Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pale Ale Quest... waiting to be judged

At this juncture, I have made my final batch of Pale Ale that will be entered into the Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival. My final recipe was as follows:

10 Gallon Batch Size
16 lb 2-Row Pale Malt
3 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt 20L
2 lb Wheat Malt
16 oz Corn Flakes
1 lb Cascade Wet Hops added to the mash
3 lb Cascade Wet Hops last 15 min of boil

WLP 051 California Ale V Yeast
This recipe was brewed by heating 5 gallons of water up to 172 F and then adding it to the mash tun and adding the grains with 1 pound of Cascade Hops mixed into them. This method of hopping is called "first wort hopping" and gives the beer a smoother hop flavor and aroma than just adding the hops to the boil. Often times the hop flavor and aroma can come across as being harsh when all of the hops are added to the boil. Some people unfamiliar with first wort hopping think that the hops would have the same bittering effect on the wort as adding the hops at the beginning of the boil. However, chemically the flavor and aroma of the hop oils and lupulins become preserved by the chemical reactions that convert the grains starches into sugars (diastic power).

I allowed the mash to sit for 1 hour at 153 F and then drained it to the boil kettles. Then I heated the wort up and boiled it for 45 minutes. Next I added the 3 lbs of hops and boild them along with 2 teaspoons of Irish Moss for another 15 minutes. Then I cooled the wort with an immersion wort chiller and siphoned the wort in to the fermenting buckets. Finally, I aerated the wort by splashing it between two buckets and added the yeast.

I allowed the wort to sit in my basement at about 72 F for two weeks and then I bottled half of it and kegged the other half. I had to use three 12 oz bottles with no identifying marks and no labels in order to submit the beer into the Fresh Hop Ale Festival. Since they couldn't have any identifying marks on them my sam adams and new belgium bottles that didn't have any labels on them were out of the question and since I am a little lazy when it comes to taking labels off of bottles I didn't have any others without labels. So, I had to de label three of my Big Sky Brewing Co. bottles.

Now I am off to Yakima to submit my beer. I have to give a very special thanks to the folks at the Yakima Hop Union. They were very nice and gave me a 10 pound box of wet hops for FREE. I am going to give them a 22oz bottle of Huckleberry Ale and a 22 oz bottle of White Coffee Ale along with a 6-pack of the IPA that I just gave you the recipe for. I know it's not much, but at least it is something to show my thanks to them.

Of course, I had to do a self-evaluation of the beer and my sister also has tasted this awsome IPA. So, I thought I would give you my opinion of the beer. It has a very floral hop flavor throughout with a hint of malt flavor in the front.  The nose is very pleasant and marked mainly with toasted malt and a slight hop aroma, but not strong as you would expect.  My sister thought the aroma was very pleasant and the flavor had a nice floral quality.  Although she said she could smell more hop than what I experienced.

Wish me luck with the Fresh Hop Ale Festival Entry…  Hopefully I will come back on Sunday and be able to tell you I came in 1st.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Java Nut Pale Ale and Huckleberry Corn Ale

Well, it’s been a while since my last posts.  This time I have brewed up two 5 gallon batches of beer with only one mash again.  Only this time I combined the first and second running and then put them into two different boil kettles.  I used the same grain recipe as I used for the Custer Pale Ale v2 beers.  For a review of that grain bill here it is:

16 lbs 2-Row Pale Malt
3 lbs Crystal 20
2 lbs White Wheat Malt
18 oz Boxed Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

The two different beers to be made were Huckleberry Pale Ale and a Pale Ale with White Coffee.  As for the huckleberries, my wife and I just picked them on the weekend of our anniversary where we went on a camping trip (Aug 6th weekend).  We wound up getting 6.5 lbs, which should be enough for one batch of beer with 1.5 lbs left over.  I decided on the ratio of 1 lb per gallon of beer because while reading Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher he recommended using 1 to 3 lbs per gallon of beer for blueberries, which are pretty close to Huckleberries, but with a slightly different flavor and aroma.  I presumed that the higher value would be for a darker beer where the berries would get lost in the malt.  So, after reading about how some other people’s huckleberry ale recipes turned out I decided that the 1 lb per gallon ratio would give my beer the huckleberry flavor and aroma I was looking for in pale ale, but not so much that it overwhelms the base beer.

