Always Learning

Sorry for the lack of updates and all the critical posts these days. This month is move in for the clients we’ve been developing a home for. With training, meetings, plus my normal work schedule blogging has fallen by the wayside.


When I first got into homebrewing I was talking with a fellow brewer and had remarked that he knew everything about brewing. He responded with one of those cheesy you can’t know everything about brewing because your always learning comments. I knew then that what he said was true, but it never really seemed relevant until today.

When I first started this blog in February I was just starting to get serious about beer and made learning about brewing a priority. Because of this 2009 has seen huge leaps in my brewing skills and knowledge. No surprise then that when I pulled out my witches brew gruit recipe I made in February I couldn’t stop laughing. My early attempts at recipe development show my lack of knowledge about the brewing process at the beginning of this year.

Here’s what the recipe looked like when I first wrote it and brewed it

7lb light malt extract
3/4 lb Roasted Barley
1/4 lb Chocolate Malt
1/4 lb 60 Crystal Malt
1/4 lb CaraPills
1 tsp Irish Moss
2.5 oz Yarrow @ 1hr
1.5 oz Bogmyrtle @ 1hr
1 oz Sweet Gale add to fermentor
1 oz Fennel Seed @ 1 hr
Nottingham Ale Yeast

Since February I have switched from using the same light liquid malt extract for every beer to using a a few different dry extracts. I know some people think a serious homebrewer should be brewing all grain, but for my budget, equipment, and storage space malt extract works best, and with practice and knowledge you can brew really good extract based beer.

Another interesting thing is the original recipe has all the herbs being added for the full one hour boil except sweet gale. Apparently I didn’t follow my own instructions because I opened a bottle of this stuff a few weeks ago and there were some (not much though) complex herbal flavors. In those early brewing attempts my ability to get all the ingredients in the wort at the same time was limited since I was brewing highly concentrated wort in a spaghetti pot. This means some of the herbs were added, the pot became to full, I split the boil into two pots and then added the rest of the herbs. Also I didn’t have a scale at the time for measuring my ingredients, so my weights were guesstimates. Perhaps it’s better that this beer became a sour ale.

Needless to say I completely tore apart this recipe and rebuilt it from the ground up for brewing this morning. Now I just gotta pull that recipe down after I get back from yet another training/meeting.

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