Thursday, April 30, 2009

Photo Updates

I checked on everything I have fermenting last night and also had 4 Amber Ales during the process. Below are some picture updates...

Belgian Dubbel - About 2 weeks in Primary

Sam Adams Summer Ale Clone - About 1 week in Primary

Empty Glass of Amber Ale - Yummy head lines!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Beer @ Work - Part 2

As a follow up to my previous post.. I brought a Fat Tire Amber Ale into work today for my 2 buddies to try. The picture in the previous post was the beer in the work refridgerator. After lunch, we came back down to our cubicles, and the guy across from me cracked open the beer in his cube. The beer was passed around and tasted by 5 people. All enjoyed the beer (even though it was left on its side and the yeast was all disturbed). To make it even better, the guys boss came walking down the aisle (who is also a director at the company) and stops him to take a swig of the beer. The director took a hearty gulp and liked it. He was told I made it, then tells me for being my 3rd ever beer, it is pretty good. He then informs me he used to brew himself when he was younger and has a case of 26oz. empty bottles he will bring in for me.

Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy! Even in shitty work!

Beer @ Work - Part 1

Today, I decided to bring in 2 bottles of my homebrew for two guys at work. Here is a nice shot of my beer at work...

I love it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fat Tire Amber Ale (Clone) Score Sheet

Taster: Mark Blaszczyk

Name of Beer: Fat Tire Amber Ale (clone)

Type: Amber

Brewery: Sunday Brewing Co.

Date: 4/25/09

Basic Scoring:
_7_ Presentation (10) - Observe the head, the consistency, the color, the clarity, the aroma…
_12_ Taste (20) - Use terms like fruity, dry, smooth, metallic, yeasty, alcoholic to help score.
_7_ Body (10) - Was this beer creamy, bubbly, hearty, thick or thin? Was it a good temperature? Was the 'mouthfeel' good(+) or bad(-)? Why?
_4_ Drinkability (5) - When finished, did you want to go out an get a six pack (+) or dump the rest of the bottle (-)?
_2_ Empty Glass Factor (5) - A trace of the ring in the glass (+) A very clean glass (-). The best beers leave a nice ring of foam. Drinking from the bottle scores a 2.

BASIC SCORE (50) __32__

Alternate Scoring:
_8_ Aroma (12) - Comment on malt, hops, esters, and other aromatics.
_2_ Appearance (3) - Comment on color, clarity, and head (retention, color, and texture)
_12_ Flavor (20) - Comment on malt, hops, fermentation characteristics, balance, finish/aftertaste, and other characteristics
_3_ Mouthfeel (5) - Comment on body, carbonation, warmth, creaminess, tartness, bitterness and other palate sensations
_6_ Overall Impression (10) - Comment on overall drinking pleasure associated with this beer and give suggestions for improvement


TOTAL SCORE (100) __63__ = VERY GOOD

Outstanding (84-100)
Excellent: (68-83)
Very Good: (52-67)
Good: (36-51)
Fair: (20-35)
Poor: (0-19)

Comments: I think this beer went pretty well with only a few mistakes. The overall taste is great. The color seems a bit dark due to steeping the grains at too high of a temperature. Also, some bottles may have been over carbonated. The head is nice during the inital pour, but it does not leave a ring around the glass. I will try tweaking this recipie a little next time it is brewed, but overall, it is a pretty decent beer!

Sam Adams Summer Ale (clone)

This weekend, per Dr. Robert's purchase, we brewed a Sam Adams Summer Ale clone. The brewing process went flawlessly and the batch began fermenting within 12 hours! Hopefully this batch will be bottled and ready to drink for Memorial Day. I will update regularly on the Summer Ale clone's progress.

Dr. Robert zesting lemons

12 hours of fermenting

Riverhorse Brewing Company Tour

Yesterday, I attended the 2009 Shad Festival in Lambertville, NJ. To those who are unfamiliar with the Shad Festival, I am too, so we'll leave it at that. However, the Riverhorse Brewing Company is located in Lambertville, and they were taking part in the festival, so I decided to check out the brewery.

Outside the Riverhorse Brewery

Briess Carapils Malt

Brew Kettle

Mash Tun

Fermentation Chamber

Fermentation Chamber 2

Packaging Area

The brewery was very nice. We took a self-guided tour and we were the only ones taking the tour, so it was nice to walk around the brewery by ourselves. I was able to try their Double Belgian Wit and it was very good! I suggest giving their sampler case a try, they have some very tasty beers for an upcoming brewery!