Now as far as the white coffee goes… I have read many times over about using coffee in beer, but I didn’t want to try the same old thing that everyone else was trying.  I wanted to try something different that isn’t talked about much if at all.  When I was taking a Differential Equations math class this last spring, my teacher always came into class with two 1 liter bottles of mountain dew.  The class was early in the morning so she would be asked why she didn’t drink coffee.  She told the class that she doesn’t drink black coffee or espresso drinks, but she would occasionally order up some white coffee if she really felt tired.  The class naturally asked what white coffee was and she told us that it was like a green tea with a lot more caffeine than black coffee or espresso.  She went on to say that she liked it because it didn’t have the bitterness of black coffee and actually has a bit of a sweet nutty flavor.  The class also asked her where she orders it and she said that it was just at a local espresso stand.  When the teacher was telling the class this, I was thinking to myself “that sounds like it would be great in beer.”  However I didn’t want to jump in right away, I wanted to first find out where I could pick some white coffee beans and secondly find out what other people say about its taste and how it is made as well as find out if any other beer has been made with the radical ingredient.

Through my research, I found out that the Smart Foodservice Cash and Carry and URM in Spokane both carry the white coffee beans.  I also found two brewing companies that make beer with white coffee beans.  One of the brewing companies makes a Farmhouse CafĂ© Blac Saison aged on fresh vanilla bean and the other makes a Porter called Last Snow that has a predominantly coconut flavor according to the blog that I read about it.  The Saison is made by Trinity Brewing Company in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  And the Porter is made by The Funky Buddha Brewing Company in Boca Raton, Florida.  My research on brewing with white coffee beans informed me that it is typically brewed with an espresso machine and that it has a nutty flavor with a slight sweetness as my teacher indicated.  Since I don’t have an espresso machine I decided to try out what the coffee tastes like using my home coffee machine.  The beans really aren’t white, but rather a tan color and when it is brewed the water has a yellowish green color… much like green tea.  When I brewed the coffee I noticed that my coffee maker had a hard time percolating water through the beans, but other than that I found that a regular coffee maker gets the job done just as well as an espresso machine.  The flavor was also a lot like green tea, but with the nutty backbone that many people describe on the web.  I thought that it would make a nice compliment to the pale ale that I planned on brewing.  The quantity of white coffee I used in my brew kettle was 1 lb or 16 oz.  The radical brewing book told me that 4 to 8 oz. of black coffee works well for a 5 gallon batch of beer so I figured that since the white coffee has a little bit of a subtle flavor and aroma and since the amount added won’t affect the color of the beer I should double the recommended 8 oz.

When it comes to hops in these pale ales, I decided to stay close to the Cascade variety I had been using, but try to add a little hint of spiciness.  So, I went with Centennial hops.  I also had never tried Centennial hops knowingly so I decided to make both batches single hop beers.  The amount that I chose to add to these Pale Ales was a little bit on the light side so that the other ingredients have a good chance of shining thorough.  I also used the same hop schedule for both beers just to make it easy.  Here is what my hop schedule wound up being (for a 5 gallon batch and 60 min. boil):

0.5 oz Centennial pellet hops (15 min. into boil)
0.5 oz Centennial pellet hops (30 min. into boil)
1.0 oz Centennial pellet hops (45 min. into boil)

Now you might be asking why I went for two different boils if I used the same hop schedule and grain schedule for both beers.  Well the answer is easy.  In order to make the coffee beer with my chosen hot water brewing process I needed to put the coffee into the boil for the last 15 minutes.  And with the Huckleberry ale I am going to add the Huckleberries to the secondary fermenter to extract the freshest flavor and add the least amount of unwanted tannins.  Also with Huckleberries in beer I should mention that pectin, the gelling agent commonly found in fruit, isn’t in a very high concentration in Huckleberries and therefore pectinase should not need to be added to reduce pectin haze.

