This is Brett McMillan's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Brett McMillan's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Brett McMillan
Recent Activity
You'll never meet us all in person? :sniff: But, I just brewed this awesome Scottish Ale that I wanted to share! ;) Seriously, though, sign me up for the Crazy Awesome Army!!!
1 reply
Beautiful writeup. I am complete jealous, because while I've built my own mash tun, I've hit a holding pattern on brewing because of the holidays...I plan to get serious before Christmas, however! Also, not sure if you remember, but, I had given you a Pumpkin Ale recipe a few months back - I certainly remember because I squeeeed in delight a little as you said you had printed it for your brewer's journal! ;) Anyhoo, the resulting brew was spot on taste / spice wise - the spice amounts and techniques used were perfect. Unfortunately, we must have angered the carbonation gods, as the beer was very flat, even after bottle fermenting for a few extra weeks. Sad. Again, though, spice wise we were dead on, so, at least that knowledge can be used! Cheers!
1 reply
I stared with partial-grain, actually, and after three batches, it's really not that difficult at all - course I'm sure it helped that we started with someone who had done them for years! Whilst in Milwaukee over the past weekend visiting friends, we toured several micro-brews, and my favorite one was the Milwaukee Ale house ( http://ale-house.com/ ) - there, the owner participates in the tour and is always hanging around to talk to people. I got to speak to him one-on-one for about half an hour (over a few pints of their delicious beer), and after that, I've been itching to start All-Grain as quickly as possible! He said to get into All-Grain, Northern Brewer was a great place to start (something he wished he had 20 years ago), and, after viewing their products and some videos from the 'net, I'm close to taking the plunge! http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/deluxe-ags-5-gallon.html# Good Luck! Cheers! PS - As for your arcade style pub theme, your wife is brilliant! I'm envisioning Donkey Kong rolling kegs of beer in some way, shape, or form, there! :D
1 reply
We moved to secondary last night! (whilst enjoying one or two Oktoberfest brews - the Tumbler from Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn Brewing Company's seasonal offering - both were very good!) We didn't have to strain our pumpkin at all, luckily - it looked amazingly clear, secondary might not even have been needed on that one - the initial cheesecloth strain we did was obviously a smart move. There was a nice layer of trub of course, but, the clarity of that beer was amazing. A small sampling revealed that the spice level was apparently in the Goldilocks zone! Looks like we "guessed" right with our amounts. Surprisingly, our Oktoberfest is very cloudy yet, and after moving it, we could see that it's still fairly active. We left some room in the carboy to see how much more it'll ferment over the next day or three - once done, we're going to fill up with water to proper levels - maybe 16 ounces total (if that), not much. Should be able to bottle in 10 or so days, then some more waiting in the bottle...in times like this, a TARDIS or DeLorean would come in handy. :) Patience is a virtue, though, right? Cheers!
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2011 on Ryan and I totally made this. at WWdN: In Exile
1 reply
Great question. Unfortunately, I've not been a part of the transfer to the secondary on either of the first two brewing efforts, but am totally helping that this go around... My assumption is that we're going to strain it into another sterile primary fermentation bucket just as we did before, then siphon into the glass carboy for the secondary? Again, though, you're right, oxygen will definitely be more at play here with us sloshing it around...hmmmm...I'll have to ask the more experienced brewer in our group about this before we proceed... We'll see in a few days for sure!
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2011 on Ryan and I totally made this. at WWdN: In Exile
1 reply
We've been using Brewer's Best kits from our local brewing supply store (Columbus, Ohio), only we haven't used the dry packets in the kits, rather, we've been making our own liquid yeast starters. Here are the kit recipes from their site, along with the tweaks we've made to them: Porter http://www.brewersbestkits.com/pdf/1031_Robust_Porter.pdf I don't have my notes with me at the moment, but, I know we used exactly 16 ounces of organic NY state grade B maple syrup (the kind that's best for baking) - I want to say we added it after the initial boil and before we started adding the hops - Regardless, use the best maple syrup you can get! Pumpkin http://www.brewersbestkits.com/pdf/1038_Scottish_Ale.pdf We essentially tweaked the above Scottish Ale recipe by adding pumpkin and spices - but, the devil is in the details... There were SO many opinions on the "proper" use of pumpkin in our research - most of the sites seemed to warn against using canned pumpkin due to a) the mess, but more importantly, b) it making a cloudy finished beer. Not being able to find fresh pumpkin in Ohio in August, we had no choice but to use the canned - we ended up with a 5 pound bulk food can of the stuff. We added the pumpkin right after the initial boil - there was a lot of pumpkin! There were also 500 schools of thought of the spices mixtures (some said tablespoons, some said teaspoons, some said whole items like cinnamon sticks and ginger root, others said ground spices only) - There was debate on "when" to add them (some said at the boil, some said when cooling, some when going to secondary, while still others said not until bottling) - ideas were all over the place - obviously you can see where the creativity comes into play with the "art" of brewing, as you can have an infinite number of choices! We ended up with the following mixture, however, which we added with the final aroma hops and only five minutes of cooking time remaining: 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and fresh grated nutmeg. We didn't want to go too heavy on the spice, as we heard warnings of over-spicing from our local shop. Finally, before we pitched the yeast, we strained the beer through a triple layer of cheesecloth on top of a fine mesh sieve - this pulled almost all of the pumpkin out of the liquid, though, this took about 20 minutes to do with all the pumpkin being strained. As an aside, I wanted to make pie out of this, however, since we made many other spent grain recipes that evening, decided against it and composted it instead. :sigh: What might have been... :P As for how we did? Only time will tell! I can tell you that the fermenting beer smells like a holiday pie, though, which makes me think it's coming along nicely! We're going to strain it again when we put it into secondary this weekend just to clear out any further pumpkin sludge, and we will sample for spice levels there as well, potentially adding a bit more of the above mixture as needed. I'm definitely excited! Whew, sorry if that's a tad lengthy, but, you've seen how addicting brewing is - it's tough not to go on and on about it! :) Good luck!
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2011 on Ryan and I totally made this. at WWdN: In Exile
1 reply
Congrats!! There's nothing like cracking open your first brew! Some friends and I started brewing this year as well - we've been brewing double batches quarterly, and we've made Maple Porter twice (it was that good!), a Scottish Ale, and an Irish Red. Our third batch is fermenting away in primary and will be moving it into secondary this weekend - a Pumpkin Ale and my personal favorite, Oktoberfest! I can't wait until September!! Anyhoo, it's a great bonding activity - I've been trying to get my dad into it as well, and I think he's almost on board! :) I also highly recommend using your spent grain: http://brooklynbrewshop.com/themash/category/spentgrainchef/ We made the chocolate peanut butter bars (good, but VERY rich), the cobbler (I really liked it, but my wife hated the texture), and the burgers (which were the best veggie burgers I've ever had, honestly!) Cheers!
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2011 on Ryan and I totally made this. at WWdN: In Exile
1 reply
Brett McMillan is now following The Typepad Team
Aug 6, 2011