Showing posts with label Homebrewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homebrewing. Show all posts

January 29, 2014

A Trip to NH and VT: Hill Farmstead, Heady Topper, lots of snow

I took some time last month to visit a friend who was back in his home territory of New England for a short break. Like me, he's a craft beer fiend, so we made sure to take advantage of as much of the local beer scene as we could. Our adventures included a delicious dinner at the Farmhouse gastropub, a trip to Hill Farmstead, a sampling of the highly sought after Heady Topper, and a massive homebrew day.

Burlington, VT: Farmhouse Tap & Grill

Hill Farmstead Edward
Hill Farmstead's Edward - a fantastic
beer from Vermont
To start things off we visited a beer bar and restaurant in Burlington called Farmhouse Tap & Grill. This turned out to be one of the best gastropub experiences I can remember. I started out with an "Edward" from Vermont's Hill Farmstead (5.2% ABV, 85 IBUs). Even though we were going there the next day, I couldn't wait to give it a try. The beer did not disappoint. A clean, hop-forward pale ale, the epitome of an American Pale. The commercial description of Edward gives some indication of the care the brewer puts into this beer:
Edward (1917-2002) is our grandfather; Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to him and his five children. In his honor, this American Pale Ale is dutifully crafted from American malted barley, a plethora of American hops, our ale yeast and water from Edward’s well. It is unfiltered, naturally carbonated, and dry hopped. Aromatic and flowery, with impressions of citrus and pine, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with Edward. 
The food that followed was also excellent, from the local cheese plate to potato croquettes to the locally raised beef burgers. I highly recommend a visit to Farmhouse if you're ever in Burlington.

After several more local beers, a raging metal show, way too many Rolling Rocks, and an attempt (and failure) to kill a keg of Switchback Pale Ale, we called it a night.

Trip to Hill Farmstead

We were saved the next day by one of the most greasy and delicious bacon, egg and cheese bagels I've ever encountered. Rejuvenated, we got on the road for Hill Farmstead, picking up a four-pack of the famed Heady Topper along the way. If you're unfamiliar, Heady Topper is one of those insanely popular beers that people travel far and wide just to try. We would sample it later that night.

Hill Farmstead VT
Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, 
The trip to Hill Farmstead Brewery was about a two-hour drive from Burlington, but it was gorgeous. With about six inches of fresh snow on the ground, we drove through the backwoods of Vermont to arrive at the brewery in the tiny town of Greensboro, VT (pop. 770). The brewery is relatively small (be warned: bring cash!), producing only about 2000 barrels of beer a year. But that didn't stop them from being named Best Brewer in the World by RateBeer in 2013. So even though their beer rarely leaves VT, many people like us are willing to make the trip.

We got there just before closing and went through a quick sampling of their beers. They were excellent across the board, but our favorite was Edward. We picked up a growler of it and a bottle of their port barrel aged Damien, an imperial stout, and hit the road again.

(Hill Farmstead recently made the news by announcing that after their expansion, they would cap production at 150,000 gallons of beer per year -- a very unusual move for craft brewers these days. Read the article in the New York Times.)

Heady Topper

The Alchemist's Heady Topper
That night after the long beer adventure, we opened up the Heady Topper. As mentioned before, Heady Topper (8% ABV, 75 IBUs) has a fanatical following, with people traveling long distances just to try it. Someone was recently arrested for re-selling Heady Topper on craigslist. The brewer who makes it, the Alchemist, made news recently by announcing that they would close their retail shop because they were overwhelmed by people trying to get their hands on it. There was quite an uproar following this announcement, reduced only by the news shortly afterward that the Alchemist would attempt to meet demand by opening a second brewery. There must be something in the water in Vermont, because people are going crazy for these beers!

