While browsing the Homebrewtalk.com forums, I came across a recipe for a hard cider that it seemed everyone (mostly) raved about. Its called apfelwein, and the particular recipe I made was created by a guy on the forum named EdWort. So, after reading all the great reviews on it, four week ago I whipped up a batch. Its really easy, here is the recipe from the site:


5 Gallons 100% Apple Juice (No preservatives or additives) I use Tree Top Apple Juice
2 pounds of dextrose (corn sugar) in one pound bags
1 five gram packet of Montrachet Wine Yeast


5 Gallon Carboy (I use a Better Bottle)
Carboy Cap or Stopper with Airlock

  1. First sanitize the carboy, airlock, funnel, stopper or carboy cap.
  2. Open one gallon bottle of apple juice and pour half of it into the carboy using the funnel.
  3. Open one bag of Dextrose and carefully add it to the now half full bottle of apple juice. Shake well.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3, then go to step 5.
  5. Pour in the mixture of Apple Juice and Dextrose from both bottles into the carboy.
  6. Add all but 1 quart of remaining 3 gallons of apple juice to the carboy.
  7. Open the packet of Montrachet Yeast and pour it into the neck of the funnel.
  8. Use the remaining quart of juice to wash down any yeast that sticks. I am able to fit all but 3 ounces of apple juice into a 5 gallon Better Bottle. You may need to be patient to let the foam die down from all shaking and pouring.
  9. Put your stopper or carboy cap on with an airlock and fill the airlock with cheap vodka. No bacteria will live in vodka and if you get suckback, you just boosted the abv.
There’s no need to worry about filling up a carboy so full when you use Montrachet wine yeast. There is no Kreuzen, just a thin layer of bubbles (see here). I'm able to fit all but 4 oz. of my five gallons in the bottle. Ferment at room temperature.

It will become cloudy in a couple of days and remain so for a few weeks. In the 4th week, the yeast will begin to drop out and it will become clear. After at least 4 weeks, you can keg or bottle, but it is ok to leave it in the carboy for another month or so. Racking to a secondary is not necessary. It ferments out very dry (less than 0.999, see here)

Apfelwein really improves with age, so if you can please let it sit in a carboy for up to 3 months before bottling or kegging, then let it sit even longer. 

I followed this exactly, and last night, I kegged it. I have to say, it is


I have made ciders in the past, some good, some not. None of them were nearly as good as this particular recipe. Dry, yet sweet, and still has a nice apple flavor hanging around. Also, its very strong... like Hercules strong. Here's a  picture, only the second pour out of the keg so its still clearing a bit:

And as fantastic as this stuff is by itself, it also makes an amazing winter/fall warmer. Here's what I did:

1. Pour off about a cup of apfelwein.

2. Put it in a saucepan with a 1/2 TBS raw sugar and about a half of a small cinnamon stick.
Let that simmer for a little on LOW heat. If you make it too hot, you might accidentally boil off some of the alcohol. (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!).

Its great on a nice cold evening... or morning... and it will jam some fall spirit right down your throat.

I highly reccomend making some of this! Its totally easy, especially if you don't have any actual brewing equipment. I used a Homer bucket from home depot to ferment it. Anyone can make it, although without a keg you would have to bottle and carbonate that way.

Happy Halloween!


Cars suck. Had to drive down to the tire place to get a new tire for the ol' ball n chain, and its going to take TWO HOURS to be finished. Now I'm here at Starbucks (CORPORATE PIGS) drinking their crappy coffee when I could be home brewing and drinking home brew.

I find this happens a lot. Me, out doing *something*, but mostly just thinking about recipes or projects or how I love that new brew I just kegged. I should invent a brewing system that fits in my car. Which actually wouldn't help me at all in this particular situation.

F cars.

Check out this awesome picture of my latest brew and it's Krazy Krausen!


Bleep blorp. Since I've been home, I've done a lot of sitting around and doing nothing. Drinking my new beers and smoking my Leedy pipes have been keeping me fairly busy throughout the day, but two days ago I just got so bored I couldn't stand it. Since all my primary buckets were full, I decided to bust out old skool Cramped Space style and brew up a one gallon batch!

I have not done much experimenting when it comes to actual BREWING lately, so I figured I would use the small batch opportunity to try out two things: caramelizing my wort and saving hop flavor/aroma while using my newly adopted no-chill method. What is no-chill? Well, recently I started to genuinely HATE chilling my beer after the boil. Its not fun, it wastes water, and in the summer it takes way too long. So I did some research, and found a process that the Aussies have been doing for quite some time: NO CHILL BREWING! Basically, instead of using an immersion/CFC/plate/what-have-you chiller, you just dump the boiled wort into a food safe bucket, seal it, and let it chill over night. The next morning, dump in the yeast. Since learning about it I have been using it with great success, and I don't plan on ever going back.

The problem with this method is that the hops spend more time than usual at near-boiling temperature, which turns pretty much any hop addition into a bittering addition. Dry-hopping obviously helps with aroma, but I have been having difficulty getting the hop taste back into my beers. Couple this with my desire to make a dark beer the way our ancestors used to before the really dark malts, and I had myself a fun experi-brew-day.

So first things first... BEER
Awww yea. Like Popeye and spinach, my home-malted, home-brewed elixir gave me the power to... make more home-malted, home-brewed elixir.

