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Subject: Homebrew #2 [BEER] rss

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Joe Gola
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Redding
Connecticut
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I am proud to say that I brewed up my second batch of homebrew this fall, a clone of Samuel Smith's oatmeal stout to be exact. It was another kit from my local supply shop, Maltose Express, but when I say "kit" I just mean that they provide the recipe and box up the ingredients; equipment is not included and the recipe is much more involved than what you would get with your typical first-timer's kit.

I had always wondered if there was actual oatmeal used in oatmeal stout, and sure enough the first step of the recipe was to roast up some rolled oats. These were used along with other specialty grains to add flavor.

The wort cooked up nicely and was transferred to the primary fermenter. I noted, however, that the original gravity was much lower than it was supposed to be; the recipe said something like 1.050, and what I was reading was more like 1.034. One reason might be that I had added too much water to the fermenter, thus diluting it; another might be that not all the malt extract had dissolved into the wort, perhaps because I had not cooked it long enough or hot enough, or perhaps because I just didn't stir it enough. I had noticed that there was a lot of glop in the strainer when I transferred the wort to the fermenter. I was a little disappointed.

There was a near-catastrophe the following day; I came home from work to discover that the foam from the fermentation (or "kraeusen" in brewer's lingo) had gotten up into the airlock and was gumming up the holes at the top. The trapped carbon dioxide from the yeasties was building up and making the top of the fermenter buckle outwards; a little bit more and the lid would blow off and spray my man cave with stinky wort. I quickly yanked out the airlock, gave it a good cleaning, and replaced it. There were no problems after that.

The fermentation went like gangbusters for about a day but then got very quiet. This again made me worry that there was not as much starch and sugar in the brew as there should have been for a stout.

A week later I transferred the beer to a secondary fermenter. Some home brewers feel this is unnecessary and only adds a risk of contamination, but the recipe called for it and I wanted to reduce the chances of there being a lot of sediment in the final product, since I am planning to give a lot of bottles away as gifts. I don't want anyone to be turned off by cloudy beer.

A week after that I bottled, and it went much more smoothly than my first brew, partly because I was a little more experienced and partly because I had washed all the bottles well in advance. I only sterilized them on the actual day of bottling. If I remember correctly the yield was 38 bottles plus three bombers. The final gravity was 1.014, which meant, if all my readings were correct, that my beer was only about 2.1% alcohol. Pretty weak for a stout! That's more in the range of a light beer. The carbonating process would add a touch more, however.

I sampled some of the uncarbonated beer and it was quite tasty, so it did not seem that any contamination had occurred during fermenting.

I finally tried my first bottle yesterday after three weeks of conditioning. It was good! It was dark, and more sweet than bitter, but it was not heavy like a stout, and it did not have the same kick. So, since it is not exactly an oatmeal stout, I have dubbed it the oatmeal svelte. Meanwhile I noticed that it had a certain undefinable but pleasing quality that my first brew had also had, despite the fact that the two recipes were quite different from each other. After thinking and drinking and drinking and thinking I finally realized what that quality was: it simply tasted like fresh food. The difference between my beer and store-bought—no matter how good the quality of the store-bought—was like the difference between homemade soup and canned.

I'm already looking forward to my next brew. I'm thinking of dispensing with the clone kits and going simple—no specialty grains, just malt extract and hops—so I can focus on getting the basics down and learn more about what ingredients produce what flavors.

Na zdrowie!
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Ken
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Quote:
my beer was only about 2.1% alcohol


Unacceptable! More malt, man, more malt.

I was a pretty committed home brewer for a number of years prior to kids. Hard to find the time and space these days, but as I was moving a couple of carboys in the garage a few days ago - I started thinking I could give it a shot again.


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Billy the Hut
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Cool, congratulations on the successful brew.

My brother-in-law used to do a lot of home-brewing. He was very good at it and it eventually inspired him to open his own brew pub a couple decades back. He's been fairly successful. If you ever get up north into the Amherst MA area you should check his place out, it's the Amherst Brewing Company. Here's a video someone did on his place (by the way the guy being interviewed isn't my brother-in-law, it one of his team);



Hope you have many more great brews Joe!
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jeff
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I miss homebrewing I should find time to get back into it.
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¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
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Chestermere
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Billythehut wrote:
Here's a video someone did on his place (by the way the guy being interviewed isn't my brother-in-law, it one of his team);



Hope you have many more great brews Joe!
Excuse my maleness here, but the guy being interviewed (Mike) should get an award for being able to keep his eyes on the interviewer's face.

Seriously though; I love a successful microbrew story. Thanks for sharing!
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Andy Andersen
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I began homebrewing a few years ago and just love the flavor of the freshest beer you can drink.

Great hobby.
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Christian Jorgensen
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MABBY wrote:
Billythehut wrote:
Here's a video someone did on his place (by the way the guy being interviewed isn't my brother-in-law, it one of his team);



Hope you have many more great brews Joe!
Excuse my maleness here, but the guy being interviewed (Mike) should get an award for being able to keep his eyes on the interviewer's face.


This was my first thought apon watching this vid. laugh Although I think I caught him taking a peek when he shook her hand at 48.

I didn't even last 2 seconds.

On a beer related topic, I tried my first bud the other day. Ummm, how to put it. It was one of the most tastless beers I've ever drunk. To be honest though, I had just had a very malty stout just before. So the taste test might have been a bit tainted.
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Joe Gola
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Billythehut wrote:
My brother-in-law used to do a lot of home-brewing. He was very good at it and it eventually inspired him to open his own brew pub a couple decades back. He's been fairly successful. If you ever get up north into the Amherst MA area you should check his place out, it's the Amherst Brewing Company.

Nice! I hope I get the chance.

That other presenter, though—worst beard ever.
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Mark Britten
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MABBY wrote:
Billythehut wrote:
Here's a video someone did on his place (by the way the guy being interviewed isn't my brother-in-law, it one of his team);



Hope you have many more great brews Joe!
Excuse my maleness here, but the guy being interviewed (Mike) should get an award for being able to keep his eyes on the interviewer's face.


Yeah, that was my thought...
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