Fun

Win a Trip to Starr Hill

Thursday, May 1, 2014 | Bars, Contest, Distributors, Fun, Retailers, Starr Hill Brewery

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Starr Hill’s new tasting room opened at their Crozet brewery just under a month ago, just twelve miles away from downtown Charlottesville. They doubled the size of the old tasting room and gave it a whole new look that showcases the bottling and canning lines, custom concrete and wooden bars, and an outdoor patio with space for food trucks to park. The tap room features a state-of-the-art draft system and 16 Starr Hill brews for tasting flights, pints and growler fills.

The new extended tasting room hours are as follows:

Thursdays from 1 – 8 PM

Fridays 12 – 8 PM

Saturdays 11 AM – 8 PM

Sundays 11 AM – 5 PM

They also offer tours of the entire facility on Saturdays and Sundays at 1, 2, 3 and 4pm.

You can win a fabulous trip to the Starr Hill Brewery. Enter to win at Railroad Street Bar and Grille while enjoying great Starr Hill brands on draft and in Growlers to Go. You can also enter to Win at the Starr Hill Displays at the following Beer Distributors:

Epps Beverage – Royersford

Limerick Beverage – Limerick

Austin Beverage – Collegeville

Drawing will be held on June 5th at Railroad Street Bar – do not need to be present to win!!!

Earth Day

Thursday, April 17, 2014 | Beer News, Distributors, Events, Fun, Local Favorites, Long Trail, Restaurants, Retailers, Spring, Sustainable, Victory

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As spring comes into full swing and trees and plants put forth their blooms, we find that it’s a perfect time to really take a look at our planet and all she has to offer; we’d never have the flora needed to make delicious beers without our environment being as it is, and it’s important to take a day out of the year to appreciate all the beauty in the natural world. So celebrate Earth Day (April 22) with some environmentally conscious brews this year, and go find a forest to stroll through, a beach to walk along or simply sit out on your front porch and take in all the awe-inspiring beauty that is Mother Nature.

Long Trail has held the tradition of commitment to maintaining the environment for many years now. Between their spent mash and cow power programs, and their water conservation efforts, they gained Vermont’s Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in 2009 and continue to do all they can to keep our planet healthy. This Earth Day, certain bars and restaurants will be giving a special pint glass away with the purchase of a Long Trail brew, as well as a seedling, with the goal of planting 10,000 trees in the U.S. You can find distributors here and participating bars here.

Long Trail isn’t the only brewery that’s stepping up to the plate this Earth Day, though.

Victory Brewing, who won the Sustainable Agriculture Business Award earlier this year, is joining forces with the Brandywine Conservancy in a reforestation initiative in East Brandywine Township, planting trees provided by the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s TreeVitalize program. Over the last five years, the group has been planting trees throughout the Brandywine Watershed, and they hope to meet the milestone 25,000th tree at this event, which takes place Saturday, April 19th, starting at 9 a.m.

For information or to volunteer, please call Wes Horner at 610.388.8124.

Spring is Here

Thursday, March 20, 2014 | Fun, Ingredients, Spring

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Today is the Spring Equinox, the official first day of spring. And we sure are looking forward to the warmer weather after this winter we’ve had. Spring isn’t just a time for cleaning or short sleeves, though. It’s also the beginning of growth, when farmers and gardeners all across the northern hemisphere begin to prepare the earth for life and sow their seeds. Flowers, vegetables and fruits all start a new generation, so it stands to reason that the ingredients for beer–malts, hops and any adjuncts–are also beginning their new lives. Troegs’ Cultivator Helles Bock (now in season) signifies the starting of the hop-growing season with delicate floral notes. This is the first brew in the Hop Cycle series, which tracks the three steps of the growing season. Over at the Rogue Farms, their beer and spirit growing season has started.

In this very special GBOTW post, we’ll share the life cycle of several plants used to brew, and take a look at how different breweries are preparing for this very important stage of beer-making.

Malts

Barley, as a type of grass, is a relatively easy plant to grow. People have been growing it for thousands of years, and it has been used in brewing for almost as long. Although it’s grown on a primarily commercial level now, it’s fairly simple to grow in small plots on your own.

