Learn to Brew Day 2010

On November 2, 2010, in Family and Friends, Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes
Learn To Homebrew Day

AHA Learn To Homebrew Day

Saturday, November 6th, is the  AHA Learn to Homebrew Day (formerly called Teach a Friend to Brew Day). The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Learn to Homebrew Day is an international event to introduce people to the hobby of homebrewing.  For the sixth time, I’ll be inviting friends – and their friends – over to learn how to brew beer.  We’ll be starting promptly at 10:00 a.m., milling over 25 pounds of malted barley, to make a 10 gallon batch of TAFTBD IPA.  Brad, a veteran brewer, will be brewing a 10 gallon batch of German Hefeweizen.  He’s living proof that anyone can do this with a minimal investment.

We’ll have coffee and morning munchies early in the day, as well as sausages and lunch munchies in the afternoon.  Additionally, attendees will have full run of the 8 ales and lagers I have on tap throughout the day:)  We should be done around 4:00 p.m.  My best guess is that there will be about twenty attendees.

Last year’s event at Sociables was a huge success!

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Centennial Ale!

On May 4, 2010, in Homebrewing, Recipes, Stuff..., by Mark Ranes

Mark's Centennial IPA Tap Handle

Batch 100

This Friday (with the close of another school year imminent, I’m trying to recover some of the extra days I worked last summer to open a new school campus – use ’em or lose ’em), I’ll be brewing my 100th batch of home brewed beer!  My, how the time flies.  Seems like it was just yesterday and I was waiting for any new information I could get on the progress of the construction of my MoreBeer 1550 BrewSculpture.  I even visited the Concord showroom and was taken on a tour of the metal shop.  There in a bucket, were the various pieces of of angle iron , tubing and parts that would eventually become my brewery.  When the FedEx freight truck finally arrived in June, I couldn’t wait to brew my first batch and in 100 degree plus weather, I brewed a Racer 5 clone.  It turned out OK – not great, but OK.

It was at least fifteen batches before I really felt comfortable with my equipment, where I could brew on autopilot and not make stupid mistakes.  By batch 30 I was making really good beer and feeling comfortable with replicating recipes and experimenting with what different malts and hops brought to an ale.  I started messing around with lagers, first brewing in the winter, taking advantage of environmental chilling to aid the fermentation.  By batch 50, I was fermenting both ales and lagers in a temperature controlled fermentation vessel – a thermostatically controlled refrigerator.  I brewed a couple amazing ales in this period of time.  Somewhere in the next few batches, Sociables became a reality.  From there, it was a race to this batch!

I’ve been thinking about this batch of ale – batch number 100 – for quite some time.  I has to be an IPA:)  It has to use my favorite hops and have a simple malt bill.  It needs to be a big, bitter IPA.  Here’s what a threw together.

Mark’s Centennial IPA
14-B American IPA
Author: Mark Ranes
Date: 5/7/10

Size: 10.0 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 316.98 kcal per 16.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.071 (1.056 – 1.075)
Terminal Gravity: 1.018 (1.010 – 1.018)
Color: 9.71 (6.0 – 15.0)
Alcohol: 7.03% (5.5% – 7.5%)
Bitterness: 71.1 (40.0 – 70.0)

12.0 lb American 2-row
12.0 lb Maris Otter Pale
1.0 lb 2-Row Carapils Malt
1.0 lb Carastan
1.0 oz Columbus (15.0%) – added during boil, boiled 60.0 min
2.5 oz Centennial (10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
1.0 lb Corn Sugar
1.0 ea Servomyces Yeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
2.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
4.0 oz Cascade (5.5%) – added during boil, boiled 4.0 min
4.0 oz Amarillo (8.5%) – added during boil, boiled 4.0 min
4.0 oz Cascade (5.5%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
4.0 oz Amarillo (8.5%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
2000 mL Starter White Labs WLP041 Pacific Ale

I hope turning 100 feels this good!

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While I’m not much for fruity ales, I have been intrigued by the stories of 21st Amendment’s Watermelon Wheat ale. It was the buzz beer of several beer festivals a couple years back and 21st Amendment has made its name in the craft brewing business on its accolades. It is also interesting that it is only available in cans for retail packaging. At tonight’s Modesto Mashers homebrew club meeting, one of our members, who is in the craft brewing industry, told us that cans make for a more stable product, as well as being a more environmentally friendly retail package. His words were compelling. 21st Amendment was one for the first to return to cans, rather than bottles for its retail offerings. Oskar Blues Brewing, in Colorado, is also going back to cans for their retail packaging and I’d expect more craft brewers to do the same in the near future as it is actually cheaper than bottling.

