White Sangria Recipe!

As of late I’m on this Sangria kick.  There is as house warming party this weekend and guess what I’m bringing… beer and sangria.  I’m a big dude (6’4 210 lbs with a shaved head), it may seem unsuspecting that I dig some sangria, but I can’t get enough of it as of late.  It’s so damn good!  While most might think of Sangria as a summer time refreshing drink, I think of it as an anytime drink.  It’s relatively cheap to make if you end up making your own wine too.

We have, as well as other homebrew shops have wine kits.  I’m not sure about others pricing but you can make 30 bottles for $65-$80 from us.  It’s really not a bad price considering what you are getting.  It taste like good table wine at the end. So below is a Sangria recipe that is just killer; I use my own wine when I make it.  Generally it takes about 10 minutes to make but, if you can make it the night before put it in a lock and lock container, and stick in the refrigerator for 24 hours what you have is an amazing Sangria.

Peach

Ingredients:

1 Bottle of white wine (I like using Pinot Gris)

1/2 cup Peach Schnapps

1/4 cup sugar

2 Peaches Sliced Up

1 Orange Sliced Up

1/2 Mango Peeled And Sliced

1/2 Liter Of Ginger Ale

Directions:

  • Pour wine and Schnapps in a pitcher
  • Add sliced peach, orange, and mango
  • Add sugar and stir gently
  • Chill mixture for an hour (or my suggestion listed above)
  • Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving (ginger ale will make it a bit more sweet)
  • If you plan on serving right away make sure to use chilled white wine and ginger ale and serve over lots of ice.

If you want to have a bit more of a bite to it, add a few shots of Vodka to it.  I’ve also had some friends put rum into theirs.  It still turns out quite well.

 

 

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3 Ways To Improve Your Efficiency For All-Grain

IMG_3654

I sometimes hear when people get into all-grain brewing that they are not getting close to their expected original gravity.  You know that you are doing the all-grain process correctly, you are hitting your temperature as well as going by the books, yet you still are coming up with a lower gravity.  I know it can get frustrating – but if you fall into this category, don’t get frustrated and in the words of Charlie Papazian, “Have a homebrew.”.

It use to happen to me when I first started getting into all-grain brewing and these were some small adjustments that I made that really made some huge changes in my results.   Anyone who brews all-grain can do these and they will help you out.

The 3 Ways To Improve Your Efficiency

90 min mash

If you are currently just doing a 60 min mash, stepping it up to 90 min mash might help out with getting a better conversion.  Just a quick change of 30 min you might start to see your gravity creep up closer to the expected gravity.  It just allows more time for you to get all the sugars converted.

3 Runnings instead of 2

Normally with all-grain brewing (specifically batch sparging) you end up taking your first running and then you’ll sparge once to get your second running.  If you are not getting close to your original gravity split your sparge water into half and make a third running.  By doing this sometimes you can rinse more sugars off of the grains.  I personally like this one a lot because it won’t take too much time to do it and the results are pretty immediate.

Use more grains

This is one where you might think it is just giving up, to me it’s understanding the limitations of your equipment or brewing knowledge.   While this really doesn’t help with your efficiency, it will however get you the numbers that you should be getting.  If you were going to go down this road, just add an additional 15%-20% of base malt and there you go.

Conclusion

Personally if you are constantly hitting low numbers for your original gravity, I would start off by doing all of the above.  See where you stand after that.  If you are still hitting low, then we got some issues.  Most likely you will be pretty close or even a bit high.  I would start eliminating them one by one and see where your results stand.

First eliminate the adding extra grains, because that one doesn’t really solve the root of the problem just solves the symptom.  Then I would see what happens when you go back to a 60 min mash not a 90 min because  lets face it, time is valuable.  You might end up just finding out that you need to do 3 runnings not just 2.   Hope it helps ya, and keep on brewing.

 

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Winter is Coming, and coming, and coming…

I’m sure most of you have heard by now about the impending misfortune we’re all about to take, an inch of ice followed by another 8-10 of snow.  I know that I’m tired of winter, and like Ned Stark I’m about to lose my head over any more snow.  Despite Jack Frost’s repeated onslaught this winter there are a few perks to have; catching up on episodes of the Price is Right, taking photos of your back deck furniture, as well as some well-warranted cold weather brewing!

