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Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
8:10 pm

As Promised here
Here are some pics of my hops - looks like I have about another week of ripening to go.

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Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
4:07 am

My Dad is telling me that I have a bumper hop harvest on his allotment this year - I haven't been down to look at it yet.

the thing is, I am moving house and probably not going to be able to make any real use of them this year.

I am pretty sure they are Goldings, they are pretty much organic (cowmuck as fertilizer and nothing sprayed on or near them) and if you want to cover the postage(I'm in the UK) and maybe cover the cost of a few shop bought bottles on top I can probably manage to stuff some in an envelope and send em to you.

I will probably head over there tomorrow and take some pics - let me know if you are interested.

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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
10:36 am - White House homebrew recipes

Check it out, The White House blog has posted their White House beer recipes!

I know what you're thinking: extract?

Hey, I haven't moved to all-grain myself so I'm not judging. In fact, a simple recipe like this might be just the thing to inspire others to give homebrewing a try. That's the spirit of democracy right, that we can all, every one of us, brew beer?

(Oh, it's that we can all vote? I must have been asleep in civics class that day.)

Via Laughing Squid

(7 comments | comment on this)

Thursday, August 30th, 2012
9:18 am - Brewmaster's International In Galveston Labor Day Weekend

Hi everyone!

A friend of mine alerted me to this event, so I had to share.


HA four-day beer extravanganza beginning Friday, August 31 and going until Monday, September 3 (Labor Day) at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. More information on tickets and programs are at 


See you there!

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Friday, August 24th, 2012
12:33 pm

Does anyone have any good spent grain recipes?
I've got a pretty good basic bread recipe and we also trade it with our friends' chickens in return for eggs, but please let me know if you have any other great ideas.

Slightly off topic due to the byproduct aspect, but hopefully applicable enough!

(10 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
5:54 pm - White House Homebrew?

I don't know how I missed the first article last year, but this is pretty cool:

I do wonder who is behind it, as I don't imagine the POTUS is spending his time sanitizing equipment and watching the wort.

(5 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
12:44 pm

So while watching my latest batch bubble away just now I had a thought.

It seems like it would be relatively easy for one to put a little paddle-wheel in a ventilation lock so that the escaping carbon dioxide turns it, and have it connected to a digital or mechanical device that would count the turns and thus you could calculate how much carbon dioxide it has put off ... from which you could presumably calculate how much fermentation has thus far occurred.

Does this already exist and/or thoughts?

(10 comments | comment on this)

Sunday, May 27th, 2012
5:02 pm - Question about mead

Today we are making a fruit mead for the first time. Multiple recipes online direct the maker to boil the honey in water, but then add fruit once the mead has cooled down, at the start of the fermenting process.

Is that right? What are the chances that we'll have a wild yeast if the fruit is not included in the boil?

The fruits that we'll be using are cherry and mango, if that matters.

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Saturday, February 11th, 2012
11:37 pm - Maple Syrup Wine

So I just thought I would share my latest experiment...

So me and some friends were sitting in a pub and discussing my latest country wine making adventures (there have been lots of adventures in this direction recently) and I said "You know I quite fancy making a mead only using maple syrup"

Now I am in the UK and we only get little bottles quite expensively. However, one of said friends is an American lady who uses an american to UK website to get all those things from home that she misses. Including humungous bottles of maple syrup.

So - 4lb of maple syrup, water to a gallon, tanin, the usual measures of nutrient and yeast and citric acid are now in a demijon which is bubbling away. I am quite excited about this experiment and shall let you know how it goes as it progresses!

I did, after starting it, do a search for maple syrup wine and found this site http://brewery.org/cm3/recs/10_25.html so I am quite hopeful!

If any of you out there have made it before, please let me know your experiences!


current mood: accomplished

(13 comments | comment on this)

Monday, December 5th, 2011
5:02 pm - Happy Repeal Day!

On this day, in 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified. Lift your glasses, fellow homebrewers, to the end of Prohibition!

(3 comments | comment on this)

Saturday, November 26th, 2011
9:08 pm - Yeast question from a newb

Greetings, homebrewers.

My husband and I just got into this hobby a couple weeks ago... we found ourselves at the local brewery supply shop and purchased a kit and a recipe box. Two days later we went back for a second 6gal glass carboy and another recipe box. This weekend we bottled our Guinness clone and the Newcastle clone; nothing has exploded yet, thank goodness.

