Archive for the beer! Category

Fresh Hops!

fresh off the vine

My buddy Dana invited me to check out his hops harvest last weekend. It was the first time I have ever picked a hop off a vine.
We did the whole rub-it-to-bits-in-your-hand-and-taste-it thing as well. Very cool!

This year he is growing some Willamette and some Cascades. The Willamette vines was hampered by aphids this year, and he got just enough to use as some aroma hops for a single batch. The Cascade vine on other hand was large and healthy. Next weekend, we are going to brew two similar batches using his fresh hops!

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Let’s Brew: kegging your homebrew

kegging

It’s time for the final installment of the Greenethumb Rye series. In part one, we brewed a batch of all grain rye beer, then in part two we racked it to the secondary fermentor for a nice clarification stage. Along the way, we have laughed, we have cried, but more importantly have generously dry-hopped our beer for bright and citrusy american hop aroma. And now here we stand- at the final stage. Let’s tackle the few remaining tasks so we can soon enjoy the frutis of work well done – along with a healthy dose of alcohol :)

Let’s get down to business, shall we?

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First shot at a double decoction mash

A couple weeks back I tried a decoction mash for the first time. It was a interesting to say the least. I started about 2pm and finished after midnight. The total brew time was 10hrs 19mins!

For those of you who, like me, have little experience the decoction process, here is some brief background about what the decoction mash process is all about.

The decoction mash is a mashing routine that has been around for a very long time, and is the traditional German method. It was invented as a means of controlling the temperature of more and more complicated mashing schedules.

It involves starting the mash with a basic infusion of hot water, but instead of directly heating the mash or adding more hot water to raise the temperature (the ‘step’ mash method) to the next step, a portion of the mash is removed brought to a boil and returned back to the mash.

We are now nearing the boundary of my decoction knowledge, but check this series of decoction mashing videos for more information. This guy is great.

Anyway, here are some pics from my first decoction go-round:

The first decoction coming to a boil:
the first stage of the decoction starts to boil

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Let’s brew: racking to the secondary

one more angle

It has been a couple weeks since we brewed our all-grain red rye, and it’s about time we transfer (aka ‘rack’) the brew from the primary fermentor to the secondary. Compared to the mashing and boiling we did last article, this should be a breeze.

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Let’s brew: all grain demo

I got into all grain brewing about 8 months ago, after about a half dozen batches of extract. I really like how you can fine tune the grain bill, and tweak times and temperatures of your mash to emphasize and alter certain characteristics of the grain. People have this notion that all grain brewing is difficult. It’s not! It just takes some extra time and equipment.

more grain being added to the strike water

Gather your ingredients, sanitize your gear and get ready to brew…. or just sit back and have a read. Today, we are brewing a red rye beer… affectionately dubbed Greenethumb Rye.

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