 

Now before you decide to take on the elements and defy ye olde Winter Gods, I recommend that you consider rushing to the nearest food market and stock up on all the stuff you buy but never eat such as eggs, milk, and cheese; because for some reason you have to have that ish if you’re snowed in.  Once you’ve got that done make sure to do some calisthenics tonight so you don’t become another statistic clearing the driveway tomorrow.  Luckily we brewers are accustomed to lifting large quantities of water, and I like to think all the Polish sausage and turkey legs I eat prior to shoveling provide a little extra cushion against my 12th coronary (still going for a baker’s dozen!).

 

Snow Shovel

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

 

So you’re limber and stocked up on essential non-essential food stocks.  It’s time to make some preparations prior to the Snowmageddon pt 2.  Remember, what you’re about to embark on is no easy feat.  There’s been plenty a good beer lost in the snow, and no matter what something is going to go wrong.  But if you succeed, you’ll join the likes of Sir Edmund Hillary, Robert Peary, and Rob Stark as masters of Winter.  More importantly you’ll have some beer to drink in Spring.

 

The night before you want to brew, make sure you bring your hose into the garage, or if need be the bathtub.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had everything ready to brew only to realize that I have no way of getting water from the usual source.  You do have the option of filling your pots inside, however hose hubris will come back to bite you when you’re ready to cool the wort.  The second essential step is to bring your ingredients and mash-tun indoors.  Remember that the ambient air temperature outside is below freezing, and it’s very easy to overlook the fact that you’re adding really hot water to a really cold container.  Temperatures will be missed, efficiencies will be off, and curses will be shouted.  Lastly make sure you have enough propane if you’re using a burner.  Assuming you have the means to get to a gas station, there’s no guarantee the attendant is going to give up the warmth of his 3×4 hut to get you some LP.  Also locks tend to freeze up when they’re covered in snow, making it an even bigger PITA.

 

The day of your brew snopocalypse  you’re going to need to decide where to brew.  A garage is best, anything else is worse.  If you are going to be in the elements it’s worthwhile to construct some sort of Bear-Grylls like shelter to block wind and snow from getting in your beer.  You also really need to stop at this point, and think about investing in a garage.  Now if you are in a garage and using gas it’s worthwhile to note that the only bi-products of propane combustion are CO2, water, and heat.  Make sure that your burner is working properly, because incomplete combustion produces Carbon Monoxide, which makes nap-time a whole lot longer.  You may be tempted to close the door, and keep some of that sweet precious heat inside your man cave.  Closed doors tend to keep moisture and CO2 from escaping, so you may find your garage looking more like a jungle than a cool place to keep your tools.  Just make sure you’re careful.

 

Industrial Park

Be Jelly

  Once everything is up and running you shouldn’t have too many issues other than frostbite, hypothermia, you know, the usual cold weather shenanigans.  Keep your taun-taun close too in case any sensor droids come by, Empire always be creeping.  One nice thing about snow is that it does cool down your wort pretty quickly if you overshoot the initial mash temp.  I’ve done this before and we were able to keep from adding too much extra water over the grain bed.  Make sure you don’t use yellow snow, or red snow (don’t use Jon Snow either).  At the end of the boil all of you hose-thawing disciples will reap the the benefits, cooling wort quicker than ever.  If you don’t have access to running water then you’re hosed! (Get it?!?)  You’re best bet is to set your boil-pot on the ground and build snow up around its sides.  The heat of the wort will melt the snow in contact with the pot, so you’ll need to keep re-packing every few minutes.  Stirring will speed up the process as well.  Once you hit temp and pitch it’s time for clean-up.

 

It’s very very important to remember to clear your immersion/plate chiller after you’re done.  Water has the tendency to expand when it’s cold, and metal isn’t exactly the bendiest substance out there.  Save yourselves some frustration and cash by clearing any residual water before storing your equipment; don’t freeze your lips.  Other than that it’s not imperative to clean all of your equipment right away.  I’m sure I’ll catch more flak than the Luftwaffe over London for that one, but it’s COLD!  Like brewers; bacteria, mold, and other little nasties aren’t very big fans of low temps either, which gives you some time to clean your equipment.  I’ve gone several days before dumping my grain, and the smell was considerably more pleasant than what you’ll get during Summer months.