First, the soil must be prepared for sowing. Barley doesn’t like very acidic soils, so if the land has a low pH (anything below 6), lime or compost is spread in the autumn to ensure the soil is right. Phosphorus and potassium are also important to produce good malting barley. Once the chemical makeup of the soil has been amended, it’s time to turn up the dirt and loosen it for planting. This is done right after the thaw in spring, once the ground is soft enough to work with.

Sowing starts in slightly different times for different climes, but around these parts, it would be early to mid-April, around when you start your peas. Commercially, it’s grown about 60 to 90 pounds of seed per acre, which is usually just scattered on broken earth, then raked over so it’s slightly covered by the dirt to deter birds. Grains and grasses are easily taken over by weeds, so removing unwanted vegetative trespassers is important. On a farm, herbicides are usually used to kill off weeds, but sometimes flame weeders are used. If you’re growing your own plot, it’s best to try to sow your seeds in lines so that there is room to hand-weed between the plants. Buckwheat can also be grown the year before and tilled under during flowering season to hold the nutrients and smother all weeds. Bugs and pests are too much of a problem, and birds can be driven off by a good dog.

Unless the spring is abnormally dry–which it seems this one is not shaping up to be–irrigation isn’t usually necessary. Grasses usually hold up well in drought or flood–that’s part of the reason they cover 20% of the land on Earth. Six row types of barley–the most commonly grown in the U.S.–don’t tend to need as much water as two row types. If irrigation is necessary, it should be done soon after the heads appear.

About three months (90 days) after it’s sown, barley is ready to be harvested. Around here, that would set it to be ready in June or very early July. The straw becomes dry and brittle, the seed firm, and the plant takes on a golden color. On a small level, harvest is easiest with a light sickle and the seed is separated by simply beating on it over a receptacle, but large farms use specialized machines to cut and separate the seeds from the plant so that they may be malted for use in brewing.

Hops

Hops, unlike barley, are perennial plants, meaning they come back year after year, so there isn’t a spring sowing period. In fact, hops are grown from rhizomes, the so-called heart of the plant’s root where nutrients are stored. Hop rhizomes look a bit like a stick-like bulb. Like aspen, many hop plants are connected through a single root system, and cut up appropriately, this root system can be used to start new plants.

In early spring, sometime between February and April, rhizomes are planted 4″ deep in a sunny area with well-drained soil, with rhizomes spread at least 3 feet apart for like-varieties. Too much waterlogging can result in the roots rotting, so it’s important to plant in soil that does not have a lot of clay in it, and overcrowding leads to less productive plants that are more susceptible to disease and pests. Humulus lupulus (that is, the common hop) are bines that need something to climb, such as a string, trellis or pole. This plant can grow up the 25 feet in a single season, so having enough climbing space is very important, and stunting the plants can result in over-crowding and mildew. 10-20 ft. is suggested for climbing space. Hops aren’t too picky about pH balance, enjoying anything between 5.5 and 8.

Unless the season is particularly dry, frequent watering need only be light, but fertilizers can be added occasionally to increase yield. Because your soil should be well-drained, it’s best to use a non-chemical fertilizer so it doesn’t just run off into the soil. As stated before, overcrowding is a problem with hops, so pruning is important. Weaker shoots should be cut back so only 2-3 per rhizome remain. Aphids and mildew are the most common problems associated with hops. Mildew can be stopped by trimming away the effected area and aphids can be taken care of by using a variety of different natural solutions, such as buying ladybug eggs or planting garlic or onions near the plants.

Mid-August to September is around when hops are ready to be harvested, just when the feathery bracteole (leaves/petals) are beginning to turn brown. The cone should be easily crushed and fragrant, and the lupulin gland should be sticky and yellow when the cone is split. If this is the first season, there shouldn’t be a very big yield, but plants come back next year hardier and more productive without all the preparation over again.

Adjuncts

There are so many additions to beers that we hardly have time to go over them all. So we’ll just name a few common adjuncts, and give a short explanation of when to plant and when to harvest.

Cherries*: Cherry trees are not only beautiful in the spring, but they can produce fruits in July if you have several of them.

Apples*: Apples are great for ciders and can also be added to beers, and there are so many varieties, you can find apples that will ripen anywhere between July and early November.

Pears*: These should be picked in the late summer to early fall, and allowed to ripen off the tree.

