Friday, November 30, 2012

Sit back, relax, and have a homebre..wait. what?

I'm annoyed.  Seriously annoyed.  I recently purchased a draft dual keg system from a rather large and reputable home brew supply store in Minnesota.  I was, per the packaging, led to believe that I would receive everything I needed to transfer my freshly brewed beer into a nice, aluminum keg.  I could then wait a fraction of the time it would normally take and begin to enjoy my freshly brewed creations.

This is not the case as of today. What I received was a single, wrong piece on one of my items.  Unfortunately, it's a crucial piece that connects the CO2 bottle to the kegs and both carbonates the beer and allows me to serve it.  After a call to the very helpful technician, who told me that this particular problem has occurred before, I opted not to take his advice and directly connect my pre-made gas line connects to the flanged valves.

Hey. I'm a smart guy. I can figure out a way to retain the most flexibility with my setup and still be able to use the gear this weekend.  At the same retailer, I was able to find the part I needed. It is, incidentally, a male stainless steel 1/4" barb X 1/4" flare adapter that looks a lot like this.

So I happily ordered 2 of these items (and the hoses and clamps to fix things up) and requested rush shipping. I received my package tonight, as promised.  What I didn't receive, as promised, was the item pictured above. Instead, what I received was a male 1/4" shutoff valve.

This is the item that should have been attached to my regulator in the first place.

I'll be calling them tomorrow.  On my agenda:

  • Refund shipping charges
  • Refund incorrect parts


  • Replace regulator all together that includes all of the appropriate parts
How they handle this tomorrow will determine if they get my business again.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Money Shot

Speaking of said Oatmeal Stout.  A bottle that I gave my neighbor, whom I blame for my newfound joy, turned out exactly like mine.  This is why I brew.

Patience is a virtue

If I've learned anything since I've started brewing, it's that patiences is indeed a virtue.  I used my lack of it to advantage with my first brew. It was a honey wheat that I started drinking within 2 weeks of brewing and only a few days in the bottle.  I was able to learn how the flavor changed over time.  I was lucky in that I hit the right amount of ABV, remaining yeast in solution and bottle conditioning to have every bottle well carbonated by the time I popped the cap.

My second batch was an oatmeal stout. The original recipe called for a cold steep of coffee to be added to the secondary fermentation vessel, which I omitted.  That, combined with a bit of over hopping,  produced a very hoppy stout that I hesitate to call an oatmeal stout. It's more like a Imperial Stout or Russian IPA.

Here's where the patience part comes in.  I bottled this batch over a month ago. Almost every bottle that I've had or given away has been moderately flat.  I attributed it to not using enough priming sugar when I bottled.  Last night, however, I opened one and poured it into my favorite glass. I was rewarded with a rich, thick, 2 finger head that lasted for the entire glass.  I'm going to ensure that I'm not subject to an outlier and crack another tonight and see if it give the same result.  If so, I'll make sure to update my notes to allow for 4-6 weeks of bottle conditioning next time before sending these out the door.

Brewing side note:

In Primary:
Strange Brew - Killer Kolsch

On deck:
Dry hopped ESB
Northern Brewer - Houblonmonstre Tripel IPA

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I absolutely LOVE intelligent television.  One series that we, as a family, watch is The Big Bang Theory.  Here's a sample of why:

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's getting a little Kolsch in here..

This summer, I finally took the plunge into home brewing with the help of my neighbor.  It's been a blast and I think, like many others, I've found something that I may do for the rest of my life.  It has the perfect combination of science and art to make it fun and enough variability to keep in interesting as well.

This weekend, I brewed my third batch of beer.  This batch was something much lighter and less alcoholic than my previous two batches.  It's a Kolsch style brew.  If you think of a standard, mass-produced beer, you'll have the basic idea.  The primary difference with what I did and what the big breweries do is in temperature and the fermentation process (i.e. yeast).  Your Miller's, Michelob's and Budweiser's are lagers, which ferment at lower temperatures on the bottom of the brew and for longer timer periods than your standard ale.

A Kolsch is an ale from the Cologne region of Germany that has lager-like qualities but ferments in the 65 F range.  We'll see how it turns out.  I pitched the yeast yesterday and as near as I can tell, active fermentation has begun.

UPDATE:  Fermentation is going strong on day 4.  I used new airlocks that behave differently than the ones I've used in the past.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Changes. Again.

I'm resurrecting this site again. I tried TypePad and liked it but couldn't justify the expense for the number of times I posted.  But, I've got enough to say and no place to say it, for posterity's sake, so here I am again.

Here's a quick rundown of the changes:

  • Name: changed to Northeast by Northwest. It's really the nexus of who I am right now.  I was born and raised in the Northwest.  I can name 40 different variation of rain as proof.  But, I now live in the Northeast and have fully embraced certain parts of the culture here.
  • The URL: Yeah.. it now matches the name.
  • Content:  Going to be a mixed bag of very disparate stuff.  Food, beer, games, technology and yes, some politics.

I'll also start tagging my posts so you can filter out what you don't want to see. I'm nice that way.