Burner's Beers Brewed in Binghamton

Below are listed the beers I've been brewing in my home-brewery in Binghamton since I've moved back. At some point, I think it would be very cool to open a brewery in Binghamton.

“Return of Binghamton Brown”
This was my first brew in 5 years, and I had forgotten some details, and it came out pretty poor. I used the <simple> instructions that came with the kit. The first brew I ever made was based on a brown ale kit, and I had fond memories of it. Unfortunately, I didn't write anything down, so I can't repeat it. RBB was based on the Munton's Midland Mild Kit, but I added some Cascade Hops. I blew the bottling by not mixing the priming sugar in well enough.
  • Brewed: 2004-08-09
  • Racked: 2004-08-13
  • Bottled: 2004-08-20; Yield: 43 bottles
“New Year's Sweet Wheat”
This one is based on the Munton's Wheat Beer Kit. I used extra corn sugar for fermentation, and I let it sit in the fermenter for an extra long time , so it will perhaps be highly alcoholic. Unfortunately, I didn't record the specific gravity before fermenting, so we won't know until it's tasted. I used extra priming sugar, too, and made sure to mix it in well this time, so all the beer should be well carbonated. There may be so much carbonation that the bottles might be explosive, so, so we'll see...
... after tasting the first bottle (#25), I have to say, this one came out OK. Or at least better than RBB. It's well carbonated, and definitely a touch sweet. It's very mellow, and could probably be enjoyed with a lemon slice. There are some slight off flavors, though. Perhaps they will go with more conditioning. There's also a hint of dead yeast in the aroma.
On tasting the second (and third) bottles (#26 and #27), there's a definite buttery taste (presumably due to diacetyls arising because of the higher-than-recommended summertime primary fermentation temperature).
Update: After reading more on the subject, the yeast should take care of the diactyls if given enough time to condition. But I drank it all up too fast to be able to test that theory.
  • Brewed: 2004-08-16
  • Racked: 2004-08-19
  • Racked (#2): 2004-09-08
  • Bottled: 2004-09-15; Yield: 50 bottles
  • Tasted: 2004-09-22
“I Pee, Eh?”
This is just a normal IPA, based on the John Bull India Pale Ale Home Brew Beer Kit. I decided to double malt instead of sugaring it up, and I used Munton's Malt Extract Extra Light, because IPAs are generally light in color. I also used additional Kent Goldings Pellet Hops for flavor and aroma in the boil, and I bought and used Windsor Brewing Yeast, instead of the packet that came with the kit.
I'm a little nervous (at bottling time) that the yeast might be completely dormant. When I added the priming sugar (in the future, I believe I will switch to dry malt extract), there didn't appear to be any CO2 bubbles at the top of the bottling bucket. Hopefully it will carbonate properly...
Update: It did! This is a very mild tasting beer. It would be somewhat incorrect to call it an IPA, though it does have a strong hoppy aroma.
  • Brewed: 2004-09-16
    • Specific Gravity: 1.052
    • Potential Alcohol: 6.375%
    • Fermentation Temperature: ~69° F
  • Racked: 2004-09-22
    • Specific Gravity: 1.022
    • Alcohol by Volume: 6.375%−2.5%=3.875%
    • Dry hopped: 2 oz. Kent Goldings Pellet Hops
    • Apparent Yeast Attenuation: (1.052-1.022)/(1.052-1)=57.7%
  • Racked (#2): 2004-09-29
    • Specific Gravity: 1.017
    • Alcohol by Volume: 6.375%−1.875%=4.5%
    • Apparent Yeast Attenuation: (1.052-1.017)/(1.052-1)=67.3%
  • Bottled: 2004-10-03
    • Specific Gravity: 1.017
    • Yield: 49½ bottles
  • Tasted: 2004-10-12
    • Result: Excellent!
    • Notes: Very mild (not particularly IPAish, though the hoppiness definitely comes through).
“Beer of Atonement”
The is my first beer brewed with specialty grains. I grabbed a Brewer‘s Best Ingredient Package (1036) from Doc's (my local brewstore) for brewing a Steam-Style Beer. Based on what I've read about Steam beers, the package and its recipe don't seem to live up to the recipes I've read. Still, I'm not too concerned. It didn't cost more than the constituent ingredients (though they were stored at room temperature, so the yeast and hops may not be the freshest), and everything was in the proper proportions. I probably won't bother getting another kit like this, but it was a good introduction to specialty grain brewing.
