Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fermentation Friday Round Up - Cleaning and Sanitization

Hi All,

I hope you enjoyed this months topic. I know I sure did. There were a few pretty interesting items I noticed when going through the posts. Here's a quick summary from each post then I will give my thoughts in what this all may mean.

1. GISBREWMASTER @ A World of Brews says he has tried many options since he stared a year ago and all worked mostly well but seems to have settled on Oxyclean for the cleaner and Iodaphor/StarSan for the sanitizer. ( I just talked about myself in the 3rd person.)

2. The Brew Dudes use One-Step or PBW for cleaning or StarSan for most of the sanitization but use iodaphor for small jobs.

3. M. Randolph @ Just another Booze Blog has one rather interesting sanitization step. Like many of you he is an oxycleaner and a StarSaner but he cleans his wort chiller with vinegar before sanitizing. Great now something new to think about!!

4. B. James @ Just another Booze Blog writes a rather humerous post where he compares a contaminated batch to sweaty gym socks. His idea of sanitization is boil the shit out of anything that can be boiled.

5. Tony @ Brew Dad uses bleach on all glass and one step for the rest. Doesn't miss bottling at all now all he has to clean is his kegs.

6. Steph @ has 4 options for sanitization StarSan, boiling, vodka and fire. I bet you can guess where each one works but if you can't read her post.

7. The guys @ CNYBrew make a short and sweet post and says 9 out 10 times a beer will come out fine. That 10th time where the beer comes out undrinkable is the reason why we worry about this topic.

8. Rob @ Pfiff! seems to sing a toddler song when he brews. It must be too much fatherhood. I may be over analyzing this but I think he is saying clean and sanitize as you go. ;-)

9. Adam @ BeerBits2 (our creator) posted a full length post and a short post. Adam uses a iodaphor, one step, and bleach depending on what he is doing. I think the key comes from his short post. "worry about sanitation after wort boils not before" and "It's just beer. "

10. Damon @ Life With Beer breaks his process down to pre-boil and post-boil. Pre-boil doens't worry too much about it. Post-Boil is a totally different story.

11. Dave @ Muckney Brewing was a fan of the big C word. He like chlorine based sanitizers namely C-Brite. Now he is a fan of One-Step as he feels it works as well without the smell.

12. Keith @ Brainard Brewing has tried a lot of things. Started with the One-Step as it was in his starter kit. Then went to StarSan but felt it burned his hands. Now is a big fan of iodaphor. Here is the part that may make some of you cringe. He still uses dish soap most of the time to clean.

13. Ted @ Ted's Homebrew Journal did a very good job of describing his practice even though he said he couldn't really put it to words. According to Ted iodaphor is the way to go because it works!!

Well like Rob said in his blog I used this Fermentation Friday to try and get a better sanitization processes but I think I have been doing it right all along. There is no right way as long as you get the beer you want.

For a very quick summary it seems that Oxyclean for cleaning is used by alot of you out there. When it comes to sanitizing Iodaphor, StarSan, and One-Step all seem to work well. Finally remember what Adam says "Its only beer" and what CNYBrew said "that one time out of ten that your precious brew is spoiled sucks so much that it’s worth the hassle of cleaning and sanitizing."

Thank you for allowing me to host this month and if i missed anyone I am sorry just let me know and I will update. According to the schedule Byron @ will be hosting next months exciting topic. Looking forward to seeing what that is going to be!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fermentation Friday - Cleaning and Sanitization

Hi All,

Welcome to this months Fermentation Friday hosted by the wonderful, talented, and awesome me!! Just kidding!! I chose the topic cleaning and sanitization because I had some problems with head retention on some of my brews and a few people asked what was my process so I explained it to them and they had some suggestions for me. I will quickly describe what I started using and what I have used the last few batches.

When I started brewing back in the day (Jan 08) I used dish soap to clean and bleach to sanitize. I think it worked rather well but as I did more research I decided to try some other things. My next process again started with dish soap but this time I used iodaphor. This also worked well for me but I liked it better because there was no bleach smell to get rid of. I used that for most of last year until I looked into my head retention issue on some of my beers. After some of the response I received I decided to try the method I am currently using.

