The site here hasn't been updated in many months. But that definitely doesn't mean we've been away from brewing. Part of the problem has been that the info to log in was misplaced, lol. With that fixed, we get back on track.
Since we last posted in January, alot has happened and changed. In February, we got our kegerator and set it up with a temp. controller and set it up for kegging and basic cold storage. We've kegged almost all of our brews with that since then. it still needs to be finished, but at least we can keg and chill properly now.
We reproduced a few of our recipes over the months that we particularly enjoyed. Some included the Cider and the Pumpkin Ale. For the love of wheat beers, we produced many varieties of them over the year so far from German styles to Blue Moon Clones.
By the end of January, we converted over from Extract brewing to Partial Mash brewing. While it's only a slight modification from one to the other, it's closer to the ultimate goal of being an All-grain brewer and gives more control and understanding of the brewing process. We brewed alot of different styles under this new process from Red ales to Guinness Clones.
By the spring, we decided to add the next level to our brewery and bar by adding our own hops. So we planted 3 hop rhizomes: Mt. Hood (pictured above), Centennial, and Cascade hops. Being first year hops, they are obviously mostly just setting roots and doing a bit of growth. However, the Mt. Hood definitely did alot more than a typical first year and is still performing well as of this writing. The other two are more first year growth, but still doing well. Some of the hops have already been dried and stored for future use and others are drying now.
We have also begun with a brand new start up brewers guild. It's the Staunton Hombrewers Club. It's a startup club that emerged with the opening of the new homebrew store, Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company in Staunton, Va. With a great group of people and a great new store. We hope to be able to grow the club and make it a great place to do more homebrewing with friends.
Bringing us up to date leaves one last piece. Aside from the current brews that have been made and more in planning stages. We have just today brewed our first Lager. It's an Oktoberfest Marzen. With the kegerator in place, it was decided to move to the lager phase, being as it needs to be temperature controlled. We are eager to try it and see how we did.
We will continue to move forward with the brews and continue to expand on improving the bar and brewery and improving our recipes. With luck, we will be able to enter some of our beers into some contests and see how we do. If nothing else, to learn how to improve our beers.
We brewed the Hemli Red today. This was a partial mash brew and with it came alot of changes from the standard extract brew. This was definitely a learning curve and was met with some challenges. It was a good way to learn the process in order to move over to an all-grain brew. However, it didn't go without some mistakes and issues. So the ABV was a bit lower. But it'll be better next time, as we improve our process and get a bit better with it.
This was done following a yeast starter at a 2L volume on Monday. This I'm sure will help the process be a bit better over the dry yeast or no starter.
While not ideal, it is definitely good to move up a step and do it to hopefully a better quality. Unfortunately, this process, probably partially due to inexperince at partial mash, took longer than expected. But still fun to do.
Now that it's 2012, we are ready to take the New Year by storm! We have finally fully moved in and gotten situated. We have gotten through the holidays and are ready to brew.
To kick it off, we've done 2 brews. The Applefire Cider we did back in October got another run under its belt. We also added a new one to the mix, the Hemli Weissbier. It's a South German Wheat beer. This one will end up being a bit lighter than it is called for on the recipe. Due to the LHBS, which isn't so good, not having the means of giving me the proper ingredients. But it still is gonna be about 4%. So definitely not a light beer.
We have also preordered Willamette, Cascade, Centennial, and Mount Hood hop rhizomes. Those will allow us to plant our own hops and begin growing them in the spring. So with luck, this time next year we will be brewing our own beer with our own hops, very cool. We will also be adding a regular garden and will try to get some good additions growing as well to add to the future beers.
We also do have a bar at what we call Hemli's Bar and Brewery. It is just a temporary bar. We will completely redo it when the basement renovations get complete. It will look very cool. However, at least we have a bar at all! So it will definitely work for now.
The Hemli Wit has been brewed and is fermenting away. It was a
bit longer of a brew day today, with a few extra steps in the process. But well worth it and
should be a good one.The Hemli Wit is a good Belgian beer that
has a lighter body and is a bit lower ABV and IBU, but should taste really
good! This one has more malt added to it, but also has orange peel and coriander added to it for some spice.
Anyone have any suggestions as for what they would like to see us brew next? Drop us a line and like us on Facebook.
Just wanted to make sure you guys didn't think we'd given up and left the area, lol. We have had alot going on around here, but we are still moving along with our small production. We bottled up the Apple Cider and
it now looks like a store room at a package store down in the basement! We will be doing the Hemli Wit next week, a bit late, but definitely on the way.
We're into our first week after having bottled our Copper Road and racked over our Apple Cider. Both should be ready in its respective categories in another week. The Copper Road we will probably leave alone for 3 weeks before we try. It seems that a minimum of three weeks is best for the beer to reach drinkable status. So, with that being said, it seems that we need another brew day. Next up on the calendar will be
our Hemli Wit. It's a Belgium Witbier. That's Dutch for "white beer". This is a bit more complicated than the standard brews we have been doing. So this will definitely be more interesting and add some new elements to our brew day. This beer uses wheat as its primary grain and are pre-converted base malts. This
process will involve mashing the grains to convert the starches into sugars that will be used in the wort. This is similar to an all grain process, but not fully to that extent.
Today we did a few different things. We bottled the Copper Road Ale, which is at a solid 5.2% ABV and tastes a bit like an IPA, but not quite fully to that extent. We managed to get a full bottling of 53 beers. The second thing we accomplished today was to rack our Apple Cider from the primary over to the secondary. This one is at 5.9% ABV and is definitely alot smoother and easier to drink than the Apple Wine. That's
probably a bad thing, lol. We look forward to both being fully carbonated and a bit aged to get a real taste for it. We are still waiting for the Pumpkin Ale to age a bit before it can fully be enjoyed.
We just got back from our wonderful vacation on Cape Cod. While on vacation we got the opportunity to visit two breweries....Cape Cod Brewery and Samuel Adams. Cape Cod Brewery is a great microbrewery that has been open only 7 years. They self distribute their own beer to the Cape Cod area and prove that
it can be done right, even on a small scale. Samuel Adams brewery was pretty cool. They are definitely doing well, even though they only claim about 1% of the total U.S. market. We got to sample several types of beer and even got these cool sample glasses for free.
Yesterday we moved our first version of Apple Cider into the bottles. In about two weeks it should be ready to try. It doesn't taste like we wanted it to, more like a dry apple wine. I believe we will be changing the
Our first batch of apple cider didn't turn out exactly like we wanted it to. It tasted more like wine than a cider. So we decided to try another recipe for cider and hope it turns out better :) Since I can't have
the same label for two different kinds of cider, I had to make a new one!! I think it turned out pretty good.