Holiday time. Lots of stiff going on with work, kids, the season, brewing, etc. I made my Christmas beer with vanilla and cinnamon and I really like it. It's red, clear and cinnamony. But I decided that it's not a good idea to take up one my 2 taps with that beer so I bottled the remaining case of that to make room for some other stuff. There is a homebrew gathering at the Mayfair Court Brewhouse on Saturday, December 12 and I wanted to try to get as much stuff as possible into bottles and 2 really good beers on tap. I will have some Aviator's English Ale, Cobblestone Kolsch, Holiday Schmoliday and a few others in bottles and then Ballyhoo Best Bitter and either Brauhaus Original Helles or a Prague Pilsner on tap. I know that the others will have some good stuff too. If you're reading this & you live in the area... and have no plans on 12/12, email me for my address and come on over and raise a glass. Cheers.
Okay, I'm thinking of making a Christmas beer. If you guys are reading this blog, check out the thread on the Brews-Brothers board HERE. I used to make some extract beers with cinnamon sticks and the beers came out okay, but there were probably some other issues with my brewing that led to subpar beer. I'm envisioning a reddish beer (made with Special B) along with just one hop addition for 60 minutes and then some cinnamon and vanilla beans in the secondary. I'm thinking os using an English Ale yeast to keep the beer a little sweeter and also to get the beer clear. For anyone who has made a spiced holiday ale, please let me know what you think. My closest beer is my spiced pumpkin ale which uses pumpkin pie spice at flameout and in the secondary. Cheers!
I got into homebrewing when a buddy of mine suggested that we go to a "Brew On Premise" in Chicago. This place was a one-of-a-kind, to be sure. It looked like a converted auto garage complete with cement floor and overhead doors. The owner had invested some serious coin in 6 copper kettles, some very serious custom plumbing and a huge walk-in cooler along with some other stuff. The idea was that you go in and pick from one of a hundred recipes. You brewed your beer (from extract) with the help of one of the staff members. They gave you a recipe sheet and you measured out your extract, specialty grains, hops, etc. Eventually, the 10 gallon batch was sent out of the brewpot through plumbing that also cooled the wort and it ended up inside of a huge, sanitized plastic primary. You pitched the yeast, inserted your sanitized airlock and they moved it into the cooler (probably set to 68° for the ales, 50° for the lagers). Then you came back in 2 weeks and they cooled it, pumped it through a filter and into a keg where you would actually "tap" the beer into bottles that you just finished sanitizing. The cool part was that the place was fun all the way around. If you were brewing, you could buy a bottle of something from the BOP (they had a list of beers that were available) or someone from the bottling area would invite you over there so you could sample something that they had brewed. If you were bottling, you would probably grab a cup and drink a few before you started bottling and invite some of the people from the brewing area to join you. Very fun atmosphere and the owner and staff were very friendly. There was a pizza place next door that would bring food over and they always had a ball game on the TVs too. An exposed brick wall, some small tables here and there and some good music rounded out the scene. When you walked in off the street (especially in winter), the windows would be steamed up because of the boiling wort and the smell was distinct... we're making beer in here! When I walk out into my garage on brewday, I'm immediately reminded of the BOP. Eventually, the place went out of business and that's when I began to make beer at home. My buddy never got into it after that... I think he may have just suggested we go to the BOP to meet girls. :) Cheers!
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