Belgian Dubbel pictures

Sorry for the lack of updates.. Below are some pictures from past brews I never got around to uploading.

Dan keeping an eye on the Belgian Dubbel

Belgian Dubbel fermenting in the dark

The Belgian Dubbel will be ready to be bottled this weekend. It will need to ferment about 1-2 months, but an 8.2% ABV Belgian Dubbel will be worth the wait. The Dubbel will also be bottled in flip-top 22oz. bottles (think Grolsch bottles!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Label Design

Below is a potential label design I came up with for the Wild Flower Wheat. Any ideas to improve?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Status Updates

Belgian Dubbel
The Belgian Dubbel just began its primary fermenting on Monday. It took about 30 hours before I seen any action taking play within the carboy. Right now it is blowing out a bubble every 5 seconds and a thick layer of krausen has formed on top of the carboy. The fermentation temperature is around 68 - 70 degrees. I will keep a close watch on it this weekend because the Philadelphia area is supposed to get temperatures in the 80's.

Ed Wort's Apfelwein
The apfelwein seems to be fermenting or doing its thing. It is in a plastic bucket fermenting, so I can not see what is going on. I smelled the top of the airlock to get a hint of what is coming out and it smelled like rotten eggs. This is common in certain strains of yeast. And since this yeast is a wine yeast, it probably produces some interesting smells.

Wild Flower Wheat
The Wild Flower Wheat is just about hitting the 2 week mark of fermentation and should be bottled this weekend. It is still shooting out a bubble about every minute or so. The fermentation temperature is around 64-66 degrees. I might try to warm up the Wild Flower Wheat a little bit to make sure fermentation is complete.

Fat Tire Amber Ale (Clone)
The Fat Tire Amber Ale has been conditioning just about 2 weeks now. I was impatient and sampled one at the 1 week mark, and it tasted wonderful. This recipie will be brewed again this weekend, but with some personal tweeks to the recipie.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ed Wort's Apfelwein Recipie

Apfelwein (German Hard Cider)
This took 1st Place at the 2007 Alamo City Cerveza Fest BJCP sanctioned competition for the Cider and Apple Wine Category and 2nd Place for Best of Show for Meads & Ciders!

  • 5 Gallons 100% Apple Juice (No preservatives or additives)
  • 2 pounds of dextrose (corn sugar) in one pound bags
  • 1 five gram packet of Montrachet Wine Yeast


  • 5 Gallon Carboy
  • Carboy Cap or Stopper with Airlock
  • Funnel


  1. First sanitize the carboy, airlock, funnel, stopper or carboy cap.
  2. Open one gallon bottle of apple juice and pour half of it into the carboy using the funnel.
  3. Open one bag of Dextrose and carefully add it to the now half full bottle of apple juice. Shake well.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3, then go to step 5.
  5. Pour in the mixture of Apple Juice and Dextrose from both bottles into the carboy.
  6. Add all but 1 quart of remaining 3 gallons of apple juice to the carboy.
  7. Open the packet of Montrachet Yeast and pour it into the neck of the funnel.
  8. Use the remaining quart of juice to wash down any yeast that sticks. I am able to fit all but 3 ounces of apple juice into a 5 gallon carboy. You may need to be patient to let the foam die down from all shaking and pouring.
  9. Put your stopper or carboy cap on with an airlock and fill the airlock with cheap vodka. No bacteria will live in vodka and if you get suckback, you just boosted the abv. There’s no need to worry about filling up a carboy so full when you use Montrachet wine yeast. There is no Kreuzen, just a thin layer of bubbles.
Ferment at room temperature. It will become cloudy in a couple of days and remain so for a few weeks. In the 4th week, the yeast will begin to drop out and it will become clear. After at least 4 weeks, you can keg or bottle, but it is ok to leave it in the carboy for another month or so.

If you want to bottle and carbonate, ¾ cup of corn sugar will work fine. Use as you would carbonate a batch of beer.

Weekend Update

Ok, where to begin...
  1. I took a pre-mature taste of the 1-week bottle conditioned Amber Ale and it is by far the best batch made to date. It actually tastes like beer (And a really good one to boot!). I am not going to open anymore until it's been sitting another week or two, but so far, it's a good beer!
  2. On Saturday, a Belgian Dubbel (St. Francis' Blessed Midnight Dubbel) was brewed (should be roughly 8.2% ABV). This beer will ferment for about 2-3 weeks, then bottled. It will bottle condition around 2-3 months. For this type of beer, the longer it bottle conditions the better.
  3. On Sunday, I made a batch of Ed Wort's Apfelwein. I will post the recipie. There is no actual boiling involved, and you can pick up all the ingredients for around 25$.

