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Mead Update – 2/26/2014

Posted by Jeff on February 27, 2014

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have gotten into meads, lately.

Honestly, I really like their ease of brewing (add honey to water, shake, pitch yeast. Boom.)  Now I am just trying to find that recipe that makes a mead I like drinking as easily.  I brew them in 1-2 gallon batches.  I find this gives me the flexibility to find the type of mead I want to make.

Let’s see… first I made a standard mead.  Just  a regular 1.100 with Lalvin D-47.  Just to see what it would do.

Then I made a test Cyser.  Honey added to 1 gallon of apple juice.  1.098 with Lalvin D-47.  Just to see what cyser tastes like.

Next I brought back some honey from Nova Scotia after the wife and I took a Canadian cruise.  I wanted to make this one to see what flavor impacts a local honey can have to a finished mead.  The honey was very buttery and smooth.  Quite floral, as well.  True to form, the mead seems to be taking on some of those great qualities, as well.  (Side note, I also added about 4 oz. of pure maple syrup.  Because Canada.)

After that I made a cucumber mead.  Standard mead using processed mini-cucumbers.  It sounded interesting and I wanted to test how it would blend with my jalapeno mead (to make a cucumber jalepeno mead).

Finally, just recently, I made an apple pie mead.  Tallow honey and apple cider with a secondary fermentation on apple pie spices.  I also added some sugar to add some complexity.  After primary it tasted pretty good.  I’m excited to see what some age and spices can do to it.  It came out to 16%, which I am pretty happy with.

Now I still have a bucket of honey to play with, and I’m contemplating what to do with it.  I’m thinking of an oatmeal raisin cookie mead aged on rum soaked oak chips.


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Update – 8/16/2013

Posted by Jeff on August 16, 2013

Greetings and salutations! 

Far be it for me to keep this blog up to date.  PBBBT!!  Oh well… here goes, anyways.

The “What’s on Tap” page (link on top) has been updated with current offerings. 

I recently bought a new chest freezer for the sole purpose of making lagers.  It is currently housing my first Oktoberfest beer!  I’m pretty excited about it.  It smells pretty good, so I have high hopes.  Can’t wait to start making Vienna Lagers and Helles-es.  I love those styles…

Aside from that, I have started to take a keen interest in mead.  I’ve brewed one or two, but I decided I want to try and start making small batch meads to keep around.  Also, when I travel I want to start bringing back 5 lbs of local honey and trying to make a simple mead from it to get some interesting regional meads (a nice souvenir, I think!)  Right now I have a Nova Scotia mead in the fermenter (used local Nova Scotia wildflower honey and just a hint of pure maple syrup… I had to.  Side note, the NS honey tasted very buttery. Curious to see how it will come out.)

Aside from that, not much is going on at TMBC.    I will update again (probably in another 6-7 months, since that seems to be how I roll…)

Until then, Cheers!

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Jalapeno Honey Wine

Posted by Jeff on February 23, 2013

Jalapeno Honey Wine

Added 12 grilled jalapenos (seeds and all) to 5 gallons of sweet mead.

So the Cane Island Alers recently had our annual Mead-ing (play on the word meeting… get it!?).  Last year I made a regular sweet mead with Texas tallow honey and it came out fantastic.  So this year I wanted to try something different.  Decided to try a capsicumel (mead made with hot peppers).  Decided on jalapenos as I like their flavor and they are abundant.  (I think I may try some 1 gallon experiments with habaneros and poblanos).

So the mead started of at about 1.090.  I was shooting for 1.100, but drank a few too many homebrews before brewing the mead… so my math was… fuzzy.  Oh well.

I pitched the yeast (Lavlin D47) on 2/28/13.  After about 10 days, gravity was down to 1.060 and I added the 12 sliced, grilled jalapenos. Checked it today (2/22/13) and the gravity is at 1.030.  Which is about where I want it.  I’m going to give it another week on primary, then transfer off the yeast & jalapenos.

