Friday, December 31, 2010

Tacoma and Kitsap County Brewery Tour

Christmas is a time for family...and brewery tours with said family. My brother, brother-in-law, and father-in-law and I went to a bunch of breweries in the Tacoma (in-laws) and Kitsap County (parents) areas. Here are some pics.

First stop was to Trade Route Brewing; a small, hard to find, and really cool environment. Beer was okay, but it was $6 pitcher night so all was well.

Next stop was Harmon Brewing. Their beer was great, the pub itself was a little too hip for my liking, but hey...they have a walk up beer window so I was all in!

Kitsap County is on across the sound from Seattle and has a pretty good cast brewery scene. We started off at Hood Canal Brewery. They had some good beer but the highlight was seeing the DIY bottling line. I'll go ahead and file that one away until PoorHouse gets a little bigger.

 Silver City Brewing had the best beer of all the places I went. The pub was super busy (on a Thursday night), loud, and a little obnoxious but the beer was worth the trip. The Whoopass IPA and was extremely good.

 Merry Christmas to me! 68 ounces of Pliny from my brother-in-law :)
 The winner of the best environment was Elk Head Brewing in Buckley, WA. This place corners the market on good ol' country feel. Uncle Mark, one of the two guys in the red and black flannel in the second picture, told us to meet him there at 5 (they're only open from 2-7 daily). We got their early and stuck out like...well, a college graduate in Buckley :) When Mark got their the party was ON. We had a BLAST! If any of my readers goes up toward the Seattle area, Elk Head Brewing on a Friday night is an absolute must.

 After Elk Head closed for the night, Uncle Mark told us about a bar down the road that has, "Dollar tacos...they're like around a buck a piece." Sunny's in Wilkerson, WA, terrible beer, but the tacos were good :)
 Gaaah. We also had to try the Wing Dome 7 Alarm Chicken Wing Challenge. My pride was on the line. I lost. Andy won. It sucked.
The fire in my mouth was only match by the fire in my belly that night; however, both paled in comparison to the fire in my nether regions when the chicken exited my body the next day. Every time I sat down on the porcelain perch, I wished I would have thrown up more than jus the milk and ice cream they gave us afterwords.

 Last stop was the Engine House No. 9 Brewing. We didn't spend much time there, but they had a great NW Red Ale.

Suuper fun time. I'd do it all again in a heart beat...well all except the Hot Wings. There was nothing redeemable about that experience.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Professional Brewer???

So...I found a dude on craigslist (named Gord who, by the way, has a totally righteous separatist beard) that wants to trade me a 28 pound, organic turkey for 5 gallons of the Shakespeare clone I make. Here's the question: If being pro means you get paid for it...does that count yummy, yummy turkey?
Anyhoo, here's the recipe.

11 lbs 2-row pale
.5 lbs 120L Crystal
.5 lbs chocolate
1 lbs flaked oats
6 oz Roast Barley

2 oz Cascade @ 60
1 oz Cascade @ 30
.5 Cascade @ 2

Rogue's PacMan yeast

1.25 quarts per pound of grain

1-2-2011--First brew with my new system.
Went well enough, but not without a hitch. My new banjo burner didn't work for some reason, the wort chiller sprung a leak, and the thermometer in the HLT is about a gallon too high; all that being said though, I'm LOVING three tier brewing! It took a ton less time and I got amazing efficiency.
1-6-2011--Looks like it's about finished fermenting. FG 1.19 which is a little higher than I was thinking it'd get to, but the OG was a lot higher as well. Tasted really nice. Chocolaty, alcoholic burn at the end, with a hoppiness that I wasn't expecting (unfiltered pellets).
1-8-2011--Farmer Gords on his way over today. Sad.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cran-Apple Cider

Haven't fermented anything in almost a month since I've been caught up in the 3 tier system and DIY projects. I was going through withdrawals :)
I have a bunch of the Spicy, Spice, Spice Cider left so this one is going to sit for a while.
Here's what I used:

4.5 gallons Tree Top Apple Juice
2 cans Cranberry Juice Concentrate
1 can Apple Juice Concentrate

Red Star Champagne Yeast

12-22-2010--I didn't want to use sugar this time, so I used the concentrate and that bumped up the gravity to 1.065 (juice alone is 1.049). Should be good. I'm might ad some cinnamon sticks to the secondary, but I'm not sure yet.
1-3-2011--I've kinda forgotten about this one since the Spicy Spice Spiced Cider isn't out yet. We were gone for the holidays and we shut off the heat in the house. It was like 40 degrees inside when we got back. The heats a' crank'n and fermentation is either continuing or restarting.
1-9-2011--Kegged. FG 1.009. I couldn't pick up the cranberry, but Emilie could.
1-19-2011--First glass poured tonight. Very similar to a cider without cranberry. There's a small tint of tartness, but mostly it's the dry sweetness of the apple and yeast. Next time I'll do an 80-20 apple to cranberry.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Freaking Cheap Hops

So, I woke up this morning and checked craigslist for home brew stuff, I found this guy selling "farm direct hops for $0.29 an ounce." I was a little skeptical, but I called anyway.
I talked to the guy for a little bit on the phone and realized his farm is only like 25 miles away, so I headed on out.
When I got to the farm, I had to decide which of the run down "white" sheds it was that I was supposed to meet the guy at. I finally found it and went in and began shooting the breeze with the guy. In between VERY colorful language and hop business talk, I told the guy what I wanted.
The first order was for 3 pounds of cascade. He kept talking and scooping until he was at around 4ish pounds, then he sealed it up and tossed it in my box and asked what was next. Next was 2 pounds nugget. After tossing in 4 lbs he said, "I don't want to put this open bag away, do you want it?" I looked at the bag that had around 5-8 lbs and said, "ummmmmmm, yes."
The same sort of stuff went on and this is what I came out with.
Seriously, if there is anyone reading this blog. CALL THIS GUY! He will hook you up. Do me a favor though, tell him Randy sent you. I'm trying to weasel my way into more free hops :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

DIY Mash Tun Eye Sight

Ok, last post of the day (I promise), here's the eye sight I made for $3.52.
 Parts list: CPVC "T" fitting--$0.49, a CPVC male coupler--$1.49, CPVC female coupler--$0.79, and a 5/8 inch plastic tube--$0.75 (Tap Plastic).

DIY Weldless Thermometer for $0.89

Here's the idea. Instead of buying a $26 weldless thermometer from the homebrew store, I'm gonna make one myself.
Here's what I used:
  • 1/2 to 3/4inch rubber stopper ($0.89)
  • My wife's turkey thermometer (free)
  • aAnd a couple of tack nails (had 'em)
I asked around and everyone told me it wasn't going to work. I did it anyways :)
Here are some pics and a video.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Finished Brew Tree

 I still need a third burner, but like the redheaded kid in Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead said, "The dishes are done, dude!"

I enlisted some slave labor to sand it :)

And paint it 


Poorhouse false bottom

I could very well be the cheapest thriftiest person in the world. Here's what I did for my false bottom. I was going to use the strainer alone, but the holes are a little too big. I thought about doing the supply line alone, but I was concerned about the weight of the grain. So I'm double straining.

$4.95 for the strainer

Toilet supply line $5.50, two hose clamps $0.90 each, and I already had the CPVC lines from my old MLT set up.

Cut the supply line and each side, pull out the vinyl tubing, and clamp to the CPVC

You can't see it, but the hole I cut in the strainer is a little booty. I'll have to fix it later.

There it is: $12.25.