Sadly, I was real lazy and did not take any good pictures of either the Dubbel or Apfelwein being made. I will post some fermentation pictures during the process. The Dubbel is going to have a very vigorous ferment, so that should be interesting.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wild Flower Wheat - 6 Days of Fermenting

The Wild Flower Wheat is still going strong in the ferment. The krausen is lowering, which is good... but it is still blowing out a good amount of bubbles after 6 days. I might have to leave this batch in the fermenter close to 3 weeks.

I also need a new hydrometer due to an "accident" from last weekend. Around the 2.5 week mark, I will start taking hydrometer readings to ensure fermentation is complete. If the hydrometer reading stays constant over 2 days, it is safe enough to bottle.

Also, there will be some interesting brews being made. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wild Flower Wheat - 5 Days of Fermenting

Maybe it is the ingredients of this batch, or the yeast, or the higher sugar content... but this batch is still fermenting pretty strong. It is still blowing out a bubble about every 5 seconds after 5 days! The krausen has died down a bit and it is less foamy that it was a few days ago. Also the color is still a golden brown.. looking almost like apple cider.

I will be letting this one ferment for a total of 2 - 2.5 weeks before bottling. Also, once it is bottled, I will let it condition for about 2-3 weeks before cracking one open. I can't wait to drink that 6% ABV goodness!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wild Flower Wheat - 4 Days of Fermenting

It looks like the krausen is done coming through the blow-off hose and now it is just blowing out a bubble every 5 seconds. Not much to update as fermentation is slowing down. I will probably replace the blow-off hose with a 3-piece air lock tonight.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Patience is a Virtue!

I came across a great post about NEVER tossing out your beer, even if it tastes bad! I have made the mistake once and after reading this post, I will not anymore.

The Fermentation Process

I figured since I have so many pictures and posts about the fermentation process, I would put up some information regarding the actual process and what is going on inside the carboy.

1.) Adaptive or Lagtime Phase
At the beginning of the adaptation phase, the yeast start adjusting to the wort conditions and undergo a period of high growth. The yeast use any available oxygen in the wort to facilitate their growth processes. They can use other methods to adapt and grow in the absence of oxygen, but they can do it much more efficiently with oxygen. Under normal conditions, the yeast should proceed through the adaptation phase and begin primary fermentation within 12 hours. If 24 hours pass without apparent activity, then a new batch of yeast should probably be pitched.

2.) Primary or Attenuative Phase
The primary or attenuative phase is marked by a time of vigorous fermentation when the gravity of the beer drops by 2/3-3/4 of the original gravity (OG). The majority of the attenuation occurs during the primary phase, and can last anywhere from 2-6 days for ales, or 4-10 days for lagers, depending on conditions. A head of foamy krausen will form on top of the beer. The foam consists of yeast and wort proteins and is a light creamy color, with islands of green-brown gunk that collect and tend to adhere to the sides of the fermentor. The gunk is composed of extraneous wort protein, hop resins, and dead yeast. These compounds are very bitter and if stirred back into the wort, would result in harsh aftertastes. Fortunately these compounds are relatively insoluble and are typically removed by adhering to the sides of the fermentor as the krausen subsides. As the primary phase winds down, a majority of the yeast start settling out and the krausen starts to subside.

3.) Conditioning Phase
The reactions that take place during the conditioning phase are primarily a function of the yeast. The vigorous primary stage is over, the majority of the wort sugars have been converted to alcohol, and a lot of the yeast cells are going dormant - but some are still active. The Conditioning Phase allows for the slow reduction of the remaining fermentables. The yeast have eaten most all of the easily fermentable sugars and now start to turn their attention elsewhere. The yeast start to work on the heavier sugars like maltotriose. Towards the end of conditioning phase, the suspended yeast flocculates (settles out) and the beer clears. High molecular weight proteins also settle out during this stage. Tannin/phenol compounds will bind with the proteins and also settle out, greatly smoothing the taste of the beer.