Tomatoes: A strange but tasty ingredient, tomatoes usually ripen in late July or early August, and should be planted sometime in late April, after the weather has warmed.

Peppers: Peppers can be started indoors as early as April and then transplanted later to ripen in late summer and early fall.

Pumpkins: A favorite of autumn, pumpkin seeds should be started late in the season, like late May or June. The fruit ripens in October.

Chestnuts: Sometimes added to nutty brown ales, these tree nuts are ripe when they fall, sometime between mid-September and mid-October.

Pecans: These tasty guys ripen between October and December.

*Fruit trees should be planted in the spring if they are bare-root, and in autumn if they are in a container.

Here is some information on how to grow your own hops or barley. Here is a specialized article on how to harvest hops.

Give Thanks for Beer

Thursday, November 21, 2013 | Anchor, Events, Fall, Fun, Goose Island, Magic Hat, Rogue, Shock Top, Victory

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Thanksgiving is just a week away, and you can already hear the tummies rumbling. Although wine is the traditional drink of the holiday, there are so many beer options that go well with the food, it’s hard not to want to buy a couple different varieties. Whether you’re looking to pair each course with the perfect beer, or you want to win over your host by bringing the goods, we’ve got your back. Here’s our list of Thanksgiving beers.

1. Rogue Juniper Pale Ale: This crisp and spicy pale ale goes perfectly with turkey and cranberry, and is just light enough to leave room for the food. The refreshing juniper is also an appetite stimulant, so it’s great as a before-dinner apertif. 5.3% ABV

2. Victory Festbier: A smooth, well-balance option that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The caramel-y, nutty malts are balance with a hint of hops, making for a beer that goes well with just about everything on the table. 5.6% ABV

3. Goose Island Nut Brown Ale: Brown ales are ever-popular, and go great with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and ham. This ale is nutty, complex and light enough to enjoy during this feast without taking away from the food. 5.3% ABV

4. Anchor BigLeaf Maple Red: This sweet and delicious brew brings a hint of maple syrup to dinner, great for pairing with sweet potatoes, pork, and most other usual Turkey-Day fare. 6.0% ABV

5. Shock Top Pumpkin: You can’t have a Thanksgiving beer list without including a pumpkin ale. Even if you couldn’t possibly have room for pumpkin pie, this is a sure-fire way to get your annual dose of pumpkin spices. 5.2% ABV

6. Magic Hat Heart of Darkness: Coffee may be what you’ve had with dessert in the past, but why waste the perfect moment for a dessert stout? This goes great with chocolate, good conversation and a toasty fireside. 5.7% ABV

And from everyone at Greatest Beers of the World, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Suburban Beer Week TGIV at Lucky Lab Tavern

Friday, May 17, 2013 | Bars, Events, Fun, Restaurants, Victory

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It’s Suburban Beer Week 19468 again, with four venues around the area holding events as a small town response to Philly Beer Week. Tonight, at Lucky Lab Tavern in Royersford, is the “Thank God Its Victory” tap takeover. Victory’s Adam Gladish will be there for one of the greatest events he’s ever done.
The draft list below is enough to send anyone’s mouth a-watering.
  • A firkin of Double IPA that has been dry-hopped with the new experimental Mosaic hops.
  • One of the first kegs of Summer Love
  • Fresh Prima Pils (brewed on 4-30-13)
  • Abbey IPA (Brewed specifically for this event…a new beer that combines the Belgian qualities of a traditional Abbey ale and the hoppy goodness of an American IPA)
  • St. Victorious, a slightly smokey doppelbock
  • Everyone’s favorite Golden Monkey, a 9.7% Abv Belgian Tripel
  • As well as a secret beer that might be barrel-aged in nature
The event will be starting tonight at 5pm and going until 10pm
Lucky Lab Tavern
312 North Lewis Road
Royersford, Pennsylvania 19468
Webpage

Budweiser “Buddy Cup” Combines Drinking and Facebook

Friday, May 3, 2013 | Beer News, Fun, New, Uncategorized

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Budweiser Brazil has introduced a new high-tech glass that makes meeting new people at the bar that much easier. The Buddy Cup, as it’s affectionately named, automatically ‘friends’ anyone who clinks their glasses together during a toast. A love-child of advertising company Africa and Bolha studio of digital innovation, these cups have a QR code on the bottom. The drinker need only scan this code for their Facebook profile to be connected to the glass, and they can get started socializing.

