P.S.A. Beer in Freezer? Set a timer!

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On most brew days, Chris or I will pull out a beer or two and stick them in the freezer in order to chill them down quickly. Last time we seem to have forgotten about it for a bit too long, and it froze! I’ve seen 12 oz bottles freeze and start to leak from the cap a tiny bit, but this 22 absolutely BLEW UP.

So this is a friendly reminder to myself and others. If you’re going to freeze it – put a reminder timer on. I think this one exploded in less than 40 minutes. Such a sad day, and such a pain to clean!

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Batch #21 – Mexican Lager

Batch# 21 – Mexican Lager

Date Brew:06/10/2014 Rack*:7/15/2014 Bottle:8/12/2014


Ken Lenard has been doing some interesting work on brewing up Mexican-style lagers (pacifico, imperial, corona, etc) over on his Blog. Here’s the page we got his recipe from.


Make something light and very drinkable for summer. We will probably add fruit to at least half of this, if not all of it. Current considerations are watermelon,  strawberry, cherry, peach, raspberry, or citrus. This was our second BIAB batch, so we’re getting more all-grain practice.

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Compact Brewing


When you live in a small apartment in the city, brewing on a space-budget is key.  And by space-budget I mean keeping things small, not NASA funding.  Here is our main brewery…all 44 square feet of it.

Chris kitchen

With counter space at a premium, the toaster oven and coffee maker are relegated to the basement to make way for a two-slice and French press.  On brew day, both get the heave-ho to the cabinet.

While you can dedicate entire garages, basements or standalone structures to homebrewing setups, it’s also possible to make beer in a teeny tiny kitchen.  When it comes down to it, you really need little more than a stove top and a sink.  Doing a partial boil can help to keep things smaller, though we also sometimes do a fully.  Brew-in-a-bag is a way to try all-grain brewing with a lot less equipment.  Otherwise, just keeping things tidy and organized helps.  That’s not to say we always follow that advice.  Sometimes the only good spot for the bottling bucket is on top of the fridge, and I’ve ducked under wort chiller tubing while holding a funnel more than once.  But, hey, that’s why it’s homebrewing.

Sure we can dream of the perfect homebrew setup: vast expanses of counter top; a conical fermenter; a hose that’s always handy; power-washable stainless steel as far as the eye can see.  But, when you think about it, that sounds an awful lot like a commercial brewery, and that’s not what we do…..yet(?)  So in the meantime, we just make due (and beer) with the space we have.

Homebrewers gift guide 2014

Homebrewers are easy to buy for, right?

Wrench Bottle Openermagnetic cap catcher and bottle openerbench capperbike 6 pack holderdual tap kegerator amazon

All we want is brewing gear! Well, that’s not so easy for someone who lives with/loves/is married to a brewer, but isn’t a brewer themselves. Also, some people have pretty bad cases of gear acquisition syndrome, and they shouldn’t really be given any more stainless steel tanks or kegerators. This list has lots of small things and big things, cheap things and expensive things. Regardless of if it is a birthday, christmas, or “just because,” these gifts will be sure to put a smile on your homebrewers face.

The list is roughly arranged in increasing value. Click on the headline type or the photo to link to the product.

Wrench bottle opener

Men love steel. I think most women homebrewers do as well. It’s practically required! Either way this is a fun and functional way to open up a bottle of beer.
Wrench Bottle Opener

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Batch #20 – I Eat Danger For Breakfast Stout

Batch# 20 – I Eat Danger For Breakfast Stout

Date Brew:05/21/2014 Rack:0/00/0000 Bottle:07/02/2014 Drink:7/14/2014
Day# 0 0 0 56


I got the recipe for this ridiculously named beer from here and converted it in beersmith to look like this.  I converted liquid extract to dme, and brought the projected OG into line with the recipe projected OG. Beersmith was calculating the og about .010 lower than the recipe called for, so I bumped it up by that amount. We ended up .010 over, so beersmith must have been off. Oh well.


