Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kitty Beer Model

I was reading an article on Drink with the Wench.  The Beer Wench (aka Ashley Routson) complained about how big mega-brewery use really suggestive advertisements that objectify women.  She makes a point that craft breweries let the quality and taste of the beer do their sales.  I never really thought about it, but I guess I've never seen craft breweries "stoop" to that level.

But then, SheppyBrew nano-brewery has never had a problem using the hot sexy beer model to help promote the brand.  I guess I should be ashamed. 

Speaking of objectifying women, the beer model looked very nice in her kitty costume, especially while enjoying a few SheppyBrews. 
Drinking a SheppyBrew

Modeling a SheppyBrew

Notice how the beer model is the only one in costume

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bluefield Experiment Part I

I home-brew my own beer. I like brewing. You might say I am a bit obsessed with brewing. If you have been following this blog for awhile, you probably know that my sister is to blame for this obsession, as she is the one who bought me my first beer kit. Actually, if you have been reading my blog regularly, chances are you are my sister. Hi Tera.

Ironically, my sister does not like beer. Sad, I know. The one time she tried one of my beers, she made a horrible disgusted face that still hurts me when I think about it. Often, I see that look in my nightmares. But, I really can not take it personally. At least I know that she's very unlikely to ask me if I can brew something that tastes like Coors Light.

Recently, she asked me to brew a no-calorie dark chocolate non-beer tasting beer, so that if she tastes it, she doesn't say "yuck, that tastes like beer". She has nagged me a bit after the initial request. Obviously, I cannot brew a no-calorie beer. I cannot make a non-beer tasting beer, but I can make one that doesn't taste like any beer she has ever tasted. I can certainly make it dark and I can add chocolate to it. I do not think she would like this type of beer, and since she is at the Sheppy Brew nano-brewery so seldom, chances are she'll never get a chance to taste it anyway.

But, part of the spirit of home-brewing is experimenting with different ingredients to make unique flavors. And this could be an exciting unique beer to play with.

I started my recipe based on Jamil's Chocolate Hazelnut Porter from his Brewing Classic Styles. I converted it to a Mr. Beer sized batch and added in some lactose to give it more sweetness. I increased the cocoa powder and reduced the hops. You can see the recipe at the Sheppy Brew website.

This past weekend, I bought some unsweetened Hershey cocoa powder and then stopped by the liquor store for some Tommyknocker brewery Cocoa Porter Winter Warmer to get me in the mood for this great experiment.
Weekend purchases
Today, I headed to the Brew Hut  for the rest of the ingredients. Brew day will probably be Sunday.  Hmmm... I just realized that I need to get propane sometime.

I expect this will be a recipe that I have to tweak several times.  I might even tweak it a few times before my sister even gets a chance to taste it.  Who knows ... I might get sick of brewing this before she ever gets a chance to try one.  Unfortunately, I do not know what she means by "beer taste".  There are so many different styles of beer that can taste so radically different that I am not sure I know what I mean when I say a "beer should taste like beer".  I do know that her definition of what would taste good in a beer is radically different than mine.  My buddy Charlie has said that when people tell him that they don't like beer, he doesn't believe them.  He strongly believes that if you try hard enough that eventually a beer can be found for every taste.  My sister is probably the exception to the rule.  Maybe if the Great Bluefield Chocolate Experiment fails, I need to give Charlie a call and have him work on finding a beer for my sister.

I'll be posting results.  Hope you are looking forward to seeing them.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Sleep" over

Tyler's friend Miles and Connor's friend David came over Saturday to spend the night and most of Sunday with us. There was not as much sleeping as I would like, but other than that, things went pretty well.

For some reason, when these kids get together, they act very weird.

Here are some pictures:

Inappropriate behavior at the dinner table
More inappropriate behavior
Yes, this 5 year old took off his shirt and grabbed my beer.

Not sure why I even took this picture.
Somehow everyone survived.  Somehow I refrained from strangling anyone.  I didn't even kill Miles for cheering for the Jets on Sunday.

If you want to see the video of crying kids ... you have to go to my blog: ... warning: you might want to turn down the volume on your computer before playing the video.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Corn maze

We went to the Chatfield Corn Maze today. The weather was gorgeous. Here are some pictures.

Monday, October 11, 2010

QLC All Grain Brew

New Direct TV Dish
This past weekend, I brewed an all-grain version of my Quarter Life Crisis Hoppy Red Ale. It is sort of difficult to name a favorite beer. I "love" all of my beers. But at least right now, this is my favorite. Its a deep-red colored beer with lots of nice caramel malts, but it is very hoppy as well. It is hard to find commercial beers in this "West Coast American Red" style of beer (at least here in Colorado). Luckily, I know how to brew my own.

Draining the Wort

I did the mash while the Direct TV technician installed our Dish and ran cabel to our TVs. I started the boil as he was cleaning up. My pre-boil gravity was right on. Today was windy, and a couple times my flame blew out, so I had to babysit the boil more more than usual. I kept the flame a bit higher, which resulted in a more vigorous boil than usual. After I set a couple of our patio chairs on their sides as wind breaks, the flame never went out. I might have to start doing my winter brews in the garage to get out of the wind. 