For us, we were lucky to grab a four-pack Thursday morning about 10 minutes after it was delivered to the convenience store. In another ten minutes we might have missed our chance. The can instructs the drinker to drink from the can itself. As soon as up open it the hops aromas explode out of it. It's one of those Double IPAs that just sticks to your teeth. It's pale in color, leading me to believe that the caramel malts are restrained so as not to take anything away from the bitterness. This beer is probably the biggest showcase of American hops I've ever had. Would I drive 600 miles just to try it...maybe.

Big (Cold) Brew Day

Over the weekend a number of homebrewers got together to brew. Despite being 10 degrees outside, it was a great time. We drained the Edward, a couple of beers I brought from Asheville, and dozens of different homemade beers and meads. Needless to say, we warmed right up.

I brought two of my favorite recent beers from Asheville, including Green Man's Harvester (an amber ale made with Riverbend malt and German hops) and Firebreather, a Belgian Strong Ale aged in rye bourbon barrels, a collaboration between Asheville's Burial Beer Co. and Hi-Wire Brewing. I believe the northerners were pleased with the southern representation.

For those of you interested, here is the recipe we ended up using for the brew day, an imperial brown ale.

Imperial Brown Ale
(10-gallon batch, all-grain)

Ingredients
25 lbs. Maris Otter
2 lbs. Riverbend Appalachian Wheat Malt
2 lbs. Chocolate Malt
.5 lb. Crystal 80
.5 lb. Aromatic Malt
.75 lb. Biscuit Malt
2 oz. Kent Golding @ 60 min
1 oz. Kent Golding @ 15 min
1 oz. Fuggles @ 10 min
2 oz. Fuggles @ flame out
Ringwood Ale Yeast
*batch divided between two fermenters, one to get oak chips, one to get oak chips with bourbon

Stay tuned -- I hope to review it soon! Big thanks to Milo for a great weekend!

August 13, 2013

A Rare Beer Club Tasting: Best Served Chilled with Cheese and Good People

Rare Beer Club Tasting
The Rare Beer Club offers some
hard-to-find libations.
The Rare Beer Club puts hard to find and limited release beers in the hands of craft beer fans. They were kind enough to send me a few bottles, so I invited some Asheville beer folks over to try the club's summer releases. Included in the lineup were collaborations from some of the United States' favorite brewers, as well as a saison from one of the world's most highly regarded producers of the style.

First, a little more about the club...

April 24, 2013

Where Have All the Good Times Gone?

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet on the Local Beer Blog over the past few weeks. I'll admit, I've been distracted. While I try to post at least once a week, I've had people in town and some interesting freelance opportunities come up.

The main one has been writing homebrewing blog posts for the E. C. Kraus homebrewing and winemaking supply shop in Independence, MO. Now I don't claim to be a homebrewing "expert", but I know a thing or two about beer and how to make it. In any case, I write some 15 blog posts a month for the E. C. Kraus blog.
Look at 'em go! (I swear, I don't
usually drink Starbucks.)

Here are a few of my favorites from the past few weeks:
  • Who Wants a Real Ginger Ale? - If you've followed the Local Beer Blog for a while, you know that I enjoy brewing with ginger. This post gives easy instructions for incorporating fresh ginger root into a standard brown ale recipe.
  • Improve Your Brews with a Yeast Starter - I've been brewing for a few years now, but I just recently discovered the benefits of using yeast starters. When I pitched the starter on the right into my recent saison batch, it started fermenting right away.
  • Making Beer the BIAB Way! I first experimented with Brew in a Bag when living in Panama. It's a great way to get into all-grain brewing without making a big investment in additional equipment.
Yes, I've got plenty more writing to do for E. C. Kraus, but hopefully this post will get me back on track with posting regularly to the Local Beer Blog. I intend to keep it going!

Up next, I'll share some of the fun beer activities in Asheville that have been keeping me busy!

Are you a homebrewing blogger interested in contributing to the E. C. Kraus blog? Contact me for information on guest blogging opportunities.

November 20, 2012

Chapel Hill, NC: Homebrew for Hunger 2012

At the second annual Homebrew for Hunger festival, nearly 50 homebrewers and nine craft breweries teamed up to raise money and canned food for those in need.