Wild Flower Wheat - 3 Days of Fermenting

The blow-off hose is working great. The foam just seems to be flying right through the tube with no clogging. I will never use a air lock during the first days of fermentation again! The tube is blowing out bubbles about every 3-5 seconds. I do not see any clogging in the tube at all.

I checked on it this morning before work and it looks like it is starting to slow down. Some foam has settled in the tube and the CO2 pressure is slowing a bit. Depending on how the tube looks when I get home, I might replace the blow-off hose with the air lock since the beer is nearing the end of the primary fermentation stage (when the yeast is most active).

Monday, April 13, 2009

R.I.P Harry Kalas

R.I.P Harold Norbert "Harry" Kalas
March 26, 1936 - April 13, 2009

On April 13, 2009 shortly before the Phillies' game at Washington, DC with the Washington Nationals, Kalas was hospitalized after collapsing in the commentator's booth and was pronounced dead at 1:20PM.

"One strike away; nothing-and-two, the count to Hinske. Fans on the their feet; rally towels are being waved. Brad Lidge stretches. The 0-2 pitch — swing and a miss, struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball! Brad Lidge does it again, and stays perfect for the 2008 season!
48-for-48 in save opportunities, and watch the city celebrate! Don't let the 48-hour wait diminish the euphoria of this moment, and the celebration. And it has been 28 years since the Phillies have enjoyed a World Championship; 25 years in this city with a team that has enjoyed a World Championship, and the fans are ready to celebrate. What a night!"

-Harry Kalas

A Sunday Brewing Co. beer will be poured out tonight in respect for Harry K. You will be missed!

Wild Flower Wheat - 2 Days of Fermenting

It looks like the blow-off hose is doing it's job. The krausen has started to form in the carboy. The foam is blowing out of the tube and into the saucer of water with no issues. I will closely monitor the fermentation daily just in case the hose somehow gets clogged.

Wild Flower Wheat - 1 Day of Fermenting

Day 1 of fermenting. The yeast has started moving through the beer. The color has gotten a little bit darker... almost a golden brown. I decided to try the blow-off tube instead of the air lock during fermentation. Not much coming through the tube right now. There should be some CO2 bubbles coming shortly.

Wild Flower Wheat - Brewing Day

Like I said, it was a busy weekend! Not only did we bottle the Fat Tire Amber Ale and plant the Cascade hops, but we also decided to brew up a batch of beer (I can't leave those fermenters empty!).

We decided to go with the Wild Flower Wheat. No Grain is used during the brewing! Just the chamomile flowers, honey, malt and hops. The final alcohol content should be around 6%! Mmmm, strong beer!


6.6 lbs. of Unhopped Bavarian Wheat Malt Extract
2 oz. of Chamomile Flowers

1 lb. of Wild Flower Honey
2 oz. of Hallertau Hops - 3.9% Alpha Acid

Wyeast American Hefeweizen Yeast WLP320
Servomyces yeast nutrient

5 oz. of Priming Sugar

2.5 Gallons of Spring Water*

Brewing went very well. We tried to be much more sterile with everything we did. We also decided to try topping off the wort with Spring Water. Hopefully doing this will not leave the off aftertastes when it comes time for bottling.

Bavarian Wheat Malt Extract & Honey
Hops and 2 oz. of Chamomile in a tied Muslin Bag
1 Hour of Fermenting

Check out the new blow-off tube setup!! Nice. More to come!

Cascade Hops!

After bottling the Fat Tire Amber Ale, we figured it would be a good time to plant the Cascade Hop roots that were purchased from Princeton Home Brew.

Hopefully the weather starts getting warmer so the hops can start growing! Below is a little diagram of how the hops will grow. In the ground I have a 10 - 15 ft pole. Coming down from the top of the pole is rope. The rope is spiked into the ground right next to the hop plants. When the hop plants are about 5 - 6 inches out of the ground, they will be nudged over a bit so they can start climbing up the ropes.

I will keep posting pictures of the growth throughout the summer.

Fat Tire Amber Ale (Clone) - Bottling Day

Busy weekend...

First off, the Fat Tire Amber Ale was bottled. The bottling process went smoothly. Also, the hydrometer reading was 1.010 which was where it should be.

I did take a taste and the beer still had a small acidic/soapy aftertaste. I will let this batch sit for 2 weeks and give it a try then. I have my reasons for the off aftertaste again...