Start of Boil

I had to make some recipe adjustments "on the fly" today, because when I finalized my recipe, I thought I had more columbus hops than I actually had.  Somehow, I also overstated my AA on the cascade hops.  Luckily, I realized all this pretty early in the process, so I could make my changes to the recipe in plenty of time to make the recipe adjustments. 

Wind Screen

I used hop sacks in the boil this time. Somehow even so, there was hop gunk in the pot.  Not a big deal, but I'm not sure how my hops got free.

Hydrating the Yeast
My pitch was right at 62, which is exactly where I want it.  My OG was a little high.  I think I probably put more of the wort in than I should have, but I don't really care if my OG is a bit high.  The fermentation has been pretty active so far, although I have maintained a pretty low temperature (62).  I will not be surprised if I get an overflow.  In about a week, I'll add in my "dry hop" addition of cascade and centennial.

I am looking forward to trying this in about 4 to 6 weeks.  I'm hoping I can save a few of the batch I have in the fridge right now to compare the partial-mash to the all-grain.  Who knows if I will actually be able to do so.

The direct TV installation went well.  It is nice to have a DVR again to pause and fast-forward through commercials.  Now, I can watch my NHL games as well.  Of course, so far the Hawks have not won a game, but I'm sure that will change tonight.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

3rd Quarter Stats

I just bottled up my X-Mas Ale 2010 , and I guess it is now a good time to share my stats for the 3rd brewing quarter of 2010.  In case you feel you need to review, here is a link to the 2nd Quarter Stats.  The biggest news of the quarter is that Sheppy Brew has made the jump to All Grain Brewing (see also:  AG Brew day, Roctoberfest Lager, and 15 Year Amber Ale)  My beautiful Beer Model has also gone through her first brew day (see 15 Year Amber Ale).

So, here are how the brewing stats are going after quarter #3:
  • 2010:  I have mixed 25 batches of beer.  This means I only did 7 in the 3rd quarter, so my pace for this year is down to 33 batches.  (around 75 gallons)
    In 2009, I brewed 29 batches of beer.

  • 2010:  I have brewed 19 different recipes.  13 of these are brand new to 2010.
    2009:  I had 18 completely different recipes.

  • 2010:  I've done 2 lagers.  My second is called Rocktoberfest Lager, which is just a fantastic beer.  It was one my my All Grain Batches.
    2009:  All my beers were ales.

  • 2010:  All my beers so far have still been Sheppy Brew recipes.
    2009:  26 were Sheppy Brew recipes.

  • 2010:  100% (so far) have been good, very good, great, or oh-my-god fantastic.
    2009:  93% were been good, very good, great, or oh-my-god fantastic.

  • 2010:  9 batches have been partial mashes.
    2009:  I did 3 partial mashes.

  • 2010:  19 batches have had no Mr. Beer ingredients.
    2009:  6 batches had no Mr. Beer ingredients.

  • 2010:  I've done 4 All Grain batches (I'll do my 5th tomorrow)
    2009:  0 All Grain batches.

The all grain brewing has been going fantastic.  At the same time I started the all-grain batches, I started brewing outside, and that is working out real well for me too.  It is so nice to be out of the way and not heat up the kitchen.  Plus, the boil is much faster with the outdoor propane burner than it was on the electric kitchen stove.

Last night, the beer model and I tried the beer we brewed together, 15 Year Anniversary Amber Ale.  I think it might be the perfect compromise between the kind of beers she likes and the kind of beers I like.  It is light and refreshing, and has a malt taste very similar to her favorite (Buckwheat's Belgium Pale Ale), but it also has a nice balance of floral, slightly spicy hop aroma and flavor.  I think we are going to have to brew it up again soon.  It probably is not going to last long.

Based on the success of Rocktoberfest Lager, I really need to do more lagers.  I was able to keep my fermentation temperatures perfect (start at 50, let rise no higher than 55, keeping it steady) by using one of my big 120 quart coolers along with 2 frozen gallon bottles of water, switching out as needed.  And the finished beer is a treat to drink (I'm having one right now).  I probably should let it age a bit more, but that is just not going to happen.  Unfortunately, the Rockies are not playing in October, so I can't enjoy these while watching them make another run at the world series, but we can't have everything, now can we.

Oh ... remember back in February, I was complaining about my low Attenuation?  Back then, out of the beers that I measured, I was getting less than 70% on average.  This quarter, I have been tracking attenuation, and my average is a bit over 79%.  My yeasties are eating better and having more fun.

My next step has to be to get myself a 5 gallon setup.  I do not think I'll stop doing the small batches, but when I'm making one of my regulars (such as Phat & Tyred or Buckwheat's BPA), it would be nice to make a big enough batch to ensure that I don't have to worry about it running low.

Of course, at the moment, by beer fridge is full.  My homebrews have invaded my commercial beer fridge and we even have a few that are sitting up in the food fridge in the kitchen.  I guess I need to share more of these beers.  Come on over and have one!

I'm starting the 4th quarter off strong tomorrow with an all-grain version of my world famous Phat & Tyred Ale.  Yum!

By the way, I just got my 5 gallon pin after giving blood today.  Man, that seems like a lot of blood.  Just think of 5 red milk jugs sitting in your fridge!