First I needed a plan. Here it was:

-1 gallon batch. First .5 gallon of wort will be reduced and caramelized as much as possible before burning, and then added to the boil. All base malt should be used.
-Hops. Mini-boil .7 ounces of hops for 5-10 minutes in extra wort. Cool quickly, stir in after wort has chilled enough for pitching.

Easy enough! LETS DO THIS.
Time to get back to the grind... lolz. With my current awesome 90+ percent efficiency, I only needed 2.5 pounds of base malt to make a 1.08 beer. F ya. My arms definitely appreciate the smaller grain bill.

Mashed in. One thing I didn't think about was the difference in thermal mass between a 2 pound grist and a 5-7 pound grist. I tried to mash at 158, but for the life of me I couldn't get it to hold any higher than 150. Lame. I should have done it on the stove like the olden days.

SCIENCE. So here I am sparging, with the .5 galllon of first runnings on the stove while I fly sparged the rest (1.5 gallon) for what would turn out to be 1:45 boil. Good thing I had enough pots.
Heat sticks are great. Got my brew from sparge to boiling in like... 5 minutes! Pretty awesome.

I ended up reducing the wort for one hour. By then the main boil had been at an easy boil for 45 minutes. I dumped in the sticky mess you see here:
 And added my only bittering hop addition. Set my timer for one hour and let her continue to rip.

At this point, I ran off another quart of wort, got it boiling and measured out .3 oz of Chinook.

I then boiled the Chinook for 5 minutes, then added another .4 oz of Chinook and boiled that for an additional 5 minutes. Then I strained the liquid and put it into the freezer to cool off.
After the boil, all that was left to do was to dump the wort into a Homer bucket and let it chill. With a one gallon batch it only took a few hours to cool down to pitching temps. Then I mixed in the hop mixture, pitched my yeast, and VOILA!

A one gallon batch of (wee heavy?) something. I am pretty stoked on how dark it is, but the bummer is that apparently part of that has a lot to do with how Im kilning my malt. The wort, as you can see in the pictures, was already relatively dark in the kettle. DEFINITELY not what a 100% pale grist should look like. I did kind of expect this already though, since my beers have tasted more like a Munich based beer than a pale malt based beer... which to me is fine. I love those high kilned malts.

Anyway, thats that. Im just gonna bottle this thing in a week (as long as it hits its target FG) and let it age that way. Ill let y'all know how it turns out!

Hurray for experiments! Hurray for science! HURRAY FOR BEER!!!


Well, I finally got home last night! It was actually a pretty great homecoming. I walked to my friend's house to pick up my van from the bus stop, and what do you know... my buddies Brandon and Andrew were just about to start a brew session! And had awesome beer to share! So instead of heading home to be alone all night, I got to hang out with my best buddies in Denver, help them brew a sour pumpkin ale, drink beer, and smoke a "THANK GOD I MADE IT HOME" cigarette. Yay.

So I headed home around 7:30. Not sure if it was the time difference or the fact that I had been travelling all day, but I was beat. Before I went to bed I kegged my first three batches of homebrew made from only house malted barley, and then I hit the hay.

Since I went to bed so dang early last night, I was up by 7 ready to take on the day. I was hoping to be able to wait until later today to tap the first keg, but I just could not. I figured after eating breakfast, drinking an entire pot of coffee, and watching all the Daily Show episodes from last week, I had waited long enough. Plus, I have been on the east coast for two weeks, and over there its practically lunch time. So, after months of hard work and waiting, here she is!

My first beer from home malted barley! Here is the actual recipe I used:

 4 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 66.67 % 
 1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 16.67 % 
 1 lbs Home Amber (35.0 SRM) Grain 16.67 % 
 0.30 oz Chinook [13.00 %] (60 min) Hops 22.0 IBU 
 0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (30 min) Hops 10.8 IBU 
 1 Pkgs SafBrew Ale (DCL Yeast #S-33) Yeast-Ale

So, some notes. The color is awesome, a light amber to copper hue. The head pours thick and creamy, and a small layer stays on the top all the way down. I am getting a lot of caramel, which most likely means I need to cool it on the specialties. Had I known it would be this sweet, I would have added more bittering hops. It leaves a VERY nice toasty flavor in my mouth when I have not had a sip in a while.

All in all, its a pretty good beer! No noticeable off flavors aside from the over-the-top caramel notes. Its also pretty darn clear; especially for the first pour out of the keg. I am very proud.

I will post a side by side of all three beers later tonight. I already know I need to find a better way to estimate the colors of my home malts... all of these beers, at least in the fermenter, looked exactly the same.



So in case anyone doesn't know, I'm a Roadie. I've been on the road for the last couple weeks, and due the that and getting ready I haven't been blogging.

Then I found out there is a blogger AP for Android! Hurray! I'm writing this from Syracuse, three days from the end of this particular tour... and I can't wait to get home. As much fun as I'm having this go around, I have 6 beers that have been going from 2-6 weeks, and I can't WAIT to keg them and get to drinking homebrew again. As soon as I get back ill be kegging the first three batches i made with home malted barley (which are currently cold crashing thanks to my lovely wife!), and the anticipation is KILLING ME.

Its funny how my passions have changed in the last year. Usually, I would gladly take any opportunity to hit the open road. But lately, I have been much more interested in getting back to settling down to a more normal lifestyle. It's so hard being a way from my wife, Buster and my beers, and as much as I love traveling,  I look forward to the day that I don't have to go away anymore.

Tasting notes this weekend! BREW BREW BREW!

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