The event, 
held at the West End Public in downtown Chapel Hill, raised over $8,500 through ticket sales and raffles to support PORCH, a volunteer organization providing hunger relief to families in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area. 

The event was expanded from one session last year to two this year in order to accomodate more tasters and to raise more money. Still, the event completely sold out in advance. 

October 8, 2012

Gracias Panama, Hello Asheville

It's time to announce a big transition for me and the Local Beer Blog. Over the past few weeks, I've departed Panama and moved back to the US. Until further notice, the Local Beer Blog will be based out of BeerCity USA: Asheville, NC! Makes sense, right?

September 12, 2012

First Panama Homebrew Meeting - Thursday Sept. 13

Panama will have its first meeting of homebrewers and cerveceros caseros Thursday, September 13th at 9pm, at La Rana Dorada in Casco Viejo.

This will be an opportunity for homebrewers in Panama City to meet each other and begin to discuss the challenges facing homebrewers in Panama:

  • Where do we find equipment?
  • How can we purchase ingredients?
  • What about brewing in this tropical climate?
Homebrewers and anyone interested in the craft of beer-making is welcome to attend the event. Please RSVP via the Facebook event page.

September 4, 2012

Panama Homebrew #2: Riverbend Summer Ale

On my most recent trip to Asheville, NC, I was lucky enough to secure 12 pounds of 6-Row Pale Ale Malt from the artisanal maltsters at Riverbend Malt House. The bag of malt accompanied me throughout the rest of my trip -- to Nashville, Atlanta, and on up to Norfolk (by way of a Chicago layover). It was in my luggage for the flight down to Ft. Lauderdale, where I'd pick up my connection back to Panama. It was a little nerve-wracking going through customs with malt, hops, and various brewing chemicals in my suitcase, but luckily I made it through without a hassle.

August 21, 2012

How to Make Your Own Ginger Beer

Ginger Libation, a Panama hat, and an iron
bottle opener from BMW Ironworks.
At my family reunion this past June, my cousin Ben, a blacksmith, showed up with a couple bottles of Green River Ambrosia's Ginger Libation. It rocked my palate and sparked my curiosity. At a potent 8.5% ABV, the Libation will kick your ass if you're not careful.

I was intrigued by the list of ingredients: pineapple juice, lemon juice, lime juice, ginger, cane sugar. Hey, these are all easy to find in Panama. Why not give it a shot?

May 10, 2012

4 Easy Ways to Use Spent Grain

For everyone who celebrated National Homebrew Day on Saturday, this one's for you:

One issue that most brewers have to deal with is spent grains. After mashing your grains with water to draw out the fermentable sugars, what do you do with all that leftover grist? While some breweries are happy to give the grains away to farmers for livestock feed, others are forced to just throw it away.

After my recent brew day, I tried four different ways to reuse that spent grain:

April 12, 2012

Finally: Homebrewing in Panama!

At long last -- after a good ten weeks of buying, importing, and smuggling equipment and ingredients, I am officially homebrewing in Panama!

This also marks my first exploit into all-grain brewing. Instead of using a combination of malt extract and grains, all-grain brewing obtains fermentable sugars exclusively from malted grains. I used the "Brew in a Bag" (BIAB) method for this first attempt, eliminating the need for a big pieces of equipment: a mash tun. Instead of mashing the grain in one container and boiling the wort with another, the Brew in a Bag method allows you to do everything in one vessel.


First, let me introduce you to a few of my new toys:

March 17, 2012

Imbibe Mag: 6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Irish Stout This St. Paddy's

Some amazing recipes for cooking with your Irish Stout in Imbibe Magazine the other day. I've made Chocolate Stout Cupcakes before using some of my very own homebrew (cerveza casera en espanol) -- they were "pure evil."

Now, for the true beer nerd with too much time on their hands (per NPR):



Everyone have a safe and enjoyable St. Patty's Day!

