Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not beer

I became mildly obsessed with replicating this after trying it at Sher-E-Punjab. I guess it's not technically authentic because it has lentils in it, but whatever, you need to eat protein anyway.

Don't try and do this in one pot, because it will take for-fucking-ever. Seriously. I don't know why, but my theory is that the high acidity of the tomatoes somehow makes it take longer to cook the taters and lentils to tenderness. If you do this in one pot, you will be simmering for at least an hour, for reals.

Aloo Gobi with lentils

½ head cauliflower, cut into ¾ -inch-wide florets
10 or 12 red baby potatoes, quartered (no need to peel, unless you're a baby about it.)
olive oil
1 medium onion, grated
1 TBLSP minced garlic
1 TBLSP peeled, minced fresh ginger
½ tsp whole mustard seeds
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tsp red curry powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ 4 teaspoon cayenne
½ tsp ground white pepper
a splash of cooking sherry
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
cooked rice for eating with.

1)first chop up your taters and cauliflower. Keep em separate.

2)Put the taters and lentils in a medium sauce pan and fill with water. Bring to a boil and simmer 25 minutes or so, till it's tender.

3)Meanwhile, in a large saucepan with a lid, heat up a couple tablespoons olive oil to med-high heat. Throw in the cauliflower and grated onion and fry for about 5 minutes with the lid on. The it'll start to brown a little bit on the edges, that's a good thing. Having the lid on will also sort of steam the cauliflower a bit, so that's a good thing.

4)Throw in the ginger, garlic and all the spices with cauliflower/onions and fry for another 3 or 4 minutes till it smells really awesome.

5)Dump in the tomatoes and sherry. Drain the lentils/taters and add to the tomato/cauliflower/onion mix. Add ¼ cup or so of water or beer if it looks too thick. Simmer for 10 or 15 minutes then put it over some rice and YA DONE, SON.

I add Sriracha to my individual serving, because that's how I roll. And I would drink this with a ridiculously hoppy beer. I did, AND IT WAS AWESOME.
It don't look too pretty but it's tasty.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

beerquest hoppy amber ale

i'm still here! i'm still alive.

Check out this recipe: Beerquest hoppy amber ale

turned in 2 bottles to lazlo's today. it turned out AWESOMELY DELICIOUS. it's a blast of hoppy goodness, but you can still taste a wee bit of toastiness at the end, courtesy of 2 lbs vienna malt.

Also, i dry hopped it with 1 oz each of cascade and centennial. so all together that's over SEVEN OUNCES OF HOPS in one batch. It's some hoppy-ass beer (much better than hoppy ass-beer. hyphenation placement is everything.)

I think this has potential to get into the 2nd round of beer quest. Especially since I decided to switch back to dry (but rehydrated) yeast instead of making half-assed starters.

So yeah, i will make this one again FO SHO. and also i promise to start posting more, since it's been awhile.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Again, no posts

Hey Hey Hey.

Well, last week Liz's brother got married. As a wedding present I gave them a case of English Barley wine. I bottled it the day of the ceremony, with explicit instructions that they are not to open it for one year. (plus it was a good excuse to make a barley wine...and for me to keep the remaining case resulting from the batch.) For christman i made everyone a Chocolate Cherry stout to give away 6 packs. For thanksgiving I made a spiced pumpkin beer. Right now on tap at home I've got an altbier (a billy original recipe) with an english IPA (another original recipe) waiting on deck as soon as i empty the altbier keg. So thankfully, while my blogging has slowed, my brewing has not.

Anyway, today i am brewing up a batch for the next BeerQuest contest at Lazlo's on February 17th (ALes of the UK! Get your tickets starting tomorrow).

I'm making an ESB, recipe as follows.

Lobelia Extra Special Bitter
7 lbs Britsh 2-row pale
2 lbs dextrin/carapils
1.5 lbs caramunich
0.5 lbs red wheat malt
0.1 lbs chocolate malt
0.1 lbs brit 2-row toasted in my coffee roaster for about 5 minutes

1.5 oz Williammette 4.5%AA @ 60 minutes

0.75 oz Williammette 4.5%AA @ 20 minutes

0.75 oz Williammette 4.5%AA @ 5 minutes

I was shooting for a mast temp of 152F but under shot that a bit. Added some boiling water and just barely got it up to 150F (and now the mash is reallllly thin.) I'll let you know how this turns out. I"m looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


For the extreme lack of new posts.