For reference, the ingredients it came with were:
I forgot to sparge the grains, so the orginal gravity was lower than expected. Hopefully the yeast will completely ferment the sugars. In the future, I plan to prepare a pint of yeast a day before the boil.
Racking notes: After racking on 2004-10-03, it appears that the yeast worked thoroughly, bringing the specific gravity down to 1.010. It might have been a combination of the way I activated the yeast and the cooler fermentation temperature with the start of Fall. Or it could be the Nottingham yeast. My next batch will almost surely use Nottingham. I've used the Windsor variety several times now
Tasting Notes: After tasting on 2004-10-24, the beer was not carbonated (yet). I'll wait another week before trying one, but it's important to note that the carbonation was not complete at this point in the conditioning (one week in).
Tasting Notes: After tasting on 2004-10-28, the beer was slightly carbonated. It's possible that the basement is simply too cold at 64° F. I may have to show my bottles some warm bedroom love for carbonation purposes. (I took one of the “extra” Corona™ bottles, so it's also possible that again, I didn't mix up the bottling sugars well enough). The flavor at this point is still a little “young” tasting, so while it's not bad, I think it could definitely do with some more conditioning (the more grains are used, the longer the conditioning period should be). I should probably get a 6-pack of Anchor Steam™ beer to compare flavors, but I'm pretty sure this doesn't taste like it (though it's not bad at all).
  • Brewed: 2004-09-25
    • Specific Gravity: 1.042
    • Potential Alcohol: 5.125%
    • Fermentation Temperature: 69° F − 67° F
  • Racked: 2004-10-03
    • Specific Gravity: 1.010
    • Alcohol by Volume: 5.125%−1.0%=4.125%
    • Apparent Yeast Attenuation: (1.042-1.010)/(1.042-1)=76.2%
    • Secondary Fermentation Temperature: 67° F − 62° F
  • Bottled: 2004-10-15
    • No specific gravity reading, hydrometer broken
    • Yield: 51½ bottles
    • Conditioning Temperature: ~64° F
“New York-shire Bitter”
OK, I didn't come up with the name, it's from a recipe I found in The Brewmaster's Bible, but it's still clever and appropriate. I deviated slightly from the recipe by putting in a little more crystal malt, and more malt extract.
For the record, here are the ingredients I used:
  • 1 lb. 40°L Briess crystal malt
  • 3 lbs. Munton's Light DME
  • 2.5 lbs. Munton's Amber DME
  • 2 oz. Fuggles pellet hops (4.4% alpha acid) for 60 minutes
  • 1 oz. Kent Goldings pellet hops (4.1% alpha acid) for 30 minutes
  • 1 oz. Kent Goldings pellet hops (4.1% alpha acid) for 7 minutes
  • 1 tsp. Irish Moss for 20 minutes
  • Nottingham brewing yeast, which I reactivated in 3/4 pint of water
Brewing Notes: I put too much water in the boil, so I had to remove about 2 quarts when I added the DME. After it boiled down some, I was able to reintroduce the other 2 quarts. Hopefully, not too much oxidation took place (or more hopefully, maybe the boil takes care of any oxidation?). Additionally, I let the wort chill an extra 15-20 minutes before transferring it to my primary fermenter. I put most of the hops in muslin bags, except for the final flavoring hops. I strained them out when I transferred the cooled wort into my new 6.5 gallon carboy. When I pitched the yeast, I only used the thick bed at the bottom of my reactivation glass.
Bottling Notes: Just for the hell of it, instead of using corn sugar for carbonation, I used some leftover DME that I saved from the original brewing.
Tasting Notes: This is my favorite beer so far. It is well carbonated and has some light fruity flavors, while still being full bodied. I believe that the Irish moss (carrageenan) contributed to this ale's clarity, though it would be interesting at some point to try and recreate it. It might be a good idea to keep this one around for a while as the next two or three batches will be a low-alcohol stout and a cider (or two!).
