Brew Day – American IPA

Well if you haven’t watched the news in a few days, you may not have heard that the Northeast/New England just got hit by a nice sized blizzard. After spending Friday night and most of the day Saturday clearing myself out from a pleasant 28 inches or so of snow, brewing on Sunday seemed like a good activity. What else was I going to do (other than drink beer)?

I initially wanted to make a Black IPA kit that I had purchased from, but once I started looking it over I realized I didn’t have the yeast for it, so I went with the American IPA kit that I had from Christmas still. Before I go any further with post, I don’t need need to be told how awesome this post is, but I also realize I am missing some awesome-points since I forgot to take any pictures whatsoever while brewing. Oops.

The kit was pretty straight forward, I did a partial boil for it in my garage. For those new to brewing, with extract brewing you can either do a full or partial boil. Assuming most kits are for 5-gallons, a partial boil would be boiling and cooking with 2.5 to 3 gallons and then when transferring to your fermenter, top off to 5 gallons. With a full boil you start with 6 gallons, figure 1 gallon will boil off, thus giving you your 5 gallons. I think this will be my last time doing a partial boil. A full boil, in theory will give you better saturation with your grains and hops. Obviously a partial boil is easier to do since you don’t need to find a huge pot/cooker for the boil (10 gallon is probably the smallest you would want). I’m working on converting an old keg (15.5 gallons) to a cooker for brewing, so doing a full boil in that won’t be a problem at all.

Anyways, once I got my water boiling and ready for my grains, I dropped them into the water in the muslin bag. For grains I was working with:

  • 2- Row – 1.5 pounds
  • Pilsner malt – 1.5 pounds
  • Crystal 60 – 8 ounces

While I am posting ingredients, I also had:

  • Extra Light LME – 6 pounds
  • Bittering hops – Apollo (1 ounce)
  • Flavor hops – Cascade (1 ounce)
  • Aroma hops – Cascade (1 ounce)
  • Dry hops – Bravo (1 ounce)
  • Wyeast 1056 (dry)

Yesterday was probably my messiest brew day ever. Never before had I boiled over, but sure enough I boiled over this time. Thankfully I boiled over when bringing my wort back up to a boil for my bittering hops, but before adding them. I don’t think I could handle losing some precious hops.

Rest of the brew process went fairly smoothly, I had a small incident (and now burned hand) when adding my LME. Again, I am a dummy. I love brewing with liquid extract because it is so much more stable in my experience than dry extract. Dry extract seems to have a mind of it’s own, and the only thing on its mind is “I NEED TO BOIL OUT OF THIS POT.”  Liquid on the other hand is much more manageable and kind of just stirs right into your wort nicely. My only problem with liquid is since it is like molasses, its never easy to get it all out into your wort. Usually I run the extract under hot water in the sink to loosen it up, and then I “clean” the container(s) out in the hot wort since that is plenty hot to dissolve the extract out of the container. On this day, I decided to partially fill the container with hot wort, cap it, then swish it around.


For those needing a recap of basic physics, heat expands. So I took this near boiling wort, sealed it in a container, and then agitated it. The air in the container expanded with the heat, blew the lid off, and sprayed hot sticky wort all of me. Not cool , but damages were minimal. I like to look on the bright side of things, so between the small boil over and extract/wort explosion, my garage smells awesome. I’m not even kidding, I love the smell of homebrewing.

Rest of the boil finished up without incident. I let my wort cool in the set-tub before dumping into fermenter, topping off to 5 gallons, taking OG, adding yeast, sealing up and agitating. I was a little shocked that I had boiled over more than a gallon, meaning I had to top off with almost 3.5 gallons of water, but ultimately reasonable given my few mistakes during the brew. Thankfully homebrewing is fairly forgiving. Before adding my yeast, sealing up, and agitating I took my original gravity (OG).

My reading was 1.052 for OG. Calculated OG according to brew sheet was 1.063. So we’ll see in a few weeks what I end up with. Final gravity should end up around 1.016 with an ABV of 6.24% and 70 IBUs.

Super exciting shot of American IPA in fermentor

Super exciting shot of American IPA in fermentor

After the exiting picture above, I think I will be purchasing a carboy next. Plus that frees me up to have more than one beer brewing at a time, since the above fermenter is my only fermenter. I’ll crack that open again in 3 weeks or so to dry hop, then let ferment for another week, before siphoning into a keg.



Many thanks to DIY Brewing for the kit. Seriously the guys there are awesome and incredibly nice. If you’re looking for new kits, parts, or advice give them a call. Tell them I sent you! The owner Mike is very passionate about what he does and I’ve never had a bad experience dealing with him.

