Friday, September 29, 2006

A Brief Lesson on Apple Cider

Ran across this article while searching for cider recipes:

Neat stuff. A particularly like the "Apple a day" commentary...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pumping and Stout

As my quest towards overdoing my brewing hobby continues I've begun slowly upgrading to a RIMS (Recirculating Infusion Mash System) brewing system. Basically, that means I am installing a pump that recirculates the mash, adding to efficiency and clarity of the wort. I mounted a "pumphouse" on the back of the brewery with valves and a recirculation loop to allow me to draw wort from the mash tun and pump it back over the top of the system. I'm also considering change the mash tun to a 15gal one I found at Wally World for $20. It would allow for more wort volume...

The nice thing is that most of these things are freebies (pump, valves). So the upgrade is mostly labor and design. I can't find my digital camera, which is why there are still no pics!

Why am I working on upgrades? I've volunteered to participate in the BBG Bourbon barrel stout project, and the grain bill is pretty tall!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Lucky or Good, who cares!

As I've noted earlier I've had trouble with volumes and efficiency with the brewery. That said, I did wait and keg the irish red ale that was very low on initial gravity. I was pleasantly surprised. It is what I can best describe as a Mild Irish Red Ale. Drank a few pints while watching the Panthers game and didn't get sloppy drunk (unlike last week's brown ale that had me passed out in bed at 8:30). In fact, barely had a buzz. It's a great session beer.

Just goes to show you should never throw out a batch of beer until after you've tried it finished, and you should never count out the Panthers in a close game. Lucky? Good? I'll have a little from column "A" and a little from column "B" please...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

An evening at Foothills Brewing.

My Brewer's guild met at a local brewery last night. The assistant brewers joined me, and we all learned a lot from the brewmaster. As it turns out, he has to juggle fermentors and kegs just like I do! Here's to Jamie at Foothills Brewing, living the dream!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Beer Gun

Brewery Upgrades

(Sorry, no pics yet...)

This weekend I refurbished the kegerator and did some plumbling upgrades on the brewery. The CO2 lines were run from the back of the fridge, tank was relocated outside (the fridge) and the beer lines were replaced and rerun to make the doors close properly.

I added plumbing to the brewery to allow a hose hookup that routes to the top for filling the Hot Liquor tank and has fittings for the chiller hookups.

I also had a friend of the RCBC in town who is a mecanical engineer. I described my problem with a freebie pump being to strong, and he promptly drew up a simple diagram that limits the flow w/o deadheading (killing) the pump.

So simple, yet brilliant!

Saturday, September 16, 2006


As cool as "Oktoberfest" sounds, I'm beginning to tire of all four syllables. Therefore I am nicknaming it "O'fest". Yes, the brewmaster, an efficiency expert...or just a lazy bastard.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

RCBC Board Meeting Notes

Review of the Rusty Cutlass Brewing Co. Board of Trustee meeting on 9/12/06:

Members in attendence - Das Brewmeister, Captain Pete, Irish Jim

  1. Motion from Irish Jim that any member wishing to speak should have first consumed or be consuming a cold beer. Approved 3-0.
  2. Acorn Amber Lager (Red Oak Clone) tasting. Approved and excited about 2nd, uncarbonated keg as well.
  3. Motion from Das Brewmeister that meeting not adjourn until 7-day ale keg was emptied. Approved 3-0.
  4. Transferred 10gal of Brown Ale to secondary. Debated need to clean "krausen ring" from fermentors when transferring same batch. Brewmeister does not (only cleans trub from bottom before transferring 1st half of the same batch to the 1st half's fermentor). Vote to clean was 2-1 in favor of cleaning, but vetoed by Brewmeister. Final decision was that it is up to the person doing the work.
  5. 7-Day Ale keg emptied.
  6. Beer-related stories narrated by Cpt. Pete and Irish Jim, details of which are classified but involve kegs, beer balls, $1 six-packs, 2x4's, and rope.

Meeting ajourned.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Drowning Sorrows...

After miserable play by my Wolfpack and Carolina Panthers I was reminded that there still is good in this world...good beer. Another six-pack of Sammy's Oktoberfest to wash away the memories of a raunchy weekend. My Dog was again ill, and pooed on my carpet. I'm worried about him, mostly because he's lost 24lbs and all my expertise at GAINING weight does not seem to work as well on dogs (That and most Little Debbie snacks have chocolate in them).

Brewing Update:

Brewed 2 times this weekend, and continue to struggle with the efficiency of my brewery and wort volumes. I ended up with over a gallon "extra" on the first batch, and lower gravity than expected on the second. Irish Jim transferred his beer to secondary.

On Tap - 7-day mild (now much tastier after over 21 days), and Acorn Lager (still not ready).
Fermenting -Ultra-Light Irish Red, Strong that only made it to Brown ale.
Secondary - Imperial Cockhammer (Irish Jim's try at the Pittsburgh amber)
Bottle Carbonating - Hard Cider

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hard Cider Update

Transferred the hard cider to secondary after a full month of primary fermentation. Gravity readings are below 1.000, which is weird when you are used to brewing beers. ABV will be at least 15%. We tasted the hydrometer sample and were pleased. Still has a "yeasty" aroma, but tastes smooth with just a hint of apple. Finishes warm but very clean. I think carbonated and chilled it would taste like an apple champagne. Next up, mead!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back from Vacation

Lots to talk about! Been on vacation and let me tell you, Labor Day weekend was no bore! Here's a few stats:

- 4 Redfish caught (biggest was 29" and about 15lbs).
- 1 Stuntplane crashed into the ocean in front of the beach house.
- 18 bottles of Sam Adams Octoberfest consumed.
- 10 gallons of homebrew (2nd run of the Cockhammer Ale), brewed in my absence by my assistant brewers Irish Jim and Captain Pete. They all growed up!
- 1 Great Dane almost died from bloating.
- 31 years on this earth by yours truly.

7-day ale is the only thing left on tap. The Amber ale will be ready in a couple weeks, and I plan to brew this weekend if at all possible, and hopefully get another brown ale rolling sinceit is one of the favs.