Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dream Valley Brewing Returns

When I last left you, you probably thought I'd have a few more home brews to share with you. After "Potable", which most of it was dumped for being largely...bad, I tried to make a Chocolate Cherry Porter.  However, I encountered problems during bottling, so was too upset to share.  I did get a few good bottles that actually tasted pretty decent. No, it wasn't anything great, but quite drinkable. After bottling those successful bottles, a cherry skin plugged up the spout, so I tried to fill the bottle by dipping my hand in, exposing sediments, cherry bits, and likely beer's worst enemy, bacteria to them all....they, were sadly, dumped as well.

After two failures, I decided that I was done with Mr Beer, but it was confirmed to me that this was a hobby I could enjoy. Yes, it was time for a real home brewing kit!  I know some time has passed since I last wrote, but during this absence, my friend Kevin (@HighReiser38) had said he could make me a starter kit with equipment that he used in the past.  See, Kevin has gone on to bigger and better things in the world of home brewing: kegging, growing his own hops, etc... so, I happily accepted his gracious offer, and am now hoping to master the art myself.  If you read this Kevin, I thank you again for your generosity.  It is truly appreciated.

Though, my first batch with the new kit has had some road bumps, I am soon to crack open my first completed beer and (hopefully) enjoy.  Of course, I will be starting a post, sharing the story of how my (boringly named) "Oak Creek Cream Ale" came to be.

Stay Tuned & Stay Thirsty!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Homebrewing - Batch #1: "Potable"

In the last several years, I have been getting more and more into craft beer. The big name lite/light beers have been fun, and they did what their intended purposes were in my early 20s, they got me drunk. And, there will always be times where I just want a light refreshing beer, but lately, I've been enjoying this thing called, flavor. Having tried now over 100 or so different craft beers, I came up with the crazy idea of, brewing my own.

I researched, nothing. I just know Mr. Beer is a beginning beginners kit, so, I went on Amazon and ordered one up. It came, with an American Pale Ale mix. Of course I didn't just want to make the beer that they already had formulated, I needed to put a touch of my personal genius in it. Hence, the start of Batch #1.

I should have maybe thought of stuff that might compliment the pale ale better, but, I had this crazy idea of, brown sugar, maple syrup, macadamia nuts, and vanilla. Recipe is as follows:

1 can of the Pale Ale wort stuff (included in kit)
1 of the booster stuff (included in kit)
1 cup of Pure Maple Syrup
1 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Cup of chopped Macadamia Nuts
Tbspn of vanilla extract (more on this)

So, I think the vanilla may have been a bad idea, well, scratch that, I think extract may have been a bad idea. To add vanilla flavoring, I'm thinking now that beans should be used.

Anyways, I let my beer ferment for about 3 weeks, though I think for so many ingredients and the higher ABV, perhaps I should've let it ferment for a month or more, but, I was antsy. Then 2 Sundays ago, I bottled the beer to start the carbonation process. After 7 days, I was far too anxious to see what I had created, and threw one of my liter bottles in the fridge to cool down for consumption.

The verdict that night, was...not so good. The aroma was of, not sure, the taste, was, sweet, and slightly off, though it overall tasted like beer, so that's good. I couldn't drink it, and left the remaining bottle in the fridge for an extra day. Then last night, I opened it back up, and wouldn't you know, it was much better. It was, drinkable. The flavor still isn't anything anyone would ever purposely buy, but it did make me realize that I need to let the remaining bottle condition for a while longer, perhaps 1-2 weeks more, and I might have what can be called, a likable beer on my hands. I named it, a very appropriate name: Potable.

Well, I felt like I needed a "brewery" name. I couldn't come up with anything. I can be a perfectionist that gets nothing accomplished when I try to think of names. Then, for really no reason, I thought of the name my Dad had given to a fulfilled dream of his. Back when I was a kid, my dad wanted to start up a deer farm, and from what I think I remember of the story, he was told by some that it was nothing more than a dream. Well, with hard work and determination, he succeeded (yes, I grew up on a deer farm, fallow deer if you feel like looking it up), and named the farm, "Dream Valley Fallow".

I live in an apartment, nowhere near a valley, but I felt for batch #1, it was only appropriate to name my "brewery", Dream Valley, in homage to my dad, my mom, and my childhood, hence the start of Dream Valley Brewing.

This however, isn't a dream job or career of mine, I have no delusions (like I do with so many other things). No, this is just going to be a hobby I want to start. It's mostly in fun that I call my homebrews a "brewing" company, and using a Mr. Beer kit seems like it is cheating. But, I hope to in the future get actual home brewing equipment, and hopefully create beers that are more than just, potable. Up next, is a porter. Details to come soon.

Batch #1: Potable, is just that, not great, not good....potable

Monday, February 28, 2011

T'was the Night Before March

T'was the night before March, when throughout the household,
The ice was a creaking, from the bitter February cold;
The wet socks were thrown near the fireplace with haste,
With hopes that warm weather, we'd soon get to taste;
The Children were nestled, shivering in their beds,
For the heating bills have added to the family's large debts;
The wife in her Snuggie, and I also in mine,
turned the channel to the news, to see we soon might be fine;
Because on the TV, we heard a familiar noise,
It was crack of the bat, from the summer time boys;
The remote I then grabbed, & turned the volume up high,
Spring Training had started, and that meant spring time was nigh;
I walked to the window, just to peer out,
but was angered by the snow, and wanted to shout;
But then I remembered through all of that sadness,
With March comes a tournament, coined as March Madness;
The Wisconsin Badgers I did pay attention to and cheer,
Will once again, be playing in the tournament this year;
Most are unknown, and will achieve very little fame,
but I'll still cheer them on, and holler each one by name;
GO! Keaton GO! Evans GO! Jarmusz and Taylor,
Go! Bruesewitz GO! Gasser GO! Wilson and Leuer

To the Sweet 16, to the Final Four,
Shoot all you can, and run up the score;
But as basketball wanes, and baseball now waxes,
March offers more fun, before we pay our taxes;
The airports are all busy, from vacations families take,
Getting their opportunity to head south, while the kids are on break;
There is also a holiday, which we adults all hold dear,
Where the bars fill with patrons all wanting green beer;
A day in which we are all Irish, even if we're not,
And we'll shout "Erin Go Bragh", over a Jameson shot;
So I step back from the window, a smile now stretches wide,
"Another winter defeated" To my wife I said with pride;
She set down her book, she smiled at me and did chime,
Tomorrow is March? It's about fucking time!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Format Change...of Sorts

So, the problem with this blog is, I always write fully formed stories, and well, I don't have time (I do, more of a don't want to make time) to do that much these days. So, I am going to get back on the blogging horse with more of, short thoughts on things. Might be multiple posts throughout a day, might be none. Judging on my history, more none than multiple.