St. Patrick’s Day

Thursday, March 14, 2013 | Fun

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Oh, St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday most identified with the drinking of beer. Whether you’re living it up at your favorite local Irish pub, or spending the time with your green-clad friends and family, it’s important to keep in mind what this feast day is all about.

Around 400 AD, the teenager who we now know as the patron saint of Ireland was kidnapped and brought to the island as a slave. A vision of God motivated him to escape, returning to his family and joining to Christian church. After over a decade of studying, Patrick returned to Ireland as a Bishop to spread the good word. There are quite a few legends of St. Patrick’s goings on in Ireland, but only a little bit of evidence in the form of letters to suggest what he actually did. The most famous myth of his driving all the snakes from Ireland is probably just a metaphor for vanquishing evil and the devil.

What we do know is that he converted and baptized thousands of people despite the adversity he faced. After his death, many of the churches and schools he opened fought over the remains of his body as holy relics. He was canonized soon after his death, and his feast day occurs on the day of his death, March 17th.

St. Patrick’s Day is meant to be a day of celebration and indulgence in good food and beverage. Until fairly recently, though, its connotation was strictly religious, and even after it was made a public holiday in Ireland, they required that pubs be closed on this day. Within the last twenty years, St. Patrick’s Day has become popular world-wide, and now accounts for much of the tourism to Ireland, where travelers can enjoy the local festivals and pubs for days.

For those of us who can’t make it all the way to Ireland, there are some great options in Pennsylvania for celebration on Sunday.

  • Drake Tavern in Jenkintown is offering $4 O’hara’s stout
  • Kitchen Bar in Abington is offering $3.99 O’hara’s stout and pale
  • Dominick’s in Chalfont. is offering  $3 Carlsberg drafts
  • Union Jacks in Glenside has $3.50 Carlsberg drafts and $4 Bass stout drafts
  • Mesquito Grille in Doylestown is featuring $4 Carlsberg drafts and $5 Crabbies bottles
  • The Churchville Inn in Churchville is featuring $5 O’Hara’s pints (whole weekend)
  • King’s Corner Public House in Jenkintown is featuring $4 Carlsberg pints

The Beginner’s Guide to Homebrewing

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | Fun, Ingredients

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So you’ve tasted a number of different craft beers, and decided that you want to start brewing your own. If you aren’t sure how to get started, this guide will lead you through the steps of malt extract brewing, from choosing equipment and ingredients, to brewing and bottling your beer. We’ll go over the equipment you’ll need, the ingredients you’ll use, and the basic process by which you can create your very own beer.

Equipment

  • Brew Pot
  • Large stirring spoon (not wood)
  • Measuring cup (pyrex glass is best)
  • Regular spoon
  • Clean jar or bowl for starting yeast
  • Fermentor (food-grade plastic bucket or glass carboy)
  • Airlock
  • Sanitizer (B-Brite or chlorine)
  • Hydrometer
  • Thermometer
  • Bottling bucket
  • Bottle capper
  • Bottles and caps
  • Bottle brush
  • Removable spigot (alternatively, a racking cane and some clean hose)

First, let’s discuss the major equipment you’re going to need to invest in. There are many homebrew supply stores, and most of them offer a beginner’s kit that includes most of the tools you will need to brew your first batch of beer for a fraction of the price you would pay if you bought all the equipment separately. It’s important to understand what each of these tools is used for, and how to properly care for and use them.

A brew kettle or pot is exactly what it sounds like: a huge pot in which you make your wort. Your brew pot needs two handles and a lid, and can be aluminum, enamel-coated metal or stainless steel. It is important to clean and sanitize the pot before brewing. With a material that absorbs flavors, it’s probably unwise to use this pot for anything other than brewing, but using a stainless steel pot for other things is fine, so long as you thoroughly clean and sanitize the pot.

Your fermentor can come in three varieties; a glass carboy, a food-grade plastic bucket or a conical fermentor. The cheapest conical fermentors start at several hundred dollars, take up a lot of space and are usually used in breweries rather than at home, so we’re going to focus on the first two types in this beginner’s guide. A carboy is the more traditional choice in home brewing, but buckets are becoming more and more popular. There isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two functionally, but with a carboy you can watch what is going on during the fermentation process, and buckets tend to be easier to clean, given their large mouths. Buckets can also come with a removable spigot for easier transference. You can also purchase plastic carboys if you’re worried about breaking a glass one and finding all your hard work in a big puddle on the basement floor, but make sure they are food grade. For a five gallon batch, you’ll need a seven gallon fermentor.