As far as the sensory analysis… In terms of aroma… it’s not too good. Honey and jalapeno aromas don’t really play well together. Flavor is interesting. It’s definitely hot (12 peppers with seeds were added 2 weeks ago) and that is a great balance to the sweet, but I’m not sure how well the vegetal flavors from the jalapeno play with the honey. Granted, this is a YOUNG mead (and I can taste some sulfur notes) so I’ll be interested to try it in a few months when it cleans up a bit.

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Water Chemistry Can Kiss My Ass

Posted by Jeff on May 23, 2012

The title says it all.  But allow me to further my point, anyways.

I used to use the water that came from  my hose to make beer.  The water that comes from my hose is very hard and full of minerals.  Hard water tends to harshen the beer by accentuating harsh bitterness and lending a mineral-like flavor.

So I switched to water from a large Windmill dispenser in front of the local grocery.  That water touts that it is filtered a bajillion different ways and apparently, some have tested this and found it true.  So I started using it. Lo and behold, now I don’t have ENOUGH minerals in my water.

Unfortunately, this means that the last two beers I made, an American Pale Ale and a Black IPA, both which are meant to showcase some crispness and hops, were both flat and mediocre.  I know it’s my fault… but I can still be angry about it, damnit.  On the other hand, my imperial coffee chocolate stout came out awesome.  So… there’s that.

I’ve tried to avoid it, but it looks like I finally have to learn about water chemistry.  Lame.

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Update: 11-22-2011

Posted by Jeff on November 22, 2011

Greetings all ye who happened to stumble upon this site.  Even you, guy who was just trying to Google pictures of parched fowl and somehow landed here…

A lot has happened since my last update, so I feel obliged to tie up some loose ends.  First of all, the Black Betty turned out fan-damn-tastic!  The malt had a good subtle roast note and was complex enough to keep my attention and then… BLAM… hops.  I just kicked this keg the other day.  For my first foray into the Black IPA series, I think it went well.  I did enter it in the Bluebonnet Brew Off, where it got good scores, but didn’t win any awards.  Judges said they thought it needed more hop presence.  I disagree.  I like it just the way it is.

After that, myself and a friend of mine who is a fellow homebrewer and CIA club member, Caleb, decided to team up and brew a couple beers for the Dixie Cup.  We had aspirations of winning team awards, but it was not meant to be.

In total we brewed:

Once You Go Schwarz, You Never Go Pils – Schwarzbier:  Caleb and I love this beer, but the judges did not.  That was a dissapointment.  I think it averaged a 28.

Why The Helles Not? – Munich Helles:  Judges liked this one, and it made it to the second round… but no medal.  Averaged 36, I believe.

Alt’erior Motives – Dusseldorf Alt:  We brewed this one to play the odds (least entered beer style last year).  It also fared poorly.  Averaged 26, I think.

Uncle Pliny Touched Me – Imperial IPA:  A Pliny clone.  Surprisingly, the judges thought it was too hoppy… averaged 32, if I remember.

All in all, it was fun to brew some different styles and brewing with 2 people tends to make brewing easier (especially bottling day).  We split what was left after the entries were in and I’m just about tapped out of everything.  So… time to get back to brewin’!

Last week I brewed my Holiday Pumpkin Ale.  I’ll dedicate my next blog post to that one as I feel this post has gone on long enough.  I’d like to brew on Friday (off for Thanksgiving) but can’t decide on what to brew.  I’m kinda feeling like something with chocolate in it.  Or, Bugeater’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Amber.

Stay tuned for updates…



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Update 4-7-2011

Posted by Jeff on April 7, 2011

Just another check-in.  Haven’t been doing any brewing lately as I am working on trying to build a brewstand.  I vowed to myself that I would not brew again until I had finished it.

Most of it is done, just having some issues with the burner and propane line and I need to build a new electric HLT.  (If you need to know how to build an electric HLT visit HERE.)

I’ll post the final picture on here when it is complete, but for now all pictures are here: CLICK.

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This Is Not The Greatest Beer in the World, This is Only a Tribute

Posted by Jeff on March 23, 2011

So the Robust Porter I made last month is finally on tap… and it’s fantastic!  I really think it’s a smooth drinking beer and the roast, coffee and chocolate flavors are just enough that you can taste them, but they don’t overpower the drinker.  Even my mother and wife, both of whom very much dislike dark beer, thought it was good.

