Archive for March, 2010

Beers I am Enjoying Right Now

Posted in Ramblings with tags , on March 31, 2010 by sp1365

It has been a fairly busy week and I have not gotten a lot of time to give much thought to what to post. I figured I would just give a recap of some of the beers that I personally am drink/enjoying right now.

  • Bell’s Pale Ale – Technically a Blonde Ale, but still very nice none the less. Very crisp and refreshing, definitely a good beer come spring and summer.
  • Red Hook Long Hammer IPA – Citrus hop aroma and flavor predominate. Not my favorite IPA, but still a good example of the style.
  • Left Hand Undercover Brown Ale – A nice brown ale, but a little disappointing. Lackluster aroma and almost watered down taste disappointed me. I loved the flavors I found in it, but was just left wishing for more.
  • Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout – Strong full bodied stout…from a can. I picked it up because I wanted to drink canned Craft Beer and I was not disappointed in the least.
  • Guinness Extra Stout – Still had a couple left over from St. Paddy’s Day. I like the Extra Stout over the cans and bottles with that stupid “widget” thing.
  • Homebrew – I have a Cali Common, MO/WGV SMaSH, Munich/Fuggles SMaSH, Burton Ale, and India Brown Ale in bottles that I am drinking. Next week my RoggenBock should be ready to drink and I can’t wait.

So that is what I am drinking right now. I’ll be heading home for the weekend and starting tonight I get to work on kegs of my dad’s homebrewed American Brown Ale and Brown Porter.

I am always open to suggestions on what to drink next. Hit me up here or on Twitter and send me suggestions on what to pick up next time I am out.



Brown Porter Bottling and APA Brewday

Posted in Brewday with tags , , , , , , on March 28, 2010 by sp1365

I was going to post this up yesterday after I finished, but I ended up going out with some friends instead. On the plus side, I brought some of my homebrew along with me and got to share it some of my friends siblings and parents.

Anyway, yesterday I got around to bottling a brown porter that I had brewed a while back. I am not a fan of bottling, but I can’t go to kegging since I am still in college without money or space. What I have been doing lately is combining bottling and brewing into one day. My brewday is only marginally longer and it doesn’t feel like I am having to set aside an hour out of my week to bottle. It has definitely made bottling easier to handle.

As for the brewday itself, I brewed an American Pale Ale with Ahtanum and Amarillo hops (recipe after the pics). I have been doing a large amount of English beers lately and wanted to put something different into my pipeline. This was supposed to be an all Cascade hopped APA, but when I went the local homebrew store (LHBS) they were out. I ended up with the Ahtanum hops as they are listed a possible substitute for Cascade and I picked up Amarillo since it seems to be a fairly popular hop for American APAs and IPAs on Homebrew Talk. Overall, the brewday went by almost flawlessly. I was only 1* off my mash temp (149* instead of 148*) and hit my sprage temps perfectly. In general, yesterday was a good day to brew.

The beer for my brewday was Stone Brewing’s Arrogant Bastard. Since turning 21 I have been trying to try as many different beers as possible and somehow I never picked up a bottle of Arrogant Bastard or anything from Stone for that matter. On Friday I rectified that by picked up a bomber of it at Trader Joe’s and cracked it open yesterday while brewing. First impression were great, it poured a beautiful amber color with a light tan head that clung to the glass. The aroma is very flowery with a hint of citrus. Taste was bitter with a definite citrus hop flavor finishing a touch dry. Overall, a fantastic beer that deserves the praise that it gets.

Now time for the pics:

And the recipe:

American Pale Ale
American Pale Ale
Type: All Grain Date: 1/25/2010
Batch Size: 3.00 gal Brewer: Ryan Murphy
Boil Size: 3.75 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Stove Top
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00
Taste Notes:
Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 80.00 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 10.00 %
0.50 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 10.00 %
0.50 oz Ahtanum [5.20 %] (60 min) Hops 16.9 IBU
0.50 oz Amarillo [8.20 %] (20 min) Hops 16.1 IBU
0.50 oz Amarillo [8.20 %] (5 min) Hops 5.3 IBU
0.50 oz Ahtanum [5.20 %] (0 min) Hops
1 Pkgs SafAle American Ale (DCL Yeast #S-05) Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.045 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.045 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.45 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.21 %
Bitterness: 38.4 IBU Calories: 194 cal/pint
Est Color: 7.2 SRM Color:

Mash Profile
Mash Name: My Mash Total Grain Weight: 5.00 lb
Sparge Water: 2.85 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
My Mash
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 8.00 qt of water at 156.7 F 148.0 F


Posted in Ramblings with tags , on March 25, 2010 by sp1365

So there is an interesting discussion going on over on titled Diacetyl: Why the Hate? I think it is an interesting topic as both a brewer and a drinker of beer. On the one hand as a brewer we are taught that diacetyl is one of the deadly sins of brewing. That outside of a few styles any diacetyl in beer is consider a flaw. On the other hand as a craft beer drinker I am a firm believer in drinking what you like. If there are hints of diacetyl in the beer that make it taste better then can it really be considered a flaw?

Session Beers

Posted in Ramblings with tags , , on March 23, 2010 by sp1365

So today I decided to delve back into Twitter ( after a long hiatus. One of the things I found was the Session Beer Project (SBP). They can be found at

The SBP defines session beers as

  • 4.5% AVB or lower
  • Flavorful
  • Balanced to promote multiple pints
  • Conducive to conservation
  • Reasonably priced

I think they pretty much hit the nail on the head of what a session beer is (though I would bump the ABV max up to 5%). Session beers are the beers that I think of when I think of the British pub (Bitters, Milds) and German biergartens (Munich Helles). They embody a style of drinking as much as they embody the beer itself.