 

After it’s all done you’ll probably think about your one friend who said “I hope we get snow this winter” with the same contempt and malice that Vladmir has for the Ukraine. Take these golden post-brew moments to call that guy, and tell him how much you hate him right now.  Have fun tomorrow everybody, be safe, be warm, and brew on!

 

– Brohiem: Brewing liaison to the King of the North, warm-weather enthusiast

 

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Is All-Grain Brewing Better?

I get asked the question, “Is all-grain brewing that much better?” a lot.  Like a lot a lot.  Thanks to forums, people I feel sometimes get shamed for not doing all-grain.  Well I’m here to let you know, and this may hurt some sensitive extract brewer’s feelings, All-Grain Brewing IS that much better.  Commence the flaming!

Extract brewing is good, like how the Denver Broncos were good this past season.  Extract tastes alright, has a pretty good quarterback, and can make it to the SuperBowl.  All in all you think, hey those Bronco’s are something else!  Then All-Grain shows up and makes you ever wonder why you doubted the other option.

So you’re probably pondering, well why does anybody brew with extract to begin with? Unfortunately, not every brewer has the requisite 4 plus hours to commit to an all grain brew sesh.  All grain has a lot of setup, cleanup, more cleanup, and monitoring involved; and it’s not the easiest thing to do in your kitchen.  Extract brewers however can churn out a pitch-able brew in less than 2 hours, only need one pot, and usually hit their marks.  Point extract!

My problem with extract really stems from what I see beer as being all about, and how Extract takes that conception and twerks it like Miley Cyrus on molly.  Beer is beautiful in its simplicity; you take four simple ingredients and turn them into a drink loved universally; brewed by people of all cultures, nations and histories.  You’re using the same techniques that Trappist monks, German Brewmasters, and hobbits in Middle Earth have used for centuries.  Extract subverts the time, work, and dedication from this process and overall cheapens the process and the final product.

Forest Elf

Apparently hobbit’s use palm pilots? (gotta love stock images)

That’s not to say that I haven’t had good extract beers, you can definitely make a perty darn good product, but is that what you’re really going after?  Are you striving for perfection, or settling for mediocrity?  If you’re really happy with an “Ok” beer, then why are you bothering making it all instead of picking up a sixer at your favorite gas station?

I’m sure that by now some of you are typing your response so furiously that you’re two keystrokes away from a weekend of Carpal Tunnel.  Yea yea I may not be able to tell the difference between an AG or Extract beer in a blind taste test, and yea yea it has this benefit  or that yada yada yada…  For me, when I find out that a beer was brewed with extract, it’s cheapening.  A shortcut was taken, and no matter how you justify it, it’s still a shortcut.   I appreciate good beer not only for its complexity and flavors, I appreciate the work that went into it, knowing that the brewer has mastered his art and poured his heart into making that beer.  (Note:  Heart’s tend not to pour easily, always blend first)

Finally beyond the existential musings of grain I think of Extract as a processed product.  Next time you bake a cake, try using powdered milk instead of regular.  Or instead of grilling steaks, consider using some pink slime hot dogs.  Tastes pretty good right?  Keep thinking that while you repeat the words “pink slime” over and over in a self induced foodie convulsion.

Ellie 2

Or Black Slime Hot Dogs…

 

For those of you who can’t read between the lines (or just simply, the lines) I’ll conclude with the following:  Don’t use extract.  If you’re gonna do something, do it right.  Lastly, for all the newbies to brewing; consider yourself excused from all of the above, but you’ve been warned.

 

– Brohiem, Brewer of Beer, Destroyer of Dreams

 

 

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Light Braggot Recipe

This braggot is more of a refreshing and a lighter style braggot.  Braggots are beer with honey.  It’s a very old style drink.  Since I’m on this braggot kick I figured that I should throw in a lighter one into the mix, next one will be a dark one.  This will have a sweeter and maltier flavor to it.

