Evan LaBrant's Blog


A Heads Up.
July 29, 2010, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

To those who may be wondering about my brewing aspirations while considering my age, be at ease. The brews that I am preparing will not be fit for consumption until AFTER I am of proper age. You need not worry ūüôā



July 28, 2010: Cooper’s Irish Stout
July 29, 2010, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Another malt extract kit.¬† After taking a poll, stout came in second, and it turns out the local brew shop doesn’t have Australian pale ale on hand.¬† The OG (original gravity) was a bit lower than I expected for a stout (which should be both thicker and stronger than a Pils), so I modified the recipe a bit.¬† After some perusing on www.homebrewtalk.com for information on these Cooper’s kits, I discovered that the general consensus was that the stout kit produced a weak, thin brew.¬† On several accounts, forum participants mentioned doubling the powdered malt extract and getting a better product, so I did something similar and hopefully the results will be satisfactory (or excellent!).

Recipe as written:

  • 1 can Cooper’s hopped malt syrup
  • 500 grams (~1.1 pounds) powdered malt extract
  • 300 grams (~1.6 cups) sugar
  • 1 yeast packet
  • 5 gallons water

Recipe as implemented:

  • 1 can Cooper’s hopped malt syrup
  • 1,360¬†(3 pounds)¬†grams powdered malt extract
  • 300 grams (~1.6 cups) sugar
  • 1 yeast packet
  • 5 gallons water

Modifications to recipe:

  • Obviously I added a substantially greater volume of malt powder to the mix.¬† Hopefully, this will improve the thickness and flavor without brewing too much alcohol before bottling.¬† If the alcohol content is too high, I’ll have to toss the batch because the yeast won’t grow in the bottles and carbonate the brew.

Notes:

  • OG: 1.059
  • FG: 1.017
  • ABV: 6.0 %
  • Time in fermenter: 14 days
  • Bottle conditioning time (at tasting):
  • Aroma:
  • Appearance:
  • Flavor:
  • Mouthfeel:
  • Overall impression:


Prickly Pear Antics
July 27, 2010, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Here in the desert, prickly pear is damn near ubiquitous and almost free (‘ceptin’ for a $35 desert harvest permit).¬† My girlfriend and I have been looking into different ways to harvest and use the prickly pears in the area.¬† This happens to be a continuation of my urban harvesting idea, and will hopefully yield nice results.¬†

The first batch I’ve picked was from a group of plants on my bosses property.¬† The fruits were a dark pink/purple, the insides being the same.¬† They were falling off the pads and were very ready for picking.¬† I’ll be mashing and cooking them up tonight to see what they taste like.¬†

The second batch I picked with the help of my fantastic female companion.¬† We stopped in the middle of nowhere on the way to her parents’ house in Gilbert, AZ (it’s like the Ridgefield of Phoenix) and picked a batch of dark red fruits.¬† The flesh was a dark purple and not particularly sweet.¬† I sliced them in half and cooked them up in a big pot for a few hours, then mashed and strained them progressively through a kitchen strainer and nylon hosiery.¬† The juice is the most unbelievable neon pink, almost as if it weren’t to be eaten.¬† Here are some pictures from the process.

Darker fruits from the desert wilderness.

Tongs are a must for handling the fruit.

After 2 hours of boiling (sorry about the bad lighting).

Mashing and first straining.

Some spillage during second straining. There is NOT a reflection. That is the actual color!



Take a poll!
July 27, 2010, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In a week or two, I’ll be putting in a second batch of beer in case the first doesn’t turn out very well.¬† I have quite a few options for what to brew as the local brew shop has a good selection of ‘malt kits’ (canned malt syrup that you basically dilute with water and add yeast).¬† What should I try next?



July 26, 2010: Thomas Cooper’s Pilsner
July 27, 2010, 2:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Recipe as written:

1 can Cooper’s hopped malt syrup

500 grams (~1.1 pounds) light malt extract

300 grams (~1.6 cups) sucrose

1 packet lager yeast

Recipe as implemented:

1 can Cooper’s hopped malt syrup

1 pound (453 grams)

1.5 cups (285 grams)

1 packet lager yeast

Modifications to recipe:

  • Changes in amounts of ingredients result from converting the measurements. ¬†Unfortunately, this resulted in a low OG (1.030 before addition of turbinado sugar).

Notes:

  • OG: 1.043
  • FG: 1.010
  • ABV: 4.8 %
  • Time in fermenter:
  • Bottle conditioning time (at tasting):
  • Aroma:
  • Appearance:
  • Flavor:
  • Mouthfeel:
  • Overall impression:

A typical "Malt Kit"

The hopped malt syrup.

Diluting the malt syrup and powdered malt extract in boiling water.

Cooling the wort before adding yeast.

The fermenation set up.



July 21, 2010: Modern Ginger Beer I
July 22, 2010, 7:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Recipe as written:

Refer to: https://evanlabrant.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/july-2009-modern-ginger-beer-i/

Recipe as implemented:

6 qts warm water (bottled)

2 cups raw sugar

2 lemons, juiced

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

3 tablespoons ground ginger

1/4 tsp baker’s yeast dissolved in 1 cup warm water

Modifications to original recipe:

  • Substituted raw sugar for refined sugar
  • Added 1 extra tablespoon ground ginger (shot from the hip on this one, just tasted mid-flight and added ginger to taste)

Notes:

  • Ginger and cream of tartar seem to settle out very quickly in the mash-pot before/during bottling.¬† Agitation during bottling could improve distribution of both.
  • This recipe fills 12 pint bottles with a little extra
  • Still very lemony, and only a little more ginger flavor
  • Overly carbonated, every bottle has gushed over
  • I recently read that baker’s strains of yeast have a more vigorous fermentation capacity, which could explain the increased carbonation. ¬†Even though the recipe calls for baker’s yeast, I’m gonna stick to ale yeast.
  • Poor body/mouth feel. ¬†Could use some kind of thickening agent.
  • In and of itself, it’s a tasty soda. ¬†But not what I’m aiming for. ¬†I’m looking for a Thomas Kemper Ginger Ale style clone.

Future considerations:

  • Substitute raw ginger for ground ginger (still have to find raw/ground ginger ratio)
  • Glycerol or other thickener for mouth feel?¬† Previous batch seemed thin.¬† Other yeast strains that produce more glycerol?
  • Substitute honey or brown sugar for raw/refined?
  • Stirring/agitation needed during bottling


July 2009: Modern Ginger Beer I
July 22, 2010, 7:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This is a recipe and notes from a batch of ginger ale I made last summer. 

Recipe as written:

6 qts warm water

2 cups refined sugar

2 lemons, juiced

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1/4 tsp baker’s yeast dissolved in 1 cup warm water

 

Recipe as implemented:

6 qts warm water

2 cups refined sugar

2 lemons, juiced

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons raw ginger, grated

1/4 tsp ale yeast dissolved in 1 cup warm water

Modifications to original recipe:

  • Substituted ale yeast for baker’s yeast
  • Substituted raw ginger for ground ginger

Notes:

  • Needs straining when using raw ginger
  • Fills 12 pint bottles with a little extra left over
  • Fermented ~4 days before cold crashing
  • Incredible fermentation
  • Great consistency in flavor from bottle to bottle
  • Flavor is very lemony, very little ginger taste

Future considerations:

  • Find a raw-to-ground ginger conversion ratio
  • Use raw or brown sugar?
  • Simmer ginger before adding?