Saturday, February 27, 2010

Brewing In San Miguel Part II

Living in Mexico, time goes like turning pages. I don't know the date without consulting my calendar and only consider the time when I have to get down to Cerveza De San Miguel to spend another all day brew session. The system is only big enough to do 7.5 gallons at a time so we start early and crank out three back to back brews. While one is boiling the next batch is going in the mash tun and the third is getting weighed and milled. Tuesday we brewed half keg of Serrano chili beer and a full keg of Honey ale and yesterday, a keg of hefeweizen and half a keg of chili beer.

I'm doing this twice a week now in addition to the kegging and it's wearing badly on me. the hobby of brewing for myself is typically a twice a month activity in a relaxed and pleasant pace. I normally mill all the grain and weigh out the hops the night before and have the brewing water in the kettles so that on brew day I can simply fire up the burners, pour myself a pint and enjoy the day. Brewing as I am now is more like work. No me gusta trabajo.

The up side is that with the aggressive brewing schedule we're beginning to get some inventory in the walk-in cooler which should give the beer some chance to age a bit before being served. In all of this my hope is that Cerveza de San Miguel will gain some exposure as a good micro (nano?) brewery and the business will grow. It would be satisfying to think that I had some impact on their success.

Beer Closet
In the mean time, I enjoyed sitting down with Noren at 'El Burrito Bistro' last week to have her taste some of my homebrew and she is coming up with a three course meal to pair the beer with again this year. I have enough beer to serve 60 people. The tentative date is March 21st. and I've come up with a Pale ale with honey, Weizenbock and a double IPA. The weizenbock and IIPA both come in at 8% abv.
I think I'll go have one now.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Brewing At Cerveza De San Miguel

I've been brewing a couple days a week recently at Cerveza De San Miguel to help get the business up and running with their own on-premise beers. Since there opening a year ago, they have been having their beers contract brewed by Minerva Brewing in Guadalajara but now the time is right to get their small brew system warmed up to provide the restaurant with some classic standards and a few specialty beers brewed right here in San Miguel De Allende.

We're using a gravity fed 3-tier system that has the capacity to brew 7.5 gallons. We brew three batches per session so that we can produce enough for one 7.5gal. Sanke keg and one 15.5gal. Sanke keg.

Today we are brewing a small kegs worth of Weizen and a full kegs worth of English Ale. We have already come up with some decent recipes for brewing including a Honey Ale, Chile Ale (using Serrano chili's), and an American IPA. It's not as much fun brewing on a commercial scale even though this is small compared to most micro-breweries. The brew day is about 10 hours long. The important thing is quality and consistency.

I'm still asking myself if I can sell enough beer here in Mexico to earn a living and make this my permanent home. I've got two months to find out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Making A Mash Tun Filter With Braided Hose

In this video addition of Beer Diary... I will show you how to easily make a filter for your mash tun which can be used along with or to replace a false bottom.

Sorry about the video quality here, I think I damaged the camera during the recording. Also, it's best to buffer for half a minute.Also, go here for a related post.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Malt Extract Pale Ale With Honey

Excellent honey flavors with a great complement of hop character define this pale ale recipe. I used 2 lbs. of local honey from the "tianguis" (flea market) to brew this and it really makes an impression. Honey aroma and flavor are dominant with an initial sweetness that is replaced quickly with a crisp dry balance.

Bittered with Columbus hops, the initial sweetness gives way to a nice balance and the Centenial hop citrus flavor blends well with the honey and leaves you wanting another sip.

  • 5 gal. batch

    Attenuation 77%

    ABV 6.%

    SRM 16

    IBU 45

    Original Gravity 1.060

    Final Gravity 1.014

  • Steep 4oz. crystal #60, 8oz. pilsner malt and 1.5 oz. roasted barley in 6.5 gals. of H2O until water temp. reaches 180f. and then remove. Turn off heat source and stir in 5lbs. light dry malt extract until dissolved. Then bring to a boil.

  • Boil 60 min. with

    columbus 14% 3/4oz. 60min.

    centenial 9% 3/4oz. 15min.

    cascade 5.5% 1oz. 3min.

  • At flame out Add 2lbs. honey

Ferment at 65f. until complete with US05 ale yeast (2pkgs per 5gal)

Bottle condition with 1/2 cup cane sugar for 2 weeks at room temp.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

First Homebrew Class In Mexico

I finally did it! I conducted my first homebrew class in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico on Sunday January 24th, 2010. The attendance was small but enthusiastic and included one student who only spoke Spanish. Using my bad Spanglish and exagerated gestures I was able to convery a lot of the brewing process and fortunately, another of the students spoke both English and Spanish and was gracious enough to help out with the more difficult interpretations.

This was an introductory course on brewing with malt extract and some steeping grains. It was a simple recipe that included:

6 lbs. dry malt extract

6.5 gals. bottled water

8oz. crystal #60 steeping grains

8oz. 2-row steeping grains

3 additions of hops
and fermented with us-05 dry ale yeast.

I brewed and fermented this exact batch a week prior to this class so that the students were also able to learn to bottle the beer and to take some of it home with them to allow to condition and enjoy the beer they made. Lasting about four hours, the class included a lot of interaction and good questions. It seemed to be a great success for the first ever beer class in San Miguel. I felt proud that I was finally able to get all of the needed ingredients here in Mexico to make it happen, and to be able to pass on that information so that the students could get what they need to begin brewing on their own.

Friend and homebrew student Carlos kindly took pictures to document this momentous occasion and I'm will plan to post some of those soon. You can see Carlos's San Miguel Blog here.

Next up for me in Mexico?
Now that I have a malted barley supplier here, I am planning an all-grain brewing class that utilizes the equipment that can be purchased locally. If you're interested in this more advanced class, you can find out more information and register here.
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