Posts from the ‘homebrew’ Category

Homebrew Adventure Day #40 – Krausen Krausen Krausen

Krausen Krausen Krausen

Well- this is one active beer!  The farts got so bad on Sunday that I had to install a blow off tube.  It worked perfectly and the beer has been happily bubbling ever since.  Tonight I switched back to the airlock and this is how we’re looking now.

Can’t wait to try this puppy!  Cheers!


Homebrew Adventure Day #37 – Brew Day!

Saturday, August 14, 2010 – a day that will live in infamy…

Ok, well, that  may be sort of blasphemous, but it certainly will live in infamy to me.


On Saturday, August 14, 2010, I brewed my first beer.


It was fun and exciting and hard and frustrating and hilarious and super and I’m in love…

Armed with the knowledge I’d gained from reading The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian, the equipment I’d purchased, and the support of my home brewing Twitfriends, I set out to brew a Belgian Black IPA.  Here is the story of my journey…


Great way to start of the Brew Day- the carboy melded into the plastic bucket. How did I solve it? Heat them both in a hot water bath.



Good ol' fashioned Brooklyn water


16oz of Special B, 16 oz of Crystal 20L


The malts steeped for 30 minutes at 155°F, and yes- that is 10lbs of Liquid Dark Malt extract loosening up next to it


The magical recipe


3 oz Warrior Hop Pellets, 4 oz Cascade Hop Pellets, WLP 530 Abbey Ale Yeast


Can you tell that I'm excited?

Brewer's World

This was my brewer's world...





Muppet feet

Pay no attention to the Muppet feet...

Pain in the BIPA

Introducing... Pain in the BIPA

So this is love

So this is love...

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Homebrew Adventure, Day #17 – Mikkeller’s Yeast Series Study

Ok- so, this is actually getting posted a bit out of sequence, but I did sample and review these 5 samples from Mikkeller Yeast Series on Day #17 of my homebrew adventure.

I think what Mikkel Borg Bjergsø is doing for the beer community is unparalleled right now in educational value.  Having these “Single Hop“, “Yeast” and even the Black Hole “Barrel” series have been essential to my education as a beer drinker and will give me a leg up for home brewing.

Here are my reviews of five of the yeast series beers, brewed with the same base single malt, single hop beer.



1. American-Style:

Nose: Slight pepper

Taste: Dirty grapefruity citrus and a bitter after taste show that this yeast compliments the hop and definitely allows more of the hop flavor through.

2. Lager


Blogger’s Note: Honestly- I had nothing here on the nose.  It was a void to me.

Taste: More of a lean towards a malty flavor than the American-Style, this beer has a sweet start and a roasted finish.  It is refreshing and not overpowering.

3. Hefeweizen

Nose: Sweet corn, slight mesquite

Taste: In one word, it is Summer- light just like a witbier with the tang of natural orange cleaner.

4. Brettanomyces

Nose: Cherry Twizzlers, Red licorice shoe-strings

Taste: “FUNK-AY”  This beer is a very drinkable sour with fruity tones.  I called it fermented cranberry apple goodness, as well as my favorite of the bunch.

5. Belgian-Ale

Nose: Banana undertones, spice

Taste: Sweet and spicy deliciously ride on a wave of thick banana funk, proving that yeast really can make a all the difference.


Honestly, the difference between all of these brews was astonishing to me.  I assumed there would be slight differences, as I know that each style has different characteristics.  But the blatant, screaming differences created a shock and awe campaign upon my tongue- rendering my palate sated but tired.

If you are new to the brewing (or even tasting) scene, I strongly suggest that you invest in this journey as I did.  The rewards are well worth it (as are the bragging rights!)

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Homebrew Adventure, Day #11 – It has Arrived!


Hello, my name is Demijohn...

HORRAY! My equipment kit has arrived… missing the 71 page instructional book (okay, so maybe I don’t need that, but I paid for it!) and the thermometer.  The email is in to Midwest Supplies– I have a feeling I will get those pieces soon.  That picture up there is my carboy (Persian for “big jug”) sitting in the 6.5 gallon buckets.

Homebrew equipment

Pandora's bag? You be the judge...