Java Nut Pale Ale and Huckleberry Corn Ale

(10 gallons all-grain) OG = 1.057, FG = 1.010
IBU = 39.18, SRM = 7.13, ABV = 6.22%

Grain (per 10 gallon batch):
16 lbs 2-Row Pale Malt
3 lbs Crystal 20
2 lbs White Wheat Malt
18 oz Boxed Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

Hops (per 5 gallon batch):
0.5 oz Centennial pellet hops (15 min. into boil)
0.5 oz Centennial pellet hops (30 min. into boil)
1.0 oz Centennial pellet hops (45 min. into boil)

Step by Step:
Mash the grains at 154 F using 5 gallons of water, run off the wort into one boil kettle and add another 5 gallons of water to bring the temperature up to 170 F and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  Next siphon the wort you ran off the first time back into the mash tun to allow all of the wort to mix.  Then run off half of the wort into one boil kettle and then the other half into a second boil kettle.  Then heat up both kettles to boiling temperature.  After the hot break wait 15 minutes and add 0.5 oz of Centennial hops to each boil kettle.  Then wait another 15 minutes and add another 0.5 oz of Centennial hops to each boil kettle.  Next, wait another 15 minutes and add 1 oz of Centennial hops and 1 teaspoon of Irish Moss to each boil kettle.  Also add 16 oz of white coffee to only one of the boil kettles at the same time as the irish moss.  Add 5 lbs of mashed and previously frozen huckleberries to the secondary fermenter of the beer without white coffee in it during the second week of fermentation.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Home Brew Equpment Upgrades

I have recently been searching the web for some brewery upgrades that I could begin acquiring the materials for.  My current brewery consists of a Turkey Fryer Kit that my mom bought me for Christmas, which has a propane burner and 7.5 gal. kettle, and a converted 15.5 gal. Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) and Mash-Laughter Tun (MLT) in one.  By HLT/MLT in one I mean that I heat the water to a pre calculated temperature and pour the grains into the Tun to give me my initial infusion mash temperature; then when the 60 minutes are done, I add water from my kettle to the mash in order to sparge and begin laughtering the wort from the MLT.  This setup gives me quite a few variables that can change from batch to batch.  These variables include things such as temperature and volume fluctuations.  The volume fluctuation problem can be simple to solve should I install a sight glass that includes gallon and half gallon increment markings and calculate the volume of water the grains will absorb during the mash.  However, the temperature fluctuation problem is something I found a bit hard to grasp since I don’t want to scorch my wort nor have to tend to my mash the whole time.  On the BYO website, I found the plans to Lonnie McAlister’s Brutus Ten system that looks like it would solve my problem.  I ordered the BYO re-print of the plans and instructions on how to build the system and thought that I might need to make a few material substitutions and modifications as I acquire materials.  The material acquisition process is going to take a while since I have a very limited budget ($50-$100 per month or pawn/sell stuff, which I don’t like doing).  I am going to have to search the web, go to yard sales and visit all of the discount or used parts stores I can.