The current process I use is I clean all my equipment with oxyclean then I sanitize with Iodaphor if I am not going to be filling a keg in the near future or StarSan if I am going to be kegging. The reason I do this is if I am going to be putting a beer in a keg I can clean it and store the starsan in the keg and it will be ready to go on kegging day. Now that you know what I use here is my detailed procedure by day.

Brewing Day -
Clean with oxyclean
- brew pot
- fermentation bucket and lid
- 3 piece airlock
- long handled spoon
- strainer (some batches)
- wort chiller (just got one)
- hydrometer
- wine thief
Sanitize with heat - Boiling wort
- pot and lid
- wort chiller
- long handled spoon
Sanitize with Iodaphor or StarSan
- fermentation bucket or lid
- airlock
- strainer
- long handled spoon (after chilling)
- spoon
- hydrometer
- wine thief

Racking Day/Bottling Day -
Clean with Oxyclean
- Bottling bucket or carboy
- tubing
- auto syphon
- rubber stopper
- airlocks
- bottles/keg
Sanitize with Iodaphor(if bottling) or StarSan(if kegging)
- Bottling bucket or carboy
- tubing
- auto syphon
- rubber stopper
- airlocks
- bottles/keg
Sanitize with dishwasher drying cycle
- Bottles

As you can see its pretty easy to clean and sanitize. One other tip I have is you don't need to make 5 gallons or more of sanitizing solution. Both Iodaphor and StarSan are both wet sanitizers as long as the equipment is wet with the solution (or has foam from StarSan) you are good to go. I usually make 2 gallons and let it sit for 10 minutes or so and am able to sanitize all my equipment. So far (knock on wood) I haven't had any issues with contamination so I think my current process works pretty well. I am really looking forward to seeing every ones processes. Even though my process works I am always looking for a better and cheaper way to make great beer. Everyone knows that great beer starts with good cleaning and sanitization processes.

See you all next month and check back for another post on the wrap up.

Matt C.

Beer Review #14 - Port Brewing Wipeout IPA

Hi all,

Welcome to beer review 14. I headed down to visit the big rat (Mickey) with my mom and niece and was able to hit the Bevmo. I picked up 7 different beers that I will be reviewing over the next year. On to the review.

Appearance - This beer pours a hazy gold color. It had good head and head retention.

Aroma - This beer has a great floral, grassy and fruity citrus aroma.

Taste - This beer has great bitterness. With 5 different hops in the mix all of them them come though in the taste giving it a good balance of bitterness and flavor. Also I believe this beer was bottle condition so I got a little yeastyness.

Mouthfeel - This beer has a great mouthfeel. The bitterness and the hops coat your mouth through out the whole swallow.

Drinkablility - I feel that this is a prototypical West Coast IPA. Since this is my favorite
style I feel it is really drinkable. I shared the 22 with my wife but I easily could have finished it myself.

I live in Bakersfield,CA and the only thing I feel is missing is a good beer store. Luckily for me I am able to go good beer locations like LA, San Diego, San Fransisco, and Sacramento pretty frequently to bring back beers I am unable to find in Bakersfield. Don't get my wrong I can get a lot of good beers here but its usually the nationally produced west cost stuff not the regional distributions.

See you all again later in the week. There should be 3 more posts this week. 2 Fermentation Friday posts and atleast 1 review.

Matt C.

Monday, February 23, 2009

February Fermentation Friday Reminder - Cleaning and Sanitizaiton

Hi All,

Here is your just short or a week reminder. Don't forget to post and let me know the link by Friday. Please see the original post for full details!!


Talk to you all soon!!
Matt C.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Beer Review # 13 - Speakeasy Double Daddy Imperial IPA

Hi All,

Welcome to beer review 13 Speakeasy Double Daddy Imperial IPA out of San Fransisco, CA. I can already tell this is going to be a beauty. Its an unlucky number and the the glass or bottle didn't shatter. Sweet!! Off to the tasting.

Appearance - This beer pours a beautiful golden/copper color with a decent lasting head. As the head dissipates it leaves a nice lacing down the side of the glass.

Aroma - This beer has an amazing hop aroma. I can get some notes of grass, citrus, and other floral characters.

Taste - This beer has a perfect bitterness for an IIPA. The bitterness is tasted through out the tasting of the beer. There is also notes of citrus and grass. I really like how the dry the beer finishes.

