Saturday, December 29, 2012

On Cruise Control

With the year winding down, I must admit that I'm coasting through the next few days on cruise control. Nothing too exciting, hopefully nothing too stressful.
I am just kinda hanging out you know.
Key West, 2012

With some of my family just freshly back from their Grand Cayman Christmas trip, and with us taking care of last minute details at work and on the farm so we can ship out to St. Thomas in 11 days, I'm just hoping everything gets taken care of before we board that midnight flight to paradise.

I hope every one of you has a great weekend, and I hope that you have a great 2013!

Who has big party plans? I'd love to hear about them.

Party Big, Party Safe and Happy New Year!

~Cheers

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Your first homebrew

What is clean, flavorless, Very attractive and suffers from considerable Chill Haze?

That’s Right!! Mr. Beer Light American Beer!

As promised, I cracked into one of the Mr. Beer products on Christmas day... Toward the end of the day.

This is the beer that you’ve been following along with for just under 14 days now.

The brew is beautiful, minus the chill haze. In the bottle it is as clear as a bottle of water, but in the chill chest, it takes on a haze that I don’t even want to get into. Just call it Chill Haze and don’t worry about it!

Somewhat under carbonated, because It’s a rushed bottle, the brew actually did better than I expected!
There is plenty of carb for a drinkable, although not premium example. Another week will cure that issue!

The nose is tinny and smells mostly of canned extract with very little to no hop aroma.

The mouthfeel is of soda water, very thin and bubbly. Strange, as I’d eliminated the expectation of carbonation in my mind because the head fell IMMEDIATELY. (As expected for a brew with this light of a body!)

There is quite literally no flavor, but a bit of a tinny extract twang in the finish. Perhaps a touch of malt and an industrial hop extract flavor, but basically, this is like the vodka of beer. It’s NOTHING!

Overall, I detect a bit of a cider note that I suspect is from the table sugar that we used to prime... That is to say the sugar we fed the yeast to eat to create carbonation in the bottle.

Now I must admit my bias. This is likely my least favorite beer style. I don’t usually care for a Pilsner, nor a Light American Lager, nor a Cream Ale or a Kolsch... Well, maybe a Kolsch if it’s proper, but usually I go for more flavor and body.

This beer is easily more palatable than Bud Light to me, (Maybe NOT to you) but not quite as quafable as a Coors Light.  There are no real imperfections that I can point at, except those known to be attributed to my tap water, and we have beer in less than a month! I would call that success!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Pū'ali koa!

Well the big day is finally here! Merry Christmas Pū'ali koa!

Today, I hope you are surrounded by great friends, good family and a few stiff drinks to lubricate the setting!

I want to share a beer that my SWMBO picked out for me.... She thought I needed something festive to share for this very special day!

Criminally Bad Elf pours iridescent amber with a white head that settled all too quickly. It is crystal clear, perfect for viewing Christmas Tree Lights.

The nose is somewhat flat with a muddy hop aroma and sweet leathery malt.

First sip, very full body with tons of residual sugar. There could be a bit more bitterness to cover some of the sweetness. This is almost a syrupy hoppy.... Goodness. This is a pretty tasty brew.

There is much burnt sugar and roasted wheat. I find caramel and an intriguing grassiness that comes right at the end. Every sip brings mouth filling flavors and complexity. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that you can even taste this brew with your teeth!

Nursing along this 10.5% Barley-wine, before lunch, and not having had breakfast, I must say it’s giving a bit of a warming, heady feeling, perfect for Christmas morning after the symphony of wrapping paper destruction.

An occasional hard swirling of the beer in the glass keeps the aromas flowing as they settle down and don’t really release themselves.

I served myself this beer WAY too cold, and once it had a time to warm up, the flavors didn’t change as they sometimes do, but became more pronounced and very enjoyable.

I don’t care if Christmas is a day that you celebrate your religion, your family or if it just means presents... And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope your day is wonderful.

Remember, it’s every host’s duty to keep the guests in the Christmas “Spirits”... That includes good beer!

Merry Christmas everyone!

~Cheers!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Keeping the Mojo!