Speaking of yard sales and brewery upgrades…  I went yard sale hopping this last weekend with my friend while my wife and sister held their own yard sale.  Yeah, it seems kind of counterproductive spending money at yard sales while trying to make money at a yard sale, but for great deals on things I will eventually get anyway why not?  In this case it wound up being for my home brewery/ bar.  My friend was in search of tools and I was in search of anything that caught my eye... especially parts for my Brutus Ten system build.  We went to probably 15 yard sales and didn’t have a whole lot of luck.  I wound up finding a few tools that I either thought were good deals or that I needed for other projects I have going on… like fixing/maintaining my vehicles.  My friend also found a few tool items.  However, the best deal that I found was at the second to last yard sale that I went to (besides my wifes).  I found a guy selling a Kegerator with one tap and the whole co2 setup for a single standard 15.5 gallon keg.  The only thing missing on the kegerator was the keg… and maybe some beer.  According to the guy selling it, the refrigerator portion worked, but since he was asking $75 for it I figured that it didn’t really matter if it worked or not.  After talking with the guy and explaining how I was a home brewer that really wanted the kegerator, I told him I would be back and I went to ask my wife for the money for the kegerator.  She said she would only give me $50 of the yard sale money so I was kind of bummed out.  I figured that I may as well go and see if he would take that.  To no avail, when I asked him if he would take $50 for it, he said that he really didn’t want to sell it for that price.  I told him that it was all I could offer him.  He eventually gave in and I bought the kegerator for $50.  After we loaded it in the back of my truck and got ready to drive away he said I should keep him in mind and give him one of my home brews.  I told him ok, I will and drove off to give my new brew equipment a new home.  Since I felt a little bad for talking him down that low, I decided to grab two 22oz bottles of a beer I just bottled 2 nights before and drove back to his house and gave them to him.  He said that he was only joking about me giving him some home brew, but I did say I would keep him in mind.

The next day (Sunday) I decided on the improvements I will make to my kegerator.  The improvements I decided I could afford to do within the next week include:

·         cleaning the Kegerator,

·         painting it with black paint (instead of the dinged up white),

·         buying 5 Gallon Cornelius Kegs,

·         replacing the tubing so it is more sanitary,

·         converting the connectors to theball lock type for the Corny kegs,

·         replacing the door handles with more aesthetically pleasing ones,

·         moving the Tap Lever/ Spout to the center of the fridge door (since the tap handle doesn’t allow the freezer door to open),

·         putting a wood plug in the old hole with a wall mount stationary beer bottle opener on top of the wood.

·         and making custom wood Tap Handle.

The improvements I decided that I would eventually make (when I can afford it) include:

·         adding two more taps ( which includes buying two tap levers/spouts, getting a 4 way CO2 manifold with ball valves, getting 4 more ball lock connectors and getting more tubing)

·         adding a Drip Tray below the taps mounted on the kegerator door,

·         and adding wire shelves to one side of the fridge compartment to cool bottled beer.

I have already started on the improvements I can afford now.  On Sunday I cleaned the kegerator and my wife painted the kegerator while I went to Sandpoint to pick up some Cornelius kegs she found on craigslist for me.  The kegs were $20 each and the guy I bought them from had 3 functional kegs and one that had a hole in the side from freezing with beer in it, which he just threw in since I bought all three functional kegs for a total of $60.  The seller thought that the non-functional keg would be a good parts keg should I need to replace the ball lock connectors and I agreed.

On Tuesday, I cleaned and sanitized the Cornelius kegs, then bought and installed the tubing and ball lock connectors.  Next I need to move the tap to the center of the kegerator door and plug the existing hole with the wood and bottle opener setup previously mentioned.  Then I need to fabricate the door handles, which I am planning on using an old galvanized fence top rail I have and putting a spacer nut between the kegerator door and top rail and attaching it with lag screws.  After that I will begin making a custom tap handle.  Well, wish me luck in upgrading the kegerator.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pale Ale Quest… Part II