  • Brewed: 2004-10-04
    • Specific Gravity: 1.042
    • Potential Alcohol: 5.125%
    • Fermentation Temperature: 66° F − 62 ° F
  • Racked: 2004-10-13
    • Specific Gravity: 1.008
    • Alcohol by Volume: 5.125%-0.750%=4.375%
    • Apparent Yeast Attenuation: (1.042-1.008)/(1.042-1)=81.0%
    • Secondary Fermentation Temperature: 62° F − 65° F
  • Bottled: 2004-10-22
    • Specific Gravity: ~1.008 (different/new hydrometer)
    • Alcohol by Volume: 5.125%-0.750%=4.375%
    • Apparent Yeast Attenuation: (1.042-1.008)/(1.042-1)=81.0%
    • Yield: 52½ bottles
    • Conditioning Temperature: 63° F
“Four Stout Men to work the Bellows”
My next beer is an Irish stout. This is the first beer that I have used my new (handmade!) wort chiller and 5.5 gallon brew pot. Unfortunately, my stove isn't really powerful enough to get a full rolling boil for 5 gallons of wort. Perhaps I'll just boil 3½ or 4 gallons in the future. The wort chiller is definitely awesome, though. 4 gallons of beer went from 212° F to 70° F in around 15 minutes.
The ingredients I used were based on the “Dry Irish Stout” recipe from The Brewmaster's Bible (p. 167):
  • 8 oz. Crystal malt 64° L
  • 8 oz. Black Patent Malt 471° L
  • 8 oz. Roasted non-malted black barley 675° L
  • 8 oz. Flaked barley
  • 6 lb. Laaglander Dark DME
  • 1 oz. Northern Brewer pellet hops (10.0% alpha acid) [45 m. boil]
  • 1 oz. Kent Golding pellet hops (4.1% alpha acid) [45 m. boil]
  • 1 t. Irish moss [20 m. boil]
  • White Labs WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast
Brewing Notes: Wort chillers are very cool (pun intended!). I may need to get a better heating mechanism (perhaps a butaneor propane cooking stove) because the gas range here just isn't powerful enough. Or perhaps next time I should cover the pot during the boil. But then boilover becomes a serious problem.
My new hydrometer seems to be a few degrees off for water (even if Binghamton water had a high latent specific gravity, my old hydrometer still measured it at 1.000. This new one seems to be off by +0.004 units.
Racking Notes: I may not have aerated enough, and I'm sure the low fermentation temperature didn't help much, but the yeast had very poor attenuation during primary fermentation. I've brought the secondary fermenter upstairs, and hopefully it will be warm enough to get the yeast to work a little more. I may need to purchase a carboy heat-belt for future brews. It's also worth noting that the Laaglander DME is known to be poorly fermenting, so that might add to the problem, but I doubt that I should be expecting an apparent attenuation of 34.0%.
Bottling Notes: The beer has been fermenting in the secondary for the past two weeks upstairs in the supposed warmth. And the apparent attenuation has gone down (?!?). I tasted the beer that I measured, and it seems to taste OK. I'm really hoping at this point that the Laaglander caused the low attenuation.
Tasting Notes (2004-11-20): Well, it's super sweet (even for an oatmeal stout), as one might have imagined due to the extremely low attenuation. It might be a good “starter” beer for those that don't already appreciate beer. I'll give it more time, though, the sweetness might temper a little as it ages (it needs a bit more carbonation anyway).
Tasting Notes (2006-12-11): After 2 years of bottle conditioning, I'm happy to say that this has turned out rather well. It's drinkable, and not unlike some fancy microbrew porters and stouts. I've also used it to leaven bread dough. I've recently gotten into sourdough baking, and rather than adding water and baking yeast to the sourdough starter, I've used a bottle of this beer at room temperature. It gives the bread a nice deep brown color and the slight off-flavors in the beer actually enhance the sourdough flavors. There's a place where you can get a free sourdough starter for the cost of two stamps and two envelopes.
