Friday, February 25, 2011

Just Checking In

I just wanted to stop in and say hello! We have not been brewing lately. It has been way too cold out to brew. We brew in the garage so once it warms up a bit we will be back at it.

Can't wait to fill you all in as soon as we are brewing again!

The Teche Family

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Batch #7 - Cream Ale for Cherry Beer - Final Attempt of the year.

Batch Size: 5.5 Gallons Wort Size: 5.5 Gallons
Preboil Wort Size: 6.47 Gallons

Grain: .5 Lbs Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt
Extract: 6 lbs Muntons DME - Extra Light
Hops: 1 oz Cascade Pellet Hops
Yeast: Danstar Nottingham Dry Yeast (We upgraded the recipe to 2 packs of yeast)

- We did this one inside. Decided not to use the new burner and avoid the cold.
- Added 4 Gallons of Festival Drinking Water to the 33 quart pot and begain the boil.
- 150 degree steep of the grains for 30 minutes.
- After steep, brought to a boil and added extract. Killed the boil temp with the extract, but brought it up relatively quickly again.
- On a suggestion, left a wooden spoon in the wort during the boil to control the break. The break was not nearly so difficult. We kept our squirt bottles handy and kept stirring, and managed our temperature better (turned down heat as we needed). We had no boil-over.
- We boiled 3 additional gallons of water after the break in a second pot and added the boiling water to the wort at 5 minutes to go. Probably a bad idea, but have to keep trying to make things easier ;)
- Dragged the boil outside to cool with the immersion chiller. Cooled to 75 degrees in around 10 minutes and brought it back in to transfer to the primary fermenter.
- Let it cool to 72 degrees before pitching the yeast.
- Initial Gravity: 1.048

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Batch #6 - Cream Ale for Cherry Beer - FAILURE#3

Again, we try this batch. We replaced the extract, grains, and drinking water we used in the first attempt of this batch (Batch #5).
- We used less water in our initial boil, and settled on 4 gallons in the pot.
- Steep was normal. 150degrees for 30 minutes. We ground the grain again ourselves with the magic bullet.
- Extract didn't boil over as much this time, but we still managed a small amount. (We haven't had a boil yet where we were able to handle the break)
- Hops additions were per recipe.
- We boiled outside and used the immersion chiller to cool.
It started to go wrong at this point.
- We tried purchasing a different carboy cap for this batch, and didn't realize it was a blowoff cap. It would only fit hoses, the standard airlock wouldn't go. Be actually broke an airlock trying to make it work.
- We decided to leave batch with a cap on it while we got a new cork. Unfortunately, all the stores were closed at this point. We found a cork cap at menards without a hole in it, but for some reason, decided not to bother with messing with it that night. The next day, April went to Plan-It Earth - a local healthfood store (they have a brewers section) and picked up a few rubber stoppers. Unfortunately, neither of them fit, but the bigger problem was, the wort now smelled like strained peas after sitting overnight. The smell was completely repulsive to both of us.
- Again, rather than continuing, we dumped the batch.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Batch #5 - J.A.K.E.'s Boot Reer - FAILURE#2

Tonight we tried our hands at root beer making. Jared and I had the boys helping. I think they liked it but did not really enjoy the work. But who enjoys work? We bought a bottle of the flavoring and followed the directions that it came with. It really was very easy. If we like this we will be making some more!

We started with four and a half gallons of water. It said that it should be room temp but we did not have any that was not ice cold. So we boiled some up and used the immersion chiller to cool it down to ninety eight degrees. Jared using the immersion chiller on the bucket of water. I have to warn you that a lot of the pictures were taken by the kids. I wanted to get them as involved as I could.
A close up of the immersion chiller. We have already sent this one in to get printed. It will be going on our beer wall!
We used one pack of Champagne yeast.
We let the yeast soak for a bit in room temp water, as per the directions.
The Teche boys sterilizing bottles
We used eight cups of sugar. The above picture is of Kellen stirring the sugar into the water to dissolve it and Ethan adding the sugar
Now they are reversed. Kellen is pouring and Ethan is stirring
Adding the flavoring. I only added half of the bottle to start with.
Kellen stirring the flavor in
First taste test
Thumbs up! We thought that it tasted a little light on the flavoring so we added the rest of the bottle. Then it was too strong so we added another cup of sugar. So we have a grand total of nine cups of sugar and one full bottle of flavor. After the last taste test we stirred in the yeast and water. And then we were onto the bottling
We bottled some of the Boot Reer in half gallon growlers. The above picture is of Kellen getting a growler filled
Ethan filling a growler
We also filled some bottles. This is a bottle being filled. Our filler wand broke just before we were going to use it so I had to use the auto siphon to fill. It was a pain and messy. With having two kids helping we had a few over filling problems.
Ethan working hard to cap his bottle
A beautiful filled growler
Kellen capping
More of Kellen capping. Watching the boys cap was VERY funny. The faces that were made were hilarious!

In total we made four gallons of Boot Reer. We are storing it in the tub just in case a few of them explode. We are expecting to have a few bottle bombs on our hands. I will post again how it tastes and if any explode.

I am thinking that a Boot Reer float party is in order this weekend!

The root-beer didn't turn out. The flavor is fine, but there is zero carbonation. No pop, no fizz when you open the bottles. We tried the same trick with the beer, moving the bottles in front of a heat register, but this didn't help. We're pouring our our first attempt and trying again soon. We still hoep to have a successful root-beer by Christmas.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cool Beer Picture That I Took

I was trying to get artsy and hit on a good picture! I took this as we were bottling the pumpkin ale. Jared and I have already framed it we loved it so much! We are going to have a wall of neat beer/ brewing pictures. So if you have any good ones that I might like and you don't mind me using please send them to me. My e-mail is

Completed Cream Ale

On Saturday night we taste tested the completed Cream Ale that we had bottled two weeks ago.Yes I am a dork. I made a sign so I could tell what was what on the camera and then decided to use the pictures!
Jared pouring the first beer
Taste testing it.

Now, both Jared and I thought that the brew was a good one. We did notice that the carbonation was low. We wonder if we kept it in too cool of a spot. We have since moved the storage of beer upstairs. Just to see. But otherwise the flavor was good and the color was also good. Not a bad first beer!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Batch #4 - Cream Ale for Cherry Beer. - FAILURE#1

We used the same recipe for Cream ale for this batch we used for Batch #1.
As with the Red Ale, we brewed in a 33 quart enameled stock pot.
We used the same new toys from that batch (brewed the same day).
Unfortunately, we didn't get far on this batch. We added the full 6.5 gallons of water to the pot. We steeped the grain as normal, grinding the grains with the magic-bullet. After steep, we brought to a boil and added the malt extract.

Right after the extract, we brought to a boil again and ran into major issues. Unfortunately, I couldn't stop laughing as our expensive extract boiled right out of the pot, but I would guess we lost nearly 1/4 of the extract onto the garage floor. We hemmed and hawed for a few minutes, but decided that this batch should now be abandoned. I poured the remaining wort into the drive-way and we cleaned up.