At some point, I tend to get bored with most things that I’m interested in. My attention span is like a light switch, once it’s on, it’s on all the way, and then when it turns off.... Boop! DARK!

Fortunately, it hasn’t been that way with craft beer!

It’s not terribly hard to stay interested. What with the thousands of beers that are on the market to keep your attention. It’s just about an endless horizon of beer. Once I find one I like better than most, I set off with renewed vigor to find one better than that! And the ones that are completely average, are still good enough to make a happy Kahuna.

But beer is a social lubricant. I think that it would get old just drinking alone. Fortunately, especially for a craft beer nerd like me that lives in BFE, with absolutely NO craft beer scene, there is social media to keep it lively.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bottling Day

And the Mr. Beer Saga continues with my least favorite of brewing tasks. Bottling Day!

Just on a whim, I opted to bottle the Light American Ale from the Mr. Beer kit last night. Everything went as planned, and it was pretty uneventful.

Sanitize bottles with included sanitizer, add 2 1/2 tsp Sugar (Yes, I did use table sugar) and fill with beer from spigot. Screw caps make the entire thing pretty simple.

I did take a gravity reading, and the final gravity was 1.010 which puts our little beer (VERY little beer) at right around 2.5% alcohol. Now that’s what I call a LIGHT beer!

Two things that I am really amazed about. First, how clear the beer was after only 11 days. My normal homebrew usually takes weeks to clear like this stuff did. Secondly, I’m amazed at how well thought out this kit is.

All 8 of the plastic bottles filled from the keg with no problem. I didn’t have so much leftover beer in the keg that I felt obligated to “Save” it and try to tip the thing for a bottle of trub beer. The screw tops are low speed and pig simple. This kit really is a no-brainer.

And the best part... The beer that came from my hydrometer sample... Wasn’t terrible. (Wasn’t great either)

Perhaps my low expectations will be a savior of this project.

Anyhoo... Have a great week, Talk to you on Saturday!

~Cheers

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2 bottles, Part 2!

Thanks for checking back in! We are tasting 2 bottles of Apricot mead from Meadery of the Rockies.

Second run:
The honey flavor is SO much more pronounced. But more of a “Background” pronounced. The wine is first, somewhat of an alcoholic “White Grape Juice” sort of thing,  the honey is second and the fruit is third. Smooth as a baby’s bottom, there is no distinct transition from nose to palate to swallow to finish! It’s BALANCED! The tangy apricot flavor hits you right behind the back teeth, but is very
smooth. Not shocking in any way!

I must say that there are no cider notes, nor any dried fruit. This is a perfect example of a fruit mead. Aroma 9, appearance 10, taste 9, finish 10.

I don’t think that this combination has any room to improve.

Glass 2

This is not an attractive smell. After the second glass, this smells very mildly oxidized with an added musk that I’d gladly wear as a cologne.
The flavor is overly sweet and missing a finish!

Is this one the aged mead?

I make glass 2 out to sound awful, but without glass 1, I would gladly take this wine any night of any
week. It is approachable, fine flavored, and pretty damn good! Anything bad I say about 2 is in direct comparison to 1!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2 Bottles, Part 1

Ahoy fun lovers everywhere!!

You shopping today? We are! Hope you all have the great day we will! I’m set to meet up with a twitter pal for Lunch! (Perhaps Photos will come?)

Today, we have a 2 bottle conditioning comparison of mead. Honey Wine! The nectar of the gods! The ancient elixir that has charmed men and wooed women everywhere for centuries!

What we have here, are 2 commercial meads. Both holding the same name, and both from the same meadery. Both purchased at the same meadery.... One aged in my cellar for the last 3 years!
Apricot mead purchased from the Meadery of the Rockies in Palisade Co! If you don’t know of them, you haven’t been reading! I LOVE the mead that they produce, and I make no bones about it! But now I love them more... A few years ago.