Watermelon Wheat Ale LabelI’m looking for a quick turn-around, summer ale for the masses, that I can have ready for the July 4 holiday. I dug around the web looking for a clone recipe of 21st Amendment’s Watermelon Wheat, but there are very few existing recipes out there. I found several that use Williams Brewing’s watermelon extract flavoring, (and they even have an extract-based kit for a watermelon wheat ale) but I wanted a more traditional recipe using fresh fruit. I came up blank for an all-grain version of the recipe I wanted, so I decided to develop one of my own. I started out with a basic American Wheat ale recipe, and then was lucky to discover that one of my brew club buddies has some inside info on how much watermelon to use, as well as when to add it to the boil. The amount of watermelon works out to about 1.06 pounds per gallon of finished ale, with the watermelon cut into wedges, rind and all, added to the last ten minutes of the boil. 21st Amendment’s own site states that their Watermelon Wheat ale is a 5.5 ABV ale, with 17 IBUs, so I tweaked my basic American Wheat ale to match these numbers. Here are the details of the recipe:

Mark’s Watermelon Wheat
6-D American Wheat or Rye Beer

Size: 10.56 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 245.46 per 16.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.055 (1.040 – 1.055)
Terminal Gravity: 1.014 (1.008 – 1.013)
Color: 3.7 (3.0 – 6.0)
Alcohol: 5.44% (4.0% – 5.5%)
Bitterness: 17.02 (15.0 – 30.0)

2 tbsp 5.2 pH Stabilizer – added during mash
10.0 lbs Wheat Malt
11.0 lbs Standard 2-Row
0.5 lbs 2-Row Carapils® Malt
1.6 oz Willamette (5.0%) – added during boil, boiled 60.0 min
1.0 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
1.0 oz Liberty (4.0%) – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
10.6 lbs Watermelon (fresh) – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
1.0 oz Liberty (4.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
1600.0 mL White Labs WLP320 American Hefeweizen Ale

My budding brewing buddy, Evan, will be joining me this Thursday, at about noon, and taking away a five gallon prize of Watermelon Wheat Ale wort:) Hopefully this summer thirst quenching brew will be a hit!

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Jurassic Amber Ale Brew Day

On May 17, 2008, in Family and Friends, Food, Homebrewing, by Mark Ranes

Steve showed up ready to brew (but not ready to drink – he had an encounter last evening with the Blue Flame IPA he recently brewed) this morning and we had an uneventful brew session. Things just kind of played out like they should, with no issues. We mashed in right on target at 152 degrees and it just went like clockwork from then on. The aromas off of the 7 ounces of Columbus, Centennial and Cascade hops permeated the air throughout the boil and hinted at the final product this American Amber will be in 6-7 weeks.

Steve graciously offered to bring lunch. This guy now has a permanent place in my heart:) He brought beer soaked brats and the most amazing caramelized red peppers and onions. He also brought a fantastic red potato salad that kicked ass! Damn! This was some of the finest brew day grub I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Stephen was able to coordinate his family activities so that he arrived just in time for lunch – and an ale or two. Prior to lunch I was able to get some tonic into Steve to ease his discomfort. Last weekend I cleaned out the keggerator and found a keg of Double Tun Imperial Stout that I had completely forgotten about, that was originally brewed on 01/02/07. It was hiding in the very back of the keggerator and was a wonderful find. The Imperial Stout has hints of sherry and the flavors have melded together in the ways that only time can bring about (that is my number one rule of brewing – Time is your friend:) After a short cup of Double Tun Imperial Stout, Steve was miraculously cured and ready to face the day!

The lunch served to set an ale foundation and we enjoyed numerous ales as the day progressed. Steve brought a bomber of his version of the Blue Flame Imperial IPA (spot on to the recipe I’ve been brewing:) and a great inky black Stout that was enjoyed by all. A couple friends stopped by after a round of golf (in 100+ temps!) just as we were dropping the wort into carboys. They had several beers and enjoyed the brews on tap. The amber ale came in at about 14.5 brix – for an original gravity of about 1.058. One of my brewing faults is that I never seem to be ale to put out a session ale, so this is probably the closest I’ll come to this in the foreseeable future.

There were two unseen bonuses to the day! Steve brought his 5.5 month old Boston Terrier, Cooper, with him today as his wife Maggie was in the air, flying back from DC, so he was on dog sitting duty. I have never, ever, seen a more well behaved and adjusted pup as Cooper! He explored the back yard (and had an interesting face to face encounter with our territorial cat) and hung out in his kennel. Hopefully his presence doesn’t cause puppy envy in my family:) The final treat was the stout cupcakes I’d heard so much about on the Modesto Mashers forums. Steve and Maggie brought them to the AHA Big Brew Day at Barley & Wine on May 3. I brewed ten gallons of Old Man Bitter that day, here in Turlock, so I missed out on the stout cupcakes that everyone raved about! I was sooooo jazzed to give them try:) Imagine my joy when I heard Steve mention them, at my place!Stout Cupcakes - not!

You can drool by looking at their loveliness in this picture. Oh, wait – there’s nothing on the plate! Steve got all the way to Turlock and discovered that he had forgotten to bring them (I think this was caused by his encounter last night with the Blue Flame Imperial IPA:) Actually, I think the oversight was carefully planned so that he gets another invite to brew! Next time we’ll meet him at his car to check the inventory.

Steve hung out, and Brenda and I got to know him much better. What a guy (other than the cupcake thing:)! Aside from the heat, it was a great brew day, surrounded by like-minded friends, and in the end, we made beer:)

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