Still to get- a 4-5 gallon kettle, bottle cleaner, bottles, and brewing ingredients.  I hear Whole Foods Bowery just got an extensive homebrew section that I’m excited to see.

The next question is… what to brew?  Kit or recipe has yet to be decided- but that’s for another post…

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Homebrew Adventure, Day #3- Bottling at New Jersey Beer Co.

On my way to becoming a homebrew superstar (which, I mean, come on people, we all know that I will be a SupaStar!)  I know that I will have many bumps and bruises to sort out.  That is why I have decided to become a sponge of sorts… but really, I just bug anyone I know who brews.  This includes my fellow BrewYork member Matt Steinberg and his crew from the New Jersey Beer Company, a startup brewery located in- you guessed it- New Jersey.  Luckily enough for me- Matt, Matt2 and Brendan had just set up their bottling line and were looking for volunteers to help bottle the Garden State stout, as they are embarking on that journey called distribution.  I figured, hey, why not hang out at a new brewery all day and ask lots of questions to help me on my homebrew shenanigans?

And that, my friends, is exactly what I did.

The following are a load of pictures that I (and Lee) took to document the momentous occasion.  I pestered, I prodded, and I learned; I figured I would never get invited back to NJBeerCo, so I threatened a beer pong ass-kicking for my next visit (men can’t turn that kind of stuff down!)

Matt and Taps

Matt Steinberg, Founder & President of New Jersey Beer Company

Garden State Stout

Garden State Stout- ready for bottling!

First- a beer!

Upon arriving at 10 A.M., our first order of business was to have a NJBeerCo brew straight from the tap... what better fuel for a long day of bottling?

Moxey gets a brew

Jonathan Moxey pours himself a Hudson Pale Ale to get ready for the day...

Keg cleaning

Jonathan gets to work with the keg cleaning machine.


Melanie and Lauren get to work on setting up cases and six packs.


Lee was the case taper-upper (so quick, even the camera couldn't handle him...)

The Super Crew

Us ladies are the best boxers around!


It was a bit steamy in the warehouse- Hey, Ma! My Italian is showing!

Ladies of Craft Beer

Three lovely Ladies of Craft Beer- Lauren, Me and Melanie- drinking our 1787 Spiced Abbey Ale

Clean Kegs

The keg cleaning machine up close (note the cute NJBeerCo symbol on the kegs!)

The fruits of our labor

Quick math- 150 cases of 4 six packs each = 3,600 bottles... yikes!

We don't mess around

This is my boxing face! We don't mess around here at NJBeerCo... unless beer pong is involved...

Give Me Stout or Give Me Death!

Give me stout or give me death!

Bottling Line of Doom

The Bottling Line of Doom- complete with lots of parts and no manual in sight!


There were lots of Sixtel to be cleaned...

Da Boys

The boys (Jonathan Moxey and Bob Olsen)- cleaning sixtels and taking names!

The Hop Bucket

The Hop Bucket


Dun dun dun duuuuuh! The grill- here to save the day!

Beer pong

Brewer Matt (Matt2) brings his pong face- lucky I spared him from embarrassment... this time...


Dancing in my NJBeerCo cap- complete with bottle opener and Moxey backup singer!

New Jersey Beer Company brews will be distributed in New Jersey really soon- check out their website for details.  We should, hopefully, be seeing some of their brews in the NYC area shortly as well.  A fall seasonal is in the works, as is their specialty imperial series.  The wait will be well worth it- New Jersey Beer Companyhas some great output and are wonderfully passionate beer people.


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Homebrew Adventure, Day #1… And the Journey Begins…

Hey hey hey, readers!

For quite awhile, I have known that I wanted to homebrew.  However, due to space and climate restrictions, I didn’t believe it possible.  My impatience in this matter has proven a virtue, leading me to the decision that I wouldn’t care about the rules and would follow the beat of my own drum, starting to homebrew even with the restraints set upon me.

Last week I went onto Amazon and bought Charlie Papazian’s book, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.  It arrived yesterday and, on the subway this morning, I learned from Michael Jackson (the beer aficionado, not the singer/songwriter) that Charlie had once dressed up like a blueberry pie.  Ironically enough, when I came home from work tonight, Charlie had posted on his facebook page (yes, that’s right, I’m his FRIEND mothatruckas!) a picture of that very same pie costume from the 1970s.  This is why I love the beer community- we’re all fun loving geeks with a zest for life and a passion for the experience.