Since the last post, I have bought and moved into a new house. So I've been a bit busy.

Also, don't have internet at the new place yet. Hence, the lack of posts.

Anyway, in the next month I plan to make a:

-Chocolate Cherry Stout
-British Barley Wine
-British IPA
-Pumpkin Ale

With the Barley wine I'd like to make a second beer from the mash--with about 22 lbs of grain in there it seems like the right thing to do. Anybody have any suggestions for how I could do this?

Friday, June 22, 2007

BeerQuest: German Ales

Four times a year, Empyrean Ales hosts BeerQuest, a homebrew competition. It's pretty sweet.

Basically, the first 21 brewers to get their applications in are in the first round. Empyrean supplies the barley and hops for a 5 gallon All Grain batch. Then the head brewer of Empyrean, their marketing guy, and a lucky assistant choose 10 of the 21 to go on to the second round, which is judged by members of the public who plunk down $20 to judge 10 homebrews and snack on tasty appetizers from Lazlo's, the brew pub behind (or in front of) Empyrean Ales.

The winner gets their beer made by Empyrean as a seasonal, which is pretty cool.

Last June's BeerQuest was Session Beers--beers lighter in flavor and alcoholic content (5%abv max) that lend themselves to extended drinking sessions so you don't see pink elephants after a pint or six. I made an American Wheat beer, but unfortunately did not make it past the first round. (But hey, I got a 38/50, not too shabby for my first competition. More on the judging process in another post).

Anyway, on Aug. 26, Lazlo's in the Haymarket is hosting the next BeerQuest. The style is German Ales. This includes Kolsch, Dusseldorf Altbier, North German Altbier, Dunkelweizen, Weizen or Weissbier (German wheat beers) and Roggenbier (rye beer).

I'm making a Dusseldorf Alt. Here's my recipe, using ingredients available from Empyrean:

Altimate Nullifier (all grain)
4 lbs Cargill 2-row Pale
3 lbs Cargill europils
.5 lbs Cargill red wheat
2 lb mussedorfer munich
1.5 lbs Weyerman caramunich
0.1 lbs Bairds chololate

2 oz Tettnang (60 minutes)
1 oz tettnang (45 minutes)
1 oz saaz (30 minutes)
1 saaz (0 minutes)

SG: 1.056
IBUs: 52
abv: 6.2%

So even if i don't make it to the 2nd round, I'll still have plenty of good beer to drink.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Lazy Brew Day

I've been short on time recently, but even worse, short on homebrew. So this week I decided to get back to my origins and brew some extract beer

For the uninitiated, there's two basic ways of making homebrew: extract and all grain.

Beer is basically made of four things: Water, yeast, hops and malted barley.

Extract brewers use malt extract, in syrup or dry form, for the barley component. Malt extract is basically just the sugars in malted barley in a condensed form. Some of these sugars are fermented into alcohol, while the ones that aren't give the beer flavor and body. Extract brewing is simple, it's quick, and there's a wide variety of quality extracts available. For new brewers, extract is the way to go. For busy brewers, extract might be the way to go because it cuts at least 2 or 3 hours off of your brew day. An extract brewer dumps in some extract with some water and hops and boils it--if you really rushed it you could probably make a batch in about 2 hours.

Remember those sugars in the malted barley? All grain brewers extract those sugars from the actual grains of barley by steeping the barley in hot water, kind of like making tea. All grain brewing is more complicated, but you also gain near total control of your beer's composition. There's a wider variety of raw malted barley than of extracts, and some less common styles really cannot be brewed with extract alone. All grain brewing is an awesome way to learn even more about the brewing process and how different malts contribute specific flavors to your beer. But it's more time consuming and requires a bit more speciality equipment.

Anyway, on Saturday I brewed a Cream Ale for my dad 1) because I was feeing lazy and 2) because he "wanted a nice summer beer," presumaby something that's nice for when you're sitting on hot porch sweating your ass off because it's 90 degrees outside. I picked up a Cream Ale extract recipe kit. For the ultra-lazy brewer, lots of stores sell kits for some beers with all the ingredients pre-measured. It's pretty fool-proof and the best way for new brewers to start out without being overwhelmed.

Cream Ale is a light yellow ale with a clean, dry finish and no notable hop aroma or flavor. It's kind of like an ale version of Bud-Miller-Coors light lagers, but when well-made, infinitely more satisfying and delicious.

