Saturday, April 23, 2011

Back from Belize and at it again

Just got back from Belize; it was a great honeymoon and I think it is going to be hard to get back into the swing of things. Although yesterday, I put the previously fermenting On Golden Blonde ale and Bellamy Amber ale into kegs. They tasted great and I think the adjustment in the water chemistry really helped. Both of them are a little more complex tasting than usual.  Sounds highfalutin, eh?

I also brewed another one yesterday, Busted Wing honor of Jeff and his recent shoulder surgery. I had to use Simcoe leaf hops instead of the pellets I planned on and I didn't like that. Those damn Simcoe pellets are hard to come by! Something went wrong and it boiled down too far in the kettle (or my sight glass was loose) and I had to chase with water into the fermentor to get the volume and correct OG. You can always taste when a beer has been diluted rather than brewed to the correct gravity. It came out more like a pale ale than an IPA. I was disappointed, but it may still be a nice drinker. We'll see, it is fermenting now. I was thinking about maybe dry hopping it with Citra or Cascade, what do you think? I have a solid IPA recipe and next time I will execute it correctly, promise. Might have to sub out the Simcoe for a more readily available pellet hop...I was thinking maybe Bravo...not sure though. Maybe I was just out of whack coming back from vacation or maybe it was because my co-brewer was laid up. I'll let you know how it tastes when it finishes up next weekend!
Toured the Belikin Brewery right before we flew out of Belize. It's amazing to me that there is ONE brewery for the entire country...we're spoiled. The beer is your typical Central American fare...nothing spectacular, but a nice beach beer. By the way, the tour was a rip-off, $15 and 10 minutes long. Although, you did get all the beer you could drink in an hour...I tried to make my money back.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And Then There Were None

Yes, I knew this day would come. The taps runneth dry, my friends. On the same day that Jeff and I brewed two new beers, the last two on tap kicked. The brew day went great and was actually really easy to mash the second beer while the first was in the boil kettle. We brewed an Amber and a Blonde. I was happy how smoothly the day went considering I was up until 2:30 am the night before rewriting recipes and trying to get my brewery controller to work...whoops. I guess I should back up files before I update software. We fooled around a lot yesterday with water chemistry and we added some salts that I think will give the beers a little more complexity. Well, I'm off on our belated honeymoon to Belize tomorrow, so I'll let these beers bubble until I get back!

No beers on the board! Though, two new ones bubble away...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Like you needed another excuse to enjoy Colorado brews

April 8th-16th. What a great excuse to go out and support your Colorado craft brewers. So, get out there and maybe visit some of the Colorado breweries that you haven't been to before...or tell your buddies about your favorite local brewery and bring them along.

Go to for more information on events and breweries. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Keezer

I guess I have never really posted a photo of my serving setup. I have a converted chest freezer with temperature control to dispense the brew from kegs ...therefore called a keezer....clever, right? I didn't come up with that name, the home brewing community did! The chalk board (used chalkboard paint) on the front is nice for updating the 4 beers on tap. I also encased the lid of the keezer with wood and stained it. I put 4" casters on the bottom of it so I can roll it away from the wall easily to load and unload kegs. It was getting difficult to slide a keezer full of kegs along the floor, I'm old. In the photo, you can also see the sweet tap handle my brother gave me as a groomsman gift for his says "Lowell Brewing Co". I guess this is also "my area" of the house where I can hang my Red Sox memorabilia!

Getting ready to pour a flight of brews for my lunch guests. I'm making a stupid face, but it's a nice shot of the keezer...thanks, Abby.

I'll be brewing TWO beers this Saturday in anticipation of my folks coming to visit at the beginning of May. I'll be making Blonde and Amber ales. Each of them won't be too hoppy, but will be well-balanced with the amber having slightly more malt character (this is how I hope they will turn out). My parents definitely have not embraced the hops yet and my Dad instantly gets a headache and is hungover every time he has a hoppy beer. No idea why that happens, but I feel like he'll start to acquire that taste for hops that all of us who live in Colorado have! My Mom usually likes the lighter beers, in both body and hops...the Blonde ale should be great for her. Wish me luck, it'll be a very long brew day!

The beginnings of the beers...yeast and grain!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2 taps down.....on to the next round

So, I just bottled off the kegs into some bombers. The Brother and Kitchen Sink are done, but I was able to get two bottles of the Brother and six bottles of the Kitchen Sink. I also got about 4 bombers each of the other two beers on tap. Although, Sally's Lil' Slice of Heaven is close to being kicked too! Big Townie Brown still has a couple of gallons left in the keg...I think...unless Micah has been sneaking pints again. So, on to the next beers. Like I said this round will be a little more sessionable. I'll be brewing two beers next weekend and I know one will be an Amber, but I'm not sure about the second one. It is going to be the lightest beer in the lineup, so I was thinking either a Blonde or Wheat. I'm putting it to a vote....what does everyone think will be a light drinking crowd-pleaser? Post a comment and let me know.

The kicking of the kegs also means that there will not be a Lowell Brewing Strong Ale festival :( . Though, I'll have to have another one with the sessionable beers coming up, not to worry, local friends. I'll keep you posted.

Previously, this week, Jeff and I bottled 5 different beers in 20 bottles for the NHC. Hopefully, one of them makes it past the first round. If anything, it is a great opportunity to get some feedback on the beers from certified judges. 

Hoping one of the beers is #1! Moxie looks like Zuul...

I'll check back  soon, but in the meantime, let me know which beer is your favorite light-drinker between a Wheat and a Blonde (sounds like the beginning of a bad joke)...