For our 100th gallon we wanted to make something a little out of the ordinary.  This thick, strong stout with coffee, chocolate and a bit of smooth oatmeal flavor will hopefully be a good cellaring candidate and have a coming out party toward the fall. It’s a bit over the top, since it has all of the big stout buzzwords, but it’ll hopefully be tasty.

Click here for more Chocolatey goodness!

exBEERiment #2: dry-hopping corona in the bottle

This ExBEERiment is: Dry hopping corona in the bottle.

Similar to split batches, exBEERiments are ways of testing things (generally in the bottle) that you’ve read or heard of, but never seen first-hand. You might lose a bottle or two in the process, but hopefully you’ll learn a lot more!

We’ve started to build up a big supply of half bags of different hops, and were thinking of doing a “stone soup” beer with them. Then we decided to do this instead. We grabbed a 6 pack of the lightest beer we could find in a pop top bottle (corona) and dry hopped each bottle. We re-capped, then waited 1 week and did a tasting.


Adding different dry hops to a bland base beer will help illustrate the benefits of dry hopping with each variety.


Dry hop 6 bottles of corona and re-cap them. Wait 1 week and drink them side-by-side and note differences.

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The recommended way to start kegging

Buy the gear that will last your lifetime.

This kit will hold its value well, and you can easily sell it for 80% (if not more) if you end up not wanting it. The regulator and co2 tank are refillable and will work for many years, and you can swap them out for more functional ones if you decide to upgrade.

The previous example I showed was the absolute cheapest way to start kegging. I’m not saying that approach is wrong, but I prefer to work a few more days and buy the right thing the first time. This is (minimally) it.

best beginner kegging kit.

Adventures in homebrewing has a screaming deal on a single gauge regulator with a 10 lb co2 tank, a corny keg, and all of the fixings to connect everything and dispense beer. It sells for $155, and simply can’t be beat. If you can beat it, send me a message! (seriously)

Here’s the breakdown
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The cheapest way to get started kegging

What’s the cheapest way to get started kegging?

It’s a thought in a lot of homebrewers minds. There is a lot of conflicting info out there about kegging. Regulators, 5 lb vs 20 lb co2 tanks, keezers, cornies and more!
Here is a simple breakdown of the absolute minimum you need in order to stop botting as soon as possible. Afterwards I’ll talk a little bit more about the downsides of a minimalistic setup like this, and offer up more solutions.

The absolute most basic kegging setup you can get is:

Total ___ $126

With this setup you have to carbonate in your keg the same way you would normally do in your bottles – by adding priming sugar when you rack it into the keg. It’s actually even easier because you don’t have to worry about mixing it.

You’ll next attach your co2 dispenser to your gas side and give it a burst of air to set the seal on the corny. Take the gas connector off (and take the beer dispenser off as well if it was connected.)
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MultiOpener v0.5

In my spare time I code little things. This one I think may be useful for more people. So here it goes.

Introducing MultiOpener!

Multiopener is a simple mac app that allows you to quickly perform searches on any craigslist site in the world. It allows you to search for multiple terms on multiple sites, too. By default it opens all of the searches in tabs in Chrome. It’s pretty simple, but it makes things easier.

Pick your cities.
Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 8.13.54 PM

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How to find homebrew deals on craigslist

Craigslist can be a great place for finding deals on brewing gear if you know how to look. It can also be a bottomless pit of time-wasting if you don’t.

Craigslist Closeup

Find it.

Refine your search(es) try looking for the specific model number as opposed to the generic name. It’ll be a lot easier to see that there are no results than to sort through 4 pages of bad results.

Include misspellings and alternate terms. People often post from cell phones and don’t put much effort into spell checking. Try some misspellings and see what you can get. Kegorator and cornie are two that come to mind. Get creative.

Expand your number of CL sites. Is there a city an hour away that has its own CL site? Try there. Depending on how big of a purchase an even longer drive may be warranted. Check out this mac app that I wrote to do multi site Craigslist searches.

Save your searches as bookmarks. That way you can open them up a slew of bookmarks as tabs in chrome easily.

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