Session beers are important for two reasons. First, as much as I enjoy an IPA, RIS, barelywine, or other extreme beer, they are not really good everyday drinking beers or beers that I want when hitting the bars with my friends. Session beers are also really accessible to non-craft beer drinks. They can almost be described at the “gateway beer” to get people that normally wouldn’t drink craft beer to try it.

Unfortunately, as pointed out here: the session beer in America is a dying breed. Craft brewers are continually pushing the bounds of beer by maxing out hops, alcohol, spices, etc. in their beer and in many cases a combination thereof. Session beers are getting left behind.

I like session beers, I like them more than I like extreme beers. I find that easy drink beers are just that easy, relaxing. I can a have a one or two at night, even on nights that I have class early the next day, and not feel any ill effects. In fact, as I close this post, I think I will open a homebrewed California Common for myself. 4.6% ABV, very flavorful, and a great end to nice day.

Why Beer?

Posted in Ramblings with tags , on March 22, 2010 by sp1365

I have been at a little bit of a loss of what to write of late. Blogging is fairly new to me and sometimes the creative pressure is just too much (or at least that is what I am calling it). Today I thought I would just give a little insight into myself and my love of beer with just the simple question of why beer?

There is something special about beer, something different. There are millions of different drinks out there in the world and each one is complex in their own right. Water, while essential, is pretty boring and soda is just too mass produced. Juices are not unique, I mean you can pretty much just look at a name and you know what is going to taste like. Apple juice? Bet it tastes like apples. Same with grape juice, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice. Wine is snobbish and I always get hung up on the issue of terrior. Distilled liquors are too alcoholic. Beer,  however, is flavorful and creative.

I love all things beer. I love the history of beer. More than the history of beer, I love the brewing of beer and everything that goes into it. I love the ingredients; the malt, hops, water, and yeast. I love how the brewer carefully selects the malt varieties, balances the sweetness with hop bitterness, and adds character with the yeast. I love the process; the malting and mashing, the boil, fermentation, and serving. How each step in the process changes the final outcome of the beer fascinate me.

I love the people who drink beer and the socio-cultural aspect that beer brings to a society. The pubs of England and Ireland to the beirgartens of Germany to the monasteries of Belgium. Each society embraced beer both differently and the same. Beer brings people together. I think that is what I like the most. Unlike other drinks beer brings people together to talk and celebrate. Beer is truly are drink of the people.

As an aside: I just poured myself a glass of my homebrewed Burton Ale. It pours a beautiful amber with a lasting off-white head. The aroma is the mix of fruity esters intermingled with the aroma of grassy British hops. I take a sip. It starts biscuity then turns to a roasty chocolate finishing with a smooth hoppy bitterness. In a word, amazing.

So where does this rambling post lead? I don’t know. I guess that I love beer. I love wrapping myself up in the tangled web of history, flavor, and culture. Every bottle I open speaks to me, it tells me of where it has been and with every sip that history becomes a part of me. It is then up to me to share that with others as a brewer, drinker, and lover of beer.

Brewday: India Brown Ale

Posted in Brewday with tags , , , on March 20, 2010 by sp1365

Today’s brew day was a improved version of an English India Brown Ale that I did late last year. My malt bill stayed the same, but I changed the hops and the hop schedule for this new one. The original, while good, was a bit harsh on the bitterness and the aroma was not where I wanted it. To adjust this I used first wort hopping (FWH) to hopefully this will lead to a smoother perceived bitterness. I am also leaving out the dry-hop addition.

Recipe after the pictures.

Row 1: Mash, EKG First Wort Hops, Beginning the First Runnings

Row 2: Final Volume, Bringing to a Boil, Cooling Down

Row 3: Draining to Better Bottle

Recipe (Provided by Beersmith)

India Brown Ale

India Brown Ale
English IPA
Type: All Grain Date: 3/20/2010
Batch Size: 3.00 gal Brewer: Ryan Murphy
Boil Size: 3.75 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Stove Top
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00
Taste Notes:
Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.50 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 73.41 %
0.50 lb Brown Malt (65.0 SRM) Grain 8.16 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 8.16 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 8.16 %
0.13 lb Pale Chocolate (250.0 SRM) Grain 2.12 %
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 15.2 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (20 min) Hops 16.8 IBU
0.50 oz Challenger [7.00 %] (15 min) Hops 10.7 IBU
0.50 oz Challenger [7.00 %] (10 min) Hops 7.8 IBU
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (5 min) Hops 2.8 IBU
1 Pkgs Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) [Starter 1000 ml] Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.053 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.052 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.013 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.013 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.21 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.08 %
Bitterness: 53.3 IBU Calories: 231 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.6 SRM

Random Thoughts

Posted in Ramblings with tags , , , on March 19, 2010 by sp1365

Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday. Spent most of the day recovering from the St. Paddy’s Day. I did have some Bell’s Pale Ale (Really a blonde ale by style), it is a nice crisp refreshing beer. Tasted really good after a night full of Guinness Extra Stout and I could see this being a very nice summer beer.

Couple of thoughts from St. Paddy’s Day:

  • Guinness Draught from a can or bottle is not good. I know Guinness loves their little widget thing, but you just can’t replicate a nitro tap in a bottle. However, Guinness Extra Stout is delicious. Definitely go for the Extra Stout over the Draught where available.
  • I know green beer is all the rage during St. Paddy’s Day, but there is not right about it. I know Bud Light and Miller Lite are not appealing beers to begin with, but to make them green is just adding insult to industry.

Coming up tomorrow I will be having a bottling/brew day. Bottling an English Brown and brewing either an ESB or an India Brown Ale. I will decide depending on the hops the LHBS has in stock when I go tomorrow morning.