A fermentation lock, or airlock, is used to allow carbon dioxide to escape during fermentation without allowing air in. A few different types of airlocks are available, including an S-curve airlock and a 3-piece airlock. Both of these work essentially the same way: you fill the device partially with liquid, creating a barrier between the fermenting solution inside the fermentor and the air outside. This keeps the brew from oxidizing or being contaminated by bacteria in your household. Once fermentation starts, you will notice gases escaping from the fermentor as little bubbles through the liquid. Most people use water in their airlocks, but some use vodka or sanitizing solution. The best policy is not to use anything that you would mind getting in your beer. You also need a rubber stopper for your airlock in order to provide an airtight fit.

You’re going to need a food-grade bottling bucket with a spigot. This is the bucket you’re going to use to transfer your beer into bottles. It’s also where you will prime your beer for bottle conditioning. You’ll also need a bottling tube, which is a long, hard tube with a valve at the end for filling bottles. It attaches to the spigot.

Bottles, caps and a capper are all necessary for conditioning and storing your beer. Cappers are mechanical devices that use a lever system to seal caps onto bottles.

A triple-scale hydrometer and graduated cylinder are needed for determining the gravity of your brew, allowing you to calculate alcohol content. It’s a simple design, with a weighted glass bulb being lowered into a cylinder full of your homebrew. Familiarizing yourself with how to read a hydrometer is a good idea if you want to know how much alcohol your yeast has created.

Finally, you’re going to need supplies to clean all of this. This includes bottle brushes and sanitizing agents. There are some sanitizing solutions sold specifically for home brewing, such as B-Brite, but simple chlorine works well for a fraction of the price. Be sure you choose an unscented variety, though. Sanitation is key for keeping your brew from being infected by molds or bacteria. Everything that will touch your beer must be sanitized, especially after the boil. This website has some good tips on sanitation, as well as a lot of other good home brewing information.

Ingredients

Malt Extract

For your first (and second, third, etc.) home brewing experience, it’s best to use malt extract rather than whole barley. Using the whole grain makes the process of creating wort much longer and more difficult than it’s worth for such a small amount of beer. The easiest way to begin brewing with extract is to buy an extract kit and follow the recipe in it, because these come with their own packet of dried yeast. All you need to do is choose the style of beer you want to make.

Malt extract comes in two forms; a syrup and a dried powdered. The syrup usually comes in 1.5 kilogram (3.3 lbs) cans or 1 pound bags. You’ll need about two cans to make five gallons worth of beer, but recipes vary. The powder is more expensive but easier to use than syrup. Malt extract also comes in a number of different varieties, allowing you to choose from a whole array of different colors and flavors. These are usually labeled based on the type of beer they are meant to produce.

Hops

Hops come in all sorts of different flavors, each one contributing to certain beer type’s flavors and aromas. They usually come in 1-ounce packages, and recipes can call for vastly different amounts of hops. When you add the hops during the brewing process also determines what qualities the hops impart, which we’ll discuss when we get to the brewing portion of this guide.

Yeast

Like hops and malt, there are many different types of yeast. If buying an extract kit, your yeast will be chosen according to the beer type you’re brewing. Typically, the yeast you will get is dried, but there are wet-yeast varieties out there; they just need to be kept refrigerated.

Sugar

To create that lovely carbonation that gives beer its foaming head and crisp texture, you need to use sugar to prime the beer before bottling. You can either use dextrose (corn sugar) or cane. You’ll only need ¾ cup for the corn sugar or 2/3 cup cane sugar mixed with two cups water for a five gallon batch.

Water

This is an important ingredient that many people forget to put any thought into. You can use tap water, but the quality of your brew might suffer due to minerals or chlorine in the water. We suggest using bottled water to ensure the best beer possible.

The Brewing Process

Now that we’re done explaining what equipment you need and the ingredients you use, we can get down to the business of brewing. For this guide, we’ll be assuming you are making one batch, or five (5) gallons of beer, and using a bucket-style fermentor with a spigot.