  • Brewed: 2004-10-16
    • Specific Gravity: 1.053
    • Potential Alcohol: 6.5%
    • Fermentation Temperature: 66° F − 63° F
  • Racked: 2004-10-27
    • Specific Gravity: 1.035
    • Alcohol by Volume: 6.5%−4.125%=2.375%
    • Apparent Yeast Attenuation: (1.053-1.035)/(1.053-1)=34.0%
    • Secondary Fermentation Temperature: ~65° F
  • Bottled: 2004-11-08
    • Specific Gravity: 1.038
    • Alcohol by Volume: 6.5%−4.5%=2.000%
    • Apparent Yeast Attenuation: (1.053-1.038)/(1.053-1)=28.3%
    • Yield: 49½ bottles
    • Conditioning Temperature: 62°
“Simple Cider”
I've been wanting to brew an apple cider for a while now, so I went to Wegman's and got some organic (preservative-free) Ziegler's cider. While I was there, I checked out the apple juice and realized that the apple juice is preservative-free by nature, so I picked up enough juice to fill up the fermenter. I had some leftover yeast from a beer kit, so I just threw it all into a 5 gallon fermenter with that yeast. We'll see how it turns out.
  • 1½ gallon Ziegler's organic (preservative-free) cider @ $8.97
  • 1 gallon Wegman's natural-style apple juice @ $2.78
  • ¾ gallon Wegman's apple juice @ $1.89
  • 1 packet generic brewer's yeast ~ $1.00
  • Cost: $14.64
Racking Notes: I racked the “Simple Cider” a little late, but I added a gallon and a half of Price Chopper Natural Apple Juice (no added vitamin C). I'm told that ciders need to condition especially long, but I tasted it, and it's a very rough right now... I'm torn about brewing a batch of “good” cider, but it might be worth it anyway.
  • 1½ gallon Price Chopper natural apple juice @ $2.97
  • Total Cost: $17.61
Bottling Notes: The cider was already highly carbonated in the fermenter, but I still added a good amount of corn sugar. Hopefully there won't be any explosions in the basement...
  • Brewed: 2004-10-17
    • Specific Gravity: 1.050
    • Potential Alcohol: 6.125%
    • Fermentation Temperature: 62° F
  • Racked: 2004-11-09
    • Specific Gravity (1): 1.011
    • Alcohol by Volume:
    • Apparent Yeast Attenuation: (1.050-1.011)/(1.050-1)=78%
    • Specific Gravity (2): 1.022
    • Potential Alcohol:
    • Secondary Fermentation Temperature: 63° F
  • Bottled: 2004-12-10
    • Specific Gravity: 1.006
    • Alocohol by Volume:
    • Apparent Yeast attenuation:
    • Yield: 51½ bottles
    • Conditioning Temperature: ~62° F
“Cider Mill Cider”
This week (2004-11-15 through 2004-11-18) the Cider Mill had a 2 for 1 sale on gallons of their fresh, pasteurized, preservative-free apple cider. In anticipation of this sale, I picked up some Champagne Wine Yeast (WLP715) (which is appropriate for making cider) from Doc's. Since I had some extra corn sugar around, I also dumped that in.
Brewing Notes: My only concern about this brew is that I didn't quite follow the yeast's directions. I forgot to let the yeast vial warm up while I went out to buy the cider, and I didn't warm up the cider, either. I'll let it sit in the primary extra long, though, and maybe that'll help.
  • 5 gallons Cider Mill Pasteurized Apple Cider
  • 1 quart hot tap water
  • 2 ½ cups (~1 lb.) corn sugar
  • 1 vial White Labs Champagne Wine Yeast
  • Total Cost: ~ $23 − $24
Racking Notes: I added an extra cup of corn sugar because there was so little sugar left. I probably should have malted up more in the primary. Sadly, I forgot to measure the specific gravity after adding the sugar.
  • Brewed: 2004-11-18
    • Specific Gravity: 1.048
    • Potential Alcochol:
    • Fermentation Temperature: 58° F -> 63° F
  • Racked: 2004-12-09
    • Specific Gravity: 1.001
    • Alcohol by Volume:
    • Apparent Yeast Attenuation: (1.048-1.001)/(1.048-1.001)
    • Secondary Fermentation Temperature: 64° F
For those that have tasted my beer...
If you have had my beer, and you liked it, then that's great, and I appreciate it. If you really enjoyed it and feel you must reciprocate in some way, then first I suggest you start brewing your own, and let me taste your first batch! If that sounds like too much work, but you still want to encourage my hobby, I have compiled a list of books on brewing that I would like to add to my library.
If you didn't like it, then I would like to know why, so please email me.
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