As my second edition of pale ale quest, I would like to describe the method to my madness… at least for this batch.  After my last pale ale recipe, I found that I didn’t get the original gravity (OG) I was looking for due to the amount of water I added between mashing and sparging.  So this time I decided to measure the amount of water I add to the mash.  I also didn’t think that the Munich malt of my last recipe, Custer Pale Ale v1, gave me the malty character I was looking for.  So, this time I wanted to change it up a bit.  I asked my wife to look online at some recipes for pale ale and tell me what she found.  She wound up finding a recipe that used pale malt, caramel 20L, wheat malt and corn flakes.  Yes, I said corn flakes; not brewers corn flakes, but the cereal corn flakes with Tony the tiger on the box… cause they’re grrrrreat. 
Kellogg's Corn Flakes Box
At first I was a little hesitant as to whether or not the recipe would fit into the pale ale category or not just because of the adjuncts, but I did some research on the style and on corn flakes in general.  I found that adjuncts and specialty grains can be used in a pale ale recipe as long as they make up a small portion of the “grist.”  As far as the corn flakes go, I found that people who used them indicated that the toasted corn and added sugar give the beer a slightly toasty flavor while keeping the alcohol content up, color down and add a mild malty flavor.  I thought that the wheat malt would give the beer a nice balance with the toastiness by supplying a larger helping of mild malt flavor.  I thought that these two adjuncts fit right in with what I was shooting for.  That is, a malty flavor with high alcohol content light color and a hoppy goodness. 

Of course I couldn’t just take a recipe and use it as is... so I changed the original recipe up a little bit and added some additional pale malt, crystal malt and wheat malt.  The recipe I came up with had the following grain bill:

16 lbs of 2-row Pale Malt
3 lbs of Crystal 20L
2 lbs of Wheat Malt
18 oz of Corn Flakes (1 box)

Since I was using cereal corn flakes, I didn’t have to do a cereal mash because the process of making cereal has already pre gelatinized them for me.

Start of Mash

Because the grain bill for this recipe was 23lbs and I was expecting to get a high OG, I decided to not waste the extra sugars on my grain and do a second running to make 10 gallons of beer total.  This was a first for me since I usually only make 5 gallons of beer.  I boiled both batches separately and used one of the two 1oz Cascade hop bags, which I originally wanted to dry hop the single 5 gallon batch with, for the boil of the second running.  Half of the 1oz bag was added to the lower gravity batch at the beginning of the boil and the second half was added in the last 15 minutes of the boil.

Hot Break (Start of Boil)

As for the rest of the hops and for the yeast, I decided to formulate my own hopping schedule for the high OG batch based on my experience from the last batch of pale ale I made and also use the same yeast, Pacific Ale Yeast WPL 041, for both 5 gallon batches.  Since my ultimate goal is to use freshly grown non kiln dried hops, I chose to use the same type of hops I am growing, which are Cascade leaf hops; however, the ones I am using for this recipe have been kiln dried and packaged.  I also attended a homebrew meeting last Wednesday at Make Wine Make Beer where one of the fellow home brewers said any of us that go to the meetings can have some of his home grown hops for their batches since he often gets more than enough from his plants.  His varieties were Hallertau and Tettnang, so I chose to use Hallertau as a finishing hop. 

The quantity of hops I used was 1oz per boil phase, which are: bittering phase, flavor phase and aroma or finishing phase.  Then I decided to dry hop with the same amount as I used in my last pale ale recipe to give the beer a bit more flavor and aroma.  Since my last pale ale batch had the aroma and a low flavor profile, I simply decided to double the hop usage during the boil hoping for more of a bitter floral flavor.  My hop schedule was as follows:

1.0  oz Cascade (15 min.)
1.0  oz Cascade (30 min.)
1.0  oz Hallertau mixed with 1tbsp Irish Moss (45 min.)
1.0 oz Cascade (dry hop)
As I discussed with another fellow home brewer before the homebrew meeting, I often put the hops for each phase in a separate zip lock bag and label them for the time they should be put into the boil.  This practice tends to cause less human error when conducting the boil; however, this time the hops were all in the same 1oz bags that I bought them in and I just labeled the original packaging for the time.
Three of Five Ounces of Hops
Three of Five Ounces of Hops

When the 60 minute boil time was reached, I cooled the wort with my copper emersion wort chiller.  To try and save a little bit of time, I used the water from the wort chiller to rinse and scrub the residue from my mash tun and eventually the second boil kettle I used.  I then transferred the wort to my fermenter when 70 degrees was reached.  To aerate, I splashed from one of the sanitized fermenters to the other until it built up a good head and then I pitched the yeast.