Anyway, here's the recipe:

Cream Ale (extract)
3.3 lbs liquid Light Malt Extract
2 lbs dry Light Malt Extract
.75oz Halletauer hops (60 minutes)
.75 Halletauer (1 minute)
6 gallons of water

Pretty much an uneventful brew session, save for a few boil overs. Once I got the burner set at a steady rate, though, I was able to leave the pot unwatched to play soccer with my dog (that is, kick a ball as far as can and watch my dog chase after it) and, of course, drink some beer (the most vital step of the brewing process, which I call "priming the pump. It takes beer to make beer, really.) I'll let you know how the cream ale turns out.

And while the Cream Ale was brewing, I kegged some Dunkel, which might end up as more of an altbier. More on that Dunkel (and its recipe) tomorrow.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

X-Shilling Scottish Ale

Any reasonable beer drinker certainly enjoys a fine Scottish Ale every now and again. The style boasts a restrained malty sweetness, a touch of roasted/biscuity/crackers-like grain flavor, and little-to-no perceivable hops flavor and aroma. Lincoln's very own Empyrean Ales makes Burning Skye, a rather decent Scottish that's on the toastier side of the toastiness spectrum.

A mere three days ago I tapped my own first attempt at a Scottish.
This was only my third attempt at all grain brewing, and it's tasty. Definitely a beer for someone who (inexplicably) does not enjoy hops. I formulated the recipe using style guidelines from Ray Daniels' most excellent book "Designing Great Beers," and's Beer Recipator.

You know how lots of Scottish Ales like to be called "60 Shilling" or "80 Shilling?" It's because way back in the era of Scotland so historically portrayed in "Highlander," Scots had to pay tax on barley. Thus, the more barley in the beer, the higher the alcohol content and body of the beer. A 60 Shilling ale would be weaker(let's say, oh, 3%abv) than a 90 shilling(6% abv). Also, because importing hops all the way from England was really expesive, the Scots compensated by brewing with barely any hops at all.

What's the Shilling of my Scottish? I have no idea because I don't remember where I wrote down the final gravity (the weight of the beer after fermentation is complete), which is part of why I started this BeerLog. But it's stronger than I intended, because when I brewed this beer I witnessed a crazy leap in my extract efficiency of about 10%. For anybody who doesn't know what that means, it means I basically extracted 10% more fermentable sugars from the malt than I was anticipating. This reset my extraction efficiency to about 75% for this beer.

Here's the recipe:

Unknown Shilling Scottish Ale (All Grain)

10 lbs U.S. Pale 2-row
1.5 lbs Crystal 40L
2 oz roasted barley

1.25 oz Fuggle pellets (bittering)
Scottish Yeast (in the white labs pitchable vial)


Brewed on March 3rd.
I heated 17.25 quarts of water to 170F and mashed into my rectangular cooler Mash/Lauter Tun (more on what this thing is later). I hit my target mash temp of 154F.

After 80 minutes I added a gallon of boiling water, stirred, and recirculated until it cleared up a bit. I drained a little over 3 gallons into my boil kettle and immediately started the boil.

Meanwhile, I added 4 gallons of water at 185F back to the Mash/Lauter Tun for the sparge. I batch sparge, because it's easier, cheaper, faster, and practically every bit as effective as other sparging methods. If you're thinking "what the hell is sparging?" don't worry, that'll be a whole other post.

After about 20 minutes, I stirred the grain, recirculated, and drained into the boil kettle, collected about 3.5 gallons.

Brought the sweet wort to a boil and added the Fuggles. Boiled for 60 minutes then chilled with my immersion chiller, siphoned into my plastic fermenter, and pitched the yeast. The starting gravity was about 1.058.

If my memory serves me it probably spent a week in the plastic, 2 or 3 weeks in a glass carboy, and maybe 2 months in a keg under the stairs at my parents' house. Took it back to my house Saturday, force carbonated at 30 PSI for two days, then set it down to about 8 PSI for one day. Pulled the first pint on Tuesday.

The Verdict:
The roasted barley hits you first, but it's gentle and gives way to the caramelly sweetness of the Crystal malt, which might be borderline to much for this brew. There's an extremely slight plum like fruit component to the sweetness. The head is a creamy white brown. There is no hop aroma, but the malt is quite smellable. Patience really paid off on this one, it taste very clean from weeks and weeks of hiding patiently in a dark cool place so yeast and other crap can drop out.

This is definitely one I'll make again, but maybe with a half pound less Crystal 40.