Sunday, 8 December 2013

Naked Singularity & a Cold Brew Day

Cold brew day!
Christmas is rapidly approaching - meaning that life is about to become busy beyond reason. But there is still time to squeeze in one last batch - this time a dry-style stout.  This makes for the 16th batch of beer this year; less than I had hoped, but perhaps a reasonable amount when you factor in the rounds of cider and wine also brewed this year.  Excitingly, for the first time I'm using my birthday present -  grain mill - plus a few kilos of the grain currently taking up most of my pantry. As I write this I am shivering out in my garage - its a brisk -8C outside today.  Winter brewing is officially here!

As for the recipe, it is a bit off of the BJCP style for a dry stout - the gravity & grain bill are pretty much normal, but the bitterness level is nearly half of normal - 18IBUs. This odd formulation is an attempt to replicate the first good beer I ever brewed - brewed more than 15 years ago and despite several attempts never replicated. As I've mentioned previously, I started brewing while in university, with the intent of making beer as cheaply as possible. For the first year of my homebrew career I brewed dozens of batches of beer - all mostly corn-sugar, all horridly tasting, and all over 7%. Cheap & good for getting drunk was clearly the sole goal in those days.

The story of how I got into all-grain, the background behind this recipe, and the recipe itself are found below the fold.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Labelling a Special Brew

Bottling is a labour-intensive activity; made more so if you throw labels onto the damned things. Kegging has allowed me to avoid much of this pain, with "labelling" being nothing more than making a single hockey-card sized label to load into my tap handles.

These days my bottling activities are limited to making a few bottle to give away to friends or to take to my brewclubs meetings.  The only real exception to this is when I brew a long-ageing beer that I wish to cellar for months-to-years. I recently bottled my Gnarly Roots Barley Wine. Seeing as this beer is intended to be aged & enjoyed over years I went whole-hog on the labels - "ageing" the paper, generating a front label as well as four slightly different back labels, and even waxing the caps. While the picture below is not perfect, it gives you an idea of how they turned out.

One friend who I showed these to asked how I aged the paper & waxed the caps. I agreed to do a brief post on this, so here it is - methods below the fold...