Tuesday, November 20, 2012

5 Rules You Can't Ignore to Improve Homebrewed Beer

This post will explore the top 5 ways to improve your homebrew beer. As time goes by and my homebrews slowly improve I have tried to reflect on what I have changed in order to increase the quality of my homebrewed beer. As I have moved from extract brewing to all grain homebrewing I have noticed a benefit to brewing in certain ways that retain the quality of my beers over time, aswell as improving beer flavor too. These are my top 5 brewing changes for overall improvement: 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cascadian Dark IPA 1.25 Gallon Extract Batch

Cascadian Dark IPA 1.25 Gallon Extract Batch

Cascadian dark ale prior to bottling.

For this session I brewed a cascadian dark ale, using the second version of a homemade diy hopback. You may have seen a few of my other diy hopback designs, but this one proves the simplest and least expensive. The jars I use as hopbacks are sold to wineries to determine the malic acid levels in wine before, during and after malolactic fermentation. They are known as gas chromatography jars, below is an image of one aswell as the recipe for this cascadian dark ipa:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Build A DIY Apple Cider Press Basket For Under $20

By: Orion
DIY apple cider press basket made from Home Depot bucket.

This post will give step by step instructions on how to make a durable DIY apple cider press basket without expensive materials such as oak or stainless steel. The best part of this project is that it can be used to press apples, grapes or any other fruit for homemade wine that you would like to extract juice from. Spring is here in Oregon and that means homemade apple cider! This project took me a little under one hour to complete including shopping for materials. I have had the joy of testing this basket out four times now and have had no problems with it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Clone Recipe (Partial Mash)

This post shows the recipe for a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone (partial mash). The recipe below is the product of five painstaking brew sessions just for this clone brew to get it right! A version of this came from the 2005 Brew Your Own magazine. In the original article it called for more malt. Each time I have attempted a perfect clone match it has gotten a little closer to the real thing, until this last time, it was spot on, enjoy!

Lagunitas IPA Clone Recipe (Extract Version)

Finally a tested clone recipe for Lagunitas IPA! Side by side I really can't tell the difference between the real thing and this recipe. This is my third tweak of this recipe and after a blind tasting could not tell the difference between the clone brew and the real thing, cheers!

DIY Homemade Fermentation Chamber From Picnic Cooler

By: Orion Chandler

Completed Fermentation Chamber.

This tutorial will show you how to make a homebrew fermentation chamber yourself out of a picnic cooler and other common parts. The great thing about this is that it lets people who live in small places like apartments ferment in places like closets and storage spaces without the use of an expensive refrigerator or chest freezer.

A fermentation chamber is essential in controlling the temperature that your homebrewed beer, cider, fruit wine of wine ferment at. For those of us fond of brewing German wheat ales, a steady and low temperature is desirable in avoiding off-flavors like banana and clove that the yeast produce when fermenting too hot. A chamber like this will give just enough heat o ferment perfectly within +/- 1 degree. The scope of this design is really meant for cool weather use, as it has no way to cool your homebrew down, it will only heat it up and keep it at a temperature that is equal to or warmer than ambient temperatures outside of the picnic cooler. This chamber is sized for a 5 gallon glass carboy. Here is a list of what you need to build it:

Friday, May 25, 2012

$30 Stainless Steel Hopback Design By Trigger

Post By: Orion Chandler

My original DIY Hopback for Under $20 article is just one possible way of many. I recently found a well written article detailing the construction of a hopback for under $30 using parts that are easily available. I thought I would give the folks from BrewGeeks a guest article for all of my readers. The design they show is very sleek and can be constructed to be airtight using soldered fittings and it boasts a nearly 100% stainless steel construction! The image above is a finished design of it. Please be sure to check out their original article for full construction details. Below is just a few of the many great pictures they have of the hopback in action!

Hops ready for steeping.
Hopback beneath brew kettle.

Leave a comment!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Force Carbonate Homebrew Without A Keg

How can I force carbonate my homebrewed beer without spending $35 on a keg? Spend $1 on a two-liter soda bottle instead, and $17 on a Carbonator Cap. There is a great video on Youtube for the construction of your own if you don't want to buy one here. The parts he recommends are food safe as the only part touching your beer will be chrome plated metal and a rubber seal. The image above is the force carbonation chart, the second image down is the Carbonator Cap.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Easy Way to Make a Yeast Starter

A yeast starter is a great tool to have in the homebrewers arsenal. Before I started using them my fermentations would stall or worse, sometimes they would stop completely. A yeast starter is what it sounds like, it is a sanitary environment for your yeast to begin reproducing, digesting nutrients and creating enzymes specifically for the malt you will be brewing with. Yeast starters greatly reduce the chance of infection as the size of the colony can keep other infections from taking over. They also help reduce "off" flavors associated with slow yeast reproduction rates, commonly from under-pitching yeast. Basically, yeast starters are in my opinion one of the best ways to ensure that quality going in will lead to quality going out. Here is how you make a yeast starter the easy way:

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