I believe it would be from using tap water to top off the wort after boiling. The water *should* be boiled before topping off the wort to 5 gallons. However, the aftertaste was not that bad, so I am hoping some of the off tasted will disappear after letting the bottles sit for 2 weeks.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weizenbier Score Sheet

Taster: Mark Blaszczyk

Name of Beer: Not So Good Ale

Type: Weizenbier

Brewery: Sunday Brewing Co.

Date: 4/10/09

Basic Scoring:
_5_ Presentation (10) - Observe the head, the consistency, the color, the clarity, the aroma…
_5_ Taste (20) - Use terms like fruity, dry, smooth, metallic, yeasty, alcoholic to help score.
_5_ Body (10) - Was this beer creamy, bubbly, hearty, thick or thin? Was it a good temperature? Was the 'mouthfeel' good(+) or bad(-)? Why?
_1_ Drinkability (5) - When finished, did you want to go out an get a six pack (+) or dump the rest of the bottle (-)?
_1_ Empty Glass Factor (5) - A trace of the ring in the glass (+) A very clean glass (-). The best beers leave a nice ring of foam. Drinking from the bottle scores a 2.

BASIC SCORE (50) __17__

Alternate Scoring:
_8_ Aroma (12) - Comment on malt, hops, esters, and other aromatics.
_1_ Appearance (3) - Comment on color, clarity, and head (retention, color, and texture)
_3_ Flavor (20) - Comment on malt, hops, fermentation characteristics, balance, finish/aftertaste, and other characteristics
_1_ Mouthfeel (5) - Comment on body, carbonation, warmth, creaminess, tartness, bitterness and other palate sensations
_2_ Overall Impression (10) - Comment on overall drinking pleasure associated with this beer and give suggestions for improvement


TOTAL SCORE (100) __32__ = FAIR

Outstanding (84-100)
Excellent: (68-83)
Very Good: (52-67)
Good: (36-51)
Fair: (20-35)
Poor: (0-19)

Weizenbier a.k.a "Not So Good Ale" Sample

Last night after stopping up the Hulmeville Inn to meet the brewer of River Horse Brewing Co., I decided to crack open a Weizenbier to take a little sample. It has been sitting roughly 5 days, so I couldn't wait any longer.

The beer poured with a nice head as shown in the picture. The beer also smelled very good. So, I was hoping that the taste test I took on bottling day tasted bad because their was no sugar added in the beer. Sadly, I was wrong and the beer still tasted off. It still had an acidic/soapy aftertaste. The beer also looks very clear... probably from adding too much water. A weiss beer should be somewhat cloudy.

I can't really say much about this batch other than it was a learning experience.

Some reasons I have that may have ruined the batch:

  1. We did not boil the water before topping off the wort. We used cold tap water which could have caused some of the off-aftertastes.

  2. The lid was left off the wort while cooling down which may have let some germs in.

  3. The yeast starter we made was from warm tap water. This water should of been boiled. Also, we did not cover the yeast starter while we were brewing.

I will be bottling the Fat Tire Amber Ale (clone) tomorrow. I will post some pictures for that process and try to document everything we did.


Here is a picture of my River Horse Burnt Sugar Ale from last night. It was a very tasty beverage.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fat Tire Amber Ale (Clone) - 1 Week of Fermenting

Very little activity coming from the air lock. About a bubble every 20 seconds. The Fat Tire Amber Ale will be bottled on Saturday, due to Sunday being Easter.

Bottling Day - Weizenbier

Well... bottling day went well. We did not really have any issues as far as the bottling. All the tubing fit as needed. We picked up a auto-siphon, a bottling bucket and some empty bottles from the home brew shop. The bottling process went very smoothly, however, the beer tasted VERY watery.
Joe holding the tube
Racking the Weizenbier
Empty Bottles Drying
The Final Gravity (F.G) reading was exactly as it should of been at 1.010.

Hydrometer Reading of 1.010
The issue that pretty much 'effed up the batch was the fermenting bucket. The bucket we purchased in our kit did not have any of the gallon markers labeled on the side. So, when we originally made the beer, we assumed it was a 5 gallon bucket, and topped off the wort just a bit below the lid. The bucket is actually a 6.5 gallon bucket. This caused the batch to have a very watery taste to it. I also calculated the alcohol percentage to be around 2.6%. It should have been around 4% - 5%.
Joe Taste Test

Mark Taste Test

So, this has been a learning lesson, again! We did bottle the beer and I will give it a taste on Saturday (1 week). If it still tastes watery, it's going down the drain so I can use the bottles to bottle the Fat Tire Amber Ale.