The calculated OG for the first running came in at 1.113 according to the Brewzor app on my smart phone.  My OG of the first running wound up being 1.080, not due to lack of efficiency, but because when I took my reading of the OG after lautering I was shocked to see such a high gravity in the 1.1 range and didn’t think to compare my notes on what the OG was supposed to be.  I had already added the water to the mash tun for the second running and was beginning to bring the wort of the first running up to boiling temperature when I realized that I didn’t account for evaporation during the boil.  So at this point stupidity set in and I added extra wort from the mash tun to the boil kettle to bring the volume up.  If I had counted for evaporation when I lautered in the first place, then I would have added just enough water to bring my volume up and wouldn’t have watered my wort down.

My OG Reading
Since I still had some hot liquor to add to the mash tun for the second running, I added the same volume as I just took out and waited another hour for the mash to convert any remaining starches to sugar.  After boiling and cooling the second running, I wound up getting a 1.040 OG reading.  I anticipate that even with the lower gravity in my first running that I will get a 9.2% ABV.  That is assuming a 1.010 final gravity (FG).  The second running should get about a 4.0% ABV if I assume the same FG.
My Mash and Boil Setup
Draining the Wort

Well that concludes this edition of Pale Ale Quest.  To see the recipes for this batch, click on the recipes tab and browse to Custer Pale Ale v2.  Hopefully if you follow the recipe you will get the 1.113 OG for the first running and possibly a higher OG for the second.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Beer Shoppe, Yakima, WA

This weekend I went to Yakima for a couple of graduations and while I was there I wound up going to what is now my favorite beer store since it opened a few years ago.  The store is “The Beer Shoppe” and it touts a large selection of beer from around the world.  The shop carries tons of bottled beer… sold by the bottle no matter what size 7oz, 12oz, 24oz, 32oz etc.  It also has 9 beers on tap at a time, all of which have been from the northwest each time I have stopped in to fill my growler.  They offer $0.25 samples of beers on tap, which can aid you in what to fill your glassware up with. 

On this trip I tried a few different beers.  The one I put in my growler was Mad River Brewing Companies Jamaica Red Ale.  This beer had a very pleasant malty caramel taste to it with a great floral hop aroma.  Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, this beer was just what I needed… a good smooth malty beer that wasn’t overpowering and could easily keep me coming back for more.

I probably would have put the Snipes Mountain Moxee Pale Ale in my growler if my brother didn’t already fill his two growlers with it.  This pale ale is definitely an American Pale Ale since its 70 IBU’s contribute to the well hopped aroma and flavor while still pushing the limits with a 7.5% ABV.  The light qualities of this beer really accentuated the hops and gave a little bit if a tangy or bitter finish.

I also thought about putting the Laughing Dog Dogfather Imperial Stout in my growler because it tasted so great.  I decided not to because I live in Coeur D’Alene and thought that the short drive to the brewery in Sandpoint would probably happen sometime in the near future this summer. Another reason I decided against it was that the growler fill for the Dogfather was $20 as opposed to the $11 growler fill for anything else The Beer Shoppe had on tap.  At The Beer Shoppe, they didn’t have any of the stats at the store, but I did pull up their website and it had this to offer for the stats:

“The Dogfather is one of the biggest brews we have made.
Weighing in at a hefty 11% percent, the Dogfather has 7 malts and 4 different hops giving it a complex flavor profile.  Over 11 months in the making some of the Dogfather is bourbon barrel aged.”

“Stats for the Dogfather
11% ABV 71 IBU’s
7 different Malts 4 hops”

One other beer that my brother and friend liked when they sampled it was Hopworks Organic IPA.  I didn’t try it until my friend brought it back to my brothers’ house in his own growler.  I didn’t like this beer when I tried it, despite my brothers and my friends thoughts of it.  Maybe my palate wasn’t working right or something, but I thought this one had a bit of a metallic taste to it that rendered it almost undrinkable to me (of course no beer I have drank thus far has been undrinkable).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An honest review of Bi-Plane Brewery

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to visit the grand opening of Bi-Plane Brewery that opened in Post Falls, Idaho. The brewery is a fairly low-key hometown place that has a small sitting area and a few snacks to enjoy while you sample the brews on tap. When I arrived at the brewery there were a few patrons already sitting at the bar indulging in their own sampling of the new breweries offerings. The barmaid seemed to be very friendly and engaging the customers as to the questions they had on brewing malts and styles.

