Hotline: Gift Ideas for the Homebrewer...

Shoot me an email, I'll respond with some suggestions.


Looking for hop growing and drying info?

Look in the sidebar over there on the right for Quick Reference links.  
Shoot me an email at adam@nonconfermist.com.

On a separate note, I added local honey to a batch of English Style Ale I brewed over the summer.  Instead of boiling it and potentially losing some of the delicate honey flavors, I added it to the fermenter and well it started to show signs of acetobacteria growing in it.  Evidently this is a risk with unpasteurized honey and not boiling it with the wort.  In an effort to save it from turning to vinegar, I kegged it immediately, thus robbing it of its oxygen source and voila I had a nice slitghtly wild tasting brew on my hands.  Not bad for an accident.  Was a big hit at the family reunion too.


Homegrown Hops 2013

My hops are out there on the bine just drying up and blowing away.  They actually grew pretty well this year.  Didn't fertilize them or really care for them all that much.  So nothing ventured nothing gained.

My father on the other hand took just about the same approach and well his went crazy.  He lives at a higher elevation and planted them in a well drained soil.  Tons and tons of Cascade hops from one three year old plant.  So, we just chopped down a few bines and put them up in the garage attic to dry.

His success could be the soil and the climate.  Could also be the maturity of the plant.  Mine did well on the third year too.  We'll see next year.

I'm not worried about oxidation.  Not worried about anything really.  I figure I'll use them for dry hopping or late in the boil sometime.  The last few batches I did turned out great this way.

Share your homegrown hop stories with us.



Low risk brewing after the hiatus...

Started cleaning out the brew garage.  I'll wait while you recover from the shock of that statement.

Feeling better?  OK

Seriously, it looks like brewing is on the agenda again.  Every so many years I need a break, but, I have a few annual commitments I brew for and hopefully that will get me back in the swing of things.

I have plenty of ingredients.  I'm thinking of something quick and easy with low alchohol, but flavorful.  Back to the old english ale yeast I think.  Will have to dig into the freezer for those hops I bought last year or the ones from the year before.  The first brew after a hiatus always comes with some experimentation.  The hops may have faded a bit, I might be a bit rusty and I want it NOW!

In the back of my head I have some ideas about upcoming brews once I get dialed in again.
  • elderberries
  • my first sour beer
  • saison
  • lots of low ABV stuff
  • local honey
  • some braggot in the distant future with local unfiltered unpasteurized cider
  • my Dad's hops
  • my hops from last year
  • choke cherries


Hop Resources Updated

No this is not hops.  Just a a picture from a walk in the woods.

You can always find this over there on the right under Quick Reference.  I just fixed some broken links.  Looks like most of these sites are still up and running.

This link IS about hops.



I wish you all a wonderful new year.

and have fun brewing beer
growing hops
just being you


Bahl Hornin’

I'm drinkin' an Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale and on the label there's a bear with horns which after all these years I finally noticed (I'm not very observant). It also says "Bahl Hornin' since 1987".  Pre-Internet I would have held that strange sayin' in my head for a long time wondering what the hell it meant.  Thanks to our Internet thingy which is almost like a Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy I can just look it up.  (BTW read the books)

I love this world.  Oh, and I like the beer.


A Winter Solstice Story: The partial mash brew kit from Midwest arrived!

I have been asked by Midwest if I would like to review one of their kits and well, since they sent it to me for free.  What the heck.  This is the first in a series of posts reviewing their product.  Now where were we?

It was a cool Winter's night about a week before the Solstice.  Had just finished typing to the rep from Midwest, "no it hasn't arrived yet".  The dogs were bothering me.  Barked at them a bit and hit send.  I thought, "Was that the delivery guy?".  I sprang to the front door to see what was the matter.  And there it was in the cool LED glow of our holiday decorations, a brown box that said "FRAGILE" (say Fraj-eel-aaa).  Italian I think.  Decided to bring it in anyway and here is what I found.

A brand spankin' new Dubbel 'em Up partial mash kit with the following;
6 lb. Belgian Pils malt
3.3 lb. Light Malt Extract
1/4 lb. Aromatic
1/4 lb. Biscuit
1 lb. Light Candi Sugar
1 oz. Hallertau
1 oz. Saaz pellet hops
priming sugar
Wyeast Activator pack of Ardennes yeast was included which would be optional when ordering I think.
It wasn't a lamp in the shape of a woman's leg, but, something much better.  Something I can use.  Something that could transform into a beautiful elixir of magical wonder, fermentables and stuff to ferment with.

Now I just need to set a day to brew :-)  And clear a path to my brewing stuff in the garage.  And clean out a carboy.  And probably get rid of that infected beer that's been out there for a while. And...


Advice: Homebrew Gift Ideas 2012 Edition

(phtoto from a day in the woods hunting)

NOTE: Direct product links below are referrals to Amazon.

How the heck do you buy for a homebrewer?  Where do you buy?  What are all of those weird things they use?

First, if I were you I would look into buying something at the local homebrew store if possible.  Typically these folks are very knowledgeable.  They depend on a healthy local homebrew culture.  That means you.  Also, good local businesses are good for your local economy.  The American Homebrewers Association lists shops who have registered with them.  You can also try a search in Google Maps.

For online purchases go here for general Amazon Homebrew Stuff.  There are many other online retailers you may find useful as well.  Also, there are tons of websites about homebrewing out there.

If you want my advice on what to buy, try any of the suggestions below or make requests in the comments.  I'll do my best to steer you in the right direction.

Zymurgy Magazine Subscription -  I find reading something that isn't on a screen enjoyable every now and then.  This magazine has been there since the early days and something you'll find many homebrewers subscribe through.

Cornelius Keg CO2 Charger  - For the homebrewer who kegs, but, doesn't want to take the whole CO2 canister.  My Dad uses one to serve out of keg I refill for him.

New 2.5 Gallon Ball Lock Keg  -  Just purchased two similar to these.  Much easier to transport than 5 gal kegs.  Definitely more expensive than a reconditioned keg, but, that's why somebody ought to buy one for that special homebrewer.

2.5 Gallon Mini Draft System (New Keg) - Nice little package of the charger and keg together with spigot.  I used a setup like this at my Mom's holiday party over Thanksgiving.

The Carbonater - A used soda bottle with the standard PET size screw top and one of these and you can carbonate anything.  Helpful for taking some beer with you and keeping it fresh and  pressurized with CO2.  Makes it possible to save smaller amounts of homebrew.  Also allows you to try different carbonation levels with your beer.  LOVE this thing.

Regular 5/16" Auto-Siphon  -  Makes it easy to transfer beer to and from containers.  Really makes life easier.

Taylor 1470 Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer  -  Magnetic back, long tether, simple, effective, accurate ... sure I'd like something fancier, but, this was cheap and is more than adequate.

The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Third Edition - Think of it as a Wikipedia article for everything about homebrew, before the Internet.  There are other books.  I have them.  None of them have the character and authenticity of Mr Papazian.