As usual, I blind tasted them, and here is what I thought:

Glass 1:

The nose is sweet, aromatic and fruity. The appearance is 100 percent clear and sparklingly brilliant.
There is honey, a slight must with peach peel and apricot

Bright fruit forward clean flavor with no alcohol burn. A VERY Clean honey essence... not like honey you find on the shelf, but like you find in a fairy tail! Fruity apricot notes, but clean! Not a funky typical fake apricot flavor that you find in most products. No dried fruit. Everything seems fresh.

This is as clean as you’ll find in a flavor profile. It is crisp and refreshing, the body is between thin and slightly medium bodied. This mead is medium sweet.

There is a mildly bitter... or dry finish, typical of dry white wine.

Glass #2:

Foggy fruit, hidden behind a forresty, musty cloud. Perhaps a clalky nose? Also brilliantly clear, no
floaties and no haze. Very faint plastic aroma precludes the apricot, reminding me of a “scratch and sniff sticker.”

WOW! That’s sweet! Backed by a VERY mild alcohol burn and drying of the palate and tongue!  Not really a high finished gravity sweet, but MUCH more fruit forward than the first glass.The fruit is not hazy, but not as clean and honest as the first glass. It’s more like a canned fruit flavor compared to a fresh apricot. The finish has somewhat of a tinny sweetness to it that reminds me of licking the lid on a can of Mom’s peach preserves.... But apricot for sure!

The sweetness seems to cover most of the “Faults that I see as compared to the first glass, but compared to a glass of water, I would never call a fault.

Then I asked for a second glass of both!

Check back on Tuesday for my thoughts on glass #2 of both wines, and a synopsys of both!

Have a great rest of the weekend...
~Cheers!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hot Break

Aloha, thanks for checking in.

Things are as they always are. We have mead clearing and beer fermenting.... Actually, I guess the beer is clearing too.

Hot Break
The Mr. Beer kit seemed to ferment out very quickly, and is beginning to clear. I guess it doesn’t take long for yeast to chew through 2 gallons of 1.030 wort!

During the boil we did see a pretty good “Hot Break” where the proteins in the liquid malt began to coagulate and clump together, which of course will help the finished product clear a bit faster. It has been a long time since I’ve brewed with extract, and I didn’t remember it doing that, but I’m glad it did.

Some of the suggestions that I’ve had for what to brew next in the little brown keg.... Is for a Russian Imperial Stout and one of my friends asked for a Caribbean Stout that I brewed last year on “Teach a friend to brew day.”

I think the Caribbean stout is a better option, although I’ve not given up on the idea of an RIS!

Have a great rest of the week and I will see you on Saturday!

~Cheers!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

As Promised, We brewed beer with a Mr. Beer Kit! As Is... Out of the box!

The can of extract! This is YOUR first beer!
 As I have stated, and as I will continue to defend, a brewer is a brewer! It’s somewhat akin to being a pilot! I don’t care if you fly a light sport Carbon Cub, a 172, or a Citation X! If you break the surly bonds of gravity, under your own terms, you ARE... In my book... A pilot!

Same with brewing! I don’t care if you brew on a 30 barrel brewhouse for one of Colorado’s wicked awesome craft breweries, a 10 gallon “Brutus” setup in your garage, or a Mr. Beer in your apartment!

If you’re turning ingredients into beer, you are a BREWER!

If you are a good brewer or not.... That’s for you and your buddies to decide!

I’ve been brewing since I was 21 and 2 days old. That was a full 15 years ago...but time flies when you’re fermenters are full!

Sanitize EVERYTHING that touches cool wort!
None of the first batches were bad, but none were really great! I was just happy because I was making my own beer! And I think that is the exact point that I am back to with the Mr. Beer system! I don’t have high expectations, but I know we will have beer in the end!

We began by sanitizing EVERYTHING that would touch the wort! Wort is the unfermented beer, and it’s a BITCH’N place for bacteria and junk to grow, but we want to make sure that the only thing growing in our beer is the yeast colony that WE put in there! So as you can see, Sanitation is of PARAMOUNT importance!

A trick that I learned from a member of the Homebrewtalk.com forum, YuriRage, was to mix Star San in a chemical sprayer. All you need to do is wet all the surfaces and wait a few minutes. There is no rinsing, no fussing and no waste! I’ve NEVER (Knock on my wooden head) had an infection using this method!