When I asked what they had on tap, I thought that it was sort of surprising to hear that they only had two of their own brews available at their grand opening. I was told of their troubles getting their license from the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Department and she mentioned that they couldn’t brew anything until they had that license, which they just got that morning and is why they only had two of their own brews on tap. When asked if they planned on putting only their brews on tap in the future or featuring other breweries beers, the barmaid said that they were not sure but will likely continue to feature other breweries creations as well.

Once I got my sampler ordered, which included their Sopwith Camel IPA, their Bristol Bulldog Brown Ale, a Tangerine Wheat Ale from another brewery and a porter from another brewery; I began to analyze their creations. I started with the IPA and noticed that it did have a mild hop aroma and an even milder hop flavor, which was sort of surprising to see in a beer that is typically full of hop flavor and aroma. The IPA didn’t really have a mild malty character that would also classify it in the IPA category, but rather had a smooth crisp finish that you would expect in a Pale Ale. When I sampled their Brown Ale, I thought that this beer was a little mild on the malt flavor also, but overall it was a good beer. The other two beers I sampled seemed to have a little bit more flavor than the ones produced by this brewery, which I may go back for in the future.

When I was done sampling the brews, I was invited to have a tour of their brewing setup in the back. They were using a Sabco Brew Magic system that included three kegs, one for the hot liquor, one for the Mash and the third for boiling the sweet wort. I thought that the system wasn’t very far away from what I am slowly acquiring supplies to make, which is a Three Tiers to Beer system. One of the things I saw at the brewery was the large exhaust hood that they had over their system, which I thought would be a great idea to incorporate into my own home brewery if I wanted to move my setup to indoor brewing. The other thing that they had was a large temperature controlled walk in refrigerator, which I don’t think I will be able to incorporate into my home brewery any time soon, but would love to get later in life.

My overall thoughts of this brewery were that they need to work on honing their own recipes and eventually feature more than two of them on tap. I would recommend using a little more bold of an approach and go real hoppy, real strong or start incorporating spices that could boost their brews overall impressions.

I do have to pay my respect to this brewery though. They sure are doing a revolutionary thing for the area and for home brewers, which is starting a nano-brewery with a simple home brew setup.

Visit the brewery and tell me what you thought:

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Commercial Home Brewery

Some of my work colleagues know that I am a dedicated home brewer and very interested in local breweries, businesses and farms that support the home brewer.  Just the other day I received a small tri-fold brochure about a brewery in the Coeur D’Alene area that I was sort of impressed with.  The reason I was impressed is that the owner of the company is a Surveyor in the area and is also a home brewer, but the most impressive thing is that he has all of the licenses to operate as an actual brewery out of his home. 

The premise of his business is that he brews at home and distributes his brews by supplying 2 ½ gallon and 5 gallon kegs to his customers, which are simply contacts he has met in the community and told of his business.  He also supplies beer to parties and specializes in keg refrigeration units he has made from used refrigerators and mini fridges.  In his brochure he tells his potential customers how he only uses hops grown in North Idaho and he also explains how the fertile panhandle was created and helps to produce some of the best hops in the northwest. 

The breweries name is “Brewster’s By the Pond.”  I didn’t find a website for his business, but I expect that his four brews are of pretty good quality.  The names of his brews in the brochure are: Clagstone Cascade Ale, Hoodoo Lager, Seneacquoteen Stout and 1776.  All of those names come from the history of the Panhandle region in North Idaho as outlined in his brochure as well.  I guess I will let you know how the beer tastes once I have had a chance to quench my thirst with some of his creations.