Back to brewing

One of the hobbies I haven’t taken time for lately is homebrewing. I’ve been sampling a lot of different beers, but I haven’t gotten around to cleaning my equipment and brewing my own. Today I changed that.

IMG_3631I decided to do an extract brew today for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t want to clean ALL of my equipment, and an extract brew allows me to skip a bunch of the steps in making beer. Secondly, I wanted to keep it very simple for myself. Mostly because I haven’t brewed in a while, and I wanted to experience the joys of homebrewing, with as few headaches as possible. To that end I even chose a dirt simple recipe that I’ve won an award for in the past.

My Minnehaha Blonde Ale is a very simple brew, and I got first place at the Nordeast Homebrew Competition a year ago with it. I started by first converting the all-grain recipe to an extract, and then hit the LHBS to grab what I needed. In this case, 6 lbs. of LME-Light and 1 lbs. of DME-Light. I then add 1 oz. of Styrian Goldings at first wort, and 1 oz. of Saaz at the end. Ferment with WYeast (1272) American Ale II and you’re done. I really like the aroma of the Saaz with the American Ale II yeast and it’s a lot of what I think makes this beer so enjoyable.

As I type this I’m enjoying a nice light rain as the beer boils at the edge of my garage. Because I have a kettle that can hold it all, I’m doing a full-volume extract boil, as this will also help with hop utilization, color, and overall smoothness of the finished product. This also makes water calculations dead simple, since I know how much I boil off per hour, how much gets left in my kettle from siphoning, and what I need to finish with in my fermentor. It’s a simple addition game and all I had to do was add the extract while I heated up most of the water, then top it off to the level I needed for the boil.

IMG_3629In a couple weeks I’ll toss this into the keg and carbonate it up. Then I need to start thinking about my next brew. Because we’re getting close to fall, I think a nice brown ale might be in order.

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