Tuesday, May 14, 2013


 First things first, you will need tools. Here is a list of some of the things you will need to fill a five gallon carboy, of your own.

1. 5 gal. Carboy or equivalent
2. 10- 1.5 liter plastic containers or equivalent
3. Air lock and cork that fits the carboy
4. Pint of corn syrup or 3 cups desolved sugar
5. 3 cups of malted grain (or you may wish to malt you own grain)
6. Molasses (My preference not mandatory) you could also carmel some sugar 
            this works nice for both color and flavour
7. One gallon pot for boiling water
8. Big pot that can boil three - four gallons
9. Two gallon container with a tight fitting lid for soaking the grain
10. Measuring cup
11. Funnel
12. Food processor
13. Meat thermometer
14. Wooden spoon
15. Two 1 gallon bowls
16. Colander
17. Cheese cloth or equivalent (I use a scrap of silk screen 110 mesh)
18. 4 clothes pins (not necessary but they help with the straining of the wort)
19. 14 to 28 grams of hops. You may want to experiment with this, as 
I use only 14 grams
20. 4 Tbs of malted milk powder
21. 3 Tbs yeast, I use regular bread yeast.
     You may wish to toast some of your grain. Toasting is one way to determine flavor and color but the sugar may also effect color and taste. The sugars with the yeast determine alcohol content. This is a mostly grain recipe so let's begin with your grain by putting it in the food processor and run it until you are sure all the grain has cracked. Put the grain in the two gallon container for soaking. 
Grain Soaking

     In your large boiling pot heat the water to just under 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the water over your grains, this is called striking the grain. Then cover it with a tight fitting lid and let it steep. This creates what is called the mash. Your mash needs to steep for about one hour. Then strain the mash solution into your colander, keeping your grain separate for the next steeping. Then strain the liquid again into a bowl with your mesh in it. Be sure to secure the edges with your clothes pins. You could also have some one just hold the mesh in place but you will find you won't always have help when it's time to brew. Pour the strained mash into your carboy.

     Depending on how large your boiling and straining containers are you will most likely want to soak and steep about four times or more to fill the carboy three quarters of the way with your mash strainings.

    Meanwhile, you can heat one quart of water with your hops and three to four tablespoons of powdered malt up to approximately 159 degrees Fahrenheit. Try to keep the temperature on the first heat up below 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This is critical as temperatures above will kill the enzymes and sugars in the malt powder. You can strain this mixture and boil the next quart to get the flavors of the hops. You will want to only boil up to four quarts, one at a time. After the fourth heat up the hops has very little flavor left to boil out of it. You may want to use more hops depending on your preference. I like just a hint of hops flavor.
     When the carboy is three quarters of the way full, you are ready to pour in two cups of corn syrup. Feel free to experiment with different syrups and adjust the flavor to your own personal liking. This is also a good time to add your carmeled sugar if you want a carmel flavor. I recently have been using two cups corn syrup and two cups carmeled sugar diluted. But you will want to keep good records on changes like this so you have a good idea what you have done to come up with the final flavor.
     Now you are down to about one or two gallons left, until the wort is three fingers from the neck of the carboy. Before you fill the last third . Mix three tablespoons of yeast to one cup water or two packets. Use cool water but not cold. Mix it slowly with a fork or whisk. Important; Make sure your wort is under 100 degrees before adding the yeast mix. When you are sure that your yeast is fully dissolved or starting to foam and the wort is cool, add the yeast mixture to the wort. 
     Now you should have about one gallon left in the carboy to fill. At this point you can use cool water to soak your grains. Finish off filling the carboy with the cool mash strainings. Put the air lock in place and set the carboy in safe place. It works best at room temperatures any where between 64-74 degrees Fahrenheit but it can be a bit hotter and it will still be fine. Let the wort work for five days or until the air lock bubbles less than once every sixty seconds. I have found five days to be the perfect timing for the first fermentation.

Five days later!

     Now you have waited patiently for five days and its time to bottle your brew. You can sample the wort at this time and get a taste of your hard work, but it will taste better after the second fermentation.

Tools and supplies for bottling.

  1. 10 two liter bottles, plastic pop bottles work great
  2. Less than 3 cups sugar
  3. Tablespoon measuring spoon
  4. Five feet or more of 1/2 inch plastic hose
  5. 1/8in by 21 inch rod made of something that won’t rot or rust
  6. Funnel
  7. Bleach
  8. Measuring cup

     Begin by sanitizing your two liter bottles. I usually use a very weak mixture of bleach and water. Give them a very thorough rinse. Line them up on a low table or at least on a surface low enough to create a flow from the carboy. So if you can put your carboy on a shelf about shoulder height and the bottles about knee height just to put that into perspective to you.

