Brent Walther

Home Brewing

Friday, Jun 26, 2020

http://brent.beer - My Untappd

A page dedicated to my love of beer.

Tree Service Brewing

I’ve been interested in trying homebrewing for a few years but it wasn’t until I had a second interested party that I finally decided to give it a try. My friend Trent told me he was interested in trying it out, that he has done it once before (solo), that he had some of the equipment already, and that he knew where the brew supply shop was. I was sold. There’s an Austin company called Brent’s Tree Service and we had an inside joke that led us to eventually settle on labeling (figuratively) our creations as “Tree Service” brewing.

Our setup is pretty simple. We brew in a giant aluminum pot over a propane burner. It isn’t perfect since the heat is concentrated in the middle but frequent stirring mitigates that issue. We’ve got a copper wort chiller coil that we submerge in ice when we need to transfer the boiled wort to the carboy for fermenting, and then we have a cheap 6.5 gallon plastic carboy to ferment in. We have only bottled out beer thus far (as opposed to kegging). Though I’ve had some folks suggest that kegging is more convenient, I prefer bottling so far since it’s easier to keep and share.

Hop Froth - Imperial Pale Ale

Our first beer was a standard IPA brewed with Cascade and Columbus hops. We bought an easy boxed ingredient kit that has everything you need besides the equipment and water.

We didn’t measure the original or specific gravity of this beer so weren’t sure how alcoholic it turned out but I can say it was pretty boozy. It was much sweeter than I expected but the hops still shined through very well. The head was very thick and aromatic.

Our grains steeping in the pot.
Our grains steeping in the pot.
The beer right after the boil, sealed in the carboy and ready to begin fermenting. The cap has an airlock to allow gas to escape during fermentation.
The beer right after the boil, sealed in the carboy and ready to begin fermenting. The cap has an airlock to allow gas to escape during fermentation.
The finished product. We had about 5 gallons of beer which fills many bottles.
The finished product. We had about 5 gallons of beer which fills many bottles.

Toasty Roasty - Imperial Stout w/ Coffee

After doing something really hoppy for our first brew, we wanted to switch and do something dark. We went with the ingredient kit again - this time an imperial stout caught our eye. I was interested in trying something with fewer hops and a stronger grain flavor.

This stout used Cara Munich Dark, Black Barley, and Chocolate Wheat grains and was finished off with some mild Columbus hops. Trent also does his own coffee roasting so he roasted some fresh coffee (Yemen Mokha Harasi), coarsely ground the beans, and put it in the carboy while fermenting. It turned out really incredible.

The taste profile for this beer was even better than I expected. It was not very sweet which allowed the grain flavor to come through really well, and the coffee was a very welcome addition. I think it did end up caffeinating the beer quite a bit. Again, we didn’t measure the gravity of the beer but it was probably even more boozy than our last. I would definitely make one of these again.

Steeping our grains. Look how dark it is already!
Steeping our grains. Look how dark it is already!
Trent roasted the beans in this coffee roaster he owns.
Trent roasted the beans in this coffee roaster he owns.
The finished beer. The head came out just right in my opinion and it poured very nicely. I should have rinsed my glassware out first though. Rookie mistake!
The finished beer. The head came out just right in my opinion and it poured very nicely. I should have rinsed my glassware out first though. Rookie mistake!

Sugar Daddy - Belgian Tripel

Trent’s first solo homebrew (before we started brewing together) was a belgian tripel and he really liked the way it turned out so we decided to brew one together for our third beer. I was surprised by the amount of sugar you need to put in a belgian tripel but it makes sense given how sweet and boozy they are. We had a mishap while brewing toasty roasty (our carboy got overfilled a little bit and blew the stopper off!) so we knew we needed to be more careful with the fermentation setup, especially in a beer that had plenty of food for the yeast.

Of our first three beers, this one actually turned out to be my least favorite but was still really good. We used a TON of sugar and it has a bit of a strange syrupy after taste. Shooting in the dark, I think more even heat distribution during out boiling process could have improved it some. Regardless, I still liked it.

The tripel during the boil. Very foamy!
The tripel during the boil. Very foamy!
Wort chilling using our fancy copper chiller coil. In my opinion, this is our best equipment purchase so far.
Wort chilling using our fancy copper chiller coil. In my opinion, this is our best equipment purchase so far.
To make sure we didn't have another ferment run over, this one was done in the boil pot with a towel covering it.
To make sure we didn't have another ferment run over, this one was done in the boil pot with a towel covering it.