Fat Cat Amber

This is a recipe that’s very close to Jamil’s West Coast Blaster from his “Brewing Classic Styles” book. I absolutely loved this one with the burst of citrus flavors and aromas with some good malty backbone to help balance it out. Easy to drink.

It’s essentially my house amber ale. Since my fictitious brewery is named after our house cat, I named this beer “Fat Cat Amber”. Continue reading →

Imperial Stout Blowing Off

Imperial Stouts are notorious for having massive blow-offs. My wife got me an Imperial Stout all-grain recipe kit from Midwest Supplies for Christmas, and I had some time shortly after Christmas to brew it up.

It’s still fermenting, but this is what was happening roughly 18 hours after pitching 2 packets of S-04:

By the time all was said and done, I lost roughly half a gallon of beer into the bucket.


Galactic SMaSH

Inspired by this post in /r/Homebrewing, I bought some Galaxy hops. This year’s Galaxy crop was reduced due to tough weather conditions in Australia this year. I wanted to get some Galaxy hops while they were available and I’ve never had a beer with these hops before. I decided to brew something that would make them standout so I could really learn the flavor.

Time to brew a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) ale!

Continue reading →

Steam Beer

Steam Beer – A California Legacy

I’ve been reading quite a bit about more historical styles. Styles that historically were popular, but now aren’t brewed commercially, or don’t have very many commercial examples. One such example is the California Common, aka, Steam Beer. The BJCP has narrowly defined the style around one commercial example, Anchor Steam.

This is my first attempt at brewing a steam beer. I chose to brew this style as it just seemed to fit the conditions of my basement perfectly. I don’t have an easy way to control fermentation temperature, and my basement in the winter sits right around 58°F-62°F. Perfect for a steam beer.

Continue reading →

Cleaning Beer Bottles

I absolutely hate using bottle brushes. They suck to get inside of bottles, they always deform quickly, and they spray water as the bristles exit the bottle. They also just don’t work well to get the little bits of yeast stuck in the bottom of the bottles. Fancy and expensive machines built to blast water inside your bottles and clean them quickly do exist.

Following the procedure I outline below, you should be able to get your beer bottles clean with relative ease, and minimal (almost no) use of terrible bottle brushes.

Continue reading →

Why I Brew

Brewing beer is a craft. One that takes time to learn how to master it. At this point, I’m no master, and have only been brewing on my own for a few months now. This blog is more of my journal. I’m going to document my brewing adventures (and even some baking adventures!).

Brewing beer at home is not for a lazy person.

  • The equipment and ingredients are expensive. You will probably never make beer cheaper than you could purchase it, even counting decent craft beers.
  • Brew days are time consuming. A small batch (1gal) of all-grain can still easily take 3-4 hours. A larger batch can easily become an all day adventure.
  • It takes a long time from start to finish before you get beer that tastes mediocre. Considering you have to ferment the beer, give it time to age and carbonate, you’re looking at 4+ weeks before you get something that resembles a decent craft brew.
  • A mistake early on can seriously ruin beer. Forgot to sanitze your fermenter? Whoops.

I’m sure I’m missing some things about brewing beer at home that can really kind of suck. So why would I still want to brew?

Because it’s fun! Seriously, you get to take grains, hops, and a (not-so) mysterious micro-organism called yeast and turn it into a tasty, fizzy, adult beverage we call beer. Each and every batch you make will be slightly different, either intentionally or not so intentionally. Want to know what Galaxy hops taste like? Make a beer that features them heavily. Want to know what vienna malt tastes like? Make a beer with a grist that has lots of vienna malt! The options are endless. The hobby is ripe for experimentation.