     Next using your funnel put three tablespoons of sugar in each bottle. This is also the time to add your flavored syrup although its not really necessary to add anything more than your primer sugar. I like to use molasses but you can feel free to experiment. At this point add one and a quarter cups water, that is warm but not hot! Try to keep it under 100 degrees. Any thing higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit will kill the active yeast that is ready to start the second fermentation. Shake each bottle well making sure that the sugars are mixed well.

     Now its time for the siphoning. Take off the air lock from the carboy. Now put the rod mentioned in number five in the tube, refer to number four and leave about three quarters to one half inch of the rod extended from the hose. Put the tube with the rod in it in to the carboy slowly so as not to stir up the wort. Now you get to sample the wort. If you have something close by, like maybe the kitchen sink or a bucket to start the flow into. Suck the end of the hose till you get it to fill most of the tube as this will prime the wort so you get gravity to begin doing the work of siphoning for you.

#5 Plastic tube and rod for rigidity

     Once you see the flow of wort is flowing clean and with no sediment you should plug the end with your thumb.

     You may want to get fancy and use some kind of faucet device that’s totally up to you but with a little practice you will find your thumb works just as good. Release the wort into each bottle filling it about the rim where the top stops. Just up to where it begins to foam out the top. Then go back with whats left of the wort and finish filling the bottles to the top. Now you can cap them up and let them ferment for at least two weeks. After two weeks your brew should be ready to serve. 

     Just a little advice! You will want to open the bottles over the sink, let the pressure off slow; real slow! This can take sometimes 20 to 60 minutes depending on how much went to ethanol instead of alcohol. Then stand back if you have pop off lids because sometimes they are like opening a bottle of champagne. Pour a mug,  goblet or a stein of your home brew and give it a rating. Let your friends try it too


Wild Beer Hiccup Home Brew

Friday, March 29, 2013

Try This New Trend for Your Wedding Dinnerware!

This artical helps to explain why some people choose porcelain over stoneware.

(BPT) - New brides are transforming something old into something new. That’s according to the latest bridal tabletop trends.
While in recent years brides have been registering for casual dinnerware, lately industry experts are seeing brides returning to fine china. Sales indicate they’re opting for porcelain and bone china, which are more durable than stoneware because these mediums are less likely to chip.
White patterns continue to be strong bridal sellers, ranging in shades from pure white to ecru, with gold trim making a resurgence among millennial brides.
But in an emerging trend, observers are finding vintage is vogue.
Brides are embracing heirloom patterns for a number of reasons,” says Keith Winkler, product marketing manager at
Replacements, Ltd. “First of all, there’s a strong, emotional connection to those inherited pieces because it ties them to family and tradition. At the same time, vintage is huge throughout the fashion industry, and that’s impacting dinnerware trends. Brides are hanging onto Grandma’s china, but they’re also looking to give family treasures a more contemporary spin.”
John Griffith oversees the visual merchandising team at Replacements, known as the world’s largest retailer of old and new china, crystal, silver and collectibles. He often hears from brides needing help transforming family treasures.
It doesn’t matter whether inherited dinnerware is decades old, patterns are timeless through the magic of mixing and matching,” says Griffith. “I suggest using your heirloom pattern as a starting point, then mixing in various colors, shapes and even other mediums such as glass or acrylics. By creating a sort of ‘retro remix,’ you can dress up your sentimental favorite for formal entertaining, or just as easily dress down your tableware for a casual evening with friends.”
For example, Griffith says mixing in square salad plates with round shaped dinnerware creates art deco flair. Mixing different colored plates or glass can open up an entire new color palette.
He’s adamant; don’t be afraid to be bold and try something new.
I recently had a customer come in with an heirloom she wanted to match,” he says. “We didn’t have any pieces in her pattern, so I instead zeroed in on a design element with the goblet, in this case the stem style on the glass. I added in four additional crystal patterns, all with a similar stem design. By matching that particular design element, we created a really elegant, contemporary look.”
Griffith leads design seminars on creating trendy tables at the company’s retail store. Many of his insights appear on Replacements’ YouTube channel and Facebookpage at www.facebook.com/Replacements.
One challenge brides often encounter with heirloom pieces lies in the fact family members sometimes forget the name of the pattern. Griffith suggests taking advantage of Replacements’ free pattern identification service. Additional information is available on the company’s website, www.replacements.com.

This article originally posed in The Taos News.