I cannot put Charlie’s book down, and it has me so excited about homebrewing that I have decided to document my experience, hoping that I, too, can inspire that desire for the good ol’ kettle and the pride of sharing your homebrew creations in you, my loyal readers.  You, too, can experience the shenanigans along with me- hopefully learning about the process and my mistakes and successes along the way.

And so, tonight begins my long journey on the train track to homebrewership.  Fists will fly, cities (of malt) will burn, and beer will be brewed…

Are you prepared?

Tonight, the inaugural night of my travels, included a trip to Midwest Supplies online, where I sought this:

Brewing Starter Kit

Brewing Starter Kit, courtesy of

The Brewer’s Starting Kit is their most popular kit and includes all the equipment a girl could need for her first 5 gallon brew!  With some help from some homebrewing greats (and friends- you know who you are) I settled on this kit from Midwest because they have a great reputation for good equipment and great customer service.  I bought the kit and will sit like a puppy by the door until it comes home to mama.

Now, I will settle into bed, open up The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, and delve into the first chapter of my homebrewing life.

Relax, have a homebrew…

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Homebrew Review #3 – Joe Postma’s Brews

Joe Postma

Smilin' Joe - Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma

I have the pleasure of many beer friends who are also experimental home brewers, and among the most nerdy of them is Joe Postma.  Joe is Über passionate about beer and even carries around spectrophotometer with which to gauge the color of the beer he drinks.  It is adorable and heartening to see someone who cares so much about quality beer.

Joe was kind enough to pass along to me three of his recent homebrew creations: “Ababa”, originally brewed to mimic the Black IPA style; “Hot Chocolate”, a spicy chili stout; and “Tripel”, a Belgian Tripel.

Brewer Joe

Brewer Joe - Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma

“Ababa” was the first try of the night, and sadly, my least favorite of the bunch.  It featured a super dark, opaque pour and a yummy chalky dark chocolate aroma.  Throughout an evolving recipe, Joe grew this beer into something that was super hopped with Sorachi Ace hops.  The result was that of very bitter dirty earth.  Joe let me know that he was having some problems with carbonation on this brew, and it shows.  I think carbonation would make the brew much better by cutting some of the deep bitterness.  Overall, however, this brew is a commendable step on the right path toward Joe’s Black IPA goal, although the funky aftertaste leaves something to be desired.

Next,  I dove into “Hot Chocolate”, a Russian Imperial Stout made with ancho chilis and chocolate, inspired by Cigar City Brewing’s Hunahpu Stout.  This is my kind of beer, so I was SUPER excited to try it.  And, let me tell you, Joe does not dissapoint.  With a deep fudge and chocolate ganache icing aroma, like that of Entenmann’s Brownie Cake, this brew boasts a Mole-ish chocolate spice.  It reminds me of the Taza Aztec Guajillo Chili Chocolate that I once had from Whole Foods.  The brew has a nice semi-thickness to it that eases the sip, which burns nicely, not overwhelmingly- surprising for a 10.2% Chili stout!  “Hot Chocolate” was my favorite of the three and took the cake for the night.  Honestly, this beer could pass for professional grade and be sold on store shelves tomorrow.  Joe has taken obvious care with this brew and certainly reaped the rewards! Warning: This beer is not for the faint of spice…


Pour - Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma

Last, but definitely not least, came the “Tripel”.  For this brew, Joe went with the “less is more” mentality, and kept the beer to a few simple ingredients- Pilsner Malt, Belgian Candy Sugar, Hallertau Hops and Belgian Abbey yeast.  It is clearly a Belgian through and through, what with the smelling of florals, coriander, clove, Spring rain and bananas.  Oddly enough, Joe described this beer as very dry, while I received it as a super wet brew.  The Tripel was very refreshing and soft tasting.  Joe made good use of his tiny bubbles on this one.  Bananas are super prevalent on the taste of this brew as well- making it a good strong Belgian ale.

Whew!  All this homebrew tasting and writing is making me thirsty!  What do you think Joe?….. Joe?…………

Nothing gets between a man and his beer

Nothing gets between a man and his beer! Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma

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