Anyway, despite not knowing how our first attempts will turn out, we can't stop. We bought ingredients for a chocolate porter... our first time buying a la carte instead of the boxed recipes. I have a question about pitching the yeast.

Previously we followed the instruction sheet and poured the dry yeast directly into the carboy. This next time we will also be working with dry yeast, but I read about people priming the yeast before pitching it (similar to what I would do if using yeast to make bread?). Should we make a yeast slurry? What are the advantages/disadvantages?

Appreciate your help!

(17 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
5:47 pm - Beer snob?

The recent discussion about personal "best" beers raises another interesting topic; that of being a so-called "beer snob".

To an extent I can understand that term being used in a derogatory way, and there are definitely some "beer douchebags" out there, who are following trends, or "discovering" a micro and deciding it's the only beer they'll drink, while they deride the personal tastes of others.

But there's also those of us who just recognize and appreciate higher quality beers, and/or drink what suits us and our personal tastes. To me, this isn't snobbery, any more than preferring a home-grilled hamburger to a McDonald's hamburger makes a person a "hamburger snob". As long as you know what makes a certain product better (or preferable), you're merely making an educated choice. Whether you're drinking Coors or a limited edition Belgian saison, following the herd is still following the herd.

My two cents, anyway.

(12 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
6:44 am - Delirium Dethroned

I’m guilty of too often declaring something as ‘the best’. 
As in, ‘that was the best movie ever.’
Or this past October, ‘the best World Series I’ve ever watched.’
And about a year ago at the Union Jack Pub, I emphatically declared Delirium Tremens to be the best beer I’d ever had.
Yes, Tremens was delectable, but what really forced the pious declaration was its uniqueness.  It was exclusive – only available in the most refined establishments.  It was served from a white bottle, and had pink elephants on the label.  And its name blatantly flirted with the addictive nature of alcohol, similar to Marlboro doing something as bold as marketing “tar and phlegm” smokes.  [By the way, have you seen the Dr Pepper commercial that declares its latest product as not-for-women?  That’s some bold advertising.]
But when I recently saw Delirium Tremens listed on the menu at my local movie theater, the bloom instantly fell off the rose.  The best beer in the world had gone Hollywood – and sold its soul to the devil.  Can’t blame them for grabbing the cash, but damn it, I’m now going to have to find a new best beer.  Snob that I am, I certainly can’t be declaring Tremens as the best when it’s soon to be available at convenience stores across the nation.  Where’s the uniqueness in that?
The interim “best beer ever” now hails from North College Avenue in Indianapolis, where I recently sipped a $26 glass of Brasserie DuPont Foret Organically Produced Saison.  Good luck finding that one in your local grocer.

(17 comments | comment on this)

Sunday, November 13th, 2011
10:57 am - Homebrewing in the U.S. and Blue Ribbon Malt

I have a copy of Leigh Beadle's 1971 Brew It Yourself: A Complete Guide to the Brewing of Beer, Ale, Mead and Wine, which is a fascinating read on a variety of levels. One ingredient common to most of his beer recipes is Blue Ribbon pre-hopped malt syrup (now known as Premier Malt, which apparently came in at least Light, Dark, and Pale Dry varieties.

He lists 19 national grocery chains (including A & P, Acme, IGA, Kroger, Piggly Wiggly, Safeway, and Winn-Dixie) and 9 regional chains (including Albertson's) that carried Blue Ribbon. I wonder how common homebrewing was in 1971 that this ingredient (rendered useless by the hops for making anything other than beer?) was still so readily available, 38 years after the end of Prohibition? What happened along the way that caused malt syrups to migrate from grocery store shelves to your LHBS?

As much as I appreciate my LHBS, I think it would be great if more people were exposed to homebrew supplies incidentally on their grocery shopping expeditions.

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Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
6:50 am - Where lagers come from...

Pretty weird stuff:


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Thursday, July 7th, 2011
10:16 am - Mead and hedgerow wines


New booze maker here. I have made v. simple things like sloe gin and limoncello before, but I have recently entered the world of fermentation with elderflower champagne. It's just amazing, if rather volatile.

