After much too long of a break, I have come out of the darkness to brew again. I couldn't be happier.
I went into a long weekend with the goal of brewing... something. I came out of the weekend with 3 brews under my belt. A whopping 15 gallons of beer.
My first batch was an 'easy' Pale Ale that i brewed using some of the grain I had leftover from my last purchase. I figured I would go ahead and jump back in with a simple recipe, just so I could convince myself that I still had what it takes. Well, it's kind of like riding a bike I guess, cause it went pretty well, If I do say so myself.
My next two batches were All-Grain recipe kits I ordered from Northern Brewer. First up was their "Old Ale" which I have been interested in for some time. They say to let it age for 2 months before serving, so we shall see how it goes.
My last brew happened to occur on what is becoming an annual tradition of mine - brewing on my birthday. For that I chose the Norther Brewer kit "St. Paul Porter". I had brewed this one before (my 6th brew, and it was one of my first all-grain brews). When I brewed it last, I added coffee and bourbon (I know, a bold move for a novice brewer!) - and it turned out great. I think I will do that again with this one.
So I got these in the hole, and now we just have to wait...
I spoke before about brewing with the iPhone here. I recently came across this great new app ($4.99) for the iPhone called iBrewMaster (app store link). This is a great app that brings even more useful brewing tools into the palm of your hand.
The app comes with about 50 or so recipes, but also lets you create and edit your own. It has a nice selection of grains, hops, adjuncts, and yeast as well as a place to enter notes for the brew.
Also great is a "Schedule" function which tracks your batch and what should be done when (ie: transfer to secondary, bottle, serve, etc).
You enter each batch as you go. The app auto-calculates a number of things, including ABV% and calories. You also have the option to enter all of your information regarding OG, temp to ferment at, and duration.
Recent updates added the ability to email a recipe, and also added additional options for sorting recipes, including by color (which is also included when you create a batch).
I'd love to see calculations for amount of water to use and temps, but for now this is a great addition to my brewing space.
Now, during a brew, I can use my iPhone to make unit conversions, control my brewing tunes on the radio, and create and track my batches. I can also send texts and emails, make phone calls, and surf the web - all without sitting down in front of a computer.