The Mr. Beer kit is essentially a can of Malt extract with hops included, a few bottles to package it in and a barrel shaped plastic jug to ferment it in. This kit is an "American Light" beer... That means a poor imitation of an American Light Lager, in my estimation!

I warmed up the syrup in some hot water so it would be a more workable substance to deal with, then dumped it into a soup kettle with 4 cups of HOT water and brought the entire pot to a boil.

Yeast in the barrel!
Because STUFF BREAKS, You add cold water to the Mr. Beer before you dump the boiling mess into it.... But that’s covered in the directions!

After topping up with cold water and making absolutely sure that the liquid is BELOW 72 degrees.... THIS IS A KEY PART.... So LISTEN! The WORT MUST BE UNDER 72Degrees! (Don’t forget to sanitize your thermometer!) I poured in the yeast! This is called “Pitching The Yeast” and is where you take on the biggest role as a brewer! This is the moment where you begin to convert sweet wort, by adding our best biological brewing bug buddies, into that wonderful liquid lubricating agent we call BEER”!

Not part of the Mr. Beer instructions, but a crucial part of my workflow, I took a gravity reading after the wort had cooled and before I pitched the yeast! The wort had a gravity of 1.030. When we bottle, I will show you how that is important in determining our alcohol level in our brew!

Now we wait! This mixture will bubble and churn for about 7-10 days, then it will clear and we will bottle it!

The beer will sit in tightly capped bottles for about a week while the yeast take on a bit of additional sugars that we will add and make our beer “Fizzy” by carbonating it, then we will taste it!

Hope you’re excited... Hope you have a GREAT WEEK!

~Cheers!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mr. Beer Part 1

Christmas is certainly on it’s way, and the Mr. Beer homebrew kit is still holding strong as the present of choice for the beer fan father-in-laws and testosterone soaked boyfriends everywhere.

The problem: The beer usually ends up somewhere between mediocre and BAD! Not unlike Alton Brown and his episode of “Good Eats” the system is basically sound, but seriously misses out on the finer points of making a good beer.

Charlie Papazian, the father of homebrewing in the USA... Nay... The WORLD, wrote in
his book, “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing” to RDWHAHB! That is to say “Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Homebrew!”

This is very good advice! The number one thing that keeps the average “Would-be” homebrewer from making a fine brew is worrying too much!

As luck would have it, Beer is damn easy to make! If you provide a clean environment full of fermentable sugars for yeast to consume... And add the proper yeast, give it plenty of time and then don’t worry about it too much, you are going to make beer! It really is that simple!

But the problem with kits like a Mr. Beer, is that they try to over simplify the process and that often ends up with less than desirable results!

I have been a homebrewer since I was 21 years and 1 day old. I have been brewing “All-Grain” batches since 2008, and I have brewed some of the best... And WORST beers I’ve ever tasted!
Fortunately, I tend to learn from my mistakes!










It seems more than a little backwards for me to purchase a Mr. Beer kit at this point in my life as a homebrewer! But SO MANY people, perhaps even you, are given a Mr. Beer for a birthday or Christmas, and typically end up making a batch or two before delivering the equipment to a back office, closet or the basement to collect dust until the next yard sale season.

So here is my goal: I am going to show you, the average beginning brewer with a new Christmas Present how to make a kick ass beer using a Mr. Beer Kit! As usual, I’m not going to give you any Bull Shit, and I’m not going to do anything that you can’t do in the average apartment, household kitchen or well equipped motel room! We are going to use BASIC equipment and your Mr. Beer to make a better than average brew that will impress your wife, satisfy your “Beer Friends” and really disgust your Father-in-Law that thinks “Old Milwaukee” is the “Best beer in the Grocery Store!”

The first thing we must do us unpack. In the box, you’ll find the brown plastic keg, a valve that you must install and a lid. There are bottles to package your brew in, and lids for the bottles! There is a can of hopped malt extract and a ton of Mr. Beer Stickers!

I didn’t like the Mr. Beer stickers, so I decided to break into my “Sticker Stash” and properly adorn my new kit for added Karma!