-D

February 18, 2012

1 Million Homebrewers in the US!

The American Homebrewers Association has reached record membership of over 30,000 members. Plus, they estimate there to be over 1 million homebrewers in the United States alone!

You can see the article at the Brewer's Association website or just check out this nifty graphic:

January 27, 2012

Cooking with Beer

One major benefit of being a homebrewer is that you often have a variety of really good beer on hand. This surplus of cerveza, while keeping you and everyone you know sufficiently buzzed, also lends itself to experimentation in the kitchen. Over the past couple months, I've used beer to make stir-fried brussels sprouts, spicy spent grain stew, and chocolate stout cupcakes.

Pale Ale & Garlic Brussels Sprouts

My girlfriend and I really love brussels sprouts. Sure, by themselves they're pretty bitter, but if you cook them right (for me that usually means lots of garlic), they're delicious. Plus, they're really good for you. Brussels have practically no fat (we'll fix that don't worry), are packed with vitamins C and K, have a nice dose of fiber and protein, and are low in the glycemic index. So, when I saw this recipe from Stone's new cookbook on BillyBrew.com, I knew I had to give it a shot - with a few personal tweaks, of course.

Steps 1 - 3: Steam 1 pound of brussels in salted water for about 4 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Slice the brussels in half lengthwise.

Brussels post-steam and about 6 cloves chopped garlic.

Steps 4 - 5: Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (that's good fat!). Start with high heat but take it down to medium before it starts smoking. Add 1/4 pound diced pancetta (the tasty fat!) and cook til brown.

Not good fat - but yummy fat.
Steps 6 - 7: Add 6 cloves of minced garlic. Turn up the heat and add the brussels. Stir fry for 4 - 5 minutes.


Step 8: Add a bottle of pale ale. Nothing excessively hoppy, because the beer will cook down and that bitterness will be condensed. The recipe calls for Stone Pale Ale, but since I didn't have any of that, I used some of my homebrewed Amarillo Pale Ale in a Stone IPA bottle. Is that wrong? I don't think so. Cook til the beer is almost all gone.


Steps 9 - 11: Use a 1/4 cup of vegetable stock to deglaze the pan, let it cook off completely, and transfer the brussels to a bowl or serving dish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with sun-dried tomatoes and parmigiano-reggiano cheese and serve!


Yup, I ate it all in one sitting.  The only thing I'd do differently next time is make sure that pancetta is nice and crispy.  Man, I'm getting hungry...

Spicy Grain Soup


Whether a homebrewer or a commercial brewer, one question that comes up a lot is what to do with your grains after they've been mashed. I suppose you could just throw them out with the garbage, but I usually compost my spent grains and trub. The grains, however, can also be used to make bread, cookies, or in this case, soup. I decided to hold on to some of my spent grains to use in this recipe from Food & Wine in place of the barley, bulgur, and rice.

Long story short, this soup came out great. Basically I skipped steps 1 and 2 from the original recipe because the grains we already cooked through the brewing process. You start by sauteing the onions, garlic, and chile peppers, roughly chopped because it all gets pureed in the blender later. Then comes the broth, cilantro, diced tomatoes, and seasonings. Just for fun, I substituted about half of the vegetable stock with some of my homebrewed chocolate stout.


After cooking this mixture for 45 minutes, it all gets pureed together. ***Let the soup cool a little before you blend it and be careful. You don't want hot soup to spill all over you, so fill the blender less than half way full to start with, blend in small batches, and hold the top on TIGHT. You'll end up with something like this:


Then come the mushrooms, black beans, carrot, zucchini and parsnips. Trader Joe's carries a bag of pre-diced parsnips and rutabagas that will work just fine.




For the last step, all I had to do was take a couple cups from my spent grains and throw them in the soup. There's still plenty of protein and fiber in those grains to make this a very healthy meal! Unlike what we have here for dessert...


