It has been way to long since my last post but there has been a lot going on at Friendly Acres Brew House. I have joined forces with Glen Weisgerber who has been brewing for a few years. I have know Glen for almost twenty years and we share the same vision and direction we want to take our brewing. After a lot of discussion and feedback from friends and family we have decided to take Friendly Acres Brewing as our official name. We ultimately decided to use this because of our location and hopefully the marketing opportunities we can create.
We have spent some money in the brewery and have installed a RIMS system. We are still working it in but are excited to what it will bring to our brew days.
I will be following up with some posts about our brew days, some equitment reviews and other information and try to make this more of a habit to update.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Saturday August 25th 2012 I had a brew day with some guys from another local home brewery named 3 Beers Gone. Glenn Weisgerber one of the members has come to help me brew her at FAB on a few occasions. On one of those brew days we decided we would have a combined brew day. We would both brew the same beer but use our own brew rigs and use different yeast. We decided to try and model our beer to be similar to the fall brew "Tumbler" by Sierra Nevada. Here is the recipe listed below.
9.5 lbs Pale 2 Row (Bel.)
1lb 60L Crystal Malt
.75lb Chocolate Malt
.25lb Smoked Peat
2 oz. Northern Brewer (60 min)
1 oz. East Kent Golding (10 min)
.50 oz. Perle (5 min)
I used WL011 made a 1L starter 24 hours before pitching.
3 Beers Gone used WL002 English Ale
Overall the day was great we had a nice turn out and everyone was eager to get brewing. While I washed out my gear Tim and Ken from 3 Beers milled the grain for both batches. Glen and I tinkered with the recipe to try and match it as close as we could. Glen was doing ten gallons vs. my five.
I had a little home court advantage and was able to mash in about half hour before 3 Beers. My brew day went off with no issues. I was able to mash, sparge, boil, cool, aerate, and pitch the yeast all within 4 hours. 3 beers had a stuck sparge which caused some delay but nothing that was not manageable.
Glenn Messing With Beersmith
We both finished off or brew days with great amount of success. I would encourage all home brewers to find like minded people to brew with. The value gained in brewing with other brewers is priceless. Our two home breweries are looking towards October to do another joint brew. We have even contacted another home brewery "Black Bus Brewing" to join us as well.
We ended the day with some food on the grill and of course sampled a few pints throughout the day. We compared brews we had both made IPA's so we compared the differences and gave both some feedback about what we liked and what we would change. Because of this feedback I am looking forward to brewing my IPA again with some modifications to the hop additions.
It was the first but not the last time we will get together to do a joint brew session. It was more work than a normal brew day for both groups but it was by far a well worth it.
As of the following morning both beers were fermenting nicely. I will follow up on this blog with tasting notes and comparisons to both beers.
Cheers for now!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I recently purchased a top tier system from Blichmann and I must say I love it. I find myself going out to the garage just to look at it. I thought I would do a quick write up so if other brewers are considering spending the cash this may help.
I went with the three burner set up and I am glad I did. The beauty of this system is how customizable it is. You truly can set it up to suit your brewing style. The burners are great the kick out some serious horse power and have no problem with the five gallon batches I brew. I also bought a pump and the Therminator 40 plate chiller.
I bought two 10 gallon Blichmann pots one with the hopblocker and one with a false bottom and auto sparge feature. These kettles are awesome form the site glass to the temp gage they work great and I love them. My only regret is that I didn't opt for the 15 gallon tun for the extra space. I have a keggle I use for my hot liquor tank and gravity feed the sparge.
Finally I bought cam locks for easy on and off access along with new silicone tubing. I have brewed three batches on this system and I could not be happier.
It is a big investment but I have never enjoyed brewing as much as I do now.
Monday, August 20, 2012
This is my second post and as I was thinking about what to blog about the one area that kept creeping in is the state of beer in our society. Almost every beer drinker started by drinking yellow, fizzy, extremely cold beer made from one of the big three. No not LJ, Wade, and Bosch but Miller, AHB, Coors. This is the standard of which beer is judged by. When people find out I home brew one of the first questions is "Can you make something that taste like Miller Lite" which I cringe and smile and in some cases try to explain there is a whole beer world out there. I feel defensive and frustrated that my passion to the general population is put in such a small box. Think of it this way if Wine was thought to be nothing more than Boone's Farm. Beer is associated to the lowest common denominator.
Please don't get me wrong if you want to suck down your Coors Light you have every right to do it. There is a place in our culture for all beer drinkers. My largest issue is the way it is forced upon us. When someone says to me "I don't like the way beer taste" WHAT? That would be like me saying I don't like the way breakfast taste. I am confident I can find a beer for everyone. There are to many styles and variations of the styles for someone to hate them all. Yet the vast majority of the population thinks all beer is a variation of Bud.
So who is to blame? We need someone to blame right? Well I think there is a ton of blame to go around. First Big Beer is to blame. They own such a stranglehold on the distribution of the products it make it an up hill battle for the great micro breweries who are out there. Walk into your super market or liquor store see who's beers have the prime shelf place. It is all about marketing, triple hopped? what does that even mean.
So what can we do? Educate, encourage, and most of all support our local breweries and home brewers. I love craft beer, I love the culture and the comradely. It is growing and will continue to do so. We will never live in a world where Bud and DFH are on a level playing field but as long as we continue to fight the good fight craft beer will continue to grow and thrive.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
So I have been thinking about staring a blog about one of my passions and that is home brewing. I know I am not the first to do this or the last or the best. But I wanted to start tracking my journey in a way that I could share with anyone who wanted to read it. I am by no means an accomplished writer so this is a stretch to my comfort level but what the hell.
I made my first home brew over seven years ago. It was a kit and a blackberry ale. My long time friend Mike P. showed me the way and helped me a long on that brew day. We didn't have a ton of space in our home in MD and soon we had a daughter so I didn't make another batch for four plus years. That changed when we moved back to "Friendly Acres Farm". I decided to get back into brewing. This time I was hooked. I started with a few kits and quickly moved from kits to all grain. I went from bottling my brew to kegging and with each batch I tried to create something different and enjoyable. I have now made 25+ brews some have been great others terrible. What I have learned is that this hobby is a source of stress relief and fun. I love to create and the drink the fruits of my efforts. I love to share this beer and knowledge with like mined people and that is where this blog was born.
My goal is post on this blog my journey. It may be about a specific batch, equipment, successes, failures, or just random accounts of what my process is. If you want to read and follow along, cool! If not that is fine too. Cheers for now.