I am looking to make mead as my next project, and it need to be ready for an event in early September. I know that's not exactly ideal but I reckon I can make something palatable by then! Does anyone have any recipes/tips?

Any other ideas for seasonal (I'm in London) hedgerow wines? I have a mulberry tree and a damson tree, but they're obviously nowhere near ripe yet. It looks like there's going to be a glut of fruit this year though. Being a gin lover I was thinking of making mulberry, damson and cinnamon gin, but if you have any ideas on how to use them up I'd be very chuffed. I was thinking of making some kind of hawthorn wine? IDK if anyone has tried that.


Helen x

Edit: thanks for all your advice and recipes! I'll post the result of the quick mead, here's hoping it works! I'll certainly try spiced mulberry mead as well. Perhaps an elderberry one?

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Saturday, June 25th, 2011
6:57 am

So, on Father's Day I brewed up a 5-gallon batch of King Duncan's Holiday Porter. This was a big hit last winter, and I want to have plenty on hand to get everyone through Thanksgiving and Christmas 2011. It benefits from a longer conditioning time, which is why I brewed it in June.

So after a couple of days, things were looking great; there was a thick mess of krausen at the top, a nice yeast cake forming at the bottom, and the airlock was bubbling away nicely. I was pleased. Then, Wednesday, I didn't take a look at it. It was one of the days I go to the office first thing in the morning, so I was dashing out of the house in the morning, and fairly knackered in the evening, and besides, things were tootling along nicely anyway, so I didn't bother.

Then, Thursday morning, before I left, I had to go downstairs for something, and I checked on it, and the stopper with the airlock had blown off! I guess things got so active, more than just CO2 made its way into the airlock and clogged it and the subsequent pressure build-up blew the stopper. I found it about eight or ten feet away, which impressed me greatly.

Fortunately, I have another stopper and airlock, and as they weren't in use, I sanitized it quickly and installed it. I'm hoping that fermentation was still active enough that it was able to keep forcing CO2 out and sort of creating a barrier against any airborne contaminants. This is in an unfinished basement, where there's a higher moisture content, especially recently, with all this rain. Who knows what kinds of goobies are floating around down there?

Time will tell, of course, and I don't think anything dire happened. There's still some active fermentation going on. The airlock bubbles more slowly now, but it still bubbles. One thing's for sure; I'm going to be using a blow-off hose during primary fermentation from now on.

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Sunday, May 29th, 2011
8:17 am - Mead

I've just bottled up my first batch of mead. It's taken 5 months to get to this stage and I reckon another month in the bottles before it's at it's best.

The colour of it is very pale yellow, which may put a few people off and there's a noticeable dryness to the taste, but I'm putting that down to me having used a Champagne yeast.

Overall I'm happy with the results as you can actually drink it and it packs a wallop, not sure about the final ABV, but I'm guessing it's higher than 12%.

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Thursday, May 26th, 2011
10:17 pm - I'm tired of glass

So what do *you* use for bottling? I'm really starting to look into stainless steel bottles. There are companies that make them (with customized artwork, no less) for conference shwag but you could easily order a small batch and use it for your own goods.

Or can you? My wife seems convinced it won't work. Specifically, her concern is twofold, both related to aging meads/wines in them:

  1. The seal may be unreliable. This would no doubt be an issue if you're trying to squirrel away something for a few years.

  2. We're not sure how the metal would react with it, long term. We know breweries/wineries ferment in them and maybe do some short-term aging, but what happens to stainless steel after it's been exposed to an alcoholic drink for a few years?

Anyone know much about the behavior of stainless steel in the brewing world?

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Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
11:26 am - Limoncello

This isn't exactly homebrewing, but the community that used to cater to wine and liqueur makers seems to have died out.   So I'm hoping for a little help here.

It's the end of lemon season, and we've been offered the remaining crop (which is actually most of the crop) on 2 large Meyer lemon trees.  After pies and lemon curd, we want to have lots of Limoncello for the summer.  Unfortunately, the Limoncello recipe I used (1 liter of vodka to 4 cups water) separated into ice crystals plus alcohol in the freezer.  I've laid in vodka and Everclear (besides lemons, another good reason to live in CA) and would appreciate hearing from anyone with experience (and a recipe) for making this drink.  Thanks!

(19 comments | comment on this)

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