Equipment for Brewing

  • Brew Pot
  • Large Stirring Spoon
  • Fermentor and Lid
  • Airlock and Rubber Stopper
  • Hydrometer and Cylinder
  • Bowl or Jar and clean spoon
  • Measuring Cup
  • Thermometer
  1. Fill your clean brew pot two-thirds of the way with water and put that sucker on about medium-high heat on the stove. Some people boil all five gallons of water (which is certainly sanitary), but it’s difficult to bring that much water to a boil, and you can always add bottled water after the boil.
  2. If you’re using malt syrup, heat it within the packaging by putting it in hot water for about five minutes. This will make it easier to work with. After it’s soft, open it up and use a clean spoon to scoop it into the brew pot. Stir to keep it from burning on the bottom of the pot. You can just add dry extract directly, but be careful; the steam will make the dust very sticky.
  3. Boil this mixture uncovered for about an hour. You’re going to need to stick around and stir it to keep it from boiling over or burning on the bottom of the pot. If the foam is threatening escape from the pot, be prepared to turn the heat down or off. Adding ice-cubes to cool it off at this stage is also an option.
  4. Add your hops. Adding hops early in the boil creates bitterness, and hops added late in the boil add aroma. If hops are added in the last half of a one hour boil, they should impart some hop flavor to the beer. A kit recipe should tell you when to add your hops based on what style of beer you’re making.
  5. You can take this waiting period to sanitize all the equipment you will need for the next steps in the process. Remember: everything that touches the brew after the boil NEEDS to be sanitized. No exceptions. You should sanitize the fermentor and lid, airlock, rubber stopper, the bowl or jar for yeast proofing and your hydrometer.
  6. After your hour-long boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Your solution is now wort! Now you’re going to need to cool that down to keep molds from getting a foothold. You can do this by filling your sink with cold water and bathing the brew pot in it, making sure not to allow any outside water into the pot. You can add ice cubes to the sink water, and refill the sink each time the water gets too warm, but do not add any ice cubes or water to the pot itself. The pot will need to be cool to touch before you do anything else with the wort; around 80 degrees is the temperature yeast is the happiest at.
  7. While your pot is cooling, you can proof your yeast. You do this by filling your jar or bowl with lukewarm, sanitized water and sprinkling the package of yeast over it. Cover this with plastic wrap to prevent contamination and let it sit for 10 minutes. Keep this out of sunlight. Some people add a little bit of sugar to wake the yeast up at this point; if you do this, the yeast should foam a bit after thirty minutes of sitting. This helps you tell if your yeast buddies are still alive.
  8. Once your wort is cool and your yeast has been proofed, it’s time for fermentation. Add or pitch the yeast to the fermentor you’re using, and then carefully pour your wort over it. This movement and aeration should mix the two together thoroughly enough and give the yeast enough oxygen.
  9. Top off the mixture to the five gallon mark with sanitized or bottled water. If you want, you can add the wort first, then the yeast, then the water, because this movement will also be sufficient for aeration and mixing. Just be sure that yeast is not the last thing you add.
  10. At this step, you can take a hydrometer reading if you like. Here is a helpful video for using and reading a hydrometer. Do not return any brew you’ve measured in the cylinder to your fermentor; there’s a good chance it’s been contaminated.
  11. Now put the lid, put your fermentor where you want it—dark and cool, like a basement or closet, is best—and place your rubber stopper and airlock. Gently pushing on the lid of your fermentor should cause bubbles to come through the airlock. If they don’t, you have a leak you need to seal.
  12. It’s time to hurry up and wait. Fermentation takes seven to ten days, so don’t open your lid, move your airlock or otherwise tamper with the fermentor for the minimum of a week, otherwise you’ll be contaminating your hard work. After about 24 hours, you should see some bubbles coming through your airlock. This is proof that fermentation is happening.

Bottling Your Beer

This is really a job best done by two people; one to pour the beer into bottles and the other to cap them. It’s best to try bribing a friend with promises of delicious homebrewed beer to enlist their help.

