Century Post!

On July 2, 2009, in Brew Pubs, Family and Friends, Food, Homebrewing, Travel, by Mark Ranes

This post marks my 100th post to the Lazy Brewer blog! I wondered if I’d get here with my little blogging experiment.  It won’t be too long before I blog about my 100th batch of beer.

New Chest Freezer for Keg Storage (and old upright fridge in the background)

New Chest Freezer for Keg Storage (and old upright fridge in the background)

Last week I picked up a 13 cu ft chest freezer, and Ranco digital temperature controller, for cold keg storage.  This opens up my existing upright refrigerator as a summer fermenting chamber.  Last Friday I brewed a batch of one of Brenda’s favorite beers I make, Colona, and it is fermenting away at appropriate lager fermentation temperatures in my brew shed’s refrigerator.

Brittannia Arms Pub in Monterey

Brittannia Arms Pub in Monterey

Last weekend, Brenda and I celebrated our 29th anniversary in Monterey. We stayed at our favorite Monterey inn, The Merritt House Inn.  As always, the staff there treated us wonderfully and we enjoyed several wonderful fresh fish meals, as well as a couple sessions in one of my favorite pubs, Britannia Arms.  We escaped 109+ valley temperatures for two days and enjoyed fabulous mid-70s temps.

Tomorrow I’ll be brewing another batch of Black Widow Stout.  The keg just blew last week, so it’ll be a month or so before I have a standard stout back on tap.  I do have RIS on tap, so not all is lost, but it is far from a session ale:)  I plan on oaking five gallons of this batch of Black Widow Stout.  Several of my brew buddies have been experimenting with oaking stouts and IPAs lately, and I want to give it a go.  Steve’s oaked RIS is truly one of the best home brewed ales I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy, and I want to join that exclusive club.  Hopefully I can get an early start on the brew day (not Steve early!) so that I can have a glimmer of hope of chilling the batch.  Even with an iced pre-chiller, I’ve had problems using summer valley groundwater to get my wort down to suitable initial fermentation temps.  With the Colona still in the fermentation fridge (currently in the middle of a diacetyl rest), this batch will need to start out in the living room, so I do need to get it quite cool to start off well.

With the 4th of July just around the corner, we’ll be spending the day with the usual suspects!  Happy Birthday, America!

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Black Widow Stout on Deck

On February 6, 2009, in Family and Friends, Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes
Black Widow Stout Tap Handle
Black Widow Stout Tap Handle

Tomorrow I’ll be brewing a dry stout.  Typically, this is one ale Stephen and I share – we each take five gallons.  We’ll be doing this again, me giving Stephen five gallons of stout, and me being the lucky recipient of five gallons of his wonderful Brew Barn Brown Ale.  We both win!

This will be the sixth time I’ve made this stout, and in the past it has been called Stout Mark.  The last time I brewed it I renamed it Black Widow Stout and I think the name is more appropriate because if you drink too many of them it will bite you!

The only major change I’m making to the tried and true recipe is the addition of one pound of Belgian de-bittered black malt.  Supposedly, it adds very little in the way of flavor (no roastiness, chocolate or coffee flavors), but merely darkens the ale.  This is one of the things Stephen and I have been trying to do to this ale since we first brewed it.  A one pound addition takes the SRM from 28.5 to 33.5.  We’ll see how it goes.  Anyone out there used this stuff before?

Here’s the recipe:

Black Widow Stout
13-A Dry Stout
Author: Mark Ranes
Date: 2/7/09

Size: 10.32 gal
Efficiency: 70.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 283.63 kcal per 16.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.064 (1.036 – 1.050)
Terminal Gravity: 1.016 (1.007 – 1.011)
Color: 33.69 (25.0 – 40.0)
Alcohol: 6.29% (4.0% – 5.0%)
Bitterness: 36.6 (30.0 – 45.0)

11.0 lb Pale Malt(2-row)
11.0 lb Maris Otter
1 lb Chocolate Malt
1.5 lb Roasted Barley
1.0 lb De-Bittered Black Malt (Mout Roost 1400)
1.0 lb Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt
1 oz Northern Brewer (9.0%) – added during boil, boiled 90.0 min
.5 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 30.0 min
1.0 oz Northern Brewer (9.0%) – added during boil, boiled 30.0 min
2 ea Whirlfloc – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
1.0 oz Northern Brewer (9.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
2000 ml Starter with 2/vials White Labs WLP004 Irish Stout

I’ll be lighting the burners shortly after 9 am.

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RIS Brew Day

On December 23, 2008, in Family and Friends, Homebrewing, by Mark Ranes
Recirculating the RIS

Recirculating the RIS

The Czar’s Pride Russian Imperial Stout brew day was uneventful and went well.  We got a bit of a late start because Stephen dreamed solutions to problem that didn’t exist.  He was trying to figure out how to sparge our no-sparge, first runnings RIS and then forgot to bring his mash tun (and carboy:) and had to head home to pick it up.  What a maroon!

Mashing out the RIS

Mashing out the RIS

We did have a bit of trouble collecting enough of the first runnings, but in the end, we each walked away with 5 gallons of wort – really big wort.  We each mashed in our own mash tuns, and ended with an original gravity of 1.088.  The Northern Brewer and Perle hops gave off a truly wonder aroma during the different phases of the boil, so I have no doubt that this wll be a wonderful ale in 9-12 months.   My carboy took off, with help from the big yeast starter, within four hours.

Stephen's SEG :)

Stephen's SEG 🙂

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Porter Blew…

On June 15, 2008, in Family and Friends, Homebrewing, by Mark Ranes

Black Widow Stout LabelLast evening while we were visiting with Eric and Patty, the keg of Portentous Porter blew.  I had a keg of dry stout in the conditioning fridge, so it is now attached to my “dark” line in the kegerator.  Very tasty and inky black in color.  Appropriately named Black Widow Stout.  It’ll bite you if you don’t look out…

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