CNYBrew


New RSS Feeds and website!!!
November 20, 2009, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I know I know, this is getting old, but I made the move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, the version that I host myself.  So, while you can reach my blog by visiting http://www.cnybrew.com, you will need to change the RSS feed to http://cnybrew.com/?feed=rss2

Sorry about the changes, I am in the process of working on my design so there will probably be some changes.

Cheers!



Wilford’s Best Oatmeal Stout Reviews
November 13, 2009, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Stout

So this past Tuesday was our monthly brew club meeting.  I brought a growler of my (newly named) Wilford’s Best Oatmeal Stout to the meeting to get some feedback from fellow brewers.  For anyone out there that doesn’t currently attend brew club meetings in your area, I recommend you change that.  It’s an outstanding place to meet up with fellow brewers, share advice, taste beers, and get some solid feedback.  Brewing in bubble isn’t healthy.

Anyway, I sought out some feedback on the brew and was not disappointed with the response.  Fellow brewers are gentle, but constructively critical.  Here are some of the highlights of the feedback:

Pros – It was generally seen as a smooth beer, especially compared to some of the commercial stouts we tasted that night.  Most found it to have good mouth feel without an overpowering alcohol burn.  One club member noted the chocolate notes that were subtle, but present.  The overall view was that it was a surprisingly good drinking stout considering the 7%abv.

Cons – Lacks the “wham-bang” of some more complex and rich stouts.  It’s a good beer, but not a great beer.  It’s a little high for style (abv), but with stouts there is a pretty wide accepted range.

So over all I was really happy with the response.  I was going for a palatable stout that I was be comfortable drinking 10 gallons of.  The feedback was in line with what I was looking for, both the positive and the negative.

After the meeting, I decided to have a glass to collect some of my thoughts.  After trying three different stouts and a handful of other brews, I found that Wilford’s Best did lack some complexity.  While is was drinkable and had nice mouth feel, it really fell short on the flavors.  It could use some hints of toffee, chocolate and coffee to really set it off.  Instead, you get a great swath of delicious aroma and the flavor falls short.

*Notes for next time, split up the roasted barley with some 120L crystal and a small amount of chocolate malt.  I think that this will give some more complexity, but it needs to be done in moderation as this could make the beer really over powering.



Big hops find! Pompey Mountain Hops Farm
November 10, 2009, 1:14 pm
Filed under: hops

This past week I was fortunate enough to get to visit with Tim Manchego from Pompey Mountain Hops Farm in Pompey New York.  I found this after an article in the local news paper about Tim’s operation ran and was brought to my attention.  Initially, I wanted to get up there during hops harvest to get some nice hops shots, but because of my personal schedule, I wasn’t able to get up there in time.

I spoke with Tim for over an hour and learned a lot about his operation.  This past year he harvested 600lbs of hops!  Some of them were pellets and others were sold as whole leaf hops.  Tim offers a fall “you pick’em” special for $5 a bucket full of fresh hops.

This past year he built an oast out of a greenhouse that he is able to haul from the farm to his house for winter storage.  Tim has a pelletizer that allows him to offer pellet hops of all varieties.

He indicated what I have heard a lot about hops in New York, the C letter hops grow best in NYS.  His Cascade, centennial and Chinook all grew the best on his farm.

This spring I am going to go visit with Tim to see how he gets the trellis’ setup and treats the sprouts.

Special thanks to Tim, I personally picked up 3lbs of cascade that I broke up and vacuumed sealed in smaller packs.  Should make for a productive winter!



October Fermentation Friday Round Up
November 4, 2009, 11:23 am
Filed under: Fermentation Friday

So initially, I was a little concerned that my subject for this month’s Fermentation Friday that I was being a little too open ended and it wasn’t going to give people anything to write about.  But what I found in reading all of the posts is that people’s drive for brewing can be both similar and unique.  Most people identified the satisfaction of creating something, escaping the daily grind by focusing on one finite project, having something that you could take pride in and bringing people together. However, each post had an individual insight into what made these people start brewing and how it keeps them going.

All of these themes were really clear in what makes us brew…oh yea, and we all like beer…A LOT.  Thanks for everyone that submitted and if I missed you in this list, please respond and I will add your post (Adam I am looking in your direction!)

  • Brew Dudes reflect on why Dudes Brew: Brew Dudes
  • Brewing Suds knows that patience is a great virtue especially in brewing: Brewing Suds
  • Chris from Bob’s Place came into brewing for drinking, but it’s grown from there: B.O.B’s Place
  • Just another Booze Blog stated brewing after a trip to Europe: Just Another Booze Blog
  • Matt the GISBREWMASTER loves beer (how is it possible that reading a blog post makes me want a beer?): A World of Brews
  • Awesome, a brew-lady tells her inspiration, I personally love to see women in brewing, it’s always great to diversify the pallets and keep from just making “man candy”: BrewCookPairJoy
  • My post


Fermentation Friday for October – Why Brew?
October 29, 2009, 9:19 am
Filed under: Fermentation Friday

Here we are at another Fermentation Friday!  I am the very fortunate host of this month’s virtual get together so I will start the conversation off.  The question I’ve posted to the group is:

Remember why we brew?

This is a pretty open subject, but the idea here is, what got you started?  What gets you out of bed for brewing and drinking?  Once you’ve brewed enough batches, it becomes apparent that if you’re in it for the beer, it’s a lot easier to just go buy a six-pack.  So why do we keep doing this process?