Equipment for Bottling

  • Bottling Bucket
  • Bottling Tube
  • Bottles (around 48 should be needed)
  • Plastic Hose
  • Bottle Brush and Bottle Washer
  • Bottle Caps
  • Bottle Capper
  1. If your airlock is letting out less than a bubble a minute—or no bubbles at all—it’s done about all the fermentation it can.
  2. Sanitize your equipment, including bottles, your bottling bucket, bottling tube and plastic hose.
  3. Prepare your priming sugar. If using corn sugar, boil ¾ cup, and if using cane sugar, boil 2/3 cup of sugar in two cups water. You really don’t want to add more than this, unless you’d like to have all your beer go to waste due to exploding bottles. Let this solution cool.
  4. Set up your work station. You need to place you fermentor with the brew in it up on a table or other raised surface, with the sanitized bottling bucket beneath it. Attach the plastic hose to the spigot on the fermentor, letting it hang into the bottling bucket.
  5. Pour your priming sugar into the bottling bucket, then let the brew run through the hose into the bucket. It should mix with the priming solution pretty well, but avoid splashing during this process. It’s best to let the hose sit below the surface of the beer as it’s filling the bucket. Don’t worry if you don’t get all of the brew into the bottling bucket; the bottom of the fermentor has a bunch of yeast and organic sediment that you don’t really want to drink.
  6. You can release a little brew from the hose into a cylinder and take a hydrometer reading to check the alcohol content. Don’t pour your sample back into the fermentor or bottling bucket; if you’d like, you can drink it. It’s not carbonated, but it should taste like beer.
  7. Once all the beer has been drained into the bottling bucket, set aside the fermentor and hose for later cleaning. Place your bottling bucket on the table, being careful not to drop all your work on the floor. Gather your sanitized bottles, caps and bottling tube.
  8. Open the spigot and start filling bottles. Softly press the bottling tube against the bottom of the bottle to start the flow of beer. Don’t worry if it foams some. Remove the tube from the bottle when liquid or foam has reached the top, and check that the space left in the bottle is about the same as with commercial bottles. Now move onto the next bottle.
  9. If you failed to bribe a friend into capping these for you, it’s okay—more beer for you! You can cap them after all the bottles are full without any issue. To cap the bottle, place the cap on the top of bottle and pull the capper lever down slowly and steadily.
  10. Put your bottles in a cool, dark place, such as where you left your fermentor. Let them rest for two weeks, then check to see if they’ve clarified. The yeasty cloudiness should have settled at the bottom of the bottle. You can put a couple bottles in the fridge for a taste test. Like all beer, you should decant your homebrew before drinking it.

Now you can enjoy the fruit of your labor!

This guide doesn’t include every little thing about home brewing, because that can fill several books. So, for more information and detail about the process, there are a number of resources that you can reference before starting your brewing process. Below is a list of books and websites you can use for research and buying supplies.

Books:

How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time by John J. Palmer

The Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian

Clone Brews: 200 Recipes for Brand-Name Beers by Tess and Mark Szamatulski

Websites:

Keystone Homebrew Supply

Homebrew Talk

John J. Palmer’s How to Brew

How to Home Brew

Craft Commercials You’ll Never See During The Super Bowl

Thursday, January 31, 2013 | Breweries, Fun, Troegs

superbowl

One of the guilty pleasures of most sports fans on Super Bowl Sunday are the outrageously funny commercials. And throughout those commercials, you’ll find a few good ones from big brewers like Anheuser-Busch promoting Bud or Bud Light. But you may be sitting there saying, “How about we see some craft.” This is probably unlikely since the cost of a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl can cost more than some craft brewers earn in an entire year. So, to help fill the void, here are some great craft-produced commercials which you’ll likely never catch during a big-game.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev5OZS75qaY

3-years ago, craft brewers of America produced this video to demonstrate their passion and presence in the beer industry. At that time, it was rumored that many of these brewers were trying to raise funds to broadcast a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl. Although this never came to fruition, the video still stands as a great testimony to the integrity of craft brewing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srDD0H079T0

Tröegs produced this commercial several years ago when they were just establishing themselves. It gives you the bikini-model and humor found in great big-beer commercials.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1fV3edEdfE

If you’re looking for something different and happen to be in Denver, check out Wynkoop, one of the oldest brewpubs in the country. Don’t worry; the beer was an April Fool’s joke.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaxp5uZX1DQ

Even bears like craft beer. This commercial would make anyone travel out to CA for a beer fest.

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