A good friend of mine has figured out a great recipe for an American Brown Ale. Last year we ended up running some of his batch through a barrel and it came out great. This year I have been brewing it to keep pushing the recipe where it can go. It’s not there yet, but its a great start.
American Brown Ale:
Appearance: Very dark brown to black, but a reddish hue when held up to the light
Nose:the initial roastiness is met with dark chocolate. Mild hop aroma
Flavor: Very balanced chocolate and hop bitterness. No real roastiness, but a very smooth taste
Mouthfeel: A wonderful creamy body, but a slight bitterness from the dark grains
Overall: This is a delicious brown ale. The chocolate flavor sends my mind into a head spin. 8.2/ 10
One of the most challenging aspects of homebrewing is temperature control. There are many DIY ways to control fermentation temperature, but using a chest freezer with a temperature control themostat is really the best. Once this system is running, space becomes the limiting factor. I’ve had this chest freezer for over a year, but finally expanded it to hold 6 kegs. I really can’t wait to start my lager brew days! A billion thanks to my retired father for assembling such an awesome expansion of the freezer. Here is what he did, in his own words.
Written By John Lovrich (my dad)
To raise the height of a chest freezer, you basically make a box around the outside diameter of the freezer to reach the desired height. The one I made was made with 1″ by 8″ clear cedar boards cut to the correct lengths. An extra length was cut to connect to the inside of the side in which the freezer hinge was to be attached creating a rabbit joint. This piece is attached to the outside piece with 1″ stainless wood screws making it stronger and permitting the back section to be attached from the back and the side. After the wood has been cut , apply four coats of spar varnish to all sides.
Light sanding is required between each coat, but in the end, a well sealed frame has been made protecting against moisture and mold. 2″ stainless steel screws were used to attach all the pieces, but remember to pre-drill the holes so the wood doesn’t split.
Once the wood is thoroughly dried, assemble the frame and be sure it fits properly on the freezer.
If all is okay, attach Super-Tuff R insulation board to the inside of the item. Be sure that the aluminum vapor barrier is facing into the freezer. Do not glue the insulation board because the varnish prohibits good bonding. Attach the insulation board to the wood by using 1″ #8 stainless pan head screws with the largest stainless washers available. Insert screws at all four corners and across the top and bottom every 10 to 12 inches apart. Once completed, buy a roll of foil tape and seal the top and bottom of pacer by folding the tape and covering the top of the insulation board, extending down the board about a 1/2 inch and stretching across the top and attaching to the wood. This creates a nice seal. But be careful, the tape is very sticky and once it is on, it is on. Do a dry run without removing the backing paper before you assemble. You only get one shot when assembling.
To attach the spacer to the freezer, buy a roll of industrial grade velcro. The freezer door must be disconnected by this time. This material is also extremely sticky. This material is attached to the freezer side as well as to the bottom of the spacer. Again, I advise doing a dry run with the velcro before final assembly. Place the velcro on the freezer first, and then after it is placed on the bottom of the spacer, carefully drop in place a press down for a few seconds. That’s it. The spacer is firmly attached. Place the freezer door on top of the spacer and be sure it is alined. Make sure the hinge is flush to the wood, pre-drill the holes and attach with 1″ #8 pan head screws, or larger or smaller if necessary. Drill any holes for the tubing to be used from the outside toward the inside. Use a thin paint brush to coat the inside of the hole just drilled with spar varnish. The spacer is now complete and ready for use.
WOW! what a guy!
One of the happiest aspects of my journey into brewing has been the companionship of my cousin J.B. We have both been brewing for about the same amount of time and have cheered each other on as brewers and as family. Here is our first collaboration/publication.
Brewing Cousins: Vol 1.
J.B. ‘s blog:
today marks a brand new year, and with that number change, I have also experienced many personal changes to go along with it.
First off, I am teaching my first brewing classes at Brooklyn Homebrew this month. They are going to be focused on practical understanding and application of yeast in our own homebrewers. I’m tremendously excited for this, but also very nervous. Adults are a different world than teenagers, I just hope the lessons I learned for teenagers will still work on adults.
check out the classes here:
I’m doing 3 classes this month, and hopefully many more in the future. I am also planning on reworking this blog for the class as well, so… many changes to come
Secondly: NEW APARTMENT! I recently moved into my new apartment with my girlfriend and I am finally getting my brewing schedule in order. I also picked up a new chest freezer, so I now have 4 fridges devoted to brewing! I can’t wait to start lagering.
Thirdly: I think I have finally finished my pale ale and brown recipe (thanks simon!) both with be posted in full detail asap.
Lastly: Happy new year everybody.
All things die
This year, after having a wonderful early spring with sun and warmth a plenty, Mother Nature decided to be a real dick for about 5 weeks. With cool temperatures and more rain than i knew what to to with, all my my hop plants died. Or so I thought. After a good amount of care, fertilizing, and pruning of dead leaves, my hop plants have recovered, starting to grow once more. Hopefully I can still get some harvest out of my two second year hops, but the first year are really struggling. Here are some pics:
Nugget second year
Goldings second year
Sterling year 1
- Willamette year 1