For me, it’s as much of a self-image thing as anything else.  An experience in college caused me to create an image of what ‘making it’ really meant:  One summer in college, we made a road trip out to Rochester to visit a group of alumni.  After a long day at Ten Ugly Men, we headed to Spike’s house for a beer.  Spike was another alumni that was full of life and a ton of fun.  The guys insisted that we had to stop in and visit Spike for a beer (or more).  When we visited, we were down in his basement, it was pretty cramped, just enough room for the pool table, but he had a fridge with two taps on it.  Now pool and beer on tap is pretty impressive, but when he explained how he made the beer himself, I was floored.  ‘This guy has the world by the balls’ I thought, and from that point on I decided that I was going to figure out how to make it happen.  So now I think about my house, my life and the expression of my own personal freedom that being able to brew my own beer is; something Spike has always represented to me.

In some small way, every time I wake up at 7:30 am in the snow and cold, I think about Spike and that basement.  I think about how I like it when I get to give my own brew tours, the pride I get when someone tells me they enjoy my beer.

I love to share my beer, for two reasons; one, I get to brew more, and two is that I like to have people be made happy by something I made.  Brewing is more than beer and drinking.  It’s a lifestyle and chance to be a little different, while still part of a unique group.  In some ways, it’s the ultimate example of following your desires and createing something you like from almost nothing.

One observation that I’ve said and have heard from others is that brewing is an escape from the daily grind.  But the beauty of brewing is that it’s not just the act that’s an escape, but talking about brewing and beer is as well.  I am always glad to talk at length with want-to-be and “newbie” brewers.  I like to talk anyway, but bring up beer and it’s all over.  Brewing is an opportunity for me to escape another conversation about the weather or politics.

So, visions of being Spike in the basement with my bro’s hanging out playing pool and drinking my great brews have shaped my introduction into brewing and still drives me today.  I love to share beer and conversation; brewing fuels that as well.  The act of brewing is an escape, but so is thinking and talking about it.  In all, this is a fulfilling hobby, both personally and socially.

So tonight, I am going to tip back a pale ale and offer a toast to my lost friend Spike.  In every beer, there is a little Spike to make me smile.  Thanks as always to Adam for being the man behind the idea.

First Round of FF Submissions (I will also do a full post with all submissions this weekend so please share your link):

  • Brew Dudes reflect on why Dudes Brew: Brew Dudes
  • Brewing Suds knows that patience is a great virtue especially in brewing: Brewing Suds
  • Chris from Bob’s Place came into brewing for drinking, but it’s grown from there: B.O.B’s Place
  • Just another Booze Blog stated brewing after a trip to Europe: Just Another Booze Blog
  • Matt the GISBREWMASTER loves beer (how is it possible that reading a blog post makes me want a beer?): A World of Brews
  • Awesome, a brew-lady tells her inspiration, I personally love to see women in brewing, it’s always great to diversify the pallets and keep from just making “man candy”: BrewCookPairJoy


Fermentation Friday Topic for October 2009
October 19, 2009, 8:07 am
Filed under: Fermentation Friday

That’s right kids, it’s that time of the month again!  The next Fermentation Friday is October 30, 2009. In case you’ve never heard of FF, it’s the brainchild of Adam at Beer Bit’s and he has the whole history documented, check it out.

Since it’s my chance to choose the topic, I decided to go with something a little more thought provoking than useful.  This month’s topic is:

“Remember why we brew?”

Whether it’s the inflated sense of independence that the smell of mashing malt brings or just some image of yourself as a beer artisan that brewing creates, I want to hear about it.  No limits here, it can be what started you down the path, or what inspires you to lug 15 gallons of water out of your basement at 7am.

Now the natural reaction may be “it’s the beer stupid”, but I think it’s deeper than that for most.  It is for me at least.

See you next week.



Oatmeal Stout Brew Day
October 13, 2009, 7:57 pm
Filed under: Stout

So this weekend was both a great brew day an opportunity to pass the brewing torch (kind of I guess).  I was lucky enough to get a helping hand from friend of CNYBrew Jess who wanted to witness all-grain brewing in action.  I say it’s passing the torch because 4 or 5 years ago I went to Pete’s house and witnessed my first all-grain brew.  It reminded me of how crazy the process sounds compared to when you actually see it in action.

Anyway, this weekend I started at about 1pm after one of my football games.  This was a 10 gallon brew of oatmeal stout that would make Wilford Brimley proud.  This was another in the line of my “simple brews” where I’ve tried to scale down the complexity of my recipe’s with hope of letting the style shine through and decide what beers I really like.

Now with this beer, I started out with a 21bix first running (1.088), 16 brix (1.066) after the first sparge and 11 brix (1.045) in the last running.  The pre-boil gravity was 1.063 and after a 1 hr boil, the OG was 1.071, compared to the estimated 1.064.  I added two table spoons of gypsum to the mash with hopes of getting the water treated to be a little more like that water in Dublin.

At the end of the day, the wort looked and smelled great.  I have high hopes for this brew.  Lets see how everything turns out in the end.  On another note, I have to say that I really enjoy the day brewing over the morning brewing we usually do.  I got to drink a few beers and had some neighbors stop by.

It was great to have Jess out there to participate in a brew day and if anyone wants to stop by, feel free to email me at travis@cnybrew.com or hit me up on twitter @cnybrew.

Cheers




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