Chocolate Stout Cupcakes


I don't have any photos from this experiment, but let me tell you -- these were pure evil, in the best sense of the word. My girlfriend and I made these right before Christmas using this recipe from the Food Network. Again, I used my chocolate stout in this recipe, but I'm sure Guinness will work just fine. The only tweaks we made were to use margarine instead of butter and to cut the powdered sugar in the cream cheese icing down to 3/4 cup. That was plenty sweet for us.


These turned out to be some of the best cupcakes I've ever had. They were super moist for days and the icing had flavor, not just sugar. From scratch is really the way to go.


So get in the kitchen already -- what can you make with homebrew or beer from your local brewery?

November 15, 2011

Homebrew for Hunger Festival Recap

First of all, welcome to all new subscribers!  Glad to have you on board!

This past Saturday was the 1st Annual Homebrew for Hunger Festival and it was a blast! I really enjoyed sharing my beer, getting feedback, and talking to people about homebrewing in general. Best of all, the event raised close to $6,000 and collected about 200 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. That's enough for over 25,000 individual meals, or three meals a day for over 8,500 people dealing with hunger!

November 5, 2011

Homebrewing for the Holidays

It's that time of year. The leaves are changing and it's getting nice and cold. With this weather comes stronger beers to keep us warm, and with the holiday season approaching it's a good time to add some celebratory spices to our brews.

All cliches aside, I'm getting to work on a Winter Spiced Ale. It's from the Winter Wassail recipe found in the Homebrewer's Garden, scaled down to 3 gallons and with few minor tweaks:

8 oz. 2 Row Carahelles
8 oz. American 6 Row
4 oz. Crystal 120 malt
4 oz. Crystal 60 malt
3 lbs. Golden Light LME

.5 oz. Cascade :40
.25 oz Cascade :20
.5 oz. Saaz :2
(Here's where it gets a little crazy)

October 23, 2011

Homebrew for Hunger

Hey folks, just want to share with you an event happening next month.  The first annual Homebrew for Hunger festival will place on November 12th in Chapel Hill, NC, benefitting the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.  Homebrewers from around the area will be sharing their concoctions.

WHO: Sponsored by several North Carolina businesses, the event will feature over 30 homebrewers and at least four craft breweries teaming up to support the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
WHAT: A beer festival focused on homebrewing, with tastings, educational sessions, and raffles.  Tickets are just $20 ($25 day of the event).
WHEN: 12pm-5pm, November 12th, 2011
WHERE: West End Public, 462 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC
WHY: To share the art of homebrewing while preventing hunger this upcoming holiday season.

Homebrewers who bring their beer can get into the festival for free.  Also, attendees may earn free raffle tickets for bringing in a canned food donation (max of 3).

Now I love drinking for a good cause, but I'm also bringing down three of my latest brews to get some feedback from the public:

Walker's Chocolate Stout - a dark, roasty stout brewed with cocoa powder
Oregano Hoptoberfest - a smoky pale ale with a heavy dose of oregano - won 2nd Place in the Spice, Herb, Vegetable Beer Category at the Virginia Beer Blitz!
Amarillo Pale - This is a remake of the base beer from the Amarillo Peach I did a while back.  The original came out pretty well; this time around I want to reduce the body and increase the hops.

It should be a great event!  More info at the festival website.  Go ahead and get your tickets here.

September 27, 2011

Walker's Chocolate Stout

My Oregano Hoptoberfest is still chugging away, but with a new carboy in the mix I thought I'd go ahead and get started on another batch. To stay on the experimental streak, I'm making a chocolate stout and will divide the batch into two parts. Half of it will stay as is and to the other I will add a type of mint I have in my garden called Walker's Low. Adding mint was partially inspired by the "dry-minted" Black & Red from Dogfish Head, but I've found Eric Steen's work out in Colorado encouraging as well.

