Posts Tagged ‘Hoppy’s Homebrew’

Bottling a Car Bomb

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

About a week ago, we bottled our first brew!  We syphoned it into a new bucket with a tap, cleaned and sanitized all our tubing and bottles, and about 30 minutes later had 30 12oz bottles and a Pint bottle capped and sitting the in closet to carbonate!

TIP: Remember kids, twist tops will not seal fully with a none twist cap!  We had a generous donation of about 50 bottles that ended up being useless to us as they were twist offs.

We’ll let the bottled carb another week or so, planning on chilling and cracking open our first beers on Sunday!


Quick Update

We just opened up our Irish Car Bomb Stout since it’s been fermenting for over a week, and has stopped showing signs that it needs to ferment further.

GOOD NEWS!!! It appears that our wort darkened considerably while fermenting!  It’s almost black now.  I’d call it either a very dark Brown Ale, or a light Stout.  We took a little taste test and it actually tastes like a beer!  It’s not exactly what we wanted, but we can definitely taste some alcohol in it, although it is obvious that we did in fact add too much water and that hurt the other flavors.

So, we’re going to bottle up half of it tomorrow, as it’s worth saving at least half the batch for light sipping.  Now that we’ve learned from our mistakes, we’ll probably start our second brew (A Brown Ale) next week.

First Brew: Irish Car Bomb Stout | The Brew

February 1, 2010 1 comment

Our first brew was a challenging one to take on!


  • 6# Lite/Pale LME (Liquid Malt Extract)
  • 1# Chocolate Malt
  • 1# Crystal 60 (Caramel Malt)
  • 8oz Flaked Oats
  • 8oz Roasted Barley
  • 1oz Fuggles Hops (@ 60 min.)
  • Nottingham Yeast

This recipe was an original one I designed with lots of help from online forums (  This brew is designed to taste like an Irish Car Bomb (Guinness with a shot of Baileys Irish Cream and Jameson Irish Whiskey added).  The idea is to add Jameson and some vanilla flavorings in about 2 weeks, after the stout has fermented.  The Crystal 60 is a malt grain that yields a natural caramel flavor, so that should help create the Bailey’s flavorings.

The Process:

We boiled 3 gallons of tap water for 15 minutes to boil off any chlorine or other things in the tap water.  We then reduced the temp. to 155 and steep our grains (choco, crystal, oats, and barley) for 30 minutes, keeping a consistent water temp. of 155.  This yielded a great aroma in the kitchen and the color was nice and dark.  Looked like a lovely stout in the making!

After our 30 minute steeping, we removed the grains and added our 6 lbs of liquid malt extract, mixed it in, and brought the wort to a boil.  Once boiling, we added in our hops (wrapped in cheesecloth for easy removal) and boiled everything for 60 minutes. During this time we mixed up some sanitize and cleaned our fermenting bucket and any tools that would touch our wort after the boiling process.  Sanitation is really important.

After our 60 minute boil, we removed the hops, and moved our kettle/pot to the sink filled with cold water.  At this time we also added about a gallon of cold, filtered water.  once the pot had cooled a bit, we moved it outside to cool our beer to around 80 degrees.  This took about 15 minutes.  We then transfered the beer to our plastic fermenting bucket and filled it to our 5-gallon level*(remember this) with water.  We pitched our yeast in and closed the lid up.

When inserting our air lock into the lid, the rubber o-ring slipped through and into our beer.  Apparently, it doesn’t float… so we had no choice but to transfer our 5 gallons of beer back into our kettle, straining it through cheesecloth to catch the o-ring.  We had to completely fill our kettle to the brim before we eventually found the o-ring at the bottom of our bucket.

At this point, we had to transfer the beer back into the bucket we just emptied.  This was complicated as we were outside in the cold Vermont night, couldn’t see very well, and had a kettle filled to the lip with our beer.  Needless to say, the transfer wasn’t perfect and we did spill a little of our first batch all over our new deck!

We quickly moved back indoors, reset the o-ring and placed our airlock and top on the lid, just after taking out 1/3 cup of our beer to take a gravity reading.  The bucket is now sitting in a closet at 65 degrees.  We’ll check it in a day or two to make sure the fermentation process has begun!

The Results:

Well, as I said, we took out about 1/3 of a cup of our brew to take gravity readings with our hydrometer, and to taste it.

The outcome was lighter than we expected, in all ways possible.  The color was supposed to be a very black stout, but it turned out to be kind of a mid brown.  Upon tasting it, it was quite light on the chocolate and caramel flavors, but didn’t taste bad at all, it was just weak.  Finally, the potential alcohol was much lower than I expected.  My hydrometer reading was around 1.030 which turns into an alcohol content of around 3.8-4%.  This is not bad for a stout, but I was hoping for more like 5%.  I have a very strong feeling that the bucket we used is marked actually at 6 gallons, and we may have watered down this beer by an extra gallon by accident.  This would definitely affect both our color and gravity reading from the hydrometer.

Lessons Learned:

  • The entire brewing process takes longer than you expect!  Boiling that much water takes a long time.  Out total brew time was over 3 hours.
  • CRUSH ALL YOUR GRAINS!  I forgot to crush the roasted barley and that was a large contribution to the taste and dark color of the beer.  Ooops!
  • The 30 minute steeping process will only add flavors, not fermentable sugars, so don’t expect them to contribute to a higher ABV.
  • Lube your o-rings!
  • Measure twice, brew once!


This should still be a good, drinkable beer for sure, just not what we planned on!  Not too shabby for our first brew ever.  I will be sure to add short posts during the next few weeks as the beer ferments and we add our vanilla flavorings and Jameson, as well as the bottling/carbonating/drinking process!