.

    Baking dish with chicken enchiladas topped with sour cream sauce.
    Chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce.

    7. Bake the enchiladas at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.

    Cooked chicken enchiladas on a plate.
    Chicken Enchiladas

    Enjoy!

  • 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.