Here's the recipe I came up with:

1 lb. Briess 2-Row Caramel 60L Barley Malt
0.5 lb Roasted Barley
0.5 lb Crisp Black Malt
0.5 lb Crisp Chocolate Malt
6 lbs. Briess Golden LME
1 lb. Lactose Powder (non-fermentable sugar for sweetness)
4 oz. Cocoa Powder
1 oz. Northern Brewer hops (at start of boil)
1 oz. Fuggles hops (at 15 mins to go)
White Labs Irish Ale Yeast
1 oz. Walker's Low (leaves added to secondary fermentation for half the batch)
Estimated ABV: 5.9%

Just blowing off some krausen.
I mashed the grains for 1 hour and tried something new: I did a vorlauf, brew-speak for running the wort back through your spent grains to improve clarity. I mixed up the cocoa powder in about a cup of water before adding it to the boil so as to avoid clumping. I had some technical issues with my new carboy, so I had a hard time getting precise reading of volume and temperature. As a result, I think the wort was a little warm for when I added the yeast -- the next day I had krausen (foam) coming up through the airlock. To prevent some kind of disaster, I rigged up a blow-off tube to give all that foam a place to go.

Check out my Brewing 101 post for a more detailed description of the homebrewing process.

September 13, 2011

Oregano Hoptoberfest

As promised in my Oktoberfest post, it's time to fill you in on my latest homebrewing experiment: an Oregano Hoptoberfest.  It won't be an Oktoberfest so much as a Pale Ale -- an Oktoberfest is a malt-driven lager whereas this will be (hopefully) a hoppier ale.  With oregano.  The name I came up with is as much a salute to the season as it is descriptive of the final brew.  In any case, it's got a nice ring to it.

My recipe was inspired by the Oregano Pale Ale recipe in The Homebrewer's Garden, which you can find here on the Brewlog.  I made some changes to try to get the beer closer to an IPA, but with still a bit of German influence:

6 lbs Golden LME
1 lb Organic Munich Malt 10L (catch the German reference?)
1 lb Organic Caramel Malt 20L (gotta love organic)
.75 lb Smoked Malt
1 oz. Northern Brewer hops for 60 mins
1 oz Centennial hops for 30 mins
.5 oz Tettnanger hops (German) for 15 mins
1 oz fresh, locally grown oregano for 15 mins
.5 oz Tettnanger hops for 5 mins
Wyeast American Ale yeast

Estimated IBUs: 65
Estimated ABV: 5.8%

Alright, so there's a lot going on here -- some malts to give the beer a copper color and a hint of smokiness, some stronger American hop varieties paired with a more mellow German one, and of course the oregano, which I found to be pretty pungent.  I'm very curious to see how it all turns out.  Here's how things went down on brew day (exactly two years after my first brew day!):

Here are the different hops and the oregano, all ready to go, in the order that they'll be added to the boil.  The camera flash really brings out the difference between the hops.

Then we mash the grains (in other words, steep at around 150-155F for 45 mins):


Next, the grains are strained from the wort and rinsed with hot water: 


We add some filtered water to get the boil volume right, then add the liquid malt extract:


Now we're cooking!  The hops start going in, following the recipe schedule:


Now the oregano.  I had this straining bag that's gonna save me the trouble of trying to remove the oregano leaves.  I tasted some of the run-off from the bag and boy was it bitter!:


At the end of the 60 minute boil, the wort cools, the yeast gets thrown in, and then we wait.  I should be
 able to bottle this batch in about two weeks, then it should age for about a month to let the oregano mellow out.

I'll keep you posted!

UPDATE:

10/24/11 - Oregano Hoptoberfest placed 2nd out of 12 entries in the Spice, Herb, and Vegetable Beer category at the 5th annual Virginia Beer Blitz!