We will begin with the syrup that came with the kit as a baseline, and get you ready to brew... Just in-case you end up with one of these kits for Christmas! With any luck, we will have a drinkable, although advisedly not great brew to drink before the big day!

Stick around and see how this goes! Be sure to leave comments for your preference for what style our next (AND A LOT BETTER) brew will be! Porter? Pale? Kolsch? Cream Ale? You decide, I will brew!

~Cheers!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Redneckenomics

I know most of you all live in cities, surrounded by a bitchin’ beer scene and all the culture you can handle! But I live on a ranch. 100+ miles from the nearest decent beer that isn’t brewed by a homebrewer.

As you may have noticed, I like to travel. Taking in the culture of far away destinations is definitely a passion of mine. But we have some culture here too!

Take for example: Wine and cheese!

We love wine and cheese as an afternoon snack! But it’s not what you might expect. Our wine often comes from a box, and our cheese is very often of the “String Variety!”

Shut up! I can hear you laughing!

I very occasionally drink really good beer from a bottle, and I drink very cheap beer from very expensive glassware. I mix the best rums with the store brand cola, and I drink $3 wine with an $8 bar of chocolate.... And sometimes mix moonshine with energy drinks!

We eat Mac and Cheese with Filet Mignon, and sometimes make risotto to go with a hamburger or grilled cheese. We make chili with beer in it, and cocktails rarely have more than 2 or 3 ingredients!

It’s called Red Neck Economics!

Do your best to get what you like! Save where you can, and drink what makes you happy!

Have a great rest of the week!

~Cheers

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Party Time!

Ok boys and girls, it's time to start thinking about that Christmas Party. Of Course you know we will be bringing you a few drink ideas for keeping the uncomefortable conversations properly lubricated, but what about the parties that DON'T get run by a proper bartender like yourself?

Enter the Kahuna Swag!

The koozies are good for all sorts of events and happenings. You can use it to keep people from seeing that you're sipping on a good beer that you may have smuggled in, or to help deny yourself that you don't have good beer, so you're drinking free beer.

The flasks let you keep a little extra holiday cheer in your vest pocket or purse... you know, for when the moment arises.... or the margaritas are a bit weak! All you have to do is get out your Kahuna Flask and pour on a little "Heater" and the party will start to liven up in no time!

If you already have Kahuna swag... you can post picks of yourself living it up #KahunaStyle on the Facebook page or tweet them to @BigKahunaBrewer

If you have party picks, or sneaky picks of BigKahunaBrew stickers randomly placed in inappropriate locations, we want to see it! And just to make it easy for everyone to check out, I've created a new board on Pinterest just for you and your Kahuna Swag! Follow my boards at http://pinterest.com/bigkahunabrew/

Here are a few good ones from this week... just to get you started!

Kahuna Stickers go well with any street graffiti!

Hoping DFH Will make this a permanent addition to their labels!

Thanks to our friend Randall D. for taking us somewhere BEAUTIFUL!
Thanks for stopping in, I hope your week ROCKS!

~Cheers!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sixpoint Share

Welcome to December!  You might say that my excitement was “Brewing” as I prepared to share this new beer with you this morning! I love using morning light in photos anyway, but this was a little something extra. Beer and spirits are best tasted first thing in the morning if you’re looking for your palate to be at it’s most accurate.

Sure, this goes against the “Social Norm” of thinking that only alcoholics and college students drink in the morning, but I don’t really care. I’m not for social norms, and I’m not much for following conventional wisdom when there is a chance for greatness. And given the time and effort that was put into my getting this beer, I was certainly hoping for greatness!

I’ve been working on getting my paws on Resin by Sixpoint brewing for quite some time and I’ve got to say that it has paid off. This beer traveled a long way to get to me, so I must admit that I was anxious to give it the time and attention that it deserved... As tempting as it was to crack one open and take a swig right from the can.

Pouring a deep hazy caramel color and a little thicker than the average IPA and little darker than I’d expected as the can says it is 9.5 SRM. (That’s a measure of color from 0-100.)

Buck!