Keezer build – post 1

As I mentioned in my welcome post I was working on a keezer. Tonight was very exciting as I all the pieces finally came together. I do not have time to write a full post about it yet, but I am so excited about it that I had to share some pictures.

Enjoy! I will follow up with an actual post going over the building process.

CO2 tank in the corner of the freezer. Also note the little mini-dehumidifier.

CO2 tank in the corner of the freezer. Also note the little mini-dehumidifier.

4-way C)2 manifold and an AC fan. The fan will help circulate air inside.

4-way C)2 manifold and an AC fan. The fan will help circulate air inside.

One tap. Eventually I plan on having 4!

One tap. Eventually I plan on having 4!

Back of the keezer. I mounted the thermostat control and a power strip to the outside to keep wires neater.

Back of the keezer. I mounted the thermostat control and a power strip to the outside to keep wires neater.

20# CO2 tank with regulator attached.

20# CO2 tank with regulator attached.

Another inside shot with baskets that came with the freezer. Unsure if I will keep in there, but they are good for holding bottles or keeping glasses cold.

Another inside shot with baskets that came with the freezer. Unsure if I will keep in there, but they are good for holding bottles or keeping glasses cold.

Outside appearance

Outside appearance

Inside the freezer. Half-keg of sweet sweet delicious Dale's Pale from Oskar Blues

Inside the freezer. Half-keg of sweet sweet delicious Dale’s Pale from Oskar Blues

Waiting on a Sanke tap to homebrew conversion kit to come in tomorrow. Tonight everything is getting nice and cold. Tomorrow I’ll be tapping the Dale’s Pale Ale and I will be enjoying that for many pints to come.

First Review – Founders Brewing, Red’s Rye P.A.

Red's Rye PA

Red’s Rye PA

Tonight we are trying a rye pale ale from Founders Brewing. I picked this up yesterday at the Beer Shop in East Longmeadow. It was my first visit there and I really have to say it was a positive one. If one is ever in the area I would definitely recommend checking them out. They have a huge variety of loose bottled beers, allowing you to really build a unique assortment. I picked up 8 different beers while I was there. Unfortunately I drank most of them during the Super Bowl and all I can say for a review of them was, they were good. The guy working the checkout counter was very knowledgeable and eager to learn about other beers he didn’t have in stock but would look into getting.

Anyways, onto the beer for the evening… upon uncapping I was greeted with a very strong hoppy and grapefruity scent. So far off to a good start. First tastes reminded me of Harpoon’s Rye IPA, which is in no way a bad thing.

As I got into the beer it went down smoothly and didn’t leave much a of a sour aftertaste.

ABV was 6.6% and 70IBUs.

Overall a very good beer that I would buy again and definitely keep an eye out for on tap.


As this is my first beer review I realize it is a bit unorthodox. Regardless I would still like to share with others what I am drinking and chronicle my own growth as I further my knowledge and understanding of all things beer.


Well first and foremost my name is Nick. I’ve only been brewing for a few months now, but I really like it, and have read so many other wonderful blogs and websites about it that I thought that I should start something up. I am still a newbie and just documenting what I do here, but I’d like to think that someday some poor soul will stumble across this and find something that helps them.

I’ve been working on building a keezer for home which I am really excited for. First because come on… IT’S A FREAKING KEEZER. And secondly because I think it is a great way for me to move along my brewing to the next step. I’d love to dive head first and get a sweet all-grain set up, but I can’t afford all those cool toys at once and need to take it one step at a time. Also, bottling beer was really tedious. I will be posting some pictures of that next week when it is all set up, but I really need to give my grandfather a huge thank-you as well for being a huge help with the project. I showed him what I wanted to do and I got all the pieces on the beer end, but he went to town on putting the collar together for me and it is just gorgeous.

If you don’t know what a keezer is, it is pretty much a kegerator, whereas a kegerator gets the name from combination of refrigerator and keg, here I am combining a freezer and keg. It is going to beautiful when it is all done, and I will have a big post about it next week.

Up next I will be brewing a black IPA kit that I ordered from MoreBeer when I getting some parts for the keezer. I needed to spend some more money to get the free shipping, so it would have been stupid to not try another kit! I’ll try to do a post later today or tomorrow with brew day pics and so on.

That’s all I have for now to kick this whole thing off, but thanks for reading, and since I am still new to this whole WorPress thing I’m sure I’ll be changing stuff up.