Mouthfeel - This beer has a good mouthfeel. I really enjoy beers where the hops and the malt coat your mouth through out the whole taste.

Drinkability - This beer is a perfect example of a IIPA. Nicely hopped and well balanced. At 9.5% ABV a pint of this would be nice drinking for a whole evening.

I got this beer at a liquor store called Tops in Tempe,AZ. I love place where you can make your own 5 packs with out a markup. I made 2 -6 packs of 12 different beers for under $20. Can't go wrong with that.

See you all next later in the week.

Matt C.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beer Review #12 - Lagunitas Cappucino Stout


I wanted to review this a few weeks ago but I lost it. Now it is found and now it can be enjoyed.

Appearance -This beer pours a dark brown almost black. It poured with a head but it dissipated rather quickly.

Aroma - This beer has a nice roasty coffee scent with hints of chocolate and some malty sweetness.

Taste - This beer has a really nice flavor. I get a nice bitterness with hints of milk, chocolate, and coffee. I can see how calling it a cappucino stout would be very accurate.

Mouthfeel - This beer has a good mouthfeel. Its not too heavy and its not to light. The beer coats your mouth and leaves a bitter coffee aftertaste.

Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable at 8.3% ABV a 22oz is about all I could do at a sitting. I would prefer a 12oz and a good hour to sip and enjoy.

This is a limited release beer and I am glad I tried it. So if you are out and about and see anything that is in limited production give it a try it may be great or horrible but its always worth a try.

See you next time!!

Matt C.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Beer Review #11 - Brewery Ommegang Rare Vos


When I lived in NY almost 10 years ago I wasn't really into good beer. It was yellow fizzy all the way except for the occasional Saranac and Yuengling. Well now that I am into beer and since I went to the GABF I have gotten to try a little of what NY has to offer. I had my mom bring me some great beers from Brewery Ommegang. The first of these 4 beers is Rare Vos.

Appearance -This beer pours an orangish/redish color with a nice long lasting head. There isn't much of a lacing on the glass but the head still lingers but doesn't sit.

Aroma - This beer has a great fruity aroma. I get some some orange and some spice notes. I really like the fresh fruit forwardness of this beer.

Taste - This beer has a really nice flavor I can taste the orange, banana and the spice. This is a very light belgian style along the lines a Saison.

Mouthfeel - This beer has a great mouth feel. It is has some chewiness and some lasting spicyness

Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable and at 6.5% ABV I could easily finish 755lm bottle and still feel good but not overly intoxicated. Even though I was able to share it with a few friends

Next time I get back to NY to see my mom I will definatly have to hit some of what NY has to offer in person.

See you next time!!

Matt C.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Beer Review #10 - 8 Ball Stout

Hi All,

The beer I am reviewing today is 8 Ball Stout from Lost Coast Brewing Company in Eureka,CA. I am not a big stout guy but I am trying to discover why that is the case. I am a coffee drinker and I like chocolate so I am not sure why I am not a stout fan. I am not saying that I dislike like stouts but its normally not my first choice when I choose a beer. Well lets see how I like this one.

Appearance -This beer pours a dark dark brown almost black. There was a small head but it dissipated quickly.

Smell - This beer has a dark roasty coffee nose.

Taste - This beer taste a lot like it smells. It has a great roasted coffee taste but you can taste the bitterness of the hops.

Mouthfeel - I am really enjoying the mouth feel of this beer. Its almost as if I am drinking an ice coffee without the cream and sugar. The beer covers your whole mouth and and goes down really smoothly.

Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable. Its one of the better stouts that I have tried. I probably could drink 2 in a sitting but not much more. Its medium body is perfect for a beer.

This beer is the reason why I keep trying stouts and porters. I am bound to keep finding gems in this style of beer the more I try them. Also as you drink beer the more your palate changes and different style become more appealing.

See you next time,
Matt C.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Session #24 - A Tripel for Two and Beer Review #9 - Chimay Triple (Cinq Cents)

Hi All,

Welcome to this months session hosted by Musings Over A Pint. I am going to use the topic this month to slightly cheat on my posting goals for 2009. First I will try and answer this months topic and then I will do my best to review the beer the I chose. Well lets get started!!