The only negative is a slightly sweet tangy flavor I get on the back of my tounge.  It may just be me, though.

I contacted the brewer for Ranger Creek and offered to send him a bottle for professional critique.  We’ll see if he can pick out the flavor as well…

One last note, I’ve decided not to call this beer “Arctic Blast Porter”.  For one, the name doesn’t really roll off the tongue.  Secondly, I think that anyone who enjoys

this beer should know where it came from.  And so, I’ve decided to start a new naming policy for clone recipes.  Henceforth I will dub all clone recipe beers as the “Tribute Series” and give credit to the original.

So, this beer will now be called, “Tribute Series: Ranger Creek Porter”.

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The First Brew of 2011?

Posted by Jeff on January 29, 2011

Trying to figure out what to brew next…

Here are the options:

Robust Porter – Recipe is a clone of Ranger Creek Brewing Co’s Mesquite Smoked Porter.  I want to make the base beer to see how it will come out and in the future, rebrew with smoked malt.

Black IPA – I love the style and would love to brew one.  Have recipes for a Widmer W10 clone and a Barley Brown’s Turmoil clone (GABF gold medal winner).

English Bitter – This is a recipe I found in a Northern Brewer catalog that sounds tasty.  It uses Simpsons Golden Naked Oats which are described as a caramel oat… which I think sounds really interesting.  Also, I like to have easy drinking beers on tap, and this one sounds like it fits the bill.


I’m leaning toward the Robust Porter… mostly because I love the style and it’s best to have while the weather is still cold/cool, which gives me about a month or two to enjoy it…


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Update – 1/28/11

Posted by Jeff on January 28, 2011

I was a little busy during the holidays, so I forgot to update… apologies!

The Owen’s Oat Brown turned out pretty good!  The beer has a velvety texture that is great and there is a nice undercurrent of light chocolate and toasty roasted flavors.

The only negative with this beer is it’s opaque haze from, I assume, the oats.  I hadn’t expected the beer to be perfectly clear, but hadn’t expected just how thick the protein haze would be.

Aside from that, the beer was great!  I think I may try to up the gravity a bit and maybe infuse a little more chocolate flavor.  Maybe add a little chocolate malt to the grain bill and see if that kicks those flavors up a notch.

As usual, I decided to make a Pumpkin Ale for Christmas.  I was pressed for time and was feeling lazy, so I didn’t use my usual recipe that included butternut squash and a wide array of spices in the boil and secondary.  Instead, I decided to use the Pumpkin Spiced Ale recipe in Brewing Classic Styles.  Here’s the recipe:

BCS Pumpkin Ale

11 lbs. 2-row
.5 lbs. Aromatic
.5 lbs. Crystal 40
.5 lbs. Crystal 120
.25 lbs. Special roast

1.2 oz Kent Goldings 5%

.5 t. Cinnamon (1 min.)
.25 t. Ginger (1 min.)
.125 t. Nutmeg (1 min.)
.125 t. Allspice (1 min.)

So, the beer came out really great… but didn’t taste spiced to me.  It makes for a great “Christmas” ale, but I wouldn’t try to pass it off as a pumpkin ale.  Next time I may try to double the spices as well as “dry” spice in secondary.

I still have half a keg left.  My beer never seems to get finished at Christmas, so next year I may not brew one for the occasion.  Although I am interested in trying to brew a pumpkin porter, so we’ll see…


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Fowl Migration

Posted by Jeff on August 13, 2010

Bad news update…

Migration, the wit beer I brewed at the CIA Brew In, is terrible.  The base beer seems good… but I used WAY too much orange peel.  It’s a citric acid BOMB.

It was my own fault.  I freaked out about the lavender in there and thought it would taste too soapy.  So I threw in some extra orange peel to try and out match the lavender.  Bad idea.

I doubt it will age out… so I’m contemplating adding some lacto and calling it a sour wit.  If that doesn’t work out… it’s sacrificed to the dead homies.

Le’ sigh…

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