August 31, 2011

Beer Book: The Homebrewer's Garden

The Homebrewer's Garden: How to Easily Grow, Prepare, and Use Your Own Hops, Malts, Brewing HerbsThis book was written for the true Do-It-Yourself-er. The Homebrewer's Garden is all about growing and using with your own ingredients for making beer. The authors explain clearly and in depth what it takes to grow hops, grains, and herbs for your homebrew. Included are diagrams and complete instructions for:
  • building a hop trellis
  • planting hops rhizomes and caring for the bines
  • building an oast (for drying your hops)
  • growing over 40 different herbs to use in your beer (including basil, coriander, mint, and rosemary)
  • growing, harvesting, and malting your own barley and other brewing grains
The authors also include over 25 recipes to get you started brewing with your homegrown ingredients: Mixed Berry Porter, Oregano Pale Ale, Ginger Ale, Quinoa Bitter, Chicha de Jora, Pumpkin Ale, and Dandelion Stout, just to name a few.

Whatever your skill in brewing, this book will open up countless new possibilities! Check it out!

August 24, 2011

Brewing 101: Amarillo Pale/Amarillo Peach

Since my previous post on homebrewing, I've been mighty busy visiting breweries in North Carolina and Virginia - and working on my next batch of beer.  Several of you offered some good tips, so I made a few modifications to the recipe.  If you're interested in making your own beer, this post will give you a taste of what's involved.

Here's the updated recipe for what I decided to call Amarillo Pale and Amarillo Peach:

1 lb. Flaked Wheat
1 lb. Organic Carapils Malted Barley
3 lbs. Briess Pilsen Extra Light LME (liquid malt extract)
3 lbs. Wheat LME
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 oz. Amarillo hops for 60 mins
1/4 oz. Amarillo hops for the final 15 mins
1/4 oz. Amarillo hops for the final 5 mins
WLP001 California Ale Yeast
The 5 gallon batch is to be divided into three parts, two of which will utilize locally-grown, hand-picked peaches as adjuncts.


1.  The first, least glamorous, but probably most important, step in making beer is to sanitize everything that may come in contact with your beer.  Otherwise you risk getting bacteria or wild yeast in your beer that could ruin the whole batch.

2.  Steep the grains if you have them.  In this case I did a "mini-mash" using a pound of flaked wheat for body and a pound of organic Carapils malted barley for flavor and fermentable sugar.  I put the grains into a gallon of water and did my best to keep the temperature between 150F and 155F to pull the enzymes from the mash without over-cooking them.


3.  Next, strain the grains, reserving the water (now called wort) and wash, or sparge, the grains with hot water to make sure you get all the good stuff out.  You can discard these spent grains now - mine go straight to the compost.


4.  Then mix in the malt extract and turn up the heat.  I used 3 lbs extra light liquid malt extract and 3 lbs wheat liquid malt extract, hoping for a light-colored beer with a decent amount of alcohol content.  Most homebrewers lack the equipment necessary to process 10-20 pounds of grain, so a malt extract, either driy (DME) or liquid (LME), is an easy way to get fermentable sugars into your wort.   Homebrewers might start with all-extract recipes and work their way up to all-grain as they become more proficient.


5.  Now the countdown begins.  I boiled the wort for 1 hour, adding the hops at different points in the boil to achieve bitterness, flavor, and aroma.  I chose Amarillo hops to (hopefully) complement the peaches.

Hops for homebrewing usually come in pellet form.
6.  When the boil is over, cool the wort to less than 90F.  Move to your primary fermenter, add enough water (preferably filtered) to make 5 gallons.  Take a reading of the Original Gravity (to calculate alcohol content later), then pitch the yeast.

7.  Over the next several days, the yeast will feed on the sugars in the beer, thus producing alcohol and CO2.

8.  About halfway through fermentation, move your beer from one container to another, adding any additional ingredients that you may have.  In this case, peaches, which I had already sliced, pitted, and frozen beforehand.  Amarillo Pale got no peaches, Amarillo Peach got two, and Amarillo Double Peach got four.

Amarillo Peach on the left, Amarillo Pale, and Amarillo Double Peach.
In ten days or so, we'll bottle it up!