First off I would like to say I am not very knowledgeable in Belgian Trippels. I know I have had a few but I can't really tell you which ones other then Anderson Valley's Brother David's, Allagash Trippel Reserve (Review), and now Chimay Trippel. I am trying to do better and documenting what I beers I have tried.

The first one, Brother David's I was actually by myself at the GABF. It had just won an award this year so I had to try it. Let me tell you it was actually rather tasty if i rememeber correctly. The second one I remember is the Allagash Trippel Reserve and this one I remember well. I popped it open and shared it with my mother in law and a coworker the day after I brought my first child Catherine Grace home from the hospital last month. You can read the review above I really enjoyed this beer but part of it may have been due the occasion. Now on to the one I chose for the session and my review.

I chose the Cinq Cents Chimay's Trippel. Actually I didn't chose it for any reason other then its the only tripple I found at the liquor store. Since the topic is a tripel for 2 I am sharing it with my wife who happens to be a friend, a relative (only through marriage), and a lover (go figure).

Appearance -This beer pours a beautiful hazy dark blond at 46 degrees with a long last head that leaves lacing on the side

Smell - This beer has a nice sweet scent. I get a very small yeasty and light hop flavor. I also get some fruit notes.

Taste - The sweetness of the malt, the slight bitterness of the hops, and a little raisin really come through in the taste.

Mouthfeel - I feel this beers mouthfeel is really nice. It has nice smoothness and a little chewyness from the yeast. There is a nice lingering after taste that coats your mouth.

Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable. At 8% ABV drinking one of these beers over the course of an evening. As the beer warms you can taste different subtlties in the beer. I say sip and enjoy this beer.

I don't know if I could pick a specific trippel to share with people as the are all good in there own way. I suppose I would go with the Chimay as it most authentic that I have tried. You can't be more true to style then one of the creators. I would like to thank David @ Musings over a pint for hosting this month. It was a good topic and one that will help me on my way to more appreciate belgian beers.

See you all next month,

Beer Review #8 - HE'BREW GENESIS ALE

Hi all,

The beer I am reviewing today is HE'BREW "The Chosen Beer" Genesis Ale from Shmaltz Brewing Company in Saratoga Springs, NY. This beer is certified Kosher. I do think I broke the rules anyway as I drank while eating a bacon wrapped meatloaf. Good think I didn't add cheddar.

Appearance -This beer pours a dark amber/ light brown color. There was very little head and what was there dissapated quickly.

Smell - This beer smells malty with a very small hint of toastyness.

Taste - The taste of this beer like the scent is malt forward. You can taste the toasyness of the darker malts. There is good bitterness but very little hop flavor.

Mouthfeel - I feel this beer has a nice mouthfeel. There is a little more mouthfeel then an amber ale but it is less heavy then a true brown ale.

Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable I can see myself chilling and having a few of these. Its light enough that it isn't very filling but has good flavor and mouthfeel that you know you are drinking something.

I just went to the Shmaltz Brewing Company website and looked up the beer and I am not tasting all they say should be there. Crisp, smooth and perfectly balanced between a west coast style pale and amber ale, with a supple malt sweetness and a pronounced hop flourish. I can see and taste everything but the hop flourish. That may be due to the fact I love hoppy beers and my taste for super hoppyness may hide the hop profiles of some beers. I am working on that by drinking more malty beers these days.

Talk to you later!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

February Fermentation Friday Topic Announcement - Cleaning and Sanitization

Hi all,

Fermentation Friday was started by Adam over at Beer Bits 2, and it’s a chance for all homebrew bloggers to sound off on a singular theme at a set date - the last Friday of each month (check out Adam’s post explaining the origins).

I have been reading a lot of forums and books lately about cleaning and sanitization practices. Like most topics in home brewing there are 100's of different ways to clean and sanitize your equipment. I would like you to post about the process and chemicals you use to prepare your equipment. I would also like you to discuss what you have tried in the past and why you finally settled on your current process.

As a bonus those of you who read my blog may have noticed that I am trying to review beers and i like seeing how other do reviews. So please chose a home brew you have and describe it to me either in a beer review format or a short paragraph.

See you in a few week!!
Matt C.