Jun 102008

Click here for this brew session’s recipe…

Sunday, the first of June, was a beautiful and sunny day in Fairfield County – perfect for brewing. I had been planning to make a batch of a Leinenkugle’s Sunset Wheat clone for some time, so I seized the opportunity and fired up the ol’ burners. Since this is the first brew session I am posting, I’ll go into more detail about my process than I would otherwise. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them!

Brewday equipment

My brewday setup

Continue reading »

May 302008

Man, it’s Friday and I can’t wait for the weekend. I’m planning on brewing a clone of Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat tomorrow. Instead of using San Francisco lager yeast like the recipe specifies, I’m going to be using my pack of Wyeast Private Collection Kölsch II yeast. This strain comes direct to us from Germany and I plan on making a nice Kölsch with it in a couple of weeks. The Sunset Wheat clone is essentially going to be a five gallon starter for the Kölsch – lagers require tons of yeast, so instead of stepping up a starter several times, why not make a light beer with it and get five gallons of tasty brew for my efforts? I’ve already made a 1.5 L starter from the smackpack and it should be ready to go for tomorrow’s session.

I’m also planning on visiting The Cambridge House brewpub in Granby, CT on Sunday. I’m truly disappointed by the lack of good brewpubs in Fairfield County – it seems any worth visiting are at least a forty-five minute drive away. However, I’m determined to try them all out, and The Cambridge House is on the top of my list. They just won a bunch of awards in the Hartford Advocate’s Best of Hartford Readers’ poll, including Best Brewpub and Best Overall Bar (also, 3rd place for Best Looking Wait Staff – hmmmm!) They also have a fresh batch of their Copper Hill Kölsch (a 2005 GABF Gold Medal winner) on tap, so this should be a good trip. Look for the review next week.

Finally, I’d like to bring your attention to the Friends of Lootcorp link list on the right sidebar. These are beer and brewing related sites that I enjoy and have exchanged links with. They all add something unique to the beer blogosphere and are worth checking out. Go take a look and kill some time.

Enjoy the weekend, and I’ll be back with reports on my brew session and brewpub experience.


May 192008

Cans of Oregon fruit pureeHere’s a picture of the cans of Oregon fruit puree I use for my fruit beers. They come in 3 lb 1 oz containers and most homebrew shops sell them for $15-20, depending on the flavor. I’ve seen them in cherry, blackberry, blueberry, peach, and apricot varieties. The blackberry is destined for a future wheat beer, while the blueberry will become the secret ingredient in my Leinenkugle’s Sunset Wheat clone planned for this weekend.

They are sanitized and seedless, so I just sanitize the outside of the can, open them up, and pour them into my clean and sanitized secondary fermentor. I rack my fermented beer right on top of the fruit and let it sit for a few weeks (I’ve found two weeks seems to impart a good flavor to a five gallons of a light-bodied beer, but your mileage and taste may differ) before racking off the fruit for kegging/bottling or further conditioning.

May 172008

Well, so far it’s not shaping up to be a great beer weekend. First off, found out just a smidge too late about the 14th Annual CT Craft Brewers’ Beer Festival to attend. Live music, 40 breweries and brewpubs represented, over 135 beers poured…doesn’t sound like fun at all. It was today from 5-8:30PM in Naugatuck, CT – I heard about it around 1PM, but I would’ve had to rearrange the whole weekend and cancel the dog’s vet appointment to go. Muttered “C’est la vie!” and moved on.

I was getting over that disappointment when I learned I had also missed the 25th Annual Springfest at the Beach, held last night in New London, CT! Chili cook-off, live music, 30 microbreweries represented, over 100 beers poured. WTF??? I need a secretary or something… (If anyone went to either event, drop me a line – I’d love to hear how they were).

To top it all off, my brew session planned for tomorrow (a clone of Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat) is being threatened by a forecast of rain all day.  Yes, the stars have aligned to prevent me from achieving beer nirvana this weekend.

On a positive note, I picked up a third keg today, so I can rack my new batch of Engine 97 out of primary – it’s a bit overdue. Also got another 6 gallon carboy, since it’s time to rack the Sangiovese again – can’t wait to taste a sample. Finally, picked up a can of Oregon Blackberry puree to use for a future batch of wheat beer or pale ale.

It still stings, though.