 

Bee's make great honey

 

Ingredients for 5 gallons

3 lbs Pils Light DME

2 lbs Honey (10 min)

1 lbs Caramunich I

.5 lbs 20L

.25 lbs CaraVienne

.5 lbs Oats

1 oz Glacier Hops (60 min)

WLP 002

 

Directions

  • Heat 2.5 gallons of water up to 150
  • Steep grains for 30 min
  • Take grains out
  • Add Malt extract
  • Bring to boil
  • Add Glacier hops
  • Boil for 50 min
  • Add honey
  • Boil for 10 min
  • End boil
  • Cool down, put in fermenter, fill to 5 gallons, pitch yeast
  • Ferment for 2 weeks
  • Put in secondary
  • Ferment for 2 week
  • Bottle
  • Drink after 1 month in bottles

 

 

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Summer Time Wheat Beer

Usually wheat beers are something that people just starting off in homebrewing will normally drink.  I’m not really sure why, but it could be that they are pretty refreshing.  There was a time a while ago that wheat’s were what IPA’s are now.  Everyone did them.  Either way, I wanted to share a wheat that will be a bit different.

 

It’s easy to get burnt out of wheats because they can really lock you with what you can and can’t do but here is one that’s a bit different.  It’s not to hoppy and has a hint of honey at the end flavor, excellent head retention and has a bready flavor on it as well.

 

honey

 

Ingredients

.5 lbs Flaked Barley

.5 lbs Munich

6 lbs Wheat DME

1 lbs Honey (5min)

.5 oz Hallertauer (60min)

1 oz Saaz (5min)

WLP 300 or WB-06

 

Specs

OG: 1.054

FG: 1.013

SRM: 6.6

ABV: 5.4%

IBU: 11.4

Instructions 

  • Heat 2.5 gallons of water up to 150
  • Steep grains for 30 min
  • Take grains out
  • Add malt extract
  • Bring to boil
  • In beginning of boil, add Hallertau hops
  • Boil for 55 min
  • Add 1 lbs of honey and Saaz hops
  • Boil for 5 min
  • End boil, cool down, put in fermenter, pitch yeast
  • Let ferment for about 1-2 weeks then bottle
  • Ready to drink after 3 weeks in bottle

 

For the all-grain conversion check here.

 

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Game Changer In Homebrewing – Must See

A customer shared this with me.  Honestly it looks legit.  Another kickstart but for fermentation.  Essentially the  premise is that you can control your fermentation temp better.

 

This is a game changer in the homebrewing world in my humble opinion.   Description and link for the kick starter are below:

 

 

Open source WiFi temperature controller for real time monitoring and control of your homebrewing and fermentation systems.

 

 

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Building A Brewery

I was watching this and I thought it was worth a share.  Really shows the craft beer movement in a nutshell.

 

 

 

 

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Belgium Pale Ale Recipe – Perfect For Hot Days

Everyone has heard of American Pale ales, but what about Belgium Pales…? They tend to be a bit different.  One of the first things that you’ll notice is that they are less hoppy.  Also to state the obvious you don’t use American hops.  I tend to like them, using Belgian yeast brings some fruity tones to the beer makes it a bit more unique.  This particular beer has a bready back bone to it and nice head retention because of the oats added to it.  Also this will make the beer a bit more, “Silky”.  Really a nice light refreshing beer for the weather.

 

just enjoying a beer

 

 

Ingredients

1 lbs Biscuit Malt

.5 lbs Oats

6.5 lbs Pils Light LME

1.5 oz Saaz (60min)

1 oz Saaz (5min)

WLP 550 or T 58

 

Specs

OG: 1.051

FG: 1.012

SRM: 7.67

IBU: 26

ABV: 5.2%

 

Directions

  • Heat 2.5 gallons of water up to 150
  • Steep grains for 30 min
  • Take grains out
  • Add malt extract
  • Bring to boil
  • Add 1.5 oz Saaz
  • Boil for 55 min
  • Add 1 oz Saaz
  • Boil for 5 min
  • End boil, cool down, put in fermenter, fill up to 5 gallons
  • Pitch yeast
  • Ferment for about 7-14 days
  • Bottle using .75 lbs of corn sugar
  • Let it stay in bottles for 2-3 weeks before drinking

 

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Buying Bulk Honey

Some mead makers are really trying to get there honey in bulk.  Over here at Jay’s Brewing I can’t order it and stay in competitive pricing.   If you are a mead maker though and are looking to make a lot of mead then buying in bulk is usually the best option that you can do.   The only site that I know that can do this is this one.  They will sell 60 lbs at a time.  With the shipping it’s really not too bad if you ask my opinion just because you are getting shipped essentially a weight in the mail.

 

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